January 5, 2019 8:14:37 am
Every afternoon 18-year-old Yogita Bhatti and her sister Bhagwati,19, would ride dump trucks or multi-utility vehicles from their village Panshina to Limdi town, 20 km away, in Surendranagar district, to take coaching for Lok Rakshak Dal (LRD) police exam.
After three months of preparation when they were told that the exam had been cancelled, they were shocked. The government was opening just 9,713 posts of Unarmed Lok Rakshak, Armed Lok Rakshak and Jail Sipai. The job of an LRD has a fixed pay of around Rs 19,000 a month for the first five years with no perks, after which they are confirmed as members of the constabulary. On December 2, 8.76 lakh candidates were to take the exam, but after the question paper got leaked, the exam was cancelled. The re-examination is scheduled on January 6.
The investigators have exposed the involvement of a Delhi-based gang in the leak of the question paper. As many as 15 people were arrested from Karnataka, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat.
That a government job holds value to the youths came out when The Indian Express spoke to some candidates.
Re-exam, a test for state govt’s security apparatus
Sunday will prove to be a test not only for the nearly 9 lakh candidates who will take the Lok Rakshak Dal (LRD) exam, but also for the Gujarat government, which faced a lot of embarrassment after the paper leak incident last month, leading to the cancellation of the exams. Although the Gujarat police claims to have cracked the paper leak case and arrested 15 persons from across five states, the youths dreaming of joining the police force are already disillusioned. Some accused are repeat offenders. One is a former Delhi police constable, who was hired allegedly on basis of fake papers and fired when found out. Another is an accused arrested by Delhi Police in 2017 in connection with another paper leak case. He, police said, bought the LRD paper for Rs 50 lakh.
Yogita, a candidate, told The Indian Express, “I felt more for fellow women candidates. I had the comfort that my father is a government servant, though a peon (in a semi-government high school). But I overheard many girls saying that their fathers had borrowed money to send them to exam centres and some were almost moved to tears.” “We would return from the coaching centres only after sunset. Our father would wake us up at 4 am and make us run so that we can clear the physical test. In between, we would take care of domestic chores so that our mother could continue her tailoring work,” says Yogita, who has enrolled herself as an external student with Saurashtra University for a graduation degree in sociology.
Yogita has another sister Himani studying in Class VIII and a brother who is in Class XII. Asked about the up coming re-test, she says, “I have worked hard. I don’t want to lead a life of a traditional woman. I want to be bold and police force is a good platform, which can allow me to do that. I pray to God that the paper is not leaked this time”. Yogita had been assigned Saint Mary’s School in Morbi, around 160 km away from her village. Her sister Bhagwati had taken a three-month leave from her job as a yoga instructor at a government hospital in Limdi to prepare for the LRD exam. “I cried and remained upset for a couple of days. I was also angry. My father said it was better the exam was cancelled than those with money buying the paper and getting jobs in an unfair manner”.
The Lok Rakshak Recruitment Board (LRRB) has geared up for a fresh written test that will be held on January 6 at 2,440 centres across the districts in 29,000 classrooms in schools and colleges. Out of the total candidates appearing in the test, over 6.66 lakh are males and 2.09 lakh females.
Board chairman Vikas Sahay said exams will be held between 11 am and 12 pm. According to Sahay, all preparations have been done and several additional steps have been taken to ensure fair examination. He said that each centre will have at least 10 policemen deployed. All the classrooms have CCTV cameras.
After the transport issues faced by candidates, the government has announced free to and fro travel for them on Saturday and Sunday. Sahay said that travel would be free for candidates from 9 am to 12 pm on Saturday to their examination centres and then bring them back, on Sunday. The candidates will have to show their call letters and identity proof. Board members said that there will be over 1,400 state transport corporation buses for candidates.
The maximum number of candidates appearing in an examination centre is Ahmedabad where over 87,000 will be arriving from different places. The next biggest centre is in Banaskantha where over 72,000 will come.
On Friday, the government in an official release stated that 31,000 advance bookings were done by candidates to reach their centres. The state transport corporation appealed to the students to book their return tickets in advance. It stated that the buses, after their scheduled trips, will make additional 2,162 trips to help candidates reach centres.
Candidates like Chandrakant Dodiya, 20, from Ghatlodia in Ahmedabad are still clueless about how to prebook a bus to reach his exam centre in Bhavnagar. Last time, he and four to five candidates were stranded following cancellation of the exam. “We pleaded with the driver of a 108 GVK ambulance to give us a lift half way home”, Dodiya told The Indian Express.
Among the aspirants for police jawans was Kiran Solanki, a 25-year-old English literature graduate from Savarkundla town in Amreli district who took three months off from his job as a Home Guard jawan to prepare. “I had experienced this in 2016 also when it turned out that paper of talati recruitment exam had also been leaked.” In 2016, in the talati exam conducted by the Gujarat Subsidiary Services Selection Board, there were allegations of the paper having leaked from a school in Veraval, but the exam was not cancelled. Solanki says, “The state government should start conducting exams online just like the Indian Railway does to check malpractice. After the abrupt postponement, I lost motivation to prepare for the exam.”
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