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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Kerala govt makes 151 more staff permanent, draws Oppn fire

Justifying the move, a communique issued after the Cabinet meeting stated that regularisation was made applicable only in appointments that have not been referred to the State Public Service Commission (PSC).

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram |
Updated: February 16, 2021 8:10:52 am
As Pinarayi Vijayan campaigns online, Opposition says he ‘ran away due to scandals’Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. (File)

Even as protests by many youths and opposition parties continue against what they allege is backdoor appointments in state government services, the CPI-(M) led Kerala government on Monday regularised 151 more temporary appointments in various departments.

Justifying the move, a communique issued after the Cabinet meeting stated that regularisation was made applicable only in appointments that have not been referred to the State Public Service Commission (PSC).

Jobs of hundreds of temporary staff have been regularised in the last few weeks, and more such files are in the pipeline, it is learnt.

The issue has led to a big agitation in Kerala – hundreds of youths, who are in various PSC rank lists but missed out on getting state government jobs due to “backdoor postings”, continued to stage protests in front of the state Secretariat. As part of their agitation, the protesters crawled on their knees and begged for jobs.

Youth Congress state president Shafi Parambil and unit vice-president K S Sabarinathan on Monday began an indefinite strike. Protest marches in Palakkad and Kozhikode, respectively by Yuva Morcha and Youth Congress, turned violent.

Calling the state government anti-youth, Shafi said, “This agitation is not politically motivated. The Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues are insulting the rank-holders.’’

The Federation of Various PSC Rank-Holders’ Association, which is spearheading the protest, questioned the government’s reasoning – that jobs of only those who have completed 10 years in temporary service are being regularised – and called it ratifying “illegal appointments”. The association’s state secretary, Sijo Jose, said temporary hands were kept in service for 10 years only to prevent regular appointments of eligible persons from PSC rank list.

“We are pleading for jobs, for which we have been cleared after years of hard work. Most of the youth in PSC rank lists are approaching the cut-off age and don’t have any more chance to get a government job,’’ he said.

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala of the Congress alleged that appointments in government service have been reserved to nominees of the CPI(M) in Kerala. The Secretariat remained open on Sunday to prepare files for the “illegal appointments”, he asserted.

Meanwhile, the High Court, in an interim order, stayed the Kerala State Cooperative Bank’s move to make permanent 1,850 temporary staff. The court acted upon a petition by a job aspirant against the move to allegedly appoint relatives of LDF leaders in Kerala Bank, which was formed in 2019 after merging all district cooperative banks with the state cooperative bank. The bank’s temporary staff were appointed after Kerala Bank came into being, even as the PSC has been making appointments to the state cooperative bank since 1995, the petitioner stated.

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