Presi students on hunger strike to protest fee hike

KOLKATA: The students of Independent Consolidation (IC) started a relay hunger strike in Presidency University from Monday protesting against the decision of the university council to increase fee. Fee of humanities and science students have been raised to Rs 150 per month from Rs 75 and Rs 110, respectively.

“Including laboratory and library charges, a science student will now need to pay Rs 2,000 every month while the humanities students have to shell out Rs 500 every month as library charges. A development charge, too, will be levied from the students,” said Joy Saha, a third year student of History honours and spokesperson of IC. Saha added that the decision to hike fee had been taken without consulting the students. “On June 18, there was a council meeting where the decision was taken. A deputation was handed over to vice-chancellor Amita Chatterjee last week. “We immediately protested and asked her to withdraw the decision within Monday. But when no notice was issued till Monday evening, we met registrar Pradip Sengupta and asked if there was any chance of revising the decision. He said nothing could be done as it was a university council decision,” Saha said.

The IC students began a peaceful demonstration outside the registrar’s office from 1pm. “We asked him to take a final call within 4pm. We started a relay hunger strike in the portico from 4:30pm onwards when no message came from the registered. Sauvik Chakraborty, Bengali second year student and Atanu Sinha Roy, a second year English honours student, started the strike which will continue over the next 24 hours. If the authority refuses to revoke their decision, we shall start a fast unto death from Wednesday,” said Saha.

“The state government should interfere. There is no cash crunch in the university. Thus merit should be the only criterion for admissions and money should not be a decisive factor,” he concluded. Higher Education minister Bratya Basu said, “We have very little say in this matter. It is the decision of the university. However, we shall look into the matter.”

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