Dengue outbreak at South Asian University (SAU) worries students

The campus is surrounded by grass, making it a haven for mosquitoes, students claim
File photo of SAU campus | (Pic: Students)
File photo of SAU campus | (Pic: Students)

With increasing cases of dengue in the national capital last week, students at the South Asian University (SAU) have not been spared either. Students complain that the new campus is surrounded by grass, making it a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which are present even inside the AC reading rooms.

"The first of the students who caught dengue were in the PhD reading room," claims a student on the condition of anonymity. She adds that as six to seven cases were reported, they approached the authorities to take action. However, they received only vague assurances in return, the student alleges.

Though there is a health centre at the university, it is not big enough to accommodate all the affected students, they claim. "There is only one doctor and she has tried asking the university to take action. But that's not her job," the student claims. It may be noted here that SAU has issued an advisory for the students on its website, asking them to take precautions against dengue.

"As dengue cases are increasing day by day inspite of all the precautions being taken inside the hostel and the SAU campus. We request the students to take maximum precautions even when they are out of the SAU campus", the notice without a date reads, advising students to keep their rooms clean, avoid areas with stagnant water, wear full-covered clothes and using mosquito repellants.

All the same, the students demand that the premises be cleaned. It also worries them that they are located far away from Delhi's main thoroughfare. "We are cut off, which is why treatment at other medical centres in the absence of space here becomes difficult. Moreover, we have health insurance which can be claimed only when we obtain services from the health centre here," the student alleges.

The students mention that this is not the only disease outbreak at SAU. Last year, some of them suffered from bacterial stomach infections and it was found that the drinking water at the hostels was unfit for drinking and was also being used for cooking without filtration, they claim.

Can't protest, say students
The anonymous student said that some of their seniors met the authorities, but the issue remains. Meanwhile, a few first-year students started emailing the authorities today, August 11, though they claim that no responses have been received yet. "Since SAU has maintained a strict stand on dissent and had suspended four faculty members last year, they do not want to intervene this time," the student claims, adding that even they are unable to protest as they signed an undertaking during admission against the same.

The university authorities are yet to respond to EdexLive's questions on the exact number of active dengue cases at present, and the steps taken by them to curb the spread of the disease. This copy will be updated as and when a response is received.

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