Kumar Gyanendra at the launch of the student helplines in Dhanbad on Sunday. (Gautam Dey)
Students from Jharkhand and Bihar seeking admission to Delhi University (DU) colleges will soon be able to dial away their worries.
A group of 10 former DU students, under the banner of Bihar Students’ Youth Front, on Sunday reactivated their 24x7 helplines (9470925999 and 993403422), which had first buzzed into service in 2004 to stem alleged discrimination during college admissions.
The toll-free service will provide a wealth of information — right from availability of forms in various colleges to accommodation options. The helpline numbers will be active till August 31 or roughly the time when the admission season winds up in Delhi.
Kumar Gyanendra, the president of the students’ front, said aspiring students were also welcome to enquire about other varsities such as Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Milia Islamia.
“The new system of centralised forms has definitely simplified the process of admission. But, there are other issues that students may find hard to cope with like figuring out bus routes to colleges. The helpline will assist them in every way,” Gyanendra said.
He pointed out that after admissions, students often fell prey to agents who, in lieu of exorbitant sums of money, provided students with private lodging in places like Mukherjee Nagar, Nehru Vihar, Kingsway Camp, Indra Vihar, Yamuna Vihar, Model Town, Patel Chest, Nirankari Colony and Hudson Lane.
“We want to curb this practice and shield students from touts. We will provide information on hostels and other affordable places where they can stay,” Gyanendra said.
With a battery of Delhi High Court lawyers also associated with the front, the helplines offer free legal support in case of harassment.
“Abhik Dey, a Delhi High Court lawyer, is the vice-president of our organisation. We will be there for students even after the helplines close in August. All they need to do is drop in a complaint or query at our office — Quarter No. A-401, 2nd Floor, Nehru Vihar,” Gyanendra said.
General secretary of the front Dhirendra Kumar recalled that eight years ago, a bunch of students from Bihar and Jharkhand were harassed by college officials over their Plus Two certificates.
“It was then that we decided to float the organisation. A protest was launched and the matter was taken up with higher officials of the university. Some faculty members supported our campaign and DU higher-ups intervened to redress the issue,” he said.
The following year, the front took up the cause of discrimination faced by students in college hostels, which again made headlines and prompted university officials to mediate.
In 2008, the front also launched another helpline for students going to Bangalore from Jharkhand-Bihar to pursue their higher studies.