Apart from the multiple issues that National Law University, Odisha, is facing today, one that directly affects the student community is the condition of our residential hostel. Tired of the administration’s lethargy, members of the NLUO student council went on an indefinite protest on 24 July. Here’s why.
Ninety girls of the college are living in deplorable conditions of our hostel. The building in question is merely two years old, and still half-done. We were shifted there under the promise that it will be completed after allotment to students.
However, this construction was halted and has remained half-done ever since. Not only this, the condition has worsened after Cyclone Fani in May.
Perpetual seepage, rain or no rain, given the exceptional humidity of Odisha, poses multiple problems – ranging from widespread fungus and mould to major cracks in walls and ceilings.
Lavatories are poorly functioning and shoddy furniture often breaks and falls on students. The housing departments are ill-equipped and understaffed. This protest, however, is not to ask for luxury.
Luxury is not even a concern at this point. We are demanding basic amenities. All we ask for is a decent and healthy living environment for students.
The foundation of the building is questionable. It was built in haste, we were shifted in haste, and everything else that has ever been done to this building has been done only in haste.
The deplorable condition of the hostel has contributed to not just physical brunt, but also mental agony and material losses. Frequent short circuits damage electronic gadgets and occasional leakages from sockets, damp cupboards, closets and cabinets spoil clothes, personal belongings, and toiletry.
Lack of Basic Amenities is Where the Problem Begins
There has been considerable expenditure on desiccation and anti-moisture, anti-bacterial products by students. Repair of damaged items is often costly. Instances of wall cabinets and bookshelves falling are commonly reported.
Wide spread skin infections, rashes from fungi and mould-infested bedding and furniture and pulmonary hazards are common. So are instances of students slipping and injuring themselves due to flooded corridors and floors.
Non-functional lavatories, worm infested overhead water tanks and stench are what the students are getting after what the authorities call ‘repairs’.
More importantly, students have been subjected to agony and mental exhaustion by the administration. Deadlines are constantly postponed, testing our patience. These run ins are not only stressful but also a waste of time and effort.
Blatant denial of our rights is ironic in a university that teaches law. They continue to exploit students by raising fees, and citing lack of funds as a reason for the underdevelopment of this campus.
The students have now prepared a list of demands.
These demands ask the administration to provide a final deadline for the construction of a library, establish a dispensary and ensure availability of a full time nurse, remove curfew timings, and give a rationale behind the fee hike for the incoming batch.
Outright denial of help to students has made things ugly, and this has been going on over several months of futile deliberation. An institution's power is its students who are prepared for a brighter future.
The reverberations are becoming louder with each passing hour in our peaceful protest that continues to grow bigger and bolder. Whether or not the administration agrees, we will continue to fight, for it is too late now and it is either now, or never.
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