Kolkata: The indefinite hunger strike by the students of Calcutta Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), demanding accommodation in a new hostel building, entered its 13th day today even as Ashok Bhadra, the new officiating principal, appealed to the students to end the stir.
In his wriiten appeal, Bhadra told reporters today, he has also informed the students about the proceedings of yesterday’s meeting on the issue with Director of Medical Education (DME), the student representatives and heads of different departments.
The strike over hostel rooms were initiated by six students on July 10 after the authorities at the state-run college notified that the new 11-storey building would be allotted only to the freshers.
Fifteen more students joined the strike on July 19 as the medical college administration refused to relent, despite several requests.
The old hostel, the protesters alleged, was in a “dilapidated” condition and did not have sufficient space to accommodate all senior students.
The officiating principal said he has requested the DME for a middle-path, keeping interests of everybody in mind.
“During the meeting… it was observed if the number of applicants exceeded the present vacancies of aforesaid hostels, then the excess students will be accommodated in the new hostel in a maximum of three floors, including one floor from the guest accommodation, subjected to approval from higher authorities,” the appeal signed by Bhadra said.
Bhadra took over as the officiating principal as his predecessor R Sinha resigned on Friday.
Sinha, too, had taken charge only on July 17 after Principal Uchhal Bhadra fell sick in his office during the students’ agitation and was admitted to SSKM hospital in the southern part of the city.
There will be an “open and transparent counselling for hostel accommodation” if the DME approves the request made to him in yesterday’s meeting, Bhadra asserted.
The students, on their part, said they would call of the protest only after receiving a written consent from the DME’s office.
Three of the 21 students – Aniket Chatterjee, Sumit Dhara and Debasish Barman – fell ill during the course of 12-day protest.
“One of them had been admitted to hospital while conditions of two others were being monitored by a medical board that has been posted at the site of protest. The agitators have decided to continue the strike till the DME gives in to their demands,” Sayantan Mukuty, a student supporting the stir, said.
Several health organizations, affiliated to Left parties, are scheduled to hold a convention today before the administrative block of the medical college, in support of the agitating students.
Thespian Soumitra Chatterjee, in an audio message yesterday, alleged the administration was not sensitive to the condition of the protesters.
“That the students had to resort to fast to press for their rights is unfortunate,” the veteran actor said, seeking a speedy resolution to the impasse.
Film director Anik Dutta has also come in support of the students while CPI(M) MLA Sujan Chakraborty said he will seek the intervention of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee into the matter.