Thousands of students were evacuated from Delhi University hostel in May this year for CWG
Jasleen Kaur | September 29, 2010
Aniket Mishra, a final year student of Delhi University, is a sports enthusiast. He will be happy to see more of CWG's ilk choosing India as the host, he says, but not at the cost of his hostel room. Aniket, like thousands of other students in the Delhi University, was asked in May this year to vacate his room at Hansraj College for Commonwealth Games.
“Last year we were made to sign a bond stating that we might not get the room for three months this year. But authorities were not clear about when the work will actually start,” he says.
His annual summer vacation this year soured when college authorities asked him to find alternative accomodation for three months. He was to shift out right after he returned from his home in Bihar. “On May 10 we were given notice to vacate the rooms. And on June 18 the renovation work started in hostel,” he adds.
It’s been three months since Aniket started living in a paying-guest (PG) accomodation close to his college. Finding a PG was not difficult for him but the rent has burnt a hole in his pocket. For Rs 4,000, he was given a room in the college hostel on twin-sharing basis. The hostel fee included both lodging and food costs. But now he is paying Rs 6,500 for a small room, which he shares three other students.
Aniket says the situation is far more harassing for girls, as security is a huge concern in lodging outside the hostel.
“If they had to use our hostel at least they should have arranged an alternative for us. I am sure taking out few lakhs from a budget of Rs 70,000 crore would not have cost them much,” he adds.
He says he is not just opposed to hostels being evacuated but he rsents the undemocratic functioning of the university and college administration. Joining the University Community, a group voicing DU students' rights, was only natural for him. “With other fellow students, I also participated in a relay hunger strike. Just because we wanted the authorities to ensure that it is not repeated in future," he says.
There are 120 rooms in the Hansraj hostel, which can house 200 people. And with just few days left for the game, Aniket says, he has still not seen any occupants. "I had a talk with the concerned authorities on Tuesday and I asked them about the turnout. They said that they were expecting around 25 people - with a straight face,” he adds.
All this while, college authorities have offered consolation - and not much else. “They kept on saying that we will all get better rooms after the Games,” he adds.
Aniket’s friend and another student Pranav was also among those being asked to vacate hostel room. But he was not as lucky as Aniket, as he had to pay huge amount for the PG accommodation. “ This July, many North Campus students were out on the streets, checking out PG options. It was a godsend for the landlords in the near by localities - the rents suddenly ballooned,” says Pranav.
He adds that the rooms which were available for Rs 4000-5000 a month last year, were now going for Rs 8,000 with Rs 2,000 more for food. “For a student like me it was very difficult to pay this much,” he says.
His guess is that the rooms in the hostel will not be used. “Earlier we were told that delegates will come and stay here but later they said these rooms will be turned into low budget hotel for tourists. But they have not advertised at all. How will the foreigners get to know about it?” he questions.
These students have been staying away from their hostel rooms since July and will return only by end of October. The sole promise that they see in this farce is the renovated hostel they will get then.
But that is hardly a compensation for the costs they have incurred in these months living outside.
"We will keep asking for compensation for the extra costs we have incurred," they both say.
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