A delayed Hampi express train and change of examination centres reportedly without any prior information prevented a large number of students from appearing for the NEET examination here Sunday.
Students ran from pillar to post in a vain bid to appear for the exam.
As the chaos marred the examination in Bengaluru, chief minister H D Kumaraswamy joined students and their parents to demand that a special examination for those who could not appear for NEET be held.
In a tweet he said, hundreds of students from North Karnataka districts missed the test here due to a 7-hour delay of the Hampi Express train.
A last-minute change in the exam centres and lack of proper communication of the same has created confusion among students, the chief minister tweeted.
"I request PM @narendramodi, Rail Minister @PiyushGoyal, @HRDMinistry, @PrakashJavdekar to intervene and ensure that students who have missed the opportunity today get another chance to write the NEET 2019 Exam," he added.
According to the information received, the exam was supposed to start at 2 PM on Sunday.
Students from North Karnataka, especially from Hubballi, Ballari, Hospet and nearby areas relied on Hampi Express which was supposed to reach Bengaluru at 7 AM.
However, the train reached Bengaluru only at 3 PM.
"The train was supposed to reach Ballari in Hospet at 10.45 am but it was not in sight. It reached Hospet at 1.30 pm," said Vinod, a student from Hospet.
Jyothi S Samantri from Ballari poured out her woes in her Facebook post.
She said, "The train that was supposed to reach Bengaluru at 5.30 am is still at Ballekere. The exam starts at 2 pm.
Unable to find a way out, parents are struggling."
A Railway public relation officer told PTI, "For the past one week the Hampi Express is running on a diverted route.
There are no timings for the diverted route. Earlier the scheduled time of reaching Bengaluru was 7 am."
Meanwhile, the South Western Railway (SWR) in a statement said the Hampi express from Hubballi to Mysuruwas presently being run on the diverted route instead of the original route of Ballari-Guntakal-Dharmavaram-Penukonda- Yelahankadue to ongoing non-interlocked working for doubling between Guntakal-Kalluru.
The diverted route was more 120 km longer and involved engine reversal at Ballari, it said.
"In addition to this, on May 4, departure of this train from Hubballihas to be rescheduled by 120 minutes (2 hours).
Reserved passengers of the train yesterday were intimated of diversion+rescheduling by SMS on the mobile numbers given during reservation," the statement read.
Adding to the confusion, some exam centres were changed without any prior information to the students.
When they reached the exam centre, they were told that their exam centre was about 30-40 km away.
"Is it humanly possible to cross the Bengaluru traffic and reach the exam centre 50 km away?" N Vijay Kumar, a parent asked.
Former chief minister Siddaramaiah too came down heavily on prime minister Narendra Modi and railway minister Piyush Goyal for the mismanagement during NEET exam in Bengaluru.
"Mr @narendramodi, You pat your own back for others' achievements but will you also take the responsibility for your cabinet min' incapabilities.
Hundreds of students in Karnataka may not be able to take up NEET because of delay in the train services. Ask @PiyushGoyal to work properly for the next few days and then we will set it right. Also, ensure that the aggrieved students get another chance to write NEET exam," he tweeted.
Protesting against the mismanagement during the NEET exam, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) also took out a rally demanding re-exam.