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Condition of student hostels pathetic: SFI

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The condition of several students' hostels under the purview of the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare, and the Backward Classes, Most Backward Classes and Minorities Welfare Departments are pathetic, according to the Students' Federation of India (SFI).

Addressing a press meet in this connection here on Saturday, SFI State president K.S. Kanakaraj said many students staying in the hostels across the State would come together in Chennai and take out a rally on February 9 to draw attention to the issue.

According to the SFI, nearly 600 government hostels were functioning out of rented premises. Inadequate space and bathroom and toilet facilities, poor quality of food and the lack of a systematic grievance redressal mechanism made life challenging for most students, Mr. Kanakaraj said. “The amount sanctioned by the government for expenses on food is Rs.15 per school student per day, and about Rs.18 per college student per day. With the price rise we are seeing today, how will these be sufficient,” he asked.

Students were unable to get the necessary nutrition and were forced to find part-time jobs. “We see many students working part time with catering service providers at weddings. They go and help the cooks by serving and cleaning so that they can have that one good meal,” Mr. Kanakaraj said.

To a question on hostels being overcrowded in the city and relatively emptier in rural areas, Mr. Kanakaraj said that in many hostels, particularly in rural areas, students were forced into labour. “From fetching drinking water to cleaning hostels, students are asked to do all the work. Some find this tedious and go away, at the cost of their education.” CPI (M) State Secretary G. Ramakrishnan will address the rally.

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