Nearly 365 students from north Karnataka missed appearing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) here on Sunday, as the train in which they were travelling reached Bengaluru over seven hours late, an official said.
“The Hampi Express (train No. 16591) from Hubli to Mysuru via Koppal, Hospet and Bellary reached Bengaluru over seven hours late at 2:36 p.m. instead of the scheduled 7 a.m. arrival. As the test began at 2 p.m., the candidates could not reach the examination centres across the city in time,” South Western Railway (SWR) spokesperson E. Vijaya said in a statement here.
When the candidates staged a protest outside the railway station for missing the test for no fault of theirs, the SWR agreed to write to the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD) for re-conducting the test for them at the earliest.
“We will write to the Ministry on Monday with details of the candidates who missed the test due to the train delay for re-conducting it soon,” said Vijaya.
The Railways, however, attributed the delay due to the diversion of the train route from the normal route due to doubling of line work and operational reasons since May 3.
“The diverted route is 120 km longer and involved reversing the train engine at Bellary. The train departed Hubli on Saturday night 2 hours late at 8:20 p.m. instead of 6:20 p.m. and got further delayed enroute for operational reasons,” the official admitted.
One of the candidates also tweeted to HRD Minister Prakash Javdekar that the train was running behind schedule by seven hours and that they would miss the test for no fault of theirs.
Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy also urged Javdekar and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to ensure that the students who missed the test get another chance to write the NEET.
“Hundreds of students from north Karnataka districts have missed the #NEET being held in Bengaluru due to 7-hour delay of the Hampi Express,” tweeted Kumaraswamy.
The HRD ministry conducts the NEET every year in May for securing admission to state-run and private medical and dental colleges across the country for graduate and post-graduate courses.