In a mess: How clean is Panjab University’s Student Centre
Panjab University although recently figured in the seventh position in the swachhta rankings for the higher education institutions, released on September 15 by the HRD ministry, the HT did a reality check as to how clean the campus is?punjab Updated: Oct 11, 2017 12:49 IST
Multi-colour foot-over bridge, pleasant fountains, three-storey round building, Guru’s snacks and Mona’s coffee under those metal gazebos; this was how the Panjab University’s Student Centre, better known as Stu-C, was defined many years ago.
With time, the definition has, however, changed. But for the worse. Broken gazebos, non- functional fountains, blue-green algae around the washbasins, smell emanating from the poorly maintained washrooms in that three-storey building and overloaded garbage bins.
- There should be a permanent sweeping staff to take care of the sanitation at the Students Centre, especially the washrooms. The washrooms should have toilet papers and a handwash.
- The food and supply department of the Chandigarh administration should conduct a sample check of the food quality avaiblable at the Students Centre and the DSW should regulate the cost of the meals.
- There should be restrictions on littering at the Students Centre and the overloaded garbage bins should be cleaned at frequent intervals of time.
- Water supply should be made available through out the day for the convenience of students and the washbasins should be cleaned and hygiene should be maintained.
- Instead of organising DJs at the Student Centre, which disturbs the library students, there should be discussions and debate sessions among the students at the centre and theatrical plays.
From the food quality to water availability, sitting arrangement and sanitation, the Student Centre reveals a sorry state of affairs.
The higher educational institutions were ranked on the parameters of student toilet ratio, kitchen hygiene, availability of running water, modernity of toilets and kitchen equipment.
MAJOR PROBLEMS AT STUDENT CENTRE
· Food quality and cost
Students have been complaining that the quality of the food available at the Student Centre has degraded and there have been no sample checks by the authorities concerned. Student organisations uploaded photographs of ice cubes lying on the floor at the centre, on Saturday morning, which was to be used for shakes and juices. Also, the students compare the rates of the food of the Students Centre with that of a multiplex. Students say the authorities can easily regulate the menus and rates of the meals but some shops have their own monopoly.
· Water availability
There are four water taps, including a water cooler, at the Student Centre but the drinking water is available in only two of them. According to the students, the water supply in the taps is cut around 2pm and students have to buy water bottles from the shops during the lunch time. The washbasins at the Stu-C can be seen covered with algae.
· Poorly maintained washrooms
There are five washrooms at the Student Centre- two on the ground floor, one near the dean students welfare office, one near the students council office and one is on the top floor at the Indian coffee house. The washrooms at the ground floor and even the ones at the DSW office floor, are in worst condition. The urinals are blocked, water is stagnated, broken doors, ceiling roofs, lack of water and even soaps or handwash. Sanitation has taken a back seat.
· Overloaded garbage bins
Besides 10-12 dustbins kept at the Students Centre, the university has installed green and blue bins in many areas following the UT move of segregation of wet and dry garbage but all in vain. Even the eateries have kept their separate bins outside shops but the bins are always overloaded, leading the fountain area to become a garbage dump. Empty alcohol bottles, leftover of food in thalis, disposable glasses and coke bottles are all seen lying at the benches, parking places and under the bridge.
· Sitting arrangements
Finding a seat at the Student Centre is a difficult task, during the lunch time. There are round tables available but are occupied most of time and otherwise, they are covered with bird shit. Those tables are never cleaned and the seats under the broken gazebos are also useless. Student bodies have written to the authorities, many times asking them to get the gazebos changed and have more sitting arrangements but nothing has changed in the past many years.
“Apart from studies, largely the food, water and washroom, completes the campus. Our campus is complete but with the topping of poor hygiene and slipshod maintenance. Is there any helpline where we can inform about the poorly maintained surroundings?” Gurjinder Mogi said.
Anupreet Kaur, another said, said, “Transforming Students Centre has been one of the common points listed in the manifestos of different organisations, every year, but not even a brick has ever moved.”
“If students would have been asked to rank PU in terms of cleanliness, PU would not have been there in the to 50 also. The authorities should be held responsible for such disgrace. How can we even celebrate the seventh swachhta position,” Aman Handa said.
“If we google the Students Centre it tells us that is a food court in Sector 14, with 4.5 ranking out of 5 but the reality is that it has the bad quality of food available with no kitchen hygiene. We do not even get tissue papers at the eateries,” said Nikki Ghotra, a student.
THE BUCK STOPS HERE
The executive engineer (XEN) and the horticulture department under the leadership of the dean students welfare (DSW) is responsible for the state of the Students Centre.
The XEN holds the responsibility of maintaining the infrastructure and the horticulture department is responsible for the cleanliness and sanitation at the Student Centre. The sweeping staff is also sent by the horticulture department.
The XEN holds the responsibility of maintaining the infrastructure and the horticulture department is responsible for the cleanliness and sanitation at the Student Centre.
According to DSW, at least four sweepers are deployed for the cleanliness of the Student Centre. Everything is done under the headship of the DSW. It is the responsibility of the DSW to keep a tab on the flaws and inform the department concerned to get the work done.
When asked why things have been pending, DSW Emanual Nahar said, “From time to time, we keep informing the departments regarding the problems. We immediately send the complaints received from students regarding sitting arrangements or washrooms. We are working on it. But it is the duty of the students and teachers also to keep the campus clean.”
He added, “We will once again inform the XEN and also the horticulture department to get the things done. Also, we have got ₹30 lakh budget for the building at the Students Centre, under which all the pending renovation work will be done. We will work on the sitting arrangements at the centre, on our level.”