SRINAGAR: Hopes, expectations, and happiness summed up the mood in the valley after Atal Dulloo was appointed chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir.
A 1988 batch IAS officer, he is the first Kashmiri in more than a decade to head the bureaucracy in the union territory. The last Kashmiri chief secretary was Iqbal Khanday who remained indisposed most of the time during his tenure.
The local connect has spurred hopes of a turnaround in Kashmir. Leading the chorus is the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). Kashmir Inc. has pinned a lot of hopes on Dullo who they say can help to take J&K out of the present crisis.
“He is a son of soil who knows Kashmir in and out. He is a panacea of all ills”, Javaid Tenga, president of KCCI, told The Kashmir Monitor.
Hopes of the business community symbolize the overall sentiment in Kashmir. It was Dulloo who was the face of the fight against COVID-19. His leadership and competence were put to the test during the crisis. Like always, he came out as a winner.
Unlike other parts of the country, Kashmir did not witness any panic or overcrowding of hospitals during Covid waves. Dullo, who was Financial Commissioner to the Jammu and Kashmir government, Health and Medical Education Department in 2020, ensured enough beds and COVID centers to meet the challenge.
When the country was reeling under the Remdesivir shortage, he ensured that sufficient stocks were available in Jammu and Kashmir.
Not only Covid management but J&K’s vaccine delivery and saturation were even hailed by the Bombay High Court. In 2021, the Bombay High Court asked the central government to look at the door-to-door vaccination program carried out successfully by Jammu and Kashmir, and Kerala.
AB-PMJAY Sehat was one such scheme that turned out to be a game-changer in Jammu and Kashmir. J&K has the highest saturation of the insurance scheme in the country. And the credit goes to Dulloo who laid the foundation for the biggest relief to people.
Dulloo has so many firsts to his credit. He earned a name for successfully conducting the 1996 assembly election, which was first after the onset of terrorism in 1990. He was awarded a silver medal for holding the polls. He was bestowed with a state award for meritorious service in 2013.
“We are facing numerous crises. There is no business. Business confidence is very low. We are reeling under a power crisis. Being a Kashmiri, Dulloo might know the situation. Therefore, we feel he will come to our rescue,” said Tenga,