About 45 lakh candidates for 35,000 jobs. Add to that the shortage of question papers, insufficient seats, road blockade, traffic snarls and admit cards not reaching the aspirants. The result: chaos, violence and injuries across the state as thousands could not make it to the examination halls.
Three women candidates in Barasat, one in Baruipur and one in Sheoraphuli fell off trains while on their way to the examination centres. They have been admitted to hospitals.
“We’ve never seen 45 lakh people appearing for an examination on a day. We ran 50% more buses. Had Metro services started early in the morning instead of 11am, the damage could have been minimised. Train services were also not satisfactory, leading to trouble,” transport minister Madan Mitra said.
Ashok Ganguly, CPRO, Eastern Railway, said, “We weren’t informed about the exam by the board. But we took our own initiative and ran 1,291 suburban trains instead of 1,102 trains run by us on any Sunday.”
At Baruipur, candidates who failed to reach the exam halls squatted on the railway tracks for two hours. The police used force to control the situation.
Trouble was also reported from Kakdwip, Pathat Pratima and Bhangar. Agitated students blocked NH-34 for four hours after they failed to reach exam centres. Sensing the situation had gone out of control, education minister Bratya Basu said those reaching the centres by 2 pm would be allowed to sit for the exam. But Basu’s balm had no effect. The chaos continued since the authorities in districts remained unaware of his announcement till Sunday evening. Kidderpore Academy, where 300 examinees were supposed to write the exam, kept waiting for the candidates throughout the day. The problem was that those who were to write the test there had admit cards showing the name of some other school as the venue.
Similarly, more than 500 candidates had a harrowing time at Gobindapur Smriti Girls’ High School in Uluberia since they had admit cards with misleading addresses. At Manirtat Raimoni Institution at Jainagar, there were 150 more candidates against the allotted seats. Later, the agitated students did not allow the authorities to hold the exam.
At Ghola Girls’ High School, there was a different problem. Candidates reached the school only to find out that the venue was not at Gopalnagar but in Sodepur.
At least 20 candidates could not seat for the exam because of anomalies in the allotment of examination centres in Siliguri education district.
Candidates claimed that the official website showed their centres at Kharibari and Matigara. When they reached there, they were told that their centres were somewhere else. When they checked the site again, they discovered that their centres were located faraway at Mainaguri in Jalpaiguri district and Bidhannagar.
Traffic on NH-34 was disrupted for three hours on Sunday after a truck broke down in the middle of the road in Nadia’s Dhubulia. As a result, thousands of candidates were stuck in the jam. Police later rushed to the spot to ease the situation. This resulted in many students reaching the centers late. A traffic snarl on NH-60 between Midnapore and Kharagpur because of a truck breakdown proved costly for the students.
In West Midnapore, many candidates failed to appear for the test because of administration bottlenecks. Candidates later staged a demonstration in front of the office of district primary council in Midnapore demanding new dates for the exam. In East Midnapore, traffic snarls prevented candidates from writing the test.
Sources said students from Chandrakona Road, Kespur, Jhargram and Lalgarh were the worst affected. According to the district administration, about 1.82 lakh candidates in West Midnapore are vying for 1,871 jobs in primary schools.
“We don’t know what will happen to us and whether the government will arrange another test for students who failed to sit in the test”, Subhashis Ghosh, a candidate from Gopiballavpur, said.
At Fatullapur High School under Raghunathpur police station, candidates thrashed a teacher because he did not give extra time to those who reached late. The teacher is in hospital.