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Post of ombudsman for PRIs vacant for last two years

Post of ombudsman for PRIs vacant for last two years

SRINAGAR:  The Jammu and Kashmir is “sitting” over making key appointments for accountability and transparency in day-to-day governance in the Union Territory.

Sources told that the post of ombudsman in Panchayati Raj Institutions has been lying vacant over the past two years.

The post of ombudsman for PRIs is vacant since October 31, 2019, when the tenure of KB Aggarwal (former IAS officer), who was appointed as the first ombudsman for rural bodies in March 2019, was cut short by the reorganization of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir.

In November 2019, the government had constituted a panel headed by Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar (advisor to LG) and comprising Farooq Khan (advisor to LG), Baseer Ahmad Khan (then advisor to LG) and chief secretary to finalize recommendation for appointment of ombudsman for PRIs. The recommendation was to be submitted to LG, who is the appointing authority for the post.

But the post is yet to be filled, raising questions on the government’s oft-repeated claims about transparency in day-to-day governance in the Union Territory.

The post of ombudsman in ULBs has been lying vacant since 2010 when the NC-Congress government came up with a law for setting up the institution to probe charges of corruption or maladministration in municipal councils, committees and corporations.

Similarly, the government is yet to constitute the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) and the Real Estate Appellate Tribunal (REAP) for regulating the real estate sector in J&K. The government had initiated the process for making key appointments in RERA and REAP in February and April respectively by inviting applications for the post of chairperson and members of these bodies.

These positions were to be filled by the government on recommendations of a committee comprising a judge of J&K High Court and administrative secretary, Housing & Urban Development Department and administrative secretary, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.

According to official sources, the government is yet to fill up the post of commissioner for persons with disabilities for which it had invited applications in the month of September this year—(KNO)


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Post of ombudsman for PRIs vacant for last two years