Kochi, Feb 17 (IANS) A day after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan asserted that they had done no wrong in regularising temporary employees in government and semi- government organisations, the state cabinet on Wednesday decided not to make any more such appointments.
According to information, regularisation of more than 100 temporary appointments was on the agenda of the cabinet, but it was not taken up.
And as a measure to cool down tempers, the cabinet also decided to create new vacancies in the Revenue and Health Departments.
But the hundreds of youths, belonging to the last grade PSC rank holders, currently on protests in front of the state Secretariat for the past four weeks, decided to continue their agitation as they want to discuss the matter with a ministerial committee.
“We will continue with our protests as we want an assurance that steps would be taken for recruitments from the present list and there should be a discussion with a committee of ministers,” a representative of the protesters told the media.
The protesters by now have got full support from the Congress and the BJP.
Two young Congress legislators – Shafi Parambil and K.S. Sabarinathan — are demonstrating their solidarity by undertaking an indefinite fast, which entered the fourth day on Wednesday.
Reacting to the new development, Sabarinathan said this is nothing but eyewash by the Vijayan government.
“What they should have done today was to have cancelled all the backdoor appointments that have been made in the recent times. The decision to stop all appointments, now, when Assembly elections will be announced anytime makes no sense. The damage has already been done and hence we will continue our support to the protesters and our protests also will go forward,” he said.
Parambil went a step forward and demanded a judicial probe into the recent backdoor appointments that have been made.
Senior BJP state Vice President Sobha Surendran made a surprise visit to the protest venue and announced that she will join them for the next 48 hours.
In a related development, a division bench of the Kerala High Court, headed by Chief Justice S. Manikumar, on Wednesday asked the government to spell out prevailing rules of regularising temporary employees working in state public sector undertakings, based on a petition filed by two Youth Congress workers.
The court gave the direction to the state government to present before them, if there are any, the rules and regulations in the manner in which temporary employees working in state public sector organisation can be given permanent appointment.
The Vijayan government has been given 10 days time to present the information sought before the court and only after that, will the court will take a decision if to accept the petition filed by two Youth Congress workers who have sought the intervention of the court in the allegations of widespread backdoor appointments being made by the state government in state PSUs.
Meanwhile, two-time former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy reacted to the attack by Vijayan, who held him the “main villain”, for deciding to scrap new vacancies in government as the UDF convenor in 2002. Accusing the Congress of always being against the civil service, Vijayan said it is Chandy, who should be falling at the feet of the protesters.
Chandy said: “I will not reply to his (Vijayan’s) personal remarks made on me. Let him say what he wants. I have been humiliated in an even bigger way and even when I, as Chief Minister, was stoned, I did not say anything. We (the UDF) have always been considerate to the job seekers.”