Srinagar: In what appears to be a cleverly crafted plan to adjust a private Public Relation Officer of former Cabinet Minister in previous PDP-BJP government as the PRO for the Cluster University Srinagar, the higher education department had issued an order confirming the appointment of Syed Basharat on contract basis. However, he never joined for unknown reasons.
However, in 2017, the post was advertised later but the Vice Chancellor claims that the person never joined the university.
The higher education department’s order comes after a detailed application submitted by Syed Basharat, wherein he highlights his experience, and has worked as Journalist and makes a case for his appointment.
The aforesaid person has addressed an application on 09-08-2017 to Vice Chancellor Cluster University Srinagar where he has made his case and the same application was marked in handwritten and signed by the ex-Registrar as “Pl Put Up’, on same day at the below of an application with black pen .
The candidate’s application, a copy of which is in possession with The Kashmir Walla, reads, “I have been Public Relation Officer (PRO) with the Honb’le Minister for Education J&K. I am responsible for planning publicity strategies and campaigns etc. I look forward to hearing your decision and sincerity, hope that you will provide me with an opportunity to assume the responsibility of PRO of Cluster University Srinagar.”
Syed Basharat was the private PRO of former People’s Democratic Party (PDP) minister Syed Altaf Bukhari since the day he became cabinet minister and is presently Amira Kadal constituency in-charge. At the time of his appointment order by the Higher Education, Bukhari was a minister for education.
According to the order issued by the higher education department from Civil Secretariat J&K addressed to Vice Chancellor, Cluster University Srinagar, signed by the Under Secretary to government higher education department on dated 13-09-2017 vide order no HE-Coll/Uni-Misc/2017 under the subject appointment of Syed Basharat, S/o Late Syed Ahmad Sayeed, R/o Kreeri, Baramulla as PRO on contract basis.
Speaking to one of the two then Under Secretaries of Higher Education department, they said that they have no knowledge of the order as they were not handling the cluster university matters. The person they referred to was not available for comment as his phone was switched off.
The order copy, in possession with The Kashmir Walla, reads, “I am directed to refer your endorsement No. dated 11-08-2017, regarding the captioned subject and request you to consider the appointment of Syed Basharat S/o late Syed Ahmad Sayeed R/o Kreeri, Baramulla, J&K at present 2C, EP Flats, Rawalpora Srinagar as PRO on contract basis as per norms in the Cluster University of Kashmir against the sanctioned post till the post is fill up on substantive basis upon through proper advertisement.”
However, the cluster University of Srinagar advertised on various local dailies and also uploaded on their official website by asking the eligible candidates that an Application for the post of PRO advertised vide Notice No. 09-CUS of 2017 dated 05.10.2017 where several eligible candidates applied. [The advertisement was published on 7-Oct-2017 on page 8 of Greater Kashmir newspaper, which can be found here] The advertisement had come over three weeks after the order issued by the higher education department.
While speaking to The Kashmir Walla, one of the candidates said that the university floated rules and appointed a person who had political affiliations. “In his application, he even mentioned that he was a PRO with a minister, that is clearly conflict of interest. How can he be appointed when no other candidates were considered or even interviewed?” asked the candidate, who says over 25 of them were waiting for the normal selection process.
In the state of Jammu and Kashmir, it has been seen that the absence of accountability encourages a culture of coterie, which, in turn, results lack of transparency and violation of norms and procedures.
The state governor Satya Pal Malik has been going after the scams in the previous PDP-BJP government, including the appointments in Jammu and Kashmir bank. It will be seen if the governor will take any action or the revelations will only be for information.
Meanwhile, the Vice chancellor, Cluster University of Srinagar, Professor Sheikh Javid Ahmad while speaking to The Kashmir Walla over phone said that Syed Basharat never joined the university. “We have notified this PRO post and the hiring will be done as per the procedure,” he said. “It is immaterial if he ever joined or not. Maybe there was an order issued for his contractual appointment but we didn’t want to hire anyone on contractual basis. We are still in process of filling that post.”
Higher Education Department, Commissioner Secretary, Sarita Chauhan said that, “I have been posted recently in higher education department but still I will see what the matter is?”
We also tried to call Syed Basharat for his comments but his phone continued to be switched off. We will update the story with his responses as soon as we are able to reach him.