Kota's 2023 Crisis: Surge In Student Suicides Sparks Drastic Measures

Kota's 2023 Crisis: Surge In Student Suicides Sparks Drastic Measures

Alarming spike in Kota's student suicides prompts drastic preventive actions citywide. Families shattered, stakeholders act to safeguard aspiring minds in 2024.

Siksha MUpdated: Sunday, December 31, 2023, 05:18 PM IST
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The picturesque city of Kota, known as the educational capital for engineering and medical aspirants, faced its darkest year in 2023 as the toll of student suicides reached an unprecedented high. Ramesh Kumar, a grieving father from Bulandshahr, shares the heart-wrenching story of his elder son, one of the 26 students who tragically took their lives while preparing for competitive exams in Kota, a significant spike from the 15 suicides reported in the preceding year.

Anti-Hanging Devices and Iron Mesh

The surge in suicides has prompted stakeholders to implement drastic preventive measures. Anti-hanging devices have been installed in hostel room fans, and iron meshes now adorn balconies and lobbies, marking a desperate attempt to curb the rising fatalities among the city's coaching students.

Ramesh Kumar, still mourning the loss of his son, recounts the family's shattered dreams. The original plan of having both sons in Kota by 2024 for their entrance exam preparations has been abruptly disrupted, forcing Kumar to bring his younger son back home to Bulandshahr.

More than two lakh students flock to Kota annually to prepare for exams like the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET). Packed schedules, cutthroat competition, parental expectations, and homesickness form a daunting backdrop for these ambitious youth.

Suicide-Proofing and Specialized Training

In response to the crisis, Kota's administration and coaching industry stakeholders have taken sweeping actions. Initiatives range from "suicide-proofing" accommodations to restricting the glorification of top performers. Past suggestions, like installing spring coils in fans, are revisited, while hostel staff undergo specialized training in mess management, psychological counseling, and overall student care.

As 2024 dawns, Kota stands at a critical juncture. The efficacy of these preventive measures will be tested, and the city hopes for a safer and more supportive environment for its ambitious youth. All eyes are on Kota, awaiting signs of progress and a decline in the tragic toll of student suicides.

(Inputs from PTI)

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