CUSAT ignored safety recommendations, varsity cries for attention

The ambulance of a private hospital — the health partner of the programme — was at the venue. Photo: Manorama

Kalamassery: The stampede-like situation that led to the death of four students and injured at least 50 others at an auditorium on the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) campus on Saturday, November 25, has raised questions over the safety of students.

Clashes between students are common during almost all celebrations at CUSAT, and after each untoward incident, a university-appointed committee makes recommendations to prevent such incidents. However, none of the recommendations have been implemented so far.

Though the open-air auditorium is on the campus, it is located next to a public road. The possibility of outsiders entering the auditorium during programmes held at night cannot be ruled out.

The steep, narrow steps of the auditorium are a construction flaw that poses a threat. Though the auditorium has a smaller gate, only the main one is used as both an entry and exit point.

The volunteers of the School of Engineering played a major role in preventing a major tragedy on Saturday. They controlled the crowd and swiftly shifted the injured to the hospital.

Additionally, the ambulance of a private hospital — the health partner of the programme — was at the venue. The medical team summoned other ambulances to shift the injured.

Four people were killed and over 60 injured in the stampede. Photo: Manorama News

The CUSAT is located on 180 acres, which does not have a compound wall. The UGC and the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) have asked the university to construct the wall. The failure to construct the perimeter wall might cost the university the UGC backing.

Earlier, Minister P Rajeev had convened a meeting of people's representatives, CUSAT officials, and residents. Though the meeting decided to construct a ring road, it has not been implemented.

The fatal stampede-like situation occurred during a music concert by playback singer Nikhita Gandhi, organised as part of the Tech Fest, Dhikshna.

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