New Delhi: The start of a national-level examination taken by 12 lakh students to determine entry to engineering colleges across the country was delayed by nearly three hours after the paper was allegedly leaked in Uttar Pradesh and sold for Rs 6 lakh each.
"Fresh set of questions were distributed to the students and the exam was delayed by three hours," Cnetral Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) chairman Vineet Joshi said.
"When we got to know (about the leak) in the morning, our aim was to do it without causing much inconvenience to most of the children. First was to ensure the exam takes place as early as possible and that we have been able to do," he said.
As per the original schedule, the first paper was to begin at 9.30 am and the second at 2 pm.
The CBSE, the nodal agency for conducting the exam, postponed the first part to 12 noon and the second part to 4.00 pm.
Following the delay, the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) entrance exam that was also scheduled for Sunday at 2.30 pm, was shifted to 4.30 pm.
"We have notified the centres all over the country. Students who want to appear for the AFMC exam today, can appear for the B. Arch exam later May 8," Joshi said.
The first exam was for engineering students while the second was for architecture course.
The May 8 exam will be held at the same centres and the same admit card will be valid, he added.
"We have notified the centres all over the country. If they have the capacity to accommodate students, they can conduct both exams today. If not, they can choose to hold the AIEEE exam on May 8 at 9.30 am," he added.
The exam was delayed after the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force informed the CBSE about a question paper leak in the state, he said.
Senior Superintendent of Police Vijay Prakash said they received a copy of the question paper Saturday night.
"We faxed the paper to the CBSE chairman and it was confirmed this morning (Sunday) that the paper was the original one," Prakash said.
Students and parents meanwhile suffered as the papers were delayed.
"We had just started writing the exam when the invigilator told us to return the sheets. We were both surprised and disappointment as were not aware about the reasons. This confusion will certainly affect our performance," Swati Sehgal, an engineering aspirant in Chandigarh, told IANS.
The announcement of taking the exam later for those appearing for AFMC meanwhile gave some relief to many.
"I also had to appear for AFMC exam, so I was tense that I will miss one of the two, but I am happy that now I can give the AIEEE on May 8," Rashi Jain, a student from Delhi said.
Meanwhile, at one centre in Delhi, mild force had to be used to control the agitated parents and students.
A large number of students had gathered outside Kendriya Vidyalaya-II on Swarna Jayanti Marg, but were not allowed to enter the premises after the authorities decided to postpone the exam by a few hours.
"No one was injured in the incident," a senior police official said.
Over 12 lakh students across the country are appearing for around 26,816 engineering and architecture seats at different colleges.