Published: 06th May 2018
NEET 2018: Thousands of out-of-town parents battle dehydration, weariness as wards tackle exam
Several parents were lined up on the pavement with no shade and no drinking water for hours. Most of them arrived in Chennai overnight and were set to return right after the exam ended at 1 pm
When news came about NEET candidates having to travel to places as far as Rajasthan, the first worrying thought on everybody's minds was how they would manage. But what happened to parents who came from across the state to our very own Chennai with their children? They stood under the summer sun for more than five hours waiting for their children to finish the exam — there was no sign of shade and no water on offer.
Various centres in Chennai had crowds of parents outside the gates all seated on the pavements in the blistering heat. Some schools had a tree for shade and some schools had some shops but others had no respite from the heat. "Forget chairs or a small tent, the least the school could do is sweep the pavements. We're literally sitting in garbage. When ministers come, they come in cars and yet the roads are swept clean. But what about us? We actually have to sit on this road and they couldn't have just swept it?" asked K Ramaselvi from Thoothukudi.
For an exam that was to start at 10 am, students were asked to arrive at 7.30. After one hour of scrutiny, the students were taken inside and made to wait for almost two hours before their exam started. This is hassle enough but for parents waiting outside, it was unbearable — especially for parents from outside the city. "Paying for transport, finding a hotel to stay near the centre - all that is our responsibility. The government knows we're coming from far and wide and we can't go anywhere for just a few hours. How can they let us suffer in the heat like this?" she added. Abraham S, whose sister was writing the exam said that in a school that could hold 1000 students, why were the families not even allotted a small room?
Some of the parents managed to find succour by crowded under small sheds outside shops, "The shopkeepers are telling us to move to another place. We feel so bad. It's such a big fancy looking school but we have no choice but to suffer in this heat," said D Ramadevi from Thiruvallur. "Today is a Sunday, most of the shops are closed, they could have made some arrangements for water at least. It's a national level exam after all," he said. "Some of the students came on their own. They have just left their bags out on the pavements with no safety," another parent pointed out.