Pulling up bureaucrats for failing to effectively check corruption, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday said it has to be weeded out from the top.
"Today, we are number two (in the list of most corrupt states of the country)..... In this battle to stop corruption, we are equally responsible," Omar told a 10th state-level conference organised by the Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Organisation here.
He lamented that officials were sitting with their "eyes, ears and mouths shut to the corruption and nepotism around them".
"Although the responsibility lies with me... the buck stops here... the buck of responsibility. So be it. The buck stops with me. But it starts with you (officials)," Omar said.
On the efforts of State Vigilance Organisation to check corruption, he said, "It is an area of continuing concern for me and a lot of personal dissatisfaction for me. We have not done as much as we should have."
The chief minister said, "It is not good enough to trap somebody taking Rs 5000 when we cannot trap somebody taking in lakhs. This is pretty much the story today".
"From highways, where trucks are queued up for minting money, to ration cards, state subjects, land mutation to illegal electricity connections-- there is an endless list. It is this corruption that irritates people," he said.
Omar said, "We have not been able to make a sufficient dent. We really need to make more efforts to check it and it is to be checked from the top."
The chief minister said there was a need to put in place a transfer policy and strictly implement it. "Because the institutional system that has started functioning... transfers and postings are done on grounds other than merit and it fails the system."
Asking the officials to take on the "monster" of corruption in J&K, he said, "There is need for a strong will. The silence of the honest people and the actions of the dishonest-- both affect us."