18th August 2023 Mumbai: An unusual solution to combat increasing incidents of suicide in Rajasthan’s entrance exams coaching hub Kota is being mocked by social media users, who are pointing out that mental health, and not changing fans, should be the administration’s focus. The spring-loaded fans are being installed in all hostels and paying guest (PG) accommodations in Kota to reduce suicide cases among students.
18 year old Suicide
An 18-year-old student in Rajasthan’s Kota who was preparing for the Indian Institutes of Technology Joint Entrance Examination died by suicide on on Tuesday night. This is reportedly the 22nd such suicide in Kota in 2023 – and the fourth just in the month of August.
Provide students mental support and security
While several people have been pointing out the acute mental health crisis among students preparing for this competition exam (Kota is a hub for JEE training centres), the district administration has adopted a controversial approach to dealing with the problem – installing spring-loaded fans in all rooms “to provide students mental support and security”. The student who died by suicide on Tuesday was Valmiki Jangid from Gaya, Bihar. He had been in Kota since last year studying for the JEE.
Installation of security spring device in the fans
Announcing the decisions around fans, Kota district collector Om Prakash Bunkar said in an order, according to Hindustan Times, “To provide mental support and security to the students studying/living in them and to prevent suicides from increasing among coaching students in Kota city, all hostel/PG operators in the state are directed to install a security spring device in the fans at every room, as discussed in Saturday’s meeting.”
“Springs in these ceiling fans are designed to uncoil the moment it detects a load, effectively detaching the fan from the ceiling, and preventing hangings. The fans will also have installed sensors that sound an alarm in the event of an attempted suicide,”.
In December 2022, the local administration had ordered all coaching institutes, hostels and paying-guest accommodations in Kota to have a weekly off for students, a maximum class strength of 80, and mandatory psychological evaluations for students and teachers. Last year, at least 15 cases of suicide by students were reported in the coaching hub.
The Kota administration has shared concerns over the rising number of student suicides in the district. Following the guidelines issued by the high court over the rising deaths, the district administration had called for psychological evaluation of students in Kota and necessary counselling to be provided to them.