While the Second Wave of COVID 19 virus began its devastation all over India, the small town Bankura peripherally located in the district of West Bengal did not go unharmed. In 2020 Bankura was almost untouched because there hadn’t been much scope for migration of people from different states and the imposition of strict administrative regulation in terms of social distancing proved to be helpful.
But with the second wave, it was all different. There was a complete breakdown of administrative restrictions. Huge inter-state migrations related to general election, lack of vaccines, holding of religious festivals, the return of pilgrims from the Kumbh Mela helped speed up the spread of the deadly virus.
Bankura University, the intellectual hub of the district, couldn’t avoid this devastating experience.
But the Vice Chancellor of the university, led and guided by the visions of Rabindranath Tagore’s ideal of innovative rural development, immediately set up a special COVID 19 Committee and a Task Force to fight the virus and help all those related to the university.
In the first place, he contacted the local district administration and convinced them of prioritising the vaccination of all teachers, staff, contractual staff, daily wage workers free of cost. After a quick and speedy discussion, free vaccination for all related to the university was facilitated.
Moreover, the district administration has been requested to arrange free vaccination for all students of the university. The administration has agreed in principle and it is expected to be arranged in the near future.
Secondly, the Vice Chancellor has established the COVID RELIEF FUND to which all teachers and staff have generously donated. This fund will be utilised to lend financial assistance to the university teachers and staff who are either in hospitals or in home isolation. Already the university received quite a number of applications with supporting documents from the suffering teachers and staff and they will be generously helped.
The Vice Chancellor has also initiated the Admission Fees Waiver for the 2nd and 4th semester students who have recovered from the virus and intend to continue their higher studies. He also received a lot of applications for financial support from students whose parents have lost their jobs during the pandemic. The university will offer free studentships to these students.
The Vice Chancellor is discussing with his administrative staff the launch of an online programme “Tell Me More” for the students and their guardians so that the university can resolve many of the problems—psychological, financial, ideological—encountered by the students of the university. It will be initiated very soon.
Bankura University is a small rural university and most of its students are from poorer sections of society. But the university has determination and courage to fight the virus.