No room at AIIMS, female docs insecure

Sep 19, 2011, 07:49 IST | Astha Saxena

With eve teasing cases rampant, while 126 women residents have been allotted rooms to hostels, 117 others are staying outside campus and are forced to travel long distances every day

With eve teasing cases rampant, while 126 women residents have been allotted rooms to hostels, 117 others are staying outside campus and are forced to travel long distances every day

This is one problem that can't be cured by popping a pill. 50 per cent of the residents at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), men as well as women, are still waiting to get rooms in hostels of the country's premier medical institute. As per data disclosed in an RTI reply, around 500 junior as well as senior residents are in a waiting list to get a roof inside the campus. 598 residents, including juniors and seniors, have been allotted rooms.

'Stay order': Women's hostel inside AIIMS campus in Delhi. file Pic

Five long years
"We have been fighting this issue for the past five years. Sadly, there is no development. There were two problems, which were taken up with the authorities together. One was about parking issues and the other one was about hostel rooms. The parking issue has been solved, but no action has been taken on the hostel front. We have been running from pillar to post,  but now the matter has been transferred to Permanent Negotiation Machinery," said Dr Debjyoti Karmakar, president, Resident Doctors Association (RDA), AIIMS.

What a pity!  Scene outside AIIMS.

Though 126 women residents have been allotted rooms, 117 others (including juniors and seniors) are staying outside the campus. Female doctors are worried, as they don't have any fixed duty hours and it's not safe to travel to the institute at night, as the institute doesn't provide them with any conveyance. 

Odd hours, no safety
"Room allotment is hugely delayed. These girls have to commute from far off places and stay odd hours for duty. It is not safe for women in the Capital to travel on their own, especially during late hours. They should be provided accommodation the day they join. There have been problems reported of eve teasing and harassment," said Puja Beriwal, representative, Resident Doctors' Association (RDA), AIIMS.

"We all know how unsafe Delhi is. Still authorities don't do anything about shortage of hostel rooms. It is really difficult for female doctors to commute when they have duty at night," added Dr Karmakar. Dr Manoj Singh, president, Faculty Members' Association (FMA), AIIMS, said, "We have been demanding for several years that there should be adequate rooms for resident doctors and faculty members. But every time what they give us is not up to the mark."

Apart from the shortage of rooms, the existing hostels have many other problems. According to doctors, there is a basic nuisance of seepage, terrible electric connections, which may lead to short circuits etc. The women's hostel does not even have attached washrooms. On an average, for every six persons there is one washroom.
"Women's hostel should at least have attached washrooms in respective rooms. This is a necessity for all girls. And by chance, if that existing washroom needs repairing, then the engineering department takes seven-eight months to carry out the repair," said a doctor on the condition of anonymity.

Also, 33 rooms are currently under renovation or repair. There are three types of rooms in the hostel. Single seaters, which can accommodate only one person, double seaters, which can house two doctors, and for married couples. There are a few three seaters as well. According to doctors, the rooms are packed well beyond capacity.

"Around two-three residents stay in  single seater rooms and four to six in double seaters. The resident doctors try to accommodate their friends in their rooms, so they don't have to face the hassle of commuting from different places," said a senior doctor on the condition of anonymity. 

Approx. number of hostel rooms at AIIMS

More rooms are needed
Figures provided by a senior resident doctor, on condition of anonymity

Truf talk
At AIIMS hostels, rooms are allotted according to a list prepared by the hostel section.  This is on date of joining basis.  All entrants are therefore advised to apply for hostels as soon as they join in case they are interested in such accommodation. The following preference is given in the allotment of seats in postgraduate hostels: senior residents, junior residents, PhD scholars, MSc students. Proof of marriage is required for considering allotment to hostel for married couples. There is a waiting list for some of the postgraduate hostels and the married couples' accommodation.  Students are given alternate transit accommodation in three seaters and two seater rooms till the time accommodation is available. The wait list is updated every month for married accommodation & for single accommodation, once in three months. Trainees and other similar category of applicants are accommodated depending on the availability of seats.

The other side
"I have to check all the details about the hostel plan. Things are moving extremely slowly in this case, but there will definitely be change. We are talking with the authorities regarding the hostel issue and we have some proposals too, but still I need to check," said Dr YK Gupta, official spokesperson, AIIMS.

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