Chennai Student Given 30 Mins to Write NEET, Files Plaint With NTA

Many complained of delay in receiving question papers and in some cases getting only half-an-hour to write the exam.

3 min read
A NEET centre in Chennai. Image for representational purposes only.

The stress and anxiety created by the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) was amplified further for several students in Tamil Nadu after centres allegedly failed to efficiently carry out the examination process. Students across the state found large gaps in management of exam centres that led to delay in their receiving question papers and in some cases getting only half an hour to write the exam.

Nineteen-year-old Nivedha B, a resident of Chennai reported at around 12.30 pm on Sunday at a school in Chetpet to write the NEET paper.

With the necessary documents in her possession she entered the building only to be stopped after thermal scanning was done. What followed next was an agonising wait till 4.20 pm for the question paper, over two hours after her competitors had begun writing the test.

"After I entered the gate they took a thermal check again inside the campus and made me stand in the corridor without informing me of the reason. I was standing alone in the corridor even without a seat. An investigator came and asked me to sit in the last room around 2 PM by providing a mask and pen without providing any question book. I tried to contact the invigilator standing outside, as I was losing time (sic)," Nivedha has said in her complaint to the National Testing Agency (NTA).

Her uncle Balachander, who spoke to TNM, says Nivedha was confused and desperate for answers as she waited.

"She was moved to a room with five other students who had come there after a thermal check up," he says. "Despite the students asking the invigilators over and over again for the question paper, they were made to wait without answers. Finally, just before the investigators arrived, they gave them the papers at 4.20 pm. When Nivedha began to write, she thought they would give her three hours to finish but they took the answer booklet by 5pm. It was completely ridiculous," he adds.

When she came out and explained what happened to her family, they immediately confronted authorities at the test centre. They were, however, unapologetic about the incident, alleges Balachander and asked them to file a complaint with the NTA.

"As I was already in mental agony due to time constraints, I was only able to finish the botany portion in the given time. I was given only 30 minutes time. The question paper was not signed by the invigilator," Nivedha has written in her complaint.

Her family alleges that there could be a larger plot behind the issue.

"Even if they suspected she had COVID-19, they could have informed her family. Why keep her and five other students in a separate room and then give them half an hour to write a three hour test?" asks Balachander. "Nivedha has been scoring over 680 in all her mock tests. We think this is a larger scheme to target certain students and prevent them from writing the exam," he adds.

Nivedha has now requested the NTA to allow her to write the exam again for the allotted time.

Watch Nivedha's interview here -

No Question Papers

In Coimbatore, meanwhile, scores of parents of aspirants writing the NEET paper, were riddled with anxiety as their wards had not come out of the centre even past 7pm. Tamil medium students writing the exam in Vijaya Vidhyalaya Matriculation Higher Secondary school in Ondipudur, sat for an additional two hours, after the examiner failed to provide them with the Tamil version of the question paper.

“Tamil medium students got the question paper only at 4pm, while other students started the exam at 2pm,” says Kaushik, one of the aspirants who wrote his exam at the centre.

"We were waiting and waiting and getting very tense. Finally when we got the paper, we were really stressed. First there was confusion over whether the exam would happen, then it got delayed. When the paper came so late we got really anxious. We didn't know what to write when the paper came. Will they take the paper at 5pm or will they let us continue. We just managed to write something," he adds.

Aspirant Turned Away

In Karur district, a candidate with COVID-19 was not allowed to appear for the exam, despite travelling from Tiruppur to write the test. According to Times of India, the aspirant had tested positive a few days back. When his family contacted staff at the allotted centre in Paramathi, they had told them to come check with NTA authorities on Sunday. However, when they arrived the staff claimed that there were no instructions on how to handle students who were positive for the coronavirus in the test centres.

(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)

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