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Locked down in hostels, students spend time reading, playing

Locked down in hostels, students spend time reading, playing

Kolkata: As people are bracing for a longer stay indoors during the lockdown, many students studying in West Bengal, including foreigners, are stuck in their hostel rooms away from home, with no sign of their plight ending soon.

Institutes have been closed since March 16 over the coronavirus outbreak, and boarders of hostels of Jadavpur, Presidency and Visva-Bharati universities are spending their time completing project works, managing to get food and playing indoor games.

In Jadavpur University, 30 students are stuck in the boys’ hostel with a majority of them from Nigeria, Somalia and Bangladesh, an office-bearer of Arts Faculty Students Union told PTI on Tuesday.

Of them, there are students also form Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar, said Teerna, the office-bearer.

A JU official said the foreign students had come to the hostel long before the COVID-19 outbreak and they have no other place to go.

“None of the students has any reported symptoms like flu,” he said.

The students from Bihar and Kashmir had to remain in the hostel as train services have been cancelled, he said.

There are 11 women, all Indians, at the female hostel, the official said.

“We are spending our time completing project work and reading books. While in normal situations, we had to be back at the hostel by 8 pm, now it is becoming an endless wait for us to go out. But with 10 other girls put up in different rooms, we are not complaining,” said Nehal Mishra, one of the 11.

“Let’s hope the situation will end for the better soon,” she said.

Ninad Lohakare, the VP of Technology Students Gymkhana and one of the inmates of the IIT Kharagpur hostel in its campus, said many students are spending their times finishing projects online.

“We are actively working on online research projects and other study-related works. We are also playing indoor games during breaks. We are prepared for a long battle but hope normalcy will return soon,” he said.

At Presidency University Hindu Hostel for boys, around 20 outstation students are currently lodged as they have no other option, a varsity official said.

“The students staying at Hindu Hostel are having difficult times as they cannot go outside the building. I heard they are working on projects from hostel rooms apart from reading books,” Subho Biswas, one of the total 120 boarders who had gone home vacating the hostel, said.

The newly built girls hostel at Salt Lake is, however, empty with only the warden staying there at present.

At Visva-Bharati hostel, all the Indian students have left but about 50 foreigners, most of them Bangladeshi and a few Japanese, are staying on, a spokesman of the university’s SFI unit said.


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