Less than a month after NIT-Srinagar reopened, more than half of its final-year students are preparing to leave the campus again. An indefinite Internet blockade in the Valley has disrupted NIT-Srinagar’s placement drive, affecting students preparing for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).
So much so, that more than 200 B.Tech students in their fourth year — out of 379 — have sought the institute’s permission to leave and return next year after appearing for GATE in February. These students have also signed an undertaking that they are leaving of their own volition and will take responsibility for completing the seventh-semester syllabus on their own. The undertaking was submitted to Kowsar Majid, Dean of Academic Affairs, this week.
“A few companies have had to postpone their campus recruitment as students cannot appear for their online test. Those preparing for GATE and GRE need the Internet for accessing study material,” said a fourth-year student, who has signed the undertaking.
When contacted Friday, NIT-Srinagar director Rakesh Sehgal confirmed that almost half the students in the fourth year had sought permission to leave. He did not wish to comment further.
A senior official in the institute said the director has agreed to let students leave on the condition that they do not press teachers for special classes later. “We are planning to relax the attendance requirement for these students, and also hold semester-end examinations in February for them,” the senior official said.
Sources said NIT-Srinagar has, on several occasions, approached the HRD Ministry and local administration for restoration of Internet services on campus — but in vain.
The NIT reopened on October 15, more than two months after the abrogation of Article 370 forced it to shut indefinitely on August 3, when close to 1,500 students were asked to vacate the campus overnight.
Since the institute was forced to shut down in the middle of placement season, about 70 outstation students had camped in a hostel in Ghaziabad for a month, at their own expense, to organise their placement drive.
The Indian Express reported on September 13 that local students from Jammu and Kashmir could not be informed about this placement drive because of the blockade — about 55 students had found jobs through this drive. The fourth-year students plan to continue the drive in Ghaziabad once they are permitted to leave.
About 2,100 students out of 2,892 have reported at the institute after it reopened, but a large number of PhD students haven’t joined as yet because of the blockade. “What are research students going to do if they can’t access journals online?” the senior official said. There are a total of 358 PhD students at NIT-Srinagar.