Dumka, July 2: The JVM today launched a two-day dharna to protest against government neglect of welfare hostels, drawing nearly 1,000 inmates from across Santhal Pargana who flocked to Yagya Maidan in support of the campaign.
JVM chief Babulal Marandi claimed that all the 468 hostels run by the welfare department — meant for students of state-run schools and intermediate and undergraduate colleges — of Jharkhand were lacking in basic amenities.
“Many hostels were set up during my tenure. But my government stepped down even before I could create adequate number of posts for cooks, guards, et al and ensure basic facilities at the hostels,” the former chief minister said, adding the upkeep of welfare hostels was not on the priority list of the present regime.
The students who attended the dharna gave vent to their ire, blaming the government for lack of power supply and security, crammed rooms, drinking water crisis, unsanitary lavatories and bathrooms.
Punam Marandi, the prefect of a Jamtara-based tribal welfare hostel for girls, said, “We have been running from pillar to post to draw the attention of the authorities concerned towards the plight at our hostels, but in vain. It is high time the government took notice. Otherwise, we will be left with no option but launch an agitation demanding the government’s removal.”
She said the girls at many hostels were forced to step out of the premises, in the absence of proper bathrooms.
Sunita Marandi, who stays at a hostel of a Karharbil-based middle school in Dumka, said the inmates had to face eve-teasing and live in fear of goons, as there was no security arrangements.