Gangtok, 09 Feb:
Sikkim Unemployed Agriculture and Horticulture Graduate Association [SUAHGA] today alleged that no direct recruitments have taken place under the Agriculture and Horticulture Departments for the past 23 years. They said this with particular reference to posts of Horticulture/ Agriculture Inspectors, Agriculture Development Officer, Horticulture Development Officer and Watershed Development Officer.
The Association has also accused the department of flouting Sikkim Service Rules.
Addressing a press conference, a SUAHGA representative, Bikash Subba, said that as per the Sikkim Agriculture Service Rule 1994 and Sikkim State Subordinate Service Rule 2001, any vacancy in agriculture and horticulture department has to be filled in the ratio of 50-50 which means 50% vacancies by promotion and 50% by direct recruitment.
On the same, he stated that 57 inspectors were promoted to ADO, HDO and WDO ranks even though they did not even meet the eligibility criteria. There was no matching direct recruitment of 57 inspectors.
More recently, 77 VLWs were promoted to the post of Agriculture and Horticulture Inspectors with no direct recruitment in this case as well, he added.
The Association is therefore demanding creation of vacancies for more than 77 posts of Horticulture and Agriculture Inspectors and 40 posts of ADO, HDO and WDO.
“We are not asking for jobs but want service rules to be followed strictly and vacancies to be created for us. Even in the recent posts of agriculture marketing assistants created under One Family One Job scheme, no technical persons have been appointed,” said Mr Subba.
This despite the fact that 800 Agriculture and Horticulture graduates continue waiting for recruitments to be announced.
He further informed that when approached, the Department said that new vacancies were not possible because of the regularization of employees who have served for more than 5 years.
“If you are looking at vote banks, 800 is a larger number than 77,” he added.
It is due to these reasons that BSc, MSc and PhD holders in agriculture and horticulture have not been getting opportunities to use their technical knowledge for the welfare of the society, Mr Subba further said.
The Association has also submitted a written memorandum on its demands at a meeting held on Friday between Secretaries, officials of Agriculture and Horticulture Departments and representatives of the association.
The department has assured to provide the minutes of the meeting to the association on Monday.
Mr Subba said that the future course of action of the association depends upon the decision of the concerned departments.
The department has assured of a positive response and to make a proposal on the demands which will be forwarded to the Department of Personnel.
“If all our demands are not fulfilled by the concerned departments, then we would be compelled to take out a mass rally and pursue other steps to get justice,” he added.
Other demands of the Association include amendment of Sikkim State Subordinate Agriculture Service Rule 2001, service rules to be followed for the recruitment of subject matter specialists, establishment of State Agriculture & Horticulture University and National Organic Research Institute in order to take the organic mission to the next level and to immediately start BSc courses in agriculture and horticulture from the session of 2019-20 in the upcoming Sikkim State University.