Ranchi, July 1: A peeved agriculture minister Satyanand Jha Batul has ordered that either the result of competitive exams for selecting village-level workers (VLWs) be rectified or the agency that conducted the tests be taken to task.
Earlier, he had asked the chief secretary to conduct thorough inquiry.
“Soon after the irregularities came to my notice, I asked the chief secretary to look into the matter. I want fair results on time, so that the commoners don’t suffer,” Batul said.
Last year, the agriculture department had invited applications to fill up vacant posts of over 850 VLWs. A private agency, the name of which officials declined to divulge, was roped in to conduct the exams according to set norms. The agency held the tests on January 7, this year, and published the result in about two weeks.
There were four papers and questions objective-type. However, the total marks was 360 (90 in each paper) instead of 400.
Consequently, several “incompetent” candidates got through the exams with the deputy commissioners of certain districts raising a hue and cry. Many refused to accept the merit list provided by the agency, which was then asked to round off the marks .
In February, the agency came out with a fresh merit list, but that was beset with errors too. This is because the agency did not calculate the round-off on the basis of total, but instead did so separately for each paper. This, in turn, led to bigger discrepancies in the merit list and the agriculture minister faced flak from all quarters.
According to sources, a top executive of the agency was summoned recently and asked to rectify the mistakes. Senior officials of the agriculture department too are in regular touch with the agency. “I don’t know where the head office of this agency is located. If we send a letter to their Delhi office, the reply comes from their Bangalore branch. Their senior executive, who introduced himself as the managing director, came from Calcutta,” said an official of the agriculture department.
But the official accepted that investigations revealed that there was no major irregularity in conduct of exams and publication of results. The agency eliminated possibilities of tampering by denying access to answer sheets.