Research scholars at Panjab University Tuesday staged a protest and submitted a memorandum to the Vice Chancellor, Dean Student Welfare and Dean Research to draw their attention towards issues being faced by them due to the sudden imposition of lockdown in mid-March.
The memorandum submitted by the Panjab University Research Scholars Association (PURSA) highlights that scholars have a limited tenure of 3-5 years to complete their research work, out of which six months have already gone by. “Research Scholars need an environment of discussion, common study space, library facility, good internet connection to access various journals and concentrated minds to focus on their research activities which is very difficult at home for many. The experimental research of scholars is suffering badly due to inaccessibility of lab facilities,” read a statement issued by the scholars.
PURSA also laid emphasis on opening hostels for PhD/MPhil students as many scholars who are not on any fellowship programmes will find it difficult to pay rents outside. “Moreover, living outside campus will not be safe at this time of pandemic,” they stated.
Putting further their demands, the association has asked that the university constitute a committee to take decision on the entry of scholars in departments at the earliest and arrange for their accommodation within campus.
The memorandum has been signed by more than 250 research scholars of the varsity.
The Chief Security Officer, Dr Ashwani Kaul met the delegates and received the charter as representative of university officials. He also agreed with the demands and assured them that a Statement of Purpose (SOP) will be prepared after a detailed discussion with authorities concerned.
Kaul reportedly also stated that the final decision will still be taken by the Ministry of Higher Education and that the university will try to approach them. He said that authorities will discuss with other institutes who have allowed PhD/Mphil students to return to the campus.