Kolkata medical students urged to withdraw strike

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Kolkata, July 22 (IANS) Even as the indefinite hunger strike by students of Calcutta Medical College and Hospital here entered the 13th day on Sunday, authorities appealed to them to withdraw their agitation for proper hostel accommodation.

“I assure the students that appropriate steps are being taken to improve and renovate the hostel rooms,” Debashis Bhattacharya, Director of Medical Education, said in a release.

“Medical students are part and parcel of the hospital. It is a place to provide heath services to the people. I request the students to withdraw their strike… and see that health services to the people are not hampered,” he added.

Earlier in the day, members of civil society and student organisations gathered on the hospital premises to express their solidarity with the agitators.

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The students began their strike on July 10 after college authorities notified that the new 11-storey hostel building will be allotted to freshers only.

In his written appeal, new Officiating Principal Ashok Bhadra informed the students about his Saturday meeting with Director of Medical Education, student representatives and heads of different departments.

“There will be open and transparent counselling for hostel accommodation if the DME approves the request made to him in the meeting,” said Bhadra, who took over after R. Sinha resigned on Friday.

The agitating students, however, said that they will withdraw the strike only after receiving a written approval from the DME’s office.

Members of leftist Democratic Youth Federation of India and Students Federation of India held a convention on the campus to protest what they called the state government’s indifference on the issue.

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“The Chief Minister is holding massive rallies in the heart of Kolkata but does not have time to meet striking students. How far is Esplanade from the Medical College?” CPI-M MP Mohammad Selim remarked.



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