Even after clearing the entrance examination for admission to M.Sc. Physics and securing the sixth rank in the OBC category, Keerthana of Poudikonam in Thiruvananthapuram stumbled at the doorsteps of NIT Calicut. It was the timely intervention of Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy that eventually helped Keerthana to cross the final hurdle. Keerthana was denied admission by NIT Calicut citing that her community certificate was outdated, when she went there on the 25th of June to remit the course fee. She pleaded with the authorities that she would present a fresh one before 1600 hrs on that same day itself; but the authorities insisted that they needed it for verification then and there itself.
A dejected Keerthana returned home and narrated her plight to the Chief Minister who, without losing time, asked his office to get in touch with the authorities of NIT Calicut for resolving the matter. But the institute authorities remained adamant even after the intervention from the Chief Minister’s Office. Finally, the Chief Minister during his discussions with the Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani in New Delhi on the 24th of July presented the case of Keerthana. Following this meeting, on 1st August the Chairperson of Council of NITs sent a fax to the director of NIT Calicut, directing the institute to create one supernumerary seat for MSc. Physics under the OBC (noncreamy layer) category and to treat it as a onetime measure purely for the current academic session and not as precedent. Keerthana comes from a financially poor family. Without her father, she and her brother, who has just completed his MBA, are being taken care of by her mother Kasturi, who works as sweeper at the armed reserve camp at Nandavanam in Thiruvananthapuram.
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