The Banaras Hindu University (BHU) entrance examination was held in the Salt Lake Sector Five area, near Kolkata, on Thursday amid a biweekly total lockdown across the state. Fewer students appeared for the exam compared to previous years.
As public transport stayed off the road, students took private vehicles to reach the examination centre to write the entrance test. Social-distancing norms were strictly followed, and students were allowed to enter the examination hall only if they wore masks. Proper arrangements for thermal screening and sanitisation were made.
“Student count was low maybe because there was no transportation available in the city. My dad had pre-booked a car so that we could reach the centre on time,” said Pratibha Singh, one of the aspirants.
Shatadru Mukherjee, a resident of Shibpur in Howrah, said, “We were asked to reach one hour early at the examination centre. We reached at 7.30 am. There was no traffic, still I started early. I had booked a private car that charged Rs 600 to drop me to Sector 5.”
Messages alerting students to maintain hygiene were continuously played on loudspeakers.
“All norms were being followed but the number of students was really less. I believe not everyone could have managed to book private vehicles. I have my car so I reached smoothly,” said Aditi Biswas, a student from Barrackpore who has applied to the LLB course at the university.
A number of students were accompanied by their family members, who gathered outside the examination centre early in the morning.
K J Singh, whose daughter appeared for the exam, blamed the state government for not ensuring transportation during emergencies.
“I do not understand the logic behind this type of lockdown. If the state really wanted to break the chain, continuous 10 days of lockdown, or say one week lockdown, would have helped. There is so much confusion about lockdown dates in Bengal. Suddenly, we came to know that it’s a lockdown on August 27, I hired a private vehicle and paid Rs 1,500 for the day so that my daughter could write the exam, many couldn’t,” he said.