The University Grants Commission's National Eligibility Test website crashed on Friday, spelling trouble for the hundreds across the country who were scurrying to register for the December 30 exam at the last minute.
The website showed "Error 303" to visitors trying to register for the test.
"I tried for more than 10 hours to get a registration ID, but in vain. For the first few hours, anyone clicking the registration link was told that the site was under maintenance. For the next several hours, it showed a random error message," said Aradhana Ashish, a resident of Noida.
"It was not even possible to do the bank work as the copy of the challan is only available online and nowhere else," Ashish added.
UGC officials insisted that no such technical error had occurred. Instead, they claimed that it was only for a few minutes on Friday evening that the site displayed an error message.
"This was not possible. It was only later in the evening for some time that there was an error message. The site was all right, otherwise. There must have been some miscommunication. The deadline for registration had been extended till 6am on Saturday," said Surinder Singh, secretary, UGC-NET.
Yet, for hundreds of students who have been left in the lurch, tempers flared as the UGC turned a deaf ear to their complaints. Not only was their helpline inaccessible, but some students who approached the UGC office were denied any help.
"The UGC-NET exam allows people to teach all over India. If their server crashes, it is the UGC's responsibility to activate a back-up option. Not only does their helpline not work but no one in their office helps either," said Mukul Nanda, a Master's student of Delhi University.