Pune, 6th January 2024: Known as the Oxford of the East, Pune has long been a beacon for students aspiring to pursue higher education. However, the high cost of living in the city poses a significant challenge, especially for marginalized students. Despite the Government of Maharashtra having schemes to provide hostel facilities for students from lower economic backgrounds, the lack of coordination among various government departments has obstructed these benefits from reaching the intended recipients. The following case illustrates the unfortunate consequences of this bureaucratic lapse.
The Social Justice and Special Assistance Department sanctioned the construction of a hostel for Marginalized Students in Vishrantwadi, Pune. The hostel, designed to accommodate 500 students, was completed in 2021. However, the Public Works Department, responsible for the construction, failed to obtain the No-Objection-Certificate (NOC) from the Pune Municipal Corporation during the construction phase. Consequently, even after three years of completion, the Municipal Corporation has yet to issue the NOC required for the handover of the hostel from the Public Works Department to the Social Welfare Department. This collective negligence has left students without access to the promised hostel facilities.
The failure to conduct timely meetings between the three departments, leading to a delay in obtaining necessary permissions, underscores the bureaucratic hurdles preventing the timely provision of benefits to deserving students.
Student activists from Vidharthi Samiti, in their pursuit of hostel facilities, approached the then Guardian Minister of Pune, Chandrakant Patil. Despite multiple visits to the Social Justice department and registering their demands, their efforts have yielded no results.
Vishal Londhe, the assistant commissioner of the Social Welfare Department, revealed that students had met the commissioner of the state’s social welfare department three months prior, expressing concerns about the delayed hostel facilities. In response, they were assured that the issue would be resolved by December 3, 2023. However, as of now, the hostel has not received the completion certificate. Londhe affirmed that his department is in constant communication with the Public Works Department, which has pledged to hand over the hostel building within the next four to five months, following which the admission procedures will commence.
Priyanka Kadam, president of the Students Rights Committee, voiced her frustration over the internal conflicts within government departments, holding them responsible for denying students their rightful and due hostel facilities. She also appealed to the current Guardian Minister of Pune to intervene and resolve the matter.