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21 Apr 2018

Amid stir, Sikkim students to resume classes Monday

Sikkim University students protest rally in Gangtok
Sikkim University students protest rally in Gangtok.
Dichen Ongmu | SNS | Gangtok | April 21, 2018: Shouts of ‘We Want Campus,’ ‘Hamari Maangey Poori Karo,’ ‘Campus Hamro Adhikaar,’ and ‘Permanent VC Chahiye,’ rend the air as students of Sikkim University took out a protest rally in Gangtok on Friday, demanding early completion of the university campus at Yangang in South Sikkim.
The rally that started from the Cauveri Hostel at 5th Mile in Tadong at 10:30 am went to the main administrative block of the Tadong College at 6th Mile, where the students gheraod the offices.
It may be mentioned here that the students are up in arms with their demands for the past few days here, bringing all official work and studies to a grinding halt.
However, students later on Friday decided to resume classes from Monday onwards, while top student representatives are set to hold more talks with the authorities concerned on Monday.
The president of the Sikkim University Students’ Association (SUSA), Lalit Pokhrel Sharma, said the demand for a permanent campus is the main agenda of all the students of the university.
“Other universities may not have proper faculty members, libraries or hostel facilities, but they have a permanent campus. We do not want any more excuses from the authorities and we will shut down the administrative block untill the Central Government takes a proper decision,” he said.
“We will not budge until we get a written assurance from the authorities,” he added. Also demanding that the authorities appoint a permanent vice chancellor, SUSA general secretary Sonam Dorjee Bhutia demanded answers regarding such an appointment.
“We do have an officiating VC, but he does not hold much power. We also do not have a permanent librarian here in the Sikkim University. We want answers,” he said.
At around noon, the Dean of students’ welfare, S Manivannan, requested a meeting with the SUSA president and the general secretary, but the students went against it.
On behalf of the student fraternity, the executive members of SUSA served a memorandum to the officiating VC, Dr JP Tamang, seeking details of funds related to the construction of the campus, duration taken for its completion, appointment of permanent VC within a week, appointment of a permanent librarian and increase in the number of hostels.
The students also demanded that the university authorities shift the campus to Yangang within a year. At around 2:50 pm, the gates of the administrative block was, meanwhile, padlocked.
“Due to lack of proper research facilities, classrooms and laboratories, students are facing a lot of problems. The library also does not have proper research books,” former SUSA president Patrush Lepcha said.
“Our department does not have proper equipment, and so we are not being able to compete with students of other national universities,” Mass Com student Binod Chettri added.
“Gangtok is expensive. Our pocket money goes on paying rent, taxi fares and food. We need proper hostel facilities,” demanded horticulture student Jigmee Wangchuk Sherpa.
Later, after a meeting with the university’s authorities, the officiating VC told the gathering that the university fully respects and endorses the demands placed by the students.
“The university was established as per the Act of the Parliament and came into existence in 2007. As all the funds are passed by the Central Government, and the procedure is lengthy.
The proposal for campus construction came in 2016 and the construction started last year. An amount of Rs 1600 crore (phase 1 and phase 2) was proposed, but the university only received Rs 110 crore,” he said.
On the appointment of the permanent VC, Dr Tamang said the process of such appointments is underway for 42 universities right now.
“The procedure is lengthy. He/she is appointed by MHRD and is finally selected by the President of India. It is not within the hands of the university,” he said. Dr Tamang ALSO assured to look into the demands of the hostel facilities.

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