The Panjab University (PU) Student Centre, which is the heart of the social activities of students, is crying for attention due to poor maintenance.
Broken gazeboes, foul smell emanating from the stagnant water from the non-functional fountain and leftovers of food littered all around: the centre has been in a terrible state for so long. Despite this, authorities continue to turn a blind eye to the situation.
Constructed in the early seventies, the Student Centre has remained a major spot of attraction not only for the current students, but also for the alumni, who continue to throng the centre to have lunch or dinner with their friends and family.
Students claim that the authorities are to be blamed, as the management has failed to execute the plans for expansion of the PU campus.
Jasbir Nouch, a student of MA history, said,“During the lunch hour, it becomes so crowded that it is difficult to go from one shop to the other. You can see students having lunch standing in groups. The benches installed near the fountain cannot be used as foul smell emanates from the stagnant water there. So, students prefer to have lunch on the grass near the library.”
Most of the gazeboes and food stands in the Student Centre have worn out and the metallic chairs have become rusted. In a few gazebo sets, some seats are found missing.
Former president of Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) Chandan Rana said, “The seats from gazeboes have gone missing. Authorities have not constructed rooftops for several gazeboes. During monsoons and summers, students have to run for cover. Students prefer having food standing under the trees.” He added that the gazeboes were last repaired during the academic year 2006-07.
According to students, visiting the Student Centre after lunch hours would be a bad idea.
“As dustbins have gone missing in several places, plates and glasses can be seen lying around in the open. Leftover food can be seen lying there for hours, which leads to foul smell in the area,” said vice-president of PUCSC Snigdha Bawa.
She said she had taken up the matter with the dean student welfare and assured that the situation would be improved soon.
Students feel that shopkeepers are to be equally blamed for the chaos. Many of them said shopkeepers cleaned their kitchens and disposed water in the open. This had lead to the areas around the shops becoming slippery, apart from emanating foul smell.
Student Organisation of India leader Vicky Middukhera said, “I have noticed that the water filters become empty by 2 pm every day. Students have to, therefore, buy water bottles from the shops. However, this place is so unclean that students sometimes go back without drinking water.”
Middukhera added that authorities should immediately take corrective measures. When contacted, PU dean student welfare Navdeep Goyal, said the project for upgrading the Student Centre was underway.
“We are going to install more gazeboes and food stands very soon. The process of issuing tenders is on. As far as cleanliness is concerned, we have provided dustbins to shopkeepers and have asked them to keep dustbins outside their shops.”
Goyal added that officials had been asked to inspect the place regularly so that shopkeepers found violating the orders could be challaned.