The protest outside the Kerala State secretariat by the rank holders of the Public Service Commission (PSC) has reached 30 days.
The protests ahead of the State Assembly elections have become a major issue of contention between the government and the Opposition parties. Congress MLA’s K S Sabrinathan and Shafi Parambil were holding a hunger strike in support of the rank holders and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has also joined the stir and interacted with the protestors in Thiruvananthapuram.
The civil police officers rank holders of the PSC list, who joined the strike for the last 18 days, are demanding that their list which expired last June should be extended. They say that the rank list was cancelled without publishing it.
The last grade service rank holders are on protest for the last 30 days.
The 36-year-old Laya, a mother of two, has been in the forefront of protests from February 8. Hailing from Thrissur district, she is participating in the protests leaving her children back home in the hope that she will get a government job soon.
Laya said, “It is almost two and a half years since our list has been published. In the past years, around 12,000 appointments were done, but this time only around 6,000 appointments have been done. We are sad because of that and hope that more appointments happen from this list.”
She added that to increase the number of appointments, they submitted a list of seven possibilities to the government and is waiting for a response.
The Opposition has also made allegations of backdoor appointments in several government services.
The former chief minister Oommen Chandy said,”The government attitude towards the youngsters is not at all acceptable. This is a democratic system. The present crisis, according to me, is a creation of this government. Usually, the PSC rank list is valid for three years. After three years, the list is invalid but if there is no new list, the government can extend one and a half years also. In my hand, there is a list of 147 names. This has been invalidated without any new list.”
Meanwhile, the Left front government has said that one of the demands of the rank holders was to extend the validity of their list and it has been agreed. The government says the list has five times the number of vacancies and it is not possible to give jobs to all from the list.
The government denied allegations of back-door appointments and said that only those temporary workers who have completed more than 10 years were made permanent and those were posts outside the PSC list.
Finance Minister Thomas Issac said, “When the Opposition was in power, they had regularised around 5,000 temporary employees but this government’s record would be around 2,000. The total number of PSC appointments is 20 percent more than the last government. The number of additional posts created is about 35 percent.”
However, it is clear that the protest by rank holders is one issue that will resonate throughout this election campaign.