THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Finally, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Hapless physically challenged candidates in the Deputy Collectors’ rank list can now have a jubilant smile. Ending a long wait, the Revenue Department has begun processing the appointment orders of Ajesh K of Payyannur and K Madhu of Thrissur for the post of Deputy Collector.
Making a history of sorts, a partially blind Ajesh will get the first posting. He is currently working as secretariat assistant at the chief minister’s public grievance redressal cell.
However, it was the relentless fight of Madhu, an IITian, for more than four years that led to such a successful culmination.
For Madhu, becoming a Deputy Collector was not just a personal achievement. Despite an impressive academic track record (MTech in instrumentation engineering from IIT Kharagpur and a research scholar at IIT Gandhinagar), he wanted to be a Deputy Collector as he believes that it can inspire many others like him. “It is a great leap forward for the disabled who were denied justice for several decades,” Madhu told ‘Express’.
When the rank list was released in January 2014, there was a noted omission of physically challenged candidates, citing that they were not fit for field duty. What followed was a long battle. Madhu and others ran from pillar to post seeking justice for four years.
The Supreme Court had issued an order to follow a roster system of 1, 34 and 67 instead of 33, 66 and 99 in the appointment of physically challenged candidates. But the Kerala Public Service Commission found so many excuses for delaying the process. Madhu had even petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan seeking justice to implement the three per cent quota for physically challenged candidates.
Finally, the Kerala Administrative Tribunal and the High Court came to their rescue. Pinarayi’s timely intervention also helped a great deal in implementing the Persons With Disability Act, 1995, and the Central government’s office memorandum on the physically challenged quota.
The ‘Express’ carried more than 28 reports on the PSC’s foul play and how the bureaucracy created roadblocks.