ALLEGING that the question paper was leaked, about 100 candidates boycotted the examination for the selection of talati mantris in Veraval town of Gir Somnath district on Sunday. The authorities said that they were inquiring into the matter. The exam was conducted simultaneously in the entire state Sunday for the second time after the previous test in 2014 had to be cancelled by the state government due to alleged malpractices.
About 100 odd candidates left their examination halls on KV Savaniya Education Campus in Veraval after candidates of Block No.15 complained that the seal of envelope containing question papers was broken and it was resealed with a plastic tape. The matter came to light when the invigilator of the block opened the seal and sought the signature of two candidates to testify as witnesses that the seal of the envelop was opened in their presence.
“Not only that, when the invigilator counted the question papers, they were 29 against 30 candidates in the block. The paper meant for the candidate of seat number 26 was missing. Moreover, the candidate with the same seat number was absent. So, we suspected foul play and walked out of the examination hall. In all, around 100 candidates boycotted the exam,” said Neeta Ram, a candidate.
The job aspirants also alleged that the campus management tried to cover up the incident. “When we drew the attention of lobby in-charge and campus management to this issue, they told us it will be taken care of and asked us to go take the examination and thus tried to cover up the issue. But we protested as we suspect that it was not a mere coincidence, but an attempt to use unfair means,” said Jayesh Mori, another candidate.
Soon, Veraval mamlatdar Devkumar Ambaliya and police officers reached the campus. The mamlatdar said they were inquiring into the matter.
“The question papers were sent to the Savaniya Campus from the office of district education officer. Prima facie, we are told that the examination supervisor, appointed by Gujarat Guan Seva Pasandgi Mandal (GGSPM), noticed the broken seal. Primary reports suggest that only five students from Block 15 boycotted the examination while the rest took it. However, we are yet to ascertain the exact number of those who boycotted it,” said Ambaliya. He added that Gir Somnath Resident Additional Collector (RAC) Parimal Pandya, who is nodal officer for the competitive examination in the district, will send a report to GGSPM in this connection. “It will be up to GGSPM to take appropriate action after that,” he said.
Gir Somnath Collector Ajay Kumar and RAC did not respond to repeated phone calls and text messages. But district education officer K P Patel said that some candidates even walked out of examination halls with their OMR answer-sheets. “The officers told such students that carrying OMR sheets home could constitute a criminal offence. Only after this instruction did they return to their exam halls,” said Patel. The state government conducted the examination in all the districts of the state for filling up around 2,500 posts of talatis or Class-III employees for revenue department. Around 10 lakh candidates had registered for the re-examination. This was the exam for which Mehsana and Ahmedabad district authorities had suspended internet services Sunday.
Meanwhile, a candidate in Kodinar taluka of Gir Somnath also complained that copying was done in his block. “While centre coordinator has ruled out any such incident, on the basis of one student’s complaint, we’ve ordered the analysis of CCTV footage and asked for a report to be be filed in the case,” said Kodi-nar mamlatdar Batuk Visani.