H&UD Department violates Union-Ministry’s guidelines for implementation of ‘Housing for All Project’

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Srinagar:  As per the guidelines issued by the Union Ministry for Housing Urban and Poverty Alleviation, there should be 2 to 4 specialists or experts in a city depending upon the population for HFA. Also for example, Jammu and Srinagar cities, where population is more than 10 lakh, the H&UDD can engage more experts for proper implementation of the project Housing for All (HFA) but as per the advertisement notification Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal has been clubbed and only one post for each specialization has been advertised and same has been done for Jammu, RS Pura and Udhampur.

   The H&UDD has advertised 44 posts under various specializations but as per the notification various cities selected under HFA have been merged by the concerned department which is completely against set guidelines of the HFA.

As per the population of selected cities approved by Union Ministry under HFA, the urban population of Srinagar is 12,06,419, Budgam 15,338 and Ganderbal 28,233 which 12,49,990 in total. Similarly the urban population of Jammu 5,76,198, RS Pura 15,197, Udhampur 84,015 totaling  6,75, 410.  While as the cities with less urban population like Kupwara and Handwara (35, 371) has also single post for each specialization. The other areas like Anantnag, Shopian, Pulwama, Bijbehera, Kishtwar, Ramban, Doda and Bhaderwah have also been clubbed despite the fact that the population, topography and geography of these cities is entirely different and the person engaged has to cater the vast area for the implementation of the project HFA.

   The H&UDD Department as per the advertisement notification has in the subject mentioned only State/ City level technical experts but posts under Divisional level category (serial number 3, 4, 6 and 8) has also been advertisement in the same notification which is totally against the guidelines of concerned Union Ministry as there is no Divisional Level post in the project HFA.

The other parameter regarding age factor has been violated by State H&UDD is regarding the age factor. According to advertisement notification, 3 to 5 and 5 to 7 years experience is required for each specialization and the upper age limit has been kept at  40. But as per the guidelines of concerned Union Ministry, keeping vast experience and other factors of flagship programme (HFA) in consideration, 50 years has been fixed.

Another violation of the guidelines by the State H&UDD Department has been done in salary structure at various levels. According to set guidelines, each State level technical expert has to get Rs. 85,000 and for each city level technical expert for cities having population more than 10 lakh is Rs. 70,000 (for post graduate degree holder), Rs. 50,000 (for graduate) and Rs. 40, 000 (for diploma holder) but in the advertisement, Rs. 45,000, Rs. 35,000 and Rs. 25,000 has been set for these posts respectively. Similarly the salary structure of experts for cities with population below 10 lakh and less than 5 lakh has also been violated.

According to official sources, the concerned Union Ministry has nominated Housing Boards as nodal agencies across the country and accordingly Jk-Housing Board has been nominated as nodal agency for implementation of Housing for All Project. But the said institution has been sidelined due to unknown reasons and the Joint Director Planning H&UDD Civil Secretariat has advertised these posts without caring for set guidelines.

It is pertinent to mention here that advertisements of fresh posts has come at a time when both Jammu and Srinagar benches of State High Court has stayed the termination of nearly 20 City Level Experts engaged in March 2015 for the same posts and the case is sub-judicious. “Ironically, the H&UDD Department has neither restored the previous experts nor released their salaries as directed by High Court recently, instead they have advertised posts to create confusion among the educated youth,” said aspirants to CNS.

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