Cuttack, Sept. 12: Journalism and mass communication students of Ravenshaw University here launched a hunger strike today to press for the fulfilment of their longstanding demands.
“We have been demanding better infrastructure and an improvement in teaching standards. The authorities have been giving us assurances, but not taking any steps to address our problems,” said Saroj Behera, a second-year student.
This is the second time in six months that students of this department have resorted to a hunger strike protesting against lack of facilities on the campus. Saroj said the department did not have adequate classrooms and the classes for first and second-year batches were held in shifts. There are 62 students in each batch.
Besides, the dearth of faculty members has also affected studies. “We have only two professors and a guest lecturer for 124 students. Our plea for more teachers has fallen on deaf ears,” he said.
The students alleged that a private organisation — Heritage Vision — is running the journalism and mass communication department in a public-private-partnership mode. The post of head of the department has been lying vacant for the last couple of months.
“Each one of us is paying Rs 40,000 for the two-year course but because of lack of quality teaching staff, we are facing problems in completing our studies,” said Amrita Sen, another second-year student.
Dean of school of commerce and business management Sanjay Satapathy, who is at present handling the affairs of the journalism department, said efforts were on to redress the grievances of the students.
“One lecturer has already been appointed, while another candidate has sought time for joining. Few experts have also been shortlisted for the post of the head of department. We hope things will be resolved at the earliest,” said Satapathy.
Students of another city college — Jatiya Kabi Birakishore — are also on a hunger strike since yesterday. They are demanding construction of a multi-storey building for classrooms and introduction of degree courses in the college.
Further, the indefinite strike by students of Biju Patnaik Film and Television Institute of Odisha here entered its fifth day. The students have been agitating since September 7 demanding urgent measures to resolve various issues pertaining to welfare activities of the college.
“The issue of various demands and grievances of students was discussed at the governing body meeting and we hope that things will be resolved within two months,” said principal in-charge Saroj Das.