Horrible hostels: Leaking roofs, dank rooms, stray monkeys at PU hostels to welcome newbies | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Horrible hostels: Leaking roofs, dank rooms, stray monkeys at PU hostels to welcome newbies

Despite repeated complaints, food services in the hostel mess continue to be problematic.

punjab Updated: Jul 13, 2017 13:31 IST
Ifrah Mufti
With the new academic session around the corner, dank rooms and leaking roofs are waiting to welcome the students.
With the new academic session around the corner, dank rooms and leaking roofs are waiting to welcome the students.

Residing in a hostel of Panjab University (PU) was once considered to be a matter of pride, but the current-day scenario does not seem to live up to its legacy and reputation.

With new academic session around the corner, dank rooms and kitchens, leaking roofs, fear of rats, menace of stray monkeys and dogs and unkempt water tanks are waiting to welcome the students who have been alloted accommodations at various hostels of PU.

Poor condition of the water cooler in boys’ hostel number 6. (HT Photo)

The sorry state of affairs at PU hostels signifies that varsity is apparently not yet ready to welcome the new batch.

The problems faced by the hostellers on the PU campus do not just end with leaking roofs. The washrooms stink, doors do not have latches and geysers -- though fixed -- do not function. On top of that, there are visitors like snakes at times and the mess conditions are messy.

The ongoing monkey menace has been coupled up with threat of stray dogs in the university area. Students complain that as soon as they step out of hostel entrance, the dogs start chasing them, mostly at odd hours.

“For the past two months, I have noticed that number of stray dogs in our department itself has increased. There are around seven-eight dogs and they may create problems for students and staff. We have to begin with a new session, that is why we have written to the chief medical officer (CMO) of PU to take strict action in this regard,” said Harsh Nayyar, chairperson of botany department.

One of the residents of hostel number 4, Jhanvi Jain said, “It’s my second year on the campus and I have witnessed the stray-dog menace turning into a bigger problem, especially for girls. There are days when the dogs could be seen sitting in our reception area and it becomes a tough task to even move out of the hostel.”

Unkempt water tanks in all the hostels is another issue which the student bodies have been highlighting for long. They have claimed that tanks are never cleaned and there are no shelters to cover them. In girls’ hostel number 6, the main water tank that supplies drinking water on all the floors, is not covered. One of its shed has no lock and the other one is lying broken due to rust.

 The uncovered water tanks on the hostels’ roofs, ceilings those begin to leak even after slight rainfall and putrid toilets contribute to the unhygienic state of the hostels.

Despite their memorandums and complaints, the food services in the mess still have been giving a tough time to the residents.

Going by the feedback from the students, all hostels have the same facilities but they vary with the management. The situations have been the same since two years. In a survey conducted by PU in June 2015, around 40% of the students residing in 17 hostels of the varsity had complained of unhygienic living conditions, non-cooperating hostel staff and poor quality of food being served to them.

Leaking roofs are common in the washrooms of boys’ hostel number 3. (HT Photo)

Among the seven boys’ hostels on the campus, students said hostel number 4, 5 and 6 are considered to be the best ones in comparison to others. One of the hostellers who had been staying on the campus for the past seven years said, “These three are located at the centre and if one has to think politically, the movement of the student leaders becomes easy here. Another best thing in these three hostels is their canteen service, which is better. We get good food here.”

 However the boys’ hostel number 3, 7 and 8 are considered to be the ignored ones. “Most of the undergraduate students live in these hostels and nuisance can be always noticed here. Food-regarding complaints are always from these hostels as well,” said another hosteller.

Meanwhile, among the girls’ hostels, hostel number 1, 2 and 3 are poor in terms of hygiene, food and cleanliness and among the best ones are hostel number 6, 7 and 9.

Lack of adequate electrical equipment, not enough functional washing machines on each floor, leaking roofs during the rain causing paint blisters on the walls, leaking water pipes in the toilets and uncovered water tanks in the hostels are some of the problems which the hostellers residing in these hostels continue to grapple with.

Besides all these issues, lack of adequate seats in the PU hostels continue to trouble students every year as around 800-900 students remain in the waiting list.

Emanual Nahar, dean students’ welfare said, “Primarily, we shall definitely take an appropriate action if we get the complaints. I think all hostels are equal. Secondly, if we talk about the monkey menace, it has indeed increased considerably on the campus. There are over 250 monkeys on the campus,causing trouble for the staff and students.”

No late-night access to library for girls

A year after PU authorities allowed the girl students on the campus to have an access to the library and laboratories during the night hours, the decision has been flipped with a latest direction to not to allow girls to move out of hostels after 9pm.

It was on August 4, 2016 that dean students’ welfare (DSW) office had circulated performas in the girls’ hostels, allowing them to move out of their hostels and go to the library during night hours as well.

The girls were supposed to get the performa signed by the security guard at library on every visit and after the signatures, those were to be returned to their respective hostels within a 30-minute time frame. The performas were submitted on a monthly basis and their attendance was marked accordingly and no late entry fine was imposed.

However, Emanual Nahar said no orders have been passed yet regarding the discontinuation of girls’ entry into the libraries or labs during late night hours.