Tamil Nadu

Struggle intensifies

A section of women protesters observing fast at Sivagiri in Erode district on Monday. (Right) The site at Ezhumathur where the college is proposed to be shifted.– PHOTOs: M. GOVARTHAN

A section of women protesters observing fast at Sivagiri in Erode district on Monday. (Right) The site at Ezhumathur where the college is proposed to be shifted.– PHOTOs: M. GOVARTHAN  


hedding their political differences, the public of Sivagiri Town Panchayat, who completed their two-day fast on Monday demanding restoration of the Bharathiar University Constituent College of Arts and Science, expressed their determination to carry forward their struggle.

The protesters, representing public welfare organisations, are against the move to shift the college to Ezhumathur, and wondered how Modakurichi MLA R.N. Kittusamy could subvert the process of land allotment made by the Sivagiri Town Panchayat to the Higher Education Department to establish the college.

On November 16, 2012, the District Collector had written to the Assistant Director of Town Panchayats stating that the proposal of the Sivagiri Town Panchayat to provide 5.06 hectares of land at its Weekly Market to set up the college had been approved, and directed that the mandatory procedure of adoption of a resolution by the Town Panchayat to that effect be fulfilled. As a follow-up, the Sivagiri Town Panchayat had passed the resolution on November 26 that year.

“At a time when we were looking for a proper reply came a bolt from the blue that the college has been shifted to a remote location in Ezhumathur,” said a shocked president of Sivagiri Town Panchayat S. Arumugam.

The reasoning of Modakurichi MLA R.N. Kittusamy of AIADMK who was instrumental in getting the location changed was that there was enough land available at Ezhumathur for future transformation of the college into a university.

The public of Sivagiri simply refuse to buy Mr. Kittusamy’s reasoning. “The MLA has taken the public of Sivagiri, who had steadfastly stood by him at the time of elections, for a ride. It was due to his promise to establish a college in Sivagiri town that the public rallied support. The shifting of the college will turn counterproductive, as a drop in enrolment of girls, who now account for a majority of the students, will become inevitable due to its remote location,” Mr. Arumugam said.

Also, according to a latest announcement by Higher Education Minister Palaniappan, the land requirement for estabishing colleges is five acres in town panchayats, three in municipalities and two acres in Corporation limits. “We are offering double the extent. Besides, adjacent land owned by HR and CE Department could be acquired when the need arises in future,” Shanmugasundaram, Councillor, said, calling upon the State Government to consider the plight of students.

Students from Chennimalai area will have to board three buses to reach Ezhumathur. Sivagiri, on the other hand, was easily accessible and well connected to Arachalur, Kodumudi, Modakurichi, Chennimalai, Muthur and other important towns, he said.

“For the last four years, the college has been functioning on the premises of Sivagiri Boys' Higher Secondary School, and the strength of students has now risen rapidly to over 1,900 owing to the vantage location. We strongly believe Chief Minister Jayalalithaa will take a considerate view once the issue catches her attention,” M. Varadarajan, Coordinator, College Retrieval Committee, said.

A majority of students were first generation graduates belonging to SC communities. The college has gained the distinction of having the highest student strength among the constituent colleges of all universities in the State. Of the 1,950 students, more than 1,500 are girls, he noted, exuding hope that the Chief Minister would take note of the ‘deceit’ indulged in by Modakurichi MLA.

Mr. Kittusamy could not be reached over phone.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 7:55:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/struggle-intensifies/article7627390.ece

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