Guwahati Today

Union strikes a chord with deprived local candidates

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Feb 22: An outcry against jobs on tive soil in Assam going to outsiders has struck a chord with  deprived candidates in the State. Even posts for trade apprentice are being filled with candidates from elsewhere in the country, let alone higher posts like that of engineers who get appointment elsewhere and come to join in Assam.

Such a chord has struck with the jobless in the State at a time when the ruckus against the appointment of candidates from outside the Northeast in Digboi Refinery is still to calm down. As if taking cue from Digboi Refinery, Guwahati Refinery has also started a process to fill up 13 of the 45 trade apprentice posts with candidates from outside Assam or the Northeast like Bihar, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Outside candidates have already been selected for 13 posts, now only subject to the medical test. The posts are of attendant operator, fitter, boiler, chemical, mechanical, electrical and instrumentation departments. Two of the ten posts of attendant operators are from Bihar; one of the seven posts of fitter is from West Bengal; two candidates for chemical posts are from Bihar, four from UP, one from Uttarakhand; one for electrical from West Bengal and one from West Bengal in instrumentation. Twenty-one per cent of the selected candidates are from outside the region.

Slogans rent the air in the main gate of Guwahati Refinery here today when members of the United Workers’ Union (UWU) staged dhar and demonstration in protest against appointment of candidates in the refinery from outside, depriving the local ones.

UWU president Biren Kalita said: “According to Apprentices Act, 1961 local people should be appointed in all public sector undertakings (PSUs). Going by that count, lower-rung posts were all along been filled up with local candidates in the four refineries in Assam. Under the Act, local qualified candidates are selected against various posts through advertisement and then given training for their permanent appointment. However, this time around the provisions of the Act have been violated and candidates from outside the region have been given appointment, cunningly. This is not all. In fourth grade posts, contractual posts, casual posts, unskilled posts, etc., candidates from outside the region are getting jobs depriving the local ones. After Bogaingaon Refinery, such a move was seen in Digboi Refinery. Guwahati Refinery is following suit now. Two casual crane operators have been removed here recently to make vacancies for two candidates who came from Bihar. Even security personnel posts at Guwahati Refinery are also given to candidates from outside the Northeast.”

Kalita said: “When contacted the higher-ups in this connection, they say that they’ve pressure from their higher-ups. The State BJP speaks of Jaati, Maati and Bheti, but we doubt if the government led by them will be able to keep that bow intact. They speak of local appointment in NF Railway, but outsiders have already got jobs in the refineries in the State.”                  

Kalita further said: “The recent announcement made by the Union Fince Minister in his Budget speech on the mega merger of 13 oil PSUs – maharats and varats – is yet another plot to spell doom for the oilfields in the Northeast. Through such a merger, the Centre is out to hand over the oil fields of the State and the region to MNCs. We’re opposing such a move. We stick to our demand to stop all appointments in lower-rung posts from outside the Northeast. We met the Chief Minister and let the Centre know our demands, but to no avail. The local candidates are still deprived of so as to make space for candidates from outside.”