BENGALURU: Girl students are forced to defecate in the open due to poor illumination and lack of drainage facility at a girls’ hostel run by the Social Welfare Department in Mangalore village of Yelburga taluk in Koppal district. Inmates of the hostel are denied free sanitary napkins by the warden for the fear of them throwing used sanitary napkins carelessly. These and more issues highlighting the pathetic state of affairs in the department’s 3,000 hostels have come to light during the ongoing intense scrutiny of hostels by senior judicial officers.
District legal services authority (DLSA) member-secretaries in all 30 districts recently surveyed the hostels managed by social welfare department (SWD) on the directives of KSLSA (Karnataka State Legal Services Authority) member-secretary during the second week of August.Sources in KSLSA told The New Indian Express that about 12 DSLAs had submitted their reports before the August 18 deadline. “The reports are an authentic account of the neglect prevailing in these hostels as members have made personal visits to the hostels,” they said.
Judicial officers, some being senior judges, confessed to being unprepared for the ‘experience’ that awaited them in hostels. In Bidar, students were defecating in open as there was no water in toilets. The report also reveals how meals served in the hostels in Bidar were less than the daily nutrient intake of 660 gm. Hostel rooms were crammed with inmates and without beds at several places. Students were forced to use jamkhana (carpet) as bedsheet in Dharwad. In Koppal, 20 students were staying in one room.
“There is no dearth of funds as Raichur comes under Hyderabad-Karnataka region. What the department lacked was a sense of dedication,’’ a judicial officer told The New Indian Express on the condition of anonymity.
Many judicial officers turned into activists by initiating remedial steps on the spot. The Davanagere DSLA member-secretary directed the hostels to ensure that food was served to students even after 2 pm. The Chitradurga DLSA member-secretary got the warden of a hostel to clear wild growth that had surrounded the building. The Koppal DSLA member-secretary got the contractor to expedite construction of the kitchen.
Why are students not complaining ?
Given the problems existing in hostels run by the Social Welfare Department, why are students not complaining to the department’s helpline, Kalyana Kendra? When asked about it, a student in a hostel in Bidar district said that the warden had threatened to cancel the admission if they filed a complaint to the helpline. Social Welfare Department Commissioner M Lakshminarayana and Joint Director Lakshman Reddy did not respond to calls made by this correspondent.
Helpline just a call away
Are there other issues plaguing the hostels? If yes, you can now file complaints with the 24x7 information and grievance helpline, ‘Kalyana Kendra’. People can contact Kalyana Kendra on 080-22634300 or through WhatsApp or Telegram (9901100000).
POOR CONDITION OF HOSTELS EXPOSED
In Bidar, students were defecating in open as there was no water in toilets.
Meals served in the hostels in Bidar were less than the daily nutrient intake of 660 grams.
Hostel rooms were crammed with inmates and without beds at several places.
Students were forced to use jamkhana (carpet) as bedsheet in Dharwad.
In Koppal, 20 students were staying in one room.