Published: 11th October 2019
Pondicherry University hostel girls protest after being forced to sleep on the floor for three months
After the protests on October 10, the administration has now promised to provide beds, cots and furniture by Monday, October 14, 2019
The residents of the new girls' hostel at Pondicherry University were on a strike on Thursday against the inadequate supply of beds, cots and furniture in their rooms — forcing students to sleep on the floor — urging the administration to address the issue immediately. The first-year students who have joined in the current academic year have not received adequate furniture at the hostel despite several complaints to the administration since July when the classes began.
Explaining just how dire things have gotten, the students talk about how wretched living conditions are. "Our classes began on July 15, 2019. We were promised beds, cots and furniture at the new hostel as whatever was present were not adequate for the number of students staying there. Specifically, the first-year students have been affected by this. The rooms on the fourth and fifth floors do not have enough cots and so the students are forced to sleep on the floor. It is extremely inconvenient as during the monsoons rainwater seeps inside and that is a horrible situation for the students inside the rooms. We have been sending numerous representations to the administration," says Mamatha, a Sociology (MA) first-year student at the varsity. She is also the Vice-President at the PU students' union.
Students speaking to the varsity director
For the younger students, the thought of the monsoon and the winter are just horrifying. "It's been three months since we began staying here in the hostel. Even after such a long span of time, we still don't have beds or cots, despite having paid Rs 16,000 each as the hostel fees. They promised us that we would get the furniture on September 1, but they still have not delivered. We could not wait any longer as winter is also coming and there is an insect problem. If we keep sleeping on the floor it could take a toll on our health," says Rupsha Mukherjee, who is pursuing her masters in Anthropology at the varsity.
Despite all the pressure from the students and the PU. not much has been forthcoming, "On Thursday, the warden came in first and said that she has her hands tied and can't make a decision on this matter. We then went to the chief warden and she said the same thing. Later, the Director came and assured us that on Monday they will give it to us. We have promised that if that does not happen we will move to the Administration Block and continue our protest," she adds.
Students explaining their problems to the hostel warden and chief warden
After the protests on Thursday, the administration has now promised to provide beds, cots and furniture by Monday, October 14, 2019. The students have, however, said that they will continue protesting if the required furniture is not in place by 6.30 pm on Monday. "The protest organised by the inmates of new girls' tower hostel ended with the assurance promised in writing by the Director (CCR) to deliver the required number of cots by 6.30 pm, October 14, 2019 (Monday). The strike will resume if the promises are not delivered at the specified time. Students' Council salutes the inmates of the new girls' tower hostel and the whole student community of Pondicherry University for standing up for your rights," the PUSU wrote in a statement on Thursday.
This is the newly elected Union's first big skirmish with the administration and they are hoping for a good resolution, "This furniture was supposed to be at the campus by September 20, however, only false promises were being made by the varsity administration. Now, let's see if they finally get them by Monday," adds P Parichay Yadav, the current PUSU president.