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Students’ hostel turns office

Sonepur, Oct. 11: The government’s plan to construct hostels for SC and ST students has proved futile as in many places such hostels either lie abandoned or are used for other purposes.

One such hostel meant for SC and ST students of Maharaja High School of Sonepur, which was built for Rs 30 lakh, is now being used to house two government departments. The reason for this is that there were no SC and ST students to stay in the hostel.

For the past two years, offices of the district welfare department and district social welfare department have been operating from the hostel building.

Sources said the state government had decided to provide hostel facility to SC and ST students across the state. But the plan lacked vision. Many of these hostels, like the one at Sonepur, are used for other purposes.

President of Subarnapur Zilla Adivasi Kalyan Sangh Jogendra Bhoi said it was a sheer wastage of money to have built such a hostel in the district headquarter town of Sonepur.

“I don’t know what prompted the government to build such a hostel in Sonepur where there are no SC/ST students. There is a need for such hostels in the rural pockets of the district, where the number of SC and ST students is more. At many places in the district, SC and ST students are not provided with any hostel accommodation. It is sheer wastage of government money to have such a hostel in Sonepur, which is of no use,” Bhoi said.

During its visit to the district last year, the SC and ST Committee of the state Assembly had expressed concern over the matter and instructed the district administration to make the hostel functional.

It had even suggested that if high school students were not available, SC and ST students of Sonepur College could stay at the hostel. But even that was not done.

District welfare officer Kalindi Charan Bhoi said the hostel, which was built in 2007-08, had remained vacant for a long time, as there were no SC and ST students at Maharaj High School.

“The hostel remained vacant for a long time, as no students from Maharaja High School came to stay there. Following the suggestion of the SC and ST Committee of the state Assembly we tried to accommodate college students at the hostel. But the college authorities didn’t show any interest,” Bhoi said.

He added that the two departments which were now operating from the hostel building didn’t have their own offices. “Both the offices of the district welfare and the district social welfare departments were functioning from rented houses. So, we shifted the offices to the hostel building,” Bhoi added.

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