Published: 24th April 2021
Why is JNU not setting up COVID Care Centres on campus even after recommendations from Magistrate's office, MLA?
While the JNUTA wrote to the Assistant District Magistrate on April 23, a section of the students and Student activists from the AISA contacted Mehrauli MLA Naresh Yadav for help
The students and teachers of the Jawaharlal Nehru University have accused the administration of being unresponsive about opening COVID Care Centres on campus for the residents. They said that even the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) who came to take a tour of the campus said that the university is not cooperative and without their go-ahead, the local administration cannot intervene. The JNU administration has not commented on this as of yet.
While the JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA) wrote to the Assistant District Magistrate (ADM) on April 23, a section of the students and Student activists from the All India Students' Association (AISA) contacted Mehrauli MLA Naresh Yadav for help. "We briefed the MLA and SDM about the need to have regular in house testing facility. We also briefed them on the available spaces in the campus for isolation facility and health centre resources which can be pooled into by JNU. They assured to follow it up with the JNU administration," said students. "MLA Naresh Yadav also spoke to the SDM about sending COVID Testing Vans to JNU as soon as possible. Yadav also spoke to the JNU Registrar and promised to extend all help to the JNU admin to battle COVID and protect the JNU community," they added.
But the JNU administration has shown no interest in the matter, said officials who spoke to the SDM later. The JNUTA, in its statement, said that they had suggested to the ADM that guest houses located on campus, like the Aravalli (which has been unused since April 2020), the HDRC and the JNIAS facilities could be used for residents to isolate themselves. "While the suggested guest house facilities were found to be adequate, the lack of any positive commitment made by the university administration to shoulder the responsibility did not yield the desired breakthrough. JNUTA has thus been informed by the district authorities that the setting up of COVID management centres within the campus would not be possible unless the university administration cooperates," said the teachers.
What do they want the JNU administration to do? JNUTA Secretary Moushumi Basu told EdexLive that the district administration has said that the guidelines for setting up COVID Care Centres inside gated communities can be followed for the JNU Campus as well. "The Guidelines issued by the Delhi Government provide a comprehensive instruction manual for setting up of such facilities by Resident Welfare Associations (RWA). Unlike RWAs who are starting from scratch from procuring beds and other facilities, in JNU, we have fully furnished rooms with attached bathrooms that may be used for this purpose. If RWAs across the city can take up the challenge, why not JNU? Other institutions like IIT Delhi have created such facilities that are up and running, which have helped ease the burden on campus residents," she added. The teachers have also requested the administration to include experienced faculty from the field of Social Medicine in the COVID response teams.
The student organisation AISA, in a statement on April 24, said that the JNU administration has started thinking about the issue. "After much pressure now JNU administration stated that it is pondering upon converting the ground floor of the Faculty Guest House into an Isolation Centre," read a statement. But the administration has not confirmed this or responded to messages and calls from us yet. The copy will be updated as and when they reply.
RSS's student-wing, ABVP has also said that they have asked the JNU administration to work on the issue. ABVP's JNU unit Secretary, Rohit Kumar, said, "As of now there is no place in the JNU Campus where university students can isolate themselves even if they feel common symptoms, for this ABVP has demanded from the JNU administration to create emergency health infrastructure and isolation centers for the students."