Marginalised students protest for better hostel facilities

MUMBAI: A section of students from marginalized communities has initiated an indefinite strike since last week, demanding improved hostel facilities, encompassing accommodation and stipends. The protest commenced on February 12 at the Sant Eknath Government Boys’ Hostel in Chembur.
Students argue that the current stipend of Rs 800 per month is insufficient to meet their daily needs, especially in a metropolitan city like Mumbai.This stipend amount was set in 2011, and despite a government resolution stipulating a revision every five years, it has remained unchanged for the past 12 years, according to a student. These stipends are allocated to students residing in government-managed hostels under the Department of Social Welfare and Justice. The student claims that there are over 400 such hostels in the state.
Furthermore, students assert that a hostel promised in 2007 with a capacity for 1,000 students is still not operational. They allege that construction only commenced in 2023. Additionally, students claim that the government has made no efforts to enhance hostel facilities for disadvantaged students for an extended period. They have compiled a list of 16 demands, which include timely provision of allowances and stationery to hostel students, and action against colleges that coerce marginalized students into paying fees, among others.

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