Calling the last minute stay by Supreme Court on the Madras High Court’s order to CBSE on arranging more NEET centres for students of Tamil Nadu highly disappointing, the Congress-affiliated National Students Union of India (NSUI) demanded that the BJP-led NDA government either facilitate NEET exam within Tamil Nadu, or bear travel expenses for students forced to take exam outside.
“The NSUI demands Narendra Modi-led central government should direct the CBSE to immediately set up additional centres for the NEET exam,” the NSUI said in a press release, adding “failing this, the Central government should bear the travel and lodging expenses of Tamil Nadu students and their guardians travelling to their assigned NEET centres that are outside of their state.”
The last minute SC order, NSUI noted, puts students and their families to tremendous inconvenience and expense at a time when all their energies should be focussed on an important and highly competitive exam.
“This also imperils the future of students and makes us question the grounds on which the CBSE decided to appeal against a pro-student order by the Madras High Court. CBSE is an institution that is responsible for the future of millions of young students in the country. It is highly condemnable that CBSE lost sight of this fact,” the press release read.
Questioning CBSE’s move to appeal against the ‘pro-student order by the Madras HC’ in the apex court, Ruchi Gupta, AICC Joint Secretary and the in-charge of NSUI said, “the CBSE under the BJP Government has proved to be incompetent and against students.” “This is the second instance in just over a month where the CBSE has caused great inconvenience and avoidable stress to students and their families,” she added, referring to the exam paper leaks in the last week of March.
“The NSUI demands Narendra Modi-led central government should direct the CBSE to immediately set up additional centres for the NEET exam,” the NSUI said in a press release, adding “failing this, the Central government should bear the travel and lodging expenses of Tamil Nadu students and their guardians travelling to their assigned NEET centres that are outside of their state”
According to a press statement by Sanyam Bharadwaj, NEET Director (New Delhi), the number of NEET applicants from Tamil Nadu this year is 1.1 lakhs. “The CBSE received these applications and collected ₹1,400/- in fees from each of these applicants a full six weeks before the exam date. Armed with advance knowledge of the number of applicants, there was no excuse for the CBSE not to have allocated sufficient centres within Tamil Nadu,” the NSUI said.
One stated reason, the NSUI said, was that NEET centres require a certain level of infrastructure. “It is dismaying that the CBSE was unable to find suitable centres within Tamil Nadu which is one of the most developed states in the country and is home to several well-equipped institutions of higher learning.”
“This excuse also fails to stand scrutiny considering the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission has conducted exams for more than 12 lakh candidates on a single day within Tamil Nadu in November, 2016,” Gupta said, adding, “also, according to media reports, the CBSE office in Chennai has stated that 5,371 students from the state will have to write exams outside the state while the NEET Director Sanyam Bharadwaj stated that 1,000 or 1,500 students were allotted centres outside the state.”
“Why is the CBSE unable to clearly state the number of students from Tamil Nadu allotted centres outside the state,” Gupta asked. “This confusion clearly points to the sorry state of affairs within the CBSE.”
Reminding the government of its promise of exempting NEET for TN students after suicide by Shanmugam Anitha, a student from Tamil Nadu who aspired to become a doctor but was allegedly denied to pursue her dreams because of NEET, the NSUI said “the Modi led BJP government gave fake assurances to exempt Tamil Nadu from NEET for a year and later went back on its word.”
“The Modi government is letting the CBSE destroy the dreams and aspirations of Tamil Nadu students,” said Gupta adding “this appears to be Modi’s vendetta against the people of Tamil Nadu for protesting against him during his last visit to the state. Steps like these, whether motivated by vindictive politics or driven by sheer incompetency, go against the principles of federalism enshrined in the Constitution.”
The NSUI will be setting up help desks for students of Tamil Nadu who are allegedly being forced to take their exam outside of TN.