Non-teaching employees of Ranchi College stage a demonstration on Monday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Intermediate practicals were casualty in several colleges and classes remained suspended across universities on Monday as non-teaching employees locked students and teachers outside campuses to push for their long-pending pay upgrade.
In splinter groups, some 7,000 protesters laid siege to 67 constituent cradles of Ranchi (RU), Nilamber-Pitamber (NPU), Sido-Kanhu Murmu (SKMU), Kolhan and Vinoba Bhave (VBU) varsities and disrupted academic activities for the first time since their indefinite strike was launched in phases from February 9.
While examinations could not be conducted in Jamshedpur and Hazaribagh colleges — with striking VBU employees snatching away zoology question papers at St Columba’s College — a few cradles in Dumka took police help and resumed practicals after hours of delay. Students in the capital were a tad luckier. Though classes were suspended, intermediate examinees were spared
Steel city Jamshedpur was most vulnerable to this reinvigorated unrest.
Commerce and zoology practicals had to be deferred till further notice in as many as six institutions — Jamshedpur Women’s College, Jamshedpur Co-operative College, Jamshedpur Workers’ College, LBSM College, ABM College and Graduate School College for Women.
“Our practicals were scheduled in two halves — one from 10.30am to 12.30pm and the other from 1.30 to 4pm. I came at 10.15am and have been standing for four hours. I have no clue whether we will be allowed to appear for our exam. We have no choice but to wait till we know for sure,” said Anu Sangam, a zoology examinee at Jamshedpur Women’s College.
“Nobody is telling us anything. We don’t know when the exam will take place. We have been waiting for long,” echoed Satpreet Kaur, another zoology student of Graduate School College for Women
SKMU takes cover
In Dumka, Pakur, Godda and Sahebganj, SKMU authorities had to seek police protection for 13 colleges. Vice chancellor M. Basheer Ahmad Khan said science and sociology practicals started from an hour to four hours late.
While the intermediate exam saw hitches on Monday, administrative activities such as issuance of provisional and original certificates to students have remained affected for weeks.
“I need a provisional certificate to appear for my interview scheduled on March 21 in Calcutta, but the varsity says it is helpless because of the strike,” complained Pursottam Kumar, who has cleared his written banking exam.
SKMU’s controller of examination P.K. Rai said certificates could be issued only after the strike was over. “Records that are needed for verification are in the custody of striking employees,” he reasoned.
Several semester examinations in all the colleges under SKMU are also pending because of the month-long strike
Capital a consolation
In Ranchi, non-teaching employees under Jharkhand Vishvavidyalaya and Mahavidyalaya Karmachari Mahasangh forced suspension of classes in 15 colleges across the district. However, intermediate practicals remained unaffected, thanks to heavy deployment of security forces on RU’s Morabadi campus and elsewhere.
The Jharkhand Academic Council (JAC) has, meanwhile, decided to write to respective district education officers, permitting them to host practicals on nearby schools campuses if non-teaching employees do not budge from their protest posts.
HRD principal secretary D.K. Tiwary said universities had been directed to handle the matter. “If necessary, they can take help of the administration and police,” he added.