Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention for inclusion of Odia language as a medium of examination in the prestigious National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical courses.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Patnaik urged to include Odia language in the NEET for the larger interest of students in the state.
"I find that Odia language as a medium of examination for the students of Odisha who will be appearing for the said test has been conspicuously left out. This, as you can appreciate, will put students from Odisha, who have studied in Odia, at a great disadvantage," he said.
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The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday decided that NEET-UG will be conducted in eight languages including six regional languages from the 2017-18 academic year. The eight languages are Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Telugu and Tamil.
"In fact, this decision of Government of India will provide a competitive advantage for the students reading in 6 (six) regional languages to the disadvantage of those from Odisha," said the Chief Minister.
He said the Health Ministry has not sought 'Odia' as an option while taking the state government's views on the language to be adopted for the state's students, and this has created widespread resentment among the students of Odisha who will be appearing for the exam in 2017-18, and onwards.
Meanwhile, the Students wing of BJD, carried out a rally today in protest of exclusion Odia as a medium of language for NEET. The protestors demanded inclusion of Odia and in this regard met the Governor and submitted a memorandum addressed to the President of India.
“In protest of Centre’s partiality by not including Odia language from NEET, we staged demonstration today and have submitted a memorandum to the President through the Governor,” said president of the students’ wing of BJD, Byomkesh Ray.
On the other hand, the Youth wing of BJP alleged that Odisha gave its consent to the Central government to make English as the medium of language in NEET.
Notably, the agenda of a video conferencing meeting of the State government with the Union Health ministry revealed that the meeting included the proposal of including English, Hindi and 6 other regional languages as a medium for NEET. Questions are now being raised on why the State government did not demand to include Odia in the list of languages as it was aware that 6 regional languages are being included.
“The Odisha government has shown disrespect towards Odia language and betrayed the Odia students. The Odisha government has mentioned in writing that English should be used as medium of language for NEET and now its shedding crocodile’s tears,” said president of Youth wing of BJP, Tankadhar Tripathy.