The thumb rule: When everything else fails, stick to the basics. That’s what Patna University realised when it tried every trick in the book to check unauthorised boarders in its hostels -- and failed. So now, it will resort to the tried and tested 'thumb-impression' to check squatters.
With the start of the new session, the university has made it mandatory for students seeking hostel accommodation to submit their thumb impressions in five copies, including one to the nearest police station, said Proctor Kriteshwar Prasad.
There's more. Students will have to furnish their personal details -- including height, blood group, identification mark and telephone numbers to be contacted in case of emergency -- all this in each of the five copies.
If this is worse than applying for a passport, the university has every reason to be this exacting. Right now, campus hostels work more like a lab for criminals. Last September, police discovered a mini ordnance factory after a bomb went off in a room in Iqbal hostel. A few days later, police recovered a pistol from a boarder in Minto hostel. And Saidpur hostel is notorious for driving out wardens.
University officials hope the new rule will check crime in hostels. A few weeks ago, the university got the police to launch a drive to evict illegal boarders.