February 10, 2021 5:54:59 am
PROTESTS ARE mounting in Kerala over regularisation of temporary employees in various government departments, reportedly most of them with links to the ruling CPM. Youths selected through various exam the Public Service Commission (PSC) staged protests in the state capital and various districts for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, with four of them threatening to commit suicide at the agitation that has been on in front of the Secretariat.
The regularisation of the temporary appointments violates a Supreme Court order of 2006 that said “a regular process of recruitment has to be resorted to when vacancies in posts are to be filled up and filling up of those vacancies are not (to) be done in a haphazard manner or based on patronage or other considerations”.
The Kerala government, however, has defended the decision to regularise the temporary employees. CPM central committee member and Industries Minister E P Jayarajan said, “It is a charitable act. By making them permanent, the government is making their families secure. Let their families live in prosperity, don’t try to destroy them. They have been working on a temporary basis for several years, some of them for 10 years.”
On Monday and Tuesday, thousands thronged the streets against the move, alleging CPM cadres and their relatives handpicked in the past five years had been regularised.
Adding to the government’s embarrassment, a job aspirant registered a complaint against Saritha S Nair, a key accused in the solar scandal of the previous Congress regime, alleging she had taken money for backdoor appointments to the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation and State Beverages Corporation.
In an audio attributed to her, Saritha is purportedly heard saying a chunk of the money will go to the CPM. Although a local court rejected Saritha’s anticipatory bail in this case, the police have not moved to arrest her so far.
In the solar scam, Saritha has managed to reach a settlement on several cases of cheating.
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As per the existing norm, temporary appointments in government service, when there is no rank list of the PSC, are done from the government-run employment exchange. The state has 34 lakh unemployed youths in the registers of the employment exchange. However, instead of making recruitment from among them, departments are known to fill up posts with nominees of the ruling political front, and giving them repeated extensions even as those registered in the employment exchanges keep waiting.
Of the 45,000 candidates shortlisted by PSC for ‘last-grade’ government servant posts (such as office attendants), only 5,200 have been appointed so far. However, 3,000 people are working as temporary appointments in this category.
A Basheer, 38, who got through the PSC exam for forest watchers, and is protesting in front of the state Secretariat, said, “Around 3,600 people are in the list waiting for a job. However, there are already 2,300 temporary employees in posts, nominees of ruling parties. I figured in the rank list in 2018. Three years have lapsed. If I don’t get the job within a few months, I will cross the age limit of 39 (for OBC category).”
Several applicants have come together to form a Federation of Various Rank-holders Association. Its state secretary is Sijo Jose, who has been waiting for a job as a government driver. “The PSC rank list for drivers has 4,850 in waiting, whereas 3,000 are working on a temporary basis. Scores of rank holders have moved the high court, but the government is not ready to even give a reply,” he says.
The Congress has said it will ensure all those people waiting for jobs get appointed if voted to power. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said, “The youths will give a fitting reply to the government in the coming elections.”
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