Horticulture graduates protest against scant posts

Horticulture graduates protest against scant posts
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Regularisation of posts on, vacancies soon: Secy Horticulture

Srinagar: Horticulture graduates in Kashmir have accused the government of putting their future “in dark” by not advertising any post in the last 8 years even as the Horticulture Department says that the requisite regularisation process, that will create vacancies, was on in the department.
Scores of horticulture graduates-pass outs from SK University of Agriculture Science and Technology, Kashmir (SKUAST-K) over the years-held a protest demonstration in Srinagar on Friday and said that not even a single post had been referred to the recruiting agencies in the last 8 years.
Even in case of the meager 22 Horticulture Development Officer (HDO) posts referred to the J&K Public Service Commission (JKPSC) in 2012, the graduates said that petitions were filed in the state High Court “and the matter is sub-judice with no progress”.
“This has put the future of horticulture graduates in dark,” a statement issued by them alleged.
While the basic qualification for similar posts in other departments was graduation, the horticulture graduates said that the JKSPC had fixed MSc Horticulture for the HDO posts.
They also complained that the J&K Services Selection Board (JKSSB) setting the eligibility as either simple diploma in Horticulture or simple graduation for the posts of their field had “marred the future of students and is sheer injustice by not taking into account the 4-year ICAR recognized professional degree holders”.
Even as they had already registered with concerned offices of the Horticulture Department for engagement as Rehbar-e-Bagbaani, the horticulture graduates said that the file is “stuck in secretariat for unknown reasons”.
They also complained that the Horticulture course, despite being taught in the valley for years, did not figure among the optional papers in the Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) exams.
They asked the governor to “look into the burning issues at an earliest so that future of hundreds of horticulture graduates is saved”.
Talking to Kashmir Reader over the matter, Secretary Horticulture Department, Manzoor Ahmad Lone hoped that 197 vacancies would be created as the regularization of these posts-stuck over the years-was underway.
Lone informed that even the HDOs, who were recruited in the eighties under direct recruitment and subsequently promoted as District Horticulture Officers (DHOs) and Chief Horticulture Officers (CHOs) – had still occupied the posts of HDOs and even retired in the same capacity.
“In other words means, they are basically HDOs elevated to DHO or CHO posts in in-charge capacity”.
The HDO posts, Lone explained, could not be referred unless the posts higher up in the ladder are regularised.
He said that the regularisation of posts might take 3 to 4 months.
Lone also said that they had last year conducted 6 Departmental Promotion Committees (DPCs) that were stuck since 1980s.
Over the horticulture graduates’ complaint on eligibility in the JKSSB job advertisements, he said that revising the qualification will take time as it needed concurrence from other departments.
Lone ruled out engaging the horticulture graduates under Rehbar-e-Bagbaani scheme.
“It is not appropriate either for the government or for us. It would be saner to fill up the existing vacancies rather than appointing people on contractual basis,” he said.