KOCHI: Following the arrest of a fourth-year BTech student with 20 LSD stamps, excise officials held a meeting with Vice-Chancellor K N Madhusoodanan on Wednesday and discussed measures to be taken to curb the increasing drug menace on campus, especially in hostels.
Excise Deputy Commissioner P V Elias said they shared their concerns with the university authorities about students becoming easy target for drug peddlers. “We have information about students who had been procuring drugs from the arrested youth (Jagadram Roy). We have asked Cusat authorities to inform the parents of these students so that the latter can be rehabilitated and weaned away from drugs. We are also ready to give them counselling. We had information about drug peddling involving students of Cusat. Based on the input, we arrested the student with LSD,” he said.
The department has found that hostels on the campus are easily accessible for outsiders, including peddlers. “Jagadram was staying at Sahara hostel. He said he had the equipment for ganja abuse. When we searched his hostel room, we found someone had removed the equipment. We have information that drug parties were held in the hostel and were attended even by outsiders,” an official said.
Jagadram gave a detailed statement regarding drug peddling and abuse. “He was a very bright student who scored very good marks in Class 10 and 12 examinations. It was due to wrong company that he had started abusing drugs from the second year of college,” an official said.
A faculty member at the university said they have been seeing students who scored figured in the top-50 list in entrance examinations performing very poorly in classes. I have seen students sitting zoned out in the class. If they are asked a question, they fail to understand what is being asked. A student who is inattentive will at least look at the classmate sitting next to him/her or ask the teacher to repeat the question. That is not happening here.”
Recalling a recent incident, the faculty member said, “I asked a student his opinion about Cusat. He replied it was the most open university in the country. Though he might have said it as he isn’t fluent in English, it is the truth. It has been so for years,” said the professor.
Lack of a compound wall and thickets surrounding department buildings and hostels provide ample cover for drug peddlers to ply their trade. “A lot of outsiders come inside the campus everyday. There is no security guard or checking to prevent entry of people other than the students and university officials,” said a student, adding that drug abuse is rampant on the campus. “However, none dares to say it openly fearing repercussions from racketeers,” said the student.
Another student said drugs are made available by small shops like tea stalls functioning in and around the campus. Agreeing that drug menace existed on the campus, Madhusoodanan said steps had been initiated to increase the number of security personnel on the campus. “We have also started measures that will see students being provided counselling by excise officials,” he said.
On the construction of a compound wall, Cusat has already completed one round of talks with the district collector. “We will take up the issue again and see that the wall is built. Only then will the campus be safe from outsiders and anti-social elements,” said the VC.