A controversy has broken out in Tamil Nadu over some students having to write the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for entry into medical colleges. The controversy has resulted in the local media whipping up sentiments against the Central Government.
This comes after the Supreme Court stayed a Madras High Court ruling asking the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to set up additional centres for students to write NEET on 6 May (Sunday).
The issue has been taken up by political parties like the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam of TTV Dinakaran, Makkal Neidhi Maiam of actor Kamal Haasan and a few people from the Tamil filmworld.
Advocate Kalimuthu Mylavan filed a petition last week in the Madras High Court against CBSE allotting centres to Tamil Nadu candidates outside the State. The CBSE on Thursday (3 May) moved the Supreme Court against the Madras High Court and obtained a stay today on the High Court order.
NEET Director Sanam Bharadwaj was quoted by The News Minute as saying that only 1,500 students from Tamil Nadu would be writing in centres outside the State. He said nearly 1.15 lakh students had applied for writing NEET this year against 82,000 last year – a jump of 31 per cent. Though CBSE had increased the number of centres by 25 per cent, it was unable to accommodate all the students within the state.
Some of the angry reactions to the Supreme Court ruling is against a few students having to write in far away centres like Rajasthan. But what is being pointed out is that the students appearing from NEET would have preferred Rajasthan centres as their second choice. Moreover, some of them would have prepared for the exams there.
On the other hand, there are students in southern tip of Tamil Nadu who would have preferred nearby Thiruvananthapuram, while those in Coimbatore would have chosen neighbouring Palakkad in Kerala as second choice. A Twitterati said it would make sense to travel to Thiruvananthapuram from Nagercoil since the distance was 80 km rather than to Madurai that was 240 km away.
According to BJP leaders in Tamil Nadu, the local media has whipped up regional passion on the issue with politicians adding more fuel rather than finding out the truth.
CBSE had approached the Supreme Court since it felt it would be difficult for it to get centres ready within a short span of time. Countering arguments on CBSE holding its school exams, authorities said holding NEET exams required better infrastructure.
CBSE has also clarified that there would be no confusion over the language of the question paper. Candidates would be given question papers in the language of their choice.
TTV Dinakaran and Tamimun Ansari of Manithaneya Jananayaga Katchi have offered to sponsor travel and stay of the students travelling outside the State for NEET.
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