Postman Goutam Mukherjee is doing the rounds of his area, a lone clue in hand — an envelope meant for “Sushil Kanti, Cossipore”. This needle-in-a-haystack hunt does yield results, thanks to the passport-sized photograph of the recipient peeping through the envelope the postman has strategically cut open. He has made all the effort, for he knows that this piece of paper could make a life.
Mukherjee may have found Kanti — through pluck and luck — but hundreds of postmen have failed to trace thousands of candidates to hand over their admit cards for the Group-D examinations conducted by the Railway Recruitment Board.
The reason — so many of the envelopes carrying the admit cards have addresses as vague as ‘Ashish Kumar Shyamal, M.N. Ganguly Road’ or ‘Abhijit Dasgupta, Tarak Bose Lane’ or ‘Palash Kumar Shyamal, Cossipore’…
The list of incomplete addresses goes on. As a result, all these envelopes now lie in a heap, on the post-office floors, before being sent back to the railway board.
And the date of the first examination — December 14 — is drawing perilously close for all those waiting for their passport to the exam hall and, possibly, to their future.
According to official estimates, around six lakh candidates have applied for the Group-D posts. At last count, from the northern part of the city alone, no less than 7,000 admit cards have been sent back to the railway board.
“I understand the importance of these envelopes but there is little we can do,” admits Sukumar Roy, post-master, Cossipore. “We have 16 postmen here and it is impossible for us to track down all these non-existent addresses and deliver the letters. When we do manage to find a candidate, we urge him to spread the word among his peers that the letters can be picked up from the post office.”
But how did the appalling address fiasco occur' “We are aware that such an unfortunate incident has occurred,” admits A.K. Das, chairman, Railway Recruitment Board. “There could be two reasons behind this — the candidates failing to put in their complete addresses on the form or a digital error creeping in.”
The first reason — blaming thousands of candidates for getting their residence address wrong — does seem implausible, counter officials at post offices doing their best to trace the seemingly untraceable.
Then at whose door does the blame for a “digital error” lie' Das points a finger at the agency assigned the task of compiling and despatching the admit cards. “We will investigate the matter, but for now, the priority is to ensure that the candidates receive their admit cards. We shall hand over the cards if they contact us at our Belgachhia office,” assured Das.