Students scramble for rooms as DU prepares to open after 2 years

Only 20 of the DU colleges provide hostel facility to students.

Only 20 of the DU colleges provide hostel facility to students.

With Delhi University scheduled to reopen from February 17, thousands of students are making their way back to the Capital from various parts of the county to attend regular classes. Some students The Hindu reached out to, complained of inflated rents being quoted by brokers and owners, while some others, who have their exams due in March, felt an added pressure.

On the North Campus and the residential areas surrounding it, the decision to reopen the university after two years seems to have brought the buzz back. Most of the paying guest accommodations have been lying empty since the university shut in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic. Owners are now looking to cash in on the flurry of students trying to secure accommodation.

Only 20 of the colleges in DU provide hostel accommodation for their students, apart from the university-run accommodation in the 68 colleges of the university. For outstation students, many of whom will be attending physical classes for the first time, it is a race against time. The DU administration has advised students to undergo a three-day quarantine before reporting to their colleges/departments.

Shyam Singhal, who runs a PG in Kamla Nagar, says he has been flooded with calls from outstation students looking to find accommodation. Most of the calls, he says, are from people who are looking for non-sharing single rooms due to fear of the pandemic.

“All our rooms are on a sharing basis but people are willing to pay more for a single room,” says Mr. Singhal. He adds that for two years his PG has been empty and he is finishing renovation works to welcome students back.

Due to COVID-19, over the past couple of years, a number of PGs shut down with owners renting out their premises to families. Ruchika Bansal, who used to run two PGs at Hudson Lane, says: “Due to the prolonged closure of the university, I decided to shut my business. I have been getting several enquiries since I have been in this field for many decades, but as of now, I have decided not to reopen my PG,” Ms. Bansal says.

Students searching for accommodation say that the prices mentioned online are much higher than the market rates as brokers and owners are listing rooms at a premium. “The room which I used to share with another girl for ₹5,000 is now listed for double that amount. If it continues this way, students will not be able to afford to return to the campus to continue with their education,” says Mythali, a third year student.

Students have also demanded that DU-special trains be run or DU-special coaches be added to trains by the Indian Railways to help students reach Delhi on time. “We demand that the Vice-Chancellor appeal to the Central government to add a DU special coach to trains making their way to Delhi over the next week,” the Students’ Federation of India said in a statement.

There is an added pressure on those undergraduate and postgraduate students whose examinations are scheduled in the first week of March. “How are we expected to find accommodation, report to college as well as prepare for upcoming examinations in such a short span? My parents are hyperventilating due to the sudden opening as they are anxious about sending me away for the first time in the midst of the pandemic,” says D. Akanksha, a first year student from Andhra Pradesh.

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Printable version | Jun 27, 2022 3:34:39 am |