Published: 05th October 2017
Holidays are an escape for boys of this dilapidated Tiruchy Hostel that has few toilets and many problems
Government officials had promised the residents a solution but no moves have been initiated to better the living conditions of these 400 boys
Holidays are a time of nostalgia, good food and a short vacation from hostel friends, but for the 400 boys residing at the Dr Ambedkar College Students Hostel at Khajamalai in Tiruchy, holidays are an escape from unhygienic living conditions, hungry nights and fear of the roof caving in.
The residents are battling hard to get quality food and hygienic surroundings, and have complained that despite there being issues pending to be solved, responsible departments are turning a blind eye. The boys had staged a demonstration on August 1 over poor hostel facilities where government officials including the tahsildar, had intervened and assured them false respite. Many of the boys also come from weak economic backgrounds and several go to sleep on an empty stomach, hungry and starving.
We would flee to our native places when holidays arrive as we are assured of a good meal for two days
A second-year student of Periyar EVR College residing in the hostel rued the food quality. The rice is not cooked properly and other items are bland, with no spices added. He stated about 400 students stay at the hostel in two different buildings.
The old building is where the entry to the first and second floors is blocked and the infrastructure damaged over the years to an extent the roof could cave in at any moment. Another major issue the students face is with restrooms
He stated about 400 students stay at the hostel in two different buildings. The old building is where the entry to the first and second floors is blocked and the infrastructure damaged over the years to an extent the roof could cave in at any moment. Another major issue the students face is with restrooms.
Bad Bathrooms: Of the 20 restrooms in the hostel, only 14 are functional for the 400 students (representative image)
There are 20 restrooms but only 14 are functional, said a final-year student. "We have made representations a number of times but the issue has still not been dealt with," he said. When Express tried to reach hostel officials, they remained elusive. An official at the hostel, refusing to be named, said the issues could not be discussed without the go-ahead from the district administration.
A senior official of the State National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) said a thorough inspection has been initiated by the department to keep a check on hostels for smooth functioning. He said hostels should be provided with all facilities, including proper food and a hygienic setting.
Recently, NCSC officials conducted an inspection at the Adi Dravidar Welfare Hostel in Thuraiyur and warned office-bearers for not providing enough facilities. The officials instructed hostel wardens t be always present. "We have been notifying our officials to carry out inspections regularly to make sure the students do not face hardship. An inspection will be initiated at Khajamalai within a short span of time," the official said.