The story of Blue-eyed KAS Officer Babu Ram

Bharti Jasrotia

Blessed are officers who enjoy political patronage! A junior KAS officer who was manning two posts in the financially crippled Jammu Development Authority (JDA) in complete breach of the administrative norms has now been posted as Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Ramban after having served in Consumer affairs and Public Distribution Department (CAPD).

Babu Ram, a 1999 batch KAS officer was transferred to JDA vide govt order no: 869-GAD of 2009 Dated: 06-07-2009 and posted as Collector Land Acquisition. Later, he was bestowed with prize posting of Director Land Management (DLM). If JDA sources are to be believed; a detailed analysis of revenue generated, land acquired alongwith number of new projects launched during his tenure would help in knowing about the performance of this high profile KAS officer.

Giving a detailed background, sources said that Babu Ram was sent to JDA as collector in an enterprising fashion. He was working as Development Officer(DO) in Jammu and Kashmir Women’s Development Corporation (JKWDC) on deputation basis and was  recalled vide Government Order No.673-GAD of 2009 Dated: 26-05-2009 and posted as Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Mendhar in his own pay and grade vice T.K Bhat.

Like a high profile bureaucrat, sources said that Babu Ram refused to assume office in Mendhar. They added that even the then Chief Secretary S.S.Kapur failed to get his order implemented in letter and spirit. The administrative machinery, which was then being managed by a politically correct Commissioner/Secretary GAD Basharat Ahmed Dhar, modified the order after around two months.

Sources said that during these two months, Babu Ram did not join as Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Mendhar. They said that political patronage ensured safe passage for this high profile KAS officer. Government finally gave up before the political patronage of this officer and modified the order issued earlier. Through another govt order no: 869-GAD of 2009 Dated: 06-07-2009, Babu Ram who was under orders of posting as Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Mendhar was posted as Collector, Land Acquisition, Jammu Development Authority (JDA) on deputation basis vice V.K. Sharma. Sources stressed that this posting seemingly sufficed needs of the officer and he, finally assumed the office.

They added that to accommodate Babu Ram, who was then under orders of posting as Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Mendhar, Poonch; state government modified the order issued earlier. They added that two officers i.e. the then Collector Land Acquisition V.K.Sharma and Director Land Management (DLM) Choudhary Asgar Ali were transferred out of JDA through same order issued by the then Commissioner/Secretary Basharat Ahmed Dhar.

Sources further said that Babu Ram initially began working as Collector and later, was bestowed with the additional charge of Director Land Management. Despite having additional charge, sources said that Babu Ram got his name inscribed on the information board of the office of Director Land Management (DLM). They added that the high profile officer ensured that government does not post a permanent DLM in JDA till the time Babu Ram was there.

Sources further disclosed that government’s inability to adhere to norms of transfer and posting due to politically patronized Babus reflects from tenure which Babu Ram had in JDA. He joined the office in July 2009 and continued till he was transferred out on May 20, 2012 vide govt. order no. 772-GAD of 2013 i.e. after the tenure of 3 years and 10 months. Since there is no mechanism to judge performance of an officer at a particular position, a top ranking officer said “If there is a mechanism to measure performance, we can do something but unfortunately, there is none.”


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