The recent death of a third year student from IIT Kharagpur brings
to light the lack of infrastructural and medical facilities on campus.
IIT Kharagpur witnessed a gruesome tragedy on Sunday, March 23 when a third year student Rohit Kumar died due to the callousness and negligence of campus hospital authorities. He had sustained a head injury after falling off a rickshaw and was rushed to campus hospital where no treatment was given to him; instead he was sent to a hospital in Midnapore (the district headquarters) after an inexcusable 90-minutes delay in issuing an ambulance, that too without a trained paramedic.
This has not been a first; the students had been angry and have been raising their voices about the medical facilities here for quite some time. That too on solid grounds considering facts like there are only 25 beds for over 7,000 students, no facilities for MRI or CAT scan and not even a 24-hour pharmacy! Of course regular unfulfilled promises regarding the impending revamping of the hospital have been made.
This avoidable tragedy turned the students’ simmering anger into a boiling rage which saw them immediately gathering in thousands near the director’s house main gate and demanding an on-the-spot solution of the situation. After some aggressive and arrogant posturing by the guards and later, the Director, Dr Damodar Acharya himself, the students decided to take matters into their own hands and smashed the window-panes of the drawing room of the bungalow as well as his car with bricks, stones and even tree branches.
Finally the Director had to announce his decision of stepping down, followed by a massive Open House meeting, which saw the resignation of The Dean of Student Affairs also. The atmosphere was volcanic and the tempers of students flaring with rage.
While the vandalism aspect of this entire episode is definitely unfortunate, the students’ outpouring of outrage points in just one direction – that the future of our country needs better medical facilities on campus and the authorities should not wait until the life of an innocent is lost.
– Aditya Mani Jha