The name lured them to join the institution but an inordinate delay in creation of basic infrastructure and a shortage in teaching staff had forced students of the University College of Engineering (UCE), Kancheepuram, to stage a dharna on Friday. The demonstration was in pursuance of a time-bound assurance of a solution from the vice-chancellor of the University.
A total of 470 students comprise the first and second batch of students of the UCE, an institution run under the direct supervision of Anna University.
However, their pride in having joined an institution run by the renowned University started to dip gradually when they were made to pursue their studies in a rented building at a polytechnic on the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway at Kancheepuram and share the laboratory facilities at the nearby UCE at Aarani in Tiruvannamalai district even after two years from the date of inauguration of the college.
A student said that the non-availability of a campus with well-equipped laboratories / library was in spite of an allocation of 10 acres of land near a lake on the NH. A shortage in teaching staff made things worse for them.
“While we are made to sit in a rented building, our batchmates who have got admitted to UCEs at Villupuram, Dindivanam and Aarani are fortunate enough to pursue their studies in newly-constructed buildings having all the required facilities,” a student said.
They had decided to boycott their classes on Friday and assembled at around 8 a.m. on the lawns of the polytechnic. However, the management of the polytechnic asked the students to get back to their classrooms or move the demonstration to their own site, stating that allowing such demonstrations on their campus would influence their students.
The UCE students then moved to their own site at around 10 a.m. They remained firm on their stand that they would not get back to their classrooms until they got a firm commitment from the University authorities, particularly the vice-chancellor, on these issues.
They finally wound up their demonstration at 4 p.m. after the vice-chancellor Dr. P. Kaliraj called on them at the site of the dharna and assured them that the Rs. 40-crore project of constructing college buildings and creation of other facilities would be completed within the next18 months and the inadequacy in teaching staff would also be solved soon.