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Dropout e-rickshaw drivers ferry Madhyamik students to exam halls

To popularise this service, they even put up a poster on their vehicle offering free transportation to examinees
The two Toto operators wait outside a Madhyamik exam centre to ferry students home in West Burdwan’s Andal on Monday.
The two Toto operators wait outside a Madhyamik exam centre to ferry students home in West Burdwan’s Andal on Monday.
Dipika Sarkar

Abhijeet Chatterjee   |   Durgapur   |   Published 08.03.22, 12:51 AM

Two e-rickshaw drivers in West Burdwan’s Andal have come forward to ferry Madhyamik candidates from their homes to examination centres and back for free because many of them are too poor to afford a bus ride even on  an exam day.

“Many Madhyamik  examinees travel on foot as they cannot afford a bus ride or hire vehicles to reach the examination centre. We had to drop out of school because of poverty and know the hurdles that students from poor families face. So, we decided to take them to exam centres for free,” said Doyamoy Ruidas, one of the Toto drivers.

His friend and another e-rickshaw (Toto) driver Kanai Ruidas Das said together they ferried over 100 examinees to the Madhyamik examination centres and back home on Monday, which was the first day of the Class X state board exams this year.

To popularise this service, they even put up a poster on their vehicle offering free transportation to Madhyamik examinees.

“We have decided to keep two hours on each day of the examination reserved for the job. During that time, we won’t accept any other passenger. We are also poor people but we want to do whatever little we can for the youngsters,” said Kanai Ruidas.

Three examination centres have been set up in Andal at Khandra High School, Ukhra Adarsh Hindi High School and Ukhra KB High School.

Most of the examinees have received bicycles from the state government under the Sabuj Sathi scheme but during the examination days they prefer to use public transport.

“I got a bicycle and I usually use it to go to school. But during exams, I avoid cycling because it adds to my stress,” said examinee Kajal Bauri.

He said the Madhyamik examination centre is 1.5km away from home and he would have had to walk to it if the Toto drivers did not help them.

Another Madhyamik examinee Piu Ruidas said the free Toto service was a big help.

“They (Toto drivers) stay in our locality and I know them well. They are taking us to the exam venue like our guardians,” she said.

Local Trinamul leaders welcomed the move.

“We are welcoming examinees with flowers and masks. We are glad to know that the two Toto drivers are transporting the examinees free of cost,” said Ipshita Singh, a leader of Trinamul’s woman wing in Khandra.

Exam amid tragedy

Two siblings from Birbhum's Parui took their Madhyamik examination on Monday within a few hours of the death of their father in a road accident in Bolpur on Sunday night.

Ghanashyam Kisku and his step-sister Jimina Parvin, students of Keshaipur High School in Birbhum’s Parui, reached the examination centre at Ahmedpur Joydurga High School on Monday, when other family members were waiting at a hospital to get the post-mortem of their father Shib Shankar Kisku done.

Shib Shankar, a farmer, was killed when his motorbike was hit by a sand-laden tractor near Bolpur town.

“My father always wanted to see us educated. So, we chose to take our first board exam even on this day,” said Ghanashyam.

Pranab Kumar Mondal, the headmaster of Keshaipur High School, said: “The family is very poor and we are proud they took their exams amid the tragedy.”

(Additional reporting by Snehamoy Chakraborty)



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