Panjab University has 17 hostels housing over 6,000 men and women students on its campus, and one for working women, but is spending a pittance on their maintenance. With an estimated budget of over Rs 288 crore for running its affairs for 2012-2013 session, PU has earmarked a mere Rs 1.37 lakh for the upkeep of these hostels.
In the current budget, the varsity has allotted funds ranging from Rs 6,000 to Rs 12,000 for purchase, repair of equipment, annual maintenance charges (AMC), fixture and replacement of broken glass panes etc for each hostel.
Five hostels were allocated Rs 6,000 each and another five Rs 8,500 each. Five hostels were given Rs 8,000 each and two hostels secured Rs 12,000 each.
On an average, around Rs five lakh is spent annually on each hostel for maintenance, with the money coming from hostel funds realised from students in the form of fee and fines.
Students complain about stinking lavatories, lack of adequate drinking water, ill-maintained buildings and shabby lawns in all hostels.
A warden of one of the hostels, on condition of anonymity, said that with funds sanctioned by the varsity in its annual budget, they could not even pay for AMC of water filters installed in each hostel, which is around Rs 2,000 per water filter. "Hostel funds are not sufficient to take care of routine maintenance work throughout the year," said a warden.
As a result of fun shortage, even minor repairs were delayed, making students suffer in the process.
Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) senior leader Sumit Goklaney said that it is struggle for students to even get the broken latches of washrooms replaced.
Calling for need to increase funds for upkeep of hostels, Sumit said that the university was getting ample money from the Centre and other agencies.
The authorities should divert more funds for the purpose of hostel maintenance rather than depend on funds generated from students in different forms, he added.
When contacted, dean, student welfare (DSW), Prof Amrik Singh Ahluwalia said that before preparing the budget, all hostel wardens were asked to send their requirements. "Based on the requirement, funds in budget are earmarked," Prof Ahluwalia maintained.
He further said that funds were increased whenever they got a request from hostels.