The ongoing unemployment strike by students of College of Fisheries at Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Ludhiana, entered 10th day on Wednesday. The protesting students, many of them girls, have taken unanimous decision that they will not call off the strike until they are offered government jobs through the campus placements by the university.
Since day one of the strike, the students have spent their days and nights outside the Gate Number 5 of the university, located on the busy Ferozepur Road.
Alleging that university authorities are least bothered about their future, as since the start of their course in 2011, no one has got a job, they claim that they are left with no option but to protest.
After much uproar and continuous media reports, the university vice-chancellor VK Taneja, during an exclusive interview with HT, tried to address their plight. Here are the excerpts.
Students say that they were promised government jobs when they had taken admission in the four-year bachelor programme in fishery science. Is it true?
No institution, not only in India but across the globe, promises jobs to students. Similarly, we didn’t promise jobs, but yes, we certainly had told them that university would put its best efforts to get them jobs in both private and public sector. Secondly, I would like to add that these students have not even completed their degrees and will officially complete the course by June 18. So they should not forget that before seeking any job, they should have degrees in hand.
Have you connected with the protesting students and their parents? What efforts are you making to pacify them?Although every student has alleged that we are not cooperating with them, let me tell you that every professor, including the university registrar, directorate students welfare, keep visiting them round-the-clock and have advised them to call off the strike. In addition to providing security to these students, we have also requested their parents to ask them to call off the strike, but to no avail. On Tuesday, we called their parents to the university, but no one turned up. I wanted to assure them that we are working on various projects and efforts are being made to get them jobs not only in government but private sector also.
What were the results of meetings with chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and minister of animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries Gulzar Singh Ranike?
The students met the CM and Ranike through us. Both of them advised these students to have patience as both the university and the government are making every possible effort to get jobs for them. The CM told them that the state government had already submitted a Rs 320-crore fish production project to the Centre, which could generate many employment opportunities. The CM also encouraged them to set up their own businesses, for which, the government will offer unlimited subsidies.
According to the students, they are being blackmailed that their degrees will be cancelled and there are plans to take strict action against them?
Neither are we cancelling their degrees nor will we take any action against them, in spite of the fact that they have broken all the rules of the university. They are well aware about it as they have signed all the guidelines, but all I want is that they must end the strike and imbibe patience and faith. Being adamant only for a government job cannot help, but one should be open for private jobs as well as entrepreneurship.
Your final message to students?
I want to assure these students that like your parents, we are equally worried for you. Please attend the classes. We are here to give you the best guidance and help out with the best employment opportunities.