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4 student hostels at KU remain non-starter despite completion

4 student hostels at KU remain non-starter despite completion

Suhail Bhat

Srinagar, Sept 24: Nearly four student hostels at Kashmir University remain unused despite the completion of construction work, sparking security concerns among students, especially female students who are forced to seek rented accommodations outside the campuses.

The affected hostels, including the Gani Kashmiri Research Scholars Hostel, Girls Hostel Main Campus, Boys Hostel Zakura Campus, and Girls Hostel North Campus, can collectively house nearly 900 students, reducing their reliance on rented accommodations, which often expose them to harassment by tenants.

The Gani Kashmiri Hostel at Zakura Campus, a four-storeyed facility capable of accommodating approximately 200 research scholars, remains non-operational for undisclosed reasons, despite its completion earlier this year and its successful use for the Y20 delegates in May 2023. Meanwhile, the Boys Hostel at Zakura Campus and Girls Hostel at Main Campus only require finishing touches, which could be completed within a week. The Girls Hostel at North Campus, completed five months ago, remains unused.

University officials noted that approximately 3000 new students enroll in various postgraduate courses at Kashmir University every year, out of 40,000 to 50,000 applicants. With the start of the 2023 academic year on August 15th, the absence of hostel facilities has forced students from remote areas to seek rented accommodations, often resulting in harassment by landlords on various pretexts, such as credential verifications and excessive electricity usage.

A concerned parent from North Kashmir shared: “I have been searching for accommodation, but there is no consistent rent rate. Additionally, these places jeopardize the safety of students, especially girls, and the numerous conditions imposed by landlords cause mental distress, ultimately affecting education.”

A student from Karnah emphasized that, as the oldest university in the region, Kashmir University should offer full residential facilities, especially for female students, similar to other universities in the country like JNU and Delhi University.

“We were thrilled when a female became the Vice Chancellor of the University, hoping that she would address the needs of female students. She has lived up to our expectations and is making efforts, but the lower staff’s lack of support is a challenge,” the student said.

A senior Professor also stressed the importance of making Kashmir University fully residential, as it is the first step in enabling students from remote areas to pursue their dreams of receiving an education from this prestigious institution.

Vice Chancellor Nilofar Khan assured that they were reviewing the hostel policy and will soon make the facilities operational. “The recent admissions have increased the demand for more accommodation.

Nearly all the facilities are nearly complete and will be put to use soon,” she said. She also mentioned that the process of outsourcing security and other lower staff is underway. (Daily Excelsior)

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