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College head quits after union protest

Raiganj, June 4: The teacher-in-charge of Raiganj University College resigned yesterday evening, saying he couldn’t bear pressure from the Chhatra Parishad-run student union to drop his plan to introduce online admission to the first-year undergraduate courses from the next academic session.

The North Bengal University, to which the college is affiliated, has urged Uttam Kumar Roy to “reconsider” his decision to step down.

“I am not in office. I have asked my officials to request the teacher-in-charge to reconsider his decision,” said vice-chancellor Somnath Ghosh.

This is not the first time that Roy resigned from the post. In September last year, he stepped down, citing “regular incidents of protests, demonstrations”. However, the resignation was not accepted and he continued to be in office.

The Congress’s Chhatra Parishad said it was opposing the online admission system because of lack of infrastructure at the college. However, sources said the student wing of the Congress had raised objections as the online system would throw a spanner in any move to interfere with the admission.

Sources in the college said on May 30, Roy had convened a meeting of the teachers’ council where it was decided that admissions to the first-year UG course would be conducted online. “Yesterday afternoon, Roy convened a meeting of the teachers’ council and the student union to discuss the matter. The student representatives boycotted the meeting to protest the decision to introduce the online admission system. The Chhatra Parishad supporters also raised slogans on the campus,” said a source.

The teacher-in-charge faxed his resignation to NBU VC yesterday evening. “We had started the online admission process last year and it was carried out smoothly. We decided that we would do the same for the coming academic session as well. However, there was tremendous pressure on me from the students’ union to withdraw the online admission. I couldn’t bear the pressure and sent my resignation to the VC. I don’t wish to remain in this post any longer,” Roy said.

Tapas Mahanta, the secretary of the teachers’ council, differed with Roy. “What the teacher-in-charge said was not correct. Last year, we had distributed the admission forms online. Students could either take the printouts or collect the forms manually from the college office and then submit them after filling them up. This year, we had decided to make the process totally online,” he said.

The Bengal government had decided to launch the centralised online system for undergraduate admissions for each state-aided university in the last week of May. However, on May 30, new education minister Partha Chatterjee scrapped the plan citing lack of computer preparedness.

Today, Chatterjee said he had asked the principal secretary (higher education) to inquire into Roy’s resignation. “If the (Raiganj) college has made preparations for the online admission, it will be held online. I have asked the NBU VC to talk to the college authorities and sort out the issue,” said the minister. .

Subhasis Saha, the general secretary of the Chhatra Parishad student union at Raiganj college, said: “Last year, many students in remote villages fell prey to unscrupulous persons who downloaded the application forms and sold the same for money. Still, the college authorities are sticking to the online process. There is no proper infrastructure in the college for online admissions. We will never allow this.”