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Civil service form and fee deadlines deferred

The state public service commission on Tuesday extended the last dates for submitting application forms and paying the exam fees for this year’s West Bengal Civil Service (WBCS) examination because of glitches in the new online system of distribution and submission of forms.

The last date for depositing the fee has been extended from April 28 to May 13. The deadline for submitting the forms has been deferred from April 30 to May 15, said commission chairman Nurul Haque.

“Some candidates complained to us that they were facing problems in downloading the forms and paying the fee online. The last dates for submitting the forms and paying the fee have been extended to ensure that each and every eligible candidate can sit for the exam,” said Haque.

The test is scheduled to be held in July.

The commission introduced the online system this year as part of the state government’s drive to do away with manual distribution and collection of forms.

A commission source said the problem cropped up because the number of users accessing the commission website for downloading the forms was much higher than the number it can support.

More than 37,000 candidates have applied since April 5, when the commission started distributing the forms online. It is expected that 1.5 lakh candidates will finally apply for the test. Last year’s examinee count was 1.2 lakh.

The commission source said over 31 lakh users have “hit” the website since April 5. He said the commission portal could support up to 10 lakh visitors.

“The server had slowed down because the website was hit by 31 lakh users, which was much higher than its capacity,” the source said.

A candidate from Bhowanipore complained that the website was not displaying the form when he tried to download it. A candidate from Howrah alleged that she had failed to submit the filled-in form.

Some candidates said they faced difficulties because of a communication gap between the commission and the nationalised banks designated to accept the fees. In the new system, the fee can be paid online or in a branch of one of the designated banks after downloading a challan.

The candidates alleged that the banks refused to take the fee on the grounds that the commission had not asked them to do so. Many candidates who tried to pay the fee online through netbanking also faced problems.

A large number of applicants from all over Bengal had assembled in front of the commission’s headquarters in Tollygunge on Monday and Tuesday, demanding the authorities address their problems.

Haque said the agency engaged to manage the website has been asked to rectify the technical problems and upgrade the capacity.