Sikkim University Student Association addressing a media at Press Club of Sikkim Credit: EastMojo Image

Gangtok: Sikkim University (SU) students have condemned the state human resources (HR) department for failure to distribute laptops promised by chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling earlier last year. The students, under the banner of Sikkim University Students’ Association (SUSA), have met HRD secretary GP Upadhaya repeatedly with the request, but to no avail so far.

Chamling had earlier announced that 30,000 laptops would be distributed to students of Class X and above, in both government and private schools and colleges across the state. The HRD department was entrusted with the execution of the project.

The first line of distribution took place in Nar Bahadur Bhandari Degree College, Tadong on February 16, when 2,904 laptops were given out. Following which, several other colleges received the laptops.

Addressing a press conference at Press Club of Sikkim, SUSA president Palsang Tamang said, “In 2018, the HRD department assured us that we will be getting the laptops, similar statement was made by chief minister Pawan Chamling as well that the laptops will include all students studying in various private institutions and universities in the state. Later, when we reached HRD they changed their statement to be only for certificate of identification [COI] holders. Again they told us to get the list of students who fall into the category from the state.”

The students asserted that the statement from the HRD kept on changing in due course of time. “Later, they told us that it would be only for under-graduate students. If that be the case, it is not justified for the students of Sikkim University where most of the students are from post-graduation level. When the state is devoted at providing free education till higher education, the level of education where it matters most is being ignored”, said general secretary Pallabh Ram Bujhel.

In Sikkim University, there are 986 COI holder students of which 709 are pursuing post-graduation, 174 in PHD, 31 in M Phil and 57 are in undergraduate level. It was informed that the names of 889 students have been collected so far as the students wait for a written assurance on laptop distribution from the department.

Elsewhere, the students demanded that whoever forms the next government and the elected MP to work for speedy construction of permanent campus in Yangang, South Sikkim. “The elected MP must raise the issue of the permanent campus for SU in the parliament as all those universities that came into being alongside Sikkim University have a permanent campus with adequate infrastructure. But our university has been neglected with a permanent campus for 12 years now”, said another SUSA representative asserting on not wanting to be a political victim over the matter.

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