ITANAGAR: The Education Department has issued termination letters to 255 individuals holding illegal appointments, marking one of the most significant en-masse terminations in the state’s administrative history.
The terminated appointees include Primary Teachers (PRTs), Trained Graduate Teachers (TGTs), Upper Division Clerks (UDCs), Lower Division Clerks (LDCs), and Multi-Tasking Staff (MTS) who had been appointed in violation of the Arunachal Pradesh Staff Selection Board (APSSB) Recruitment Rules, 2018, since 2020.
Education Commissioner Amjad Tak confirmed that rigorous scrutiny and adherence to codal procedures preceded the termination orders.
Surprisingly, the termination letters have unearthed a series of illegal appointments in various districts, previously unnoticed.
Siang district leads with 102 illegal cases, including 49 PRTs and 53 MTSs. Other districts such as Anjaw, East Siang, Kurung Kumey, Longding, and Upper Subansiri also reported instances of illegal appointments.
Initially, show cause notices were issued to all illegal appointees, and the termination letters followed when satisfactory responses were not received within the stipulated period, he informed the press.
Education Minister Taba Tedir affirmed the department’s commitment to taking strict action against illegal appointees, highlighting a zero-tolerance policy towards wrongdoing within the department.
Minister Tedir expressed concern, stating, “Backdoor illegal appointments are not just illegal but also have the potential to destroy society through illegal means.” He highlighted ongoing investigations and the arrest of responsible officers.
The issue of rampant illegal appointments was first raised by Congress MLA Ninong Ering in March 2021.
Following which, Chief Minister Pema Khandu had promised strict action against corrupt officers involved in illegal appointments after the constitution of the APSSB.
Further intensifying the matter, the All Longding District Students’ Union in May 2023 raised concerns about 28 PRTs appointed without proper procedures.
Subsequently, the Arunachal Pradesh Youth Congress president Tarh Johny filed an FIR against 28 PRTs allegedly appointed through fraudulent means.
The state government approved the Vigilance Department’s Special Investigation Cell (SIC) to probe into the cases in July 2023.
The SIC has registered a regular case on August 17 and has arrested three individuals related to illegal appointments in Longding and Anjaw districts.
However, progress in the Changlang district case remains limited, and the SIC faces challenges in investigating the Siang district, which has the highest number of illegal appointees.
Allegations of “pick and choose” arrests against the SIC have been denied by the investigating agency.
The state awaits further developments in this unfolding controversy surrounding illegal appointments in the education department.