Will building universities be on the Bihar election manifesto? Why #BegusaraiWantsDinkarUniversity i- Edexlive | #students | #parents

Image for representational purpose only (Pic: Twitter)

The youth of Bihar’s Begusarai district have been protesting for the past few days in front of Ganesh Dutt (GD) College, raising once again the demand for a central university there. In an attempt to take their demands to a larger audience, they also started tweeting with the hashtag #BegusaraiWantsDinkarUniversity on September 23 along with their physical protest. Why do they want it there? Because it is the birthplace of great Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar whose 112nd birth anniversary falls on September 23.

But this fight to establish a university in Begusarai has been going on for more than two decades, said Rakesh Kumar, Vice President of the All India Students’ Federation. “Students have to travel 100 km to reach the nearest university, which is in Darbhanga — Lalit Narayan Mithila University. While Begusarai is a financial and productivity hub in the state, the district does not have a university. There are more than 1.5 lakh students here but only one proper college. GD College in Begusarai has the capacity to accommodate 30,000 students and has the adequate space to be transformed into a university,” her added.

The twenty-year-long fight has gathered support from across the political spectrum. “The NSUI joined in, the ABVP too joined the struggle along the road,” said a student at the protest. Eminent Social Worker and Chairman of Public Health and Holistic Human Development Foundation Ajay Kumar in his letter to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal requested him to take concrete steps towards opening a Central University in Begusarai. Students of Begusarai have been facing a lot of difficulties as the nearest University in Darbhanga is 120 km away, he added. “Begusarai is a big district with a population of more than 35 lakh, 1229 villages, five municipal corporations,” Kumar pointed out and added that the youth of this district lacked access to good infrastructure for higher education. “Not having a university leaves young female students little scope for good higher education. Local youths have been demanding for a university here for long,” he added.

This is not the first time the Education Minister or even the Chief Minister of the state has been approached. “We had written to various offices and officials over the years but haven’t received a reply yet. The CM, on the other hand, had said clearly that there will be no universities in the districts in the next few years in 2017 when we showed him placards at one of his rallies. I hope this current protest and Twitter awareness helps get the issue of universities in their election manifesto,” said the VP.

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