Appearing for the NEET-JEE exam amid a pandemic hasn’t been easy. While the threat of coronavirus made aspirants, parents and activists apprehensive about the conducting of the exam and triggered protests from many quarters, floods and lack of transport in view of lockdown in several areas also added to the woes of students.
However, a 19-year-old boy, Diganta Mondal, from Gosaba in Sunderbans couldn’t afford to miss the exam even in absence of transport. The boy accompanied by his father, Rabi a carpenter by profession, cycled for six hours to reach the exam centre in the city suburbs 75 km away on Wednesday. He had to travel for two more hours on public transport to finally reach the exam centre in Salt Lake Sector V, the Times of India reported.
The duo started on Tuesday evening on two cycles and crossed the Bidyadhari river on a boat. They cycled for four hours before they reached a relative’s place at Piyali village in Sout 24 Parganas. Here, they rested for the night before hitting the road again on Wednesday morning. However, Diganta did not take his bicycle this time and instead took the back seat to revise his lesson as his father cycled him to the exam hall.
At 9am, they reached Sonarpur and took an auto rickshaw from there and later changed two buses to reach the exam centre at 11 am, even though the exam was scheduled for 3pm.
“Had trains been running, the journey wouldn’t have been so taxing. But I was determined to sit for the exam for which I have been preparing for the past two years. I couldn’t miss it at any cost,” Diganta was quoted as saying by the TOI. The boy had been preparing for the entrance exam for the last one year after passing the higher secondary exam with 85% marks.
Many students couldn’t appear for the exam owing to the pandemic, lack of transport and even floods in some parts/ In fact, on the first day of the exam, Bengal witnessed just 33% of the aspirants appearing for the exam. The numbers, however, improved to 70% on the second day of the test.
Earlier in August, a man in madhya Pradesh bicycled over 100 kilometers to take his son the exam centre as they couldn’t find a bus. Shobharam, a laborer from Baidipura village, covered the distance of 105 kms in seven hours to take his son Ashish to the examination center. The video of this dedicated father, putting all his efforts to ensure a bright future for his son, has gone viral on social media.
He said the buses stopped operating in the area after the lockdown was imposed in March to curb the spread of coronavirus. Even though restrictions have been eased now, buses are still not back on the roads there, Shobharam said.