Nepotism bid likely as Kerala PSUs tweak recruitment norms

Nepotism bid likely as Kerala PSUs tweak recruitment norms
Representational image.

Kollam: The ongoing recruitment of executives in a few Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) of the Kerala government is under a cloud as it has come to light that eligibility criteria have been tweaked. Attempts are being made to recruit Managing Directors (MDs) at eight PSUs by altering the established norms even though the LDF government has already landed in trouble over nepotism in appointments.

Applications were invited for the MD posts at Malabar Cements, Kerala Minerals and Metals, Kerala State Mineral Development Corporation, Keltron Electro Ceramics, Steel Industries Forgings, Kerala Artisans Development Corporation, Kerala State Handloom Development Corporation and Aralam Farming Corporation.

Recruitments earlier done by RIAB (Restructuring and Internal Audit Board) have now been entrusted to the newly formed Kerala Public Enterprises Selection Board.

When RIAB had invited applications for MD posts in 2016, the applicant had to a BTech graduate with an MBA and 15 years of experience. The required age-group was between 44 and 55.

However, this time around each public enterprise has listed out a different set of eligibility criteria, allegedly to suit hand-picked people, thereby undermining the mandate of a common eligibility criteria for the top post of the PSUs.

Even though Malabar Cements and Travancore Cements belong to similar sectors, the eligibility criteria set for their MDs are different.

The MD of Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML), Chavara, was earlier required to be a chemical engineering graduate with an MBA, now only chemical engineering degree is sought for.

A plea has already been filed against this favourtism bid at the Kerala High Court. The LDF government had earlier got into a controversy after nepotism charges were raised against Industries Minister E P Jayarajan who had to resign from his post in 2016. However, he was reinstated as minister in 2018.

For some MD posts, even those up to the age of 62 can apply. It was alleged that the age criteria was changed to help recruit those who have close links with the CPM.

An MD of a prominent public enterprise in Kollam, during his farewell speech, claimed that he would be back in the same role in a month-and-a-half.