‘GATE closed’: After airlifting 180 candidates to Jammu, six centers opened in Kashmir leading to further chaos

Srinagar: Due to the Jammu and Kashmir government and Ministry of Human Resource Development’s (MHRD) negligence, one day of bad weather has led to hundreds of Kashmiri Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) aspirants lose a chance to crack the examination this year, without even getting a chance to take the test.

This year GATE, a national-level post-graduate entrance exam was to be held on February 2, 3 and February 9,10. However, due to the heavy snowfall just before the exam, the candidates were stuck at the airport as the flights were cancelled. The next date of their departure was set after the examination by Srinagar Airport authorities. Helpless, the candidates stayed in their homes while the exam was conducted across India.

As a ray of hope, the governor administration took up the matter with the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). The Governor’s Advisor Khurshid Ahmad Ganai had approached Secretary Higher Education Department, MHRD and pressed for a GATE center in Kashmir.

Around 180 Kashmiri GATE aspirants, who ought to write their exam in Jammu on Sunday, were airlifted from here in a special Indian Air Force (IAF) plane on Friday. While that happened, the MHRD ended up setting six exam centres in Kashmir leading to further chaos and abhorrence against the authorities.

“If they could set up six centers in a few days, why didn’t they do it before this? Why were we neglected?” ask the candidates who missed their exam.

While the confusion stayed intact, the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Syed Abid Rasheed Shah tweeted, asking the candidates to get in touch with Nodal Agency IIT, Madras in order to appear in the exam here, in the valley. This followed three days after the candidates were asked to register with the Div Com’s office so they don’t miss their examination. There was no mention of whether the candidates who already missed their exam on 2nd and 3rd February can register too, causing them more anxiety.

“I have not been able to sleep these days. I had worked hard for this. All my relatives have been calling me asking me to study. They told me that I could write the exam I missed on 2nd February. But, when I called the Nodal Agency, they told me that I cannot write the exam as I had already missed it. They wished me luck for the next time,” says an aspirant who missed the exam.

According to a top official, nothing more can be done at the moment. “It is basically a server-based examination. IIT Madras is the main authority in this. We spoke to them and negotiated for the candidates. We managed to get six centers for the candidates who are yet to take the exam,” the official said, requesting anonymity.

“The new centers are for 9th and 10th February and for exams that will be conducted the next time. Those who missed unfortunately missed. This is done from the US with its IIT Agency in Madras. It is a big deal. No one can do anything now. The Governor had taken up this issue. That is why we got the centers now after 1947,” the official said adding, “We have tried very hard for this. This is all that could be done. We will still try if something can be done but we cannot commit anything.”

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