A section of Punjabi University students began a hunger strike on Wednesday to protest against the varsity administration's failure to built new hostels on campus. The students are demanding that work on construction of new hostels should be started immediately.
Students have banded themselves together under the banner of Student Welfare Organization (SWO).
They are claiming that the administration had announced that the foundation stone of a new girls hostel would be laid before November 1 this year, but nothing had materialized so far. No new rooms have also been added to any of the old hostels for several years.
"When we tried to raise the issue with the authorities, we were not taken seriously. This forced us to sit on a hunger strike," said SWO president Gurjeet Singh.
Sources said that due to shortage of hostels, especially for girls, 3-4 girls are forced to adjust in a single room. Under the rules, some of the girls in senior classes are entitled to a single room or at best a two-seater.
The issue has been raised several times in the past by different students' organizations too, but nothing has been done to address the demand.
"The university has funds and can easily start construction of new hostels. The reality is that the administration lacks the will. It is taking the problem lightly.
Without addressing this basic issue, it is starting new courses, leading to increased space crunch in hostels," said SWO representatives.
However, students stopped their agitation on Thursday, after dean student welfare (DSW) Kulbir Singh Dhillon assured them that new hostels would be ready for moving in by April 30 next year.
"On the DSW's assurance, we have decided to end our fast. However, our agitation will restart if the construction of a new girls' hostel is not started in a month," said SWO president Gurjeet Singh.