Panjab University has allowed final-year students of various courses, governed by different regulatory bodies, to return to hostels and this was the first time after lockdown that fresh allotment in PU hostels was made. Around 20 PhD students were allotted hostels on day one on Monday.
The hostels reopened after a hiatus of one year since COVID struck. Although not many students showed up, those who returned said that they have been putting up in paying guest accommodations around to ensure uninterrupted Internet, but the conditions were really bad.
The hostels that have reopened are for those students who had enrolled before March 23, 2020, but couldn’t be allotted hostels as the university shut down due to COVID.
On day one of hostel allotment, the students had come to the DSW office.
Sukhwant, a student of PhD Law, originally from Uttar Pradesh, said that she has been staying in PG since August last year after unlock began and wants to return to the hostel.
“Hostels are far better than PGs at the moment. We have been putting up in Sector 15 PG accommodation and no COVID norms are being followed. Food is also a big issue and one gets nice clean food at PU,” Sukhwant said.
The students stated that even in COVID times, many have to share one room together.
“In fact, at home other than the problem of Internet for online studies, one doesn’t get the right atmosphere to study. We have been at the PG itself since August but here these are ailing with other problems and we want to return to our hostels,” Sukhwant said as she was waiting outside the DSW office.
She added, “Moreover, now because students in hostels are less, we are getting one room per student which is also nice. Earlier, there used to be two.”
Vaishali, an MPhil student who had come for her allotment of hostel room, too said that “she has been waiting to return”.
“I have also been staying in Sector 15 PG accommodation but there is nothing like hostel here. Here we pay around Rs 6,000 for six months and in PG accommodation. That is the monthly amount we pay, that too without proper food,” she said.
Vaishali was accompanied by her friend Suman. She too had enrolled for a hostel in March 2020.
So how is it to return to PU after one year? “We are really craving to come back to our routine. I chose to stay in PG here instead of going back to my native place in Haryana because at least one could focus on studies and even interact with teachers or fellow classmates for guidance,” she said.
One mess canteen in hostel number 4 is open, the students said, adding that they get a choice to get food packed too.
The university in a statement said that they allotted rooms to around 20 PhD students against single occupancy at present on the first day of hostel allotment.
Also, exit semester students of Nuclear Medicine, Medical Physics, MDS and M Pharma are allowed to stay in hostels, said Dr Sukhbir Kaur, Dean Student Welfare (Women), PU.
She added that the students who have their departments on Sector 14 campus are allotted hostels in Sector 14, while those on Sector 25 campus are allotted on South Campus.
At present, the mess of Girls Hostel No. 4 is working, which is catering to girls hostels on the Sector-14 campus and Girls Hostel No. 10, which is catering to the hostels on South Campus. The mess of Boys Hostel No. 6 is catering to all the boys hostels on PU campus. “All SoPs related to Covid will be strictly followed,” they said.
Panjab University Hostel residents will have to get a coronavirus test done one week prior to joining the hostel.
Further, it was said that an undertaking will have to be submitted to the warden forwarded through the department head concerned.
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