NEW DELHI, February 6, 2011 (AFP) – Last week 100,000 jobseekers travelled to a small northern Indian town for a recruitment fair that ended in tragedy, revealing much about the limitations of the country’s economic boom. “Even (high-caste) Brahmins apply for such work because there are just no jobs available.” The crowd of mostly young men converged on the town of Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh crammed into all forms of transport, many of them travelling hours from states across the deeply impoverished plains of north India.
On offer was the chance of joining the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). A paltry 416 jobs were available as washermen, barbers, water carriers and other lowly positions with a starting salary of 5,200 rupees ($115) a month.
This remarkable turnout for so few vacancies might have gone unreported except for violence when applicants grew frustrated with the registration process and a gruesome accident as the disappointed hordes headed home.
Returning on the roof of a train that had been filled far beyond its capacity, 18 men were killed when they failed to react in time to a low-hanging bridge.
The blame game that erupted afterwards highlighted problems common to most accidents in