Refinery inauguration today, engineering entrance tomorrow: scores of VIPs, thousands of students, even more parents… Bathinda hasn't got room for all.
It's chaos because of the change of two centres in Bathinda district for the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) All-India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE).
The shifting left many outside students and their parents without rooms for night stay on Saturday. Bathinda is the only centre in the state for offline AIEEE, and here nearly 19,000 candidates (6,000 more from last year) will sit the test. Chandigarh is the only centre for online examination, and there, only 1,000 candidates will report.
More than 150 rooms in the city are booked already for guests who attended the oil-refinery inauguration here on Saturday. The dearth of rooms in hotels and the shortage of tables in restaurants have robbed the students of not only the peace of mind but also crucial rest before the all-important test.
Besides hotels, the district administration had booked rooms at the circuit house, Thermal Colony guesthouse, Giani Zail Singh Engineering College guesthouse, and Canal guesthouse for the VVIPs and officials from the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and HPCL-Mittal Energy Limited (HMEL).
The information of the changing of two centers in Bathinda of the total 30 failed to reach all students, as the schedule was updated only two days before the test. Busy in preparation, the students had little time to access newspapers or the Internet. "The CBSE decision of changing the two centers in Bathinda was hasty," said a teacher in a private coaching institute of Bathinda.
"There is a steep increase in the number of candidates from last year," said Sukhwinder Singh, taking his second shot at cracking the test. "The quest for rooms before the test has left candidates tired. Even last time, Bathinda was a hub centre, but the conducting of the test was smooth."
"The decision have only district as hub centre is wrong," said Manpreet Singh, father of candidate Jaspreet Kaur. "There are no rooms available, and candidates and their parents are wandering here and there. Hoteliers have put four times more people in rooms."
"Even in dharamshalas (inns), there are no rooms available," said Bhupinder Singh, father of another candidate. "Already many guests of the Bathinda refinery people are adjusted there. The hotels where some students are adjusted are filthy, and they will have a difficult night before the test."
On Saturday (April 28), the Prime Minister will commission Guru Gobind Singh Oil Refinery officially near Bathinda, and on Sunday (April 29), the city will be offline centre for the AIEEE. It's almost a clash of two big events.