‘I lost a year’: Bihar boy travels 700 kms, misses NEET by 10 minutes
Santosh Kumar Yadav, a resident of Darbhanga in Bihar, travelled for more than 24 hours and changed two buses to cover a 700-odd kilometre distance to reach Kolkata for his National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). Unfortunately, he was late by 10 minutes.
Yadav was not allowed to enter the examination centre at a school in Salt Lake, a township located to the east of Kolkata.
“I pleaded the authorities but they said I was late. The examination started at 2 pm. I reached the centre around 1.40 pm. The last deadline for entering the centre was 1.30 pm,” Yadav told a local television channel. “I lost a year,” he added.
Incidentally, NEET examinees were asked to report at least three hours in advance in view of the time taken for security and health checks amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Describing his ordeal, the student said, “I boarded a bus at Darbhanga at 8 am on Saturday to reach Muzaffarpur. From there I took a bus to Patna but there was a traffic jam on the route and I got delayed by almost six hours.”
“I took another bus from Patna at 9 pm. The bus dropped me near Sealdah station (in Kolkata) at 1.06 pm. A taxi brought me to the examination centre,” said Yadav.
The school authorities could not be contacted but inconvenience faced by NEET examinees became a subject of political debate as many had to shell out huge amount of money to travel from one part of the state to another in hired cars.
“The Supreme Court (while dismissing a petition for delaying NEET and JEE) said that students should get all help to travel and get accommodation. During the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), examinees in West Bengal had to face a lot of difficulty and the chief minister had said 70 percent of them could not take the test. This government is not at all sympathetic towards students,” said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president Dilip Ghosh.
The state government did not deny that examinees had to face an uphill task on Sunday.
“We knew that students would face trouble. The metro railway can carry them within Kolkata but what about those from other districts? Chief minister Mamata Banerjee cancelled the state-wide lockdown on Saturday only to help students travel. But they still faced problems because of the pandemic situation,” said state education minister and Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee.