Kalahandi’s Puja and Sai fight off poverty to top All India Trade Test


Express News Service

BHAWANIPATNA:  A girl who grew up in an orphanage and the son of a poor daily wager, both belonging to Kalahandi district, have surpassed 25 lakh students to top the national-level All India Trade Test (AITT) 2020 under Craftsmen Training Scheme.

The 18-year-old Puja Mahar and 25-year-old Sai Charan Das of government-run Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Bhawanipatna are students of Mechanic Motor Vehicle (MMV) trade.

The AITT is conducted by the Directorate General of Training under the aegis of National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT).

The exam was held online in February, but the results were declared on May 30.

Puja and Sai clinching the top ranks in female and male categories respectively, is nothing short of inspiring given the odds they faced and overcame.

Puja, who belongs to the backward M Rampur area, lost her father in her childhood. Unable to fend for her daughter, her mother sent her to Nehru Seva Sangh, a child care institute. 

However, she never let adversities stop her from striving for excellence. She managed to get into the ITI in Bhawanipatna  and as a trainee she showed tremendous acumen.

She persisted in the face of economic hardships and took the AITT exam. She topped the exam with 434 marks out of a total 450.

Her batchmate Sai who topped in the male category with 437 marks has a similar story. Belonging to Makraguda village under Golamunda block of the district, both his parents are daily wage earners.

With the little money they saved, Sai enrolled at the ITI but worked alongside in a motorcycle showroom at Bhawanipatna town to sustain himself and the family. 

Kalahandi’s Puja and Sai fight off poverty 

He, however, made sure that his classes and study weren’t hampered by his part-time job. Sai dreams of getting a job of an engineer with Indian Railways while Puja aspires to make a career in automobile engineering.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik congratulated the toppers for their achievement.

Expressing his happiness, principal of Bhawanipatna ITI Snehasis Muduli said the results are a source of pride for the institute.

“Our toppers are role models for other students and have proved that anything can be achieved with dedication and perseverance,” he said.Candidates who qualify in the AITT are awarded national trade certificates.

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