HAVING FAILED to improve the condition of 381 hostels for backward class students run by the department of Social Welfare and Justice, the state government will now build 50 additional such hostels. The 50 new hostels across the state announced last year will house meritorious girl students belonging to backward classes.
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Of the existing 381 hostels across the state, 161 are girls’ hostels. However, according the Social Welfare and Justice department, there has been a demand for girls’ hostel in many districts following which a proposal to build 50 new hostels was announced on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.
“Many meritorious girl students were left in the lurch due to non-availability of proper accommodation. The new project will prove very beneficial for them. Of the 50 new hostels, seven will be started at divisional level and remaining 43 will come up at district and taluka level,” said Yashwant More, Divisional Deputy Commissioner.
The seven hostels at divisional level will have the capacity of housing 250 students while those at district and taluka level will house 100 students. These hostels are free accommodation facility provided by the state government to meritorious students belonging to backward classes.
However, the move has been slammed by activists who claim that the new 50 hostels will become “nuisance” too. “While the state government has failed to improve the condition of existing hostels, how do they plan to maintain the new ones,” said Advocate Manoj Tekade, president of Prahar Vidhyarthi Sanghtana.
Tekade has alleged that the condition of existing hostels is bad and the food served at these hostels is unhygenic. “From time to time, there have been instances pointing out the bad maintenance at these hostels. The facility that the state government provides for free has become a nuisance. At many places, including Mumbai, building and infrastructure is bad. There have been cases of lizard, worms, etc in food served at hostel mess,” added Tekade.
More, however, said, “The new hostels will be inspected regularly to maintain the standards. Especially because the hostels are meant for girl students. We are also working on to improve the existing hostels.”
Another point of concern is that the important posts like warden, house master and clerk have been lying vacant in majority of these hostels. “These posts are supposed to be sanctioned by the state government. We can fill these posts only then,” said an official of social welfare and justice department.