NID Amaravati
NID Amaravati

AP NID students protest poor facilities at new campus in Amaravati capital region

Around 43 students had to leave the newly-opened National Institute of Design campus in the Amaravati Capital Region after they fell sick allegedly due to contaminated food served in the campus, where construction is still ongoing.

Students of National Institute of Design (NID) at Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh launched a protest against the administration for their failure to ensure a clean and safe campus. Recently, 43 students fell ill, allegedly due to contaminated food and water served in campus hostels and some of them left the campus. Students have put a pause on their protests for now, after talks with the campus administration. 

Part of the students’ problems is the location of the new campus — Amaravati was expected to be a developed capital city with urban infrastructure, but remains undeveloped due to a political battle over the location of the state capital between the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). 

In 2016, a 50-acre parcel of land was allocated for NID Amaravati in the Amaravati Capital Region, just 6 km from where the state Secretariat stands. This was two years after the previous TDP government led by chief minister Chandrababu Naidu chose the region as the capital city, promising to develop it into a “world-class city”. But even after the campus was finally opened three weeks ago and students shifted there mid-semester, the region still remains undeveloped despite its proximity to the Secretariat and the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

Read: 8 years on, Andhra’s dream capital Amaravati’s foundation rusts, farmers’ debts mount

The students said that the problem began after the administration asked the students to shift to the new, partially completed campus in Amaravati from the transit campus at Acharya Nagarjuna University (ANU) in Guntur district earlier in mid-March. ANU is located on National Highway 16 between Vijayawada and Guntur, with multiple residential options and eateries close by. 

Now students are not only forced to contend with poor facilities at the new campus, but are also left with no alternatives for accommodation and food, unlike the location of the transit campus.

The protests that began on campus on April 1 gained momentum after students from other NIDs extended their support to those in Amravati through social media.

Images shared by students on Instagram showing the conditions on campus, flagging concerns about pests, water shortage and other issues.

Students say the campus resembles a “disaster area”. Visuals show debris all around the campus, including inside the washrooms that were constructed years ago and have remained unused and uncleaned till now. Students have also complained that there are pests and insects inside the hostel rooms, and that they’re being served unhygienic food that has led to at least three students being hospitalised. 

Classes at the transit NID campus in Guntur began in 2015 at ANU without a hostel facility. 

The new campus is around 25 km away from ANU in a relatively deserted place in Thullur in the Amaravati Capital Region, with Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) University being its closest neighbour, about 5 km away. The Secretariat and High Court are about 6 km away in different directions. 

The permanent campus in Amaravati was inaugurated in 2016 by former CM Naidu and was expected to be completed by 2018. However, construction remains incomplete till date. After a long delay, in the first week of March, the college management emailed the roughly 250 students pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Design, announcing that they would be moving to the new campus on March 15, 2024 and asking them to shift within a week. 

“The mail said that accommodation is available at the campus,” Mahesh (name changed), a student, told TNM. But what Mahesh and other students came across in Amaravati was unfinished campus infrastructure with heaps of construction material lying around, which they say is unsafe. Students have shared visuals of open water bodies and manholes on campus grounds, unfinished buildings, and construction material lying around. 

“Several blocks are under construction and the staff are not living in their quarters. If everything is ready, why doesn't the management live here?” asked another student.

“Our immediate concern, however, is the quality of food being served. Around 40 students received medical assistance and three others were admitted to a hospital. In this heat, students who have two wheelers are fetching water cans and food from the neighbouring village of Mandanam that is 6 km away,” the student said. 

In 2016, after the Union government leased land for the NID in the Amaravati Capital Region, the National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited was entrusted with the planning, designing, and construction of the campus. The capital region, situated among fertile villages along the Krishna river bank near Vijayawada, was carved out with land ‘pooled’ from farmers and owners of fertile lands, who were promised plots of land equipped with urban infrastructure in return. But in 2019, when the YSRCP government rose to power, all development work in the region was halted. 

CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy then announced that the state would have three capitals – in Visakhapatnam, Kurnool, and Amaravati – with Vizag essentially becoming the power centre where the executive branch would function from. Following protests in Amaravati and an ongoing legal tussle, the law for establishing three capitals was repealed. The Jagan government still intends to shift the capital to Vizag, but has repeatedly postponed the move since the COVID pandemic. Although the YSRCP government promised to ensure that development continues in the Amaravati region, this has not been the case. 

The students of NID are questioning why they were shifted to such a campus mid-semester. “We have been called for discussions twice but the management has been saying they will look into it. They are not giving us a clear timeline,” Mahesh said. He said that despite Amaravati being among the top NIDs preferred by students, the facilities do not match its popularity.

According to the students, there was no hostel facility for them in the temporary campus at ANU even though the fee was around Rs 90,000 per semester. “Students come here from all over the country and there was no accommodation. We found accommodation on our own. In the past, our seniors have questioned the delay in construction of a permanent campus several times,” a student said.

“We were happy when we were finally able to shift to the new campus. But more students may be forced to leave the campus if the situation persists,” said the student. 

Besides Amaravati, which has been set up in accordance with the National Design Policy, there are six more NIDs — Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Gandhinagar (Gujarat), Bangalore (Karnataka), Kurukshetra (Haryana), Jorhat (Assam), and Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh). Students from these institutes are selected after clearing a highly competitive, two-level entrance examination called NID Design Aptitude Test (DAT).  

NIDs that were set up after Amaravati — Kurukshetra (Haryana), Jorhat (Assam), and Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) have completed the construction of the campuses and are holding classes from their dedicated campus. 

Guntur District Collector M Venu Gopal Reddy, said that students will be offered any medical support they want, but the district administration cannot intervene directly in the operation of a central government institution. Following a visit from the district administration led by Joint Collector Rajakumari , the students have temporarily halted their protests. 

TNM reached out to the college management for comments but there was no response. The story will be updated if they respond.

Related Stories

No stories found.
The News Minute