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Measures to tackle ragging remain on paper

- Funds crunch & alleged lackadaisical approach of authorities to blame for campus menace

Patna University is still miles away so far as adopting anti-ragging measures is concerned, courtesy paucity of funds or alleged lack of initiative.

Ragging is banned on campuses under directions from the Supreme Court and the University Grants Commission (UGC). Around December last year, UGC, the country’s higher education regulator, issued several guidelines to check ragging at educational institutions. It told the university to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and alarm bells at vital points on campus and organise counselling sessions with the students.

Half a year on, paucity of funds stopped some measures from taking off. Alleged lackadaisical approach has grounded others. Sources said Patna University had drafted a plan under which CCTV cameras were to be installed at different locations on campus. However, the plan remains on paper because of paucity of funds.

Pro-vice-chancellor Ranjit Kumar Verma said: “The administration had agreed in-principle to install the CCTV cameras at different locations of the main administrative block and colleges. Shortage of funds came in the project’s way though.” Sources said around five years ago, CCTV cameras were installed on the university campus. Now, the equipment is out-of-order since a group of students damaged the control room located at the proctor’s office a year later.

Uday Shankar, a second-year undergraduate student of Patna College, however, said: “As part of the anti-ragging measures, the university and college administration hold induction sessions at the beginning of the academic year and that’s about it. It’s a one-time affair, as nobody tells us anything about anti-ragging measures for the rest of the year.”

Apart from the installation of the CCTV cameras and alarm bells, the UGC letter had mentioned the need for regular interactions and counselling sessions against ragging.

On the anti-ragging helpline, a senior Patna Science College teacher said: “Neither the university nor the colleges have their own anti-ragging helpline number. Even if there is one, no one knows about it. In need, students contact on the UGC helpline number, 1800-180-5522.”

The teacher was part of the college’s anti-ragging squad. Last year, Patna College came to know about a ragging incident only after the UGC informed the authorities.