Guwahati, Feb. 3: Finally there is respite for matriculation students in two development blocks of Karbi Anglong district. Unlike their predecessors, they will not have to travel miles to take their examination at Nellie in neighbouring Morigaon district.
The Board of Secondary Education, Assam (Seba), has agreed to set up a matriculation examination centre at Ulukunchi in Karbi Anglong, provided the district administration makes adequate arrangements for security of the staff and transportation of confidential materials, including question papers.
The board conceded after Gauhati High Court yesterday pulled it up, asking why it had not set up a centre in the two development blocks of Amri and Chinthong for the past 15 years, forcing hundreds of students to travel four hours to sit for the examination at the nearest centre in Nellie.
The Seba today informed the division bench of the high court, comprising Chief Justice Madan Bhimrao Lokur and Justice Mutum Binoy Kumar Singh, that they would set up a common examination centre in Chinthong and Amri development blocks.
Advocate A.D. Choudhury, who is amicus curiae in the case, said the court had asked Seba to hold a meeting with the administration either tomorrow or on Saturday to finalise the modalities for setting up the centre and report to the court on February 7.
“The court asked the board to sort out the problems it is facing in setting up the exam centre in the meeting to be held at Diphu. The court has fixed February 7 as the next hearing of the case,” he added.Sources said the administration had informed Seba that it would take all possible steps for security during the exam. Seba officials will meet the headmasters of seven high schools in the two blocks at Nellie on Saturday to discuss the matter and take a final resolution the next day at a public meeting, also to be attended by gaonburahs (village headmen) and local organisations.
The matric or High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) examination 2011 will commence in the state on February 21. According to Seba guidelines, there must be at least 200 candidates for setting up a matric exam centre.
The Telegraph, in its October 7, 2010 edition, had highlighted how nearly 1,500 students of at least seven schools from Amri and Chinthong had been travelling 40km to 100km to sit for the examination in Nellie for more than a decade.
The students had approached Seba and the education department but the problem has not been solved till date. They even sent a petition to Union human resource development minister Kapil Sibal seeking his intervention but he did not respond.
Finally, Justice Lokur directed the registration of a suo moto PIL on the matter in December last after several students, under the banner of United Tribal Youth Forum, sent him a letter on December 17, seeking his intervention in setting up the examination centre in the district’s blocks.
Seba, which filed a petition as a respondent to the PIL, stated that the roads and bridges on the way to Amri block were in a deplorable condition and thus not safe for dispatching confidential examination materials.