Bhubaneswar: Blaming Odisha government for not facilitating local students to appear for the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) in their mother tongue, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today appealed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to reconsider its decision.

"In the larger interest of the students of the state I request you to reconsider the decision and provide an additional option to the students to appear in either English or Odia in the NEET examination," Pradhan said in a letter to the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda.

"This will ensure meritorious students from the state are not adversely affected on account of their lack of expertise in English," the letter said.

Pradhan's letter to Nadda came barely four days after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik sent a similar message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Stating that a controversy had erupted with respect to inclusion of Odia language as a medium of examination in NEET, Pradhan said Odia had been excluded even as Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil and Telgu were included.

"The exclusion of Odia language is solely attributed to the omission of the state government that failed in protecting the interest of students of Odisha.

"Though the decision to this effect was taken by your Ministry through an elaborate consultative process. The government of Odisha did not avail of the opportunities in articulating the aspirations of the students from the state," Pradhan mentioned in the letter.

He alleged that the state government has resorted to raise the matter with the central government at this stage only to cover up their failure and thus mislead the people of the state.

Patnaik in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 22 had said "I am constrained to seek your personal intervention in the matter for incorporating Odia as a medium of examination for the ensuing NEET in the larger interest of the students of my state".

Stating that six regional languages besides Hindi and English had been included as a medium of examination at the NEET from the 2017-18 academic year, Patnaik in the letter had said "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 will put students from Odisha, who have studied in Odia, at a great disadvantage, Patnaik had said.