Students of Fergusson College have claimed that their group has been hit by quite a few cases of dengue and viral fever in August and September, which they claimed was because of unclean washrooms and an unkempt campus.
Ahead of their semester-end exams, scheduled to start in less than a fortnight, students claimed that at least 20 of them have tested positive for dengue, while many more suffered bouts of viral fever.
Students have blamed the college authorities, saying they have turned a blind eye to repeated pleas to maintain hygiene and cleanliness on the 60-acre campus. However, while college officials said the grass was not trimmed on time and blamed continuous rains for the delay, they denied that students from the hostel were facing any issue.
“We had written to the hostel (boys) rector in July, when the monsoon had just commenced. Even now, nobody has acted on our requests. The unkempt surroundings both on campus and hostel premises have made our life difficult. There is no relief from the mosquito menace and it’s difficult to walk near our hostel buildings due to grass everywhere,” said a junior college student who lives in the hostel.
The college had earlier this year said it spent hefty amounts from its annual budgets to maintain its campus. Officials had listed maintenance as one of the top expenditures. The college has also hired a private agency to maintain the gardens and common premises on the campus.
“We pay college and hostel fees but what are we getting in return? We tried meeting the principal-in-charge. But she has not paid any heed to our requests so far. With examinations scheduled after Dussehra, we fear that our study leave will turn into sick leave, “ said a female student from Uttar Pradesh who was recently diagnosed with dengue and returned to appear for the ongoing internal examinations.
The washrooms are also in a poor condition, claim students. While over 6,000 students study in the Arts and Sciences streams, the number of washrooms for men and women is less than 100, they said.
“There are washrooms only in some departments, which means students share the facility. Of these, female students have fewer washrooms on the campus. If these basic utilities are not kept clean, then how is the campus different from a public space outside? “ said another female student, who further complained that the sanitary napkin dispensing machine located at the Lower Recreation Hall has been defunct for a long time.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a college official said, “We have deployed people to urgently trim the grass and check areas where filth has gathered due to the incessant rain. We will resolve the matter soon.”