JAIPUR: Students from Bihar stuck in the coaching hub of Kota due to the ongoing lockdown have started a protest against the Nitish Kumar government's apathy in ensuring their return. Several state governments have evacuated thousands of students from the city but over 11,000 students from Bihar are stranded here.
The students from Bihar, many of whom have now started a hunger strike in their hostels, put up posters describing the Nitish government as deaf, dumb and blind. One student on hunger strike alleged, "Nitish government is bringing students from abroad, but they are not thinking about us. These double standards will not work."
Shahbaz Khan, a NEET aspirant from Katihar District in Bihar said, "We are desperate to go to our homes. It's troublesome to spend a single day here without coaching and with critical problems like food etc. We appeal to our CM to think seriously about the thousands of students stuck here."
Another student cried in misery. "I am mentally disturbed and want to go back home. Other states have called back their students but I can't understand why our state government is not acting. My mother cries on phone and is very worried about my situation," said Milan Jaiswal, a resident of Darbanga district in Bihar.
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan government has been trying to send all students studying in Kota back to their respective homes in other states. Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot has discussed the issue with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, offering to send the students to these states but the idea was rejected by the two CMs.
Gehlot said, "The governments of Bihar and Bengal and their CMs are still reluctant. They say they are helpless since lakhs of migrant workers from their states are also stranded in different parts of the country. We have told them that we are ready to cooperate in whatever way they want. We have even pointed out that while migrants are mature people, the students stuck in Kota are young people in the 16-20 age group."
Kota still has close to 25,000 students from Bihar, Bengal and a few other states. The Rajasthan government, Kota district administration and Allen coaching institute are trying to get other states to allow their students to return soon.
Students from other states luckier
Nearly 1,400 students from Haryana and Assam left Kota for their home towns by buses on Friday morning, while over 2,000 from various places in Rajasthan are scheduled to leave in the evening.
Over 50 students from the Union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Diu had left for home in three buses on Thursday noon and more than 250 students from Rajasthan had left for their respective home districts till Thursday night.
Eighteen buses carrying students from Assam and 31 with students from Haryana were scheduled to leave Kota on Friday, ADM (administration), Kota Narendra Gupta, who is monitoring the task, said.
At least 50 students from Dadra and Nagar Haveli and six from Diu had left Kota in three buses on Thursday noon, while students from Bundi, Jhalawar and Baran in Rajasthan wre dispatched in 10 buses on Thursday night, he added.
Nearly 1,000 students from Haryana left for home on Friday morning and about 400 students from Assam have started the journey towards their home state.
The Assam government had hired buses from private operators to take the students from the state back home, an official of a coaching institute who is associated with the task of sending students home, said.
Over 2,000 students from various cities and towns of Rajasthan were also scheduled to leave Kota in the evening, he added.
"The Haryana government has heard our plight and sent buses to take us back home.
We are grateful to the Haryana government," Anjali Singh, an NEET aspirant who hails from Gurugram, said.
The approval to send back 190 students from Punjab and nearly 500 from Jammu and Kashmir is yet to be received from the respective states governments, a district official said.
At least 13,000 students from Uttar Pradesh, 2,800 from Madhya Pradesh and 350 from Gujarat had already reached their home towns from Kota, which is known for its coaching centres to prepare students for competitive exams, in the last few days, he added.
(With PTI inputs)