‘Political Interference’ renders Kupwara headless, Er Rashid protests, locks main gate of DC Office

While J&K Government boasts of taking governance to the doorsteps of common man, Kupwara district in north Kashmir is without administrative head for almost a month, which has taken a toll on day-to-day affairs of governance in one of the sensitive districts in Kashmir. The “deep political interference” in the administrative matters in the district is seen as a reason for reluctance of officials to their posting in the district.
The position of District Development Commissioner Kupwara is lying vacant for past 25 days after government removed former Deputy Commissioner Kumar Rajeev Ranjan on November 17. Though the same day the government issued order posting senior KAS officer Bashir Ahmad Dar as the new DC Kupwara, he hasn’t joined the office yet citing “health condition” as a reason.

A senior government official however said “the political interference in the administration” was the reason for officials being reluctant to their positing as administrative head of one of the sensitive districts in Kashmir.
Kupwara is spread over five constituencies including Kupwara, Handwara, Lolab, Langate and Karnah. While two constituencies, Lolab and Karnah are represented by the ruling PDP, SajadLone’s Peoples Conference represents Kupwara and Handwara constituencies. Langate is represented by Independent MLA Er. Rashid.
While PDP minister Abdul Haq Khan and PC’s Sajad Lone, an ally of BJP, represents the district in the government, the PDP has its MP in RajyaSabha, Fayaz Mir, from Kupwara as well. The opposition National Conference which lost three constituencies, Kupwara, Handwara and Karnah in 2014 elections also wields influence in the district.

“It is one of the sensitive districts where politicians from almost all parties wield influence often resulting in clash of ideologies that in turn impacts smooth functioning of the administration,” said an official.
“From lower level to the highest ranks in the district administration, the employees/officials of different departments often find themselves caught in a fix as Ministers and MLAs compete for implementation of the developmental and other schemes meant for up lift of poor like IAY as per their choice,” an official from the district alleged.
“As each party and MLA want maximum benefits for their workers it becomes difficult for officials to adjust themselves in competing political ideologies where the rules and guidelines for smooth function of the administration get shelved,” said the official.
Secretary, General Administration Department, Khursheed Ahmad Shah said the government would take call on positing of the District Commissioner Kupwara in next cabinet meeting. Asked whether the previous order posting Bashir Ahmad Dar as the DC has been rescinded, the Secretary said: “The order may be modified.”

Meanwhile, Independent legislator Engineer Sheikh Rashid today locked the main gate of the office of the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Kupwara. He was protesting against the government for not filling the post of the DC which has been lying vacant for the past one month.
“It is shameful that despite making huge claims of transparency and good governance, the present government transferred the previous Deputy Commissioner for not following the diktats of the ruling class and rendered the district administration headless. It has resulted in huge inconvenience to people,” Rashid said.