NEET centre in Jammu, even in Samba, none in Kashmir; Govt silent, aspirants suffer

MD/MS aspirants from Kashmir could miss postgraduate National Entrance Eligibility Test (NEET) 2017 as both the examination centres in J&K have been allocated to Jammu division, and none to Kashmir. Even though number of exam centres have been increased in four states, Kashmir candidates continue to face difficulties in arranging logistics as nearby centres have been filled to capacity.
For the second consecutive year the state government has failed to ensure a NEET centre for Kashmir despite repeated assurances. While one of the centres has been allotted to Jammu, this year another centre has been added and set up in Samba district of Jammu, leaving thousands of medical students from Kashmir in lurch.
The omission of Kashmir for second consecutive year from the list of 129 places which have been allocated NEET examination centres for postgraduate medical and surgery degrees and diploma courses has now led to angst and resentment among the aspirants.
“While a majority of aspirants for MD/MS are from Kashmir, it is shocking that the government has failed to get a centre for the Valley,” a delegation of aspirants told Kashmir Post.
Although on 1 November 2017, a day after the notification was issued by NBE, it was notified that seats in states of Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh would be increased; candidates alleged that J&K state government was not acting.
“When mid-way through the application process, centres could be increased for these states, our case could also be taken up and thousands of candidates relieved of the misery they are enduring,” said a candidate. He added that despite multiple representations to JK Board of Professional Entrance Examinations (BOPEE) and NBE, aspirants have got no respite.
“Isn’t it state government’s responsibility to ensure that candidates from Kashmir are able to appear in exam and save their careers?” said an aspirant.
To add to the candidate woes, candidates currently filling online application forms for NEET PG 2017 have been facing difficulty in finding a vacancy in nearby exam centres at Jammu and other cities as these centres have been filled to the capacity. A delegation of candidates told Kashmir Post that no seat for appearing in MD/MS NEET 2017 was available in Jammu, Delhi, Gurgaon, Chandigarh and other cities in nearby states.
“Now, many of us will need to travel to far off states and bear huge expenses of boarding and lodging. Why this injustice to us,” said a female aspirant. Another member of the delegation said, “Kashmir has a population of over 72 lakh while the population of Jammu is only around 50 lakh. If population is the criteria, we at least deserve one centre.”
Chairman BOPEE, Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, said an exam centre at Kashmir was “much needed”. “We have taken up the matter with chief secretary and secretary health and medical education. I am sure they must be putting in their best efforts to resolve the crisis,” he said. He added that BOPEE had also written to NBE and were awaiting a response from it.