Srinagar, Dec 3: Despite creating hype about categorizing the newspapers being published in Jammu and Kashmir to ensure fair distribution of the advertisements, the state run Information department has not been able to fix the criteria about how to send the advertisements to dailies being published from the Valley.
Sources told Precious Kashmir that officials in the department are distributing the advertisements according to their whims and fancies as there is no one whom they are accountable too. “The department had appointed joint directors as nodal officers for distribution of the advertisements. They were supposed to answer the queries and make the editors aware about how the advertisements are distributed,” sources said, adding, “It was their duty to make the editors of local dailies aware about their shortcomings.”
They said, “It looks like that Information department has lost the way and there is no system at place. At present there is no fixed criteria for advertisement distribution. The newspapers which highlight the miseries of people and failures of the departments are instantly taken note of and the advertisement flow is choked as a punishment.”
An insider revealed a few officials, who had objected to the style of functioning of their superiors were “sidelined” and they have no say on what’s happening in the department. “When the charge of the Information department was with Chaudary Zulfikar he had tightened the noose around the officials. Zulfikar attaching a joint director in Kashmir had triggered a row within the department following which employees of the Information department had gone on strike for 2-days. They had even suspended the advertisement distribution to local dailies for nearly a week,” he added.
A source said that the joint director’s attachment order was rescinded after “top political guns” intervened. “After the joint director was given his job back the then Information Minister Chaudary Zulfikar ordered a probe into the allegations about discrepancies in the distribution of the advertisements as RTI had revealed that advertisements were even distributed among the dailies whose owners and editors had expired,” the source added.
He said, “The probe which was ordered by the outgoing Information minister has been shelved and the officials are having a field day as they are not accountable to anyone. After Minister’s unceremonious exit they have become moiré powerful and don’t care for anyone.”
Sources said, “The tall claims of the Information department to release the payments of advertisements every month too have remained confined to papers only. Bills of many months are still pending with the media houses as Information department officials are reluctant to entertain the bills. It looks like there is no system at place. The tall claims about digitizing the department and releasing the payments online have proved to be damp-squib. No one knows who is running the department.”
When Precious Kashmir contacted Director Information Muneer-ul-Islam, he said, “Advertisements are distributed by the joint directors in Kashmir and Jammu regions. They are nodal officers. I have no idea about how they distribute the advertisements. You better ask them.”
Despite repeated attempt joint director Information- Kashmir–did not pick up the phone.