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Students protest PU hostel diktat

- Friday march to Raj Bhavan
Patna College students demonstrate on the campus for hostel allotment on Thursday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey

Patna College boarders plan to intensify their agitation over the Patna University’s decision not to assign hostel rooms this academic session.

The boarders would march down to Raj Bhavan on Friday in support of their demands. The students, protesting against the college and university administration, staged a dharna outside Patna College principal N.K. Chaudhary’s chamber on Thursday.

Sources said the PU, to improve the academic atmosphere and to get rid of students indulging in group clashes or other anti-social activities at the varsity and on the college premises, has decided not to allot hostels to students this year.

Coming down heavily on protesters demanding admission in Patna College hostels, PU has asked the students to study without accommodation or leave the college.

PU dean, students’ welfare, K.N. Paswan said: “The university administration has decided not to allot hostels to Patna College students this year. It is not necessary that all students of the college get accommodation facilities, as only 10 per cent of them stay in hostels.”

The university, by not allotting the hostel to students, has offered the logic that the renovation work of the hostels is yet to start and hence, there would be no allotment of rooms to students this year. The students claimed that every year, the renovation work of hostels is carried out for a month, between May 31 and June 30.

This year, they added, no such work was undertaken during that period this year.

Kunal Kumar, a third-year geography student at Patna College, said: “Every year, the college administration with the beginning of the new academic session allots the hostel rooms to its students but this year, the college administration has failed to do so.”

For providing accommodation facilities to students, Patna College has New Hostel, Minto Hostel, Jackson Hostel and Iqbal Hostel. The majority of rooms in these hostels have single-seat occupancy and around 350 students are provided accommodation in these hostels. Though the hostel rooms are provided to students on the basis of the merit list prepared by the college administration, the majority of students living in these hostels are students from far-flung areas studying at Patna College.

Ankit Kumar Suman, a second-year history student, said: “Hostel facilities are a big relief for students because of the economical factor involved. A student has to pay Rs 2,700 per year for getting the hostel accommodation but any student who plans to take a single room outside at Ashok Rajpath, he has to pay more than Rs 3,500 per month.”

Suman added that the hostel facilities are a big relief to students belonging to poor or middle-class families and by not allotting hostel rooms, the university and college administration have tried to curb them financially.

Sources said PU had been on the boil with a series of incidents over the past few months. Arrest warrants had been issued against students involved in “ruckus and property damage” in various colleges under PU.

Also, on April 29, boarders of Iqbal Hostel assaulted PU dean, students’ welfare, Paswan, who was in-charge principal of Patna College. He had gone to the hostel after a person complained that some boarders had assaulted him. The principal was then chased and beaten up by the boarders.

Again on May 5, law students, who were protesting against the “stringent measures” taken by the administration to stop “unfair means in exams”, had assaulted Patna Science College chemistry teacher Randhir Kumar.