The Telegraph
Saturday , April 26 , 2014
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Trouble brews over JEE move

Agartala, April 25: The decision of the Tripura Board of Joint Entrance Examination to invite responses from experts and candidates for the model answer key to questions in the joint entrance exam has created fresh controversy.

Board chairman Surajit Chakraborty posted a notice on the board’s website yesterday inviting responses from students and experts till April 30 to the model answer key to be uploaded this evening.

“The opinions thus sent on the model answer key will be uploaded in due course of time with feedback received as the final answer key,” the notification said, without specifying the date when the final answer key will be uploaded.

The notification has sparked a major controversy with many students and guardians describing it a “smokescreen” for helping “politically favoured” candidates secure a medical or engineering seat.

“This is a bizarre thing happening since last year. In joint entrance exams like the IIT-JEE, AIEEE, AIPMT, the board authorities upload the final answer key on the last day of the exam. However, the attempt to prepare the final answer key through an open tender is never done by any board. A board should have its own panel of experts,” said Shibtosh Paul, officer in the rural development department, whose daughter had appeared for the exam.

Altogether 4,499 candidates had appeared for the state joint entrance exam held on Wednesday and yesterday for admission to medical, engineering and other professional courses.

Chakraborty was not available for comment but sources in the department of higher education said all processes relating to the joint entrance exam would be conducted in a transparent manner.

The board has been mired in controversies over the past few years, with largescale irregularities in evaluating answer scripts coming to the fore in 2012 and the Tripura High Court setting a guideline for holding the exam and evaluating answer scripts.

But the former board chairman Rakhal Debnath had resorted to a different strategy to allegedly help “politically favoured” candidates last year by including wrong answers to several questions in the model answer key and inviting online “feedback” from candidates and experts before uploading the final answer key on the website.

Later, the board decided to award full marks to candidates who had ticked the wrong options given by the board but meritorious students who had not answered the wrong options were not given any marks.

“This year the same tactics is being followed to deprive the meritorious students,” said Paul.