neet exam in West Bengal: transport problems burden NEET candidates in West Bengal
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KOLKATA: Candidates showing up for the NEET medical entrance exam in West Bengal struggled to reach their test centers on Sunday as the local train was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic and taxis charged exorbitant rates due to the increase in fuel prices. Pabitra Sadhukhan, a candidate from Sodepur, North 24 Parganas District, said he had to pay 3,500 rupees to book a taxi to an exam center in Salt Lake.

“I didn’t want to take any chances as there is no direct bus from where I live in Sodepur to Saltlake. The suspension of local trains has only added to our suffering. The taxi driver agreed to take us to the center and I did I want to don’t negotiate and waste time, “said Sadhukhan.

Biren Gupta, a Purulia resident, said he was stuck in traffic for about an hour because of a political rally in Barjora in neighboring Bankura district but managed to get to the center in time.

“It took time to calm down when I got to the center about 15 minutes before the exam started, but I tried to answer as many questions as possible,” said Khanna after the 5pm exams were over.

An estimated 77,061 candidates should take exams at 189 centers across the state, National Testing Agency sources said.

In the city, however, the students were able to make use of the subway services, as the express transport system resumed operation after about six months on Sunday and special trains ran for the NEET test subjects on the first day.

COVID-19 safety guidelines were implemented in all exam centers and candidates’ temperature was checked with a heat gun outside the hall. Each of them was given a fresh mask, and two meters were kept between two benches.

West Bengal and five other states appealed to the Supreme Court to postpone the JEE (Main) and NEET exams, but their pleas dismissed.

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