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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hero of Shopian agitation turns out to be a thief

Stolen gold worth Rs 60 Lakh recovered from Hurriyat activist Maulvi Tariq

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jun 4: Key character of the year 2009 mass agitation over “rape-cum-murder” of two women in Shopian and a Hurriyat activist, Maulvi Tariq, has been arrested by Shopian Police immediately after stolen gold worth Rs 60 Lakh was recovered from him on Saturday. Police claimed that a former militant of Hizbul Mujahideen and one of Mauvi Tariq’s relatives was also arrested in the matter of the sensational burglary in Shopian town.

Accused in 10 criminal matters, including attempted murder, Tariq-ul-Amin Shah alias Maulvi Tariq, had never been arrested or interrogated by Police for fear of a turbulent reaction in South Kashmir until last evening. He had played key role in mobilizing people and sponsoring a violent agitation in 2009 with the allegation that the two young women found dead in Rambiara Nullah on 29-05-2009 had been “raped and killed” by Police and security forces.

SP Shopian, Mumtaz Ahmed, told Early Times that owner of City Jewelers, Altaf Ahmed Wafai of Lal Bazar Srinagar, complained at Police Station Shopian on June 3rd forenoon that a huge quantity of gold, valued at Rs 60 Lakh, besides cash  worth Rs 56,000 had been stolen from his shop during preceding night. Complainant Wafai is the husband of Maulvi Tariq’s sister who had established his jewelry in Shopian sometime back. Taking many precautionary measures, he had installed an iron safe of Rs 2 Lakh cost inside the shop and also put in place a close circuit television camera.

Case FIR No: 161/2011 u/s 457, 380 RPC was accordingly registered and investigation launched. SP said that during the course of investigation, Police detained salesman Junaid S/o Peerzada Mohammad Ibrahim R/o Habbakadal Srinagar, whose interrogation led to recovery of a broken CCTV from Rambiara Nullah. Junaid spilled the beans and identified Maulvi Tariq as the man who had broken into the jewelry, stolen the gold and the cash and concealed it in the cabin of a television set on the third floor of his house.

During Junaid’s sustained questioning, Police learned that Tariq’s brother-in-law, Zial-ul-Haq Ahrar alias Rafi R/o Shopian, had also associated with the main accused in the commission of crime, including making the duplicate keys of the main shutter from Srinagar, removing and breaking the CCTV, breaking open the iron safe and concealing the stolen gold and money in an emptied TV set. After disclosures of Tariq and Zia-ul-Haq, Police recovered entire quantity of the stolen gold and cash from the third floor of Tariq’s house.

The inventory of recovered/seized metallic ornaments in case FIR No. 161/2011 under section 457, 380 RPC of Police Station Shopian are 21 bangles, 17 pendulums, one jhumar, four pounds, 11 brooches and tie-pins, 40 chains, 19 pendulum sets with tops, 38 circles, 131 finger rings, 56 Jhumka Haar, 28 Haar, 242 Tops+Jhumkas and three bracelets.

Police described the main accused Maulvi Tariq as District President of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat besides an executive member of Majlis-e-Mashawarat Shopian which was constituted during Shopian agitation-2009. He played an important role in spreading the agitation in nook and corner of the district and led the agitated mobs during this prolonged agitation.

According to SP Shopian, Maulvi Tariq was involved in at least 10 FIRs of serious criminal matters, including attempted murders but he had neither been arrested nor interrogated as the authorities feared that his detention could further stoke the fires. His only PSA detention in a matter of fake currency in Pulwama had been quashed by court.

According to Police records, Maulvi Tariq was wanted in case FIR Nos: 62/2001 under section 153-A, 66/2001 under section 153-A, 109/2001 under section 307, 147, 148, 149, 336 RPC, 76/2004 under section 148, 149, 152, 124-A, 307 RPC, 7/27 AA, 75/2004 under section 148, 149, 341, 332, 152, 124-A RPC, 199/2007 under section 420, 419, 489-B, C, 19 ULA, 135/2008 under section 148, 336, 435, 427, 307 RPC and 138/2008 under section 148, 336, 435, 427, 307 RPC.

His associate namely Zai-ul-haq alias Rafi son of Mohammad Shafi Ahrar resident of Bongam Shopian is a released Pakistan-trained militant of Hizbul Mujahideen. He was arrested in year 1996 and was detained under PSA. He is working as a teacher with Iqbal Memorial School Wathoo, Shopian. SP Shopian said both, Maulvi Tariq as well as Zial-ul-Haq, were from two extremely respected and influential families whose fathers and grandfathers were famous for their social work and character.

Maulvi Tariq is the umpteenth hero of the Shopian agitation of 2009 who has landed in Police custody for a major social crime. His wife committed suicide in 2010 by burning herself to death after a local newspaper published that Maulvi had raped a 15-year-old maid of his mother whose abortion had been later conducted in Khannabal, Anantnag.

Previously, another major character of the Shopian tragedy, Dr Nighat Shaheen Chiloo, was mentioned as a criminal in CBI challan when she admitted that she had fudged the vaginal swabs of the women purportedly collected from the two dead bodies. She told CBI that she had actually collected one sample of swab from 20 female patients examined at District Hospital Pulwama and another swab from her own body. Months later, another major character of the Shopian agitation drama, then Chief Medical Officer of Pulwama, was arrested for committing rape on a woman patient at his clinic in Pulwama. He is in jail without getting bail for the last over one year.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Only 100 professionals among DD’s 5000 “private producers”

What happened to Rs 1000 Cr Delhi sent for fighting Pakistan’s propaganda?

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jun 2: Total number of genuine private producers and media professionals has been between 50 to 100 even as successive heads of Doordarshan Kendra (DDK) Srinagar and DD Kashir recognized as many as 5,000 people as “producers” in the last 20 years. It became a free-for-all charity when vested interests discovered that New Delhi was pumping tons of the taxpayers’ money in the name of “fighting Pakistan’s propaganda on Kashmir”. Soon the heads of the two channels realized that there was absolutely no accountability. Result was a large scale loot-and-scoot. New Delhi conveniently shut her eyes to rampant loot of the state exchequer, underplaying everything under the smokescreen of “national interest”.

It was only when complaints heaped up that Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), DD’s in-house vigilance and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) swung into action from time to time. Irregularities and embezzlements were established in almost all the complaints but nobody was ever punished. Officials in Prasar Bharti, DD, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting besides in union Ministry of Home Affairs provided broad daylight protection and patronage to their protégés in Srinagar. “Taking action” they invariably argued “would demoralize our information warriors”. For an open secret, this loot of public exchequer was perpetuated for money---and other considerations.

While drawing over 95 percent of the allocation on account of making programmes on dogs and drains of Valley, two-odd propaganda programmes were genuinely commissioned to the media organisation ANI. Propaganda programmes claimed to have been acquired from hundreds of “private producers” never saw the light of the day.

DD’s one-odd propaganda segment was produced by News Editor Bashir Malik for over 15 years but he too stopped it the day Omar Abdullah’s government ignored him in the matter of State Award. Malik uselessly complained to officials and politicians in New Delhi that the award he alone deserved was “mercilessly” given away to the journalists who, according to him, had been part and parcel of ISI’s and Hurriyat’s propaganda machinery for 20 years. He specifically mentioned the names of a hardline separatist leader’s son-in-law and some others belonging to pro-Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami background. Pitiably, nobody from Delhi to Srinagar bothered to even console India’s only information warrior in J&K.

Beneficiaries of the loot-and-scoot were later introduced as “national heroes” by their mentors in New Delhi. Literally sprinkling pepper dust in the eyes of millions of people, these people managed to grab not only the lion’s share of the commissioned programmes in DD Kashir but also usurped 100 percent of the programmes directly sponsored by MHA. Allottees of such mega serials included rabidly anti-Indian elements and even regular terrorist cadres who, for years, harassed, kidnapped, tortured and humiliated DD’s and AIR’s employees as well as genuine media professionals for their crime of “strengthening Indian occupation on J&K”.

A number of DD’s and AIR’s officials, who were identified as “threat to national security” and “men of doubtful integrity” on the basis of serious complaints and intelligence reports, were shifted from J&K to other states. However, with the intervention of their organizational and political mentors, they all managed to return to Srinagar or Jammu within short period. Even those, whose family members, were identified as operators of militant and separatist outfits, were brought back to Srinagar, installed on key positions and given a free hand to embezzle funds worth Crores of Rupees.

Recently removed CEO of Prasar Bharti, B S Lalli, and DG of Doordarshan, Aruna Sharma, now facing serious charges of corruption in the infamous Common Wealth Games scam, protected their puppets in Srinagar openly for material considerations.

According to insiders, cumulative liabilities at DDK Srinagar have heaped up to Rs 30 Crore in the last two years alone notwithstanding liquidations to the tune of Rs 10 Crore. These sources insist that a group of three DD officials have got Director’s approval on over 200 proposal files assigned to a select group of six to ten “private producers” under the infamous “in-house” category. “It has added the liability of around Rs 5 Crore in just two months”, revealed an insider who insisted that the files were approved against cash payment of bribes ranging between Rs 2 to 4 Lakh each programme. Relatives of so-called “private producers”, including fake names and regular government employees, are being shown as facility providers and cheques are finally drawn in their names.

While the genuine media professionals pay 10 percent of the sanctioned budget as the “commission” in advance, fake private producers are fleeced to the tune of 40 to 50 percent. Most of their substandard programmes are telecast on regular basis from 10.00 pm to 6.00 a.m so as to hide them from local critics. Professional producers and artists, who have been associated with Dooradrshan through thick and thin in the last over 30 years, including the big names like Zamir Ashai, Bashir Dada, Mudassar Nehvi and Mushtaq Ali, have been given just peanuts. Eminent artists like Abdul Rasheed Farash, who died recently, and Jai Kishori, whose husband passed away in total helplessness in Delhi, were mercilessly tortured.

Obviously, the result is that the medium that had been assigned with building faith of the alienated Kashmiris in the Indian democratic system and institutions, has done exactly the reverse. International award winners like Abir Bazaz and Syed Fayyaz, have never entered DD premises, let alone submitting a proposal or seeking an assignment. Many of the Valley’s young producers, mostly created by MERC of University of Kashmir, JNU, Indian Institute of Mass Communication and Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi see no prospects for themselves with DDK Srinagar and DD Kashir, though a number of them worked impressively with BBC, National Geographic and other international media organizations.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What happened to Rs 1000 Cr sent for ‘fighting Pakistan’s propaganda’?

Kashmiri officers shouldn’t discredit Prasar Bharti in J&K

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jun 1: Since 22-year-long secessionist insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir has been officially declared as Pakistan’s proxy war, nobody in this country is expected to ask a question and get an answer over the tons of money spent in the name of “fighting Pakistan’s propaganda”. That everything has gone down the drain is best evident from two facts: Doordarshan’s and Akashvani’s reach is the maximum but their influence and credibility is indisputably the minimum in the strife-ravaged state. Street upheaval of 2008 and 2010 would not have happened if only 10 percent of the allocation would have been spent in right direction.

Like inhabitants of many other regions and states, Kashmiris have been complaining of “no representation” in several organizations of the Government of India. At least, Prasar Bharti’s fact sheet in 2011 does not support the grouse. Recently appointed CEO of the Corporation, Rajiv Trakroo, is said to be one whose forefathers migrated from Kashmir and settled in UP. Son of the soil, Khursheed Ahmad Ganai, an IAS officer of 1982-batch, has lately joined as Joint Secretary in the union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

With nobody holding the rank of Director General after Aruna Sharma’s unceremonious exit earlier this year, two of the seven DDGs (Programme), namely Ashok Jailkhani and Fayyaz Sheharyar, are residents of Srinagar. DD’s consultant on Kashmir, Jawhar Wattal, is also reportedly a Kashmiri.

With abundance of “representation” from the Valley, Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR) now need accountability with regard to the taxpayers’ money being allocated and spent in the name of “fighting Pakistan’s propaganda on Kashmir”. Policymakers in New Delhi have perpetuated the culture of no accountability under the smokescreen of “national interest” for over two decades of insurgency. Some of them had a blurred vision of perspective planning but quite a number of them were transparently beneficiaries of the loot-and-scoot.

It was perhaps because of this “national interest” that the publicity and money hungry officials and politicians launched the much hyped “Kashir Channel” for four times from 1995 to 2004. Then Minister incharge I&B, Priyaranjan Dasmunshi staged a drama at SKICC, in presence of Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, in 2006 by “launching” an FM radio channel nobody has listened to in J&K till date. It was simply a relaying arrangement.

Special propaganda packages, running into hundreds of Crores, were announced for J&K at least three times in the last 12 years. Officials, both serving and retired, insist that total volume of the money that came from New Delhi for “defeating Pakistan in the propaganda warfare” from 1990 to 2011 is, by no calculation, less than Rs 1000 Crore. Vested interests fought over location of DD Kashir headquarters as the actors from Delhi feared that they would lose an empire if the channel operated from Valley. Their tailored argument: “Anti-national elements will loot this money without fear in Srinagar”. Vested interests from J&K finally reconciled to the headquarters being in Delhi for a many considerations.

Beneficiaries of the anarchical situation included high profile men like Dileep Padgaonkar whose Asia Pacific Communication Associates (APCA) laid hands on a daily breakfast show. It ran for years, albeit without fighting Pakistan’s propaganda. A group of Srinagar-based producers later paid huge kickbacks and got a similar current affairs programme allotted from Delhi. They include one whose real brother then operated as an active militant of a dreaded pro-Pakistan guerrilla outfit (later eliminated by counter-insurgents). It did not carry a story when DD’s DG was on a visit in Srinagar and two poor employees got killed in a rocket attack on Civil Secretariat. Both the shows carried repeated segments on the city’s dogs and drains.

When DDK Srinagar decided to do the breakfast show with its in-house arrangement, it lost no time in outsmarting the private producers in 2008. By the time CBI conducted a raid and launched a lackadaisical investigation, producer of the show had already acquired 9541 segments, on 1914 tapes, clandestinely from a select group of freelance producers. According to insiders, it was only a tip of the iceberg. They swear none of the producers and Directors who remained posted at DDK Srinagar or DD Kashir, is owner of properties less than Rs 5 Crores.

(To be continued……)


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

While packing up in Srinagar, Masoodi takes media for a ride

Mandi House makes clear it is transfer, not promotion as DDG (Programme)

Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, May 31: Dramatis personae of Doordarshan’s story of fraud have in the past succeeded in getting classical novels translated from Hindi to Kashmiri from poor freelance translators and stolen for themselves the prestigious Sahitya Academy awards. This is, however, first time in the 40-year-long history of the national broadcaster in Jammu & Kashmir that an official, supposed to honour Shiva’s Third Eye, has cheated hundreds of mediapersons in making them believe that he had been “elevated to the post of Deputy Director General” and posted at the DD headquarters for a larger responsibility. Mandi House officials, however, made it unambiguously clear to Early Times today that Director of DDK Srinagar, Dr Rafeeq Masoodi, had been simply transferred from Srinagar and posted on the same rank at the DD headquarters. They made it clear that there were only five DDGs (Programme) and two incharge DDGs (Programme) and Dr Masoodi was nowhere even in the pipleline of promotions in the next two years.

Immediately after the transfer order of 35 officials reached Srinagar on Monday, Dr Masoodi sent a news story in self-promotion to entire list of mediapersons by email from his official ID ‘’ last evening. It was headlined as “Dir DDK Srinagar Dr Rafeeq Masoodi promoted as DDG programs”. It’s body text read as under:

Srinagar, May 30: Senior Director Doordarshan and Station Director DDK Srinagar Dr Rafeeq Masoodi has been elevated to the post of Deputy Director General (DDG) Programs. According to an official order vide no. 2011/S-III dated 27-05-2011 issued by Director General Doordarshan following rationalization of designations based on the pay scales of officers of Prasar Bharati working in different units in DG: AIR, DG: Doordarshan and other offices Dr Rafeeq Masoodi has been promoted to the post of DDG programs after a decision was taken by the Prasar Bharati Board members.

Hailing his appointment as DDG programs various broadcasting associations, press fraternity, members of civil society, intellectuals, literary personalities, academicians, theatre and cultural groups, artists, singers,  judicial luminaries and other association of private producers have congratulated Dr Masoodi over his new assignment”.

Masood’s promotional story appeared, almost verbatim, in most of the state’s newspapers including one of the country’s largest circulated national dailies. However, when Early Times contacted top officials at Mandi House and Prasar Bharti Broadcasting Corporation of India, they invariably made it clear that it was “simply a transfer and no elevation or promotion”.

Top officials, who insisted that they were not authorized to speak publicly, said that incharge Director General of Doordarshan, L D Mandloi, had got the orders issued through Deputy Director Administration, Sunita Bharal, after consultations with Prasar Bharti, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Central Vigilance Commission, besides DD’s own Vigilance department. They revealed that Masoodi’s name was included in an already prepared list of 34 officials after CBI recommended “Regular Departmental Action” (RDA) against the official facing serious charges of corruption and misuse of official position in case FIR No: 02/A/2009/CBI/Sgr and case FIR No: 04/2010/CBI/Sgr.

“There have been no promotions in the last many months and none are immediately in the pipeline. Rafeeq Masoodi is continuing as a Director (Programme) in Pay Band-4 Rs 37400-Rs 67000 with Grade Pay of Rs 8700. He has no chance of promotion to the next rank in the next two years”, said an officer. According to him, Director (Programme) carries the Grade Pay of Rs 8700 while as Deputy Director General (Programme) gets Grade Pay of Rs 10,000.

The officer posted at Mandi House elaborated that even after Masoodi’s joining at DD headquarters, total number of DDGs (Programme) remained static at five. He identified them as Ashok Jailkhani, LD Mandloi (currently incharge DG), R Venkateswarlu, Fayyaz Sheharyar and Usha Bhasin. Jailkhani and Sheharyar, husbands of two sisters, are from Kashmir. He said that in addition to five DDGs (Programmes), two officers, namely Ms Neelima Harjal and Deepa Chandra, were functioning as ‘incharge DDGs (Programme). “News of Dr Masoodi’s elevation to the next higher rank of DDG (Programme) is completely baseless”, he added.

Another highly placed officer at PBBCI headquarters said that Dr Masoodi had perhaps misinterpreted recent rationalization of designations in DD and All India Radio and tried to project it as his “promotion”. He said that vide Order No: A-10/S4/2002-PPC Dated 24-05-2011, Corporation had issued a fresh nomenclature and designated all Directors (Programme)/ Station Directors of Grade Pay 8700 as DDG (Programme) without any promotion or elevation while as all DDGs (Programme) carrying Pay Grade of Rs 10,000 had been similarly designated as Additional Director General (Programme) without any promotion.

He said that it would take some time to fully implement the new order of change of designations and Directorate General of Doordarshan had, in fact, issued the transfer order of 35 DD officers, including Masoodi, with only the old designations. He too asserted that none of the officers in DD or AIR, touched in the transfer order dated 27-05-2011, had been promoted to higher rank.


Monday, May 30, 2011


CBI-tainted DD official sent packing to headquarters

Mandi House acts after CBI recommended ‘Rigorous Departmental Action’ against Rafeeq Masoodi

Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, May 30: Days after Chief Vigilance Commissioner of Government of India took cognizance of a story published in Early Times and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) revealed in reply that it had recommended capital punishment for the accused, Directorate General of Doordarshan has removed Director of Doordarshan Kendra (DDK) Srinagar, Dr Rafeeq Masoodi, from his posting in Srinagar. Masoodi has been shifted to the DD headquarters with the apprehension that he could influence or tamper with evidences while continuing as Director DDK Srinagar. As already reported in detail in this newspaper’s May 14th edition, Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah conferred the prestigious State Award on Dr Masoodi inspite of CBI investigating two corruption related FIRs against him in Srinagar.

In follow up action to File No: A-22012/2/2011-S-III, approved by Director General (DG) of DD, Deputy Director Administration, Sunita Bharal, has issued Order No: 2011/S-III dated 27-05-2011, shifting as many as 35 officers of Junior Administrative Grade (JAG), Senior Time Grade (STG), Junior Time Scale (JTS) and Programme Executives (PEX). Figuring at serial number three of the order, copy of which is available with Early Times, Masoodi has been shifted from DDK Srinagar to Directorate General of Doordarshan with immediate effect. The order is silent with regard to the new incumbent in Srinagar, even as some officials of bad reputation and decades long posting in home state have mobilized all of their contacts to grab the prize position.

Five officers of the rank of Director, who have been shifted to new places of posting among 35 DD officials, include R P Bhandarkar, S P Panigrahi, Rafeeq Masoodi, L K Chopra and OGD Sharma. According to the same order, Ravinder Naaz, PEX at DDK Jammu has been transferred and appointed as PEX at DDK Srinagar. Mumtaz Beg, PEX at DDK Bhopal has been transferred and posted as PEX in DD’s Urdu Channel.

Interestingly Masoodi emailed to media from his official ID in Srinagar that he had been promoted to the higher rank of Deputy Director General (DDG) of Programmes and thus posted at DD’s headquarters. However, there is nothing like that in the order.

Highly Placed sources in Mandi House as well as Prasar Bharti Broadcasting Corporation of India denied rumours of Masoodi’s promotion and posting as “DDG at the headquarters” in New Delhi. Officials revealed that action against Masoodi had become inevitable after Chief Vigilance Commissioner took cognizance of a report, published in Early Times on May 14th, and asked CBI as well as DG Doordarshan as to what action had been taken in two particular matters of corruption at DDK Srinagar.

On May 16th, Vigilance authorities in New Delhi dashed off a letter to SP of CBI in Srinagar, asking about progress achieved, if any, in two particular FIRs registered by CBI against certain DDK Srinagar officials, including Director of the station, Dr Rafeeq Masoodi.

According to these sources, CBI informed Directorate General of Doordarshan, DD’s departmental vigilance as well as CVC that it had established Masoodi’s involvement in the matters of corruption. Rather than prosecuting the official in a court of law, it had used the option of the “Departmental Action”. CBI, according to sources, informed DD as well as CVC that on account of the official’s involvement, it had recommended “Rigorous Departmental Action” (RDA), making it incumbent upon DD to take the desired action.

Sources elaborated that in the matters of “capital punishment”, as recommended in Masoodi’s case, DD was bound to initiate rigorous action that includes dismissal from service, prolonged suspension and freezing of promotions and annual increments in salary. The action begins with the accused official’s removal from his place of posting.

 In the matters of ‘minor’ punishment, accused officials are placed under suspension for some time, three of their annual increments are withdrawn and some annual increments frozen. Sources said that in both cases, the employer’s action was subject to endorsement of CBI. These sources further revealed that an official posted in DD’s departmental vigilance wing, who had been allegedly helping Masoodi and a senior lady official posted in DDK Srinagar, had also been removed earlier this year.

Even after Early Times reported in detail how the State Award was being conferred on a DD official who was involved in two serious matters of corruption under investigation with CBI, Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah honoured the accused official at an investiture ceremony at SKICC in Srinagar on May 14th. They even chose him for receiving the award granted to eminent Kashmiri singer and Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s wife, Shameem Dev Azad, who was not present in Srinagar. Masoodi’s shifting from Srinagar on charges of corruption has all the potential of huge embarrassment for the head of the government as well as the head of the state who were kept in the dark by General Administration Department.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

IFS officers depleting fast in J&K, 17 retiring in 2 years

600 Forestry grads unemployed even after J&K got 40 ACFs after 27 years

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, May 29: Even as no recruitment of Forestry trained officers through proper channel has taken place in the last 27 years, 600 Forestry graduates continue to be unemployed through successive regimes, Jammu & Kashmir state’s Forest and Forest-related developments will be almost completely dominated by unqualified and untrained officials in near future. With everybody being “incharge” of senior positions, in violation of all service rules and Supreme Court directions, as many as 17 of the senior most IFS officers are reaching superannuation in the next 24 months.

In absence of Forestry trained officers for many years, unqualified and junior officials are enjoying prize postings with the blessings of their patrons in politics, bureaucracy and other institutions. While a number of Foresters are functioning under the so-called stop gap arrangement (completely banned by Supreme Court) as Range Officers and ROs are posted as “incharge ACFs”, ACFs are manning the positions of full-fledged DFOs. Even a number of very junior ROs, enjoying political clout, stand posted as “incharge ACFs” and, in absence of DCFs and selection grade IFS officers, they have been functioning as DFOs.

Without any explanation from successive governments in the last over a decade, 400 to 600 Forestry graduates and post-graduates continue to be unemployed. One Dr Tariq, who has completed his Ph D in Forestry has been working against monthly remuneration of Rs 3000 to Rs 42oo in J&K State Forestry Research Institute. Another person, with Ph D in Forestry, has been trying hard to get appointed as Forest Guard but has failed continuously in two or three attempts. Over a hundred boys and girls, with B Sc or M Sc in Forestry and related subjects, have taken far inferior jobs in private sector. Few have been lucky enough to get a class 4th government job or the post of a Rehbar-e-Taleem.

There is no official data available but informed sources insist that over 70 boys and girls with graduation or post-graduation in Forestry have already crossed their age-bar of 37 years and thus lost every possibility of getting a job in the subject they have been trained after spending huge amounts of money.

Official sources revealed that hundreds of posts have fallen vacant in Forest Department, Social Forestry Department, Wildlife Protection Department, State Forest Corporation, Forest Protection Force, SFRI and about a dozen Forest and environment related projects. Since continuous working as ACF for 8 years is a must and no recruitment of ACFs has taken place since 1984, Government of J&K has no State Forest Service officers (SFS) for induction into IFS.

With nearly 50 posts of Divisional Managers being vacant for the last 8 to 12 years, there has been a nearly 20-year-long recruitment holiday in J&K SFC. Senior officers are reaching superannuation and the Corporation will be fully manned by unqualified and untrained officials in the next years. Dr Farooq Abdullah’s government had created Forest Protection Force (FPF) in December 1996 but none of the 60 posts of Assistant Directors (ADs), equivalent to Range Officers in Forest Department, has been filled up in the last 15 years.

After a long recruitment holiday, J&K Public Service Commission (PSC) has selected 23 Range Officers, just 9 in Open Merit whose  appointment as RO Grade-1 has been stayed by High Court. PSC has also selected 40 candidates---28 from Jammu and 12 from Kashmir---who have been appointed as ACFs after a gap of 27 years.  

According to official sources, total strength of IFS officers in J&K stands at 105 but not more than 91 have been in place for the last several years. Among the regular recruit IFS officers, more than 25 have been enjoying their Central deputations.

With the senior IFS cadre depleting fast, as many as 17 officers, from the rank of Conservator of Forest (CF) to Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF), are due to retire from service in the next 24 months. Three of the senior IFS officers, namely Maulvi Shafat Ahmed, S K Khajuria and Shameem Mohammad Khan, have already retired in the last five months of current year.

Those reaching superannuation in 2011 include Project Chief of IWDP Irshad Ahmed Khan (31-08-2011), PCCF Mr R D Tiwari (31-12-2011), CCF Planning & Projects in PCCF’s office Mr Shivendra P Arya (30-09-2011) and General Manager in SFC Mr B L Zadoo (30-11-2011).

1975-batch IFS officer and former PCCF, Jaddish Kishwan, who is currently on central deputation and posted as Additional Director General Wildlife, is due to retire from service on 30-09-2012. Others retiring in 2012 include Director SFRI Mr Pritam Chand Kapur (29-02-2012), CCF Jammu Mr S C Sharma (30-04-2012), former MD of SFC, Abdul Qayoom Khan (29-02-2012), who is currently attached to administrative department, GM SFC Mr Asgar Anayatullah (30-04-2012), GM SFC Mr Nisar Hussain Hakeem (31-10-2012) and Joint Director IWDP Mr V K Raina (31-12-2012).

Six more senior IFS officers of J&K cadre are reaching superannuation in the first five months of 2013. They include Chairman of State Pollution Control Board Mr Lal Chand (31-01-2013), newly appointed Director Social Forestry J&K Mr Mohammad Shafeeq Khan (31-05-2013), CCF Kashmir Mr Manzoor Ahmed (30-04-2013), Regional Wildlife Warden Kashmir Mr Hafizullah Sidiquee (31-05-2013), Nodal Officer with State PCB Mr Narendra Singh Kala (31-01-2013) and Project Coordinator North Jhelum Mohammad Manzoor Hussain (31-05-2013).

With all these retirements, key posts in high, middle and lower rungs in Forest and Forest-related departments will be falling vacant and consequently given away to unqualified, untrained or junior officials on the basis of their political and bureaucratic clout.

Everybody from Chowdhary Mohammad Ramzan to Pirzada Ghulam Ahmed Shah to Sofi Mohiuddin to Tariq Hameed Qarra to Qazi Mohammad Afzal to the incumbent Mian Altaf Ahmed has been saying that Government was doing its best to protect forests and appoint trained graduates and post-graduates. None of them has lived upto expectation of hundreds of trained and qualified candidates who have been forced to remain unemployed.