Hundreds of aspiring doctors from Karnataka who missed the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) due to a train delay on Sunday will get a second chance for the same, according to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD).
“Happy to announce that Karnataka students who missed NEET exam due to railway delay will get another chance,” Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted,
Happy to announce that #Karnataka Students who missed #NEET exam , due to railway delay will get another chance.@MoHFW_INDIA @HRDMinistry @PIB_India @MIB_India @DG_NTA @cbseindia29 @ciet_ncert @DDNewsLive @airnewsalerts @DVSBJP@CMofKarnataka
— Chowkidar Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) May 6, 2019
Reacting to the development “that brings much respite to many”, a candidate from Bellary who had her test centre at Devamata Central School in Vidyaranyapura told indianexpress.com that the government needs to chalk out an alternative plan to ensure that candidates should not be blamed further for such delays.
On condition of anonymity, she said: “It was saddening to see some top bureaucrats blaming us for the delays even though we had to reach the city 7 hours before the reporting time at 1.30 pm. While most exams are conducted online, arrangements should be made now to make this an online exercise,” the aspiring doctor added.
Former Chief Secretary of Karnataka K. Ratna Prabha had tweeted, “It’s such a tragedy that students are put to hardship & mental trauma…although it’s a tough decision, it is always better to arrive a day in advance keeping such exigencies in mind.”
Its such a tragedy that students are put to hardship & mental trauma..tho its a tough decision but always better to arrive a day in advance keeping such exigencies in mind..
— Ratna Prabha (@Ratnaprabha_IAS) May 5, 2019
Several students had also taken it to Twitter to express their displeasure and to seek help from the authorities after they missed the chance to take the test after Hampi Express (Train no. 16591) faced an eight-hour delay.
The train, which was scheduled to reach KSR Bengaluru City Jn railway station at 6.10 am, reached the station only by 2.36 pm, more than 30 minutes post the official commencement of the test across centres in India, including those in Bangalore.
However, the issue gained national mileage after former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah criticised Indian Railways for their incapabilities tweeting, ”Mr. @narendramodi, You pat your own back for others’ achievements but will you also take the responsibility for your cabinet min’ incapabilities. Hundreds of students in Karnataka may not be able to take up NEET because of delay in the train services.”
Following pressure and protests from students across the state, Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy had requested PM Modi, railway minister Piyush Goyal and HRD minister Javadekar to “ensure that students who have missed the opportunity today get another chance to write the #NEET2019 Exam”
Hundreds of students from North Karnataka districts have missed the #NEET Exam being held today at Bengaluru due to a 7-hour delay of the Hampi Express. A last-minute change in the exam centres and lack of proper communication of the same has created confusion among students. .
— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) May 5, 2019
Several organisations including the People’s Alliance for Fundamental Right to Education (PAFRE) had written to the CM suggesting to constitute a special delegation headed by Chief Secretary to meet the President of India, Prime Minister of India and the Head of National Testing Agency (NTA) to request them to conduct re-examination for the students.
“We learnt from different sources that the National Testing Agency is planning and preparing to conduct a special examination for students of different states affected by the Natural Disaster considering the plight of those students. The Karnataka incident more or less fall in the same category and the difference is that it is man/ railways department made disaster which was not in the control of either students or their parents,” the letter reads.
At the same time, students organisations were also upfront voicing student demands. While the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) Karnataka wing held protests in the city, the All India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO) had urged the authorities to take a student-friendly decision on the matter.
ABVP karyakartas in Bengaluru staged a protest in the city demanding justice to the students who could not appear for NEET examination due to train delay of more than 6 hours. ABVP seeks urgent remedial action so that no students suffers academically. pic.twitter.com/4811OLHPRx
— ABVP (@ABVPVoice) May 6, 2019
CM Kumaraswamy also took it to Twitter on May 6 to thank HRD minister Javadekar for considering the request.
— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) May 6, 2019
Although the HRD minister’s announcement brings respite to the candidates, more details on how the exams will be conducted and how the candidates will be identified are yet to be announced by the NTA which conducted NEET for the first time. However, the exam will be conducted on May 20 along with candidates from Odisha where the same was postponed due to Cyclone Fani. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) was in charge of the Test until last year.