Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: Amid a deepening COVID-19 crisis, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has written to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank seeking postponement of JEE (Main) and NEET examination till normalcy is restored in the country.

Even though delaying the exams might have a major impact on the academic calendar, CM has requested to postpone it in view of the safety and security of the students.

More than 50000 students from Odisha are appearing in NEET and around 40000 students in JEE (Main) this year. However, NTA has opened examination centres for the said tests in seven townships of the State only.

"In this context, I would like to say that in view of the prevailing COVID pandemic situation in the country, it would be highly unsafe and perilous for the students to visit the test centres physically to appear in these tests.

Besides, as frequent lockdown and shutdown are being enforced by the concerned district administrations due to sudden escalation of the COVID positive case locally, the local transportation also gets disrupted," Naveen stated in the letter.

Odisha has got vast tribal pockets having geographically inaccessible areas, far away from the urban centres of the State. As such, the students of these areas may be deprived of appearing in these tests, as they will have to travel long distances to come to the examination centres, the letter further mentioned.

In view of this, the CM requested that the ensuing JEE (Main) and NEET examination scheduled to be held in 1st fortnight of September 2020 may be postponed to a later date to ensure the safety and security of the students.

Besides, whenever NTA holds these tests, it may be directed to open centres in all the 30 districts of the State so that students have to travel maximum 2-3 hours to reach the test centres and go back home the same day and thus ensure maximum participation of the students in these tests, Patnaik added.

National Testing Agency (NTA) has scheduled to conduct the JEE (Main) and NEET, 2020 test for admission into the technical and medical courses from September 1-6 and September 13, 2020, respectively.

In a related development, Rajya Sabha member from Odisha, Amar Patnaik has also sought the attention of PM Narendra Modi for postponing of all competitive examinations.

"Presently, the situation is not at all conducive for students to give their exams given the ongoing pandemic which has already resulted in many deaths...Considering the safety of the children and youth who are the future of India, I request you to look into the matter and issue instructions to the Education Ministry at the earliest to postpone such all-India competitive exams," Patnaik wrote in his letter to the PM.


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