Students being checked before being allowed to enter a NEET examination centre in Nainital district on Sunday.
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NEET 2020: When students arrive for the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) on Sunday, many aspirants from remote hilly areas in Uttarakhand traveled a day in advance to reach their exam centers on time.

Sunil Kumar, a 22-year-old student from Kalagarh, Uttar Pradesh, who had his exam center in Haldwani, Nainital District, said, “I left my house around 7:00 am on Saturday morning. I switched two modes of transport in four different locations to reach Kashipur around 3pm on Saturday. It used to cost 60 rupees from my hometown to reach Kashipur, but this time I had to pay around 1000 rupees. ”

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He added that after arriving in Kashipur, he took a bus to Haldwani around 6 p.m. on Saturday evening.

“I spent a whole day in different road vehicles. I even had a Covid-19 test done at the border but haven’t received a report (until I enter the exam hall), ”said Kumar.

Akshita Kharkwal, another 17-year-old aspirant from the adjacent Pithoragarh district, said, “We left Pithoragarh at 9:30 am on Saturday morning. We reached Rudrapur (US Nagar) around 8:30 pm, where we stayed at our relative’s house. From there, I reached Haldwani on Sunday around 9:40 a.m. to reach my exam center. Although we drove in our own car, the uninterrupted drive of 10 to 11 hours was exhausting, combined with the panic of being able to reach safely on the road without any problems. ”

Many more students traveled overnight to get to the exam centers on time, as each student was given a specific time slot to enter.

Sapna Karki, a 17-year-old medical aspirant from Kharak Karki village, Champawat district, also traveled over 10 hours.

“We started from my village on Saturday afternoon and stayed overnight in Tanakpur. On Sunday we left there at 5 a.m. and reached Haldwani around 9 a.m. Candidates from hilly areas have many difficulties accessing exam centers in Haldwani. It’s not just the many hours of travel, but we also have to keep our safety in mind when we switch modes during an epidemic, ”she said.

Students from hilly areas near Mussoorie faced the same situation.

Shrishti Sonkar, a 20-year-old medical aspirant from Mussoorie, said: “We feared the roadblock due to a recurrent landslide on the Mussoorie-Dehradun road and left five hours before the check-up so that we could get to the center on time. We were lucky enough to pass the landslide zone without interruptions. ”

Several aspirants who did not have their own vehicle have teamed up by taking shared taxis to their designated centers.

Sakshi Singh, another medical aspirant from Mussoorie, said: “We are three students who decided to book a taxi the day before and arrived at the center on time on Sunday.”

Sunday’s exam was conducted in accordance with all social distancing and safety guidelines as per the central government.

Mohan Singh Matiyani, city coordinator for NEET (UG) in Roorkee, said the exam went smoothly and 90% of the students turned up in the city for the exam.

“All social distancing norms were followed, with 12 students sitting in one room. The pupils were given different time windows from 11 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. so that all safety standards such as thermal scanning, disinfection and distribution of masks could be properly observed. All students received fresh masks at the center, ”said Matiyani.

When asked if any of the students’ temperature was higher than normal, Matiyani said, “In such a situation, we made arrangements for separate rooms, but we did not receive such a report until the exam started at 2:00 pm on Sunday. ”

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