An attempt by Indian Railways to recruit disabled staff backfired when candidates had to make their way up a building with no lifts or ramps, the Times of India reported.
Manish Bhardwaj, one of the job seekers whose right leg is afflicted by polio, was quoted by the newspaper on Friday as saying that he had to drag himself to his allotted seat on the second floor.
“The government wants us to beg. First, we have to fight the case till the Supreme Court to get vacancies in the disability quota filled. Then, we have to struggle to reach the examination centre,” he said.
Indian Railways – the country’s biggest employer – said it would hire 450 people with disabilities after the Supreme Court ordered it to be more inclusive.
But when candidates arrived to sit for an employment test in New Delhi, they discovered they would first have to make it up to the second and third floors of a building without lifts or escalators.
Many applicants failed to reach the venue in time, while some had to be carried up the stairs.
“Many candidates could not reach the exam centre,” the newspaper quoted one as saying. “Many of them were weeping.”
Railway officials admitted to “some problems” at 10 of the 142 centres across the country, but blamed the fiasco on a private agency hired to conduct recruitment.
India’s railways minister said he had given orders to find out who was responsible.
“Ordered to fix responsibility, if lapse in dealing with differentially abled whom we respect,” Suresh Prabhu tweeted.
Government recruitment drives typically attract a huge response in a country where secure jobs are highly sought after.