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Iris scanners in the dock as IBPS candidates claim infection, no sanitization of the device

While many candidates are worried about catching Covid when giving their papers, despite the measures, some believe that lack of sanitation has led to them being affected by other ailments.

Abhishek Nair | Updated on: Friday, January 28, 2022, 04:48 PM IST

Image- Pexels
Image- Pexels
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With the exam season being in full swing across the country, many centres are having to abide by Covid protocols that have been mandated by the government. While many candidates are worried about catching Covid when giving their papers, despite the measures, some believe that lack of sanitation has led to them being affected by other ailments.

A candidate from Bhopal named Aditya, who recently spoke to the Free Press Journal, said that he suspects his conjunctivitis infection was caused by the Iris scanner at the Ion Digital Zone in Bhopal as it was used by multiple candidates with half their face touching the device and was not sanitized every time someone used it.

A candidate from Bhopal named Aditya suspects his conjunctivitis infection was caused by the Iris scanner at the Ion Digital Zone in Bhopal as it was used by multiple candidates.

"My eyes have become red and are swollen due to the infection and since I have had no public interaction in the past few weeks apart from attending the examination, there's no chance that I could have got it from somewhere else. No one around me in the centre was infected with the viral infection," claimed Aditya, who gave his IBPS Probationary Officer Mains exam at the centre and also alleged that Covid protocols such as social distancing and mandatory masks were not followed.

"Despite a declaration form signed by us required anybody with cough or fever to not attend the exams, I witnessed many candidates coughing around and the authorities didn't take any particular action on the same", added the Bhopal native who didn't file a complaint with the centre as he thought the authorities had enough issues with handling the crowd at the place.

Pallavi, another candidate who gave her exam at the same centre, purported that she witnessed candidates removing their masks and coughing. She claimed that the "iris scanner wasn't sanitary and nobody cleaned it after its use by candidates one after the other".

Iris scanner, which is used to take a photograph of a person's iris using visible and near-infrared light, is a form of biometric technology similar to face recognition and fingerprinting. The use of such scanners are still prevalent in various exam centres despite an individual required to have close contact with the device wherein their face, from eyebrows to chin, is pressed to it and thus giving rise to chances of catching Covid or other infections due to it being operated by multiple people.

Candidates from other centres also attested that they didn't witness the Iris scanners being cleaned after their use by one person but didn't face any other problems with the Covid protocols. "There was a certain gap between us and the device but it was not cleaned every time someone used it which is understandable as a lot of candidates appeared for the exam and there wasn't enough time to do that for the authorities," claimed Sudarshan Sase, a candidate from Mumbai, who wrote his paper from Pune. While Niyati Shah, a candidate from Gujarat, said that Iris scanner was used while entering and leaving the centre.

Other candidates like Kedar Borkar said that though the scanner was in place, thumbprinting was also a form of biometric identification employed by the authorities and expressed surprise at the claim that the scanners were not sanitized every time someone used it at other centres as it is something that's needed to be done to register the photograph of one's iris properly when an individual appears before the device.

The Free Press Journal spoke to the Exam Superintendent of the Ion Digital Zone at Bhopal who conducted the IBPS PO Mains, who refuted any allegations of lack of Covid protocols and sanitization issues. "Multiple observers, including 16 officials from various PSBs, were supervising the exams so there's no chance for Covid protocols to not be followed as everyone wore masks and sanitizers were available. We already have CCTV cameras at the centre which is viewed by the IBPS officials in real-time so compromising on anything that puts everyone at risk is not possible", claimed the superintendent, who also said that the Iris scanners were cleaned after every one or two candidates used it and the latter also had the option of thumb registration. "No complaints have been filed with us regarding any violation of protocols", the Bhopal official asserted.

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Published on: Friday, January 28, 2022, 04:48 PM IST