Delhi Musings: skip chai, students, but pay for liquid nitrogen

While Delhi University insists on charging students for instruments and stuff that they need to use. Meanwhile Delhi awaits a 'Jung' between the new Lt. Governor and the chief minister

CM Arvind Kejriwal greets Delhi’s new Lt. Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena
CM Arvind Kejriwal greets Delhi’s new Lt. Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena

Giraj Sharma

Delhi University (DU) has a weird sense of both budgeting and timing. While it has loosened its purse strings to celebrate its centenary year, the University Science Instrumentation Centre (USIC) has drawn out a list of charges for instruments and other stuff that research scholars and students in the departments of physics, chemistry, botany and zoology need to use.

A ‘rate card’ has been handed over to the students who are obviously upset. These students often can’t buy a samosa and chai without availing a lenient credit facility from a Khan Tea Stall at Patel Chest or at the Sudama Tea Stall but they are expected to pay for liquid nitrogen!

DU receives funds from multiple sources including a corpus from University Grants Commission (UGC) and monetary allocations under the Institution of Eminence scheme among others. The USIC itself is a beneficiary of an Indo-Japanese grant-in-aid. The students, therefore, are curious to know why these funds are not being used to cover their laboratory expenses.

Imagine if CV Raman was enrolled in DU and was made to pay for use of spectrometers! Chances are that he would have chucked up his research on scattering of photons and moved to Liberal Arts. The Raman’s Effect would then have been on the quantum of deshbhakti infused among students who enrolled for courses such as Entire Political Science or the probability of a raid by ED on persons who are critical of the ruling dispensation.

Not far from the office of the University of Delhi, our man AK has been struggling to balance anxiety with small doses of happiness. He had a tough week with joys and troubles floating to him in a sinusoidal wave form. While there was immense joy in form of an invitation he received for the World Cities Summit in Singapore, there was trouble in the form of his key cabinet colleague being implicated in a money laundering case.

The Delhi Chief Minister has been invited to present the ‘Delhi Model’ at the summit in the first week of August at Singapore. The invitation was personally delivered by the High Commissioner of Singapore, Simon Wong, to the CM. AK will, presumably, be discussing urban solutions such as street beautification and road redevelopment with other city heads while his cabinet colleague will be facing a barrage of questions from sleuths of the CBI.

With the municipal elections due soon, this issues is taking centre-stage. By the way the response of the CM to the minister’s arrest was completely esoteric. He claimed that the concerned minister deserves nothing less than a Padma Vibhushan. Not one to let go of such an opportunity, the BJP fielded none else but Ms Smriti Irani to point guns at the Aam Aadmi Party. And she did that with aplomb and was at her caustic best in ripping apart our man AK.

Delhi got a new Lieutenant Governor (LG) recently. The relationship that AAP has had with the previous LGs has been a provider of enough fodder for memes and jokes for Dilliwalahs. Within a week of taking his oath as the LG of Delhi, AAP accused the man of attacking Delhi’s constitutional sanctity. The party highlighted that the LG need not disrupt Delhi’s constitutional framework and let Delhi government run the departments which fall under its purview.

This attack was triggered by a meeting called by the LG of Delhi Jal Board officials and his issuing instructions to those officials. AAP’s contention is that education, electricity and water are subjects that come under the Delhi Government’s purview and insinuated that LG better not meddle in its affairs.

Dilliwalahs know that this is just the beginning and there will certainly be more ‘jungs’ in Raj Bhawan. Stay hooked to this column for more.

(The writer blogs at Views are personal)

(This was first published in National Herald on Sunday)

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