No place to live, no place to study

The ailing infrastructure these doctors have to make do with needs a healing fast

sonal

Sonal Matharu | June 10, 2010


Studying in this room in the old building gave 20 students dengue and 10 malaria
Studying in this room in the old building gave 20 students dengue and 10 malaria

When in 2007, VMMC students were shifted from the cramped teaching rooms to the new six-storey building, liitle did they know that the lifts in the designer building will never work. They did not know that to use the toilets, they will have to walk to the other building. They never imagined that they will have to go hungry for days to get potable water in the water coolers.

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These lifts in the new college building go nowhere

As they once again bring the hospital to a standstill, they wonder what happened to the Rs 200 lakh sanctioned for the maintenance of the college for the year 2008-2009.

“We filed an application under RTI and found out the amount of money given to the hospital by the government for maintenance. We want to know where has this money gone?,” said one third-year student showing the RTI reply sheet.

The VMMC college building has six lifts, not one works. The drinking water coolers are not connected to water purifiers.

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The doctors who treat our water-borne diseases have no access to drinking water themselves

The toilets have no taps and the urinals are covered with plastic sheets. The emergency fire alarm will not ring even if a brick is thrown at it. The four lecture rooms in the building have no source of ventilation and the air-conditioner in the building is never on.

“Last month we called off the strike after we were promised that everything will be fixed. The AC worked for one day after that and the next day it was turned off again. Recently, while writing the exams in one of the basement classrooms, four students fainted. There was no electricity and more than 75 students were packed in one room,” said a third-year student who did not wish to be named.

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Covering up the ineffciency? The urinals in the new college building lie covered forcing students to walk to the old building to use the loo

The college has no back-up generator. The underground parking space is never given to the students to park their vehicles. The area which was the tutorial waiting room now has old furniture dumped behind a mesh gate with a lock. The hall on the ground floor of the college building has Table Tennis tables thrown in one corner.

The field adjacent the college building, which was supposed to be the sports field, now has all species of shrubs and bushes growing on it. Two poles stand where the volleyball court should have been and a circumference of burnt clay bricks is the basketball court of the college.

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The only games played with reference to this sports-field are boardroom blame-games.

“Due to the Delhi Metro construction, our only Nescafe stall was demolished. We asked the authorities to relocate it at the area near the sports field. They said they do not have the money to buy cement to build the cafeteria,” said Manish Nigam, a third-year student:

Dr. Prasad, while talking to the students outside OPD building said, “The contract of the college building was with HSCC and they were supposed to hand over the administration to the CPWD in 2008. But due to some reason, but they did not do so. The moment we take over, we’ll manage the maintenance work.”

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The students have filed a RTI on maintenance funds even as the college claims that it doesn't have enough to even mend broken taps

These officials explain their handicap to the students who continue their studies despite the hardships they are facing at the hospital. A cat sleeps inside one of the reading rooms. Last year, 30 students fell sick after studying in the library - 20 students got dengue and 10 students got malaria. Gaurav Chawla points out that the seniors pay out of pocket for the AC repairs and other minor works in this room.

The doctors would not fall for the director’s fake promises this second time. They say they will not call off the strike till the time they see the problems solved.

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Waiting-area in the new building is a storehouse for old furniture

The hospital lacks transparency. The students say they never get receipts for the exam fees. Every year, 75 students give Rs 30,000 fee per annum (subsidised) and 25 students give Rs 1 lakh fee per annum (non-subsidised) yet witness a complete breakdown of the hospital infrastructure. 

“The seniors in this hospital live like kings and we students live like paupers. They get paid by the government and we pay the government,” said a PG student.

All photos by Sonal Matharu

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