(With additional inputs, letter to PM) Kolkata, Aug 24 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to postpone the JEE and NEET exams due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation, saying lives of students should not be put at risk by taking such 'unilateral and bureaucratic decisions'.
Aspirants sit for Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for admission to premier engineering colleges and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for undergraduate medical courses.
The JEE (Main) is scheduled to be held between September 1 and 6, while the JEE (Advanced) on September 27.
The NEET will be held on September 13.
'In our last video conference with you, I had presented my views against the UGC guidelines that had mandated completion of the terminal examinations in university/colleges across the country by the end of September, 2020,' she said in a letter to the prime minister.
'My point was that human lives should not be put in jeopardy during this pandemic period by taking such unilateral and bureaucratic decisions,' she said.
Stating that students are assets of the country, she said, the decision by the Union Education Ministry to conduct exams in September is 'risky'.
'I would, therefore, appeal to you to kindly get the enormous health risk involved in such steps assessed. The central government must not make a decision by which the students feel upset and also ensure that students are not deprived of the opportunity to take the examination.
'I am sure that you will appreciate the point and postpone the examinations until the situation is conducive. It is our duty as elders to ensure a safe public environment for all our students in the country,' she wrote.
Banerjee earlier in the day in a series of tweets had appealed to the Centre to assess the risk and postpone the prestigious examinations until the situation is conducive again.
The Supreme Court had dismissed a plea seeking the postponement of JEE (Main) April, 2020 and NEET (Undergraduate) examinations, which are scheduled to be held in September amid a spurt in COVID-19 cases, saying precious year of students 'cannot be wasted' and 'life has to go on'.
On Friday, the Education Ministry officials had said that the JEE (Main) and the NEET-UG will be conducted in September as scheduled. PTI PNT SNS SNS