While the issue of limited hostel seats is not new for Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), which had a provision of adjusting three roommates in a double sharing room. The hostel conditions are worsening with the implementation of the newly introduced Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota. With EWS, there is an increase of 10 per cent seats across courses without any expansion in the infrastructure – an addition of over 1500 students.
“We are facing an infrastructure crisis at JNU. With over 700 students yet to be allotted hostels, the authorities have asked students to adjust in dorms, etc. Lack of accommodation and over-admission have always been a problem but with the new EWS quota, the number of students has exponentially increased leading to a much wider gap,” explained Sarika Chaudhary, vice-president, JNU Students Union (JNUSU).
The JNUSU on Friday held a march in the varsity demanding basic infrastructure, cleanliness, etc. The situation, said protesting students, is worse in JNU as compared to other Delhi-based colleges as the varsity has students from across economic levels, who cannot afford expensive private accommodation.
As JNU also host a large number of PhD students who clear their doctoral degrees in a longer duration, not all the hostel rooms get vacant each year, creating a grave problem.
An MPhil student of JNU informed, “It takes several months for students to progress from a dormitory to a room. The single-sharing rooms were already converted into double-sharing. We have a TR form to add a third roommate in our double-sharing hostel rooms. We will not be able to cram anymore. The hostel rooms or dormitories do not come with a pre-installed AC or cooler, making it worse during summers.”
Another major issue faced by students is the parking of their luggage. Outstation students are given almirahs and when the capacity in dormitories is exceeded, many are allotted lockers too. Freshers, however, claim that the space provided in form of lockers is not enough.
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Reportedly, the common rooms, which are free spaces for students from across hostels to meet up, have been converted into dorms. Dormitories of hostels such as Shipra host 12-15 students while the dorms in Narmada hostel have eight beds each. The officials, however, state that the number in dormitories varies between six and 10 students.
Umesh Kadam, dean of students, JNU commented, “We have received over-admission of 1,500 students under EWS category. We have started allotting seats on a priority basis to students; first to outstation students. Almost all the students under the first priority have been accommodated in the hostels. Less than 40 students are left under the category. While they have been allotted dorms now, the internal shifting from a dormitory to a room will take place within 4-6 months as seats fall vacant.”
Kadam also remarked that in the last four years, six new dorms have been set up, including ones in the Damodar hostel and four in Narmada hostel. He told indianexpress.com that student community centres in hostels are being converted into dormitories to accommodate more students.
While students complain of lack of cleanliness and crunching of space in dormitories, the dean remarked, “The dorm is no less than a room and each student has been allotted a bed and locker. The eventual shifting to rooms will happen soon.”
He informed that two new hostels will be coming up at JNU soon, namely Parak hostel and Saraswati hostel, for which a portion of funds have been released; these shall be a relief to upcoming academic batches.