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HS council staff violate noise ban

The Trinamul-backed staff union at the Higher Secondary council headquarters in Salt Lake blared loudspeakers on the office premises for nearly seven hours on Friday, violating the high court’s ban on their use during board exams.

The state’s biggest board exam, Madhyamik, is on.

Leaders of the union, which was holding its annual conference, claimed they were unaware of the ban.

The court order states that microphones/loudspeakers could not be used in the open anywhere in the state for the duration of board exams. Loudspeakers can be used at low volume in enclosed spaces.

The employees installed two loudspeakers outside the main gate of Vidyasagar Bhavan, the council headquarters, and played songs and speeches at high volume from 7.30am.

Residents of the Karunamoyee area, where the office is located, said violation of the noise ban continued till well past 2pm.

Friday’s Madhyamik exam — history — continued from noon to 3pm.

“Some employees who were holding their union conference used loudspeakers in front of the council office today. They should not have used the loudspeakers in the open as Madhyamik is in progress. Action will be taken against those who have violated the ban on the use of microphones during board exams,” said Mahua Das, president, West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education.

She said senior council officials came to the office around 10.30am and asked the union leaders to switch off the loudspeakers.

“When I came around 1pm, I did not hear any blaring sound from loudspeakers,” said Das.

Union members claimed they were unaware that the ban on microphones or loudspeakers during an exam was applicable across the state. “We thought the ban is in force only around Madhyamik centres. We played loudspeakers as there is no school in the area,” said an employee.

Some union members even claimed they were in the dark that Madhyamik was on. The office of the state secondary education board, which conducts Madhyamik, is next to Vidyasagar Bhavan.

Subhasis Roy Choudhury, a leader of the Trinamul-backed union, apologised for using loudspeakers. “This should not have happened. We apologise for the mistake,” said Roy Choudhury.

Madhyamik started on February 24 and will continue till March 6. The loudspeaker ban, however, will be in force till April 17, when the last of the board exams — CBSE Class XII — ends.