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Quota demand hits entry

Jaipuria College in north Calcutta has suspended admission under its sports, staff and management quotas after the Trinamul Congress student unions demanded separate reservation for their candidates from this year.

The college, which runs in three shifts, has nearly 2,000 seats and had announced before starting the admission process last month that it would complete the first round by July 8.

The college has 30 per cent of its seats reserved under various heads such as sports, trustee, teacher and staff. More than 600 of these seats were vacant as on Tuesday with the college deciding to suspend admission under these quotas because of alleged pressure from the student wing.

Trinamul-controlled student unions are known to have made such demands in some institutions before but Jaipuria College is the first to stand up to it.

Principal Asok Mukhopadhyay lodged a complaint with the state higher education department and sought its intervention through the helpline set up to receive admission-related complaints. The department told him that since Jaipuria College was run by a trust, the problem would have to dealt with internally.

Mukhopadhyay declined to say if the institution had been under any kind of pressure during the admission process.

“The bulk of the seats have been filled and we have had no problems in admitting students,” he told Metro.

But sources in the college said the authorities were compelled to suspend admission under various quotas because the student unions threatened to disrupt the process.

“Our demand (for separate reservation) is a legitimate one,” said Sagar Sonkar, general secretary of the union representing students of the day shift. “The college has quotas for its trustee members, teachers and non-teaching staff. So why can’t there be reservation for the student unions?”

A union leader who didn’t wish to be named said the demand for a separate quota had been raised on behalf of “poor but meritorious students who approach us for help in getting admission”.

Shankudeb Panda, president of the Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad, contradicted the Jaipuria College student unions’ views on reservation.

“I am unaware that Jaipuria College has quotas for its trustees, teaching and non-teaching staff. We are completely opposed to having a quota system in any college because we believe that admission should be only on the basis of merit. I will seriously take up the matter (with the authorities) and ensure that the admission process at Jaipuria College is smooth,” he said.

Supporters of the Trinamul-affiliated unions had allegedly abused and threatened teachers at Jaipuria College last year when they refused to admit some students who didn’t make the grade.

The 65-year-old college, run by a board of trustees, has had sports, trustee, teacher and non-teaching staff quotas for more than 40 years.

According to a teacher, the college also offers financial concessions to meritorious students who cannot afford their education expenses. “The authorities would always welcome a request by the student unions to provide financial concessions to underprivileged students. There is no need to have separate reservation.”

The student unions had approached the authorities with their demand when the admission process for the 2014-15 academic session was being worked out, a source said.

After the education department left it to the college to tackle the problem internally, the admission committee unanimously decided to reject the student unions’ demand. “Since then, the student unions have been pressuring the teachers and the principal to accede to their demand for reservation,” the source said.

The college has convened a meeting of its governing body on Wednesday to find a way out.