BY: BILAL AHMAD BHAT
Corruption has been a hydra headed monster for the Jammu and Kashmir region since long. In the erstwhile state of Jammu Kashmir during the article 370 the corruption had become so deep rooted that it had entered every sphere of life and it was deemed nothing abnormal to pay corruption for every small to big work. The attitude in the government offices was full of dictatorship and corrupt attitudes. Masses were fed up with having to pay huge sums of corruption to their genuine works.
With the abrogation of article 370 on 5 August 2019 the many things on ground have changed towards better. One of the defining thing has been the constant drives by the government especially it’s Anti Corruption Bureau also known as ACB to launch many drives to nip in bud the evil of corruption. It is heartening to note that on daily basis we now come to know of both small or big fishes being caught while accepting the bribe. Masses are delighted as they are witness to never before seen constant anti corruption drives by the Jammu and Kashmir Government. Never before had Jammu and Kashmir seen such active approach against corruption.
The people of Kashmir witnessed corruption at its worst and have long suffered its consequences, so their delight on these series of anti corruption drives is logical.
If we take few examples of recent anti corruption drives by the Anti corruption Bureau the situation offers much hope to the people.
On 20 July, 2022 Anti Corruption Bureau(ACB) of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday arrested an Assistant Engineer (AE) of Rural Develop Department (RDD) for demanding and accepting bribe in exchange of the release of work payment in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
An ABC statement said Mushtaq Ahmad Najar a resident of Mirdanter, Anantnag and posted as an Assistant Engineer RDD (REW) Sub-Division Awantipora, Pulwama, was arrested for demanding a bribe of Rs.2,000 for releasing Call Deposit Receipt (CDR) amount of Rs.7000 regarding work done by the complainant, a contractor for improvement of wall and gate of Panchayat Ghar at Dangerpora Padgampora in the district.
In the month of June this year the Jammu and Kashmir Government ordered the premature retirement of eight employees of the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUDD) on the charges of corruption under Article 226(2) of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil services Regulations, Departmental Committees of J-K confirmed.
The charges against the said eight officers were confirmed by the Departmental Committees and were upheld by the designated review committee under Article 226(2), which includes misappropriation of funds, falsification of records and raising fake bills, allowing illegal constructions, committing financial irregularities and making illegal appointments during their tenure in various Urban Local Bodies (ULBS).
On July 18, 2022, The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) today arrested Tehsildar Shalteng and Naib-tehsildar Batamaloo in Srinagar district for bribery.
“Anti Corruption Bureau received a written complaint alleging therein that Mohammad Younis, Tehsildar and Ghulam Rasool Hajam, Naib-Tehsildar of Tehsil Office Shalteng are demanding Rs 5 lakh as bribe for allowing the complaints to run their business on Nazool land transferred in their favour under Roshni Act (The Act which has been recently declared ultra vires) at Rampur, Chattabal Srinagar, while the matter is sub-judice and pending disposal before the Court of law”, the ACB said.
The Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha lead administration is taking measures whenever it sniffs corruption in selection lists. Just days before, the recruitment of 1,200 police officers has been cancelled in Jammu and Kashmir following large-scale corruption in the exams. This was Jammu and Kashmir’s first significant recruitment drive after the abrogation of its special status in 2019.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe and promised action against the guilty days after a probe panel headed by RK Goyal, Additional Chief Secretary Home J&K, submitted its report. The panel has found large-scale corruption and manipulation of the merit list of police Sub- Inspectors released by the J&K Services Selection Board (JKSSB).
The Jammu and Kashmir Government is making sure that no undeserving candidate makes it to the government job. Before abrogation of article 370 when had seen number of rotten fishes acting as corrupt contractors in Job sector of Jammu and Kashmir.
These anti corruption drives are spreading to every department with revenue like major public oriented department as its focus to ensure that from every department of the Jammu and Kashmir , corruption becomes a thing of past .
Masses are urging also action on departments like forest as deep rooted corruption has hurt the forest cover of Jammu and Kashmir in a big manner.
The sane voices in Jammu and Kashmir understand the basic facts that Corruption erodes the trust we have in the public sector to act in our best interests. It also wastes our taxes or rates that have been earmarked for important community projects – meaning we have to put up with poor quality services or infrastructure, or we miss out altogether.
Expert voices are lauding the resolve of Jammu and Kashmir government to root out the menace of corruption from ground zero so as to usher an era of prosperity in Jammu and Kashmir.
The hope is that these anti corruption drives will continue in Jammu and Kashmir, and achieve zenith with new vigor so as to weed out the menace of corruption from Jammu and Kashmir.