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Glare on Bengal officials over PM

Calcutta, Sept. 2: Two Bengal education department officials were today showcaused for allegedly posting on the department’s website that schools in three districts would have to make arrangements for the broadcast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interactive session with students on Teachers’ Day.

The notification, which appeared on the website at 5pm and was removed at education minister Partha Chatterjee’s behest at 6.30pm, mentioned that schools in Nadia and North and South 24-Parganas would have to arrange for TV sets, set-top box connections, projectors, screens and amplifiers for the 3pm-4.45pm broadcast.

“I fail to understand how the earlier instruction by the HRD (Union human resource development ministry), issued on August 27, was posted. The department has showcaused two officials concerned and ordered a probe to find out what led to the mistake,” Chatterjee told The Telegraph tonight.

He had earlier said there was “very little time” to make arrangements for the broadcast.

The two officials, attached to the wing that uploads content on the education department’s website, have been accused of “dereliction of duty”.

An education department official said the probe would also look into why only three districts were mentioned.

The Delhi government’s Directorate of Education had issued a directive asking all schools, both government and private, to make arrangements for the broadcast. The Central Board of Secondary Education had issued a circular to all schools affiliated to it to do the same.

However, after widespread criticism, HRD minister Smriti Irani yesterday denied that the Centre had ever asked schools to ensure participation of students and said attendance was “completely voluntary”.

The Bengal education department official said he was not aware if hard copies of the notification had been sent to the inspectors of schools of the three districts. Hard copies of any order have to be sent to the DIs concerned before it can be posted on the department’s website.