Groundbreaking ceremony impacts official work in Muzaffarabad

Greater Kashmir

Muzaffarabad, Feb 9: The Civil Secretariat and the offices of ministers in the capital of Pakistan administered Kashmir virtually wore deserted looks on Saturday as the entire bureaucracy and public office holders were out of the state capital after being strictly asked to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project in Aiwan-e-Sadr Islamabad.
 The ceremony was initially planned to be held at its actual site, Chattar Klas village, located some 20 kilometres south of here along Muzaffarabad-Kohala road. Early on Friday morning, almost all gazetted officers in the Civil Secretariat here were asked through a circular to obtain security passes and ensure their presence at the ceremony. However, at around midday, it transpired that the ceremony had been cancelled, ostensibly on the pretext of inclement weather, which turned out to be bright and sunny on Saturday. 
 On Friday afternoon, all government officials, from ministers to lawmakers and from secretaries to the section officers, were asked by the Services and General Administration Department to reach Kashmir House Islamabad by all means by 9:30 am on Saturday to attend the same ceremony in the presidency.
 On Saturday, dozens of official vehicles were witnessed in Kashmir House with officials lining up to obtain security passes from the PaK Special Branch for the high security function.
 Though the participation in the ceremony, hosted by Water and Power Development Authority of Pakistan, was a nuisance for many, some however derived benefit from it as it helped them enjoy the weekend in the federal capital at the taxpayers’ cost.
 “I think the travelling of nearly two hundred officials to Islamabad from Muzaffarabad and other districts of Kashmir will cost no less than a million bucks (rupees) to the state exchequer in one single day in the form of TA/DA, POL and wear and tear,” remarked one official, pleading anonymity.
 “We don’t know when this project will fetch something to us but for the moment its groundbreaking has definitely cost us a handsome amount,” added the visibly chagrined official.