Transfers in civil and police administration is though a routine affair but additional charge syndrome does not head to any dead end not only in case of the posting of IAS officers but also in the case of KAS officers as well. Interestingly the government is leaving several key vacancies unfilled and consequently provincial offices of some key departments are rendered headless for months together. In the recent transfers of over sixty KAS officers the government attached more than half a dozen KAS with the General Administration Department (GAD) but simultaneously assigned additional charge of several significant positions to equal no of KAS officers. In the past government used to attach officers only on serious charges of corruption, misconduct and dereliction of duty but now attachments of officers has become a routine practice in Jammu & Kashmir more so after August5,2019 when the erstwhile state was downgraded to a union territory and Article 370 was abrogated. It a crude joke that one hand the government took away the additional charge of Joint Director Hospitality and Protocol from one KAS officer Reyaz Ahmad Shah but upon his transfer as Joint Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) assigned him additional charge of another key position of Additional Executive Officer Srinagar Smart City Project. Not once but several times in last three years Deputy Commissioners of Srinagar have held the additional charge of the even the post of Executive Officer Srinagar Smart City Project and this tendency of the government shows that it gives trivial importance to Srinagar Smart City project. In yet another similar move the government for the second time in last three years tends to keep vacant the key position of Joint Director Information (Kashmir) despite knowing it fully that Joint Director Information (Kashmir) is the head of the Information department’s provincial office in Srinagar. Relieving the incumbent Joint Director without a replacement would by all means render the Srinagar provincial office headless again.
Since the postings of the officers more so in the top and middle rungs of civil administration has a direct bearing on the working of the government and delivery of the services, the practice of keeping the posts unfilled or assigning the charge of the vacant positions to other officers already overburdened with the work of their own positions is not a good omen for governance.
Two year’s back government kept the additional charge of this position with a junior officer of the information department for several months and consequently the working of the information department suffered on all fronts for several months. Now once more this key position has been virtually left unfilled obviously to keep the Information department’s Srinagar provincial office headless for another long spell. Interestingly in one more similar move Dr Abdul Salam Mir was though given the bigger assignment of Director Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department (Kashmir) but he has been simultaneously asked to continue to hold the charge of Executive Officer J&K Haj Committee a position which should have been offered independently to any other officer keeping in view the importance of J&K Haj Committee. Similarly another KAS officer Riyaz Ahmad Wani upon his transfer as Additional Director SKIMS has been asked to hold the additional charge of Administrator Associated Hospitals Srinagar. Since the postings of the officers more so in the top and middle rungs of civil administration has a direct bearing on the working of the government and delivery of the services, the practice of keeping the posts unfilled or assigning the charge of the vacant positions to other officers already overburdened with the work of their own positions is not a good omen for governance.