Kota admin orders ‘anti-suicide device’ on ceiling fans to stop student suicides
Administration warns of action against hostel owners and managements if the direction was not followed
Worried over a spate of suicides by aspirants of competitive examinations, authorities in Kota, known as the coaching capital of India, have ordered hostels owners to install a spring device on ceiling fans to stop students from taking their lives.
So far, at least 20 students preparing for competitive exams in Kota have died by suicide this year, say authorities. Last year, the figure was 15.
The “anti-suicide measure” was discussed on August 12 at a meeting between Kota officials and other stakeholders. On Wednesday, Deputy Commissioner O P Bunkar issued the directions, demanding strict compliance.
Action will be taken against hostel owners and their managements if the directions on fans are not followed, the administration said.
This is how the device works: If an object weighing more than 20 kg is hung from the fan, the spring attached to it expands, making it impossible for someone to commit suicide by this method. Simultaneously, a siren goes off.
Back in 2017, the Kota Hostels Association had discussed the measure. But it did not gain popularity with the estimated 25,000 paying guest facilities in the city, where thousands of students from across the country enrol at coaching centres every year to prepare for competitive exams.
Experts are unsure how far a “suicide-proof” ceiling fan will help stressed students. This month, the district administration decided that periodic psychological tests will be conducted on students to determine if they are at risk.
Four Kota students have committed suicide this month alone, police said.
On Tuesday, an 18-year-old IIT-JEE aspirant from Bihar's Gaya allegedly hanged himself from an “iron angle” in his PG room.
Last year, after a spurt in suicides, experts contacted by PTI said parents should assess their children's aptitude through professional help before deciding whether to send them to Kota to prepare for the highly competitive JEE and NEET exams.
Dr Chandra Shekhar Sushil, who headed the Department of Psychiatry at New Medical College Hospital in Kota, had said instead of pushing children to become doctors and engineers, parents should make them take an aptitude test and then decide what's best for them.
Experts say that many parents send their children for coaching in Kota with almost no preparation and the focus is only on arranging finances and logistics.
(With inputs from agencies)
(Suicides can be prevented. For help please call Suicide Prevention Helplines: Neha Suicide Prevention Centre – 044-24640050; Aasara helpline for suicide prevention, emotional support & trauma help — +91-9820466726; Kiran, Mental health rehabilitation — 1800-599-0019, Disha 0471- 2552056, Maithri 0484 2540530, and Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050.)