NIT-Sikkim students suspend protest following written assurance from HRDD Secy

Namchi, 09 Sept: Students of National Institute of Technology (NIT) here at Rabongla, today called off their more than a month long protest strike after a written assurance arrived from Additional Chief Secretary, the HRDD Secretary, GP Upadhyaya, to find an immediate solution for the delayed permanent campus requirement of the institute. More than 800 students of the institute, it may be recalled, have been on a strike since 25 July against the NIT administration to protest inadequate facilities and infrastructure at the institute and demanding a permanent campus for the institute. Frustrated by the NIT-Rabongla management’s and the State Government silence on their demands, on 04 September, the students had begun a hunger strike on 04 September. Today, on the fifth day of the hunger strike, the HRD Secretary met with the students and reportedly assured to make immediate arrangements for a permanent campus for NIT. He also appealed to the students to end their strike and resume classes while their demands were being addressed. NIT-Sikkim has been functioning from a temporary campus here near Rabongla for eight years now. The temporary facilities are clearly inadequate even as enrolment in the institution has been increasing every year. At present, more than 230 local students and 600 students from outside Sikkim are taking courses at the institute. The enrolment numbers are also falling every year due to the poor facilities. Similar protests by students for the same set of demands have been held in previous years as well but the demands and aspirations of the students remain undressed. Speaking to SummitTimes, students confirmed that the HRDD Secretary met with them today and gave a written assurance that the department and the state government will find suitable land for a permanent NIT campus. With the assurance from the State Government, the students decided to call off their strike and will resume their classes from Monday. Meanwhile, they have also appealed to the state government to take up this matter seriously and in earnest and recognize that the present temporary campus lacks the space to undertake the required improvement in facilities and infrastructure and that a permanent campus was the only way the institute could provide proper learning. “We have been in the protest for more than 35 days and know that we have to face huge challenges to cover our courses. We now hope that both, the State and Central governments will listen to our long-pending demands and problems and find a complete solution,” one of the protesting students said. “We are happy the HRD Secretary has given a written assurance for our problems and we also hope that this assurance and meeting does not end up like past meetings and assurances,” he added.