Homing in on housing blues
Every year thousands of students descend upon Delhi with the common dream of securing admission in the prestigious Delhi University (DU). But with this comes the mammoth task of looking for accommodation on the campus. Due to the acute shortage of hostel seats in all the major universities, many students have to resort to making arrangements for their own accommodation.
But lest this serve as a harrowing experience for both students and parents, suffice it to say that Delhi is home to a large number of accommodation options to suit every pocket.
Since the North campus boasts of a greater number of options and is home to some of the best colleges in the university, paying guest accommodation as well as private hostels are a big success story in residential areas nearby. Students can stay in areas like Malaga, Vijay Nagar, Hudson Lines, Roop Nagar, Mukherji Nagar and Civil Lines. There are also various places to hang out in nearby Kamla Nagar.
For students in South Campus, options are available in places like South Extension, Greater Kailash and Sarojini Nagar. Of late, Satya Niketan is one place that has emerged as a popular option among students in this area.
Rentals may tend to vary in different areas. For instance, in East Delhi places like Lakshmi Nagar are comparatively cheaper than those in Central Delhi. Huge differences also exist in the accommodation charges of places in West Delhi — between West Patel Nagar and East Patel Nagar.
For international students, there is a hostel run by DU and another one for students from the northeast.
Many students prefer private hostel accommodation despite its shortcomings because of the relaxed timings and facilities like a gym, Internet connectivity, reading room, etc. Hostels like Vidya Jyoti also boast of facilities like a 24-hour power back up and career counselling for students. Says G.S. Sethi, owner of Vidya Jyoti, “Our main aim is to provide students with a healthy atmosphere. Their safety is our priority along with complete privacy. These days, private hostels are getting strict regarding the identity of hostellers since hostels are subjected to regular police surveillance.”
Pehel, a self-help women's support group started by Delhi University, is going to collect information about private, off-campus accommodation from female students, analyse it and update its database. “The questionnaire will be sent to colleges in July like the previous year. They (colleges) will distribute it among the students and send us the feedback which we will use to update the database. There are meetings held every month as well as annual Pehel Melas held in the month of March,” said Shormishtha Panja, Head, Department of English, DU, who convened the group in September 2005.
The second issue of its newsletter is out and is slightly modified this time where the identity of respondents stands protected. There have been 100 responses so far. The newsletter will carry a questionnaire asking students details such as their landlady's behaviour, monthly rent and what the security amount for a hostel room or paying guest accommodation is, if a receipt is given and whether any caretaker, domestic help, their local guardian or relatives stay on the premises. The questionnaire also asks the respondent to rate the hostel on a safety parameter of 1(least safe) to 5(safest) and enquiries about any grievances regarding rent or security deposit, overcrowding, privacy, water, electricity, food, hygiene and so on.
Open to all women members including staff of the university, the group's teacher and student members are available for counselling on mobile phones.
With ample alternatives available to them now, students no longer need to be worried about facing accommodation hassles post admissions.