While the student organisations are busy organising protests against the university authorities on several issues in the run-up to the elections of Panjab University Campus Student Council, students on the campus feel that these do not reflect their demands.
Recently, members of Students Organisation of India had raised an issue about the increase in prices of food at the Students’ Centre, and had forcibly shut down all shops. “There is always a minor fluctuation in prices. For instance, earlier tea was available for Rs 6, but now we get it for Rs 8, which isn’t a major price hike,” said Amrit Gill, a student of commerce at PU.
Amrit added, “Currently, out of all the issues that are being raised by various student organisations, what personally concerns me the most is the fight against sexual harassment on campus. But other than that, there is not much substance to the issues that these student organisations keep raising.”
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Many students feel that the majority of problems are faced by those living in hostels, and that is what the student organisations need to be concerned about. “Even though I am a day scholar, I know that hostellers find it difficult to deal with a lot of issues ranging from curfew timings to food to lack of adequate services.
Student organisations should be protesting and fighting for such issues, instead of just politicising the whole election process with unnecessary drama,” said Jagjeet, another student of commerce at PU.
For others, it is difficult to generalise issues, as problems vary from department to department. “I think each department at the university has a different set of issues that they would like the elected student council to look into. Being a student of metallurgy at PEC, my concern is that the placement cell should be paid more attention to, and must be strengthened. If a student organisation promises me just that, I will vote for them,” said Mridul, a student at PEC University of Technology.
For others like Kaushika, casting of vote depends on what the student organisations have to offer each year. “As such, I do not have any major problems with the university that I want to be addressed. Yes, there are some problems, but the authorities are on their way to work on these. So, during student elections, I just cast my vote on the basis of what each party has to offer.”
“Each year, during the election season, the students get visibly divided into two groups: the party members and the voters. Each year, we see the drama unfurl, and it is like seeing actors perform on stage. Undoubtedly, the election season is my favourite part of the entire academic year,” said Kavya, a student at PU.
Dates for the PU Student Council elections have not been declared by the university yet, though the authorities have sent a communication to the Chandigarh Administration recommending dates for the elections.
Dean Students’ Welfare Navdeep Goyal said, “We have sent a communication to the UT Administration, giving a recommendation to schedule the student elections in the last week of August or the first week of September. It is difficult to ascertain the dates for now, as the UT Administration will carefully consider the recommendation, and only then will the final dates be announced.”