Mumbai: JJ School of Art students risk life and limb at this hostel

Feb 23, 2017, 08:45 IST | Pallavi Smart

The PWD-run hostel in Bandra for students of Sir JJ School of Art
The PWD-run hostel in Bandra for students of Sir JJ School of Art

How can creativity be birthed at such squalor? Twenty students of Sir JJ School of Art live in the constant fear that their public works department (PWD)-run hostel will cave in at any moment.

The hostel has been falling apart. Hack repairs alone have been undertaken, say inmates
The hostel has been falling apart. Hack repairs alone have been undertaken, say inmates

The over 50-year-old hostel in Bandra's Kalanagar — meant for underprivileged outstation students — has been falling apart, complain inmates. Walls have developed cracks; some have peeled off. Ceiling slabs have fallen at some spots, and rickety windows barely do the job.

It has a capacity to house 120 students of Sir JJ School of Art, but many have fled at the mere sight of its pitiable condition; it currently has only 20 inmates. Accommodation at the hostel is pegged at R4,000 a year, excluding canteen charges.

Hack jobs
An inmate says that each time a problem with the building crops up, a hurried, shoddy job is undertaken. "For how long can the authorities rely on hack jobs? Are they waiting for a disaster before waking up to gravity of the issue?"

Another student alleges that there are "cracks everywhere in the building".

"No one has any idea when was the last time it was painted. Right outside the rooms, one can the patches where the ceiling has been held up by slabs. One can only pray that you're not under the ceiling when it caves. Rooms have been shut because there are such decrepit condition."

Students say they have raised the issue several times with the authorities concerned, but no solution has been offered.

Not our responsibility: JJ
Dr Rajiv Mishra, director of Directorate of Arts and principal of Sir JJ School of Art, said he was aware of the building's condition, but laid the blame at the PWD's doors.

"We do not maintain the hostel. Over one and a half months ago, we had submitted a report based on students' complains before the PWD and asked it to undertake repairs."

Ashish Kumar Singh, secretary of the PWD, was unavailable for comments despite several attempts.

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