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Future leaders misled

Tuesday, January 17, 2012
By Yatin Ingle

Youth leaders came back disappointed owing to utter mismanagement at student meet

Over 8,000 student leaders from across India attended the 2nd Bhartiya Chattra Sansad (BCS), held from January 10-12 at the Maharashtra Institute of Technology’s (MIT) campus in Kothrud, Pune. The event, organised by the Maharashtra Academy of Engineering Education and Research’s (MAEER), MIT School of Government, Pune, however, left them with nothing more than bitter memories. Student leaders were highly disappointed by the type of facilities provided to them by MIT. There was no proper food or shelter, and even the promised speakers were not present.

According to the students, there were only given a list of 50 hotels around the MIT campus where they can book their rooms for the stay. And, as a huge crowd was to attend the BCS, rates of hotel peaked. Few hotels were giving their rooms only on monthly basis while others gave their room for a big price. Many students thus decided to quit the event. As most of the students were backing off, on the morning of January 10, MIT finally arranged accommodation for the students. And, since MIT had provided good facilities last year, most of the students who had not booked or rented hotels opted for the same. The accommodation fees was Rs.800, which included only dinner.

On the other hand, an invitation was sent to the students of South Indian Welfare’s Society (SIWS) College, which mentioned that they will be provided with free accommodation and food. However, when they went to attend BCS, the organisers had not arranged for any of the above. The students alleged that they were made to wait for four hours, because of which they missed their first session. Later, only mattresses and blankets were provided to them and they had to sleep on the floor. Even food was not provided, added some students.

Further, around 100 students, who opted for MIT’s accommodation facility, were put up in empty class rooms of MIT. Each room comprised of 10 students each, who had to share two toilets and two wash basins. There were no bathrooms, and all of them had to manage their baths in the toilets itself. Even the girls faced similar troubles.

One of the female students, Sonakshi Pratap, revealed, “We were around 25 girls and our accommodation had no bathrooms. Only we girls know how we managed. I have been attending various events all over the country, but it was the worst accommodation provided to students.”

Even water heaters in washrooms had problems. Students were forced to take cold water bath even when the temperature was seven degree Celsius. On the second day of the gathering, even water was not available, which forced the student leaders to protest against the organisers. These students, wrapped with towels, banged empty water buckets outside the building where they were put up, and asked the management to solve their issues or return their money. Seeing the commotion, Uttam Padwal, Assistant Registrar, MIT, met these students and fired them, “You students are lucky that we at least have given you accommodation for a cheaper rate! If you rent a hotel room, you will be charged around Rs.700 per night, but we are giving you our rooms just for Rs.800, that too for a two-day stay. You have no other option, but to stay quiet and adjust,” Padwal said.

Replying to this, Sanjay Shinde, University Representative of Marathwada University, Aurangabad, questioned, “We were adjusting and cooperating with MIT, but how much can we bear after paying a good amount for the accommodation? At least, the basic needs of students should have been taken care of.”

According to some students, they were not even provided with proper food. Shahab Bandukhwala, Secretary Visvesvarya Technological University, Karnataka, claimed, “The food provided at BCS was tasteless – most of the students had to stay empty stomach. Breakfast provided only had 5-6 chips in a packet, and a small pack of frooti. The same was provided in the evening brunch as well.”

Also, the speakers’ list provided to the students comprised of a number of big names like Mamata Banerjee, Sushma Swaraj, Nitish Kumar, Omar Abdullah, Prithviraj Chavan, etc., but none of them made their presence, which meant many students preferred to quit sessions.

Last year, during the inaugural BCS, around 9,000 students had attended the parliament, and proper accommodation facility, including meals, were provided for those who wished to stay at the MIT campus. Also, all sessions of the parliament were packed last year. This year, it was a different story altogether.


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