Chief engineer joins duty, fuels politics over govt apology now

  • Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Aug 09, 2014 20:00 IST

Did the Jammu and Kashmir government actually apologise to the Kashmir public health engineering (PHE) chief engineer The Ruling National Conference (NC) minister's alleged abusive language for the officer and the subsequent government apology has provided a handle for politics.

Legislator Engineer Rashid, who represents north Kashmir's Langate constituency, on Saturday asked the government to make public all dimensions of the dispute between PHE chief engineer Muzaffar Ahmad Lankar and NC minister Chaudhary Ramzan.

"On one hand, Lankar states that the government has apologised to him and on the other, Chaudhary is stating that it is a public issue for which government will not apologise. Hence, it becomes inevitable that the truth be brought to the fore," said Rashid.

Peoples conference chairman Sajjad Lone accused the government of making "attempts to divert attention and create a perception as if the minister was fighting to unearth some scam."

"The reality as it exists is that the concerned minister is the author of all scams in that region. The NC MLAs in the area have hardly left any department untouched. The PHE is a unique case. The minister in question ensured that three executive engineers were transferred in a span of two years," alleged Lone.

Lankar on Thursday accused minister Ramzan of using provocative language during a meeting and tendered his resignation. However, the government rejected the resignation and the officer resumed his duties on Friday evening.

However, the question remains unanswered of whether the minister or the government apologised to the officer or not.

Junior PHE minister Nazir Gurezi, who visited the house of the officer on Friday, said, "There was no question of seeking apologies in the matter and it was on the directions of chief minister Omar Abdullah that he intervened in the matter. The government has already rejected the resignation of Lanker. I held a detailed meeting with Lanker who agreed to my request and joined back his duties," Gurezi said.

On the contrary, Lanker claimed Gurezi "sought apologies on behalf of chief minister Omar Abdullah for the humiliation".

Meanwhile, the government has handed over the investigations into the Ramhal water supply scheme, which allegedly saw embezzlement of Rs 5.84 crore, to the inspector general of police, crime. He has been asked to submit a report to the government within a fortnight. A high-level committee will also probe the allegations of the embezzlement.

Choudhary has accused the chief engineer of "shielding the PHE officers".

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