The district administration officials said 1,065 candidates from various districts of UP had enrolled for the test and chosen Lucknow centre. However, only 597 appeared in the test while 469 preferred to drop out.
In the first shift, 224 (42.4%) out of 528 candidates skipped the exam, while the second shift saw 245 (45.6%) absentees though 537 candidates were supposed to appear.
In previous years, the absenteeism rate used to just 15-20%.
The candidates who appeared for the test at Lucknow centre from districts like Unnao, Hardoi, Rae Bareli and Barabanki told TOI that fear of contracting the novel coronavirus infection made many stay away from the exam. They too were apprehensive while coming, but felt reassured on finding good arrangements and strict adherence to Covid safety protocols.
“I was also in two minds, whether to write or to skip the entrance test for health sake, but finally I decided to take the risk as I don’t want to lose a year. I am happy that I took the risk as all safety measures were taken at my examination centre. Not just once, the candidates were sanitized at the gate and before entering the examination hall,” said Shambhavi Mishra, an aspirant from the city.
“I came all the way from Hardoi to write the examination. The only difficulty I faced was that centre was not in the main city but in the outskirts at a location difficult to reach. On reaching the centre, I was satisfied as there was no rush and Covid norms were strictly followed,” said candidate Anupriya Gupta.
Another candidate Akshat from Rae Bareli said, “I was stressed when I reached the centre but I was made to walk through a sanitization tunnel. I entered the exam room and saw the examiners wearing PPE kits. Then I took a sigh of relief. Also, there was proper physical distance as two seats were left vacant between candidates.”
The pictures of overcrowded examination centres of other entrance tests like BHU and BEd had been haunting me, but I was relieved, he added.
The candidates shared they were stressed that the fear of catching Covid-19 infection will haunt them during and after the examination, but good arrangements at the centre eased their tension.