Situations in Delhi are getting worse day by day. We come across new problems on daily a basis which Delhi suffers, whether the number of patients or the lack of health services. Meanwhile this pandemic everyone is fighting with different crises, one such exceptionally tough situations are faced by PhD students of ICGEB.
ICGEB provides accommodation to PhD students for 5 years of duration (4+1 year) because ICGEB does not have a hostel facility(students stay in the guest house (which can accommodate a max of 40 students (20 each in boys and girls wing) from a strength of 250+ students (100+ PhD students and 150+ project JRF/SRF/RA)) and have to pay 1500/month in addition to the HRA). Although students have requested time and again for a hostel on campus, Dr Salunke told in 2017 that he will not initiate a new construction because his successor will take credit for it.
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During pandemic (COVID19) situation, students requested to the ICGEB-Administration to ask the non-residents to resist themselves from coming to guest house premises during lockdown but instead of that, director/admin has allotted the temporary space in guest rooms to non-residents (they either have their own house in Delhi or already living on rent even from high cases areas /building/colonies (in a time, when people should be quarantined for at least 2 weeks if coming from outside) and they were living and eating with residents. Although nobody got symptoms yet still it was very risky and irresponsible on their part.
The current condition of this issue.
The ICGEB, New Delhi has asked the fifth year PhD students to vacate the accommodation by July 31st, 2020 amid lockdown. The students have requested to the director to intervene and extend the stay for 6 months as the research work has been hampered due to COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown situation. The students even pleaded that rooms are not available in nearby areas and wherever available landlords are sceptical. “We have requested that it’s not even safe to change residence as the nearby areas i.e. Munirka, Kishangarh and Ber Sarai have been reporting alarmingly high new COVID19 cases. As this is the crucial time for us and finding an alternate space will impact both personal and professional lives” said a final year student. “But Dr Dinkar Salunke (ICGEB, Director) has straightaway rejected the plea and said # COVID19 is nothing and everything is normal. As a being scientist, how can give this statement to the PhD students, There will not be any difficulty in finding alternate space and moving out. Rules are rules and have to be followed.” Although rules have been grasped in past to accommodate director’s own student from RCB and that too for an extended period.
Right now also, the accommodation has been temporarily provided to students Administrative Officer Mr Matthew said: “We have to clean the rooms for new students.” When asked about guest rooms, he added: “We can not ask the temporary arranged students to leave and then we have to paint the rooms”.
Students are going through extreme difficulties as research work is hampered at such a crucial time, even getting consumables is taking more time. There are several problems and on top of that such aggressive decision by Director/Admin shows apathy towards students and their problems.
ICGEB PhD students discussed with All India Research Scholars Association (AIRSA), about their condition.
ICGEB is part of NCR biotech cluster and students have confirmed that all other institutes [National institute of immunology (NII), National Institute of plant genome research (NIPGR), Translational health science and technology institutes (THSTI), a regional centre for biotechnology (RCB) are providing accommodation to students till their thesis submission and final viva and others institute like AIIMS, IITs also extended the date to vacate the hostel due to the COVID-19.