Despite heated protests by job aspirants, the Left government in Kerala today made it clear that the validity of the Public Service Commission (PSC) rank lists would not extend further even as the opposition staged a walkout in the Assembly over the issue.
After Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's statement in the assembly on the issue, a group of women candidates included in the civil police officer rank list cut their hair as a mark of protest in front of the state secretariat here.
The Chief Minister said his government's declared policy was to fill all vacancies reported within the tenure of the rank lists and the PSC and the appointing authorities are taking all necessary steps in this regard.
PSC is the apex recruitment authority in Kerala.
All the rank lists, which are set to expire on August 4, have already crossed its three-year validity period, he said, while replying to an opposition notice, seeking an adjournment motion over the matter in the Assembly.
"Due to the COVID-19 spread, the PSC was unable to conduct its exams in a time-bound manner. But the pandemic situation has caused no delay in reporting and filling of vacancies. The government has taken all steps to report the vacancies to the PSC," Mr Vijayan said.
Claiming that there was no restriction on reporting vacancies during the tenure of the present or previous LDF governments, he said its stand was to take action against those appointing authorities who do not report vacancies.
"So there is no circumstance right now to extend the rank list further," he said.
Detailing various steps taken by the government to ensure the timely reporting of vacancies, Mr Vijayan said an online system has already been set up in this regard.
Administrative vigilance has been conducting periodical checks at various offices to ensure the accuracy of reporting vacancies, he added.
The government's policy is to make maximum appointments through the PSC.
Not reporting existing vacancies and extending the tenure of the rank list was against its policy, Mr Vijayan said.
Lashing out at the LDF government over the issue, Congress's Shafi Parambil, who moved the notice, alleged that the government failed in reporting vacancies and there is an undeclared appointment ban in the state.
"We request the government not to make the Public Service Commission into just a party service commission," he said.
He also pointed out that a large number of youth, included in various PSC rank lists, are still protesting on the streets, seeking extension of the validity of the rank list and speedy appointment.
As Speaker M B Rajesh denied leave for the motion following the reply of the Chief Minister, the UDF members staged a walkout.
Meanwhile, BJP state president K Surendran said the Chief Minister's statement that the rank lists would not be extended further was a challenge to job seekers in Kerala.
He also alleged that the CPI(M)-led government was trying to fill its party men in various departments as temporary employees without reporting the vacancies to the PSC on time.
The state capital today witnessed heated protests by opposition youth outfits and job aspirants, included in various rank lists, seeking extension of the validity of the rank lists.
PSC rank holders of Last Grade and Staff nurse examinations, whose rank list will expire soon, also protested.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)