Published: 16th July 2019
Outdated books, no stipend, no teachers - Why Pithoragarh government college students are protesting
The students of Laxman Singh Mahar Govt.P.G.College have been sitting on a Dharna in front of the college for the past 30 days
Laxman Singh Mahar Govt P G College is the only government college in Pithoragarh, a small town in Uttarakhand. The students of this 56-year-old college have been protesting, by sitting on a dharna in front of the institution. The reason? The college's library doesn't have updated copies of books, there aren't enough teachers and the PhD scholars in the college haven't been receiving any stipend for the past four years. The students are now asking the administration and the government to address these issues at the earliest.
"More than 6,000 students are studying in our college. But there are only 99 teachers. We are asking the government to fill the vacant teaching positions and to create new teaching posts to maintain a healthy teacher-student ratio," says Mahendra Rawat, the former Students' Union President. He says that a department in the college has only four teachers, despite having a student strength of over 800.
Another issue raised by the students is a lack of new books in the library. In fact, there are no history books that talk about major historical events like the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall. "We are studying the books that our teachers used when they were students. There are books from the 1970s, 80s and the 90s, but there are no new books," says Mahendra. "Once in a while, if an MP or an MLA allots funds, our library buys books. But there is no regular updation," he says.
On top of this, the students also allege that the PhD scholars in the college haven't been receiving any stipend for the past four years. "We have written a series of letters to all authorities, but there has been no response," says Mahendra. The protesting students are meeting with the state Higher Education Deputy Director on Tuesday and hope that something good comes out of the meeting.
Book collection drive by SFI
The SFI JNU unit is organising a book collection drive on July 16 and 17 to help the students of LSM College. "Used or new, anyone can donate the books and we'll send them to Pithoragarh via bus on Thursday morning," says Akshat Seth, an SFI member.