Government College of Art and Craft, Assam came into being in the same year as India. It was started in a single room in the Don Bosco School at Paanbazar in 1947 by late Jibeswar Baruah. Despite being such an old institution, it has always been neglected by the government. However, recently matters came to head when the students of this College got together to protest against the government’s decision to install water tank in the land of the College.
Encroachment slur on Arts College
On April 19, Ranjit Konwar, Circle Officer of Dispur Revenue Circle along with 20-25 officials came to inspect the premises of the College. They said that they are planning to install a water tank by breaking the wall of the institution. However, the students vehemently protested against this and they also alleged that the official had used foul language against them. They lodged an FIR against Konwar and started a protest demanding stringent action against him and the other officials.
Konwar, on the other hand, defending himself said, ‘ The College has encroached upon 20 bighas of land. There are no land documents of the College in the office of the Circle Officer. As the College is built on government land, government has right to set up other projects. Setting up water tank is necessary because this will solve the water woes of the residents of Basistha.’
However, refuting these allegations, the students questioned that if the College don’t have proper land documents, then why it has been allowed to run for more than seven decades.
Now, many current and former students of the College have raised their voice against its deplorable condition. Anutosh Deb, who is a fine arts teacher wrote on Facebook, ‘ I fail to understand how this College survived for 70 years in such a sorry state. Encroachment of its assets etc. This could have been amongst one of the leading Art Colleges of India. Unfortunately, there was none to actually work for its survival. Most faculty completed their services to earn their pension. The Art College gradually succumbed with no faculty appointed after the ones that retired. Some department are run by a single member.’
Ganesh Gohain said, ‘ In present situation, CM must take correct decision and must save our institution as it represents culture of Assam.’
The students have filed a petition with the following demands
1) Government must provide legal Patta of 20 Bighas of land that was allotted in 1979 to the Government College of Art Craft, Assam, and evict authorized occupies from the allotted land.
2) The College be shifted to higher technical education or higher education department from the existing umbrella of cultural affairs.
3) All necessary basic infrastructure of the college such as working studios, class rooms, hostels, wash rooms etc. must be modernized, renovated or build as early as possible.
4) The age old ‘five years’ syllabus of the present degree course must be reformed. The course must be re-designed to be at per other leading institutes of the country and cut down to four years.
5) All vacant post of teachers be fill-up at the earliest.
The link to the petition can be found at https://www.change.org/p/chief-minister-of-assam-save-government-college-of-art-crafts-assam