Despite being one of the oldest educational institutions in the Union Territory, Tagore Arts College (TAC) appears to have fallen from its glory days. For nearly two years, a total of 39 out of 139 faculty positions have been lying vacant.
This and lack of other vital infrastructure pushed students of the college to stage a one-day token strike on Tuesday.
The students demanded setting up of drinking water facilities, public toilets, appointment of a sports trainer and introduction of new college buses. The students complained that there was no drinking water and water supply to toilets was also intermittent. They claimed the college bus service had been stopped and the vehicles were still being repaired. The protesters added that some of the classrooms were in a dilapidated state.
Dr E M Rajan, principal of the college, told Express that it would take time to fill up teaching vacancies as this had to be done through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). As a result of the inadequacy of faculty members, some of the classes were cancelled, he added. The principal said he had brought the issue to the notice of Secretary (Education) Ragesh Chandra and the director of higher education.
Acknowledging that there were issues related to water supply, Rajan said the supply for drinking purposes and toilet facilities was affected as the motor was being repaired for the last few days.
Pointing out that government procedure was very cumbersome, Rajan said he has written to the authorities to rectify it at the earliest. The procedural delays may make it longer to repair the motor before the supply was restored, he added.
Rajan said when the water supply to the main block was affected a few days ago, he had to churn out money from his pocket to restore it. Incidentally, Rajan is an alumnus of the college.
The principal said that two legislators - Vaithianathan and P M L Kalyanasundaram - would be visiting the college on Wednesday to make an assessment of the lack of basic facilities. He had requested both the MLAs to release money from their MLA fund for maintenance.
Established in 1961, Tagore Arts College now has 1675 students, one third of which are girls. It has 16 departments, which conduct 17 under-graduate courses.
The college was affiliated to the Pondicherry University from the academic year 1986-87 and from 1989-90 it is functioning as an under-graduate institution only.