Sanyasa Kumar Behera, the first visually-challenged OAS officer, assumed office as the Training Reserve Officer at the Establishment section of the Collectorate here on Wednesday.
Behera, who is 100 per cent visually challenged from birth, is now doing entire office work through Braille script. Before joining, he had undergone four-month training at the Gopabandhu Academy of Administration in Sambalpur.
He is the first divyang who had cracked the prestigious Odisha Administrative Service (OAS) conducted by the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) in 2015. He was ranked 220 in the list of 670 selected candidates. He topped among eight visually impaired and five hearing impaired candidates, who cleared the OPSC exam.
After completing matriculation at Bhima Bhoi Blind School in Bhubaneswar, Behera did graduation in Arts in the Blind College, New Delhi.
Sanyasa achieved the feat after fighting a prolonged legal battle against prohibition of physically challenged candidates from appearing the OPSC examinations.
His fight paved way for the visually challenged persons to appear for the State Civil Services examinations. He had filed a PIL in the Orissa High Court in 2011 seeking candidature of physically challenged persons to the examination conducted by the OPSC.
Accepting the PIL, the High Court ordered the OPSC in 2014 to include visually impaired candidates in the aspirants’ list.
However, there was no provision made for visually impaired candidates in the notification issued by OPSC for Odisha Administrative Service examination in 2015.
He then approached the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities in July in the same year and placed his demand. Then, the OPSC amend its rule in August allowing the visually impaired candidates to appear for the civil examinations.
Sanyasa, a native of Kishoreprasad village under Gania block in Nayagarh district, said he would continue to fight for the rights of persons with disabilities (PwDs).