37,459 candidates had registered with the National Testing Agency (NTA) to appear as NEET in Odisha’s seven cities – Berhampur, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Balasore, Angul, Rourkela and Sambalpur. Bhubaneswar received the most candidates in its 31 exam centers.
The exam started at 2 p.m. and ended at 5 p.m. The students waited outside the centers before 1 p.m. to enter the exam centers. Candidates followed physically distancing rules while taking their places in the centers after thermal screening. “The arrangements were good for testing in this Covid-19 situation. There was a gap between two candidates,” said Sridevi, a NEET candidate, as she entered her testing center in Bhubaneswar.
During the thermal screening, three exam center students had high body temperatures. They were allowed to appear in isolation centers for examination. “Supervisors visited the students after wearing PPE kits. Every precaution was taken to ensure the safety of the students during this pandemic period,” said Poly Patnaik, NEET state coordinator and director of Bhubaneswar’s mother’s public school.
She said most exam centers reported 90 percent participation in the NEET. “We have yet to determine the exact number of candidates who will pass the entry test at all 83 centers. It will gradually come. However, many centers reported that around 90 percent of candidates passed the test,” she added.
Saileza Biswal, who attended an exam center in town, said the physics was a little difficult for her. “The subject of biology was easy to answer. Chemistry wasn’t as difficult as physics. Having recently appeared as JEE Main, I was very aware of the rules upon entering the center. The exam went smoothly amid a pandemic,” added she added.
Those candidates who missed the exam after testing positive for Covid-19 will be given another opportunity to take the test. The date of this test will be announced later.
The state government had made arrangements for the accommodation and transport of candidates in various cities. The East Coast Railway (ECoR) has run four trains to allow candidates to return to their hometowns. These trains were operated on the Bhubaneswar-Keonjhargarh, Bhubaneswar-Bhadrak, Sambalpur-Rayagada and Sambalpur-Khariar Road routes.