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Demand for principal spurs head teacher to resign

Posted by Ramesh Khati on October 27, 2009

Darjeeling Government College: Head-less

Darjeeling, Oct. 26: A teacher who has been acting as officer-in-charge of Darjeeling Government College has written to the state government to release her from the additional responsibility.

The Gorkha Janmukti Vidyarthi Morcha, which has been demanding a full-fledged principal for the college, had sealed the chamber of officer-in-charge Lalita Ahmed Rai on Friday and had called a strike on the campus today demanding her “resignation”.

Darjeeling district magistrate Surendra Gupta said Rai has written to the Director of Public Instruction (DPI), asking to be relieved from the additional responsibility — she is also a teacher of the college, the head of the Nepali department — of officer-in-charge. “A copy of the letter has also been forwarded to my office,” he said.

It is not yet known if her appeal has been accepted by the state government.

Rai’s letter has not solved the problem as the students’ union has been insisting that it will only allow a full-fledged principal to take charge. “We will not allow anyone to be the officer-in-charge. We do not want any interim arrangements as the seven-year-old demand for a full-fledged principal has not yet been met,” said Keshav Raj Pokhrel, the general secretary of the Vidyarthi Morcha, the student front of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

The immediate problem of the college going without an officer-in-charge is that the answer scripts of the post-graduate exams that are on will not have any stamp of the head of the institution, a college source said.

“We have told the district magistrate that he could be the signing authority for a few days until the principal is posted. Except for the DM or his officers, we will not allow anyone to be the signing authority,” said Pokhrel.

The district magistrate, who is the chairman of the college governing body, however, said he could not take charge unless the higher education department asks him to.

The Morcha leaders said the state government would be responsible if any of the examinees faced any problem.

“The entire hills are with us and they will take to the streets if the students are made to suffer. We had written to the state government on the issue and had also given them a deadline of September 7 to fulfill our demand. We have waited for seven years,” said Pokhrel.

“Today, we allowed Lalita Rai Ahmed to open her office for three hours to sign the answer scripts. We will, however, not allow her or other lecturers to sign those papers from tomorrow,” the student leader added.

Rai could not be contacted.


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