New Delhi: Over 200 students from National Institute of Technology Uttarakhand (NITUK) has reached Delhi on Tuesday to raise their demands for safer and well-equipped campus. The protesting students have approached Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD) Secretary, but the deadlock continued as the strike entered the 57th day.
NIT Uttarakhand enrolled 937 students for Academic Year 2018-19 and more than 900 students left the campus and boycotted lectures, practical’s and exams for the last 57 days.
Students alleged that they have tried all the possible legal means to reach out to the concern authorities in this matter but after receiving no response they are forced to reach Jantar Mantar.
Agitating students stated that despite making several appeals to MHRD minister Prakash Javadekar, he is busy in the election campaign and not paying any heed to our concerns.
Some students also said that if the facilities can’t be provided as per the rules, the institute should return our fees and shut down the campus.
The students have been boycotting the classes since October 4, when a B.Tech student Neelum Meena (20) sustained critical injuries after being hit by a car.
Students claim following lapses at the campus:
1) No permanent campus – leaving them to use another institute campus where students don’t have proper infrastructure and practical labs.
2) Hostel Facility- Students don’t have proper hostels therefore 6 students are staying in a single room.
3) Lack of Technology- There is no technical exposure in Shri Nagar campus.
4) Poor medical facility-In case of medical emergency students have to go to the nearest medical hospital which is in Rishikesh situated 105 Km from campus.
5) Violation of Rules-MHRD violated the NIT Act and their rules for allowing the campus to them.
6) Justice for Neelum- On Oct 3, 2018, a B.Tech student, who is from ST community of Rajasthan, is paralysed and her half of the body is non-functional. She met with the accident while she was going for her class.
What is the history of the NIT Uttarakhand:
The problems started since the establishment of NITUK in the year 2009 in accordance with the NIT Act. A 300-acre land had to be allocated by the state government to the center in a village called Sumari in Pauri district of Uttarakhand.
Till the completion of campus in Sumari, NIT was started in a “shared campus” with State Polytechnic Institute. These temporary arrangements were made for the official opening of an NIT in the state.
Its temporary setup which was not supposed to extend for more than 2-3 years awaits the autonomous campus till date. A team of scientist from IIT Roorkee went to the Sumari site, for the verification of the allotted land and found that the land was having too steep slopes for construction and hence rejected it.
The inspection was done in 2010 but since the issue is pending and reached to the boiling point when the matter was unheard by the concerned government official.
“The temporary campus is holding more than 900 students who somehow managed to fit inside an inefficient facility which is only meant to handle a maximum of 250 students,” said a protestor at Jantar Mantar.
Justice for Neelum-
Students at Jantar Mantar said, “We have to walk through the National Highway to reach lab area and on October 3, in a tragic incident Neelam Meena was hit by a car driver severely, suffered multiple fractures and paralysis in her lower limbs (will not be able to move).”
This enraged the students and hence they once again went on the protest. This time it went for more than 52 days( 22 days protest on the institute’s ground and 30 days complete boycott of the institute) but no one even cared said another protester.
National Students Union of India (NSUI) National Secretary Anushesh Sharma said, “False promises regarding the shifting of NIT Uttarakhand to IDPL were made and in fact an e-mail regarding the shifting to IDPL was also sent to students by Mr. R. Subrahmanyam (Secretary MHRD), and after that due to the pressure of state government the plan of shifting was dropped by MHRD. It is very unfortunate watching such a lethargic approach towards the college of National Importance where politics are overruling the education.”
Students said that two of the officials from MHRD visited their campus and suggested that nothing can be done in this situation. They will submit the report to MHRD to moving it to some better place. But no written assurance was given to us by the government.
One student of B.Tech final year said, “The supposed “double engine government” has done nothing in that context expect their big bogus speeches. The Chief Minister of Uttarakhand has been passing some completely vague comments involving the “Pahad vs Plains” divide policy to break the movement of students. But students are still standing and have filed a PIL in Nainital High Court.”
Agitating students claimed that they have written to media, PMO, CMO, President, Governor and Director everybody in power but no one paid any attention. And hence students in response vacated the campus on 22nd day and have taken a resolution to not come back until some groundwork is done.