Vidhyarthi Morcha threatens to close Darjeeling Govt College demanding local students preference in admission

Gorkha Janmukti Vidhyarthi Morcha (GJVM)
The Gorkha Janmukti Vidhyarthi Morcha (GJVM) on Friday threatened to indefinitely close Darjeeling Government College demanding local students be given first preference in the admission process.
The student’s union claimed the merit list for admission in the Honours courses showed nearly 80 per cent applicants as being from outside the Darjeeling hills. GJVM leaders said it was not possible to stop the merit list as it is an online process, but they have stopped
the admission process that started from Friday.
“The merit list shows that 80 per cent of the applicants are from outside the hills. Where will the local students go if they don’t get admission at home,” asked Awanish Rai, the GJVM Darjeeling sub-division president.
Rai said the union was against the online application process and had asked the North Bengal University, to which Darjeeling Government College is affiliated, to stop admission. “We have submitted a letter to the college officer-in-charge to stop the admission process, which has been forwarded to the NBU,” he said.
The students union said they would wait for 24 hours for a positive reply from the NBU, failing which they would enforce an indefinite strike in the college. “Our demand is there should be more locals as was the purpose for the college being set up in the first place. Until last year, 80 per cent students were from the hills and and the remaining 20 per cent from outside.
The online process has become a bane for the local students,” Rai maintained. He said that unlike in private and missionary run colleges in the hills, the fee structure in Darjeeling Government College is very nominal for  financially weak students. “In Darjeeling Government College a student can complete a pass course by paying just Rs1,800, which is not the case in other private and missionary-run institutions in the hills,” Rai pointed out.
Carrying forward the argument on the percentage of admissions for this year’s academic session, Redam Thapa, the vice-president of the students union, said: “In Geography Honours, of the total 61 candidates only 13 are locals. Similarly, in Micro-biology 16 students are from outside and three are locals, which is also the case in Botany and Zoology."
At present Darjeeling Government College offers Honours course for 15 subjects. The total seats available in Honours and Pass courses are 624 and 1,023, respectively. Prajwal Lama, the officer-in-charge of the college, admitted problems had surfaced because of the online admission process.
“There is no written norm such as a 80-20 percentage division. But it was being followed nonetheless. We have informed higher authorities in Kolkata about the development in the college,” he said. The officer-in-charge also said the authorities in Kolkata have sought a detailed report on the number of local and outside students, both from the GTA and non-GTA areas. GTA Sabahsad and education department in-charge Roshan Giri said he is aware of the problem in the college. “I have spoken to Vivek Kumar, the principal secretary of the West Bengal Higher Education Department. He has assured me he would immediately make an inquiry into the matter,” he said.
Posters in the name of “students of the hills” were pasted at Chowk Bazar demanding local students be given admission preference in the college. (EOIC)

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