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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 22:

A day after Union Health Ministry announced inclusion of eight languages for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test – the qualifying exam for admission to medical courses – from next academic year, Odisha government today sought Centre’s intervention to incorporate Odia as medium of examination “in the larger interest of the students.”

naveen patnaik

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today wrote a letter to Prime Minster Narendra Modi seeking his personal intervention into the matter of Odia not figuring in the list of languages.

“Odia language as a medium of examination for the students of Odisha who will be appearing for the NEET has been conspicuously left out. This, as you can appreciate, will put students from Odisha who have studied in Odia as a great disadvantage. In fact, this decision of Government of India will provide a competitive advantage for the students reading in six regional languages to disadvantage of those from Odisha,” Naveen said in his letter.

In view of this, Naveen sought PM’s personal intervention saying: “I am constrained to seek your personal intervention in the matter for incorporating Odia as a medium of examination for the ensuing NET, in the larger interests of the students of my state.”

Yesterday, Union Health Ministry in a statement had said: “Under the directions of Health Minister J.P. Nadda, and after rigorous and extensive consultations with state governments about their examination pattern and other related aspects, it has been decided that the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET-UG) from AY 2017-18 will be conducted in following 8 languages.”

On the contrary, Naveen said: “Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India has not sought Odia as an option while taking the views of the state government on the medium of language adopted for the students of Odisha. This has now created a widespread resentment among the students of Odisha who will be appearing the prestigious NEET in the academic year 2017-18 and onwards.”

On the other hand, the student wing of the ruling party – Biju Chatra Janata Dal (BCJD) today took out a protest rally in the capital city for Odia being excluded from the list. The activists were stopped mid-way while they were on their way to Governor’s House.

“This is an unfortunate decision not to include Odia. We would take up this matter at appropriate forum,” School and Higher Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra expressed.

Notably, the Union Health Ministry has decided that NEET-UG will be conducted in eight languages – Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Telugu and Tamil – from the 2017-18 academic year.

It may be mentioned here that NEET-UG is the national level entrance test conducted by the CBSE for admissions into undergraduate medical courses offered by all government and private medical colleges across the country. From this year, AIPMT exam was replaced with NEET.