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news details
Multiple scandals surface in Gujjar Bakerwal Advisory Board
Silence of Governor's Grievance Cell intriguing
12/14/2018 12:08:10 AM
Akshay Azad

Early Times Report

Jammu, Dec 13: Multiple scandals of large proportions have surfaced in the Gujjar Bakerwal Advisory Board (GBAB) following a detailed complaint filed by an activist along with detailed documents but the silence of the Governor's grievance cell for the last over three months, is intriguing.
According to the complaint filed by Showkat Ali Khatana of Udhampur in which the Statistical Officer posted in the Board Asif Ali is a witness, several allegations were levelled against a former Secretary of Gujjar Bakerwal Advisory Board. The detailed complaint was forwarded by Khatana to Advisor to Governor in the month of October but Khatana had only got official confirmation about the complaint number from the Governor office, after which nothing has been done.
As per the allegations levelled in the detailed complaint, it has been maintained that a former Secretary of GBAB had drawn, false Travelling Allowance (TA) to the tune of over Rs. 7 Lakhs by showing his private car bearing number JKO2BN-7447, in the bills and showing tours to various hostels. All the copies of the TA bills have been attached with the complaint.
It is also maintained that the former Secretary had always adopted pick and choose policy regarding release of funds to Gujjar and Bakerwal (G&B) hostels, violating the norms, without submitting the files of financial matters to Vice Chairman for approval. The details of inadvertent release of funds was also enclosed.
In the end of a financial year, the former Secretary had re-appropriated the funds under Diet expenses into another account head without any prior approval of Finance Department/Planning/Administrative department as the official had allegedly fixed the share with the wardens concerned. It was also supported with the documents.
The complaint further reads under Prime Minister Development Package an amount of Rs. 77.06 Lakhs was released to General Manager of Housing Board for repair and renovation of G&B boys hostel Srinagar. "The DPR for renovation was formulated by R&B department but the amount was given to Housing Board through WDC Bill without submission of file to the concerned agency for technical vetting. Even the file was not submitted for approval of VC", it reads.
The complaint also stated that an amount of Rs. 50 Lakhs was released to the Board as additionally for Repair and Renovation (Upgradation) of 2 Gujjar and Bakerwal hostels under revised estimate. "The Former Secretary released the money to wardens of his choice, Mushtaq Baji Warden G&B Hostel Boys Jammu and Riyaz-ul-Haq Warden G&B hostel Kathua", it reads, adding that though the hostels were already under repairs by Housing Board from the funds provided by Tribal Ministry and this amount of Rs. 50 Lakhs was drawn on false bills.
It was also alleged that the former Secretary had appointed more than 50 casual labourers mostly relatives of wardens in G&B hostels in lieu of pecuniary benefits. Some of these employees were Jameel Ahmed, Nadeem Ahmad, Mukhtar Ahmad, Manzoor Ahmad, Liaqat. Some of the orders were issued by secretary were also attached for reference with the complaint.
Two of the cousins of the former Secretary, who were also residents of Rajouri, were appointed in Rajouri, despite the fact that government had banned all such engagements. Some of the casual employees have been working as the domestic helps of the wardens of G&B hostels, it reads.
"The government sanctioned Rs. 100 per student per day in G&B hostels and that too for 10 months but if go by the records, the hostels have been provided excess of funds beyond permissible limits", it reads.
Three members of a family have been appointed as Warden and Assistant Warden in G&B Hostel Srinagar. "Around Rs. 10 Crores are annually provided to the Advisory board for making arrangements for diet of students in G&B hostels of the state. As per present procedure every purchase exceeding Rs. 1 Lakhs has to be made through e-tendering but there was no such e-tendering in GBAB and same contractor is providing same diet items to three G&B hostels Srinagar, Pulwama and Anantnag at different rates thus looting the state exchequer with active support of the former secretary", it reads.
Talking to Early Times Showkat Ali Khatana said that he had filed the complaint to Governor Secretariat in October month but he had got only an official complaint number after which nothing came out. "Gujjar and Bakerwals are most backward sections for whose students G&B hostels have been maintained and funds are provided by government but these officials have been looting the funds with impunity", he rued, adding that action must be taken against the involved officials so that the funds would be properly utilized. (Akshay Azad is Fellow with National Foundation for India)
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