Selection grade assistant P. E. Usha of Calicut University continued to be harassed by the administration. She has been on deputation to the Attappady Hill Area Development Society, on her application, after she faced a vilification campaign at the University on her filing a sexual harassment case.
Now, the Finance Department is objecting to extension of her deputation despite a Supreme Court order that women who faced harassment should be given safe posting.
Earlier, she had been granted extension upon intervention by Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan. (Her salary had been withheld). This time also she got a no-objection certificate from the University for extension of the deputation after intervention by the Chief Minister.
The Finance Department is maintaining that there were legal objections to the extension of the term, as Usha had not cited any reason for seeking extension of deputation beyond five years. This looks strange because she would have mentioned the background in her petition to the Chief Minister.
Instead of sticking to technicalities, the Finance Department— or any Department for that matter— should be functioning with a purpose of helping people. May be the Department is trying to save a deputation allowance for the exchequer. However, it could save much more if it looks at the Attappady Hill Area Development Project itself.
A lot of money has been getting wasted on the Project, which had been delayed considerably. The tribals would have been better off if the money spent on projects for them in Attappady after independence was deposited in a bank and interest proceeds distributed to them on a monthly basis. (They would have been earning at least Rs. 10000 a month).