Finally after a year of loud controversies due to “discriminatory” rules and high fees, DU’s Hindu College will begin admitting students in its girls’ hostel from this academic session. Although, the rules for girls and boys are the same, the hostel fee is where the discrimination rests, viz., where it is Rs 90,000 per year for girls, the fee for boys is about Rs 58,000.
In the last academic session, girls paid a sum of Rs 80,000 as hostel fee, which was nearly twice of what the boys had to pay. College principal Anju Srivastava reasoned that women have to pay more because their hostel “is not getting funds from the University Grants Commission (UGC)”. “The boys’ hostel gets funds from the UGC, while the girl’s hostel does not. The hostel requires funds to be run — and this is the only way to generate them. Also, the women’s hostel is fully air-conditioned,” she continues.
The girls hostel has 88 rooms and can accommodate 156 students on a twin-sharing basis, whereas, the boys hostel carries 119 rooms. Like last year, students and Pinjra Tod — a movement by students to fight “discriminatory rules” against women — have raised concerns over the difference in fee this year too. Pinjra Tod had earlier raised the matter with the Delhi Commission for Women, which wrote to the college asking it to make the fee same, and to the UGC asking them to provide funds.
There has been no progress in this context, however. For boys hostel, the UGC provides Rs 60 lakh a year for maintenance and also funds other college hostels.
Apparently, the UGC decided not to give funds to the women’s hostel as the time to use Rs 80 lakh, earlier given by the commission, lapsed and the funds remained unutilised, as claimed by college officials. One of them stated, “This happened during the tenure of the previous principal; since then the college has not approached the UGC for funds.”
Moreover, the college did not advertise about the hostel on its website. Even teachers submit that no notice about hostels has been put up on the premises and Pinjra Tod has brought it up too, as one of their arguments. At the same time, some hostel boys claim that the fee difference is “justified” because the girls’ hostel has more facilities. “We were told that the hostel fee will not be more than Rs 90,000, and if the college charges more than that, we will take it up with the administration. Unlike ours, the women hostel has more facilities,” said a third-year student.
There are a few who even debate that at least the fee is lower than what it would cost to stay in a PG. An assamese student said, “Staying in a PG is much more expensive. There is a difference in fee, but a college hostel is always a safer option.”