Arunachal students leaving for Mumbai from the hostel 
Arunachal students leaving for Mumbai from the hostel |Nungsang Dodum
ARUNACHAL PRADESH

COVID-19: NE youths suffer as Maharashtra college closes hostel

8 youths from Arunachal left in a quandary after JT Mahajan College of Engineering in Jalgaon tells students to vacate hostel without proper notice, aid or assistance; they are somehow on way home now

Rishu Kalantri

Rishu Kalantri

Tinsukia: The JT Mahajan College of Engineering in Maharashtra's Jalgaon district has asked its students to vacate hostel with immediate effect and proceed to their homes, leaving eight students from far-flung places in Arunachal Pradesh in a quandary, without any financial assistance or viable mode of transportation.

The development comes on the backdrop of shutdown of schools, colleges and universities along with many other places by Maharashtra government in order to contain the spreading of coronavirus.

The deadly virus, declared pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO), has so far claimed around 8,000 persons globally including three in India. The total persons infected by this deadly virus in the country surged to 147 on Wednesday, with the highest positive cases being reported from Maharashtra.

Talking to EastMojo, Nungsang Dodum, a final-year student pursuing engineering in civil discipline, said, "We were hardly given any time and asked to vacate the hostel immediately. We have somehow managed to book train tickets, between Mumbai and Guwahati, in Lokmanya Tilak Express with the help of a broker and are on the way to board the train."

Alleging no help from college and hostel authorities, Dodum said, "We had approached the authorities for financial assistance but our request was turned down on the grounds that the college is going through financial turbulence.

"They also refused to provide any transportation help or support. We had to make our own arrangements to reach Mumbai from where we will board the train," Dodum said, adding, "The education department of Arunachal Pradesh has reached out to us. They have made transportation arrangements from Guwahati to Itanagar and have also promised to pay us for our train tickets,” he added.

"How are students supposed vacate hostels on a short notice, travel thousands of kilometres to reach home, without any help from the college or state and central government, amid the coronavirus scare?” Dodum, one among the eight students, questioned.

The hostel of the engineering college houses 35 students, of which eight belong to Arunachal Pradesh.

Talking to EastMojo, hostel warden Tushar Garfe said that they had issued a notice on March 16 asking all hostel occupants to vacate the hostel within three days.

Admitting that the college and hostel could not provide any financial assistance, Garfe said that the financial condition of the college is not good. "Even staff salaries are unpaid for the few months,” Garfe added.

"We were about to book tickets for them, but before that the students bought them themselves," he added.

EastMojo has managed to get hands on the notice issued by J T Mahajan College of Engineering, Faizpur (number JTMCOEF/office/702/2020 dated March 16, 2020) which reads ad verbatim: “As per letter issued by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Technological University, Lonere and Kavyitri Bahinabahi Chaudhari North Maharashtra University, Jalgaon dated 15th March, 2020, all the students are hereby informed that all the academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities of our college shall remain suspended with immediate effect till March 31, 2020. Also, the hosteler student should vacate the hostels with immediate effect and proceed to their homes and wait for further instructions to return to the hostels.”

However, the notice does not mention the three days’ time given to students to vacate the hostel as claimed by hostel warden Garfe while talking to EastMojo.

Notice put out by the college 
Notice put out by the college  EastMojo image

Talking to EastMojo, secretary education (government of Arunachal Pradesh) Niharika Rai said, "Today, we reached out to one of the students, who have been asked to vacate the hostels immediately, and learned that they have already booked their train tickets from Mumbai to Guwahati. We have already transferred an amount of Rs 25,000 to help meet their transportation needs to reach Guwahati. They will then be provided a vehicle for onward journey to Itanagar,” said Rai.

"One of the students, Nungsang Dodum, has been asked to coordinate with seven other students in his hostel and few others in another college of Maharashtra," state laison officer of higher education department of Arunachal Pradesh AK Mishra told EastMojo, adding, "Once they reach, the health department will do necessary arrangement for their screening and medical check-up as per government directives."

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