JNU teachers’ body claims VC ‘sitting on’ plans for Covid care, oxygen production on campus

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) Wednesday claimed the Vice-Chancellor “had been sitting on” two separate proposals submitted by faculty members on setting up a COVID care plan and producing oxygen on campus.

In a statement, the JNUTA said the proposals had “been lying on the desk of Prof. Jagadesh Kumar for approval for well over sometime now”.

VC M Jagadesh Kumar and Registrar Anirban Chakraborti did not respond to queries.

“The first, submitted by faculty of the Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health (CSMCH), relates to the creation of a comprehensive Covid care plan for the campus as a whole, while the second, a proposal submitted by faculty of the School of Life Sciences (SLS), proposes the conversion of liquid nitrogen to oxygen in the laboratory facilities existing on campus,” the JNUTA said.

They were supposedly submitted “after consultation with JNUTA and concerned officials of the administration”.

The CSMCH proposal provides for a “three tier level of health care on campus”. The first tier involves telephonic medical counselling facility for those under home isolation. The second tier is a COVID isolation centre for suspected and confirmed JNU patients to “break the chain of transmission”, and the third tier would demand “Covid Oxygen Support Unit to provide interim primary COVID care to JNU community members needing oxygen support while arrangements are being made to get a bed in any hospital”.

“The proposal submitted by SLS seeks to supplement the working of the proposed Oxygen Unit, along with the commitments made by the Delhi Government to supply the same if JNU declares the creation of such a facility within the campus,” the JNUTA said.

They compared the situation with IIT Delhi, where Kumar currently resides, saying they had made operational both facilities.

“At a time when there is wide scale scarcity of oxygen, IIT Delhi has been producing its own oxygen following the same process that JNU faculty had proposed. However, he (Kumar) has done nothing to make these same facilities available in JNU,” the JNUTA said.

They said students who tested positive were being taken to an isolation centre in Sultanpuri, where the facilities were “dire”.

“JNUTA has received pictures sent by students of dirty toilets, open garbage cans, unchanged sheets and bedding that show how unhygienic and unsafe the facilities are. If only such isolation facilities had been created in JNU, in guesthouses or make shift arrangements in the stadium, not just students but other residents as well would have been spared the trouble of living in such unhygienic places outside the campus,” they said.