Odisha: Para-players demand government jobs and equality with normal players | Bhubaneswar News

BHUBANEWAR: After the extraordinary performance of the para-athletes at the Tokyo Paralympic Games and Odisha’s commuter Pramod Bhagat winning a gold medal, Odisha’s para-athletes sharpened their voice for equality with normal players.
Odisha Para-player Forum – an association of para-athletes demanded the inclusion of specially disabled athletes in the direct recruiting program and offered them government jobs like any other normal athlete.
“Equality is just a word of assurance for us. We have been asking for government jobs for several years, but our request has remained silent. Now, after the brilliant performance of our para-athletes and Pramod Bhagat who brought laurels to the state and the country, we ask the state government to take us seriously, ”said Rakhal Sethy, secretary of the Odisha Para Players Forum.
Sethy, 37, a national level fencer who has represented India at the Asian Games, has appeared in 5 world cups, 2 world championships and won 36 national medals, is also a candidate for the job.
In addition, among his students whom he trained, 14 won medals at the national level without any support from the government.
Sources said that currently 33 para players are eligible for employment, six of whom have secured employment in their own efforts. Of the remaining 27, seven participated in the Asian Games and the rest won national medals. Para-players also alleged that there is no training, hostel and training facilities for para-athletes in the state.
Sunil Pradhan, another para-athlete and commuter said: “In terms of financial assistance, para-athletes also receive less than normal players. Normal players who played at the Asian Games received Rs 7.5 lakh while para-athletes only received Rs 50,000. Why this disparity? In other states like Haryana and Gujarat, they offer equal opportunity and financial and infrastructural support to para-players and normal players. When the Odisha government claims to be the sports capital of India, is it possible without bringing the para-players?
However, sources from the sports department said that para-athletes have taken advantage of employment opportunities under the 1% athlete reserve, whenever such a recruitment process is undertaken for various departments and organizations.
Para-athletes are not eligible for jobs in the Odisha Police Department and positions in state PSUs.
The chief secretary called a meeting in this regard on August 27 and asked relevant departments to look into the matter and prepare full guidelines.
Given the physical standards criteria of Odisha Police, the Chief Secretary had asked to consider whether Para-athletes could be considered for Group C positions in various departments, instead of recruiting at the level of police officers.
“A full draft resolution to be prepared by the GA department including all existing resolutions and appropriate modifications to include Group C positions for the recruitment of sportsmen and para-athletes in government and public sector companies ( PSU) ”, Sailendra Kumar Jena, Joint Secretariat, Sports and Youth Department.

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