Covid-19: National institutes’ students make plea to authorities to save their career
More than 1900 students of Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (MANIT) and also hundreds of students of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) have made pleas to institutes’ authorities and also district administration, Bhopal to save their career as students hostels on these institutes campuses have been acquired by the district administration in Bhopal to be used as Covid care centres and quarantine centres, said several students who are on agitation for more than a week now.
Apart from students a section of the teaching faculty staying on the campuses too is concerned over the risk of their contracting Coronavirus or their aged parents staying with them being affected by the disease. The students are protesting against, what they alleged, locks of their hostels and rooms broken in their absence in June first week.
The MANIT students in a memorandum addressed to the institute director Dr Narendra Singh Raghuvanshi with their names, e-mail ids, scholar numbers, years and branches mentioned, have expressed their apprehension that given the worsening Covid situation in Bhopal apart from other parts of the country there was no likelihood of the institute campus being able to resume the academic activities for at least six months.
The students who were asked to leave hostels in March at the time of lockdown restrictions were put in place say in the memorandum, “There is likelihood that total eradication and containment from COVID-19 may take several months. If whole campus of MANIT, Bhopal is turned into COVID-19 quarantine centre, we don’t foresee our classes being commenced in near future at least within six months.”
As per MANIT students and administration out of 11 students hostels only two have been spared- one girls hostel and the other where NRIs staying. However, as of now, one one of hostels is being used as a quarantine centre.
A 4th year engineering student from MANIT said, “The administration could have acquired various other government buildings in the city or hotels, lodges, marriage halls etc and if our institute couldn’t have been spared some other buildings like library, two new hostels and other buildings. But our pleas have so far gone unheard of by authorities.”
The IISER director Siva Umapthy in a communiqué dated May 25, 2020 to the students said, “…the collector and district magistrate, Bhopal under the powers conferred by “The Madhya Pradesh Epidemic Diseases, Covid-19 Regulations 2020” published under Epidemic Diseases Act has acquired all the buildings of the institute to use some of them as Covid care centres/quarantine centres. The district administration will thus only convert some of the hostels as Covid care centres temporarily.”
Anand Goleit, a student of IISER said, “The institute administration had told us that before removing the belongings it would inform us at least four to five days in advance but we came to know on June 6 that the locks of our rooms were broken and our belongings stuffed in almirahs in the rooms and mattresses elsewhere. Now, we are concerned about our documents including passports and other valuables like laptops etc.”
Prof Raghuvir Singh Tomar, dean of students affairs, said, “We ourselves were not taken into confidence by the administration before breaking the locks. We are concerned about our health too. But we didn’t lodge our protest as the district administration took its decision given the pandemic situation.”
Dr JL Bhagoria, dean students’ welfare of MANIT said, “There is no likelihood of belongings of the students lost as we formed a committee to supervise the whole process but, of course, we have submitted a memorandum to the district administration to exempt our campus from being used as a quarantine centre. There is no response so far.”
Collector, Bhopal Tarun Kumar Pithode could not be reached for his comments. He didn’t take calls and respond to message.
However, commissioner, Bhopal division Kavindra Kiyavat said, “Given the pandemic situation the district administration took its decision what it considered the best having taken into consideration all the aspects.”