Special Report: Officials' Apathy Shatters Dreams of Scouts, Guides in State
Daijiworld Media Network – Mangalore
Mangalore, Nov 30: Just when you thought the apathy of state officials couldn't get worse, it plunges to a new low.
As many as 62 Guides and 39 Scouts from 10 schools in Dakshina Kannada district have not been able to appear for the Rashtrapati Puraskar Examination this year, all thanks to the apathy and carelessness of the officials concerned who did not send their nominations to the national institution, The Bharat Scouts and Guides, New Delhi, in time.
Shockingly, it is not the bad luck of DK students alone, but students eligible all over the state have missed the opportunity. A large number of students across the state could not write the exam, which is truly disheartening as they had been preparing for it for a number of years.
To tell the story of DK district, K Vasanth Rao, district secretary had sent the applications with a letter dated July 6, 2011 to state commissioners of the Bharat Scouts and Guides. Replies were expected in the month of August, but there were no confirmation letters informing the students about the date of the examination. The sad fact is, even last year the same problem had occured due to delay in sending the applications to the national institution on time. One would have thought they wouldn't repeat their mistake this year too, but they did.
As part of the Scouts and Guides programme in school, students are involved in various activities for two-and-a-half years, which culminate with the Rajya Puraskar exams and Rajya Puraskar Testing Camp organized by the state association. After serving as a Rajya Puraskar Scout or Guide for at least twelve months a student is eligible to appear for Rashtrapati Puraskar test and camp. The Rashtrapati Puraskar is the highest award for Scouts and Guides and is presented at a formal ceremony to a few selected students by the President of India on advice from the National Commissioner.
Students of 10 schools in the district have been working hard for years to appear for the exam. It was their dream to get nominated for the Rashtrapati Puraskar but those dreams lie shattered now. Not a single Scout or Guide from the entire Karnataka state is able to write the Rashtrapati Puraskar examination as the nominations were not sent by the state Scouts and Guides authorities in time. All the eligible students had submitted their application duly filled as per the prescribed process. However, they were informed recently that they will not be able to take the exam as the entire state’s nominations did not reach the central authorities before the deadline.
When contacted, Manjunath Achar, state organising commissioner of Bharat Scouts, said that the Prime Minister Shield applications were not received from all the district units in the year 2010 and 2011. When Janaki Venugopal, state union commissioner of Bharat Guides was contacted, she was not in office and when contacted her on mobile phone, she was unable to speak due to a family emergency.
However, the district officers claimed that they had sent the PM Shield applications in the year 2010-11 and they have documents as proof.
Now ambiguity prevails as to where exactly and how things got delayed and, and if not blatant apathy, what was the reason for eligible nominations to be held back by the institution. Once the students cross 17 years they will not be eligible for the exams, hence, for many, this was the last chance, and they lost it for no fault of theirs.
The district office also said that parents of the eligible students were asked to file a formal complaint so that the same could be forwarded to the state, but nobody came forward and the matter died a natural death.