Friday, Dec 19, 2014

The faces to MP’s exam scandal

Poonam Sharma falls ill during a hunger strike in Indore in 2013. On the waiting list in the medical entrance, she cleared the all-India test later but by then had crossed the age limit.File Poonam Sharma falls ill during a hunger strike in Indore in 2013. On the waiting list in the medical entrance, she cleared the all-India test later but by then had crossed the age limit. File
Written by Milind Ghatwai | Posted: July 14, 2014 12:40 am

Poonam Sharma of Shivpuri lost out in the Pre-Medical Tests from 2011 to 2013, saying she was only a few marks short on the first two occasions. In 2013, the last time the examination was conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board after the unearthing of the state’s examination scam, she was on the waiting list. And in 2014, she succeeded in the all-India test, only to find that she had crossed the age limit.

A general-category student, Poonam was among a group who went on a hunger strike in Indore in late 2013 to force authorities to admit the waitlisted students against seats whose results had been cancelled. The courts held that no student could be admitted after the last day of admission was over on September 30.

Left with no choice but to pursue BAMS, Poonam says not many supported the wronged students; the support extended by the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party did not help because it was tainted by political affiliation. After she cleared the all-India test, the 1989-born Poonam found the doors closed on her this year when 1990 was introduced as the cutoff year. There was no age limit earlier for admission through the state quota. And she could not clear the BAMS final-year examination because she had focused on her MBBS dream. “I don’t know what’s in store for me,” she says.

Several students in MP have lost out on medical seats over the last many years because the admission process was manipulated by organised syndicates, middlemen, politicians, officials of the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, and bureaucrats.

Zakir Hussain, 22, has opted for a dental course. The retired army havildar’s son came close to making the grade in 2013 but eventually lost out. “Whom do I blame? The parents who gave money on behalf of their wards, the students who agreed to use unfair means, the government that failed to do anything?” says the first-year student of Government Dental College in Indore, the town where the scam was unearthed a year ago.

Though he can still attempt the exam, he has no wish to. “Not any more,” he says of his unfulfilled dream that drained the family’s resources, saw him skip a year, attend coaching in Kota and make repeated attempts.

Kadam Raj Kaul, 22, who belongs to a scheduled tribe, too kept narrowly missing the bus until the scam came to light. “Had it not been for the scam, I would have been a doctor,” he says. A resident of Rewa, he too is pursuing BDS continued…

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