Trinco fast over jobs continues

[TamilNet, Saturday, 04 July 1998, 23:59 GMT]
One of the three persons fasting unto death over the issue of jobs for graduates was warded at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Trincomalee Base Hospital with a heart problem on Friday, said sources in this eastern port town. The trio began their fast on Thursday at 9:00 a.m.

The three are demanding that the Provincial Public Service Commission (PPSC) should fulfil its promise of employing 1000 graduates as graduate teachers. Meanwhile Ten graduates fasted in a relay, protesting over the same issue.

Selvanayagam Pushparajah of Batticaloa had to be warded due to a heart problem yesterday around 4:30 p.m., and is still in hospital. However his companions Dharmaratnam Ravindran (Batticaloa) and N. Nasurdeen (Kalmunai), continued the fast in front of the Northeast Provincial Ministry of Education.

The problems began when the PPSC advertised vacancies for 1000 graduate teachers to be selected through a written examination. When the Association of the Unemployed Graduates in the East (AUGE) protested that it was meaningless to hold a written exam for graduates, it was agreed that the selection would be made through an interview. The 1000 persons were to be employed by June 1.

Since this undertaking is yet to be fulfilled, the affected persons resorted to a fast to death, said sources.

Meanwhile, the employment of graduate teachers has generated its own political problems. The AUGE wants only unemployed graduates who passed out of university after 1994 to be employed under this scheme.

However, politicians have asked that the selection include employed graduates as well, and that the time limit be pushed back to 1983.

They have found an ally in Sundaram Divagalala, Secretary, Provincial Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports. The AUGE and Mr. Divagalala have clashed frequently over the issue and

posters critical of Mr. Divagalala have appeared in Trincomalee.

Though Mr. Divagalala was to be transferred out of Trincomalee last month, the order was countermanded later, allegedly due to political interference, said informed sources.


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