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A daily ordeal for social welfare hostel students
THE HINDU, NOVEMBER 28, 2018


GUNTUR: Unpalatable food, lack of sanitation among common complaints

It is quite a pleasant sight to see students engrossed in reading textbooks unmindful of the chatter outside, but on closer look, it becomes clear that they are crammed into a dingy room.

A few yards away, a woman is heaving steamed water out of rice bowl in a make-shift kitchen as she prepares meal for the students. The kitchen is an extension of the dormitory where the students keep trunk boxes. Foul smell emanating from toilets behind the classrooms speaks volumes about the plight of the students.

This is the situation at Balayogi Gurukulam at Adavitakkellapadu on the premises of Dakshinya Educational Society, one of the 16 schools run by the Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (APSWREIS) in the district. Of these, five schools, one at Kakumanu, Tadikonda, Yadlapadu, boys school in Sattenapalli and the one in Guntur are being run from make-shift compounds. There are 180 such institutions in the State.

The arrangement will continue till construction of new buildings is completed.

In Guntur, former SW Minister Ravela Kishore established a school on the premises of Dakshinya School for Differently Abled. The government pays ?54,000 for six rooms with a kitchen.

For the inmates, coming from underprivileged sections, the lack of amenities has come as a rude shock.

“Some of my classmates sleep on trunk boxes as we don’t have space in the rooms. The classrooms are small and during nights, mosquitoes swarm the rooms,’’ says a student from Kaza village.


Cut in grant

The APSEWREIS is not helping the cause either by scaling down the maintenance grant from ?40,000 to just ?15,000.

As tenders for the catering agency and sanitation have not been finalised, the schools are forced to put up with the temporary arrangement.

The State Government spends ?28 on food for every student per day, but the students end up getting a recipe of sambar and rice every day.

“The APSEWREIS spends crores every year to send students of SW schools to Mount Everest or organises mega events to get into the Guinness Book of Records, but spends little on providing basic amenities,’’ said a senior teacher.

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