A day after the Kota Hostel Association revealed its plans to attach sensors and springs to ceiling fans in hostel rooms to check the rising number of suicides in the country’s coaching hub, the initiative has received a mixed response from hostel owners, students and the district administration. “In an ideal situation, we would look at systemic measures to curb suicides, instead of symptomatic ones, which is the case with this initiative,” said Ravi Kumar Surpur, the district collector of Kota who has been at the forefront of multiple initiatives to tackle stress and depression among students. “It is a private decision, the government is not supporting it officially, but the intention of the people involved seems right,” Surpur added.
Another district official, on condition of anonymity, said, “Anyone who is looking to end his life will find some other way to do it. It’s not the answer to the problem.” Four months ago, Naveen Mittal, the president of the Kota Hostel Association, an organisation with 750 hostels as members, held discussions with two firms from Gujarat and Bengaluru to figure out a solution. That is when the group came up with the plan to install springs and sensors in ceiling fans.
“The spring in the fan will ensure that whenever anything more than 20kg is suspended from the ceiling fan, it will fall down… the sensor in the fan will be connected to a hooter on the floor, which will blare in case of such an incident,” he said. Ujjwal Kumar, 17, an engineering aspirant, said, “We all have our moments of anxiety and any kind of assistance is welcome.”