Shake up in J&K bureaucracy: 10 IAS officers touched
Reenzu punished for ‘extra-curricular activity’, Bareilvi activism
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
With many of the bureaucrats and politicians hazarding varied guesses over the reason, Cabinet removed Farooq Reenzu and attached him to General Administration Department, while appointing Zaffar Ahmad as the new Director of Information. After a long stint as Deputy Director, Reenzu functioned as Director of Information for three curtailed tenures since 2005. In 2007, then Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad posted him as Deputy Commissioner of Budgam and appointed Khalid Bashir as the head of Information Department. In the thick of 2008 street agitation in Valley, Reenzu was brought back to Information.
In April 2010, when he also held the charge of Director Local Bodies Kashmir, he was divested of both the portfolios but he quickly managed to get back one---Local Bodies. However, in August 2010, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah got him back as full-time Director of Information. Today’s Cabinet meeting witnessed his second unceremonious exit in three years. He was the only office of the rank of Director who was removed in today’s administrative reshuffle. Remaining 10 are IAS officers and among them only Zaffar holds the lower rank of Special Secretary to Government (Director).
Even as nobody was believed to have an inkling of the actual reason, many in Government, media and politics seemed to believe that Reenzu had been “punished” for his extra-curricular activity of gaining proximity to a religious leader and provoking him to issue a ‘Fatwa’ against one of the sects of Muslims in Valley. He had extensively identified himself with clerics of the Bareilvi school of thought in the last over one year. However, a section of bureaucracy insisted that Reenzu’s role in the controversial promotions and appointments in Local Bodies Kashmir, that has been critically flagged by an inquiry, could also be a reason.
Asked for his comment, Reenzu said that he had been targeted and victimized on account of his working hard and seeking induction into IAS as per a court order more than twice in the last few years. He lamented that his being a “stanch nationalist and patriot” had proved to be his liabilities.
The incoming Director of Information, Zaffar Ahmad, is an unassuming and low-key official who has held different postings as Deputy Secretary, Additional Secretary and Special Secretary in Civil Secretariat in the last 13 years. During his initial 13 years in the field, after qualifying KAS in 1984, Zaffar worked as Assistant Director and Deputy Director of Food and Supplies Department. He also served a deputation term with FCI and remained posted as Joint Manager Operations (equivalent to Regional Manager). He worked as Trade Agent in Mumbai for two years and briefly held the charge of Director Handicrafts.
For most of the time in the last 6 years, Zaffar served as Special Secretary to Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Special Secretary to Governor S K Sinha and later Special Secretary to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. During these tenures, he twice held the additional charge of Director of Information. This is for the first time that he has been substantively appointed as Director of Information, through nobody has been appointed as his reliever in Chief Minister’s Secretariat.
Apparently doing away with the rot of adhocism in the middle rungs of state bureaucracy, Cabinet also ordered transfer and appointment of nine other IAS officers. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah presided over the meeting. Minister of Finance, Abdul Rahim Rather, who is reportedly busy with the treatment of his wife outside J&K and is likely to return on Saturday, was the only absentee.
K. B. Agarwal, IAS (JK: 1985) Principal Secretary to Government Public Works IR&B) Department was transferred and posted as Financial Commissioner Revenue, relieving Bashir Ahmad Runiyal, Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Revenue Department, of the additional charge of the post. Agarwal shall also hold the charge of the post of Chairman J&K Special Tribunal in addition to his own duties.
Umang Narulla, IAS (JK: 1989) Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Industries and Commerce Department was transferred and posted as Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Forest Department vice Shant Manu.
Shant Manu, IAS (JK:1991) Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Forest Department, was transferred and posted as Commissioner/ Secretary to Government, Industries and Commerce Department, vice Umang Narula.
Bipul Pathak, IAS (JK:1992) awaiting orders of posting in the General Administration Department was posted as Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Animal and Sheep Husbandry Department, relieving Shaleen Kabra of the additional charge of the post.
Tanveer Jehan IAS (JK: 1995) Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Higher Education Department, was transferred and posted as Commissioner/ Secretary to Government, Public Works (R&B) Department vice K. B. Agarwal.
Dr Syed Mohammad Fazalullah, IAS (JK: 1995) Registrar Cooperative Societies, J&K, was transferred and posted as Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Cooperative Department, relieving Shaleen Kabra of the additional charge of the post.
Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, IAS (JK: 1997), Secretary to Government, Information Technology and Science & Technology Departments, was transferred and posted as Secretary to Government, Health and Medical Education Department, relieving Mrs Tanveer Jehan of the additional charge of the post.
Gazzanfer Hussain, IAS (JK: 1998), Commissioner, Commercial Taxes, J&K, was transferred and posted as Secretary to Government, Higher Education Department, vice Mrs Tanveer Jehan. With the Finance Minister being absent and quite a number of IAS officers lobbying for this post, nobody was appointed as Commissioner Commercial Taxes in today’s meeting.
Mohammad Ashraf Bukhari, IAS (JK: 1999), Secretary, J&K Public Service Commission was transferred and posted as Secretary to Government, Information Technology and Science & Technology Departments vice Manoj Kumar Dwivedi.
Meanwhile, In a separate Government order today, Mohammad Akram Malik, under orders of repatriation in the Animal and Sheep Husbandry Department, was posted as Managing Director, J&K Agro Industries Development Corporation, on deputation basis, with immediate effect relieving Director Agriculture Kashmir, Farooq Lone, of the additional charge of the post.