The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Board bosses differ on scam source

Calcutta, Sept. 17: Controversy seems to dog the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. A joint news conference by the new board chief and the former did not do any good to its image, tarnished by this year’s Madhyamik marks mess, either.

The man in charge of the board’s affairs now, Dibyendu Hota, and the man who quit from his post owning responsibility for the botch-ups, Haraprasad Samaddar, gave contrasting explanations for the scandal.

Hota put his finger on the incompetence of the computer firm that tabulated the Madhyamik marks to be immediately contradicted by Samaddar, who blamed the examiners for improper evaluation.

Hota indicated that a move is afoot to take necessary action against the computer firm for not taking care in maintaining accuracy and perfection in the tabulation procedures.

“We have reports that the computer firm engaged to prepare the marksheets lacked efficiency and committed many mistakes. We will be able to get the actual picture only after inquiries are over,” Hota said.

Samaddar, seated next to him, however, defended the firm and put the entire blame for the marks fiasco on the teachers. “I don’t think it would be correct to say that the computer firm did not function efficiently,” he said.

“Out of the nearly 125 complaints filed in court by aggrieved students, in a single case it was found that the firm went wrong,” Samaddar said, trying to justify his defence.

Hota added that an inquiry to assess the role of the examiners in the scandal would also be initiated. “We will try and identify the erring examiners. We may excuse those who are found to have committed minor mistakes. But we are definitely going to take stern action against those who are found to have grossly neglected their duty,” he said.

Hota admitted that he had to assume responsibility at a time when the efficiency of the board was in doubt. He promised students and guardians best efforts to free the next Madhyamik examinations of the chaos.

Pleading people not to lose confidence in the board, the new president said the mistakes were minimal compared to the number of candidates who take the tests.

“Yet, it is our responsibility to ensure that there is not even a single mistake, no matter how many lakhs of students we have to handle,” he said.

Desperate to present the better side of the much-maligned body, Hota said it still has a large number of efficient officials to conduct the examinations properly. What is lacking is efficient monitoring, and he would try to fill the gap.

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