Pharmacists selected by SSB for H&ME dept told no vacancies are available!
Srinagar: Coldblooded bureaucratic conduct operating through an evil maze of ifs and buts is pushing generations of young men and women into a dark labyrinth, killing their aspirations for a good and peaceful life.
A classic example of its “diabolic” style of functioning is revealed in a recruitment scandal in the J&K Health and Medical Education (H&ME) department.
In the year 2015, the J&K Services Selection Board (SSB) vide its advertisement notice number 7 invited applications from eligible candidates for selection of 41 posts of junior pharmacists in the H&ME.
Kupwara, the frontier district had the highest number of 30 posts.
The candidates were required to have passed 10+ 2 with Science subjects besides a diploma in Pharmacy.
Selection process was initiated by conducting a written test and viva voce, following which a provisional selection list was issued on 30th of December, 2017.
After a gap of 10 months, the final selection was also published and the recruitment agency through a communication number SSB/SEC/SEL/2018/10644-50, then recommended the Principal Secretary H&ME to appoint the selected candidates.
Subsequently, on December 6, 2018, the then Under Secretary to government in H&ME department, also wrote a letter to the Director of the concerned department under number HD/MG/257/ 2018-K for appointment of the selected junior pharmacists.
“I am directed to forward a copy of the communication from SSB along with a list of the candidates and request you to issue formal appointment orders under SRO 202 in favor of selected candidates subject to fulfillment of required formalities,” the letter said.
The department, however, sat over the issue. No appointment letters were ordered by it.
The desperately anxious candidates complained with the Governor’s Grievance Cell on January 19, 2019.
On February 05, 2019, the department filed its response to the Rajbhavan, saying that the selected junior pharmacists have been asked to furnish original documents and that their cases have been sent for verification to concerned quarters.
It further assured that as and when the formalities are completed, formal order of their appointment shall be issued.
Fed-up with empty assurances, the selected candidates filed a reminder with Governor’s Grievance Cell, following which on March 29, 2019, the H&ME department makes a U-turn on the issue.
Admitting that the junior pharmacists’ posts were referred to SSB under fast-track recruitment process, the H&ME department brazenly told the Rajbhavan that actually no such posts were vacant in the department.
Sticking to its formalism, the Under Secretary to government in H&ME department, vide a letter number HD/NG/245/2018/K wrote to Secretary SSB to withdraw its recommendation regarding the selected junior pharmacists. “The department is not in a position to accept the recommendation due to non-availability of posts,” the letter read.
Documentary evidence obtained through an RTI request reveals that the junior pharmacist posts are still lying with the department, with at least 20 such posts for Kupwara district alone.
The posts have been have been adjusted “illicitly” by the authorities, reveals the information.
According to the information (through RTI) Health and Family Welfare Assistants (HWA) appointed in 2017 (in Kupwara for instance) have been adjusted in the posts of junior pharmacists in their own pay and grade.
Interestingly, the qualification prescribed by the recruiting agencies for the HWAs is matric with diploma in medical assistance.
Meanwhile, a number of candidates who were selected by the SSB for junior pharmacists, have crossed the upper age-limit for employment in government services, while some others had also foregone other job options elsewhere after their selection as pharmacists.
For instance, one Showkat Jehangir Khan of Taharatpora Kupwara, who was selected as pharmacist, gave up his option for service in J&K Police, and is now doing a menial job with a local contractor.
Dozens of other elected candidates have similar stories to share – all driving home the unfortunate reality how “official trickery” have cost them their careers and peace of mind.