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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 23:

Odisha today reiterated in clear terms that its opinion was not sought by the Union Health Ministry while deciding on the inclusion of regional languages for conducting National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and blamed the Centre for non-inclusion of Odia.

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“Earlier no all India level entrance test was conducted in regional language. This is for the first-time regional language will be used for the conduct of an all India entrance examination for getting admissions to medical colleges. A formal opinion of the state government has not been sought in this connection. The decision to conduct the examination in various regional languages has been taken by the Central government without obtaining the opinion of the state in the matter during the video conference,” stated Umakanta Satpathy, Joint Director, Directorate of Medical Examination and Training (DMET), Odisha speaking to reporters here today.

The official said that had the Centre told us so we would have certainly demanded inclusion of Odia language in the list of regional languages which will be used as a medium for the conduct of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET-UG) from AY 2017-18.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Thursday wrote a letter to Prime Minster Narendra Modi seeking his personal intervention into the matter.

“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 at 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 the disadvantage of those from Odisha,” Naveen said in his letter.

“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,” he had further stated in the letter.

“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,” Patnaik had said in the letter.

Notably, the Union Health Ministry in a statement on Wednesday 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.”

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.