GANGTOK, 18 Feb:
Sikkim Unemployed Agriculture and Horticulture Graduates Association [SUAHGA] has said that it will intensify its protest if the concerned department does not issue a notification on their demands immediately. The association has stressed that agriculture and horticulture graduates are asking for their rights so everyone should support them in this movement.
Members of SUAHGA are on dharna here infront of the District Administration Centre [East] atSichey from 16 Feb with their eight-point charter of demands.
On the third day of the dharnatoday, members of the association blocked the road when the concerned department did not respond to their demands. SUAHGA had demanded that the concerned departments issue a notification on filling up of more than 151 number of posts of Agriculture and Horticulture Inspectors through direct recruitment as well as filling up of more than 40 posts of Agriculture Development Officer, Horticulture Development Officer and Watershed Development Officer through direct recruitment.
They had also given the department an ultimatum of three days from the date of submission of their memorandum. Since three days have passed and they received no response, they blocked the road demanding that Secretaries of both Agriculture and Horticulture departments come to the spot. SDPO Gangtok convinced them to clear the road with an assurance to call the Secretaries to the spot. Later, Secretaries of Agriculture Department and Horticulture Department visited the spot and interacted with members of the association.
Speaking to media, representatives of SUAHGA stated that the Secretaries only gave them verbal assurances.
“We do not believe on the verbal assurance of the department but we want a notification on our demand immediately otherwise we will make our movement stronger. Although the health of our members on dharna has been deteriorating due to cold weather, we will continue our dharna until we get justice,” they said. They stated that SPCS, Department of Personnel and Agriculture and Horticulture Departments should immediately meet and issue a notification.
SUAHGA appealed members of different organisations, educational institutions and farmers of Sikkim to support the movement.
“We are not demanding jobs but we are demanding a proper recruitment system in the department and service rules to be followed strictly. If this system continues then the department will be full of only non-technical workers,” they said.
Other demands of the association are; ending the one-time relaxation for further recruitment, establishment of State Agriculture & Horticulture University, BSc courses in agriculture and horticulture from 2019-20 in the upcoming Sikkim State University and all state colleges, introduction and implementation of agriculture and horticulture as a compulsory subject from 9th to 12th standard in all schools of Sikkim, and recruitment of teachers for the same under HRDD.
The association has also demanded amendment of Sikkim State Subordinate Agriculture Service Rule 2001. Mentioning that according to a notification of ICAR dated 06/10/2016 stated BSc agriculture and horticulture is a professional course which means agriculture and horticulture graduates are at par with medical and engineering graduates, the association has demanded same weightage to be given to agriculture and horticulture graduates like medical and engineering graduates