Goa Government has ordered Vigilance probe into the hiring

Nearly 200 recruits, whose appointments as field supervisors of the State Department of Mines and Geology are put on hold by the Government, have threatened agitation on Wednesday at the Azad Maidan in the city.

The department had issued 230 “offers of appointment” during the last days of the previous Congress regime and the BJP, then in the Opposition, had termed it “jobs-for-vote” scam.

After coming to power, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Government kept on hold all appointments in departments such as Mining, Health, and Animal Husbandry. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar handed over all recruitment to the Vigilance Department for a probe under the Anti Corruption Act.

In the run-up to the Assembly elections, the Congress government hurriedly filled the vacancies of field supervisors even as the illegal mining controversy hit the State.

Articulating the angst and frustration of the candidates, Suraj Naik of Goa Velha told presspersons here on Saturday that they had approached the Chief Minister and petitioned the Governor, approached Ministers and MLAs of all parties seeking their intervention “for justice”.

A large number of youths from across the State are facing the same fate for the hurried manner in which the previous Congress regime pushed through recruitment process in different departments just ahead of the last Assembly elections in March, in several cases disregarding the imposition of the election code of conduct.

The recruits to the field supervisor post told presspersons that their offer letters were dated December 23, while the election code of conduct for the March 3 Assembly elections was imposed on December 24. Therefore, they argued that there was no illegality regarding their appointments. However, Mr. Parrikar has referred all the controversial recruitment ahead of the elections to the State Vigilance Department.

Director of Mines and Geology Prasanna Acharya told The Hindu on Friday that he was awaiting the report of the Vigilance Department. He said that according to the records of the department, only two letters of offer of appointment were issued on December 23 and the rest were issued on December 25. All these records were being examined by the Vigilance, he said.

According to information obtained through RTI by Krishna T. Shirodkar, Collem, one of the aggrieved youths, on July 3, the State Directorate of Mines and Geology had stated that in all 2,965 candidates had applied for the post of field supervisors and candidates were selected after conducting written test, computer literacy test, and interview and the list of candidates was finalised on December 21 with 200 candidates, and offer of appointment was issued on December 23. But the appointment was not made. When confronted with this information, Mr. Acharya said the records on which the reply to the RTI query was based were part of the Vigilance investigation.

MLA Support

The issue dominated proceedings of the State Assembly during the recent monsoon session. Pointing out that the Election Commission in Goa had not asked for the scrapping of the recruitment in different government departments, Fatorda independent MLA Vijai Sardesai while singling out the case of these youths, criticised the present government for “perpetrating injustice.”

Criticising Mr. Parrikar, Curtorim Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco said he was creating an unnecessary doubt in the mind of the public by instructing the Vigilance Department to conduct an inquiry into the selection of these Mining field supervisors.

Activists back recruits

RTI activist and general secretary of all Goa Bus Owners’ Association Sudip Tamhankar on Friday backed the proposed agitation and lamented that the affected job-seekers had been put in an unfortunate situation where they had nowhere else to go.

According to Mr. Lourenco, about 230 posts for these new jobs of field supervisors were created, but only 200 candidates were selected. “Of the selected group, only 20 have been medically examined and it is a matter of grave concern to the remaining selected 180 candidates as they have not yet been medically examined,” he said.

Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), a body affiliated to the Goa Church, recently backed these youths whose appointments were blocked. The council appealed to the ruling coalition not to deprive the candidates of employment on humanitarian grounds.

“Several of the recruits after receiving the ‘offer of appointment’ have quit their secure jobs to report to duty and many have families who are dependent on their income. This becomes a human rights issue as it amounts to a denial of a sustainable livelihood for no fault of theirs,” Fr. Maverick Fernandes, Executive Secretary, CSJP, wrote to Mr. Parrikar.

He said in his letter that after perusing the facts provided by the candidates to CSJP, it became apparent that due process of recruitment was followed and the candidates had satisfied the criteria.

“Therefore, I do not know why the Government prevented them from joining duty without any written intimation,” he had said.

  • The recruitment was done by the former Congress Government in its last days

  • The BJP Government suspects irregularities, terms the appointments a ‘jobs-for-votes’ scam