Scores of students miss NEET exams due to train delay, urge Centre for alternate exam

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In an unfortunate incident, almost 400 students from Karnataka are expected to have missed out from appearing for the National Eligibility-cum Entrance Test (NEET) on Saturday for no fault of theirs.

These aspiring medical students, a majority of them from Ballari district in north Karnataka were supposed to reach Bengaluru and nearby towns by 7am well ahead of 2.00pm when the exam was set to start.

But the 16591 Hampi Express which runs from Hampi to Bengaluru via Mysuru was late and could reach the city only at 2.36pm.  The train was delayed by more than seven hours. 

Upset with them missing out on their rightful chance at the exams, the students have started mass tweeting, tagging Union Human Resource Minister Prakash Javadekar.

One such student, Rampure Sai Srinivas told TNM that he reached his examination hall at 2.55pm and was not allowed to write the exam.

“Even though we have been wronged due to no fault of our own, the exam centre officials denied us our chance. When we spoke about the train delay, he denied knowledge. I have got information about my friends who had got seats in other exam centres, they have also been denied a chance to write the exam,” he said.

An understandably angry Srinivas said,”It is not we who are responsible for this delay, It is all because of the politicians and railways. They are responsible. We, students are now in a pathetic situation. But officials do not have the courtesy even to address our concerns. I want to know what would have been the case if the son of a politician or a railway department official’s son is made to stand outside the gate?”

He added, “We need a solution, give us a chance to write the exam."

Sreenivas also blamed the state government for not being proactive and arranging buses for students who were stuck due to the train delay.

Meanwhile, the issue took a political turn with former CM SIddaramaiah attacking the Railway Minister over the issue and asked the Prime Minister to ensure that the students get to write the exam on a later day.



Railway officials blamed the delay due to an unavoidable diversion but refused to comment further.

“Hampi Express from Hubli to Mysuru is presently being run on diverted route via Bellary-Rayadurga-Chikjajur-Arsikere-Tumakuru instead of original route of Bellary-Guntakal-Dharmavaram-Penukonda- Yelahanka  due to ongoing Non-interlocking working for doubling between Guntakal -Kalluru. The diverted route is 120 km longer than the previous route and involves engine reversal at Bellary. In addition to this on Saturday the departure of this train from Hubli had to be rescheduled by 120 minutes,” a South Western Railway statement said.

“Reserved passengers of the train yesterday were intimated of diversion and rescheduling by SMS on the mobile numbers given during reservation.The scheduled departure was at 6.20 pm but the train left at 8:20 pm. This was done since incoming pairing Train no 16592  Mysuru- Hubli Hampi express) arrived late by 2 hours and 55 minutes. The train finally reached Yeshwantpur on 2.20pm and SBC at 2.36pm,” the statement added.

Other than this, reports also emerged on how a change of examination centre by the National Testing Agency just two days ahead of the test was not well communicated to the students. More than 200 students had gone to Presidency School in Alavalli on Doddaballapur Road in Rural Bengaluru, while the centre was changed to Dayananda Sagar University in Hosur Road which is at least 40 km away.

The NEET exam is conducted for admissions to medical (MBBS) and dental (BDS) undergraduate courses in colleges throughout the country which are recognised by the Medical and Dental Councils of India respectively. Institutions such as JIPMER (Pondicherry) and AIIMS (Delhi) which were established through an Act of Parliament do not require students to write the NEET and have their own entrance examinations.

The National Testing Agency is not only responsible for conducting the exam and announcing the results, it also has to provide an “All India Rank Merit List” to the Directorate General Health Service which will help those applying for seats in counselling under the All India Quota. The NTA also makes the results available for other colleges and institutions