Mumbai: City's students are anxious about battling the rush hour ahead of exams as the Maharashtra Board is set to flag off the Higher Secondary Certificate(HSC) Class 12 boards today, February 21, 2023.
This would mark the first comprehensive class 12 examination after the Covid-19 pandemic, where students would be expected to strictly adhere to all board guidelines including the time schedules.
Mumbai undertook several developmental projects within the three pandemic years which further congested what were already traffic hot spots. “Seeing the gridlock within the city we have requested the Mumbai Traffic Police to ensure additional management in certain areas during exam season.
With the ongoing metro construction and parallel developmental activities, one can see that the traffic around KEM Circle, Dadar TT, and nearly all of Andheri West has marginally increased,” said Chetan Pedhnekar, a student activist from Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena(MNVS).
These blockage points are close to several prominent board exam centers, including D.G. Ruparel College, Mithibai College, NM College, and Maharshi Dayanand(MD) College, creating apprehensions about D-Day.
"The roads near the college are now narrow due to construction work and remain jammed by BEST busses. We are very concerned about the safety of our students," said Dr. Chaya Panse, Principal of Maharshi Dayanand College in Parel. Officials hope that students already have an idea about the city's high-traffic situations and plan ahead.
"Metro construction has been going on near Mithibai College for a while now. Students must resort to public transport options and manage time well," said Dr. Krutika Desai, Principal of SVKM’s Mithibai College in Vile Parle.
The HSC board exams are to be conducted in two shifts, the morning exam is to go on from 11:00 am to 02:10 pm while the afternoon slot will go on from 03:00 pm to 06:10 pm.
The students have been instructed to report to the centres at least thirty minutes before their exam time after which they would not be let inside. The rule might be observed more strictly since the board has taken away students' reading time from this year on, said a teacher.
Mumbai Traffic Police officials had a meeting ahead of board exams, on February 16. "We already have officials posted at high-traffic spots and now that the exams are approaching we'll try to ensure clear roads," said Pravin Padwal, Joint Commissioner of Police, Traffic.
Those who have been allotted colleges that are only accessible by road are worrying about finding transportation to reach the exam. “We decided to go check the exam centre a few days ago and it took us an hour to find an auto that would get us there.
Cab services such as Ola and Uber kept declining the rides. Coming back from the centre might be a struggle too since the auto drivers there are only willing to travel at the fares they quote,” said a student who has been allocated an exam centre in Bhayander East.
The increasing distance between the residence and the assigned board centre has been eating into a student's time to revise and rest, explained Dr. Manisha Bhave, former Vice-Principal of a junior college.
“Initially the board used to assign exam centres closer to the residential address of the students and now the pattern shows that most test centres are actually closer to the college a student attends. Several pupils choose to enroll in colleges far from where they live due to desired courses or fee concessions, making exam season especially hard on them," said Dr. Manisha Bhave.
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