Valley Youngsters Reach For The Sky
2 October 2005
The Indian Express
Srinagar: Born in the the times of war, the teens of Kashmir aspire to become missile fitters. This was evident as thousands of youths from the Valley poured in for the special recruitment drive held by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for various technical and non-technical posts, here, today.The IAF is conducting a recruitment drive exclusively for the Valley youth to ease out unemployment. And as the turnout at the Bakshi stadium, the venue for recruitment, was impressive. 'The response is overwhelming,' said Squadron Leader Shibu Philip. 'This is a special recruitment drive exclusively for the youth of the Valley. Thousands of candidates have, so far, reported to us.' The selected candidates would be accommodated in various technical and non-technical trades as missile fitters, medical assistants, lab technicians, photo technicians, radio fitters, engine fitters, equipment assistants etc in the Air Force. At Bakshi stadium, hundreds of candidates were writing their exams, proving their physical fitness and appearing for the medical tests. As the first round of written examinations got over and results were declared, hundreds of candidates were dejected. 'It was my ambition to join the Air Force,' griped a dejected candidate from Budgam. 'It is difficult to get a job in the valley. There is corruption everywhere and this is the only recruitment, where people are appointed on merit. I could not make it this time but I will continue to try for it,' he asserted. There were some beaming faces too - of those who passed the written test, physical fitness and qualified in the interview too. 'I want to serve my motherland,' said Fida Hussain of Kulgam. Hussain has passed his class 12 in medical subjects with distinction. 'Initially I wanted to join IIT but due to financial problems, I could not. Now I want to reach higher ranks in the Air Force. I will appear for the NDA exams too.' The medical and engineering courses have lost the charm for Hussain. There are no vacancies left, he says. If the service of motherland is the motivation for Hussain, unemployment haunts Pervez Ahmad Reshi, 18, of Harwan. 'It is just roti, kapda aur makan (that motivated me),' says Reshi, who has passed his Class 12 in non-medical subjects. 'I want to rise to the rank of Chief Air Marshal,' he beamed. Some 200 candidates were selected for enrollment. They would be trained for 12 weeks and then allotted different trades based on their performance and ambition. The recruitment drive is conducted with the collaboration of JK Directorate of Employment. There is a huge employment problem in the state, says G N Bhat, the Deputy Director Employment for Srinagar. Bhat was himself present at the stadium. He said various Indian security agencies are organising special recruitment drives to tide over this problem. Until recently, joining the military services was an anathema for the youth of Kashmir. But today, making a shift form their preferred career options -Medical and Engineering Sciences - the new generation of the Valley hopes to conquer the air.