As Centre, state refuse to act, Kota coaching centres turn ‘suicide factories’

Suicides by around 14 students, including the recent suicide by 3 students of Allen Coaching Centre in Kota, has left the city shocked. The parents of students as well as local residents are terming the city a suicide factory, alleging that the health of lakhs of students has deteriorated due to the pathetic conditions they have been living in to become IITians and Doctors.

They claim that in all these years, not many stories of major achievements by those qualifying for IITs or medical have emerged but the city has attained the dubious distinction of a suicide centre as many horrific stories have been coming out from this city narrating the pathetic state of affairs.

In the last one year, 14 students have committed suicide. The police said that one of the students Ankush from Bihar who committed suicide on Monday was heard weeping in his room before he committed suicide. However, no one went to ask him the reason.

Another student Ujjawal who hanged himself the same day told his father that the coaching centre takes too many tests due to which he gets frequent headaches.

“I asked him to come back and join business, but he said he will get into IIT Mumbai and then come home,” said the father after losing his only son.

Three months back, Abhishek from Bihar who was preparing for NEET, committed suicide by hanging himself. The police got a suicide note which said- I am Failed… I am sorry mom and dad. I wanted to study, but don’t know how my mind got distracted. I keep thinking of things here and there.” However, the police are yet to find out who or what was distracting him.

A year ago, a student Shikha Yadav (17) committed suicide by jumping from the 5th floor of her hostel. She was preparing for medical while staying in Kota. Recently, two students taking coaching for IIT and NEET died due to drowning in Gaparnath Kund. Both had gone for a walk with another friend. While trying to save each other, both drowned. However, coaching officials have no clues about their absence from coaching.

In another case Uttarakhand’s Siddharth committed suicide on November 28 by hanging. He was preparing for IIT.

On December 2, Kavya Singh committed suicide. She was preparing for NEET.

After the drowning incident, it was decided that coaching institutes would keep an eye on the students. SMS will be sent from the mobile to the families of students who are constantly absent. However, none of the guidelines were followed even in December.

On Monday, Pranav Verma from MP (17), preparing for medical and living in Kota for the past two years, also committed suicide. He committed suicide on the same day as Ankush and Ujjawal from Bihar. He had dinner on Sunday evening and then took some rice to his room. At around 9 in the night, he spoke to his family on the phone. No one knows when he consumed poison after this.

When another student living in the hostel came out for water at 1.30 a.m., Pranav was lying unconscious in the gallery. He was rushed to a private hospital where he was declared dead.

Kota residents said that students coming from distant areas are leading a deplorable life, far away from their families, without any emotional connection in a competitive environment where Sunday tests come as a bouncer extracting energy and positivity from them.

Even the food served lacks quality and hence many suffer from jaundice and other liver disorders. Their paying guest accomodation is more like small cubicles where they are stacked together due to which they have to live in unhealthy conditions.

In October this year, a NEET aspirant, 18, died of hepatic encephalopathy while many other students tested positive for hepatitis A within a week.

Kota chief medical and health officer (CMHO) Dr Jagdish Soni told the media, “41 students from the Allen Coaching Centre were diagnosed with liver ailment due to contaminated water. One of the students died while six were admitted to hospitals. The rest recovered and were sent home. The water supplied to the institute by private tankers was infected and we found the boring, which was the source of water for the tanker, to be contaminated too.”

The district administration said that the water tankers that supplied water were stopped.

In fact, reports of trauma, depression, teen pregnancies have also been coming out but covered up to protect the image of the coaching institutes, said locals.

Sources said that these suicides could have been averted if the Rajasthan Private Institutional Educational Regulatory Authority Bill drafted to regulate coaching centres in August 2020 had been passed in the assembly to become law as this bill had provisions for weekly off, fixed study hours, limits of students in classroom, no glorification of toppers among others.

Meanwhile, the NHRC has served notices to the chief secretary and secretary Rajasthan as well as to the Union ministry of education and the National Medical Commission chairperson taking suo motu cognisance of the suicides by three students on Monday.

“Kota has become a hub of private coaching centres for aspirants of NEET. They charge a hefty amount. Students from across the country stay in hostels/PGs with high expectations of success. This is putting them under a lot of pressure. There is a need to regulate private coaching institutes,” said an official statement of the commission.

Many guidelines have been coming and going, however no one knows when they will be implemented, said a friend of the deceased who has packed his bags to return home.

20221218-131602

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