Monday December 18, 2017
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Accommodation dilemma: DU hostel crunch continues


By Arundhati Roy

New Delhi: New Delhi witnesses an influx of thousands of students every year for the sole purpose of getting admitted to its premier institution—Delhi University. With hopes riding on their back and starry eyes, these students come in search for a way to pave their paths and shape their dreams. Dodging sky-rocketing cut-offs and landing themselves into the best of colleges in the country, you might think that there is no stopping for these young minds. But soon enough these dreams face a road block, obstructed by the need to survive with bare minimum. That is when DU begins to show its ugly side that tends to remain veiled by the exciting and glamorous outer layer.

The slogan,8,000 ka room, 5,000 ka khana, mushkil ho gaya Papa ke tankhwa mein padh pana” has come to address this emotion right on target, faced by the majority of the students studying in DU. Praveen Singh, an alumnus of the University and the convenor of the ‘Right to Accommodation’ movement, has been trying to get the issue addressed by the concerned authorities since September 2014.  Angered by the lack of hostel seats and affordable living conditions for students, a group of young change-makers had started this movement demanding the implementation of section 33 of Delhi University Act 1922, under which the University is bound to provide accommodation to every student. The baffling bit of this story is that the University itself was oblivious to this Act, denying it on the grounds of non-feasibility due to the ever increasing student count.

“Even though the DU administration had assured that the demands will be met to call off the strike, a year later nothing has been said or done on the issue”, was what Praveen Singh had to say when asked about the responses to his dharna.

The indefinite strike, being hosted outside gate number 1 of the Arts Faculty building, is already a month old. Innumerable rallies and demonstrations have already been conducted around areas predominantly inhabited by students like Nehru Vihar, Christian Colony, Munirka, Gandhi Vihar and Mukherjee Nagar. DU V-C gherao was organised on September 15 to gain the attention of varsity’s vice chancellor Dr Dinesh Singh but to no avail. Next in line is an Indefinite Hunger Strike which is on cards from October 2.

“This movement is not just for me and you; it is for all the students who are yet to enrol into this university. It is now upon us to decide what legacy we wish to leave behind for the generations to come,” Praveen Singh said as he urged every student to join them in their Indefinite Hunger Strike. 

Given to the exorbitant land rates in this part of the country, it becomes difficult for outstation students to solely depend upon private accommodations. The situation is even worse for female students as most of the co-ed colleges do not provide hostel facilities to women. This puts a lot of pressure on outstation students from lower strata of the middle class families as they can hardly cough up the rent realised by PG vallahs and local landlords. If that’s not all, the hassle of paying brokerage is another headache that the students wish to avoid. Adding to their woes is the landlords’ unwillingness to issue receipts or undertake general maintenance of the rooms given out on Emphasizing the need to ‘start’ building multiple floors on top of the already existing hostels, Singh believes that his demands are feasible and needs implementation at the earliest. Delhi University should take the responsibility of making arrangements for accommodation in the vicinity of college campuses.

Burdened by the weight to pay the rent along with the tension to feed his stomach, an average DU student has come to a point where he has to think twice before pulling out a 50 rupee note from his wallet. Both the Delhi Government and Delhi University need to take this matter more seriously in order to be able to call itself a truly ‘global university’.

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JNU reacts to report on sexual harassment cases


New Delhi: The Delhi Commission for Women has released a reported report on 26 November which stated that the highest number of sexual harassment cases have been reported from Jawaharlal Nehru University.

JNU reacted to this report and attributed it to more sensitization in the varsity. Students are more aware and not afraid to report any kind of wrong behavior.

The university credited the committee for the increased sensitization. JNU has a committee named ‘Gender Sensitization Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH)’ which is known for working in a fair, neutral and confidential manner.

A member of the GSCASH told The Hindu that the highest number of reported cases shows the extent of sensitization and response from the university. The report also has said that all the 51 cases were addressed.

The Delhi University’s reluctance to provide data has raised quite a few eyebrows as the varsity with lesser restrictions is more prone to untoward incidents.

In JNU, the sensitization has worked because students expressed solidarity with it. Moreover, a bulk on JNU students is mature as they are from the post-graduate courses. Other colleges and varsities mostly have undergraduate students.

While Delhi has been branded as unsafe for women but one has to admit that the perception about its universities has been good. Parents do not generally stop their children from going to Delhi for the purpose of education.

Though there are justifications behind JNU’s reaction to the report, but one expects that the number of cases on sexual harassment should go down considerably for proper implementation of the sensitization program.

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Accommodation scheme soon in Indian Railways



New Delhi: Indian Railways will launch “alternate train accommodation scheme” (ATAS) called “VIKALP” on Sunday to provide confirmed accommodation scheme to wait-listed passengers, ministry of railways announced on Saturday.

“With a view to provide confirmed accommodation to wait-listed passengers and also to ensure optimal utilisation of available accommodation, “alternate train accommodation scheme” (ATAS) called “VIKALP” has been conceptualised and is to be introduced from tomorrow (Sunday),” the ministry of railways said in a statement.

It added that initially this scheme will be available only for the tickets booked through internet (E-ticket) as a pilot project for six months.

This scheme would be provided on mail/express trains running on the Delhi-Lucknow and Delhi-Jammu sectors of Northern Railway, it added.

“In this scheme, wait listed passengers of a train will be given option for getting confirmed accommodation in alternate trains. This is a major passenger-friendly move to provide confirmed accommodation to wait-listed passengers in alternate trains,” the statement said.

“No extra charges shall be taken from passenger or any refund shall be provided for difference of fare and applicable to all waiting list passengers irrespective of booking quota and concession.”

ATAS-opted passengers who remain fully wait-listed after charting will only be considered for allotment in the alternate train and passengers opted for ATAS should check PNR status after charting.

The passenger allotted alternate accommodation can travel in the alternate train on authority of original ticket.



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ABVP made a major comeback at JNU; Shah congratulated the students


By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: On Sunday, BJP president Amit Shah congratulated the DU students after Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) won on all seats in the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) elections and made its comeback at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) after a period of 14 years.

Amit Shah said, “I congratulate all the students of DU and JNU for the ABVP’s win. Its win at two prominent universities of the country is a reflection of the youth of the country towards a nationalist ideology based on ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas’ and Antyodaya.”

12010519_891416044286126_8758372222636374216_oHe further added, “The policies of the Modi government are dedicated to the 80 crore youth of the country.” He believes that the DU and JNU students are like “mini India”, where students come from across the country to fulfil their dreams.

The BJP leader stated, “So this ABVP win reflects the thinking of the youth of the country.”

The comeback of RSS-affiliated ABVP by clinching the students’ union joint secretary’s post, is a major boost to the BJP. Earlier, ABVP’s Sandeep Mahapatra had won a post by a vote’s margin in the JNU elections in 2001 as the president.

The ABVP won all the seats in Delhi University Students Union elections on Saturday.

(With inputs from IANS)