Raj Thackeray party wants industry to reserve jobs for locals

April 9th, 2008 - 10:31 pm ICT by admin  

Mumbai, April 9 (IANS) The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has once again raked up the north Indian versus locals issue, demanding 80 percent job reservations in the private sector in the state. Vageesh Saraswat, the vice-president of the party floated by Raj Thackeray, said: “If the private sector wants to do business in Maharashtra, then the Maharashtrians must get priority in employment opportunities.”

Quoting figures, Saraswat said that in the latest round of over 4,500 appointments of ticket checkers (TCs) made by the Indian Railways for Mumbai, Sholapur, Bhusaval and Nagpur, “there is not a single Maharashtrian.”

“Similarly, in the new list of clerical level appointments made by the Income Tax Department for Thane and Pune recently, there are only three Maharashtrians,” he said.

In a guarded reaction, the Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC) sought to downplay the latest anti-outsiders salvo of the MNS by saying that it has not yet received a copy of the purported MNS demands.

IMC president Niraj Bajaj told IANS Wednesday evening that if it was a question of “merit-based” appointments, they would have no objections to even giving 100 percent jobs to Maharashtrians. He declined to elaborate further on the issue.

A defiant Saraswat, reacting to Bajaj, said that the issue of merit becomes secondary given the fact that “locals” are not even allowed an opportunity to appear for competitive examinations.

“Ninety nine percent of employment advertisements are released only in media in the north or in some small publications in Maharashtra which the locals don’t get to see,” he claimed.

According to Saraswat, most local people come to know of such openings only when hundreds of thousands of candidates from all over India arrive here to take the competitive examinations.

“Then, when our people react, it is labelled as anti-north Indian campaign,” he said.

He warned that the issue of “80 percent reservations for locals” will stand and if the industry in Maharashtra does not adhere, “we will see”.

For good measure, Saraswat added that industries would not dare to oppose similar demands in other states like Kerala or West Bengal. “Then, why should we put up with this step-motherly attitude in Maharashtra alone?” he reasoned.

He said that if the industry does not “cooperate”, the MNS would resort to “coercion” to get justice for the unemployed Maharashtrians.

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