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Allahabad varsity students to seek help of parties

Agitation to intensify after university reopens on January 2 and the freshly admitted students arrive for the first time

Basant Kumar Mohanty New Delhi Published 28.12.22, 03:31 AM
University of Allahabad

University of Allahabad File picture

Students of Allahabad University on Tuesday decided to seek political parties’ support to gain wider visibility for their five-monthold agitation against a nearly fourfold fee hike, disappointed at the institution ignoring their demand for a rollback.

A fallout of the agitation has been tightened entry rules, which led to a confrontation and alleged firing by a security guard at students queueing outside the varsity gate this month, followed by student vandalism on campus and criminal cases.

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The Chhatra Sangh Samyukta Sangharsha Samiti, spearheading the agitation for a fee hike rollback and restoration of students’ union elections, met representatives of various student groups and decided to hold a Chhatra Mahapanchayat (student conclave) on January 12.

“It was decided to invite political personalities like Jayant Chaudhary from the Rashtriya Lok Dal, Imran Pratapgarhi from the Congress, Manoj Jha from the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Dharmendra Yadav from the Samajwadi Party to the students’ convention. They can take our issues up at the national level,” movement leader Ajay Yadav said.

He said the agitation would intensify after the university reopened on January 2 and the freshly admitted students arrived for the first time. T

he new batches have already paid the higher fees being enforced from this year. The hiked fees do not apply to students admitted in previous years.

The Union education ministry has asked all the central universities, IITs and other centrally funded higher-education institutions to raise resources internally to reduce their financial dependence on the government.

This has prompted many of the institutions to raise their student fees apart from seeking donations and conducting consultancy and research projects to earn revenue.

In recent months, IIT Bombay and IIT Delhi increased their student fees before having to announce partial rollbacks in the face of campus protests.

Allahabad University has raised the annual fee for the BA and BCom courses from Rs 975 to Rs 3,701 and Rs 3,901, respectively, while the BSc fee has jumped from Rs 1,125 to Rs 4,151. According to data provided by junior education minister Subhas Sarkar in the Rajya Sabha on December 14, the actual spending by the Centre on education, expressed as a percentage of the GDP, has been falling.

In the years 2016-17, 2017- 18 and 2018-19, the Centre’s spending on education was 1.09 per cent, 0.97 per cent and 0.96 per cent of the GDP, respectively.

Allahabad University students are also demanding restoration of the students’ union, which has been defunct since 2019. The last elections were held in 2018, before the authorities abolished student elections on the ground of campus violence.

The university decided to form a students’ council with nominated members, but this decision could not be enforced because of student protests.

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