Moonlighting at Radio Kashmir

IN Regional Media | 06/02/2015
Not only do these officials block job opportunities for educated unemployed youth, they also violate the service rules that prohibit a government employee from taking a"casual" second job,
reports MOAZUM MOHAMMAD. Pix: certificate awarded to a teacher-journalist for his coverage; credit: authintmail.com
This story first appeared in the Kashmir Reader.

More than 50 permanent government employees, including a Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) officer and the public relations officer (PRO) of Kashmir University, work part-time at state-owned Doordarshan and Radio Kashmir in brazen violation of service rules.

These officials are working in various government departments like School Education, Revenue, Rural Development, Kashmir University, Sheri Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology (SKUAST), JK Academy of Culture and Art and Language, and PHE. 

Not only do these officials block job opportunities for educated unemployed youth but also violate the service rules that prohibit a government employee from taking a “casual” second job. 

Abid Qadri, Kashmir University PRO and private secretary to the varsity’s Registrar, and his brother Arif Qadri, a sectional officer at SKUAST, also read news at DD Kashmir and Radio Kashmir.

Tajamul Qadri, an agriculture assistant, and Tajamul Andrabi, a teacher, moonlight as news readers with both the DDK and Radio Kashmir.

Government school teachers who are empanelled casual news editors and readers are: Sofi Yusuf, Ashraf Dar, Ashiq Khanday, Altaf Hussain Dar, Tariq Ahmad Mir, Niyaz Ali Parra, Shabnum Tilgami, Mashooq Ahmad Teli, Nazir Ahmad Najar, Sheikh Mohammad Yaseen, Musawir Mehraj, Irshad Kirmani, Riyaz Hajni, Farooq Ahmad Thoker, Farooq Ahmad Mir, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Mohammad Sharif, S. Hussain, S Ali Mohammad, Sanjeev Kumar, Fayaz Ahmad Fayaz, Mohabbat Nawaz, Shazia Choudhary, Mustafa Panchi, Rehana, Parvaiz Manoos, Zaffar Balti, Arif Balti, Syed Irfan-ul-Haq, Showkat Ahmad and Rashid Feroz.

Like them, headmasters Aijaz Ali Parra and Sadiq Lone, 10+2 lecturers Abdul Rashid Dar and Gulzar Amin also read news at Radio Kashmir and DDK.

Bilal Wani, Sharif Poswal and Shabir Khan, all patwaris, and naib tehsildar Manzoor Khan, are either news readers at RK or DDK or both.

KAS officer Imtiyaz Ahmad Ganie is working in both news units. Samia Bashir, a clerk in PHE reads news at both the institutions, while Rafiq Balti, a junior engineer with Power Development Department is a news reader in Radio Kashmir.

Fayaz Kumar, a lower division clerk at Central University, Kashmir, is a casual news editor at both RK and DDK. Kounsar Salaam, a government teacher doubles as a part-time correspondent for DDK from Baramulla. Rafiq Poswal, a village-level worker in Rural Development Department, is DDK’s part-time correspondent from Kupwara, while Khurshid Padroo, an employee with municipal committee, Yaripora, reports from Kulgam for the DDK.

Shabir Ahmad Dar, a senior assistant with J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages is also a news reader at Radio Kashmir. 

Last month the state government had to face an embarrassment when three “journalists” who had been awarded on the Republic Day turned out to be government teachers. The government had said it will investigate how the trio—Kounsar Salaam, Syed Tahir Bukhari and Riyaz Ahmad Ganie—could also work as “journalists”.

Twin job-timings

An empanelled casual news reader (CNR) or casual news editor (CNE) works in three shifts. The shifts at Radio Kashmir are 7.30am-12.40pm; 2:30pm-8pm and 4:30pm-11:05pm, while DDK shifts are 7am-1.10pm; 2pm-7pm and 3pm-10pm (pre-flood).

According to Prasar Bharati guidelines, an empanelled CNR or CNE, has to spend at least five hours in a shift.

“How can a government teacher or an employee stationed in, say Pulwama district (30 km from Srinagar), manage to do justice to his 11 to 4 pm government job and then travel to Srinagar to spend five to six hours at Radio Kashmir,” asked an employee at Radio Kashmir, requesting anonymity.
 
On an average, CNRs and CNEs get to read or edit news at least seven times a month at each institution and get Rs 1,600 per shift.

Giving false declarations
 
A news reader or editor or part time correspondents is supposed to sign a contract every month that clearly mentions the applicant is not a government employee. The government employees have been signing these contracts without compunction.

Violation of rules 
 
Law Secretary, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, said no government employee can work at two places: “It is against rules and amounts to financial irregularity as an employee can’t draw salary from government exchequer at two places. A government employee can’t even do a vocational or professional or casual job.” 

According to service rules related to “connection with Press or Radio”:
 
1) No government employee shall, except with the previous sanction of the government, own wholly or in part, or conduct or participate in the editing or management of, any newspaper or other periodical publication.
 
2) No government employee shall, except with the previous sanction of the government or of the prescribed authority, or except in the bona fide discharge of his duties participate in a radio broadcast or contribute an article or write a letter to a newspaper or periodical either in his own name or anonymously, pseudonymously or in the name of any other person.
 
3) Such sanction is not needed if such publication is through a publisher and is of a purely literary, artistic scientific character or if such contribution, broadcast or writing is of a purely literary, artistic or scientific character.

Officials speak
 
• “We advertise these posts and invite applications. A panel selects them. It is up to the applicants to take care of government rules. How they manage to get permission from their respective government departments is their responsibility.”

• “We ensure the timing of their regular jobs and their shifts here do not clash. During my stint at the PIB, I know that a maximum number of people working in newspapers are government teachers. We need talent. If Law Secretary says their working here is against rules, why doesn’t the state government act against them?”
 
(Shafiq Ahmad Qureshi, head regional news unit, DDK) 

• “I would go into the facts before commenting on the issue. On the fact of it, it appears unethical but we have to see how they have been permitted to work at two places. In case service rules do not allow it, the practice has to stop.”
 
(Khurshid Andrabi, VC, Kashmir University)

• “We will inquire into how he (Arif Qadri) is working there. Nobody can work at two places. You brought it in my notice and action will be taken against him.”
 
(Dr Tej Pratap Singh, VC, SKAUST-K)

• “We can’t work at two places simultaneously. A government employee can’t even take a casual second job. It is against the service rules and regulations. If you are a teacher, you are a teacher for 24 hours.”
 
(Showkat Ahmad Beig, director School Education)

• “I will look into the issue.”
 
(Vinod Kaul, Secretary, Revenue Department)

As per government figures, the state has 800 registered newspapers. Among them, nearly 10 well-established newspapers pay, that too a miserable sum, to reporters, which is not more than what a labour earns a month. And most of the sub-editors working in these newspapers are government employees (evening journalists). There’s a reason for hiring an employee as sub-editor. They can work on meagre salaries and second, they use their  influence because the newspaper provides them the platform from which they can manage their transfers and also have a rapport with the who’s who of the state. 

The rest, in spite of having generous support through government advertisements, don’t hire a reporter. 

The author is a special correspondent at the Kashmir Reader. Contact: moazumbhat@gmail.com.
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