‘Transport, Quarantine, COVID Symptoms: Why We Missed NEET 2020’

Three aspirants share why they were unable to appear for NEET 2020 on 13 September.

Updated
My Report
3 min read

Video Editor: Zijah Sherwani
Video Producer: Aastha Gulati
Reporter: Anthony S Rozario

Distant examination centres, lack of transportation, increasing coronavirus cases, stress amid pandemic are a few reasons behind the protest registered by lakhs of JEE and NEET aspirants around the country.

Despite widespread social media outrage and backlash, students were left with no option but to appear for the tests. Despite going to all lengths, however, we three were unable to write the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) on Sunday, 13 September.

The test began at 2 pm and continued till 5 pm. All we could do in those three hours was sit at home and repent. While we live in different parts of the country, our story is the same – circumstances forced us to forego an exam we spent the entire year preparing for.

While I am from UP, my NEET centre was in Guwahati, Assam. On 10 September, I, Ajay Kumar, took a flight from Varanasi to Guwahati. The moment I got off my flight and came out of the Guwahati airport, I was taken to a quarantine centre on a bus and told that I will be quarantined for 10 days in a hotel if I don’t depart from Guwahati within 24 hours.

I was not aware of the state’s quarantine rules which state that one has to quarantine for 10 days if they stay past 72 hours. I showed by admit card, everything but they (state officials) said that my 72 hours will be over on the morning of 13 September and then my hand will be stamped for quarantine so, neither will I be able to get out nor take the exam. They said they were following MHA rules and there was no mention of any separate rules for NEET aspirants.

From the CM, MP, MLA, Deputy CM, I called everyone but there was no response.

I knew that I would be unable to pay the quarantine charges at the designated hotels. Shattered, I paid thrice the amount for my return ticket from Guwahati to Varanasi and returned home.

Transportation Issues

Similar is the story of Rajdeep Tripathi from Satna, Madhya Pradesh, who was not able to find any transport to reach his NEET exam centre.

“I even registered for MP government’s free transport service. They called me and said that I had to come to my block (from my village) at 4:30 am on 13 September.  It was 35 km away from my village but I had no transport to get there. I wasn’t able to go.”

He further adds,

“Everything was ready, my admit card, preparation, but the circumstances were as such. The government should have made sure every student gets an equal opportunity and equal access for giving the exam.”

What About Symptomatic Patients?

While NTA rules state that symptomatic students will be allowed to write the exam in isolated rooms, an aspirant was denied entry into her centre in Jaipur and was told that she can’t enter because of ‘risk to other students.’

Despite being at the centre since 9 am and a continuous back and forth with authorities, she was not allowed to take the exam.

“The centre head gave me the number of the city coordinator, who confirmed with authorities that a candidate with symptoms like mine won’t be allowed inside the NEET centre.”

The city coordinator also informed that the NTA will reschedule the test, but what if that doesn’t happen? Education Minister Dr Pokhriyal says 85-90 percent appeared in the exam, but what about those like us who had to miss it due to unforeseen circumstances?

We three would have to prepare another year now. I am sure there are many like us. We want our voices to be heard, for students like us to be given a second chance.

(All ‘My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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