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Post office fracas over forms

Jorhat, April 27: Agitated parents and candidates seeking forms for the Combined Entrance Examination (Assam) for medical and engineering today caused an uproar at the Jorhat head post office following alleged irregularity in issuing of forms.

Police later picked up six employees of the post office, including the postmaster and two women employees.

Candidates and their parents had come from far-flung areas, like Majuli and Borholla, to get the forms — priced at Rs 250 each — the examination of which is slated to be held at May 21 and 22.

Work at the head post office, which witnesses a heavy rush every day, got disrupted following the situation.

The police recovered more than 100 forms from cupboards and drawers of staff members after it officially was declared that forms had been exhausted. Parents along with their wards said they had been queuing up in front of the main gate of the post office since 5am to collect the forms.

They alleged that the post office authorities had kept large number of forms to themselves for mala fide intention and had announced that all the forms have been sold out.

Trouble started around 10.50am when the post office authorities put up a notice stating the total stock of the forms numbering 1,200, which were being issued in five counters, got exhausted.

The candidates and their parents were not convinced as, according to them, there were only 600-700 people in the five queues and total number of forms issued by the post office was stated as 1,200. Smelling irregularity, the deprived candidates complained to the postmaster, who, too, reportedly informed them that the forms were sold out.

“We were sure that the post office staff had kept aside lot of forms. So we went to the deputy commissioner’s office and informed him about the anomaly,” Debeswar Borbora, a parent who came from the Pulibor area on the outskirts of the town, said.

Apurba Sarmah, a candidate from Majuli, questioned how could 1,200 forms get sold out when there were less then 700 aspirants in the queues.

Deputy commissioner R.C. Jain immediately sent additional deputy commissioner Dhiren Hazarika and executive magistrate Lisa Talukdar to the head post office to look into the allegations.

A police team led by deputy Jorhat superintendent of police (headquarters) Pankaj Kakati also arrived at the spot.

As the joint team of civil and police officials searched the almirahs and drawers inside the office, altogether 115 forms with cover envelopes and another 20 cover envelopes (without forms inside) were recovered. Mujibur Rahman, the postmaster from whose office chamber’s almirah few forms were also recovered, said they were kept by him and other staff members on the request of their relatives and friends for their wards.

Additional deputy commissioner Hazarika said all the 115 forms were later re-issued by executive magistrate Lisa Talukdar to those candidates, who earlier were deprived. He said the administration would file an FIR with the police.

Officer-in-charge of Jorhat police station Bokul Gogoi said all the six employees had been picked up as forms had been recovered from the official almirahs/drawers allotted to them.

Gogoi said the employees will be questioned and on the basis of the FIR and appropriate action will be taken.

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