Students of MCom Part I who have been allotted SK Somaiya College of Arts, Science and Commerce in Vidyavihar as their centre have a lot to worry about apart from their exam preparations. At least 400 students who are appearing for their board exams at the centre this year are suffering owing to the fact that the newly inaugurated Aurobindo building, on the fifth, sixth and seventh floors of which they are writing their exams, has no water supply from the BMC.
What’s more, students have to climb the stairs all the way up, as they have been banned from using the four elevators inside the premises. When this correspondent from MiD DAY visited the centre, he was forced to climb the stairs to the third floor in order to reach the principal’s office. Though the students were originally allotted seats in the institution’s old building, the centre was shifted to the newly inaugurated Aurobindo building. Kamlesh Kapasi, parent of an examinee, said, “My daughter is appearing for her exams at this centre and I was surprised to see that examinees have to climb the stairs up to the seventh floor. When I asked the security guard to allow the students to use the elevator, he said that the management has denied permission for the same. The building does not have a BMC water connection yet, forcing the management to bring in filled bottles of drinking water from the adjacent building.”
Dr Sangeeta Kohli, principal of the degree college, said, “The BMC water supply for this building is still in the pipeline. But we have arranged for 20 litre water cans on each floor to provide students with filtered drinking water. The water from the bore-well connection provides water at the restrooms on all the floors.” Regarding the elevators, she said, “The students have been denied access to lifts at all the exam centres around Mumbai. For the past 17 years, students have been climbing five floors in our old building without any complaints. Why should they have any problems now?”
Rajan Prabhu, assistant engineer (water) for the BMC N ward, said, “The college management has applied for a new water connection, but they are yet to clear arrears, due to which there has been a delay in providing the connection. I will surely look into the matter and speed up the process.” V Ranganathan, the institution’s honorary secretary, said, “As soon as this issue was brought to my notice, I instructed the staff to take necessary steps to assure the welfare and comfort of students appearing for the exams. I have granted permission for students writing their exam on the seventh floor to use the lifts, and have also appointed two liftmen to oversee the process. I have also ordered the supply of two 20-litre water bottles on every floor. An officer has been deputed to supervise the matter and make sure that all these facilities are being provided. There is proper water supply in the toilets on every floor, and the BMC’s supply will be availed within a few days.”
When asked why the old building of S K Somaiya College is not being used as the centre, Ranganathan said, “The new building has better facilities compared to the old building. So we have shifted the entire degree college department to the new building. We inaugurated the building on March 19 this year and lectures will commence as soon as the college reopens in June.” While the principal was not available, the vice-principal completely denied the allegations about the lack of drinking water and the ban on the use of elevators imposed on the students. Subhash Deo, director of examinations, University of Mumbai, said, “I am looking into the matter. The principal of the college is out of station but I am issuing instructions to resolve all the problems at the exam centre.”