‘Bihar Hostel Collapses, Was Already in Poor Condition Since 2015’

The minority hostel building inside the MWE High School campus collapsed on 26 September.

My Report
2 min read

Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas
Video Producer: Maaz Hasan

After a few cases of bridges collapsing, a new case of hostel building collapse has emerged in Bihar, leading to questions about the quality of its construction. A part of the minority hostel building inside the campus of MWE High School in Munger collapsed on 26 September. We visited the site shortly after to gauge what had happened.

No casualties or injuries were reported as the hostel has been closed since the lockdown in March. What could have been a disaster for 42 residents of the hostel turned out to be a narrow escape for them.

“It collapsed at 4 pm in the evening. It was drizzling and we were sitting there near the school. It collapsed and made a noise.  We went to see it. There was smoke all around.”
Chandan Chaudhry, Hostel Guard

Poor Construction Quality

The hostel, called Maulana Minnatulla Rehmani Boys Hostel, was built in 2004 by the Minority Welfare Department of Bihar with the Department of Building Construction. In just 16 years, the hostel mess and the common hall area fell into pieces.

Heavy rain and the 2015 Nepal-centric earthquake are cited as some of the reasons behind the incident, as the already dilapidated building was never repaired.

Since Munger is an ancient town with many of its buildings surviving for close to a century, this incident raises doubts over the quality of materials used in the construction of the building that is only 16 years old.

Questions have always been raised over Bihar’s education system, but this also raises a question on educational institutions and the buildings associated with them.

Students residing at the hostel narrowly escaped the collapse because they went back to their homes during the lockdown. Imagine if students had been studying or sleeping in their rooms, they would have lost their lives. Who would have taken responsibility?

‘No Action Taken Despite Several Complaints’

A staffer of the MWE School told us that the condition of the building has stayed the same despite complaints.

“Ever since Ratan Babu became in-charge of the hostel, not a single rupee has been spent on it. We repeatedly told him to get this repaired, otherwise, it would collapse. But Ratan Babu always said ‘it’s my job and I will take care of it. What have you guys got to do with it?”
Name Withheld, MWE School Staff

The hostel building which is in a dilapidated condition also poses a threat to the students and staff of MWE High School as the building stands right next to the school in the same compound.

Minority Welfare Department’s Response To The Quint

Snigdha Sneha, District Minority Welfare Officer, Munger, told The Quint:

“We had earlier written to the District Officer of the Building Construction Department regarding the state of the building in August. We have informed the department  about the latest incident and according to them, the building can only be used after renovation.”

(All ‘My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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