Published: 13th February 2020
Fifty days on, MP Thamizhachi Thangapandian asks Pokhriyal to urge IIT Madras to reopen Krishna Gate
During her visit to the campus, she promised the students that she could submit a petition to MHRD regarding their concerns and fulfilled the promise as well by meeting Pokhriyal on February 10
The students protesting against the closing down of Krishna Gate found a ray of light in the form of South Chennai MP Thamizhachi Thangapandian who submitted a petition on the issue to Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal. The students have been agitating against the administration for shutting down Krishna Gate on Christmas eve in the middle of the night. The MP also visited the campus and spoke to the Director, Professor Baskar Ramamurthi, as well.
During that visit, she promised the students that she would submit a petition to the MHRD regarding their concerns and fulfilled the promise by meeting Pokhriyal on February 10. Previously, another TN MP, Thol. Thirumaavalavan also submitted a petition to the Director claiming their action had been casteist as the gate shut out several adivasi families staying outside the gate. In her petition, Thangapandian also pointed out that over 200 families who were living in the vicinity of Velachery and Taramani had given their land for the institution and in return, they had been promised jobs, education and welfare activities.
"Many of the staff members working in the institution built their home in close proximity to the campus because of the availability of the gates. Now closing the gate means they have to travel much longer - 30 minutes or more," she says. The MP also pointed out that this block is affecting school students who study in the two schools located inside the campus.
"The closure of the gate has put children and their parents in a fix because it takes 30 minutes extra to reach the school, drop their children off in school and then go to their workplace. Similarly, parents who walk the distance to pick up their children will have an even tougher time," she pointed out. Similarly, she pointed out that a hospital, bank and post office are facilities inside the campus that residents, especially pensioners, frequently need access to.
The MP also threw light on the fact that many commercial eateries, shops, education-related businesses are completely dependent on students for their revenue. And students are dependent on them for a whole lot of things, "In addition to this, the institution has many research scholars who work without a time factor and use the gate at odd hours and for women especially the gate provides easy access and safety," she said in her petition.
Ironically, the administration has maintained that they shut down the gate in order to provide more safety to the women students but the women students themselves have made it clear that they are heavily dependent on the access provided by the gate. They also have said that there are other ways in which the administration can improve safety on campus.