BENGALURU:Smoking weed and other forms of substance abuse are rampant on campuses in the city, but colleges say there is only so much they can do about it.
Express reported on Saturday that the National Law School of India University had ordered an inquiry into the problem on its sprawling campus near Jnana Bharathi.
Addiction is spreading in colleges across the city, and is more widespread in professional colleges and institutions with foreign nationals.
A former employee of Acharya Institute of Technology, which regularly promotes its courses abroad, said, “Drug abuse cases rarely come to the notice of the college. But we notice the problem is serious where students from the northern states and foreign countries study in big numbers.” A student from the college said, “It is true many here do drugs, but we have no idea where they procure the stuff.”
Students who notice the doping don’t report it for fear of attacks.
A student of Jain College on J C Road said smoking weed was common. “Ganja has become a fad. A few years ago, students were scared they would be caught and punished, but now the fear is gone,” he said.
Students in that area go to Mysore Road and KR Market for their fix. “Some claim they bring the ganja from Kerala and Tamil Nadu and sell it at a higher price, claiming the quality is better,” another student of Jain College said. Students from Surana College, near South End Circle in south Bengaluru, said smoking ganja was more common than other kinds of drug abuse. “A small number sniff on whiteners when they run out of ganja. Articles on the Internet claim smoking ganja is healthier than smoking tobacco, so many think it is okay to do it,” said a student of Surana College. Whistle-blowers are not only afraid of assaults by addicts, but also sceptical about managements acting.
“The authorities think the reputation of the college is at stake,” said a student of Christ University.
Many colleges are aware of the problem. Dr Maheshappa, principal of Acharya Institute of Technology, said, “Students don’t usually complain. But last year, we had one complaint and we forwarded it to the police.”
Maheshappa believes colleges must work with the authorities. “As for our institute, we have strengthened security at the international students’ hostel,” he said.
Prof Gopal, former principal of Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences, said, “We didn’t get specific complaints, but we heard about students smoking ganja.”
There is another problem in the age of private education: students are not sacked because that would affect the revenues of the college.
Prof M S Thimmappa, former vice-chancellor of Bangalore University, told Express, “Enforcement is poor and availability easy. Many times, the agents on the campus turn out to be students. The law should punish students who peddle drugs.”
Thimmappa observes children from rich families first try it for recreation, and then get hooked. “The colleges must identify such students, counsel them and inform their parents,” he said.
M S Santosh, joint registrar of Jain University, said, “We know of the problem, but since it happens outside the campus, we cannot initiate action.” However, he said, disciplinary mechanisms exist. “We have counselling cells on all campuses and we also alert parents. If the student is beyond control, we dismiss him.”
Some principals refused to comment, but did not deny the problem.