Thiruvananthapuram: The Scheduled Caste Development Department’s reported move to shift a portion of the decades-old Model Hostel for SC and ST students at Vellayambalam in the city has evoked strong resentment among the inmates. The alleged move to shift the block-II of the hostel to Mannanthala in the suburbs, in the name of repair works, is part of a larger plot to shift the entire hostel from the prime location in the city, the students allege.
The block-II houses around 60 students, with a majority belonging to backward communities from various parts of the State. As most of the inmates are students of various educational institutions in the city, the shifting to Mannanthala, some 8 km away from the city, would pose severe difficulties to them, they say. The students were informed by the district office of the Department that they would be shifted to the new building at Mannanthala for three months for repair works in block-II.
However, the students claim that there were only some routine electrical and concrete patch-up works left, which, according to the normal practice, was done during vacation time. "Even if they want the repair works to be completed immediately, we could be shifted to the block-I, where there are several vacant rooms. Some officials hinted at a proposal to house an office under the Department in the hostel building and we suspect the shifting is part of this move,’’ said a student.
The inmates, who are now on a poster campaign against the decision, have decided to submit a petition to the Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Castes. "We will resist the move at any cost. Now, we can comfortably travel to our colleges and the University Library and Central Library are at a walking distance. Many of us belong to poor families and cannot afford the daily travel to Mannanthala,’’ said a PG student hailing from a northern district.
Resident tutor of the hostel Prof H Harigopal said that he was yet to receive any official communication over the shifting of block-II to Mannanthala. ‘’The students claim that there is such a move. However, I haven’t received any information from the Department in this regard,’’ he said.