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Few foreign students,college turns hostel into a guest house

The college is renting out the posh and air-conditioned rooms to visiting guests at ‘affordable charges’.

Written by Atikh Rashid | Pune |
September 26, 2013 2:41:29 am

Dearth of foreign students joining the College of Agriculture has forced the administration to turn its international students’ hostel into a guest house. The college is renting out the posh and air-conditioned rooms to visiting guests at ‘affordable charges’.

The two-storeyed building was constructed in 2009 as a dedicated hostel for foreign students in a bid to make their stay at the college more comfortable,and to attract more students to the institute — which is among the oldest and most popular farming colleges in the country.

The hostel has 18 AC one room-kitchen units equipped with Wi-Fi service. The project was undertaken as accommodation plays a major role in foreign students deciding to join an education institute,said officials.

In December 2009,when the hostel was inaugurated,two Bhutanese students were the first to move in. However,after they finished their course in 2010 and left,no foreign student joined the college over the next three years.

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“Instead of keeping the hostel unutilised,the administration started to rent out the rooms to visitors. In the beginning,it was only used for foreign guests. The visitors were charged Rs 1,000 per day. From the next year,the officials started lodging others also when the other VIP guest house on the campus was full. Later,the charges were reduced from Rs 1,000 per day to Rs 400 for general guests and Rs 120 for those on official visits to the college,” said officials.

The college has a separate VIP guest house for visiting parents,external examiners,on-duty officials from other universities. This guest house remains occupied most of the time due to frequent visitors. Apart from those with official business,others like political workers can also get accommodation if they get a recommendation from “higher authorities”.

“The VIP guest house has a capacity to accommodate 24 people. Many times,it is full and we have no option but to lodge guests at the international hostel as it is vacant,” said an official.

“There are many PhD and PG students who stay in overcrowded rooms in the hostel complex. Isn’t it wrong to rent out a hostel meant for students to paid guests while other students are forced to stay in crammed rooms?” asked a student who didn’t wish to be named.

Ajit Chandele,associate dean of the college,said the hostel was used as a guest house as there were no foreign students. “But last week,two Afghani students joined the college. Now,I have given instructions that guests should not be lodged there,” he said.

About the waning popularity of the college among foreign students,he said,“The college does not admit foreign students on its own. They are allotted to us by the International Council for Agricultural Research.”

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