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Punjab police recruitment drive has Amritsar on the run

In the queue are 750,000 aspirants from across the state, 150,000 of them women. From Amritsar alone, there are 20,000.

Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar |
Updated: July 23, 2016 3:34:53 pm
Punjab police, punjab police exam, punjab police physical exam, punjab police recruitment, punjab police job, punjab news, india news Aspirants at Amritsar’s Police Lines ground. (Source: Express photo by Rana Simranjit Singh)

Amritsar is on the run. In parks, stadiums, college grounds and streets, young people are running as if their lives depend on it. Or at least their livelihoods.

Next week, when the Punjab police begin recruiting for 7,600 posts, aspirants will be required to clear a running test — 1,600 metres in six minutes.

In the queue are 750,000 aspirants from across the state, 150,000 of them women. From Amritsar alone, there are 20,000.

Between training at the Police Lines ground, Karnail Singh from Amritsar said he is studying for a BA degree from a local college, but his heart is set on becoming a policeman.

The Amritsar police have given special permission to aspirants to use the ground.

“I know many people who have a Master’s degree and have cleared the test to become lecturers. But some of my teachers earn less than Rs 13,000 a month. A constable gets a more handsome salary,” Karnail, son of a government employee, said.

Aspirants usually arrive in groups and share running tips. The ones who are well off carry expensive kits. Candidates need to clear a physical test, which includes the 1,600 metre-run and a long jump, to qualify for recruitment.

At 26, Harpreet Singh is scraping the upper age limit for candidates. The 12th pass said he is happy that higher education qualification is not a factor in the recruitment this year.

“In the last police recruitment before the 2012 assembly polls, those with higher education got more marks and less educated people like me lost out. This time, it’s all about fitness and your Class XII marks.”

Such is the rush at sports grounds that colleges have started complaining.

Recently, the Government Medical College at Circular Road restricted entry of runners. Sources said this was done because the college is opposite a girls’ hostel.

But Punjab Minister for Medical Education and Research Anil Joshi, the MLA for Amritsar (North), where the college falls, intervened.

The SAD-BJP government hopes the recruitment drive will help counter criticism from the Congress and the AAP that it did not do enough to create jobs for the youth.

So about two weeks ago, a hoarding came up at the main gate of the college, with Joshi’s picture and a message in Punjabi: “There is no restriction in using the college ground to prepare for police recruitment.”

“Many aspirants approached Punjab police recruitment drive has Amritsar on the run me after the college closed its gates. I discussed the issue with the principal and told him to allow the youth. The administration can check their ID cards. There are not many grounds in the city,” Joshi said.

At the government-run Guru Nanak Dev sports stadium, the rush has disrupted football and softball practise sessions and prompted the district sports officer to write to the deputy commissioner for security.

“We have been facing many problems because of the recruitment. This is a government stadium and we cannot stop people from coming here. When we try to stop them, they use their connections to get permission or jump over the stadium wall… Softball practise has been stopped, football has also been affected. The grass gets damaged because people don’t follow rules and run wherever they want,” district sports officer Harpaljit Kaur Sandhu said.

“So we have written to the deputy commissioner to provide security to control the crowd,” Sandhu said.

Since the district sports office has not had an athletics coach for the last one-and-a-half months, aspirants have been practising on their own.

Guru Nanak Dev University and Khalsa College Amritsar do not allow aspirants to practise at their grounds.

“We cannot allow them use our grounds but we give them guidance. Some youths have been running on concrete roads in the morning and evening. It is going to damage their joints,” said Harpreet Singh, coach at Guru Nanak Dev University.

At Amritsar Police Lines, too, aspirants get tips from police coaches. “We have six coaches and around 500 candidates comes to us for guidance,” said Sunil Kumar, a coach with the Amritsar Police.


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