Another scandalous appointments scam

Monday Musing

[Junroi Mamai]

The Special Investigation Cell (SIC), Itanagar is currently awaiting approval from the government to launch an investigation into the recent reports of illegal appointments in the PHE&WS department in Longding and Changlang districts. The number of illegal appointees in this particular case is reported to be 25 till recently, but the number is expected to be more.

This is the second big illegal appointments scam reported from the two districts, the earlier being the illegal appointments case in the education department, wherein a total of 255 illegal appointments were made between 2020 and 2022. Eight persons, including Tirap DDSE Igo Doye, were arrested by the SIC in January this year. Sadly, Tirap, Changlang and Longding (TCL) districts have gradually started to achieve notoriety for illegal appointments and are considered a hotbed for such malpractices and corruption. However, it is not a recent phenomenon at all but a longstanding malaise that has been afflicting these districts. The three insurgency-hit districts have been facing the brunt of violence and lack of development for decades. Not many government officials want to serve in the insurgency-hit TCL districts and hence prefer to challenge their transfer/posting to the three districts in the court for years on end than to serve there. This has severely affected development in these districts and prompted unscrupulous politicians and high-ranking officials in the state government to misuse their power and turn these districts into their playground where no rules apply and corruption of every sort and proportion goes on unhindered.

Since the majority of the government officials are hesitant to serve in TCL districts, the districts’ job quotas are diverted and politicians and government officers use the veil of insurgency to carry out all sorts of corruption and illegalities. Without any advertisements or government notices, they either make large-scale backdoor appointments on the districts’ quotas and quietly transfer/post the illegal appointees to other districts, or make illegal appointees from other districts serve in TCL districts, as no one from there wants to trade places with them. All this while, the districts face severe shortage of government staffs, officials and specialist doctors. Of the three districts, Changlang is the most neglected one as there has been no specialist doctor in the district hospital for many years. Those transferred or posted over the years have simply not joined their duties or have challenged the orders in the court. Similarly, several posts of every grade in varied government departments are lying vacant in the district. For instance, the post of district information and public relations officer in Changlang has been lying vacant for many years. Another officer has been given the charge of said post as no one is willing to join there.

All these factors, coupled with the insurgency problem in the three districts, have trapped its people in a vicious cycle. Such malpractices and illegal appointments deprive the people of the districts of jobs and much-needed development. No jobs lead to an increase in the rate of poverty, lack of education, poor health, addiction and insurgency-related issues. Extra financial assistance from the DoTCL has not helped in any way to alleviate the economic wellbeing of the common people of TCL. On the contrary, it has only proved to be a source of legal plunder by the politicians to misappropriate the funds for their vested interests. For the people of TCL, this is just another scandalous job appointments scam.