TWO YEARS after five aspirants died in Mumbai during a police recruitment drive, the Maharashtra government has eased physical fitness test for the constabulary.
Sources claim the proposed Government Resolution (GR) has brought down running distance from 5 kms to 1.6 kms for male aspirants and from 3 kms to 800 metres for female aspirants. Also for the first time, there would be a common written test on the same day to avoid duplication of applications.
However, the proposal of conducting the test during winter won’t be possible, especially in a city like Mumbai which receives over 1 lakh applications. The test would stretch till summer thereby subjecting hopefuls to harsh conditions which led to deaths of five in 2013.
“The deaths led to public outcry and therefore physical fitness test was revised. We brought down running distance and kept it to a bare minimum after consulting with many physicians,” a senior official from the state government said. However, many senior officials expressed apprehension over the proposed GR, whether the constabulary which is mainly pressed for maintenance of law and order and primarily deployed on patrolling duty would have the stamina to endure hardship of the profession.
“Five kilometer is not a long distance to check physical fitness of a person whose primary duty is patrolling. The measure is more populist in nature and would not help us get the best man available,” said a senior official. “The best way to deal with the issue is to subject the aspirant to a medical test before allowing them to take the test. Only those physically fit should be permitted to take the test. Many aspirants hide ailments and take the test despite not being physically fit and that leads to them to collapsing or in worst situation even costing their lives,” added the source.
“The proposal was to conduct the drive during winter. However, the drive will commence in February and for a busy commissionarate like Mumbai which receives over 1 lakh applications for 2570 posts, the drive would extend to summer as they would be schedule on days we don’t have other commitments,” added the source.
In 2013, after the deaths of five aspirants, a team of 100 medical students and doctors from Government medical colleges were stationed at Central Mumbai before allowing them to undertake the five kilometre run. The drive was rescheduled during evening hours. Also starting this year, the written test, which takes place after physical test would be held on the same day and at the same time across all commissionarates and districts.
“Since written tests were conducted on different days and different times by commissionarates and district police, a single aspirant used to apply at various places. However if he got selected he used to choose the district or the commissionarates of his choice. Owing to this, many posts were left vacant as we can select only from the 10 aspirants available in the waiting list. However, now with a common written test at the same time, the applicant cannot apply at different places,” explained the source.