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The Maharashtra government has formed a committee to suggest names of eminent freedom fighters, social reformers and political leaders after whom hostels meant for backward class meritorious students across the state could be named. Students and inmates of these hostels, however, called it a move to politicise the leaders and felt that improvement of hostel facilities was more important.
The objective, officials said, is to end the confusion that reigns as a majority of these have no names and are known as “backward class students’ hostel”. “The move will also highlight the contribution of political leaders, freedom fighters and social reformers who have contributed to society and the downtrodden, especially prominent in the region where the hostels are located,” said Rajkumar Badole, Minister of Social Welfare and Justice.
The four-member committee will be headed by the minister. Other members include the Minister of State (MoS), secretary and joint secretary of social welfare and justice department.
However, students and activists slammed the government for failing to improve the deteriorating conditions of these hostels. “The state government has failed to improve the condition of existing hostels. Instead of working towards improving the hostels, they feel naming them is the priority,” said a student from Sant Eknath government hostel at Chembur.
Former hostel inmate and student activist Advocate Manoj Tekade said the move to name these hostels is good, but priority should be improving facilities at these hostels. Tekade, who is also the president of the Prahar Vidhyarthi Sanghtana, has alleged that the condition of existing hostels is bad and the food served is unhygienic.
“There have been instances from time to time pointing out the bad maintenance at these hostels. The facility that the state government provides for free is not good. At many places, including Mumbai, building and infrastructure is bad. There have been cases of lizards, worms etc in food served at the hostel mess. Instead of resolving this, the government has formed a committee to name these hostels,” added Tekade.Currently there are 381 hostels for
Currently there are 381 hostels for backward class meritorious students, run under the social welfare and justice department of which 161 are meant for girl students belonging to backward classes . The state government has also announced that it will build 50 more hostels for meritorious girl students belonging to backward classes.