“Let’s come face to face, I will give you an interview. Visit my office, I will provide you the report and give you statement”
In a shocking incident, a newly elected District Development Council (DDC) Member from Nagrota constituency flanked by Village Level Worker (VLW) reportedly exhibited an unsolicited behavior at the offices of Block Medical Officer (BMO) and Block Development Officer (BDO). The duo allegedly fiddled with the official records and also unceremoniously captured the seats of the BMO and BDO, making them feel humbled.
According to the eye witnesses, DDC Nagrota, Joginder Singh was bragging about his ‘undefined’ power when he along with VLW entered into the offices of BMO and BDO in separate incidences and captured their seats.
“Newly elected DDC made a surprise visit to the offices of BMO and BDO. He was accompanied by VLW, who has been seen with the DDC more often, even during his election campaign,” said eye witnesses, adding that the duo took control of the offices, as if some Cabinet Minister was on visit.
The eye witnesses further claimed that while DDC sat on the chair of BMO, his accomplice Village Level Worker (VLW) namely Narinder Kumar Malhotra kept on fiddling with the official records.
“Joginder Singh, an elected DDC member of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) from Nagrota constituency appeared to be in hurry to mark his authoritarian control that is why he exhibited a mischief by sitting on BMO’s chair,” said eye witnesses adding that Joginder (DDC member) is acting authoritatively even when the powers of DDC are yet to be defined, “Imagine how much he can misuse his powers, if defined.”
However, sources from the BMO office endorsing claims of the eye witnesses added that the DDC member not only occupied the official chair of the BMO, but also passed orders to his accomplice VLW to check official records.
“Joginder Singh incessantly passed orders to the so-called Village Level Worker, who has been politically associated with the DDC since a long time. Following the instructions of the DDC, the VLW of the area not only checked the official records, but also dared to mark remarks against the BDO Mathwar, who happens to be a Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS) officer in the official register,” said sources, adding that the VLW also unhesitatingly wrote notes of authority on government registers.
Sources asserted that though the Panchayati Raj process has just concluded in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, it has not been ‘fully’ implemented.
“Jammu and Kashmir witnessed its first ever elections post abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 and undoubtedly it received an overwhelming response from across the Union Territory, but the basics of the Panchayati Raj institution through the DDC elections are yet to be accomplished,” said sources, adding that besides defining of powers, protocols and privileges, the body of Chairmen for each district is still pending.
Sources maintained that there is no such provision in the 73rd and 74th amendment of the constitution, which empowers Panchayati Raj institutions, the elect members or even the chairmen to act in this way.
“This is anarchy. An elected person and his stooge cannot take any government official hostage and moreover, they cannot overrun with their authority,” said sources.
Talking to The Typewriter, VLW Narinder Kumar Malhotra said that he hasn’t done anything.
“Whatever has been done in the office of BMO has been done by DDC, I did not do anything,” said Malhotra, who is awaiting appointment orders of a personal assistant to the DDC.
When asked about the veracity of photographs (available with The Typewriter) wherein he is seen fiddling and writing on the government files, VLW dodged and asked to talk to the DDC.
When contacted DDC member Joginder Singh Kaku, he said that he has been automatically delegated with the powers to sit on the chair of officers.
“Don’t you know, the powers have been automatically delegated to the DDC at the time of swearing in ceremony,” said Joginder Singh, adding, “Let’s come face to face, I will give you an interview. Visit my office, I will provide you the report and give you a statement.”
Speaking on the issue, Director, Rural Development Department (RDD) Jammu Sudershan Kumar said that the matter was brought to his notice and he has asked the concerned to take action.
“I have called a report from the concerned officer to check the veracity of the matter,” said Sudershan Kumar .
Sheetal Nanda, Secretary to Government, Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj said that their functions have already been delegated but delegation of protocol is pending.
“They have been delegated with powers by the particular Act, but when it comes to protocol, it is yet to be decided,” said Sheetal Nanda, adding that an officer’s chair is only meant for officer, nobody, no matter how powerful and how high in rank can ask for it or occupy it.
However, Narinder Kumar Malhotra was relieved as VLW by the order passed by Block Development Officer (BDO) Shalini Raina, but the reasons behind his reliving were not exactly based on his act in the BMO office.
Shalini Raina in an order dated 15-01-2021 stated that Mr Malhotra, VLW Halqa Panchayat Jandyal was not following instructions from the seniors. It was nowhere mentioned in the order that without any authority, he (Malhotra) interfered in the government working.