Published: 17th July 2019
Ask Central Govt for funds for free bus service: Why students are against the State helping Pondicherry University
SFI Puducherry has stated that it will be a financial burden on the state government if they agree to the demand for free bus services for varsity students, even as PU is pushing the govt to add buses
After the Pondicherry University (PU) administration made an appeal to the Government of Puducherry to ply additional student buses, PU officials met Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on July 16 at the Legislative Assembly and asked the state government to extend a minimum of ten free buses for the students of the varsity from the current academic year (2019-20).
PU officials met Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on July 16
The administration made the appeal under the subsidised education and transport programme of the Government of Puducherry implemented for the schools and colleges present in the Union Territory. However, the students at the varsity do not seem to be happy with the decision of the administration. The Puducherry faction of the Students' Federation of India, however, demanded in an official statement on Wednesday that the administration should ask for additional funds from the central government as the varsity falls under its jurisdiction and the state government has nothing to do with it. The SFI also urged the administration to continue operating the bus service free of charge and withdraw the unjust tuition hike raised in the current academic year.
"By asking the state government to provide free bus service, the university administration is just trying to divert our attention from the legitimate issues. They had already mentioned in the admission prospectus that the students have to pay Rs 8000 per year for transport stating that the varsity is undergoing a financial crisis. However, the admin wants build an unnecessary wall around the administration block for safety, which itself will cost approximately Rs 1 crore to build. Where is that money coming from? They want to construct a watchtower near the Vice-Chancellor's residence for safety reasons when the CM and other higher officials in the union territory do not have any such security. The administration is simply pressurising the state government when they should go the centre and ask for required funds if necessary," A Anand, former SFI President and current DYFI Puducherry President told Edex.
The varsity has explained that because of the explosion in student numbers, they are simply not in a position to run the free bus service anymore, "Prof S Balakrishnan and Dr B Chithra stressed the fact to the Chief Minister that in the last decade, there has been a tremendous increase in students’ enrollment at the varsity especially from the UT of Puducherry due to introduction of new courses, new departments and more specifically owing to 25 per cent reservation of seats provided for the students of Puducherry origin in innovative courses. They further added that in order to cater to the transport requirements of local students (approximately 1800), especially from the rural female students of this area, free bus services were provided for the past 12 years from 2007 from various destinations like Thavalakuppam, Ariyankuppam, Villianur, Lawspet, JIPMER etc adopting the same welfare measure implemented by Government of Puducherry for students studying in school and colleges, in order to motivate them to pursue their higher studies," an official press release provided to Edex by the Assistant Registrar K Mahesh said.
The official statement put out by SFI State President S Jeya Prakash and State Secretary K Vinnarasan also alleges that the "university was provided 816 acres of agricultural land free of charge. Moreover, the new government has also been providing electricity and drinking water at subsidised rates. But the central university did not contribute much in terms of development. Farmers are not fully employed for the land, about 25 percent of all courses are not reserved yet. It does not help in carrying out relevant studies required for state development. Students from Puducherry rely on the university completely in the absence of a separate university. The university is raising a lot of funds by hiking the course fees, so they should use those funds for students and the financial burden should not be relegated to the state government."