In a first in the history of the Maharashtra state board, Higher Secondary students will sit for an exam on Sunday. With Sunday being the day for the Central and Western railways both conducting mega blocks, commuting to the exam centres could become a big hassle.
This unprecedented move has now forced the railway authorities to contemplate not holding the traditional Sunday mega-block.
All suburban lines conduct mega blocks on Sunday for routine repair and maintenance work. The blocks can extend for hours and see huge rush and lead to cancellation of many trains and a complete shutdown of certain routes.
The reason for the date for the economics examination, scheduled for March 4th initially, being revised to a Sunday is because many students needed time to finish the course as it was revised this year.
After having been made aware of the issue, Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray had asked the governor to postpone certain exams of the HSC board.
While Aditya Thackeray was unavailable for comments, Amol Kirtikar, General Secretary of Yuva Sena, said, "Some HSC students’ complaints came to Aditya Thackeray due to which he requested the governor to make changes in the dates and help students. If due to these changes, any of the papers has been scheduled on Sunday then Yuva Sena will definitely make a request to railway authorities to not hold mega block on that particular Sunday. If at all mega block is observed than we will make sure that public transports are made available to HSC students who have their exam on March 17."
But the reschedule has left many students and parents, who reside far away from their exam centre, angry.
Aarti Deshpande, (name changed), an HSC student living in the central suburbs, said, "It is surprising to know that the exam of HSC is on Sunday which had never happened before. Most of the students like me are worried what time I will have to leave from my house to reach on time to my exam center as there could be mega block on that Sunday."
Another HSC student echoing the sentiments was Rupali Desai (name changed). She said, "My father got angry when he learnt that our economics paper is on Sunday. Sunday usually sees railways conduct mega blocks. I don’t know how students living far from their centers will reach to give exams if mega block is there. My father is going to complain to board office about this."
S.B Gaikwad, In-charge secretary, State Board secondary and higher secondary education, Mumbai Division, confirmed that this was the first time in the history of board examination that an exam had to be scheduled on a Sunday due to the postponement of some exams on request of Yuva Sena chief.
Gaikwad said, "Due to postponement of some examination the economics paper has to be scheduled on Sunday, March 17. We have sent the letter to railways requesting them to not hold mega block on 17March Sunday when there is Economics board exam paper of HSC. So that students coming from far away places to appear their board exam do not face any problem."
A.K Singh, PRO central railway, said, "Yes the letter of state board has come to us. We have sent the letter to concerned department and that department will take a decision on it tomorrow whether to keep the mega block on that Sunday or not."
But a sour note was struck by a Western railway official who said he wasn’t aware of nay such letter.
Sharat Chandrayan, CPRO of Western Railway, said, "I am not aware yet of any such letter writing by State Board to our office. If at all they have requested not to keep mega block on that particular Sunday. We will first examine and see what is the state board requirement and than decided whether we should keep or not keep the mega block."