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21 Apr 2018

Sikkim varsity gherao

RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT,  Apr 21, 2018, Gangtok: The students of Sikkim University on Friday gheraoed the main administrative block from early morning, demanding early construction of the permanent campus of the 10-year-old central institution.

Later in the day, the students lifted their gherao after the varsity authorities gave a written assurance to complete the construction of the permanent campus by April 20, 2021, which is exactly three years from today.

Students began assembling in front of the administrative block from 9am and first took out a rally before laying siege to the building at Tadong along NH10, and despite intermittent showers throughout the day, refused to budge from the place. Till the filing of this report, the students were still gathered at the spot, awaiting a written assurance from the university authorities.

Dibyan Lama Khaiba, a student of the university, said the Sikkim University Students' Association (SUSA) had submitted a nine-point demand to the authorities and till a response in writing came, the students would continue their agitation. "We braved the rain and protested throughout the day, and if required, we will stay put here throughout the night," he said.

The university, which came into existence on July 2, 2007, does not have a permanent campus and operates from 40 hired buildings in and around Gangtok. The permanent campus of the varsity is coming up at Yangang in South Sikkim, which is about 55km from here.

Acting vice-chancellor of the university, Jyoti Prakash Tamang, had told The Telegraph on Thursday night that the demand of the students was a legitimate one, but the varsity authorities could do precious little in the absence of funds. "The university had submitted a detailed project report (for the construction of campus) in 2016. The cost of construction was estimated at Rs 1,600 crore, but we have only got Rs 110 crore so far. The construction has been going on in a piecemeal manner, and so far, only the administration, academic and library buildings have been partially constructed," he said.

Tamang said he understood why the students were agitated. "Let them come and submit their memorandum. I will forward the same to the University Grants Commission and the Union ministry of human resources development."

The vice-chancellor said the university had acquired the Yangang land in 2013 and the construction of the campus began in 2017.

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