A government college of Uttarakhand has been accused of not updating the books of its library and keeping editions that are outdated. The students of the college protested against it and said that despite admitting thousands of students every year, the number of books in the library is meagre.
A student leader at the Government PG College of Pithoragarh, Mahendra Singh, said that 90 per cent of the books available at the library are all outdated editions. He gave examples and told that as per the library's political science books, the Berlin wall is intact, the Soviet Union is existent, and the cold war between the two superpowers of the US and the Soviet Union is still going on.
The Students Union President of the college, Rakesh Joshi, Bhagwan Singh Rawat, and the other students of Government PG College have been sitting on a dharna for the past one month against keeping these outdated editions in the library. They demanded that the college authorities should replace the old editions of books with the latest editions as soon as possible.
Mahendra Singh told that no special grants are given to the college for buying library books. Library books come from the fee that is paid by the students that is Rs. 5 per head and it is barely enough to meet the requirements of books of a single department.
The Principal of the Pithoragarh PG College, D S Pangti, spoke on the row and said that the main reason for this problem is that the college has admitted more students than its sanctioned strength. Books were purchased worth Rs. 2.30 lakhs in the year 2012 but the college is under pressure to give admission to students beyond its strength. The present strength of students in Humanities and Science is 1,700 and 700 respectively against the sanctioned strength of 840 for Humanities and 240 for Science.
Pangti also added that some books, especially of the Science stream, are quite expensive so purchasing them will not let them buy books of other subjects as the college has limited money at its disposal and cannot buy costly books.
However, S C Pant, the Uttarakhand Higher Education Director, denied these allegations and asserted that regular grants were given to all government colleges by the directorate every year for buying books. Meanwhile, Dhan Singh Rawat, the Uttarakhand Higher Education Minister, expressed his doubts over the involvement of “non-students” in the dharna and agitation only to create trouble on the campus. He said that if it is ascertained that the agitation is by the students and is genuine then all of their demands will be met.