Published: 22nd April 2021
PhD scholars hold sit-in protest as IIT Roorkee asks non-infected students, staff to vacate campus due to surge in COVID cases
In view of a large number of COVID positive cases in the hostels, in the interest of their safety, the students have been advised to go home, IIT Roorkee said in a statement
Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee) asked students and staff to vacate campus on Monday amid the surge in COVID cases across the country and on campus. The administration asked non-infected staff and students to vacate the hostel by Wednesday, April 21, 2021, and return to their hometowns. Right after the announcement was made, a sit-in protest was organised by PhD scholars on Tuesday demanding that they be allowed to stay on campus as they need to use on-campus resources for their research. They also raised concerns about the high ticket prices of flights, buses and trains amid the sudden surge of cases and the need for people to return to their hometowns.
The protest took place in front of the main building inside the campus on Tuesday from 11 am to 7.30 pm and the PhD scholars also raised concerns about their fellowships that last only for fixed durations and worried that their PhDs may get extended if they fail to deliver on time. A research scholar, who wanted to remain anonymous said, "Given our limited income, the high ticket prices are a major concern, also our research work will be hampered if we return to our hometowns now. There is also the fear of catching COVID mid-journey as most trains leaving Roorkee also pass through Haridwar and travel to other parts of the country and often require transit through Delhi/Dehradun. Restrictions imposed in different parts of the country could be problematic for us to reach the final destination. We have been requesting the administration to let us stay but it has yielded no results yet."
Since March 26, a total of 318 students across 12 hostels have tested COVID positive at IIT Roorkee. Currently, 189 of these cases are active and they are housed in the COVID Care Centre on the IIT Roorkee campus.
"In view of a large number of COVID positive cases in the hostels, in the interest of their safety, the students have been advised to go home. The students understand that this is in their interest and are abiding by the advice. The pandemic is adversely affecting the careers of both, students and faculty. But the safety of all is the topmost priority of the institute. The institute has arranged a large number of taxis and free buses to several destinations, including far off places like Banaras, Patna, Jaipur etc to help the students safely travel back to their homes," the institute said in a statement to Edex.
An email signed by the Dean of Students’ Welfare was also sent to the students and staff stating that since "medical services in the institute’s surroundings are limited and (they are) unable to cope with the emerging situation", it would be in the best interest of students living in non-containment hostels to "leave for their homes within 48 hours". As currently, 14 states across the country require RT-PCR reports from visitors to all or parts of the state, testing had also been arranged by the institute in the Convocation Hall.