The battle against the foreign bug is almost won. Doaba's preference is changing to fauj.
After maintaining a record of highest literacy rate in the state, Hoshiarpur has accounted for maximum candidates at the ongoing army recruitment rally in Jalandhar Cantonment for the Doaba region youth.
The least number of youth turned up from Jalandhar district but a welcome trend was the Doaba youth's newfound love for the olive-green uniform. "The Hoshiarpur village youth outnumbered their counterparts from Jalandhar, Nawanshahr and Kapurthala, highlighting their liking for the forces," said brigadier Udai Yadav, deputy director general of recruitment in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, on the second day of the rally that will continue till June 16.
Last year, nearly 13,000 candidates from Hoshiarpur participated in the rally; while in 2012, the number was 17,217, maximum of all districts. On Wednesday, more than 3,000 candidates from Hoshiarpur and Dasuya tehsils reported for the test.
"Doaba youngsters were crazy about settling abroad but that trend is dying down because of the reduced job opportunities in other countries. The numbers at the rally indicate that," said the brigadier.
Dope test for candidates
Asked about the falling physical standards of the candidates because of the rampant drug abuse in Punjab, the officer said: "We have not noticed it, so far, though we hear about the concern in the Punjab media, and because of which, for the first time, we conducted random dope tests at Khasa in the Amritsar rally. We'll compare the performances with the medical status of the candidate."
The army is testing candidates for physical and medical fitness. The shortlisted ones will go through a written test on July 27, from where the selected recruits will be sent to respective training centres. Five independent boards of officers will conduct the process to keep it fair and transparent. "They will not fall prey to touts," said brigadier Yadav, expecting 600 from the region to make it to the final list.