by Yawar Hussain

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir Bank has gone ahead with its enigmatic examination strategy of testing the capacity, knowledge and patience of south Kashmir candidates in north Kashmir at a time when it was almost 4 ft plus accumulated snow down south. All the varsities across Kashmir postponed the scheduled examinations for three days, unlike the Bayhad Beanazir Bank.

J&K Bank Corporate headquarters in Srinagar. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

The aspirants for the posts of Banking Associates have been left in the lurch by the bank’s decision because most of the parts of Valley are still disconnected from their respective district headquarters.

In comparison, all the universities in the Kashmir valley employed logic and postponed their examinations. The University of Kashmir (KU postponed its exams till January 8 while the Cluster University Kashmir along with Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education also postponed all their exams.

Scores of candidates have missed their examination in the Valley while in Jammu the examination was easily conducted, leaving the candidates here questioning the urgency behind the decision.

Aadil Ahmad, a resident of Anantnag had his exam centre at north Kashmir’s Sopore where he had to report at 8.30 am. He didn’t have a car and was forced to call a friend from Srinagar who came all the way from Srinagar to pick him up.

“I stayed at my friend’s place in Srinagar and left with him for Sopore at 5 am amid such cold conditions. It was snowing already,” he said.

In another similar case, Rameez Ahmad of Chadder village of Kulgam had to walk for 8 kilometres amid three feet of snow to catch a cab for reaching his examination centre Srinagar on January 5.

“The cab driver dropped us at Srinagar at 3 pm. It was snowing and we were all drenched. I along with other students from here appeared in our exams which ended by 6 pm. It was pitch dark and snowing. Somehow we caught a cab and reached back home by 10 pm in the night by walking same distance on foot,” he said.

Another aspirant said, “Government machinery was not visible for two days across Kashmir. The roads were closed while the electricity was nowhere to be seen. The government advised us to resort to rationing. In between the bank wanted us to appear in the exams. It seems hogwash but it isn’t.”

He said the candidates in Jammu appeared while many in Kashmir missed it. “This is pure discrimination against us. They have ulterior motives to keep us out.”

Scores of candidates from far-flung Kulgam and Shopian areas had to reach the exam centres overnight so that they could appear in the exams.

As per reports, they stayed in hotels or with friends to appear in the exams.

In a similar case, a female candidate Saba from Srinagar’s Natipora couldn’t reach her exam centre at Rangreth because of non-availability of public transport and non-clearance of snow from main roads in Srinagar on Wednesday.

Another aspirant who missed her examination said, “We can’t reach exam centres on time as there was no transport due to heavy snowfall. I have prepared form months for this examination. It seems JK Bank is depriving Kashmiri aspirants of this job opportunity. There is a design in it.”

The appeals of the aspirants for deferment fell on deaf ears in the administration in line with the past practices of the bank.

The new recruitment by the Jammu and Kashmir Bank for the BA posts comes after the recruitment process for the BA and PO was cancelled by the government in 2018 after allegations of discrepancies in the recruitment process.

The posts had now been advertised afresh with preliminary and mains examination for 350 Probationary Officer posts already conducted from December 1 to December 27, 2020.

The examination for the recruitment of 1200 odd Banking Associates in Jammu and Kashmir Bank has also commenced from 1 st January 2021.

As many as 1, 43,763 aspirants have applied for the recruitment of 1500 vacancies advertised by the Bank.

Public Relations Officer Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Aijaz Zargar said the bank has outsourced this examination to IBPS and TCS who had to take the call on the postponement of the examination.

“If the exam wasn’t conducted now then we would have had to wait for six more months because both these agencies were busy with other exams,” he said, adding that J&K Bank Chairman has already requested these agencies to conduct exams of aspirants who missed their exams.

“A call would be taken on conducting the exams for these candidates after this exam ends on January 31,” he said.


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