Friday, July 17, 2009

Call college, not govt anti-ragging helpline

By: Kranti Vibhute Date: 2009-07-16 Place:Mumbai

Month after govt launches call centre, colleges start pvt helplines to avoid national attention

No college wants a ragging incident that involves their students to become a national issue. Incidentally, many colleges have introduced their own helplines within a month after the government launched its 24X7 Anti-ragging Helpline on June 20.

Harsh Agarwal, coordinator of Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURE), said, "Colleges want to discourage students from using the national helpline.

Why would they publicise their private helpline during admissions? A centralised system will help address the issue, while the matter can be swept under the carpet if the college handles it."

On the other hand, social activists say colleges have created private helplines, as calls to the national call centre are forwarded to police stations and victims want privacy.

No database

Raj Kachroo, father of MBBS student Aman who was ragged to death in a medical college in Himachal Pradesh, said, "Ragging incidents are a national issue and colleges will not do justice."

However, he added that the government helpline is handicapped, as no NGO monitors it.

"The helpline did not receive enough publicity and doesn't have the database of the 20,000 colleges in India to contact authorities and students. How will it work?" asked Kachroo.

Till date, the national helpline has registered 120 complaints.

The principal of Usha Pravin Gandhi Management College at Vile Parle was unaware of the national anti-ragging helpline.

"We have started an anti-ragging cell in our college this year with guidance from the Mumbai University. Why shouldn't students contact us before calling the national helpline? We will help them at the earliest."

Sources from the University Grant Commission (UGC) said that they have received many fake calls on the national helpline. "Students may have called to see how fast the helpline acts."

Education Consultancy India Ltd set up the national call centre and it also monitors the government helpline.

Sukdeo Thorat, UGC chairman said, "The national helpline has not recorded any serious cases so far and I don't know of any college that has its own helpline."

Govt helpline no: 1800-180-5522 email

Private Centres

1. Bhavan's College, Andheri
2. Bhavan's Hazarimal Somani College Of Arts & Science, Chowpatty
3. Vivekanand Education Society's Institute of Technology in Chembur
4. Savera is an anti-ragging helpline started in by Pune students from 50 colleges

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