Mumbai: Hours after protests in Pune, Aurangabad, Amravati and elsewhere, sparked by the Maharashtra Public Service Commission’s (MPSC) announcement on Thursday postponing its preliminary examination for government jobs scheduled for March 14, the fifth time in the past one year, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said in a web address that fresh exam dates would be announced on Friday and it would be held in a week's time.
Thackeray said the exam had been postponed due to the recent Covid-19 spike in the state. He said that a lot of preparation and deployment of staff was required to conduct the exam and the employees had to be tested. Preferably, only employees testing negative for Covid would be deployed on exam duty. “No one should have any doubt in their mind that examiners themselves are infected. We will declare the fresh dates by tomorrow (Friday),” he added.
He further assured the students that there would be no age limit to appear for the MPSC exam. Urging the students to continue their studies, the CM slammed the Opposition for provoking students. Several BJP leaders hit the roads and took part in the agitation spontaneously started by students.
Thackeray reiterated that the government did not want to play with students' emotions and health. The extra time would come in handy for better preparation for staff and other necessary arrangements. “I sincerely tender an apology for the inconvenience but urge students and parents not to get provoked,” he noted, choosing not to name the BJP for its participation in the protest.
The MPSC 2020 prelims, scheduled to be conducted on March 14, were postponed for the fifth time in the last one year, owing to the pandemic.
In the present case, the MPSC had cited rising Covid 19 cases for postponing exams, having kept the state government in the loop. However, Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar, who is himself recovering from Covid, claimed he was never consulted as the decision was taken at the secretary-level and it would be probed.
The decision to postpone the MPSC exams, announced by the relief and rehabilitation department in a circular, came under attack from the ruling NCP and Congress as well. They strongly condemned the postponement and asked Thackeray to reconsider it.
Meanwhile, the CM also spoke about the huge corona spike in the state. He urged the citizens to follow the norms to avert a state-wide lockdown. Citing the massive rise in cases in the Western countries, the CM warned the citizens of a ‘more dangerous’ second wave. He, however, maintained that the current spike had not yet reached the peak recorded in September last year.