Students forced to fend for themselves not having received mess charges for the past 12 months

For the past one year, it has been a run from pillar to post for inmates of the Government Post-Matric Hostel for Boys in Rajendranagar. More than 30 students from the hostel are forced to fend for themselves not having received mess charges for the past 12 months.

The hostel, along with 15 others across the State, was established in 2007 for the benefit of college going minority students from poor economic backgrounds. Though initially fixed at Rs.525 per month for PG and professional students, mess charges were increased to Rs.1,050 per month from December 2012.

However, students claim that their pleas to M.A. Hamid, Executive Director (Ranga Reddy), State Minorities Finance Corporation, about not receiving the mess charges have been futile. Mess charges are disbursed from his account and the students charge that only Rs.146 per student was cleared for the whole year.

“We received power bill arrears of Rs.80,000 for the year, while the electricity charges allowable according to the government order were only Rs.5,000 per month,” said Mr. Hamid, on being contacted, apparently clearing the power bill arrears with the money meant for mess charges.

Official evasive

Mr. Hamid was also evasive when asked if he was allowed to transfer the power bill burden onto the students.

“I can’t be expected to pay the extra charges from my pocket. The government has not sanctioned any additional amount,” he said.

Government welfare hostels come under the LT VII category (general purpose), according to the APERC tariff order and the tariff fixed for the category for 2007-08 was Rs.3.9 per unit.

It has now shot up to Rs.6.53 per unit, 67 per cent more than the initial tariff but the government has not revised the allowable limit accordingly. Students, though, claim that the hostel is charged under LT II (commercial) category, where the tariff increases steeply for higher consumption.

“The rented building had three electricity meters initially, all under domestic category. Later, they were replaced with a single meter and the category was shifted to commercial. The consumption as well as the slab rate shot up subsequently, resulting in hefty bills. How can we be held responsible for it?” questions Ismail (name changed), a B.Tech student.

Further, the entire bill was paid at one go at the end of the year, and included penalty calculated at 18 per cent. The Superintendent Engineer, South Circle, CPDCL Ranga Reddy zone, was not available for a comment.

More In: Hyderabad