The Odisha government has decided to provide free transportation and accommodation to the applicants of Joint Entrance Exams (JEE) and the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) in the state, said Asit Tripathy, State Chief Secretary.
Tripathy informed that a total of 37,000 students will be appearing for the JEE mains examination and for that, a total of 26 exam centres have been set up in seven cities here.
As per the directions by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the students who are appearing for the examination and need transportation and accommodation will be provided with the same facilities free of cost by the state government.
"The district administrations have been advised to facilitate the movement of candidates and their parents without any hindrance due to the lockdown and shutdown," he said.
Speaking about the hotels in the state, Odisha Chief Secretary said: "At present hotels are not functional due to COVID-19, therefore, Chief Minister has ordered that Engineering College Hostels/ ITIs will be opened and they will provide free accommodation to the NEET and JEE applicants."
"The Chief Minister has also directed for the opening of nodal centres in every district to help the students and their parents. The candidates have to inform the nodal centres regarding their transport and accommodation requirements."
Recently, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had written to the Union HRD Minister and spoken to the Prime Minister for postponing the NEET and JEE (mains) examination.
On Friday, the members of Congress party and its student wing - National Students' Union of India, had held protests across the country against the Centre's decision to conduct JEE and NEET in September and demanded the Centre to postpone the examinations in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The protests against the decision were held across different states and Union Territories of the country including Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Odisha, and Gujarat. Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on Thursday had said that the safety and future of the students was the topmost priority with regard to the conduction of the JEE and NEET amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that several steps including the increase in the number of exam centres had been taken. The National Testing Agency is scheduled to conduct the NEET on Septemeber 13 and JEE examinations between September 1-6.