Assam to shut mobile internet for 4 hours on August 21 and 28 to curb cheating in exam

Published on Aug 17, 2022 08:56 PM IST

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said his government did not want to take any risk and will disconnect mobile internet for the duration of the recruitment exams on both the dates.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said people will be able to access the internet via wired connections during the duration of the recruitment exams. (ANI File Photo)
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said people will be able to access the internet via wired connections during the duration of the recruitment exams. (ANI File Photo)

GUWAHATI: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Wednesday that mobile internet services will be shut for four hours each on August 21 and August 28 to ensure smooth conduct of recruitment exams for government jobs.

As part of the drive to provide 100,000 jobs within the first year of returning to power, the BJP-led state government will conduct examinations for recruitment to nearly 30,000 Grade III and Grade IV posts on the two dates.

A total of 14,30,337 candidates are expected to take part in the written exams in one of the largest such drives in the state.

“The first exam will be held on August 21 from 10am to 12pm and again from 2pm to 4pm. The same timings will be repeated on August 28 as well. For smooth conduct of the exams, we will shut down mobile internet during duration of the exams in districts where they will be held,” Sarma said at a virtual meeting with deputy commissioners and other stakeholders.

The exams will be conducted in 25 of the 35 districts in the state.

“I would like to apologise to the public for the inconvenience. But while mobile internet will be shut, wired internet will be available. It is important that we take this measure because if someone sends out the question paper on WhatsApp during the exam, there will be a lot of hue and cry and we don’t want to take any risk,” he added.

There’s another exam scheduled on September 11 for recruitment of drivers in state government departments, but a decision on whether mobile internet should be shut down on that date too will be taken later, Sarma said.

To be sure, Assam isn’t the first state to block mobile internet for the duration of recruitment exams. The Rajasthan government last year suspended mobile internet and text messaging services in districts where the state’s teacher recruitment exams were being held.

The chief minister directed all officers to adhere to the Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) for maintaining a foolproof mechanism for recruiting competent youth transparently in different government posts.

A statement from SArma’s office said one nodal officer will be appointed in each of the 25 districts where examinations are scheduled and gazetted officers will be assigned to each examination centre as observers to ensure that the SOPs are properly implemented.

A sub-inspector level police officer will be deployed in each examination centre who will be assisted by other police personnel. The candidates along with the invigilators will be barred from carrying mobile phones or any other electronic gadgets into the examination centre.

The centre-in-charge in each examination centre will engage two videographers to video graph the examination process. No candidate will be allowed to re-enter the examination centre after the end of the examination of that particular shift, the statement mentioned.

The chief minister also asked the district police chiefs where exams will be held to keep their intelligence network active to be able to pre-empt any attempt to disturb the examination process.

In the past, there have been instances of irregularities during recruitment drives including for posts in state civil services and police departments with instances of papers getting leaked.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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