Even as Mumbai university gears up to host the 102nd edition of the Indian Science Congress (ISC) from January 3, students staying in two hostels inside the varsity’s Kalina campus have been asked to vacate their rooms to accommodate foreign students attending the event.
More than 250 students from Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil Boys’ Hostel and Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve Girls’ Hostel at the Kalina campus have been asked to vacate the rooms by the wardens, putting many in a tight spot.
“Our hostel warden told us everybody has to compulsory go for their winter breaks and make sure our rooms are clean. I have not booked tickets to go back home and wanted to stay back and study,” said a student at the hostel, on the condition of anonymity.
University officials confirmed hostel wardens have asked students to vacate the rooms, but said the rooms will be used only during the winter break, which will last till January 7.
Around 12,000 delegates are expected for the science congress, including an unconfirmed number of students from foreign universities. Senior delegates will be accommodated in hotels, but the students, who will stay on campus for five days starting January 3, will be put up at both the hostels. Earlier, it was decided they will be accommodated in the foreign students’ hostels at Fort. However, the capacity of the hostels was limited. While students said they were not given any letter to vacate the rooms, one of the wardens said a notice asking for the rooms to be emptied had been put up for almost a week.
Several students were planning to stay back because they have exams scheduled from the second week of January. “If the university wants us to give up our rooms for a few days, they should also make alternate arrangements for us. It is impossible for some to go back home every holiday because it is expensive,” said Shashank Gavit, another student.
Student unions and senate members have voiced their concerns with university officials. They have also threatened to protest against the university and the ISC if no action is taken.
MA Khan, registrar of the university, said the ISC will be over when the winter break ends, so there should be no issue. “Also, no student is being forced to vacate their rooms.”