Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bangalore University hostels are a hell-hole

Bangalore University hostels are a hell-hole
In A Terrible Mess, Stink To High Heavens 4 Students Crammed Into A Small Room
Shruthi Balakrishna & Darinia Khongwir | TNN

Bangalore: If you want to know what hell looks like, welcome to the boys’ hostel of Bangalore University. Four students share one small room that has two beds, one table and one cupboard. To top it, they have rodents and snakes for company. The entire hostel is a stinking mess. Bangalore University is one of Asia’s largest universities, yet its students live in these appalling conditions. This is what a TOI team found when it did an impromptu check on the conditions in the hostels on the Jnanabharathi campus.
The boys’ hostel comprises four blocks. Two of these are meant exclusively for SC/ ST candidates. Even the mess halls are separate. The blocks reek of urine and rotting garbage. The stench makes you retch. None of the corridors looks like it has been swept in a long time. The windows don’t have panes. There is litter by the sides of the hostels and windowsills. The rooms are in a sordid condition. Rules say three boys are to occupy one room. With only two beds, where does the third person sleep? On the cold, cement floor.
Till a year ago, only two students occupied a room. However, as the university kept increasing intake, more students had to be accommodated. Hostellers reveal more than three persons occupy some rooms. Some students refuse to leave after finishing their courses. Others come because their friends live on campus, and avail of the free accommodation while they scout for jobs. The bathrooms are appalling and could use with some copious flushing and bleaching powder. The boys say these are seldom washed.
The girls’ hostel, located a few metres from the V-C’s residence, is as hellish as the boys’ hostel but spared of the stench. The hostel lacks a waste-disposal facility. Most girls fling personal items, like sanitary napkins, from the hostel window because they are not provided with dustbins. All the waste rots outside the hostel, and rodents and snakes haunt the place. The girls say repeated complaints have fallen on deaf ears. On Oct 8, the girls decided they had had enough and protested in front of the V-C’s office. Registrar T R Subramanya had the waste outside the hostel cleared. But these are temporary measures. They want more action, and soon.
Unclean toilets and corridors 4 students housed in a small room Rodents and snakes abound No dustbins to dispose of personal items Leaking water in toilets Lack of security in girls’ hostel Fix the MESS
Bangalore: All the students TOI spoke to swore us to secrecy as they feared a severe backlash from both authorities and older hostel mates. A few second-year students from Kolar said the rooms are very small, yet more than three boys live in the same room. “Till last year, there were only two or three students, staying in a room. Now, with an increase in the intake more students are being crammed into one room. Many sleep on the floor and sometimes even in shifts,” said a student.
According to some students, a few hostelites overstay their welcome. “A few students have already completed their course and are currently looking for jobs. Yet they are still staying with in the hostel because it is free accommodation. This is why there are so many people in one room. There are also a few guys who already have jobs and still stay here. They use influence to get into the hostels,” said a hostelite.
The boys also complained of unhygienic conditions. “Corridors and toilet require cleaning. There is no proper disposal of garbage. Most of the time it’s just thrown outside the hostel. Rodents and snakes enter our rooms. The authorities don’t clear the garbage regularly,” an MSc student said.
At the UVCE boys’ hostel, the stench of urine started from the threshold itself. One engineering student refused to divulge much — understandable as a few of his seniors were glaring at him for talking to us.
The girls hostel mercifully did not reek of urine. The three buildings are for juniors, seniors and doctorate students. Over 400 girls stay here. A quick survey of the juniors’ hostel revealed the same small packed rooms. But the corridors were clean and the bathrooms fairly usable. It was the seniors who had a rough time. According to them, three girls were allotted to one room.
From this year, that number has gone up to four. “What I don’t understand is that there are two dormitories which can accommodate at least 20 girls. But these rooms are not being used and always padlocked. Plus, there are three office rooms for one warden in our hostel alone. What’s the need for it? Those rooms can be used for the girls. It’s such a waste of space,” said a third-year law student.
That was just the ground floor. The second floor where the girls live seemed livable enough, except for the broken window panes. But a peek into the rooms revealed a different story altogether. The windows panes were frosted, blocking precious natural light. The lightbulbs are are on practically all day. And, with the extra person, the girls try the best to rearrange the furniture and still have room to move about.
Though all rooms come with an attached bathroom, most come with problems. In one, the taps were non-functional and water is left running all day. Repeated complaints to the warden have not translated to action, said a student.
Another bathroom had a water seepage problem and it looked like its roof would crumble anytime. Another girl complained that the iron grid in her bathroom was not covered leaving the girls exposed to the elements. “We have no choice. We try to get by,” she said.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the girls complained of no place to dispose of their garbage. “They don’t provide us with dustbins and we have no place to throw our waste except behind the hostel. This invites a lot of pests from the woods,” said another hostel occupant.
Lack of security most worrying for the girls. The only thing keeping the girls and predators (animals and humans alike) is a three-layered 7-foot high barbed wire. “At times when we are in living room watching TV, boys throw stones at the window panees. As you can see one is already cracked. Another round and the entire pane will break,” said the law student. Now, all these hostel inmates want is a place where they can live without hassles. Only if the authorities would make it possible.


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