Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan Thursday postponed the Maharashtra state civil services exam after the commission conducting the exam lost data of 350,000 candidates from its server due to a technical snag.
Chavan's announcement came in the state legislature, barely a day after he declared that the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) examination would be conducted as per original schedule Sunday April 7.
The fresh date for the examination, likely to be in early May, shall be announced soon, MPSC officials indicated.
Earlier Thursday, leaders of all political parties, including Leader of Opposition in the assembly Eknath Khadse and Leader of Opposition in the council Vinod Tawde discussed the issue in detail with Chavan and impressed upon the need for a postponement.
The examination hit a major snag following a virus attack on the MPSC main server which led to the loss of complete data of nearly 350,000 candidates due to appear for two papers.
As a result, candidates were not given their hall tickets, information on examination centres, seat numbers and other details.
This led to widespread protests from the candidates as well as all political parties which demanded postponement of the examination, though MPSC insisted that candidates must resubmit their data by Thursday evening.
"All candidates would be intimated via SMS their exam centre details, and they can produce their exam fee receipt along with a photograph to write the exam. There will be no compulsion on the hall ticket," Chavan told the house Wednesday, shooting down all demands to postpone the examination.
Meanwhile, candidates recounted harrowing tales of their attempts to resubmit data with the MPSC.
While most attempt failed as they could not log-in to the MPSC server, in rural areas, candidates had to grapple with 16-18 hours power cuts which prevented them from filing details.
In many urban areas, candidates not having computers spent all night in cyber cafes trying unsuccessfully to resubmit their data.
Similarly, for many candidates it was final do-or-die attempt as they would be rendered age-barred next year if they did not write the examination this year.
Most parties have pulled up the MPSC for failure to maintain backup of the data on such a crucial public examination which has two papers of 200 marks each with negative marking for wrong answers. The exam is on the lines of those conducted by the Union Public Service Commission.