College Seats for Sale in Mamata’s Bengal
The admission process for the undergraduate courses in the colleges of West Bengal has seen large scale cases of extortion of money by the leaders of Trina Mul Chattra Parishad (TMCP). It needs to be mentioned here that the TMCP over the last 7 years, has gained absolute control over most of the colleges in the state by first sabotaging the elected students’ unions and later physically obstructing any other student organization from working through the use of outside goons.
Just consider the following stories to imagine the scale of this extortion racket (collected from Bangla dailies):
Story I: Son of a painter secures admission to a college. He is denied entry into the college unless he pays the TMCP leaders 10,000 rupees. He doesn’t have this much money and is forced to return without taking admission.
Story II: A girl is forced to sell the earrings of her mother, so as to arrange the money demanded by the extortionists.
Story III: A girl secures admission in a college. Her seniors from school give her a contact of a TMCP leader and tell that he will ensure the admission. She pays the money to the particular person and he elopes along with the money.
Sujan Chakraborty, the CPI (M) leader in the state assembly wrote a letter to the Chief Minister asking her to take urgent steps on the issue.
Various student organizations, including Students’ Federation of India (SFI), All India Students’ Association (AISA) and All India Democratic Students’ Organization (AIDSO) too have organized protest actions on the issue.
It is clear that the racket of this scale and with such perfect planning can’t be run without the involvement of the college administration and the police. It is a common knowledge in West Bengal that such practice has been continuing over the last few years; however, the sheer scale of racket has led even the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the Education minister to intervene directly.
State administration has gone in a fire fighting mode and has extended the last date of admissions to 10th July. Now, the verification of documents has been done away with and the students can deposit the fees directly in the college’s bank account. TMC is trying to portray itself as acting in the interest of the students by removing the state president of TMCP. Mamata Banerjee has directly told the union leaders that “job of student leaders is to help students and not make money”. However, none of this makes much sense unless the real culprits in the racket aren’t caught and the entire chain is not broken.
You can also watch a short film made by Shatarup Ghosh 2 years ago, on the admission rackets running in the colleges of the state under the Mamata regime: