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With rise in private hostel fee, students struggle to make ends meet

PUNE The students who are returning to the city from their hometowns are facing financial stress as they struggle to support themselves amid rising housing cost and other necessities
By Dheeraj Bengrut
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 11:13 PM IST

PUNE The students who are returning to the city from their hometowns are facing financial stress as they struggle to support themselves amid rising housing cost and other necessities.

Shailesh Kshirsagar, who returned to the city from his hometown in Kurduwadi, Solapur district to prepare for competitive exam, said, “ When the lockdown was announced I went to my village and returned after almost eight months (in December 2020). Earlier I used to pay Rs2,500 per rent at a private hostel which runs on coat basis, but now they have increased the rent to 3,500.”

“It is difficult to pay so much rent along with other necessities like mess service and daily miscellaneous maintenance,” he said.

In the last 10 to 15 years Pune has emerged as a hub for competitive exam preparation for students coming especially from rural areas. At least 10 lakh students come from the rural parts of the district to study at the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) and other institutes every year.

Another student Ketan Garje from Yavatmal district said, “I returned to Pune last week with just 5,000 in my pocket. My family is involved in farming which has already been affected due to the lockdown. “

“The prices of mess service has increased and even snacks like “poha” and “idli” cost more now. Earlier I used to pay Rs2,800 for a two-time meal, now it has been hiked to 4,000. I also have to pay 3,000 for hostel and if the same situation continues I will have to return to my village,” he said.

In Pune especially in the Peth areas, there are many private hostels, paying guest facilities, study centres, private coaching classes, daily food mess and snacks centres which provide necessities for students coming from outside the city limits. Similar is the case near college campuses like Bharati Vidyapeeth, MIT College and D Y Patil in Chinchwad area.

Prasanna Temkar, an owner of a mess in Navi peth, said, “For more than six months our mess was closed during the lockdown. We cannot afford to continue giving service at the same cost. So we have increased the monthly mess charges from 1,00 to Rs1,800 for one meal a day.”

Kuldeep Ambekar, student and president of Students Helping Hand Association, said, “Most of the students who come from villages are already under financial stress and the current situation is worse.”

“The university and colleges have not reopened yet and students cannot afford to pay rent at a private facility. The government should make some arrangements for such students,” he said.

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