Under the banner of Unemployed Youth Forum, job aspirants are staging protest in front of Swami Vivekananda Stadium and State Museum.

Agartala: According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Employment (CMIE), Tripura has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. The April 2022 data released by the CMIE shows that Haryana recorded the highest unemployment rate in March at 26.7 per cent. Tripura’s unemployment rate is better than Haryana, yet it stands at 14.1 per cent. But rather than addressing chronic unemployment, it seems the Tripura state government is making it even harder for youth to get recruited.

In an already-bleak job market, over 81,000 job aspirants who appeared in the Joint Recruitment Board of Tripura (JRBT) exams for selection in 5,000 Group C and Group D posts, are staring at a bleak future as the exam results are yet to be published, a year after the exam. 

Last year, the tests drew a massive response after the state government relaxed age parameters for appearing in the exams as these posts were created considering the future of 10,323 teachers in mind.

The exams were held in July 2021, through a specially-constituted body called JRBT (Joint Recruitment Board of Tripura) under the aegis of the Directorate of Employment Services and Manpower Planning.

“It has been almost a year, the results haven’t been declared. The state government is playing with our future, the results must be immediately published,” said a job aspirant.

Under the banner of the Unemployed Youth Forum, the aspirants, who appeared for the JRBT-conducted exams, staged a protest earlier this month in front of Swami Vivekananda Stadium and state museum seeking early publication of results.

“The state government has no right to withhold our results. A petition has been filed in the High Court by some of the aspirants who failed to appear for the exams due to Covid 19 infection. As far as we know, the Court has passed a stay order on the publication of results. But, our point is if someone fails to vote in an election, does the election-conducting body consider holding re-polls. If the government deprives thousands of people for the sake of a handful of people, it is sheer injustice,” he said.

Another protesting youth said that JRBT had got enough time to publish the results. “Before the issue was sub-judice, JRBT could have released the results in six months. When we had approached them, they said the evaluation process was in progress, but now they say it is because of the stay order of the Court,” another protesting youth said.

Nandu Dulal Debbarma, 38, a resident of Agartala, who is eagerly waiting for the results of JRBT told EastMojo: “The government recruitment drives are very less these days when JRBT exams are conducted. Five thousand jobs at one go is a big deal for a state like Tripura where unemployment is a perennial crisis. Thousands of people may lose their age-based eligibility for filing fresh job applications as the wait for results is showing no signs of ending.”

Debbarma also pointed out that the Tripura Public Service Commission is not issuing frequent job advertisements like earlier. “In a state like Tripura, where the state government is the biggest employer, it is normal that youth plan for a secured future with a government job rather than going for private opportunities where the competition is tougher,” he said. 

“Aspirants thought exams are over so all the necessary procedures will be over by a year but it proved to be wrong. Thousands of people paid fees for exams and if the government is not in a position to declare results, it should at least repay the money,” he added. 

Arpan Debnath, 28, from Dhalai district of Tripura concurred with Debbarma. “All my classmates, friends and elder brothers of the locality appeared for the JRBT exams. For youth like us who belong to the middle class and lower middle class background, a government job is like getting a jackpot,” he said. For now, Debnath is working in a construction site in lieu of Rs 6,000 per month.

The officials continue to toe the expected line. Aditi Majumder, Director of Employment Services and Manpower Planning, told EastMojo: “The results have been put on hold as the High Court of Tripura issued a stay order on the matter. For us to declare results, we have to be shown a green light from the High Court.”

Notably, Chandan Debbarma filed a Public Interest Litigation in the High Court, highlighting the lapses on the part of JRBT in conducting the exams. The petition stated that no special arrangements were made for the Covid 19-infected aspirants. For now, the court remains their only hope. 

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