Bengaluru: Nearly 500 students appearing for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical entrance have missed the exam in Karnataka as the train they had taken to reach the exam centres was delayed by over six hours on Sunday.
The Hampi Express-16591, plying from North Karnataka to Bengaluru, would only reach by 2.30 pm, while the students were required to report at the exam halls by 1:30 pm. According to News18 Kannada, around 500 students might miss the exam, which is held once a year. Around 13 lakh students from across the country are taking the entrance test, conducted by the National Testing Agency, this year.
Several students have been sending SOS messages to HRD ministry over the train delay, requesting that they be allowed to sit in the exam.
"My exam center is Dayanand Sagar College in Bengaluru. Now I don't think I will be able to write the exam," said Suhas, one of the students on the train.
“@PrakashJavdekar sir we the students who are appearing for neet 2019 from ballari and hubli cities to Bengaluru train number 16591 name Hampi Express. Thus train has to reach bengaluru city at 7 AM still we are in Arsikere (180km ) far away from Bengaluru. (sic),” wrote a student, Sai Srinivas, on Twitter.
Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah also took to Twitter and slammed the central government and the railway ministry for failing to run trains on time.
He said, “Mr. @narendramodi, You pat your own back for others' achievements but will you also take the responsibility for your cabinet min' incapabilities. Hundreds of students in Karnataka may not be able to take up NEET because of delay in the train services (sic).”
He also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that the students get a chance to write the exam. “Ask @PiyushGoyal to work properly for next few days and then we will set it right. Also, ensure that the aggrieved students get another chance to write NEET exam,” he wrote on Twitter.
The railways, however, said that they had conveyed in advance about the train delay. "All the reserved passengers of train have been given intimation by SMS of the diversion and rescheduling on the mobile numbers given at the time of reserving tickets," said E Vijaya, Chief Public Relations Officer, South Western Railway.
The delay, according to the railway officials has been due to the maintenance work going on in Guntkal in South Central division.
A couple of days before the exam, the National Testing Agency had also changed the centres of several students "due to Lok Sabha elections and other unavoidable circumstances", causing confusion among students.
The Public Relations Officer of the South Western Railway said that the administration, in a letter, urged the HRD Ministry to re-conduct the NEET exam for the students who had missed their exam today.