Presidency University students double fund to treat Covid-19 affected children

Deeprajit Debnath, an assistant general secretary of the students’ union, hands over the cheque to ICH director Apurba Ghosh on Wednesday.

Students of Presidency University handed a cheque for Rs 6.26 lakh to the Institute of Child Health in Park Circus on Wednesday, doubling the pledged amount so that the institute could set up more beds to treat Covid-affected children.

The Presidency University Students’ Union had last week pledged to donate Rs 3.12 lakh from the funds earmarked for students’ activities, such as fest and freshers’ welcome, to the children’s hospital.

Deeprajit Debnath, an assistant general secretary of the students’ union, handed the cheque to paediatrician Apurba Ghosh, the director of ICH.

The institute has set aside 30 beds for Covid-affected children and is in the process of adding more beds.

“The students of the university have contributed a substantial amount which will be spent on enhancing the capacity. We had an impression that students’ unions across campuses indulge in unrest, disruptive activities. But the constructive approach as exhibited in this contribution has made us realise that our youth know responsible behaviour,’’ said Ghosh.

He said children were getting infected with the coronavirus during the renewed surge in cases.

Initially, the students’ union had only decided to use the funds for the 2018-19 academic year. “Since the union elections could not be held because of the pandemic, we could use the students’ activities fund for the 2019-20 academic year as well,’’ said Debnath.

“Even if the campus reopens, we don’t want to spend money on these celebrations,’’ said Debnil Paul, a student representative.

Around Rs 7.50 lakh is deposited in the activity fund of the students’ union each year. The students’ activity fund is created with contributions that students make during admission.

Forty per cent of the corpus — the two academic years put together — has been transferred to the institute.

The union will also spend 30 per cent of the funds on scholarships to underprivileged students of the university.  

“The amount to be spent on the scholarships has been raised from Rs 2.25 lakh to Rs 4.5 lakh,’’ said a student leader.

Paul said the unspent amount from the coffer would be used on developing infrastructure so that maximum physical distancing norms could be maintained whenever the campus reopened.

“We might have to increase the sitting capacity in the canteens, open spaces,’’ said Paul.

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