Ever wonder what happens to the more than 1.5 crore answersheets of state board students after assessment is over and the results declared every year? You would never ever find them in grocery shops or with roadside vendors being reused as takeaway packets for sure. The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE),every year,disposes of these answersheets weighing more than 200 metric tonnes (2,00,000 kg) as per a properly evolved procedure that ensures the paper get compulsorily converted into pulp. And through this the board generates lakhs of revenue too.
Nearly 25 lakh HSC and SSC students appear for board examinations annually. Each HSC answersheet consists of 28 pages while SSC students are given 20-page answerbooks. The archival period of answersheets is usually of six months. Answersheets of subject toppers and those who have applied for photocopies or revaluation process are kept with us for a little longer period in case of a possible dispute. Later,we invite tenders to scrap answersheets and the highest bidder becomes eligible to take possession of the stock and dispose them of, said MSBSHSEs Pune division chairman Sunil Chauhan.
The board has nine divisions in the state and tenders are invited separately by each office to scrap answersheets in their custody.
The Pune division,which registered on an average 5 lakh students annually for board examinations in the last few years,generates revenue in the range of Rs 20-25 lakh through scrapping of answersheets.
Last year,around 50 MT (50,000 kg) scrap was generated from answersheets at our division. The answersheets of several students also carry one or more supplements. Mathematics answersheets usually carry the highest weight as students opt for relatively more supplements. After scrapping,the pulp generated is used for production of paper and other purposes by related firms, Chauhan said.
Every divisional office of MSBSHSE has strongrooms where answersheets are kept under tight security measures. Several racks are used to place answersheets after they are segregated as per districts. The archival period of six months is relatively large,and we have to ensure measures like pest control to protect them from termites and other such attacks. Such properly preserved answersheets result into good amount of scrap, said an official at the boards stores department.
A separate process for scrapping the answersheets of students appearing for supplementary exams held in October every year is carried out by the board annually. With generation of pulp,such bulk use of paper for answersheets every year cannot be termed as wastage. Though online techniques are fast replacing the traditional methods of examinations,we do not yet foresee paper becoming extinct as far as examinations are concerned, said a senior official.