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Odisha: Para-players demand government job and equality with normal players. Bhubaneswar News – Times of India

Bhuvneshwar: After a great performance para-athlete Feather Tokyo Para-Olympics And with Odisha shuttler Pramod Bhagat winning the gold medal, Odisha para-athletes raised their voices for equality with ordinary sportspersons.
Odisha Para-Players Forum- A union of para-athletes demanded inclusion of disabled sportspersons in the direct recruitment scheme and providing them government jobs like any other normal sportsperson.
“Equality is only a word of assurance for us. We have been demanding government jobs for the last many years, but our demand has not been paid any attention. Rakhal Sethi, Secretary, Odisha Para Players Forum said, Now after the stellar performance of our para-athletes and Pramod Bhagat, who brought laurels to the state and the country, we request the state government to take us seriously.
The 37-year-old, national level fencer, who represented India in Asian Games, played 5 World Cups, 2 World Championships and won 36 national medals, is also aspiring for the job.
In addition, 14 of his students, whom he is training, have won medals at the national level without any government support.
Sources said that currently 33 para players are eligible for the job, out of which six have got the job due to their hard work. Of the remaining 27, seven have played Asian Games and the rest have won national medals. Para-sportsmen also alleged that there is no training and hostel and training facilities for para-athletes in the state.
Sunil Pradhan, another para-sportsperson and shuttler, said, “Even in terms of financial support, para-athletes get less as compared to normal sportspersons. Ordinary players playing Asian Games get Rs 7.5 lakhs while para-players get only Rs 50,000. Why this inequality? In other states like Haryana and Gujarat, they provide equal opportunities and financial and infrastructural support to para-sportsmen and general players. When the Odisha government is claiming to be the sports capital of India, can it be possible without taking para-players along?”
However, sports department sources said that para-sportsmen are availing job opportunities under 1% reservation for sportspersons whenever such recruitment process is done for various departments and organizations.
Para-sportsmen are not eligible for jobs in posts in Odisha Police Services and State PSUs.
The Chief Secretary has called a meeting in this regard on August 27 and has directed the concerned departments to investigate the matter and prepare comprehensive guidelines.
Keeping in view the physical norms under Odisha Police, the Chief Secretary had directed to check whether para-players can be considered for Group-C posts under various departments instead of police constable-level recruitment.
“A comprehensive draft proposal is to be prepared by the GA Department including all existing proposals and suitable amendments for inclusion of Group-C posts for recruitment of sportspersons and para sportspersons in Government and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs),” Shailendra Kumar Jena, Joint Secretary, Sports and Youth Services Department.

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