Around 75 per cent of JEE candidates in West Bengal could not take the entrance exam on Tuesday due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation, claimed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday (September 2).
Banerjee was one of the chief ministers who had written to the Centre, seeking to postpone the JEE and NEET examinations.
She said her government had made all the arrangements for the students, but only 1,167 wrote the test though 4,652 candidates were scheduled to appear for it on Tuesday, the first day of the examination.
“The students are in great trouble. They were not able to attempt the JEE examinations. In other states, more than 50 per cent of the students were not able to appear for it due to the pandemic situation,” Banerjee told reporters on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, several instances came to the fore where JEE (Mains) candidates had to shell out a hefty amount to reach their exam centres, covering long distances from their homes.
Ayan Roy Mahapatra and his parents were among those. They had to pay ₹25,000 to cover a distance of 365 km from Malda to Kolkata for him to take the JEE (Mains) exam, reported PTI. He had appeared for the exam from a test centre in Salt Lake area.
When contacted, his father Anup Roy Mahapatra said, “We started on Sunday morning so we could reach Kolkata before complete lockdown in West Bengal on Monday. An AC SUV was needed as we were covering such a distance. I tried to settle for a lesser amount, but in vain.”
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Another candidate, Biltu, who travelled in a private luxury bus from Malda to Kolkata spent ₹800 on one-way fare as he did not want to board crowded public transport.
“From Malda I boarded a Kolkata-bound non-ac luxury bus on Saturday evening and they asked me to pay the amount as there would be no overcrowding and sanitisers would be provided at frequent intervals,” he said.
The father of another candidate said he had to pay thrice the regular fare for their journey from Midnapore to Kolkata. “We had to pay thrice the regular fare but the conductor still kept on picking up passengers without thinking for our safety.” he said.