Jharkhand tribals getting training in Pondy school

Pondicherry AUG. 26. In a move to provide an opportunity for tribal youth to work as commercial pilots, the Jharkhand Government has sent 13 candidates to a private flying school here for training. The youths, hailing from Ranchi (State capital), Jamshedpur, Kiriburu, Jamtara, Simdega and Chaibasa have begun their training and are awaiting their first solo flight.

The entire expenditure for the 18-month commercial pilots licence (CPL) course with multiengine rating, including for hostel and food and even regular pocket money for the candidates, is being borne by the Jharkhand Government.

``A total of 128 posts earmarked for tribals in the national carriers have been lying vacant for the past few years.

It is the Chief Minister, Arjun Munda's desire to fill up at least a per cent of these seats with students from our State, where 28 per cent of the population consists of tribals. That is why the Government decided to sponsor some 25 students, of whom 14 have been sent to Pondicherry'', explains Captain Ashok K Giri, instructor-in-charge at the Orient Flight School here, who also hails from Jharkhand.

The students, who are graduates from various academic streams, will be flying a Cessna 152 plane for 250 hours and then a Piper Seneca III, a twin-engine plane for some 25 hours for multiengine capability, a requirement fixed by Indian Airlines. They will also learn technical knowhow, electronics, meteorology, navigation and air regulations.

The students have had their first flights with their instructor and say flying is an easy job and that they like it.

``It is very easy and, in fact, riding a bike or driving a car on the road is very difficult compared to flying an aeroplane'', say Sanjay Birua, Kunwar Singh Bodra, Adarsh, Mangu Gagrai, Ajit Alois, Pramanand, Elisha Lakra, Roshan, Sanjay Emmanuel, Kundand Lal, Pramod Toppo, Aman Sinku and Harilal Bhagat in unison.

They are happy at the OFS as they have an instructor from their own State; four local newspapers are being sent to Pondicherry and they also have the services of a Nepali cook. Initially, south Indian cooking did not suit them.

The candidates like Pondicherry but find it difficult to converse in Tamil and so many have bought books to learn the language.

Anand Jacob Verghese, additional director, OFS, said ``We have already trained students from Mizoram and also staff members of Air Sahara. The OFS was chosen by the Jharkhand Government after it conducted a diligence test on our capabilities and infrastructure, academic track record and student performance.'' The school has so far trained over 100 students in the CPL course.

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