NEET, JEE Main 2020: Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik seeks postponement of exam

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik today joined Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Tamil Nadu education minister MK Stalin in demanding the postponement of JEE (Main) and NEET over Covid-19 fears arguing that it will be unsafe for students to visit examination centres physically.

In a letter to union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on Tuesday, Patnaik said that due to prevailing coronavirus situation in the country, it would be highly unsafe and perilous for 50000 students of the state to visit the examination centres physically to appear in these tests.

“Besides, frequent lockdown/shutdown is being enforced by the concerned district administrations due to sudden escalation of the COVID positive case locally, the local transportation too gets disrupted,” he wrote. The JEE(Main) and NEET exams are scheduled to be held in September.

On Tuesday, Odisha reported 2752 new Covid-19 cases from all its 30 districts taking the total to 84231.

Patnaik also said as Odisha has got vast tribal pockets having geographically inaccessible areas, that are far away from the urban centres in the state, students would have to travel long distances. The Odisha chief minister suggested that examination centres should be opened in all 30 districts of Odisha instead of just 7. In June, Patnaik had requested Modi to postpone JEE, NEET till the higher secondary science exams in the state were over.

Earlier, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Tamil Nadu education minister M K Stalin had appealed to the centre to postpone the competitive exams until the spread of Covid-19 was brought under control. Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy too had demanded postponement of the exam.

On Sunday, over 4000 students had taken to Twitter to demand postponement of the examination. They also observed a day-long hunger strike to press for the demand.

The Supreme Court last week had rejected petitions against holding the exams amid the Covid pandemic.

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