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Poor Ravenshaw facilities spark protest

Cuttack, Jan. 3: Ravenshaw University students today protested against the alleged indifference of the varsity authorities in addressing their grievances.

Demonstrating in front of vice-chancellor B.C. Tripathy’s office, the students locked the gates of the administrative building and other departments to draw the authorities’ attention to some of their longstanding demands.

Consequently, the varsity’s faculty members and the vice-chancellor were stranded in the corridor of the heritage building for nearly an hour.

“We were forced to launch a strike as the authorities have not taken any step to improve the infrastructure despite several requests,” said students’ union president Saubhagya Swain, adding that insufficient number of classrooms prevented them from attending classes.

Overcrowded classrooms have become a regular feature here in the last couple of years, they alleged.

“Inadequate lighting and lack of ceiling fans inside the classrooms pose a lot of problems and many of us avoid classes during the summer,” said Sidharth Das, a student.

The protesting students said the authorities had also failed to fill up the bulk of the lecturer posts that have been lying vacant. At present, the teacher student ratio at the varsity stands at 1:50. Ravenshaw has around 8,000 students.

Members of the students’ union said not a single developmental work has been initiated at the varsity in the last seven months. Girl students said they were a lot of facing problems because of lack of accommodation facilities. The canteen established on campus in collaboration with a private hotel chain has also been closed.

“We need a permanent canteen,” said Deepak Sahu, another student.

The vice-chancellor said fund constraints had hindered development work at the varsity.

“There has been a special allocation for the university in the supplementary budget of the state government. We will initiate steps soon to fulfil the demands of students,” he said, adding that he had written to the state government for recruiting an additional 245 faculty members to maintain an ideal student teacher ratio.