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Rana Liaquat Ali Khan Government College facilities

Girl students agitate for utilities, blocked road
Karachi, Jan 19: Hundreds of students of Rana Liaquat Ali Khan Government College of Home Economics on Monday staged a protest in and outside the college against the non-provision of basic facilities to their institution. They also blocked the Stadium Road for some time.

Protesting students deplored the indifference of the education department to the repeated complaints of the college administration.

"There is no water, electricity and gas in the college. How can we do our practical examinations without these utilities?" they said.

The withdrawal of basic facilities from the college, the students said, had put their residency programme in jeopardy for which they were required to stay at the institution for two weeks. According to college officials, the Karachi Electric Supply Company had disconnected power supply to the college a month back for non-payment of dues by the education department for four years. The accumulated power dues now stand at Rs4.5 million.

The college has been deprived of a gas connection for four years, they said, and added that this was also because the education department had not paid the accumulated dues. The disconnection of power supply has now led to a serious shortage of water in the college.

Currently, there are 1,200 to 1,500 students enrolled with the institution, which offers bachelor's and master's courses.

"There is no response from the education department officials in writing or otherwise to the complaints I have been making for months and years. It is a tragedy," said Prof Dr Rubina Hakeem, the college principal.

"No educational institution, and especially an institution meant for home economics studies, cannot properly function without the provision of basic facilities. Due to the specific requirements of the courses, we have practical examinations for almost all subjects that couldn't be performed without the provision of gas, electricity and water."

Owing to the disconnection of gas supply, the college administration has been forced to use gas cylinders in laboratories, which, it believes, is a constant risk. The college's gas dues stand at Rs1.9million.

The college, spread over 25 acres with a hostel and a residential colony, is provided with Rs6,000 as utility expenses annually. The college's annual expenses of electricity are between Rs1m and Rs1.5m.

"To meet these expenses, the college used to make, and still submits, a small contribution with the amount collected on account of tuition fees to the education department. But a major chunk is to be paid by the department," she said.

Dr Hakeem was of the opinion that the increase in electricity charges must have created a problem for the government and a meeting should have been called to sort out the issue.

"That has never been done," she said. Meanwhile, the Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) deplored the problems the students of different colleges in the city have been facing mainly due to the indifference of the education department.

"It is ironic that the KESC has disconnected power supply to an educational institution at a time when examinations are due to be held. It's the responsibility of the education department to pay the utility bills and not that of students. Then why students are being made to suffer?" the statement said.

The SPLA members urged the power utility to question education department officials for non-payment of dues and avoid putting students in trouble.

"Instead of giving a paltry sum of Rs6,600 to each college on account of utility bills, the education department must provide funds according to the needs of each institution in order to ensure a prompt payment of bills. Delays on part of the education department in paying bills are bound to create problems for the institutions," it said.

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Doctors call for raise in stipend
Larkana: Doctors doing post-graduation in different disciplines in Chandka Medical College took to the streets after boycotting their work on Monday in protest against what they termed double-standard in stipends to the doctors working in Karachi and rest of Sindh.

Led by Dr Kelash Kumar, they held a demonstration outside the press club and pressed the government to adopt a uniform policy in giving stipend.

Doctors engaged in post-graduation in Karachi received monthly stipend of Rs22,500, but in other parts of Sindh, they got only Rs12,000 per month, they said.

In Punjab and the NWFP a uniform policy had been adopted and the post-graduate students were receiving Rs35,000 and Rs25,000 per month, respectively, they said.

They demanded stipend equal to that being paid to doctors in Karachi and announced a boycott of indoor duties and operation theatre assignments till the acceptance of their demand.

They have taken up the issue before the vice-vhancellor of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Medical University, ministers and the speaker of Sindh Assemblly but in vain.

They appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan for taking notice of the inequality in stipends to the post-graduate students in the same province (Sindh).

Dr Badar Junejo, General Secretary of PMA's Larkana chapter, urged the government to hammer out equilibrium in stipends.

Recently, the Sindh government increased the seats for post-graduate students from 36 to 50 in CMC, sources said.

At present, strength of post-graduate students in the CMC was over 150, the sources in Pakistan Medical Association said.

The doctors who had opted to undertake post-graduation courses in different subjects after their transfer from peripheral health units were denied the stipends, although they were working on leave without pay, the sources said.

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SU date extended
Hyderabad: The University of Sindh has extended last date for payment of fees by candidates selected for admission to evening courses in the second list up to January 20. Dawn

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KU campus in interior Sindh
Karachi: Speaker, Sindh Assembly, Nisar Khuhro put forward a proposal for setting up a campus of the University of Karachi (KU) in interior Sindh in order to provide the rural students of the province access to quality education.

Khuhro floated the idea while speaking at an event held on Monday to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the KU. Khuhro, who is also an alumnus of the university, said that he is proud to be a student of the KU which is the number one university in the country.

The event was organised by the Karachi University Teachers Guild (KUTG) and attracted alumni from the 1960s, 1970s onwards. Former chairman of the department of Philosophy, KU, Dr Manzoor Ahmed, first woman PhD in Physics, Dr Aquila Islam and writer and columnist Amar Jalil were some of the distinguished alumni who were present on the occasion.

Vice Chancellor KU Dr Pirzada Qasim announced that the university would hold a grand convention in mid 2010. "An endowment fund will be established with help of the Friends of the University. We will try to contact all the alumni to take part in the progress of their alma mater," he said.

Dr Qasim also advised the students to behave and act responsibly and avoid any unlawful activity so that the need for Rangers presence is eliminated. He was reacting to the comments put forward by some alumni, who said that the presence of Rangers in the campus is disturbing for the students as well as for the guests.

Meanwhile, Dr Manzoor Ahmed said that present teachers of the university had better knowledge of their subjects than their counterparts. However he said that in the past teachers were more dedicated to their profession in comparison with the present lot.

Amar Jalil reminisced the days when he joined the university in 1960, and talked about its wilderness and its distance from the city that was 12 miles away from the university. Praising the university, he said that the KU students had bravely resisted the first martial law in Pakistan.

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Yeh Bhi Ek Kahani Hai
Karachi: Aiming for a show of solidarity for the country as it faces a plethora of problems, students from different universities and schools of Pakistan will stage a play, "Yeh Bhi Ek Kahani Hai" on January 23.

A total of 60 students from Lahore University of management Sciences (LUMS), Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST), Institute of Business Management (IoBM), National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA), National College of Arts (NCA), Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture (IVSAA), National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Lyceum School and members of Sindh Awami Sangat have joined hands to present this play.

Written and directed by Shehzad Ghayas, an LLB student from LUMS, the play co-directed by NCA's Ahmed Khan, is an original story based on a college student who loses his identity in search of material benefits in life and realises the gravity of situation when he becomes embroiled in the socio-political turmoil of the country.

"It is the socio-political situation that forced us to collaborate. We as students need to realise that education doesn't end in class rooms and now it is our duty to educate and entertain the masses at our level," Shehzad Ghayas said.

Although the play has a huge cast, Ghayas said that all the students worked day and night and contributed not only in the technicalities of the play but also in other departments such as PR, management, promotion and related activities.

"We all agreed on the Karachi Arts Council as the venue because the people who have performed on this platform have brought a change and created history. Apart from that, Karachi is the hub of all activities yet it is the one which is most affected by the overall unrest in the country," Ghayas said.

The play is largely financed by the students themselves as there were no sponsors ready to invest in theater at this point of time in Karachi, leaving the organisers with no choice but to hold the play only for a day.

The organisers have chosen to perform the play in the outdoor auditorium as they are expecting an audience of around 1000 people. "We are getting a number of government schools and colleges on board for the project and we will be providing them tickets on subsidised rates so that the purpose of the play is achieved," Ghayas said. The news


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