Debate over land transfer to SASB heats up, government orders prob

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Srinagar, Jun 22 (UNI) After the alleged statement of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) Arun Kumar against Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet, over the transfer of forest land to board, generated a lot of debate among mainstream and separatist organisations, the Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad appointed a three-member committee to investigate the entire episode.

Former Chief Ministers Dr Farooq Abdullah and Mufti Mohammad Sayed besides Communist Party of India (M) and both the factions of the Hurriyat Conference and Kashmir Bar Association and number of social, religious and militant organisation have demanded cancellation of the land transfer deal.

They said they have demanded action against Dr Kumar for his remarks against Cabinet and ministers and trying to link Haj pilgrimage with the Amarnath Yatra.

Official sources said Mr Azad appointed the committee after the scheduled Cabinet meeting yesterday in the afternoon was postponed reportedly after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said they would attend the meeting only after an action was taken against Dr Kumar.

An official spokesman said Mr Azad last evening had directed for the constitution of a three-member committee comprising of Financial Commissioner Coordination, Jammu and Kashmir government, New Delhi, S S Sahni, IAS, Principal Secretary to government, Social Welfare Department, Dr R K Jerath, IAS, and Commissioner cum Secretary to Government, General Administration Department, Basharat Ahmad Dhar, IAS, to analyse the evidence, including video and audio-tapes of the press briefing given by Dr Kumar, IAS, on June 17 with a view to report whether prima-facie the officer had violated the provisions of All India Services (Conduct) Rules and accordingly recommended further action in the matter.

The committee had been asked to submit its report to the government within one week.

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