Mumbai: Months after its inauguration on July 8, 2022, Mumbai University’s new Bhagini Nivedita girls' hostel still stands without a food mess or a running water supply. Female students at the Kalina campus have to flock to the food mess of neighboring boys' hostels or resort to ordering via delivery apps.
“I have been living at the hostel since November 2022 and we still don’t have the mess. We keep going to the food hall at the boys' hostel which is nearly 2 km away. With our in-time as 10 pm, it gets difficult for us to get back in time after dinner,” said an MSc student living in the hostel.
Ordering food is not an option as having food delivered multiple times a day turns out to be an expensive affair for many students. These girls have managed to make their way to the neighboring mess. “I have been going to the boys' hostel mess three times a day.
It can be crowded at times since it is accommodating students from two hostels instead of one. As the sun goes down my friends and I try to travel in groups while walking to and from dinner. Our warden has been open to our queries and we hope to take this issue ahead,” said a MA student who moved in a fortnight ago.
"The same issue exists at the Savitribai Phule girls' hostel, which has been there on MU's Kalina campus for a long time. Students from rural areas who come to MU cannot shell out 80-100 rupees for each meal. The absence of a mess has an immediate impact on their academic progress and may even lead to future health issues," said Mahesh Samant, a student activist.
The food problem is topped off by the recurring water problem faced by the girls at MU. Tanks filled with water arrive at the MU hostel each morning and most rooms get water by 8 am. “Lectures for certain streams begin as early as 7 am and those students have to leave their rooms without showering each morning,” said another student.
Currently, 75 girls that occupy the hostel rely on a water tanker that comes once every two days and costs Rs 5,000 per tanker. Student activists are angered over this approach which might cost the varsity more than acquiring a running water supply.
“Until now, the girls' hostel building has not been connected to municipal water, and water is supplied by tankers. Due to this inconvenience, only 75 girls are living in the hostel, which can accommodate 150 students. MU has been receiving hundreds of applications for the remaining space, but they have not been allotted,” said Pradeep Sawant, former senate member from Yuva Sena.
The new girls' hostel building was inaugurated in July 2022 alongside the International Boys’ Hostel, Digital Library, and an examination department building. Of these, only the examination building has been fully occupied while the girls’ hostel remains partially full.
“We are getting all NOCs cleared and have appointed a plumber to get the works done for all four buildings,” informed an official spokesperson from Mumbai University.
The girls' hostel also remained empty for a long period after its inauguration due to a delay in the varsity's allotment process.
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