Pradeep Pattanayak

A low percentage of women candidates qualifying the physical efficiency test in the constable recruitment examination in Odisha has sparked a debate with experts blaming lack of adequate physical training for girl students at the school and college levels.   

Out of the total 51 constable posts reserved for women in Sambalpur district, only six have been filled up. 

Hundreds of female aspirants took part in the written and physical tests for 51 female constable posts lying vacant in Sambalpur district. But only six of them could manage to scrape through. This means, only 11.76 percent of posts are filled up, and 45 posts still remain vacant. 

“It was really tough to cover 1600 metres in eight minutes. Here, 90 percent of girls were disqualified. The next course of action will be decided by the police headquarters,” said Sambalpur SP B Gangadhar.

Women candidates’ poor performance was reported not only in Sambalpur district but also in other districts. 

The tests were conducted across the State to fulfill 4,790 constable posts in 35 police districts. Of the total posts, 1595 posts were reserved for female candidates. 

But, surprisingly enough, when it came to physical fitness, they failed miserably. While six out of 51 posts are fulfilled in Sambalpur district, nine out of 31 in Nabarangpur district, 10 out of 16 in Malkangiri district and 37 out of 50 posts in Rayagada district are fulfilled. 

The poor performance of girls in the constable tests leaves several questions to be asked like are the girls lagging behind in physical fitness? Are they not receiving physical training at the school and college levels?  

While retired police officers suggest physical eligibility tests from the school level, physical trainers blamed the present education system in educational institutions. 

“It is seen in Odisha that girls are not able to meet the criteria fixed for a police job,” said Batakrushna Tripathy, former IG of Odisha. 

“Had these candidates received physical training in their schools and colleges, they would have not failed in the tests,” observed Y Jagannath Rao, former police officer. 

According to Captain Sarita Naik, it is due to the fault in the education system. “There is no facility for the girl students to improve their physical fitness in colleges. Priority should be given to physical fitness at school and college levels,” she said.