Heads Start Rolling As Bengal Colleges Grapple Cash For Seats Allegations


In a virtual admission that things have gone horribly wrong with college admissions across West Bengal this academic year, the Trinamool Congress has sent the first head rolling. The education minister has also extended the date for college admissions from 6th July to 10th July.

Jaya Dutta, president of Trinamool Chatra Parishad, has been axed for allegations of rampant extortion under her watch by college unions affiliated to the ruling party. Extortion from students seeking admission to undergrad courses for the session beginning later this month.

Top Trinamool sources said Ms Dutta would be replaced within 10 days. She was missing from party headquarters, Trinamool Bhavan, today where she was to meet college unions.

Ever since the college admission process began – from 22 June to 6 July —  complaints poured in from students that Trinamool Chatra Parishad (TMCP) college union members were demanding money from them to ensure admissions to colleges.

The complaints were so widespread that chief minister Mamata Banerjee herself stopped by at her alma mater, Ashutosh College, in south Kolkata on Monday to talk to students and send out a message that corruption in the admission system would not be tolerated.

Higher education minister Partha Chatterjee visited three colleges with the same message.

Earlier, at Trinamool’s core committee meet last month, Ms Banerjee had said, “The job of a student leader is to help students and not to make money. I am warning all student leaders, please behave.”

The situation turned so chaotic, police put up notices outside colleges urging aspiring students to complain to them if they were harassed. But even that didn’t stem complaints of extortion.

One of the loopholes enabling extortion was, a student applied online for admission, was accepted and his/her name appeared on the list. But the moment he/she went to the college for verification of certificates as required by the college by a stipulated cut-off time, union members physically stopped them from entering colleges unless they paid up.

If the student refused to pay, he/she failed to report to authorities in time. So his/her name was struck off the list and his/her seat became “available for sale” by union members.

Yesterday, Mr Partha Chatterjee announced students would not need to go to colleges for verification of certificates and they could deposit fees to the college bank account. But that led to more confusion today, forcing the minister to extend deadline for admission to 10th July.

Desperate students are hoping things fall into place in those four extra days.

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