Bengal’s Top Medical College Has Dirty Toilets & Unlivable Hostels
On Monday, 23 July, the students of Calcutta Medical College and Hospital (MCHC), finally withdrew their hunger strike, after almost a month. As per an IANS report, senior students of the college “withdrew their indefinite hunger strike following a written assurance from the authorities, that two floors of a new 11-storey hostel would be allotted to them.”
Since 27 June, the senior students of the premier institution had been on hunger strike, in protest against the alleged discrepancies in hostel room allotment, and poor living conditions in their present (old) hostel.
So, what are the students’ grievances? A new 11-storey building was allegedly given to only the freshers, with the senior students accusing the management of not following the hostel allotment rules.
“There was no transparency in the hostel allotment process. The principal himself has admitted this,” said Sayan, a fourth year MBBS student.
Why the demand from the senior students for a new hostel? The old hostel building, where the senior students have been living for the past few years, lacks even basic amenities like clean drinking water, hygienic food, and electricity in the washroom. Students allege that parts of ceilings (in their rooms) have often crumbled, causing injury to the occupants.
“Have a look at the guest room. You can find only one RO water filter, which is broken. Even the sofas and seats are not in a usable condition. Our families come and leave. We cannot even ask them to stay back. Where will they even sit?” said Pradipto Ghosh, a student.
Another student Tirthoraj added, “The garbage dump that was there till this morning was cleaned up a few hours ago, when the authorities saw journalists visiting hostel. The constant foul smell has made it impossible to live here. Also we are exposed to threats like dengue and malaria.”
Saurab Kundu, a third year MBBS student said, “Whenever Jadavpur University students gherao their Vice-Chancellor, they make news. But authorities think we are 'bhalo chhele’ (good boys), so we are often neglected. We have often appealed to the PWD but to no avail. Our food is cooked in a spot beside septic tanks from which human excreta overflows. Who can live like this?”
No official statement has been made by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yet. In the meantime, the Opposition party leaders are making regular visits to the college.
CPI (M) leader Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya visited on 22 July, Sunday, and expressed his regret over the callous stance of the TMC government on this issue.
(The writer is a freelance photojournalist based in Kolkata. Street photography is his favourite visual art genre.)