Taking serious note of complaints that a large number of student hostels being run by the Social Welfare Department for the oppressed sections of society were illegally serving food to “powerful people from outside” at the cost of inmates, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday declared that the government would act sternly to end it.
“These hostels are being run by the government to help students from the deprived sections of society. We will not allow them to become choultries where anybody can come, eat and go,” Mr. Siddaramaiah asserted.
The Chief Minister made these remarks intervening a reply by Social Welfare Minister H. Anjaneya during question hour in the Legislative Council.
During his reply, Mr. Anjaneya admitted that several such hostels, especially those in urban areas, were witnessing the phenomenon of “powerful people” forcing the authorities to serve them food meant for students.
However, he sought to downplay this by maintaining that such powerful people were actually students who did not have access to hostel accommodation as they had failed in the examinations.
But the members took exception to this and urged the Chief Minister to reply.
Bharatiya Janata Party member Y.A. Narayanaswamy alleged that social welfare hostels had become places for some vested interests to relax and have food, though they were not students.
Expressing concern over this, Janata Dal (S) floor leader M.C. Nanaiah remarked: “These hostels cannot become choultries. Entry of such outside elements into the hostels would affect the studious environment of the hostel, affecting their academic performance.” Meanwhile, the Minister said that the Social Welfare Department was running 1,228 pre-matriculation and 487 post-matriculation hostels in the State.