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Forest College students complete 20 days of strike Forest College students complete 20 days of strike

Feb-16-2015 | 0 Comments

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COIMBATORE: Protest after protest they have been reiterating their love for the forest, and their one demand of preference over other graduates during direct recruitment of forest rangers and foresters remains unheard. The protests began as a result of the forest ministry not giving these students who are forestry graduates preference during the direct recruitment of forest rangers.

With their protest entering 20th day on Monday, the students of Forest College and Research Institute, Mettupalayam await for a response from the minister and officials of the forest and agriculture department.

From boycotting classes, announcing indefinite strikes in front of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, spending nights at the college gates, shaving their heads, staging hunger strikes, eating food from the road, involving parents in their protests to staging demonstrations - the students have left no stone unturned to voice their demands, demonstrating for change.

"We are determined to continue our stir until our demands are met. We are unwilling to settle for anything less," said a student.

Two hundred and thirteen students of the Forest College, including undergraduate, postgraduate and research scholars began their protest on January 27. They boycotted their classes and laboratory sessions and on the next day TNAU announced indefinite closure.

In December, 2014, the Tamil Nadu Forest Department had announced a recruitment drive for 165 foresters. Applications were opened for those interested. Seeing that was no preference quota allocated for forestry graduates, the students of Forest College and Research Institute, Mettupalayam staged a protest in early January. This resulted in talks with the officials of the forest department, promising them some positive changes.

"But, since we did not have any response from them after that meet, we decided to boycott classes and stage an indefinite protest until our demands are met," said a forestry student.

The deadline for submitting the applications was February 2, and there was no response from the forest department or the minister.

Last week, parents of the students met the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University officials to seek clarification on placements. However, TNAU vice-chancellor K Ramasamy said that TNAU can only offer opportunities and cannot assure or promise jobs to students.

Ramasamy had earlier told TOI, "There are around 8.5lakh jobs in the rural and agricultural bank," adding, "We are not denying that forestry students should not aim for jobs in the forest. But, every field has multiple job opportunities. Some can also pursue higher studies, as there are enough scholarships available."

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