In The Valley, Urdu Promotion Is Promotion Of Political Families
7 May 2005
The Indian Express
Srinagar: The National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) has launched a scheme to set up computer training institutions across the country to transform Urdu speakers into a technological work force. As many as 176 computer training centres have been established, including 20 in the Valley, under the HRD ministry scheme which spends around Rs 2 lakh on each centre every year apart from setting it up. The training centres are supposed to be managed by NGOs that have experience in 'education' on a charitable basis for at least three years. But in the Valley, most of the centres are run by NGOs run by relatives of politicians. When asked why these centres were allotted to politicians and their close relatives, NCPUL director Hamidullah Bhat says: 'In Kashmir we have relaxed the rules because there are no proper mechanisms to check the credentials of the NGOs. We allotted centres to whosoever approached us.' Even he is involved in running a centre. Look who run them: • Mumtaz-un-Nisa Soz People's Empowerment Mission, Rawalpora Housing Colony, Srinagar. Mumtaz-ul-Nisa is the wife of senior Congress leader, former minister and Rajya Sabha member, Saif-ud-din Soz. Soz says: 'It is run by an NGO which has been working in the field of education in Kashmir for several years. I am a patron of the NGO, it's a non-profitable job. I have recommended several upcoming boys for NCPUL centres. I never used any political influence to get this centre.' • Jabeen Tabassum People's Infotech, Gulmarg Road, Magam. Tabassum is the daughter of J-K Urban Development and Tourism Ghulam Hassan Mir. Ghulam Hassan Mir says: 'My daughter fulfilled all the criteria and norms required to get this centre. We are not an isolated case, there are thousands of centres running across the country. The computer centre has nothing to do with politics. My daughter deserved it so she got it.' • Javid Hassan Baig Murtuza Educational Trust, Pattan. Baig is a nephew and till recently public relations officer (PRO) of J-K Finance Minister Muzzuffar Hussain Baig. He says: 'I am no longer the PRO of the finance minister. We are not earning any money from this centre.' Minister Muzuffar Hussain Baig says: 'I am shocked. I don't know about it. I will personally check it up.' • Abdul Gani Vakil NCUPL Centre, Rafiabad Shiekh-ul-Alam Education Trust, Sopore Abdul Gani Vakil is senior vice-president of JK Pradesh Congress and legislator. The centre is run by a relative from his ancestral house and the trust is run by Vakil himself. Vakil says: 'This computer centre is run by Sheikh-ul- Alam trust. It has five members and I am the chairman of the trust.' • Imtiyaz Panditpuri NCPUL Centre, Handwara town. Panditpuri is the son of former minister and Peoples Democratic Party legislator, Mohammad Sultan Panditpuri. Mohammad Sultan Panditpuri says: 'I don't know which NGO my son is running. He has established the centre four-five years ago. There is always some political influence but those, who have been given these centres, are not necessarily political activists themselves.' • Sajid Rashid National Institute of Computer Education, Pattan Rashid is a close relative of Abdul Rashid Shaheen, National Conference leader and Baramulla MP. Shaheen says: 'I am the patron of this NGO (which runs the computer centre). It has been established in 1975 but we have not done much work. We have not done anything in education sector.' • Fast Track School of Information Technology Khidmat Complex, the Bund, Srinagar. This centre has state-of-the-art infrastructure and is located in a plush uptown building owned by the Congress Trust. And, in fact, the NCPUL director Hamidullah Bhat himself is linked to this centre. Bhat says: 'This centre is run by society. I am an honorary member of this society. I don't have any personal benefit from it.'