Srinagar: Three days after declaring the results of the preliminary examination for Probationary Officer (PO) posts, the Human Resources Department of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank, on Saturday, issued a statement that there was a “parochial attempt by some vested interests to misguide the applicants with baseless misinformation on the selection process being skewed to a particular district”.
The statement came in the wake of protests by PO candidates in Jammu after the cut-off merit settled at a relatively higher 63 in the winter capital, the bank having declared districtwise cut-off on the basis of respective vacancies. Addressing these protests by the Jammu candidates, the bank said it had “religiously adhered to the Board approved policy and process with absolute transparency.” The district-wise merit, the JK Bank clarified, had been decided “on the basis of merit list by the IBPS (Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (Mumbai) and as per the geographic distribution of vacancies in each district of the state, which has been communicated ab-initio by the bank at the time of issuance of first notification”.
The bank further advised the candidates to “not fall prey to the misinformation campaign by some mischievous elements on social media by making assertions, which are hypothetical, libellous and aimed at tarnishing the image of J&K Bank Brand”. On Monday, in an about turn, the JK Bank, out of the blue, switched to a statewise uniform cut-off of 40. In apparently a damage control exercise, Chairman JK Bank Parvez Ahmed called it good news for PO aspirants. “Good News for P.O. aspirants. In view of the various representations received from the candidates and also the directions from the Hon’ble Governor, Bank has decided to declare a uniform cut off of 40 across the state in relaxation of policy,” Ahmed wrote on Twitter on Sunday evening. Interestingly, the bank’s notification advocating the district-wise merit cut-off was published in leading newspapers on Sunday itself.
BJP State President Ravinder Raina had sent a letter to Governor Satyapal Malik calling the JK Bank’s districtwise merit for the PO posts “illegal”. The bank’s change of heart that followed has led to valley-based candidates alleging that the recruitment has been politicised. They say that the bank going for a uniform state-wise merit all of a sudden “under political pressure” will lead to regional disparity. “The cut-off merit for Jammu district was 63 while as for Srinagar it was 42.5 and 40.5 for Pulwama. The statewise merit of 40 will obviously benefit Jammu more, but it has made almost no difference for us,” an aspirant said. He informed that about 2,500 candidates were shortlisted for the mains examination of PO on May 9. While the bank cited the “Board approved policy” for the district-wise merit, the aspirant alleged, “The bank at once amended the rules on the directions of the governor”.
The aspirants from Kashmir have apprehensions that the selection list for the Banking Associate posts will also be politicised. “The candidates from Jammu are asking a similar cutoff for BA posts on state-wise merit. We fear the results for BA posts will also be declared on state merit basis under political pressure. The whole recruitment process has now been changed under the influence of some politicians,” an aspirant said. Demanding rollback of the state-wise merit list, an aspirant said, “Any change in the recruitment process won’t be tolerated. We will drag the issue to court in case the need arises.” In charge of recruitment at JK Bank, Raja Asif, told Kashmir Reader that though the cut-off was relaxed, “vacancies will be filled district-wise”. Chairman JK Bank Parvez Ahmed could not be contacted as he had kept his phone switched off.