Making it a norm rather than an exception, the J&K government has prematurely transferred at least 2,000 of its employees in the last two years.
The shuffled lot includes top-rung IAS and KAS officers, doctors, engineers, cops, teachers, and hundreds of middle and lower-rung administrative employees working in different departments.
As per government’s official transfer policy of 2010, an employee should spend, at least, two years at a specific position before being transferred.
The policy allows premature transfers only if it is in the interest of the public or administration, or when the employee underperforms or has health issues.
However, the official documents reveal as to how hundreds of employees were transferred before the completion of their terms, and, apparently, without any explanation.
In less than two years, over 60 IAS officers, the documents reveal, were transferred—many even twice, thrice or four times—before completing their tenures at a certain position.
These include major figures in the state’s administration.
For instance, Baseer Khan, an IAS officer, was transferred thrice in less than a year before being appointed as Divisional Commissioner Kashmir.
In August 2015, he was transferred from Secretary Transport Department to Commissioner Commercial Taxes.
Barely six months later, he was again transferred and placed as Secretary Cooperatives Department. ‘
In July 2016, Khan was transferred for the third time and placed as Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir.
Similarly, Gazzenfer Hussain, who served as Divisional Commissioner Kashmir until May 2015, was transferred and posted as Commissioner Secretary General Administration Department (GAD).
In October 2016, he was again moved to Labour and Employment Department as Commissioner Secretary.
Sandeep Kumar Nayak, another IAS officer, was made Principal Secretary of three different departments in one year.
In October 2015, he was moved from Power Development Department to Relief and Rehabilitation. Four months later, in February 2016, he was transferred to Tourism Department. Two months as its Principal Secretary, Nayak was again moved to Agriculture Production.
Barely six months in, he was transferred back to General Administration Department, where he is currently awaiting orders for adjustment.
More than 60 other top-rung IAS officers have been prematurely transferred since 2015.
BB Vyas, Shah Faesal, Shailendra Kumar, Mohammad Ashraf Bukhari, Khurshid Shah, Bipul Pathak, Navin Kumar Choudhary, Hirdesh Kumar, Shafiq Raina, Farooq Ahmad Shah, Asgar Samoon, Kumar Rajeev Ranjan, Pramod Kumar Jain, and Khurshid Ahmad Ganai figure among them.
Around 80 KAS officers too have been moved from one department to another before completing their tenures at a specific position.
Rubeena Kounser, for instance, was moved from Srinagar Development Authority to State Rehabilitation Council to State Commission for Women before being finally placed as Additional Secretary in Horticulture department.
All her transfers happened between May 2015 and May 2016.
As per the official documents, there are over 1,600 other employees who were prematurely transferred during these two years.
In Health and Medical Education department, over 80 doctors faced early transfers.
In Power Development Department, over 90 employees, including 74 Assistant Engineers and 15 Executive Engineers, were shuffled ahead of time since April 2015.
In Police department, over 230 employees, including seven IPS officers, 40 SSPs, and 58 DYSPs, and hundreds of Constables, faced early transfers.
The list has all the other major departments in it, including Food and Consumer Affairs (236 employees), Rural Development (131), Finance (130), Forest (127), Planning Development and Monitoring (61), Public Health Engineering (51), Animal Husbandry (39), Public Works (39), and Labour and Employment (21).
In the Education department, the story is no different. A day before the schools opened after vacations on March 1, the government ordered over 6,000 transfers through a 343-page order, which was probably the longest list in the department’s history.
Several harried teachers headed to the DSEK office instead of their schools on Day 1. ‘
Many of the protesting teachers later told The Kashmir Monitor that they had been transferred in less than a year since their previous transfers.
They even claimed that many teachers serving in the department for more than two years had not been transferred.
In June 2016, the government, in a written reply to a question in the State Assembly, had tried to justify the frequent transfers by calling them “unavoidable” and in the “interest of the administration”.
“These transfers are ordered with prior approval of the competent authority. This is provided under the Transfer Policy,” the government had said.
In January 2017, during the General Discussion on Budget 2017-18, General Secretary CPI (M) and MLA Kulgam, MY Tarigami, accused State’s Chief Secretary B R Sharma of “running a transfer industry”.
“Your Chief Secretary doesn’t have time for addressing the issues of regularising the employees. He is busy with the transfer industry running in the state. Officials are transferred prematurely and we fail to understand why such actions are done here,” Tarigami had pointed out, while addressing the government.
In the Lower House of the Assembly, MLA Langate, Er Rasheed, too had accused PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control minister of having created a “transfer industry” in the department.
In September 2016, Engineers of the Power Development Department had protested against the frequent transfers.