Government, aided colleges reopen but students stay away

Classes for the second and third year students in government and aided colleges began on Monday, but some students chose to stay home.

At least 50 students, including around 45 visually impaired students, all from the Presidency College, have not returned as they have no place to stay. Until two years ago, Victoria Hostel, a heritage building, provided accommodation to students. The hostel with 90 rooms could accommodate 360 persons and remains the first choice of students from other districts.

S. Murugan from Dharmapuri, who stayed in the hostel during his first year, completed B.Sc in March, But his brother, now in the third year of B.Sc, has not returned to the city.

“My brother wanted to confirm his accommodation. The hostel he was staying in last year has not started admission due to water shortage. The college hostel has not been opened yet,” he said. Mr. Murugan expects the hostel expenses to go up.

“In the first year, I paid ₹16,000 for a year. But in the last two years I spent ₹5,000 a month. When the hostel starts admission we expect the price to go up,” he said.

Sabari, a native of Nagapattinam, who graduated last year said hostels are necessary as private accommodation is expensive. “Mansions (lodges) in that locality charge ₹5,000 to ₹6000 as monthly rent. If we had that kind of money we would have studied in our hometown itself,” he said.

Students say the situation would be difficult for freshers, especially for visually impaired students. Former president of the College Students and Graduates Association M. Nagarajan, now a professor in the college, said as the government-run BC hostels in Kodambakkam and Saidapet were closed for renovation, the students had no other option. “Through an organisation we are helping students with their college and hostel fees. We are trying to find options for the students to stay,” he said.

College Principal R. Ravanan said the Higher Education department was waiting for the Chief Minister to declare the hostel building open.

“The CM has given appointment on Friday,” he added. However, classes for first year students are set to begin on Thursday.

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