Controversy over establishment of KVKs continues

[Bengia Ajum]

ITANAGAR, 2 Feb: The controversy surrounding the establishment of Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) in Kurung Kumey and Dibang Valley districts refuses to die down.

The land donors for both the KVKs have now written a fresh letter to the agriculture secretary, seeking “urgent review of the recruitment exam conducted by the agriculture department last year.”

In September 2022, the land donors for the KVKs in the two districts had alleged that Agriculture & Horticulture Minister Tage Taki “interfered in the recruitment for the posts of staffers in the two KVKs.”

The recruitment was conducted by the agriculture department, even though the State Horticulture Research & Development Institute (SHRDI) is the host institute for the KVKs in Kurung Kumey and Dibang Valley, and is supposed to carry out the recruitment process as per the ICAR guidelines.

The director of the ICAR’s Agriculture Technology Application Research Institute (ATARI), Zone-VI, based in Guwahati, Assam, had also written to the agriculture secretary to review the recruitment for selection of staffers for the two KVKs.

In a letter addressed to the agriculture secretary, the land donors, while seeking a review of the recruitment process, alleged that “illegally conducted recruitment drive is hampering the process for establishment of KVKs.”

They cited the letter written by the Guwahati-based ICAR-ATARI director while urging the department to immediately review the process of the recruitment drive, and said that they would launch a democratic movement if the department fails to take action within a month.

Even though the agriculture department conducted recruitment drives for both the KVKs and issued appointment letters, the employees are yet to receive their salaries as the SHRDI refused to accept their joining letters, citing the ICAR guidelines.

SHRDI Head Egam Basar had also written to the agriculture secretary, making it clear that the institute will abide by the SHRDI guidelines only. In his letter, he made it clear that the recruitment of staffers for the two KVKs was done by the agriculture department despite several objections raised by SHRDI, the host organisation.

“The prerogative of conducting recruitment interviews for these KVKs lies with the SHRDI only, as per the guidelines of the ICAR. The appointment orders issued to the staffers have no mention of host organisation SHRDI, neither in the advertisement which was published in local daily for the same.

“No copy of appointment orders has been endorsed to the SHRDI head. The entire process is whimsically done by the agriculture department, in violation of the KVK guidelines issued by the ICAR, GoI,” the letter read.

It is also learnt that political pressure is reportedly being mounted on the head of the SHRDI to accept the joining letters of the staffers recruited by the agriculture department.