GUWAHATI, Feb 20 - The tall claims of SEBA�s arrangements for error-free HSLC examination fell flat today, when two examination centres in the State received question papers of Social Science and Assamese (MIL) on the day of General Mathematics examination.
The goof-up in question paper distribution was reported from two examination centres of Borimakha in Baksa and Morajhar in Hojai districts, where the question papers of Assamese and Social Science were found instead of Mathematics question papers, putting a question mark on the so-called �poll-like� preparations for conducting the examinations smoothly this year.
SEBA authorities, though admitting the mistake, however, denied that the question papers were leaked. SEBA Chairman RC Jain told The Assam Tribune that the examination for Social Science has been rescheduled on March 8 and that of Assamese will be held on the scheduled date of March 7. Both the examinations will be held with new sets of question papers. As per earlier routine, the examination of Social Science was scheduled for February 23.
The government has meanwhile asked the Board to conduct a thorough probe into the incident and submit the report within ten days. The probe would also look into the possibilities of a sabotage angle.
�We have sent teams from SEBA to look into the matter and enquiries would be conducted by the Deputy Commissioners and SPs of the respective districts,� Jain said.
According to sources in SEBA, the mistake was detected by the centre in-charge while tearing the outer cover of question paper packets and it was immediately resealed and sent back to the police stations. The inner plastic packaging was intact in both the centres, confirming no leakage of the papers. The students, however, had to face difficulties as the entire process of getting the right sets of question paper got delayed by at least an hour. Photo copies of mathematics question papers were distributed among the students.
However, there were some allegations that �wrong� question papers were out among students in both the centres that created confusions among the HSLC candidates throughout the State.
Explaining the possible causes of the incident, the SEBA chairman said that it might be due to the wrong labelling on the question paper packets by the vendors appointed for the purpose, or because the headmasters picked up the wrong sets from the police stations.
The All Assam Students� Union (AASU) lambasted the Board and the State Education Department for failing miserably in conducting the examinations. It said that both the SEBA and State Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma are answerable to the students and the people of Assam.
Protesting the incident, the AASU units staged demonstrations in every district and burnt effigy of State Education Minister.
�It is an inexcusable mistake on the part of the State Education Department and whoever is responsible for this mistake must be punished,� AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharyya said.
�Other than the anomalies in question paper distribution, at many places, the students did not get the graph paper required for the mathematics examination, and at many places, there was no electricity creating problems for the students,� Bhattacharyya said.
The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) also criticised the State Government for its failure to conduct the examination properly. In a statement, the APCC said that arrangements of installing CCTV and 24-hour electricity supply were mere eyewash.
The Satra Mukti Sangram Samiti also burnt effigy of State Education Minister protesting the incident.