Challenged aspirants in a blind alley

Despite 3% reservation for physically challenged for the posts of school teachers the harrowing reality is that they are still denied the jobs, report Susmita Ratan and SB Sinha.
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Updated on Mar 29, 2007 06:46 PM IST
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None | BySusmita Ratan/S B Sinha, Nawada

They have entered a blind alley in life, literally so. Shashi Bhushan Kumar of village Baghi under Warisaliganj police station lost his vision at the tender age of four owing to the strange habit of banging his head against the walls of his house. Today, 17 years later, he is on the verge of losing even his mental 'vision.' He has been brutally made to realise that despite nearly 2.36 lakh vacancies for teachers, there is no place for a handicapped person like him.

Pankaj Kumar Ambasht (30) of Bihta under Pakribarma police station, a graduate from Patna University awaiting his B Ed results, lost vision at the age of 12 when he tried to lift an eight HP diesel engine single-handedly. Doctors told him that the effort had permanently damaged his optic fibres. He found to his dismay that visually impaired do not fit in the role of teachers despite the required qualifications.

All this, despite three per cent reservation for physically challenged (1 pc for the blind, 1 pc for deaf and 1 pc for the orthpaedically challenged). Shashi Bhushan and Pankaj told the HT that their pleas had failed to move the officials concerned.

Pankaj is the chief advisor of Bihar Viklang Vikas Manch, and Shashi, joint secretary.
Shashi applied for the post of primary school teacher in Nawada, besides two blocks in adjoining Sheikhpura district. After spending nearly Rs 4,000 on photocopies of various documents and an escort, Balmukund, Shashi is a broken man today.

As for Pankaj, he also applied for the post of both middle and high school teacher, albeit in vain.
The verbal sympathy offered by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on the occasion of World Blind Day in Patna on January 4 remains the most painful experience in their quest for the elusive job.
The only positive outcome, however, was a letter issued by HRD joint secretary allocating three per cent reservation to the physically challenged candidates applying for the post of schoolteachers.
On being contacted, the Nawada DM said he had received a large number of complaints related to undeserving appointments and was looking into the matter.

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