Updated: August 5, 2022 8:31:12 am
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal Thursday demanded that all vacant posts in state agriculture department be filled immediately by recruiting the students of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), and said the party would approach the Governor to demand justice for the protesting students.
The SAD president visited the dharna site on the PAU campus to express solidarity with the students and assured them that besides meeting the Governor, the SAD would raise the issue publicaly too. “If need be, we will gherao the chief minister, but will not allow you to suffer,” he told the students.
Expressing shock at more than 1,000 vacant posts in the agriculture and horticulture departments, he said, “Punjab needs young agriculture technocrats. Our cotton crop has been failing for the last three years. Horticulturists are uprooting kinnow orchards. We need fresh blood in the field to ensure farmers are provided adequate extension services. It is shameful that PAU students have been protesting here for nearly 10 days but the AAP government is impervious to their plight.”
Sukhbir also highlighted how no recruitment had taken place in the university after the SAD-led government relinquished charge. He said the AAP government should have filled the vacant posts on a priority basis instead of forcing students to pull rickshaws and clean vehicles to focus attention on their misery.
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The students told the SAD president that the CM had visited PAU recently but had refused to meet them or take their memorandum. They briefed him that 410 posts of agriculture development officer (ADO), 350 of agriculture sub-inspector, 125 of horticulture development officer, 129 of soil conservation officer and 56 of market secretary were lying vacant.
Badal said the nature of PAU had changed in recent years with 80 per cent of all new recruitments being of non-Punjabis.
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