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Seba row cloud over exams

- Dispur fails to act on panel’s recommendations

Guwahati, Dec. 9: Dispur’s failure to timely execute the recommendations of Srinath Baruah reforms committee has resulted in increasing conflicts between the chairman and secretary of the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (Seba).

The row is threatening to disrupt the smooth conduct of the ensuing matric and high madarsa examinations.

Sources told The Telegraph that the Baruah committee report, which was submitted to education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma six months ago, clearly mentioned the rift between the chairman and board secretary. The report suggested that the state government should intervene immediately in doing away with these rifts for the greater interest of students.

“The reforms committee, while preparing its report, investigated various internal affairs of Seba. It found that both persons holding the posts of chairman and secretary respectively are guilty of executing official duties according to their whims and fancies. It suggested removal of both officials and requested the government to clearly demarcate their jobs,” a source said.

Sources said the state government did not pay any attention to the reforms committee, further deepening the mistrust and widening the rift between the chairman and secretary.

“Chief minister Tarun Gogoi has not yet approved the Baruah committee report. According to rules, after the chief minister’s approval, the report will be placed before the state cabinet. Once the cabinet approves it, the government will be able to implement the recommendations,” the source said.

A letter written on November 26 by the then Seba secretary B.K. Das to the secretary of secondary education showed how the power tussle has adversely affected the functioning of the board.

Das, in his letter, said a chaotic situation might arise at any point of time and affect the matric examination schedule or even cause the exam to be postponed. He alleged that the chairman, Shantikam Hazarika, has crossed the line of control and running Seba in an autocratic manner by totally sidelining him.

“Even after receiving such letter the state government was reluctant to act in order to bring things under control in Seba. The government recently removed Das from the post of secretary and appointed Dayaram Rajbongshi to the post,” the source said.

Sources said since January the government has removed three officials, including L.N. Sarma, Bhupen Talukdar and B.K. Das, from the post of secretary primarily because of their differences with the chairman.

Dayaram Rajbongshi joined as secretary yesterday.

Srinath Baruah, the vice-chancellor of KK Handique State Open University who headed the eight-member reform committee to suggest measures to bring about reforms in matric examinations, is disturbed over the development.

Baruah said he would write to the chief minister within one or two days requesting him to either accept the reforms committee report or come out with Dispur’s own plans to streamline Seba.

Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma yesterday tweeted that the matric examinations would be held on time and assured students not to worry. He, however, did not comment on the rift between the Seba chairman and secretary.


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