Controversial hiring of manpower is also in contravention of Government Order No 64 -JK (HUD) of 2022 dated 12/5/2022 issued in reference to engagement of persons through outsourcing post reorganization of JMC.
JAMMU: Claiming to end ecosystem of corruption in Jammu Municipal Corporation, the Mayor Jammu, Rajinder Sharma landed himself in a controversy for hiring manpower in civic body allegedly in blatant violation of financial rules and blanket ban imposed by J&K Government vide Circular No. 30 issued by GAD of 2019 dated 24/05/2019.
Flagged these backdoor appointment orders as gross violation of standing instructions, the then Chief Account Officer (CAO) of JMC Shiwani Bhan who also happened to be Departmental Vigilance Officer (DVO) and Financial Advisor of JMC in a letter to incumbent Commissioner has admonished the way Mayor undermine the decorum of meeting and got approved agenda of manpower hiring thereby scuttling plausible discussion on the matter. (clicked-here-for-viewing-letter-of-CAO)
The officer while demanding immediate disallowing of engagement of additional manpower in a letter bearing JMC/Accts/206-10 dated 17/4/2023 states that these hiring orders were blatantly issued without any financial concurrence causing extra burden on state exchequer as the budget received by JMC is meant only for defined/existing manpower only.
Further letter reads “The numerous complaints regarding the unauthorized recruitments stand already in your notice which solicits immediate cognizance and consequent action as such complaints have already hinted as well as advocated towards the implying consequences of breeding nexus of corruption in JMC”.
Surprisingly, the officer was immediately transferred for disallowing backdoor appointments orders issued in contravention of financial rules. “Midst tall claims of transparency and uprooting corruption culture, the transfer of an upright officer merely for highlighting backdoor appointment culture in JMC indicts that the system encourages wrong doers” aver an officer of JMC.
Smelling a scandal of sort in engagement of workers through NGOs, reliable sources in Housing and Urban Development said “Indeed the Executive Committee in civic body is authorized for taking decisions pertaining to hiring of employees but still this stage is not conducive for JMC which is still solely dependent on Govt for Grant in Aid . Thus, it is prudent for Mayor to follow financial rules to avoid burning holes in government coffers merely to exhibit his authority”.
Pertinent to mention here that outsourcing of manpower through NGOs always remained a contentious issue in JMC. In this concern several complaints are lying in ACB against large scale corruption flourishing in JMC through NGO-officers nexus. Hiring of manpower is a recurring phenomenon which has become a money minting exercise in JMC. For unskilled, skilled and highly skilled, the insiders in JMC alleged that middlemen in connivance with some identified NGOs charge Rs 1 lakh, 1.50 lakh and 2 lakh respectively with an assurance they will get regularize after 10 years.
“The prime job of civic body is to maintain cleanliness which is facing road bumps due to shortage of Safai Sarthi. Even door to door collection is going on at half heartedly pace due to absence of safai sarthi. However, the authorities are more inclined towards hiring skilled and highly skilled persons through blue favorite NGOs, said Rinku Gill, President Safai Sarthi Union, adding, several engagement orders issued in past four months indicts gross corruption and needs a probe to expose those encouraging corruption in JMC.
Mayor Rajinder Sharma, while brushing aside all allegations leveled against him in the missive as baseless said “Under the Municipal Act, the Executive Committee comprised of Mayor and 4 Councilors is empowered to take decision for hiring manpower through NGOs”. During his tenure as Mayor only 5 people were engaged as daily rated workers through NGOs, he further clarified.
Interestingly, the JK Global News is in possession of several orders (Click here to view orders of hiring 34 persons) which shows that from January 2023 to March 2023, the JMC issued total number 15 orders (Click here to view orders of hiring 19 persons) for hiring 75 persons as unskilled, skilled and highly skilled workers besides one PRO. (Click here to view appointment orders of 37 persons)
Meanwhile, the controversy stirred by explosive letter of CAO regarding hiring of manpower by Mayor Jammu has roped in some interesting players camping at opposite sides on the issue. Justifying transfer of the then CAO, little known JMC Contractors Association in a press conference has applauded the Mayor for initiating “corrective” measures to uproot corruption culture.
On the other hand, Rinku Gill, President Safai Sarthi Union JMC while demanding in-depth ACB probe into the matter has questioned the exigency of hiring skilled and highly skilled manpower when situation of Health and Sanitation in city is deplorable due to severe shortage of Safai Sarathi.