The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Varsity bows to students, grants 150 extra seats

Darjeeling, Aug. 8: North Bengal University has decided to allot 150 more seats to Darjeeling Government College following a prolonged agitation by the students’ union.

Lalita Rai Ahmed, officer-in-charge of the college, said: “I received a notice from S. Sanyal, inspector of colleges, NBU, this evening stating that we can take in another 150 students after creating a separate section. Admission will be conducted on Thursday and Friday though I am trying to extend the admission process till Saturday”.

Following the NBU’s directive the college authorities are expected to create a separate section for BA (general course) and also come up with a suitable subject combination to ensure that all the admitted student gets a seat when they attend classes.

The NBU intervention have also prompted the teachers to withdraw their “temporary strike” from tomorrow. However, the students’ union is yet to take a decision.

The teachers had been on a strike since August 3 after a section of students misbehaved with them. The students had mounted pressure on the officer in charge regarding the strike and there were also indications of the entire issue getting politicised.

Even today, Asok Chhetri, the spokesperson for the Gorkha National Students’ Front that controls the college union, maintained that the decision to withdraw the agitation could not be taken immediately. “We have to consult the GNLF branch committee and also speak to Pranay Rai, the Darjeeling MLA, before we announce anything,” he said.

The students have been on strike since July 31, which was the last date of admission without fine, after 150 of them were denied seats. Though the teachers maintained that they would take in some additional candidates apart from the present 150 in the general section, the students demanded that an equal number of extra students be admitted so that every applicant gets a chance to study in the institution.

“We were pressing for the admission as the authorities had taken in 300 students last year,” Chhetri said.

This time, the college had decided to admit only 150 students so as to increase the overall academic standard of the institution. The college had also cited lack of infrastructure.

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