The sorry state of boys hostel in Ludhiana’s Sector 32
Fund crunch has hampered services being provided at the facilityUpdated: Sep 08, 2019 22:19 IST
Broken boundary walls, shattered windows panes, defunct water cooler and tattered bedsheets and mattresses welcome the boys at the hostel made for them in Sector 32, Chandigarh Road.
The two-storeyed building depicts a sad state of affairs and serves as a classic example of negligence. Shortage of funds is to be blamed for the poor management, which is also taking its toll on the staffers as they have not received their salaries in last five months.
The hostel under Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) was inaugurated in 2011 by Punjab education department to provide free boarding, lodging and coaching facilities to students belonging to poor sections of the society, but the purpose has been defeated.
Due to paucity of funds, only seven students are currently residing in the hostel, that too in a single room. The number was 30 last year. Of these seven boys, two are studying in Class 6 and five are in Class 8 of the government high school in Jamalpur. The school is a kilometre away from the hostel and students go there on foot.
The hostel has a capacity to accommodate 100 boys, but financial crisis has made it difficult for the authorities to attract more students.
The hostel is marred by piles of leaves and wild growth at the entrance, which tend to pose risk of outbreak of diseases. The rear side of the hostel building is a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can result in vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria.
The ground floor of the building houses the mess, dining areas and four rooms, only one of which is occupied by the boys.
On the first floor, one of the rooms is occupied by dumped furniture and another has been assigned to the cook. Remaining three rooms are not in use as they do not have window panes.
The fund crunch has also affected the provision of proper meals and other facilities to the boys.
Staff working sans salaries since April
Since April, staffers of the hostel (cook, helper, safai karamchari, washerman) have not received their salaries.
Geeta Mehta, a cook at the hostel, says, “I am preparing meals for the students daily according to the menu. But it is becoming tough to run my own house as I have not received salary of five months. I have three kids, all of whom go to school. I have to pay their fee too.”
It has been learnt that the departmental store that supplies grocery items to the hostel has also asked the block office to make the payment.
Last year too, the state education department had released the funds in August after a gap of six months. The post of warden and security guard is lying vacant for the past one year.
Mangat-2 block primary education officer Asha Rani says she has been actively taking up the matter with authorities concerned. “In five months, I have written to the head office four times for the release of funds, but no avail. I have now requested the local MLA to get the boundary wall repaired by next week,” she adds.
“We have made many efforts to increase the strength of students in the hostel by putting up banners outside schools and also advertising about the same. The boys staying in hostel have to walk for a kilometre to reach their school. It is another reason why parents do not prefer sending their children to the hostel,” Asha Rani claims.
“I got the charge of the residential hostel in 2017 and at that time, the hostel had 50 students,” she says.
Deputy district education officer (elementary) Kuldeep Singh says, “The block primary education was given the charge of the hostel 18 months ago by the state education department. After receiving funds from the head office, salaries of the staff will be released.”
First Published: Sep 08, 2019 22:18 IST