Students say there are many problems; Admin says the project is still evolving
Srinagar: Students and scholars at the University of Kashmir (KU) are irked by the university’s decision to restrict vehicular movement inside the campus and substituting it with 50 cycles, most of which are dysfunctional at the moment.
The authorities at KU had installed automatic boom barricades at the main gates of the campus in 2016. The project was estimated to cost more than a million rupees.
The administration had also planned to provide conveyance inside the campus to facilitate smooth movement. For the same, Jammu and Kashmir Bank had donated 100 cycles, some battery vehicles for handicapped people and an ambulance to the university.
However, lack of cycle riding skills, harsh weather conditions, social inhibitions and sometimes, the medical condition of students prevents them from borrowing a cycle to reach their far-off departments inside the campus.
In spite of having private vehicles, they ought to walk long distances to get their work done there.
From past two years, the parking space near the gates has been increased. However, it takes students at least 15 minutes to reach their departments which costs them their time, more than their energy.
From November, this year, out of 100 cycles, 50 have been placed at the main gates of the varsity. The students deposit their Student Identity cards at the gates and borrow the cycle. With less number of cycles available, often, around three students ride one cycle making it dysfunctional over time.
The women studying in the university also press for more transport options for the students.
“I am on my period and it is not easy for every girl. I cannot hop on a cycle these days even though I usually do,” says a woman student at the university.
Another issue faced by the women there is that their dress code does not go with cycle riding. The women who wear Abayas find it difficult to ride cycles. During winters, with multiple layers of clothing, the cycling becomes more difficult.
“It’s not only about my dress. Its also about how society stares at you when you wear an Abaya and ride a cycle at the same time. Also, it’s not safe. My dress can get stuck in the cycle and I can fall. I cannot be changing my dress code so I can ride a cycle in the university,” says Ambreen, another student.
Chief Proctor Naseer Iqbal, who is also in charge of the project says that only 50 cycles have been used to check how the students use the cycles and what issues they would be facing. He assured a meeting would be held in this regard and in a period of two months, while students go for winter vacations, the issues would be tackled by the administration.
Asked about the issues faced by the women, he says, “We have made these rules and we make them flexible from time to time. Whenever a student needs some help, we happily do the required.”
He also said the so far the main motto of the project has been achieved by 80 per cent. “Rest of the 20 per cent will be attained after we resolve the present issues. It’s a new project and every new project takes time to be free of flaws,” he said.