Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
Finally, the day had come. After uproar on social media as well as in the Supreme Court, students nationwide were left with no option but to appear for the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) on Sunday, 13 September.
As the country registers over 90,000 coronavirus cases a day, the fear of getting infected loomed large on our minds. Unaware of the kind of arrangements at our centres in Patna and Cuttack respectively, we set out early on Sunday morning with a positive mindset and all possible precautions necessary.
At both our centres, some guidelines were followed, while others completely ignored. For example, staggered entry was ensured but exit was all at once, defeating the entire purpose of social distancing.
Rocky Road to Patna Centre
My exam centre was around 140-150 km away from my hometown Begusarai. My centre was in the outskirts of Patna. Unsure of the train service provided by state governments, I travelled in my own car. It seemed as though most people had decided against public transport. The roads were jammed. We made it in the nick of time.
The road to the centre was entirely broken. Everyone had parked their cars 700-800 meters away as it was too narrow for cars to enter. There was a lot of rush at the gate, too.
Inside the centre, everyone was screened through a metal detector machine. There was no 6-feet distance or 'do gaz doori’.
Further, while guidelines say that there should be only 12 students in a room, mine had 24 students. There was one-arm distance between students. While no gloves were provided, we were each given a mask with three-layer protection.
At 5 pm, when the exam ended, guardians had come to the gate, increasing the crowd. Everyone exited at the same time as well.
Crowded Exit at Cuttack Centre
I, Prajna Priyadarshini, left for the centre at around 11.30 am. My brother dropped me on his bike. The centre was 10 km away from our house. There was staggered entry for students. They were calling out roll numbers for entrance. My centre had around 500 people.
"“Inside the centre, we passed through a sanitisation tunnel. There was no temperature check as such, only on the hand from afar.”" - Prajna Priyadarshini
Once the exam was over, there was so much chaos to exit the premises. Social distancing had gone out of the window, especially in the 1km distance between the entrance and main road.
There were no circle marks or signs for social distancing and neither was anyone there to supervise like the police. Students were walking as if there was no pandemic but a carnival. It was the worst exam experience of my life.
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