With hordes of expectant youngsters and anxious parents turning up braving pouring rain, some commotion was expected at JJ hospital yesterday.
However, the chaos at the medical institute – the city’s only centre for preference form filling and counselling following declaration of results of the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for undergraduate (UG) level — became unprecedented owing to a perceived communication gap.
Thousands from across the state have been attending sessions here for admission to first- year health science courses since July 2.
Here’s what happened. On arriving there in the morning, several aspirants were informed that they were not eligible to apply under the open and Other Backward Classes (OBC) categories.
While the state merit list under the open category for candidates closed at rank 15,000 after Wednesday’s counselling sessions, at least 70 youngsters showed up yesterday to apply under this grouping, said Dr Sachin Mulkutkar, in- charge of the counselling centre at JJ Hospital.
Soon after these candidates were told that anyone below the rank of 15,000 – of the 30,508 candidates in the state merit list (SML) of the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) — wasn’t eligible to fill the preference forms, several parents voiced their frustrations about not being informed in advance.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Latif Shaikh, one such disgruntled father, said, “ When we checked online on the DMER website regarding the counselling sessions, my daughter Aafrin’s turn was scheduled for Friday at 9am. However, it was not stated on the website or the brochure that she wasn’t eligible under the open category, as the dates were given according to her SML, which is way above 15,000.” He added that following the confusion and commotion, as hundreds of other such candidates had shown up, cops from JJ Marg police station were called to the venue.
Finally, Dr Mulkutkar briefed the aspirants and their parents about the details mentioned in the NEET- UG information brochure.
However, several other candidates who had come forward to apply under the OBC category were also turned away in the afternoon session, as anyone in the merit list above the provisional DMER number 20,000 is not eligible to apply.
“ We didn’t know that we are not entitled to apply under the OBC category, as this was not specified on the website or brochure appropriately,” said Veerila Kshirsagar, a Charni Road resident, who said she was not sure of what to do next, a sentiment seconded by Neha Patil from Panvel and Jill Vora from Mulund.
The other side
Dr Pravin Shingare, head of the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), said, “Following complaints from a few parents, when we inquired about this issue, we were told that incorrect communication had spread among certain groups of parents that those under the open and OBC category could apply despite the fact that all the details were put up on the website.”