Fed up with assurances, NIT students remain firm on campus demand protest

Gangtok, 28 Aug:

Students of National Institute of Technology [NIT], Ravangla, have been on a peaceful protest since 25 July demanding a permanent campus for the institution, a demand they have been pursuing for a long time now.

A press release informs that the NIT-Sikkim Director has given an assurance to get the issue resolved but the students, out of frustration of having received only assurances till date, have continued their protest.

The aggrieved students have also written to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development and other government officials but have received no response thus far.

The new academic session has been affected by the protest as the students have refused to attend classes.

Students are now using the hashtags #NITWithoutCampus #TheHomelessNIT #NotInRavangla #NoTwoCampus #NoMoreDelay to seek attention over social media.

“Eight years of compromise. Eight years without basic facilities. Eight years of struggle, eight years of negligence yet empty-handed. Time passes, batches come and go. The only thing remains is the suffering. But now students want permanent campus for the college,” the release states.

Similar attempts were made by senior students in the year 2012 which was followed by formation of a high level technical committee by MHRD to inspect the proposed site at Ravangla in South Sikkim.

The release informs that the committee has made it clear in their report that Ravangla was not fit for establishing a technical institute like NIT. Land for the purpose of establishment of NIT College had been allocated at Khamdong in East Sikkim which was granted a green signal by the committee formed by MHRD.

“Somehow, the co-operation of State Government was not adequate in transferring the land at Khamdong to NIT. Instead it declared establishing some other State-run college at the location and thus NIT students continued facing prolonged problems,” the release adds.

NIT Sikkim started functioning in Aug 2010 from a temporary campus at Ravangla, South Sikkim with 50 students. Today, NIT Sikkim has grown from a family of 50 to 800 people and is still forced to operate from the same “poor” temporary campus at Ravangla.

“With the increase in the members of the family, the facilities have not grown proportionally. The temporary campus and its bad location make the situation more miserable. Incessant rainfall causes road blockages and landslides all the time. There is no medical facility, good school, playground or any other institute nearby. Even a good market to meet the basic needs of students is unavailable.

Due to the inaccessible location, it is inconvenient for guest speakers, professors, and workshop trainers to reach the college campus. The training and placement activities in the college are also badly affected. NIRF ranking is continuously getting poor. The travel time to campus is a nightmare for recruiters and eminent personalities. The laboratory tests and experiments performed by students during the course do not get proper reading and results. Many costly laboratory equipment have been defected due to fungus and moisture, semiconductor devices get defected too early.

Infrastructural development of the institute is challenging due to heavy and continuous rain. The roofs and walls of many hostels, classrooms and laboratory building have mold and mildew problems. The construction work costs twice-thrice due to poor connectivity and hilly terrain. Each year, the number of students is increasing but the institute has no place to accommodate them. Even private buildings are not available for the students in a small town of Ravangla.

Road blockage constantly affects the supply of necessary goods and emergency medical services. Even Faculty members do not want to stay here due to the adverse situation for themselves and their family members. The new faculty members leave soon which has affected the academics of students badly,” the release informs.

Taking forward the aforementioned issues, the NIT students of Sikkim unit stay firm in their protest and have expressed that they will not back off unless a permanent campus with better location is provided for the institution.

“The time has come for a permanent solution, the Permanent Campus,” the release reads.