NEET stories: Caught between Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, this youth's medical dreams are in doubt

R Manikandan made his second attempt at the exam this year, after a heartbreak that the 'technicalities' in the administration of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu gave him last year.

Published: 04th November 2021 08:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th November 2021 08:57 AM   |  A+A-

R Manikandan with his family

R Manikandan with his family. (Photo| EPS)

Express News Service

PUDUCHERRY: Unlike lakhs of aspirants in the country, NEET is not the only 'test' for R Manikandan to sail through to realise his dream of becoming a doctor. For him, the exam scores are only one part of it. The rest lies in the hands of the administration of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, where some 'technicalities' have put him in a tangle.

A student of the Pavendar Bharatidasan Government Higher Secondary School at PS Palayam in Puducherry, Manikandan made his second attempt at the exam this year, after a heartbreak that the 'technicalities' gave him last year.

A resident of Puranasingupalayam (PS Palayam), a border village that cuts across both the Union Territory of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu's Villupuram district, he was denied entry into Puducherry's Centralised Admission Committee (CENTAC) merit list for MBBS seats last year, despite scoring 500 out of 720 in the exam.

The reason?  He is a resident of Tamil Nadu. Strangely, he could not claim a seat in Tamil Nadu too as he was denied the 7.5 per cent reservation quota, stating he studied in a school in Puducherry. Despite several appeals to the Puducherry and Tamil Nadu governments, Manikandan could not secure the admission.

However, he was not to give up. The son of agricultural labourers, who lives under a thatched roof, bettered his NEET performance this year by scoring 560 out of 720, and came out with an All India Rank of 39,851. Still, he can only hope now to get a seat at the Villupuram Government Medical College.

According to S Sriram, Manikandan's Physics teacher, students from border villages of Tamil Nadu studying in Puducherry should be given the benefits of the 7.5 per cent reservation, as the government schools in the UT follow the same syllabus of those in Tamil Nadu. "Considering his family and economic background, clearing NEET is praiseworthy. He needs to be supported," said  Sriram.

Since he could not afford coaching classes, and as his home was not conducive for studies, he was provided free coaching and accommodation by former MLA Ashok Anand at his coaching centre. His teachers Jecyntha, Ezhilarasi, Gomathi, Savithiri, and Sriram had taken the initiative to see the dreams of Manikandan realised.

Sriram said they will now be writing to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, requesting him to include students in Puducherry schools under the 7.5 per cent NEET quota to government school students. "We don't have a separate Board for Puducherry, and offer education to TN students at the border Schools. This may be done for the life of voiceless children who are the victims of border issues," said Sriram.

After this incident, teachers of government schools have been alerting students from border villages in Villupuram and Cuddalore, who are studying in places like Kalalpet and Karayamputhur, on the situation they would be in once they have to go to college, especially to pursue medical education, said Sriram.


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