'Closed' Mumbai University hostel now home to canteen staff

Jan 08, 2019, 16:40 IST | Pallavi Smart

The Mumbai University hostel, which can accommodate around 150 students, has been closed for over two years after continuous complaints by residents regarding its dangerous condition

'Closed' Mumbai University hostel now home to canteen staff
Amol Matele (left) in one of the rooms where canteen employees now reside

With the ho-stalemate continuing at the Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil boys' hostel in Mumbai University's Kalina campus, another controversy has surfaced at the property. While outstation students are forced to pick unaffordable living options because of the unavailability of the hostel, employees of the varsity's canteen have made it their home.

The hostel, which can accommodate around 150 students, has been closed for over two years after continuous complaints by residents regarding its dangerous condition. There hasn't been any progress with its repairs, and it is now housing residents it wasn't originally meant for.

Canteen to hostel
"We casually visited the hostel last week to check the progress of repair work and find out if it will be available for students at least in the next academic year. As expected, no work was going on there and nothing has been repaired yet. But, it was shocking to see some people living in those rooms with bedding and other necessities," said Amol Matele, president of NCP's students' wing.

"After speaking to one person there, we found that the people living there are employees of MU's canteen. Around 10 of them reside here. We found this very appalling. On the one hand, the varsity is showing no interest in repairing the hostel on priority basis which is very important for several outstation students. On the other, the administration is so casual about the entire issue that it is not aware about its premises being used like this," added Matele, who will be meeting MU's Vice Chancellor to talk about the issue and demand a strict inquiry against the department looking after the varsity's infrastructure.

MU says
Speaking to mid-day, MU's PRO and deputy registrar Leeladhar Bansod, said, "Considering students' safety, instead of small repair work, the varsity decided to take a bigger step. Following this, all varsity buildings have undergone structural, green and safety audits. Now, as the reported has been submitted, the required work will begin at specific places. That is why there has been a delay on this. We'll have to inquire in the case of canteen employees living in this building."

The ho-stalemate
mid-day had reported on June 22, 2018 (right) in 'Is it out of station, out of campus?' about outstation students, many of whom were studying for their masters and PhD, slamming MU for not repairing the hostel for the second year in a row. The hostel had been closed following continuous complaints by resident students regarding their dangerous living conditions. The students were earlier under a constant risk of fire and short-circuit, due to open electric wires hanging in corridors. The wall and ceiling slabs were so unstable that they could fall anytime. While MU closed it for repair work, it has made no progress on its renovation.

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