Aspirants stage protest against JKSSB for hiring ‘tainted’ firm to conduct exams

Aspirants stage protest against JKSSB for hiring ‘tainted’ firm to conduct exams
Photo: Aman Farooq/GK

Srinagar, Mar 8: Voices are growing shriller against the Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board (JKSSB) for hiring a “tainted” firm to conduct examinations.

The controversy has caused uproar among candidates and people from all walks of life alike, who are demanding a thorough investigation into the matter. Notably, the firm (APTECH) was blacklisted in 2019 and was barred to conduct any computer-based tests.

Meanwhile, scores of JKSSB job aspirants gathered here in Press Enclave on Wednesday to protest against the grant of contract to APTECH Ltd. for conduct of various exams.

The aspirants staged a sit-in to register their protest and demanded that the J&K government should cancel the contract given to APTECH Ltd for conducting exams of thousands of aspirants.

“It is an open fact that APTECH was blacklisted in eight states for its malpractice in holding exams. Its supervisor was arrested with money and in Ambala 25 people were arrested for not maintaining the sanctity of exams,” a protesting aspirant told Greater Kashmir.

“We fail to understand that if the firm does not have a good track record why the government has hired it to conduct the exams. The government is spending our money on a tainted firm. We will not allow the government to play with our future,” the protesting aspirant said.

The protesting aspirants accused the J&K government of playing with their future. “Our three years are already wasted after the government cancelled JE, FAA and SI exams over reports of wrong doings and malpractice in holding the exams. Now the government has hired a tainted firm to conduct the exam which is totally unacceptable,” the aspirants said.

The JKSSB, which is responsible for recruiting candidates for various positions in the Jammu and Kashmir government, has come under fire for hiring a tainted firm to conduct its exams.

The firm-APTECH, has been accused of multiple irregularities in the past, including allegations of fraud and corruption.

The aspirants pointed out that the JKSSB had previously conducted its own exams without the need for outside help, and questioned why the board decided to outsource the process to a private company with “a questionable track record.”

The controversy has sparked protests across Jammu and Kashmir, with candidates and politicians taking to streets to demand justice.

Amid the growing public outcry, the JKSSB has defended its decision to hire the private company.

Meanwhile, the Chairman JKSSB Rajesh Sharma when contacted said the blacklisting period of APTECH got over in May 2022 following which the agency was eligible to participate in the tendering process.

“There is a proper time period to remain blacklisted. Post May 2022, the firm was eligible to participate in the tendering process and the firm was selected as per rules,” he said.

About the hue and cry, the Chairman JKSSB said the people came to know about the firm because the information was kept available by JKSSB. “We believe in transparency and we keep the information in the public domain to let people know,” he said.

He said APTECH was holding exams of NTA and CBSE as well.

“Even the exams held in November and December 2022 by JKSSB were conducted through APTECH and there was no outcry at all. But we fail to understand why aspirants are protesting now,” the Chairman JKSSB said.

The controversy over the hiring of the tainted firm by the JKSSB has cast a shadow over the recruitment process in Jammu and Kashmir, with many questioning the fairness and integrity of the system.

Amid the outcry, the fate of thousands of candidates who have applied for government jobs hangs in the balance, and they wait anxiously for a resolution to the controversy.

The protesters demanded that the J&K administration should take necessary measures for the larger benefit of the youth of Jammu and Kashmir.

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