TIRUCHY: As hundreds of natives from North Indian states participated in a certificate verification process at the Railway Wedding Hall at Ponmalai in Tiruchy despite the lockdown creating controversy on Tuesday.
As there were no bus and rail transports, the North Indian candidates claimed that all of them came through flights but none of them underwent COVID-19 tests or self-isolated themselves.
Smelling a rat in this, the ex-apprentices charged that the officials in the railways were keen on recruiting North Indians for jobs in Ponmalai railway workshop.
The irked apprecenties from Tamil Nadu jumped into protest questioning how they were called for the certificate verification, how did they attend it and first of all how did they come to Tamil Nadu at this crunch time.
Out of the 581 vacancies available for the Technicians (Grade-3) posts in Ponmalai Railway Workshop, only 12 people from Tamil Nadu were selected. The highest number of candidates were from Bihar at 163 and Rajasthan at 115. The workshop management said that they called 183 candidates alone for verification on Tuesday and of them 113 participated.
Anand Kumar, ex-railway apprentice, who participated in the protest said, "There is no road or rail transport, if that is the case the participants should have only come through the flights. Then are they participating in the verification process without any quaretinee? Did they get an e-pass, did they undergo swab tests? Did they complete 14 days of mandatory home quaretinee?"
He further said "Tamilians those who finished apprenticeship are waiting for jobs since 2008. But the railways are selecting North Indians primarily. When we alleged this before, many saw our claim with doubts. Now everyone can see that despite the lockdown, these many North Indians took part in the certificate verifications. Didn't it show that there is something fishy?"
When enquired with the railway officials regarding the issue, they said that they had conducted verification for candidates who passed RRB test and they had no role in conducting swab tests or enforcing quarantine.
District Collector S Sivarasu regarding the issue said, "Following the issue came to light through the protest, we have asked the railway officials to provide a list of participants and their mode of transport. Proper enquiry will be conducted, if any misdoing is found, a show cause notice will be issued and action will be taken."