The smooth route to a cushy government job might be taking the dope trail. With an almost non-existent dope-testing mechanism for those seeking jobs under the sports quota, sportspersons are gaining unfair advantage by using performance-enhancing drugs to get appointment letters in prime government institutions such as the police and railways.
The result: genuine aspirants are losing out to those not averse to exploiting this loophole. “It’s a malaise not just afflicting Uttar Pradesh Police or other departments in the state; it has made inroads in every state of the country,” says Ranveer Singh, the former assistant-director (sports), UP Police.
“There is no mechanism to check this menace when we conduct trials for jobs. The possibility of candidates using performance-enhancing drugs is very high,” added Singh, the former captain of the India volleyball team.
What blew the lid and pointed to a deeper malaise was the positive dope results of two police personnel who were banned in the All-India Police Athletics Championship in 2009.
Over 120 sportspersons in disciplines such as athletics, table tennis, cricket, swimming, hockey and volleyball, who joined the Northern Railway through sports quota, were not subjected to dope tests at the time of trials. “Since there is no provision for dope tests at the time of the trials for jobs, we don’t pay much attention to it,” concedes Kirti Mishra, the divisional sports secretary, Northern Railway.
“We go strictly by the athletes’ performance and cannot refuse them job even if there are murmurs that he/she might be taking performance-enhancing drugs” said Mishra.
Arjuna award recipient, athlete Vijay Sinha Chauhan, who won gold at the 1974 Asian track and field championship in the Philippines, confessed that one of his compatriots had used power-enhancing drugs before trials for a job in the Railways in early 80s.
“He took drugs just before the trials in New Delhi and it helped him get a job in the Railways. Since he had an international medal at a junior meet in the Philippines, he got a cushy posting,” recalls Chauhan. “Later, he got the Arjuna and was promoted as a class-I officer. Unfortunately he died a few years back.”
A hammer thrower from Allahabad, who was selected by UP Police for winning a gold at the senior nationals in the mid 90s, was caught injecting a performance-enhancing drug during trials for the job, but was let off with a mild warning. “The use of drugs has become so rampant that no department has the funds, facilities or the will to stop this,” concludes Chauhan.