It is an uneasy wait for 32,916 Dalit and other backward classes students in 260 hostels in the State run by the Social Welfare Department as they have to share 1,502 toilets among themselves.
These boys and girls, who enjoy a Constitutional guarantee to free education, hostel and food, are also undergoing untold hardship in the form of unending wait to take a bath. The reason: these 260 hostels have only 1,639 bathrooms and they need to be doubled, if the department wants them to give them some relief, according to a survey conducted by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishat (ABVP) on the status of hostels run by the department.
Nearly 100 ABVP volunteers, 1,452 hostel boys, girls, wardens, cooks and cleaners participated in the survey and the students were asked 45 questions on various problems they were facing and the relief they expect from the government.
The students said that they require minimum facilities such as a chair, table, bookshelf, cot and fan apart from transportation, as most of these were not available to them.
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and other backward classes comprised 50 per cent of the over six crore people in the State and a majority of the students, whose original homes are hutments opt for hostels so that they could continue their study in a conducive atmosphere.
But, of the 260 hostels, 140 are in government buildings, while 120 are in rented ones.
These 120 hostels pay Rs. 3.60 crore rent annually.
In 2012, 1,30,000 students applied for hostel facility, but only 32,916 (26 per cent) were admitted. With 1,502 toilets, it comes to one toilet for 22 students and at this rate, each one has to wait for 11 minutes to ease himself. The same is the case with bathrooms.