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4 J&K ministers abroad on study tours
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JAMMU, Sept 16(Agencies): Four senior ministers of J&K government as well as a handful of bureaucrats are presently on study tours to various foreign countries.

According to a news report published in a leading English daily from South India, quoting a senior official in the state General Administration Department , lakhs of rupees were being spent on these tours by the state government.

Senior most minister in the Omar Abdullah-led cabinet, Abdul Rahim Rather who holds the finance portfolio is presently on a study tour to Japan and the US along with his Sales Tax Commissioner Kifayat Hussain Rizvi.

Similarly, Tourism Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora and his deputy Nasir Aslam Wani along with Commissioner Tourism, Atul Duloo and Managing Director J&K Tourism Development Corporation are on a study tour to the US and Canada.

“Finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather has been issuing certain austerity measures for officials and the government departments during his annual budget exercises. But he has not been in a position to enforce those measures in letter and spirit,” the daily report said quoting an anonymous senior official in the ministry.

Interestingly, the Chief Minister’s most trusted political advisor, Devindar Singh Rana is also away in the US, though on private visit, these days.

“While tourism minister and his deputy along with their favourite bureaucrats frequently visit foreign countries under the garb of fetching tourists for Jammu and Kashmir, other ministers have gone for different reasons,” added the news report quoting officer.

Minister for Rural Development, Parliamentary Affairs and Panchyati Raj, Ali Mohammad Sagar too has gone to Sri Lanka on a study tour.

He is there in connection with 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference organized by Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) at Colombo in Sri Lanka which was inaugurated by the President of Sri Lanka Mahindra Rajapaksa on September 12. In the conference, attended by the delegates and observers from all the Common Wealth Countries, the Jammu and Kashmir State was represented by Speaker, Mohammed Akbar Lone as a delegate and, Minister for Rural Development, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Secretary, J&K Legislative Council as observers.

The news report quoting sources said that in 2011, former bureaucrat Mehboob Iqbal who was the then commissioner PHE was deputed to visit Germany for a study tour when the former IAS officer was about to retire within two months.

The tour was arranged on the directions of PHE minister Taj Mohi-ud-din against the civil service rules, the news report added quoting sources.

People at the helm of affairs in finance ministry as well as finance department are reluctant to say anything on the subject on record, the report said.
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News Updated at : Monday, September 17, 2012
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