Postpone JEE, NEET: Odisha CM Patnaik Urges Education Minister

CM Patnaik said it would be ‘highly perilous’ for students to visit test centres amid the coronavirus pandemic.

3 min read
CM Patnaik said it would be ‘highly perilous’ for students to visit test centres amid the coronavirus pandemic.

After Mamata Banerjee, Rahul Gandhi, Manish Sisodia and a bevy of other politicians, students demanding the postponement of JEE Main and NEET UG have now received support from Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who has requested the Centre to push these exams back.

In a letter written to the Union Minister of Education Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal, Chief Minister Patnaik has urged the Centre to postpone JEE Main and NEET UG to a later date as it would be ‘highly perilous’ to visit test centres physically amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is requested that the ensuing JEE Main & NEET examination scheduled to be held in the 1st fortnight of September, 2020 may be postponed to a later date to ensure the safety and security of the students.”
Naveen Patnaik, CM Odisha

In his letter, Patnaik said that the sudden spike in number of cases in the state has led to lockdowns across several districts, disrupting local transportation. He also said that student’s from Odisha’s vast tribal pockets will have to travel long distance from inaccessible areas to urban test centres and could miss out on these entrance tests.

What was Mamata’s appeal?

In the letter, CM Banerjee said that students, who are the assets of the country, are suffering from “mental agony and depression.”

“The central government must not take a decision for which the students feel upset and also to ensure that students are not deprived of the opportunity to take examination. I am sure that you will appreciate the point and postpone these examinations until the situation is conducive again.”
Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, West Bengal

Asking the Centre to assess the situation and take appropriate steps, Chief Minister Banerjee urged the government to take into account the enormous health risk involved in the process.

What did Rahul Gandhi say?

In a tweet on Sunday, 23 August, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi had said that the central government must listen to the voices of lakhs students demanding postponement of JEE & NEET.

Gandhi also said that the government must come up with an acceptable solution to the problem.

Did other leaders speak in support of students as well?

Subramanian Swamy - In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Minister of Education Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal on 21 August, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy had said that JEE and NEET should be conducted after Diwali, owing to the COVID-19 situation in the country.

Manish Sisodia- On 22 August, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had tweeted that by going ahead with JEE & NEET in September, the central government is playing with the lives of students. Demanding the cancellation of these two tests, Sisodia said that alternative arrangements should be made for admissions in this ‘unprecedented crisis’.

Shashi Tharoor - In an interview with NDTV, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had said that exams should be postponed till Diwali. Further, he said that if the situation gets worse or does not improve after Diwali, an “exam must be created that can be done at home".

Aditya Thackeray - In a letter to PM Modi, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister and Yuva Sena leader Aditya Thackeray has called for postponing all academic activity pertaining to physical or online examinations across the country for professional courses, which includes entrance exams. He has also requested the government to count the academic calendar from January 2021 instead of June or July 2020.

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