Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fayyaz, probably the bravest investigative journalist working in Srinagar, is the first to expose the depth of corruption in the principal Government owned radio and television channel broadcasting from Srinagar

(Mr. Ahmed Ali Fayyaz, 49, was born in Bodina, Budgam, and received his primary and secondary education in Budgam and later at Amar Singh College, Srinagar. He completed his Master's degree in Kashmiri language and literature from the University of Kashmir in 1987. After working with Rashtriya Sahara and Kashmir Times in 1993-94, and later for 13 years as Srinagar Bureau Chief of Daily Excelsior, he is woking as Resident Editor/ Srinagar Bureau Chief of Jammu-based English daily Early Times since April 2009. He is also a filmmaker whose forte in audio-visual media is Kashmir's composite culture, heritage, ecology and social issues. Since February 2008, he has been regularly anchoring Take One Television's bi-weekly hard talk show "Face To Face With Ahmed Ali Fayyaz" which is watched by more than three million viewers in Srinagar, Jammu and other urban areas of Jammu & Kashmir.)

How Srinagar DD officials Looted Exchequer With Impunity

Srinagar: With the two-year-long Early Times campaign heading for its logical conclusion and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) launching a fresh exercise to crack the network of corruption, it has now become clear that officials under the headship of Dr Rafeeq Masoodi have created unauthorized liability of Rs 37.53 Crore in a few months at Doordarshan Kendra (DDK) Srinagar. Even as some fiction and musical serials have been approved in the infamous "in-house" category for certain genuine private producers, it has been observed that most of these hundreds of proposed serials have been "approved" for either unknown and fictitious persons or those having no knowledge or legitimate connection with the electronic media.

Well-placed and informed sources disclosed exclusively to Early Times that before his departure from DDK Srinagar, Dr Masoodi had sought "gunny bags of proposals" from a coterie of his subordinate officials and approved them in bulk, mostly in the first six months of year 2011. In July 2011, he was shifted to DD headquarters and replaced as Head of Programme by DDP Shami Shair. All these surreptitiously approved and telecast programme serials were processed allegedly on "advance commission of 20% of the approved budget". With the exception of some senior private producers, all the beneficiaries are alleged to have paid bribes in lieu of "approval". Mostly drama and musical serials, these proposals of "private producers" were categorized as the DDK's own "in-house" productions.

Even as most of the facilities, including studio, sets, make up, transport, cameras, editing suites, graphics, lights and costumes were very much available in DDK's own stores, payments were processed in the name of "private facility providers". Names of the "facility providers" were obviously collected from the beneficiary private producers who submitted these proposals through DDK's regular Producers and got the "approval" from the Head of Programme.

Sources said that inquiries have revealed that not more than 20 of these private producers, who remained all under shadow, were senior and genuine professionals. Only the Kendra's regular Producer knew as to which serial belonged to which private producer. According to these sources, over 90% of these proposals belonged to unknown persons who gave fictitious names of the payees---in whose name cheques were and would be drawn on account of providing different facilities. Sources said that hundreds of tapes "even in gunny bags" landed secretly in DDK Srinagar stores. While as many of these programmes were telecast, mostly remained untelecast and a cumulative liability for DD. It was in just few months that Dr Masoodi and his subordinate Producers created the whopping liability of Rs 37.53 Crore for the key head of Programme Professional Special Services (PPS). There is a particular quarterly ceiling for PPS which the Kendras can not exceed under any circumstances.

Immediately after Dr Masoodi's transfer, DD headquarters asked about this huge pile of tapes and liabilities. None other than Masoodi's successor, Shami Shair, communicated to DG Doordarshan, through ADG Venkateshawrlu, under No: DKS/PA-1P-2011 Dated 21-07-2011, that the volume of PPS liability at DDK Srinagar was a whopping Rs 37.53 Cr till 8-7-2011.

According to her official communication, a copy of which is in possession of Early Times, just eleven of DDK Srinagar's regular Producers have created huge liability of Rs 31 Crore. They include Mrs Shair herself who had got 'in-house' programmes to the tune of Rs 1.04 Cr approved from Dr Masoodi.

Transmission Executive Rajeev Sadhu tops the list. He has created liability of Rs 7.36 Crore. According to Mrs Shair's official letter, contracts to the tune of Rs 68,10,000 of Mr Sadhu's programmes were lying with Accounts Section. Other of his "in-house" programmes to the tune of Rs 1.32 Crore had been approved and telecast, while as programmes worth Rs 5.31 Crore were yet to be telecast and paid.

On this very communication, Mandi House had frozen telecast and payment of all these scandalously made proposals and launched a departmental investigation last year. Most of the people associated with DD have been demanding that this lot of programmes should be fully canceled and the DDK officials booked in criminal matters.

Rasheed Javed, who has recently retired, has created a liability of Rs 4.10 Crore. He is closely followed by Programme Executive Haleema Parveen who has created liability of Rs 3.82 Crore. Programme Executive Javed Bukhari has created liability of Rs 3.64 Crore, Film Editor Tanveer Hussain Mir Rs 2.73 Crore, Pr Ex Sudesh Bakshi Rs 1.70 Crore, now retired Pr Ex Ghulam Mohiuddin a liability of Rs 1.32 Crore, Cameraman Mushtaq Ahmad Khan Rs 1.24 Crore, Floor Manager Bashir Ahmad Dar Rs 1.13 Crore and DDP Qayoom Wadera, who is new Head of Programmes at DDK Srinagar, has also created liability of Rs 1.17 Crore.

Even as total liability of Rs 1.17 Crore has been shown against the programmes proposed/produced by Mrs Shair, some insiders insist that she had concealed liability of over Rs 2 Crore in her communication. Interestingly, maximum of her liability is reported to have been cleared during her tenure of 15 months.

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