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Candidates vying for technical jobs feel disadvantaged in competition with officials’ kin

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SKIMS: Nepotism unlimited!

Srinagar: In the absence of a “transparent and genuine mechanism” for holding selection to different vacancies at Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), the aspiring candidates for certain technical posts fear that nepotism and favoritism may impair their chances of appointment.

The practice of giving preferential treatment to the relatives and friends at the expense of the abilities of others has all along been the trademark of political and the bureaucratic elite here. However, prevalence of this nasty practice in institutions of medical research and health like SKIMS is something that could have disastrous consequence, and must be prevented at any cost.

Aspirants for different vacancies and medical technology courses at the Institute have over the years expressed their apprehensions about the partiality in selections, but their voices were lost in the wild.

The recent instance is the selection for BSc Nursing in which the participating candidates alleged that “question papers were sold before the examination”.

Nearly 50 percent of the selected candidates had performed poorly in the written test conducted by the Board of Professionals Entrance Examination, said a source.

The matter was then referred to an anti-corruption body, he added.

For different posts usually written tests are conducted by the authorities at SKIMS, but the papers are usually set in-house. “There is no transparent and impartial mechanism to hold the written tests and make genuine selections,” said a senior faculty who wished not to be identified.

On June 02, 2020, SKIMS advertised the post of Supervisor Technical vide notification no. 03 of 2020. A written test was then conducted in February this year.

Among the five short-listed candidates are the sons of the two senior employees “closely associated with the incumbent director” One according to the sources is Amair Bashir Aga of Khiram Bijebehara Anantnag, whose father Bashir Ahmad Aga, has been holding many administrative portfolios at SKIMS including that of the Materials Management Officer/Estates Officer/In-charge Inspection and Disposals.

Another candidate shortlisted for the interview is Shah-ul-Asad, from Anantnag currently residing at Soura. He is the son of Assadullah Dar, EDP Officer working in Director SKIMS’ office, sources said.

A vacancy for the Junior Engineer G-II (Electronics & Communication) was also advertised by the Institute vide notification no. 03 of 2020, and a written test was conducted. The shortlisted candidates were called for interview on 28th of April this year.

Among others, Samreena Sabahat, also from Anantnag, was also called for interview. She is the adopted daughter of Farooq Ahmad Wani, the Superintendent Engineer SKIMS.

Similarly, for the post of physiotherapist, five candidates had been invited for interviews. One of the candidates is the son of a recently retired staff nurse of the Institute.

Another candidate is also from south Kashmir and is reportedly the physiotherapist of the current director of the Institute.

“Being the son or daughter of an employee of the SKIMS is not a crime, nor any disqualification for jobs at the institute, but the established precedent of nepotism and favoritism has given rise to some indisputable and genuine apprehensions among other candidates,” conceded a senior officer working in SKIMS administration.

Riyaz Ahmad Wani, Additional Director SKIMS, when confronted with queries about the matter said that no final decision on the appointments for these posts has been taken as yet.

“Besides I have lately joined the institute and am unaware of the process if already initiated or the mechanism of the written tests,” he said.

For further comments, this newspaper also telephoned Firdous Ahmad, the Administrative Officer of the Institute on his personal mobile number but he did not answer the calls.

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