Later, the Lt governor flagged off the first Vistadome coach train to Banihal from Srinagar Station.
Protests against Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha by job aspirants have spilled across Jammu and Kashmir as the Union Territory (UT) administration has decided not to budge on its decision to conduct recruitment exams through a blacklisted private company.
Not only job aspirants but also political parties have criticised the LG’s administration for making the sensitive issue a prestige matter even as J&K has witnessed cancellation of selection process for various posts in the recent past and the CBI had to step in to investigate the matter.
Several job aspirants were rounded up by the police in Jammu while they protested against the UT administration for awarding the contract to conduct the recruitment process for government jobs to Aptech Ltd that was previously blacklisted in various states.
Protests were also held in Srinagar on Thursday where young job aspirants demanded fair examinations and a transparent recruitment process. They questioned the intentions of the Jammu and Kashmir Service Selection Board (JKSSB) in hiring a tainted company to hold the examinations.
The JKSSB is already under the radar of CBI after irregularities were detected in the selection process for various posts of police and finance assistants.
The issue is being seen as a people-administration disconnect in J&K that is growing particularly ever since the full-fledged state was downgraded to the status of UT.
Ignoring the protests, the JKSSB last night issued a press release saying the computer-based written test (CBT) for various posts would take effect from 16 March to 5 April at various examination centres in Jammu and Kashmir. The concerned district magistrate will issue prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) around the examination centres during the timing of examination.
A multi-layered structure for supervision has also been established with one Centre Observer and Centre Magistrate for each examination centre by the respective District Administration. The J&K Police shall deploy security personnel for frisking and maintenance of law and order at each location, said the JKSSB.
In addition, the CBT shall be conducted under CCTV surveillance for maintaining transparency in the examination. Besides, low frequency Jammers are being installed in all the examination centres to prevent the use of unfair means including cheating using Bluetooth and wi-fi enabled electronic devices. The aspiring candidates appearing in the aforesaid examination are hereby cautioned against the activities of vested interests and advised not to fall prey to the designs of touts and unscrupulous elements, the JKSSB warned.
In a hard-hitting tweet, former chief minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti said, “JKSSBs decision to continue with a fraudulent blacklisted company indicates how deeply-entrenched corruption is in J&K. Sarkari babus responsible for this continue enjoying their positions at the cost of sabotaging the future of J&Ks youth. So much for corruption free J&K”.
Another former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said, “This contract must immediately be cancelled. What is the point of blacklisting a company if they are going to be awarded plum contracts. This contract is even more dangerous because it puts at risk the future of scores of aspirants who rely on JKSSB to conduct recruitment exams.”
J&K Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari said, “Government is morally and legally bound to ensure a fair recruitment process”.