Officials at Dehradun railway station were taken aback on Sunday afternoon when an ‘exam special’ train, meant for NEET aspirants, arrived completely empty at the station from Moradabad.
||Shivani Shukla, Prayagraj
A team of doctors, government officials and other railway staffers deputed at the platform to check the students on arrival went back empty-handed.Sitaram Sonkar, station superintendent at Dehradun railway station, told TOI that “since there were over 18 centres for NEET in Dehradun and 12 in nearby Roorkee, the Railways had specially organised this train so that students could commute easily.
“It came as a surprise to us that no one took the train,” he added. Interestingly, attendance at the exam centres in Dehradun and Roorkee was high and a large number of students could be seen queuing up to appear for the exam. A Railways official said that “perhaps due to the Covid threat, students preferred to make their own arrangements to reach the exam centres rather than opting for the special trains.”
The fate of several other ‘exam specials’ operated by the Moradabad, Prayagraj and Agra divisions was no better. According to Railways sources, the special NEET train that ran from Bareilly to Ghaziabad had just one passenger while the one from Bareillyto Lucknow had five. In all, the five special trains that the Moradabad railway division organised for NEET exam aspirants for travel to and from Dehradun, Roorkee, Lucknow and Moradabad got a total of 21 passengers. And the Railways, which spent lakhs on operating these trains, made a princely sum of Rs 1040.