Covid-19 stress claims life of PDEU student

Vol 24, PW 12 (06 May 21) People & Policy

Students about to graduate from the Pandit Deendayal Energy University (PDEU) in Gandhinagar are struggling to cope with the pandemic as the job market dries up amid a rising death toll.

Take the tragic example of 21-year-old Hirensinh Vaghela, a final year student, who died on April 25 (2021) after losing both his parents to the virus the same month. "Hirensingh was not Covid-19 positive," says a PDEU source.

He explains that Vaghela, a diabetic, stopped eating after losing his parents over four days, which is believed to have led to his death. As the only man left in his family, he is said to have struggled with societal expectations to take care of his two elder sisters after his parents died.

PDEU sources say he was stressed about finding a job placement after graduation in June (2021) when students are desperate for job offers. "Only 27 of 130 students (in the 2017-21 batch which graduates this June) succeeded in securing a job," a PDEU source tells us.

A mix of upstream and downstream companies recruit on the PDEU campus. In March (2021), ExxonMobil recruited two young engineers on a salary of Rs10.80 lakhs/annum ($14,500); consultant EY (Ernst & Young) recruited three on a salary of Rs4.10 lakhs/annum ($5500); Torrent Gas recruited six at Rs3.60 lakhs/annum ($4800); Wipro recruited two at Rs6 lakhs/annum ($8056); Adani Gas recruited three at Rs4.1 lakhs/annum ($5500), and Shell recruited 11 at Rs7 lakhs/annum ($9400).

PDEU placement officials are approaching oil and gas exploration companies, including ONGC, Reliance and Essar's upstream arm. "But the response is feeble," we hear.

"Even admissions to the petroleum engineering course at PDEU have dropped because of rising unemployment in the oil and gas sector for fresh graduates."