Since September 1, National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) aspirant Yogita Choudhari’s father has been writing a minimum of two emails to the National Testing Agency (NTA) every day, requesting that his daughter’s exam centre be changed.
On August 31, when the admit cards for the exam for medical courses were released, the family from Galandwadi village in Pune’s Indapur taluka was shocked to find that Yogita would have to travel over 3,200 km to Imphal in Manipur to appear for the test.
With less than a week to go before the exam is conducted across the country on September 13, the family is yet to hear from the NTA. Helpline numbers have not been of any help so far.
“We have booked flight tickets for September 10 and 11. It will require two flights to reach Imphal – from Pune to Delhi and from Delhi to Imphal – spanning two days,” said father Devidas Choudhari.
Devidas added that the goof-up happened when Yogita’s phone got stolen in May. “The thieves seem to have tampered with her NEET login ID and password. We only came to know about her exam centre after we received the admit card on making requests to the NEET office,” Choudhari added.
While this seems to be a one-off case, parents of several NEET aspirants in Mumbai also complained that the allotted exam centres are far from their homes even though NTA has allowed students to select a city of their choice.
Chembur resident Anjali Hagia’s daughter has been allocated a centre in Virar, at a time when transport is still a concern and local trains are not deemed safe.
“We wrote an email, but have not received a response,” said Hagia. The reporting timings are staggered, with Hagia’s daughter slated to report to the centre at 11.40 am for the 2 pm exam. For this, she will have to leave home at least two hours earlier, amounting to over four hours of wait before she appears for her three-hour paper.
Kandivali resident Falguni Vasa’s son, allotted a centre in Panvel, will endure a similar situation. “My husband and I have decided to drive our son to the centre, so that we can keep each other company as we wait for him. It will be at least a five-hour wait from the time we reach,” said Vasa.
Parents have also raised queries about aspirants being asked to use gloves to write the exams, citing that it could prove to be a hindrance. Over 15 lakh students have registered for NEET across the country, which is a pen and paper test unlike JEE (Joint Entrance Exam, conducted for IIT aspirants).
A parent from Mumbai, Sudha Shenoy, said: “NTA should clarify whether it will distribute masks, since that is what it has said, but this was not done during JEE. For exam centres, it seems they have clubbed Thane, Mumbai and Navi Mumbai as a preference.”
The NEET for undergraduates was originally scheduled for May 3, but was pushed to July 26 and then to September 13. Despite repeated attempts, NTA Director General Vineet Joshi was not available for comments.