Hundreds of candidates who are attending an Indian Air Force drive to recruit Airmen are spending the night outside the Dr. M G R Stadium here stadium, the venue of the rally.
The candidates, some of whom had come with their parents, have to sleep on the pavement of Race Course road.
For candidates from the northern districts, the camp was held on August 26 and 27 and for candidates from the southern districts it started on Sunday and will end on Monday.
Candidates started thronging the stadium the previous night itself. On Saturday night, candidates mostly from Dindigul, Sivaganga, Tirunelveli, Theni, Virudhunagar, Kanyakumari, Tuticorin and Thanjavur districts were at the venue.
On Saturday night, candidates could be seen on both sides of Race Course road preparing for the next day’s written examination.
When TOI asked the candidates and their parents about the arrangement being made, they narrated the ordeal they were going through.
“From Perumal Thevan Patty village in Virudhunagar district, at least one male member from each family is serving the defence services. We are following this trendand and wishto join the air force,” said K Muthu Murugan of S M S Arts and Science College.
“I was sad to see many candidates lying on the roadside. There is no shelter nearby to go to if it rains. This place is already wet due to last evening’s downpour. The authorities could have at least taken steps to check the mosquito menace.” said S Vijayakumar of Chathrapatti in Rajapalayam .
“We were informed that the recruitment process would begin at 6 am, for which the candidates have to stand in queues from 3 am. Thus, I along with my son came the previous night, said R Palpandi of Kombai in Theni. The authorities could make some arrangements for the candidates, a majority of whom are students of either colleges or polytechnic colleges.”
An air force employee, who did not want to be named, said, “If a candidate lands in the air force, it means his life is settled. There is a good salary and peaceful work for the employees. Thus I want my son to join the force.”
A district authority official said, “The recruitment drive normally takes place in Chennai for candidates in Tamil Nadu. For the first time, it is being conducted in Madurai. It is for the candidate to make arrangements and prepare for the test. Some of them had availed themselves of rooms at the Jawan Bhavan.”