Agriculture secy asked to review selection of KVK staffers

[Bengia Ajum]

ITANAGAR, 22 Sep: In a major embarrassment for the agriculture department, the director of the ICAR’s Agriculture Technology Application Research Institute (ATARI), Zone-VI, based in Guwahati, Assam, has written to the agriculture secretary here to review the recently concluded recruitment for selection of staffers for the Kurung Kumey and Dibang valley Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK).

The recruitment has come under the scanner after the land donors alleged that Agriculture & Horticulture Minister Tage Taki “interfered in the recruitment for the posts of staffers in the two KVKs by favouring candidates from his constituency.”

In a letter addressed to the secretary, the ATARI Zone-VI director said that the State Horticulture Research & Development Institute (SHRDI) is the host institute and, as per the MoU, the entire responsibility for the establishment of the two KVKs rests on the SHRDI.

“A letter has been received from SHRDI, horticulture department, government of Arunachal Pradesh, dated 15 September, 2022, regarding anomalies in the recruitment of KVK staff under SHRDI.

“As per Point No 8 (ii) of the MoU signed between SHRDI and ICAR regarding the establishment of two KVKs in Kurung Kumey and Dibang Valley, the administrative control over the staff employed under the scheme, therefore, shall vest in the host institution,” the letter read.

It further read: “As per the letter received from SHRDI, the department of agriculture has advertised and recruited the staff of KVK under their administrative control, as well as the two KVKs of SHRDI, ie, Kurung Kumey and Dibang Valley, in spite of the objection raised by SHRDI, which is not appropriate.”

Meanwhile, SHRDI Head Egam Basar has also written to the agriculture secretary, citing the director’s letter, and appealed for “cancellation of the appointment order and interview process for Kurung Kumey and Dibang valley KVKs.”

“The ATARI director has clarified that interview conducted by agriculture department for these two particular KVKs under SHRDI is inappropriate and, as per the MoU signed by SHRDI and ICAR, the entire responsibility of establishment of two KVKs vests on the host institute, ie, SHRDI.

“With this clarification of ICAR-ATARI director, Guwahati, who is the competent authority of ICAR, government of India, on the matters of the establishment of KVK, the interview in question is illegal and in violation of ICAR guidelines and therefore liable to be cancelled, and appointment orders so issued is deemed null and void,” the letter read.

Basar requested the agriculture secretary to “cancel the appointment orders issued for the KVKs” within seven days. Further, the SHRDI said that, in the event that no action is taken in this regard within the stipulated time, it would initiate legal action against the agriculture department in order to uphold the MoU and the guidelines issued by the ICAR for the Kurung Kumey and Dibang Valley KVKs.

The land donors of the two districts recently alleged that several candidates who got selected in the recruitment conducted by the agriculture department were “parachuted from above, while the original list of candidates did not contain their names.”

The land donors have issued a warning that they would “not allow any illegally appointed candidates to enter the KVK farms” donated by them, and that, if any untoward incident occurs owing to this, the minister would be solely responsible.