Hostels in disrepair, funds go unused at two government boys schools in TN's Ariyalur

In December 2020, the hostel, after suffering damage, was relocated to a private building in Meensurutti in consideration of the students' safety.
The Most Backward Classes (MBC) Welfare Hostel in severely damaged state at Meensurutti in Ariyalur district | express
The Most Backward Classes (MBC) Welfare Hostel in severely damaged state at Meensurutti in Ariyalur district | express

ARYALUR: Social activists and parents have raised concerns regarding the well-being of government school students whose hostels are located away from their campus in Meensurutti, Ariyalur district. Despite funds being allocated to construct new hostels, they allege, authorities have shown negligence. Operational since 1996, the Adi Dravidar Welfare (ADW) boys' hostel in Meensurutti houses approximately 60 students.

In December 2020, the hostel, after suffering damage, was relocated to a private building in Meensurutti in consideration of the students' safety. The rent for this private accommodation amounts to around `9,000 per month. However, since the facility can accommodate only 30 students, the other students are left with little choice but to commute from their homes.

While the state government had allocated an amount of `3.72 crore towards the construction of a new hostel, no progress has been made in this regard. Similarly, a boys' hostel affiliated with the Most Backward Classes (MBC) welfare department operational in Meensurutti for over 25 years and accommodating about 50 students, was relocated to a panchayat building in March 2023 after it began showing signs of structural damage.

In both hostels, students are facing difficulties due to the lack of basic amenities, with approximately 20 students having to commute from their homes to school. Speaking to TNIE, N Raja Periyasamy, a social activist from Meensurutti, stated, "In the best interest of the students, I have consistently urged officials to construct two new hostels, but to no avail. Students at the ADW Hostel have to endure long wait times for bathing and using the toilet in the private building.

They even struggle to get a good night's sleep. Furthermore, they are forced to walk approximately 600 metres to reach the school." "Moreover, since April, the government has failed to pay the rent for the private building, and the building owner is distressed about this. As he insists on vacating the hostel, the student's situation has become precarious. Therefore, the district administration should expedite the construction of the new hostels and settle the outstanding rent," he added.

A 14-year-old student from the MBC hostel, who preferred not to be named, expressed, "There is inadequate space to accommodate all students in the panchayat building. We struggle to sleep here, particularly at night since there is a graveyard nearby and no homes in the vicinity." When contacted, District ADW department officer K Vijayabaskar assured TNIE, "There are no issues for students in the privately rented building.

A new hostel building will be constructed this year." Meanwhile, District Backward Welfare Officer S Umamaheswaran stated, "I will take action on this matter. The government has announced the construction of a new building for the MBC hostel this year, and it will be undertaken promptly."

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