Living conditions at Yerawada Boys Hostel,which is run by the Social Justice and Special Assistance Department,are dismal,claim students. From non-existent security,housekeeping and cleaning staff to solar water heaters that dont work since installation,hostellers have a lot to complain about. However,the warden denied the charges and said the students misbehave and should be dealt with more severity.
The toilets are overflowing all the time and the drains are choked. We have asked the warden to get the toilets cleaned but to no avail, said Avin,a student. Tiles in the toilets are broken and the floor is slippery. At least three students have fallen and got injured, he added.
Non-functional solar water heaters add to their woes. It has been over a year since the heaters were installed but they dont work. We have to bathe in cold water. In winters and especially during exam time,we wake up early and the water is freezing cold. But nothing has been done to rectify this, said Mohit,another student.
We started heating water using electric heaters in our rooms but the warden said it is illegal and switched off power supply from 6 am to 6 pm. We had no electricity throughout the day, said Abhijeet. Also,many of us have not got our textbooks and even the ones we have are from the old syllabus, he added.
Worst is the plight of blind students,who have no facilities in the hostel. If they complain to the warden,he verbally abuses them, claimed Sandesh.
On September 30,we put our complaints before the assistant warden but he called up the police. We all went to the police station and submitted a letter stating our problems. Since then the warden has stopped cutting off the power supply, said Mohit. But then he sent letters to our parents and college principals. To the principals,he wrote that we are misbehaving and should not be allowed to appear for the board exams or our leaving certificates should state that we have a bad character. This kind of vendetta will ruin our lives. He also summoned our parents,who are worried now, he added.
Warden Madhukar Javak said all allegations are baseless. I never cut off the power supply to the hostel and books were given to all those who applied for them. They (students) just want to bring bad name to the hostel. As far as the solar water heaters are concerned,the installation is incomplete, he said.
He added,The students are an unruly lot. They get drunk and use foul language against women employees. I have a register filled with complaints. Last month,some students verbally abused the assistant warden and ended up in police station. They are blowing things out of proportion and the media is helping them.
However,he admitted to lack of cleanliness and security in the hostel. The hostel doesnt have cleaning staff since it was inaugurated in 2002. We called a sweeper every eight days. Now,the government has hired a private company for cleaning,electrification and security. It will start work from Tuesday. The hostel has 89 students,of which 19 are blind. As per rules,there should be only three blind students. Hence,we do not have any special facility for them. Plus,the hostel is only for Class 11-12 students but there are three undergraduate students here.
On why he wrote to the principals and parents,Javak said,I wanted to inform them about students misbehaviour but have not asked them to debar them from board exams or write anything on their leaving certificates.
PMC corporator Sidharth Dende said,This is not an isolated case,living conditions in all such hostels are horrible. We will submit a memorandum to the Social Justice and Special Assistance Department Commissioner R K Gaikwad. We will give them eight days to solve the problems of all hostels. If it does not happen,we will agitate in front of the commissioners office.
(Students names changed)