40 students of Thane hostel threaten to go on fast unto death

Forty students from the government's social welfare department-run Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar boys hostel have sent notice to the hostel superintendent Sriniwas Satarlekar as well as the social welfare department that they would sit on a fast until death over the lack of facilities at the hostel.

This correspondent who visited the hostel on Monday was greeted by the smell of spoiled food and a terrible stench from the bathrooms. Atish Bhalchandra Patil, BSc (IT), a student living at the hostel said, "All students who live here are from very poor families, whose parents are unable to afford the school fees."

Students allege that every day they find worms, insects and stones in the food and if they complain, the hostel staff tells them that it is the only food available and they could eat it or leave it.

Students said before sending the hunger strike notice they had written many times to the superintendent and social welfare department, but no action was taken. Instead, after every such complaint, students alleged, the hostel staff used to torture them by putting more salt or chilli powder in the food, so that it was inedible. They would even put salt in the milk so that students could not drink it.

"We are not at all happy about sending the fast notice, but we are fed up with the system," one of the students at the hostel said.  

Satarlekar said, "I joined this hostel last year and am trying to bring about some change, but the staff Vishe and Gaikwad do not obey my orders. I do not live at the hostel due to ill health. Besides, there is no provision for accommodation for me at the place in order for me to keep an eye on the operations."


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