As it becomes clearer with each passing day that the Union Government and National Testing Agency (NTA) are not going to fall for the antics of a few opposition parties to postpone the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE Mains) and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik has swung into action and has made necessary arrangements for making the lives of students easier. The Chief Minister had earlier written to Union Minister of Education and had two days later even dialled Prime Minister Modi to convey his apprehensions about the conduct of the said examinations.
Speaking to PM Modi, Patnaik raised the point of Odisha not only being gripped by the pandemic but also half of the state is flooded, due to which public transportation in many areas had been severely affected. This would naturally make transportation of candidates from the interiors to exam centres across the state difficult. However, sensing that the Modi government is not in favour of postponing exams, Naveen Patnaik set his administrative machinery rolling, and did what he does best – solve problems.
Odisha has become perhaps the first state in India, which, instead of whining as to how a cruel Union government was not thinking about the lives of students, has taken constructive steps to ensure that students have a hassle-free journey to and from the exam centres, apart from also making provisions for free accommodation of all candidates in need. Chief Secretary Asit Kumar Tripathy, informing the same, said, “There will be no travel restrictions on the movement of JEE Main candidates who do not have arrangements, their parents and officials who will conduct the exams. They can avail government transport facilities without payment to come to exam centres in Odisha.”
Free accommodation for needy examinees will be arranged at polytechnic institutes, engineering colleges and ITI’s of the state, with each district having an ITI being declared a nodal centre. The government will further provide buses to ferry candidates from their home town to the designated entrance venue.The JEE Main examination will be held between September 1 and 6 and NEET 2020 will be conducted on September 13.
Unlike his other colleagues, Naveen Patnaik has stepped up to the occasion and shown the way on how the examinations can be conducted seamlessly while minimising the hassle faced by students. Other Chief Ministers, the likes of which include Mamata Banerjee, have been incessantly going on and on about how students’ mental health would be disastrously affected if the entrance exams were to be conducted according to schedule. Under her leadership, multiple non-BJP ruled states have even filed a review petition at the top court seeking a postponement of the exams.
Instead, like Naveen Patnaik, what all these Chief Ministers should do, is work towards alleviating all possible hassles which students might go through before and during the examinations. Yet, they find making a political circus out of the situation a more feasible option.
Over the past week, heavy rain, triggered by the back-to-back formation of low-pressure systems over the Bay of Bengal affected Odisha, by submerging low-lying areas and snapping road links while claiming at least two lives.