Formed 7 years ago, the institution lacks infrastructure
The constituent college of the University of Madras in Tiruvottiyur is struggling to survive.
Formed seven years ago through an announcement in the Assembly by former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for the benefit of people in north Chennai, its existence is threatened for want of infrastructure.
The college began admitting students in 2012 and since then four batches have graduated. The first batch had 218 students and the number steadily increased and enrolment peaked at 391 in 2017-18. Since then the patronage has fallen. This year, only 234 students have enrolled.
The college offers five programmes, including B.Com and B.A. Tamil Literature. The students come from modest backgrounds with 20% from the fisher community, officials said.
At present, the institution runs from a derelict school building and though the government allocated ₹17 crore for the college, no building has come up, sources said.
The building was to be built on a three-acre site, which currently houses an ICDS centre, a defunct MLA’s office, a functional Sub-Registrar’s office and a primary school, they point out.
The roof of the building housing the Principal’s room now is coming apart. There is a public toilet but students cannot access it. Nor can the students use the playground. The college has not conducted graduation day for the past three years either.
Lack of security
“For everything, we need to take the permission of the residents here. We lock the toilets after college hours but they are broken as outsiders have access to the college premises,” said a college official.
Last week, Higher Education secretary Mangat Ram Sharma inspected other government and private sites hoping to find a solution.
According to university officials, four possible locations have been identified: three of them are government land and one is owned by a private trust.
University Vice-Chancellor P. Duraisamy said, “We are going to repair the [existing] building immediately. It will cost ₹5 lakh. In a couple of months, we will decide on a place. We visited several places, including an aided school,” he said.
Officials insist that the government is serious about maintaining the college and that a solution would soon emerge.
“If the trust parts with the property, the college would include its name. It has been done in several other instances,” a university official said.