Several research scholars, postgraduates and engineering students in West Bengal have applied to the post of forest assistants, the qualification required for which is class 8 pass, a senior official said.
The West Bengal government is hiring 2,000 "Bana Sahayaks" or forest assistants on a contractual basis to protect wildlife and prevent man-animal conflict.
"Many highly-educated applicants have applied for the job and told us that they don't have any hang-ups," said Subir Kumar Guha Neogy, the range officer of the Malda Forest Division.
Among those who turned up for the recruitment process are PhD scholars and people having master's degrees, he said.
Sudeep Moitra, a post-graduate in History who applied for the position, said that he would prefer a government job even if it is contractual and requires a much lower qualification given the current situation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The situation of the job market is dismal. The crisis has been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic with many people having lost their jobs, companies closed and the private sector freezing recruitment. I want to do any kind of government job even if that is contractual," he said.
Raktim Chanda, an MSc in Economics, said, "Being employed with a salary for a few thousand of rupees is better than doing nothing given the present economic situation."
The candidates applying to the post are being tested for reading (30 marks) and writing (30 marks) Bengali or any officially recognised language of the state. Besides, the ability to read English or Hindi (10
marks), general knowledge (20 marks), and personality fitness for forestry works (10 marks) are also being examined.
"What can we do if highly-qualified people such as researchers apply for the job, which is much beneath their academic credentials. We can't prevent them," a senior forest department official in Kolkata said.
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