HC seeks DU response on inadequate hostels in campus

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New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the Delhi University to respond on a plea filed against the inadequate availability of hostels and absence of a standardised renting system around the North and South campuses.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath asked the counsel appearing for DU to take instructions on the issue from the university.

“Get instructions on the issues raised in the petition,” said the bench posting the matter for July 18 when a similar plea would also come for hearing.

The plea filed by Praveen Kumar, a DU alumni and co-ordinator of the Right to Accommodation movement, through advocate Kamlesh Kumar Mishra, sought the court’s direction for DU to ensure section 33 of the University of Delhi Act, 1922, under which the university should provide accommodation to all students enrolled with it, is abided by.

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Mishra told the bench that as per the act, all the regular students shall be provided with residences, however, 86 percent students o f the university have been left at the mercy of landlords and property dealers who exploit the students including women scholars.

“PG and other such structures which have mushroomed in and around the university campus and colleges, especially in the North and South campus, have no standards. The students are being exploited with excessive rents and exorbitant increase in them at the owners’ whims and fancies.

“The major reason for this persistent exploitation is the abs ence of any standards or guidelines for regulating the PGs,” said the plea.

It added: “Many of these PGs and private hostels are also owned by the professors in the university who do not seem to be wanting to cut their pockets by letting the university make more hostels in order to accommodate students.”

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Mishra said as per 2015 data total number of students enrolled were 1,84,668 and the capacity of the hostels were just 7,339. The plea said that the “students have been forced to live in small rooms paying exorbitantly high rent, eat at unhygienic eateries, be harassed by landlords, bear an added burden of financial constraints which is an added cause of depression among university students”.

The plea also sought direction for DU to declare the area in and around 5 km radius of both campuses as a special students zone where minimum rent is fixed for students’ accommodations. It further sought the single occupancy rooms be made double occupancy, start of 24x 7 library and reading rooms, opening up of hotel messes for the non-resident students, and a representation to the government to implement the fixation of rent in the university area.

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