Job Fair That Gave Wings to Dreams of Youths of Naxal-Hit Gadchiroli Sandip Kolhatkar 
Snehal Abhare, a 21-year-old pharmacy graduate from Naxal-affected Gadchiroli district, couldn't believe her luck when she secured a job within a year of completing the course, thanks to a job fair organised in her home district which turned out to be a huge success.

Abhare, who graduated last year, got an appointment letter from a firm after attending the event organised by the Gadchiroli Police in collaboration with private agencies recently.

She would soon join the Nagpur-based firm as a pharmacist.

Abhare, who hails from Chamorshi tehsil of the east Maharashtra district, was not the only one whose dreams will become reality.

There are over 800 candidates, majority of them from disturbed areas of the district, who were selected by 18 MNCs and were given offer letters on spot, said Nasir Hashmi, coordinator for Community Information and Research Centre (CIRC) which organised the mega job fair last week jointly with the Gadchiroli Police and Pune-based job portal, 'Job Showcase'.

"While working in the tribal and Naxal-affected areas of Gadchiorli, I experienced that the youth here was adequately qualified but was not aware of job opportunities and how to approach for a job," Hashmi told PTI.

He said the youth in Gadchiroli only knew about jobs that are available in the police department.

"In the past, I tried to convince some MNCs, but they were not ready to come to this side of the state due to the Naxal threat.

"I tried to convince them that the youth here is the asset and if their knowledge is not utilised or channelised, they will be misused for sure," said Hashmi.

He stressed that it was important to bring the youth to the mainstream and give them exposure.

Hashmi said he came into contact with social entrepreneur Ravi Ghate and Shriram Satpute of "Job Showcase" which provides both training and employment opportunities to local job seekers in rural and remote areas and they decided to organise the job fair in the Naxal-hit district.

"I then met Superintendent of Police, Gadchiroli, Abhinav Deshmukh, who ensured cooperation from the police department, and on January 5 the job fair was organised in the Gadchiroli city. Around 4500 youths from across the district attended it," Hashmi said, adding that this is the first time that such a job fair was organised with the help of police.

Abhare said it was for the first time that she attended a job fair and secured a job.

"I belong to Naxal-hit area of Chamorshi and opportunities for the jobs are minimal there, but the job fair turned out to be a boon for me," she said.

The Gadchiroli Police, who played a key role in the first-ever-job fair, reached out to masses through police stations across the district.

"In order to make the youth aware of this opportunity (job fair), we roped in our police stations and through them, a word about the job fair was circulated," the SP said.

Satpute, who was instrumental in bringing at least 18 companies to the job-fair, said that apart from engineering and pharmacy graduates, ITI diploma holders, class X and XII pass-outs, and even school dropouts participated in the event.

"While the minimum salary offered was Rs 11,000, the maximum offer was Rs 42,000," he said.

Over 800 candidates were given the spot offer letters, while more than 1500 job aspirants have been shortlisted for further rounds.