JAMMU, Sept 29:
Amazing it may sound to many but it is true that even after purchasing about 165 Bolero and some other vehicles for the Sub Divisional Magistrates (SDMs) and Tehsildars including those placed in the newly created administrative units across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir recently, no provision of the drivers was kept or posted for the operation of these Government vehicles..
Official sources said that while at some places officers are driving these official vehicles them-selves, many have engaged private drivers and paying them salary from their own pocket. It added that J&K Government purchased about 165 vehicles including majority of them Bolero and Swift D’zire (Diesel) vehicles for the movement of Tehsildars, Sub Divisional Magistrates in the field. After the creation of new administrative units, many officers were without vehicles. For field movement, these officers were using their own vehicles.
Some of the aggrieved officers told the `Excelsior’ on the condition of not being quoted that they were provided vehicles by the Government few months ago but unfortunately, no drivers were provided to them for the operation of these vehicles.
They said some of the vehicles are being driven by the officers themselves and they are facing lot of difficulties as they have to attend so many telephone calls of the senior officers and the public representatives.
Some of the Revenue officers, were asked to hire drivers at their own but no provision of salary of the private drivers has been kept. In many cases, Tehsildars and SDMs are paying salary to the drivers from their own pocket. Sources revealed that when new administrative units were created, the provision of staff was kept along with post of driver. But even after 5-6 months of the purchase of these vehicles, no posts of drivers were filled up or even referred for the recruitment agency.
Sources said that during 2013-14 about 669 new administrative units were created in J&K by the then Cong-NC Government. These included 46 Sub Divisions, 135 Tehsils and 301 Niabets. Out of these Tehsils and Sub Divisions, majority of them do not have drivers.
In Udhampur there are seven Tehsils, but in five tehsils there are no drivers while SDMs of Dudu and Basantgarh do not have drivers to operate their vehicles. Similarly, in Rajouri districts there are 13 Tehsils and nine Tehsildars are without drivers. Same is the condition in district Jammu where 21 Tehsils exist. Only five of them have the drivers while 16 tehsils and four other officers/SDMs do not have the drivers to operate their vehicles. In Kathua district, there are 16 Tehsils including remote Bani Sub Division. Only five old tehsils have the drivers while rest of the Administrative Units do not have the drivers.
Reports from Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Reasi, Poonch and Samba districts further revealed that same problem is being faced by the SDMs and Tehsildars in the new units.
Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Ramesh Kumar when contacted said that for the operation of these vehicles arrangement of the drivers has been done. He claimed that in some areas they had additional drivers in DC offices and they were deputed to some areas. He did not confirm about referring the posts of drivers to the Service Selections Board but denied the claim that some officers were themselves driving these official vehicles.