The girls’ hostel at DU’s Hindu College, mired in controversy over the last one year due to “discriminatory” rules and high fees, will start admitting students from this academic session. But while the rules are the same for both men and women, the difference in hostel fee remains.
The hostel fee for girls is Rs 90,000 per year, while it is about Rs 58,000 for boys. Last year, women had to pay Rs 80,000 — almost twice as much as men. College principal Anju Srivastava reasoned that women have to pay more because their hostel “is not getting funds from the University Grants Commission (UGC)”. “The boys’ hostel gets funds from the UGC, while the girl’s hostel does not. The hostel requires funds to be run — and this is the only way to generate them. Also, the women’s hostel is fully air-conditioned,” said Srivastava.
The girls’ hostel can accommodate 156 students on a twin-sharing basis, while the boys’ hostel has 119 rooms. Like last year, students and Pinjra Tod — a movement by students to fight “discriminatory rules” against women — have raised concerns over the difference in fee. Pinjra Tod had earlier raised the matter with the Delhi Commission for Women, which wrote to the college asking it to make the fee same, and to the UGC asking them to provide funds.
However, that has not happened so far. The UGC provides Rs 60 lakh a year for maintenance of the boys’ hostel. Other college hostels also get funds from the UGC.
Senior college officials who did not wish to be named said the UGC decided not to give funds to the women’s hostel as the time to use Rs 80 lakh, earlier given by the commission, lapsed and the funds remained unutilised. “This happened during the tenure of the previous principal; since then the college has not approached the UGC for funds,” the official said.
Pinjra Tod also alleged that the college did not advertise about the hostel on its website. Teachers also claimed that no notice about hostels has been put up on the premises. Meanwhile, some in the boys’ hostel said the fee difference is “justified” because the girls’ hostel has more facilities. “We were told that the hostel fee will not be more than Rs 90,000, and if the college charges more than that, we will take it up with the administration. Unlike ours, the women hostel has more facilities,” said Durgesh Mishra, a third-year student.
Some students also reasoned that the fee is lower than what it would cost to stay in a PG. “Staying in a PG is much more expensive. There is a difference in fee, but a college hostel is always a safer option,” said Mithinga Baruah, a student from Assam.
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