Minister assures notification to address SUAHGA demands in a few days

Dharna to be called off only after notification is issued, unemployed Agri grads announce

Gangtok, 22 Feb:

Unemployed agriculture and horticulture graduates, who have been on dharna outside the District Administrative Centre here for nearly a week, are finally spying on a glimmer of hope. They are however holding back from celebrating just yet, still upset over the long inaction with which their demands have been met thus far by the concerned departments.

Secretaries of the Agriculture and Horticulture Departments called on the protesting members of Sikkim Unemployed Agriculture and Horticulture Graduate Association (SUAHGA) at the protest site today and assured them that the Department would create the posts as demanded by them and issue a notification to the effect within a few days.

The Agriculture Minister, Somnath Poudyal, also confirmed the same while speaking to SummitTimes today.

SUAHGA, it may be recalled, has been demanding that the departments follow the service rules properly, the sidelining of which has led to the present situation where posts which should have been open for new graduates to apply for have been filled by way of promotion even though rules prescribe that these be apportioned 50:50 between promotion and direct recruitment.

Given the recent filling up of posts exclusively by way of promotion, the association has been demanding that a matching number of seats be created for direct recruitment for which agriculture and horticulture graduates who have not see such direct recruitment for 23 years now can apply and compete for.

Speaking to SummitTimes today, the Agriculture Minister said, “Within next two or three days the department will come out with a notification in regard to the ongoing Dharna of SUAHGA.”

The Department was already going through the demands as enumerated in the memorandum submitted by SUAHGA, he said.

“The Government is very positive towards the demand made by SUAHGA and the Department has already discussed the matter with the Chief Minister,” he said, while also appealing to SUAHGA member to call off the Dharna and cooperate with the Government.

“The Department feels that the demand placed by SUAHGA members is genuine and will be taken under consideration if it falls under the criteria framed by the Government,” said the Minister.

SUAGHA, meanwhile, is not in the mood to call off the dharna just yet.

“Until and unless a written assurance arrives from the Government, we will not call off the Dharna. We want all our grievances to be addressed,” said Suren Subba of SUAGHA.

As per information provided by SUAHGA, Secretaries of the Horticulture and Agriculture Departments visited the Dharna site this evening and gave verbal assurances to meet their demands.

The Secretaries have assured to fulfill their demands by creating 114 vacancies at various levels in Horticulture and Agriculture Departments.