Published: 02nd November 2020
Researchers were paid for 8 months without work, can use a month's stipend on quarantine: PU Andaman justifies move to disallow quarantine in hostels
The researchers of the university had previously alleged that they weren't allowed to enter the campus without quarantine and had to shell out extra money on this
Going back to the university after a hiatus of seven long months is turning out to be a rather expensive deal for the research scholars of Pondicherry University's Port Blair off-campus centre, they say. They allege that the university lets them into the hostel only after completing a seven-day quarantine in a place outside the campus and are forced to shell out at least Rs 1,000 a day, owing to this.
However, the university sources tell us that they are rather helpless and cannot admit the students to the hostels, owing to the Standard Operating Protocols followed by the Andaman and Nicobar administration. "As per the Andaman Administration SoP, anyone who comes to the UT by air should undergo the week-long quarantine," says Professor P M Mohan from the university.
At the same time, the researcher says that the university has vacant hostel rooms and faculty quarters where students can quarantine themselves. "Instead, the students are asked to quarantine in hotel rooms in the city. This is a lot of money, considering that most of us spend a fortune already on our tickets to Port Blair," says a researcher, who did not wish to be named. However, the university refuted the claim and asked the researchers to devote at least a month's fellowship stipend for this. "The researchers were paid their stipends during the last eight months even when they were not working. They might use at least a month's stipend for this purpose," says Mohan.
Explaining why the university doesn't allow quarantine inside the hostels, he says, "Our campus is very small and all buildings exist within a distance of 750 metres." He adds, "All the existing rooms are occupied. When the residents left for their homes due to lockdown, no one vacated their rooms and until today, those rooms are locked and the residents have the keys.
He adds that the hostel mess isn't functional and that the toilets are common, which wouldn't be convenient for students to quarantine in. "This is why we advised them to stay outside for a week," says Mohan.