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UP hill people agitate against ‘outsiders’

By R.P. Nailwal
The Times of India News Service
August 25, 1997

DEHRA DUN: The Uttarakhand Sangarsh Samiti has launched an agitation against the state government’s alleged move to appoint “outsiders” in vacant class three and class four posts in the nine hill districts despite a decision to set up a separate hill subordinate services commission.

The agitators, including many women, took to the streets to foil any government bid to hold either written or oral examinations in centres where candidates are coming from outside in large numbers.

During the past fortnight, in Dehra Dun, the agitators did not allow the holding of tests for recruitments in the lower posts in van nigam (forest corporation), Uttar Pradesh State Roadways Corporation and excise departments. They laid a siege around examination centres rendering the authorities helpless.

The agitationists contend that successive state governments have never been serious about the implementation of the hill cadre which had been notified as far back as 1972. This was done despite the fact that a sizable number of youth out of a population of 60 lakh remain jobless.

“How long can we tolerate such a situation,” says Usha Negi, a leading women activist, adding that Uttarakhand state seems to have become a far cry now.

The separate hill state agitation in the Uttarakhand region in 1994 was the culmination of an earlier anti-reservation agitation. The then Mulayam Singh government in the state had enhanced the reservation quota in the hill area which was termed disproportionate to the backward population in the nine hill districts.

In the wake of the violent agitation, the state did not fill up the vacant posts in different departments –most of which belonged to the hill cadre quota.

However, following the installation of the Mayawati government earlier this year, the authorities once again started making indiscriminate appointments in various departments in Uttarakhand.

“The authorities in Lucknow seem to be in a great hurry to fill up the vacant posts in the hills even with candidates other then those belonging to the hills,” according to Rabindra Jugran, an agitation leader.