Students to be involved in hostel management

`This is a novel way to end complaints about mismanagement and quality of food'

T.V. Sivanandan

GULBARGA: The Gulbarga Zilla Panchayat has come out with a novel way to end complaints about mismanagement and the quality of food served in hostels run by the departments of Social Welfare and Backward Class and Minorities. It has decided to involve stakeholders in the management of the hostels.

Pankajkumar Pandey, zilla panchayat chief executive officer, who has decided to implement the successful experiment conducted in Bagalkot district by his colleague B. Ponnuraj, has initiated measures to involve students in the management of the hostels, particularly the mess.

Speaking to The Hindu here on Thursday, Mr. Pandey said he was impressed with the success of the experiment in Bagalkot, where the students are involved in the management of the hostels. He said the same principles have been formulated for the management of 135 post- and pre-matric hostels run by the Department of Backward Classes and Minorities and 138 such hostels run by the Department of Social Welfare in the district.

He said he had convened a meeting of the staff of both the departments and student representatives from all hostels on November 23. Proposals were finalised for constituting student committees for all the hostels, giving broad representation to all sections of students to jointly manage hostel affairs.

Before constituting the committees, Mr. Pandey said he held separate meetings with the student representatives and listened to their grievances and later had a meeting with the officers concerned of the two departments. A combined meeting was convened later for a threadbare discussion and finalising an action plan for effective management and monitoring of the functioning of the hostels.

He said the new experiment has been initiated only in the government-run hostels. Based on the success of the experiment, it will be extended to the other hostels in the district.

Mr. Pandey said each hostel will have a five-member student committee. The storeroom will have two locks and the keys of the one lock will be with the warden and another with the student committee. The lock will be opened in the presence of the warden and the student committee members. Only foodgrains and vegetables required for the day will be supplied to the kitchen, he added.

He said fresh clauses have been introduced in the tender applications for the supply of foodgrains.

The student representatives will be changed every month to give representation to all students. He said most hostels required immediate repairs and the departments lacked funds for regular maintenance. To overcome this problem, the zilla panchayat proposes to ask the gram panchayats to include urgent maintenance and repair works of the hostels in the respective areas in the annual action plans. In hostels where the intake is high, particularly the girls hostels, public telephone booths will be set up.

The student committees will meet every month and prepare a list of repairs required. The list will be submitted to the warden and a copy will be sent to the hostel's nodal officer for follow up action. The zilla panchayat will also receive a report card on the functioning of the hostels from the nodal officers and respective wardens. Action will be taken on the suggestions and demands made by the students, Mr. Pandey added.

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