Monday, 24 September 2012

NIPER shuts down indefinitely

Ahmedabad Mirror Bureau Sunday, September 23, 2012: Following a showdown with representative of ministry of chemicals & fertilisers, the institute suspends academic activities till students agree to join classes on its terms; post-graduates to go on non-violent strike from Monday

Students broke down while recounting their plight to the representative of Union ministry of chemicals and fertilisers, who promised to address their grievances

Students of National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) were left in tears after the institute announced an indefinite shutdown. According to sources, the institute’s Project Director Neeta Shrivastav had a showdown with Subhash C Sharma, a representative of department of pharmacy, ministry of chemicals & fertilisers, who visited the NIPER campus on Saturday to verify students’ claims regarding lack of proper facilities. 

“Sharma found some of the institute rules unacceptable and conveyed the same to Shrivastav. This led to an argument. Following this, Shrivastav along with Pharmaceutical Education and Research Development (PERD) Centre Director Manish Nivsarkar announced that the institute will remain shut till students agreed to join classes on the institute’s terms. Or, she asked the students to join classes only after the ministry had addressed all their problems,” said sources. The institute is being run from the PERD Centre since 2007. Sharma, deputy secretary of Department of Pharmacy, had visited the institute after the post-graduate students wrote to the ministry regarding poor sanitation and drinking water facilities and frequent power outages at the institute. 

Sharma met the students, Shrivastav, assistant director of B V Patel PERD Centre and faculty members. “During the four-hour discussion, students put forward their demands to Sharma. They claimed their demands were being ignored by the institute’s authorities.” Moreover, students demanded the appointment of a permanent director for the institute as well as setting up of proper placement cell and appointment of placement officer. Addressing the students Sharma said, “Your basic demand for proper sanitation, electricity and drinking water facilities has been met. This is the first time that we have received a letter from students of one of the NIPER institutes. 

A permanent director for the institute will be appointed within 10 days.” He also promised a placement cell with a placement officer and regular update of the institute’s website. However, the students were not appeased. They also told Sharma regarding a cut in stipend for even a five-minute delay. “We get a monthly stipend of Rs 8,000 which comes to approx Rs 260 per day. But if we are late by even five minutes in class, sometimes Rs 600 is cut,” students complained. 

To this, Shrivastav responded that it was a disciplinary rule of NIPER- Ahmedabad. Students pointed out that, “For everything else, we are asked to follow NIPER-Mohali. So why does Ahmedabad institute have a separate rule regarding stipends? Also, we pay fee for gym and sports facilities. However, we don’t get either of these facilities here.” Sharma advised the student to make a representation to the ministry regarding the fee issue. 

Shrivastav and Sharma had an argument after the latter questioned the institute’s policy to deny students an off on Saturday and public holidays. “Sharma pointed out that NIPER rules stated that students should be given an off on Saturday and public holidays. However, Shrivastav argued that NIPER Ahmedabad followed PERD Centre’s rules as they had signed a MoU with the centre. This angered Sharma,” sources said.

An annoyed Sharma left for Delhi in the evening. Following his departure, Shrivastav announced that the institute will remain closed till students agreed to drop their demands. Meanwhile, according to sources, secretary of Department of Pharmacy will visit the institute on Monday. Students have vowed to go on a non-violent strike from Monday till their demands are met.

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