The government has left 659 administrative units short of staff and infrastructure which were created by the previous NC-Congress government in 2014.
Sources in the Revenue department said that the people are not able to get the works done at the sub divisional offices, tehsils and community development (CD) blocks due to staff crunch. The works including the issuance of state subjects, procurement of land record documents are taking a hit.
Officials said that the manpower sanctioned for these units was 3238 posts–1724 in Jammu division and 1514 in Kashmir division- from which 1103 are lying vacant in Jammu and 710 in Kashmir province.
Secretary Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, said that the Omar Abdullah led coalition government in 2014 had announced these units “in a hurry without consulting the Finance and planning departments.’’ "There are infrastructural as well as financial constraints for making these units operational. The cabinet has to decide this," Mir said, adding that the “government is facing shortage of manpower.’’ As many as 46 gazetted posts at sub division level, 135 at tehsil level and 358 at CD Block level were to be filled. But the gazetted posts including those of Sub-Divisional Magistrates (SDMs), Tehsildars and Nair Tehsildars along with other lower rung officials have not been filled.
An estimated cost for making these units functional was Rs 1510 crore. Former finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather had allocated only Rs 5 crore and the budgets by the current government have not been allocated. Among the 1510 crores, 1254.71 crores were required for capital investment and 255.51 crores were required under the revenue expenditure.
Revenue department officials said that operationalizing the 659 units was a mammoth task “as the department was short of the requisite infrastructure and funding for setting these units in motion.” “The government has failed to make any unit fully functional since they were announced in 2014 by Omar Abdullah led coalition government,’’ added an official.
A top official in the administration, wishing anonymity, said that the creation of the units by the then Omar Abdullah government was totally “ill conceived as the requirement of staff on the ground was half of what was actually proposed.’’
“It was a political gimmick and now the present government knows that they have to revoke half the number of these units but they are afraid of a backlash,” the official said.
Sources said that the proposal of curtailing the number of administrative units in a phased manner was taken up in various cabinet meetings but was always “struck down.’’