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In violation of rules, government posts ineligible officials as ARTOs

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Srinagar,State government has posted officials from health and forest departments as assistant regional transport officers (ARTOs) in contravention to Jammu and Kashmir transport gazetted service recruitment rules.ARTOs hold an important position in districts entrusted with job of issuing driving licenses, fitness certificates etcetera.

As per transport Gazetted service recruitment rules of 2017 notified vide SRO-289 of 2017 dated July 14, 2017, only Kashmir administrative service (KAS) officer or a motor vehicle inspector (MVI) is eligible to be posted as ARTO.

However, giving damn to the rules, the general administration department recently ordered deputation of non-KAS cadre administrative officers as ARTOs.

According to order no. 455-GAD of 2018 dated March 19, 2018, an official of health department has been transferred to transport department. The order also directed his subsequent posting as ARTO Baramulla.

In a separate order bearing no. 200-GAD of 2018 dated February 2, 2018 an administrative officer from forest protection force has been transferred to transport department and placed as ARTO Kargil.

“Government is making mockery of the gazetted service rules, as there is no provision to post any official other than MVIs or KAS cadre as ARTO as the post requires skill and experience,” said an aggrieved MVI who wished anonymity because he feared reprisal from the higher ups.

“Higher officials are posting blue-eyed and politically backed officials as ARTOs in order to keep licensing mafia flourishing,” said another MVI.

The MVIs claim there is sufficient number of MVIs available in the department who could be promoted as ARTOs. “We fail to understand why transport department is bringing officials on deputation when there are qualified and experienced staff available who also draw their salaries from transport department.”

Transport commissioner, Saugat Biswas said, “Officials are posted by GAD to transport department. I have shortage of officers who could be posted as ARTOs. There was no ARTO in Baramulla and Kargil as a result of which people were suffering. Subsequently in view of public pressure, the GAD ordered transfer of ARTOs in these places.”

Regarding posting of non-KAS cadre officers as ARTOs, he said “It is up to the GAD to decide whom to post in the transport. GAD would be in a better position to answer.”

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