HYDERABAD: More than 8.7 lakh students belonging to the SC, ST, BC and minorities categories residing in state-run welfare hostels are waiting for Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao to discuss the appalling conditions in their hostels and find a quick solution.
Welfare hostels have been plagued by a number of issues, including the failure to increase the mess fee since 2017. The government pays contractors between Rs 30 and Rs 50 per student per day depending on their class of study, which contractors say is not enough.
Medical allowance has been discontinued due to which students are unable to contact doctors or buy medicines. Scholarship amounts have remained unchanged since 2016
Cosmetics charges have been frozen since 2008 at Rs 62 per month for boys and Rs 75 to girls to pay for soaps, toothpaste, getting a haircut, among others, which tells on their hygiene.
During the Assembly session, the CM had pledged to review the conditions in welfare hostels, but no date has been set. If held, this will be the first welfare hostel review meeting since the CM took office in 2014.
Students have been suffering from health issues as a result of the subpar food that is served to them, and there have been many instances of food poisoning. Students’ problems are made worse by a lack of doors, window panes, furnishings, blankets, poorly maintained toilets and bathrooms.
Staffing shortage is a common problem too. No fresh recruitment of staff has been taken up for years, and the retirement of existing staff is adding to the vacancies.
There are 295 BC welfare college hostels although none of them have their own buildings. They’re all working out of cramped private buildings. The 240 BC residential schools are running from rented premises. The National Backward Classes Welfare Association had been undertaking agitation programmes along with students to bring pressure on the government to improve conditions in welfare hostels.
“As per current inflation, the mess charges should be hiked in the range of Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,000 per month depending on the study of students from Class VII to PG level. Only then, mess agencies could supply nutritious food to students. Cosmetic charges should be increased to Rs 300 per month for boys and Rs 400 for girls. Medical allowance to each hostel should be increased to Rs 50,000 per month,” said R. Krishnaiah, president of National BC Welfare Association and YSRC Rajya Sabha member from AP.