As per the latest study by Knight Frank India, 89% of students in Pune have to struggle for accommodation, as only 11% can be accommodated on campus.
Last week, I read a news report based on a study by Knight Frank, a real estate consulting company, stating that 89% of students in Pune, hailing from all over Maharashtra and other parts of the country, have to fend for their own accommodation.
This revealed the harsh reality that out of 2,64,350 students who pursue their college studies in Pune, (as per the survey), 1,91,937 require alternate accommodation which comes in the form of private hostels, paying guests or taking apartments on hire.
Therefore, with nearly two lakh students looking for a place to stay, the scenario is far from hunky dory, though technology has reduced some pain, through various websites exclusively dedicated to student accommodation.
Brokers who take them for a ride; most of the housing societies which ban flat owners from letting out to students and; unhygienic conditions in PG stays and more reflects the turmoil of students who are new to Pune.
Outstation students belong to various strata of society and each have their own problems and solutions. For over four decades, the University boys’ and girls’ hostels are filled with students residing illegally with their friends.
Besides, poor facilities in terms of toilets, condition of the rooms, poor Internet access and bad quality food are constant complaints but no one has been listening to these woes.
The same goes for several other colleges too. Similarly, private hostels and paying guest accommodation, which are cheap, are fraught with inconveniences of dingy and small rooms, with often `nasty’ landlords who allegedly fix spy cameras in rooms and pull them up for their late nights and sloppy living.
Until the time that private colleges hardly existed in Pune and the general living standards of society were humble, (even if you came from educated and well-to-do backgrounds), the issue was limited to gossip and cribbing among friends. That, students have to go through this grind, in order to face future challenges, was an accepted norm.
With the mushrooming of private colleges since 1980s, the quality of hostels improved though, it was not enough for every student who sought accommodation. Symbiosis built the very first grand, multi-storeyed hostel which looked modern and was the envy of many a collegian. Over the next two to three decades, several professional colleges, mostly providing MBA degrees, mushroomed and have a handful of them have adhered to good quality hostels and good food.
However, it is an individual struggle for the new student and his/her parents to find appropriate accommodation, as hostel rooms are far and few.
The market forces and technology had definitely eased the issue in terms of finding a place to stay. Several websites like zolostay, uniquehostel and even the well-known online property websites are good guides. Student housing has become the trend word for builder and developers in various cities, which has a sizeable student population, and Pune is one of them.
With parents ready to pay more for their child’s comfort, private luxury hostels have begun sprouting. With air-conditioned rooms, well-designed, modern rooms, food, recreational facilities, wi-fi and security, it is like a second home for students.
However, the worry for parents does not end here. Pune’s bad public transport that compels them to buy two-wheelers for their children so that they are mobile; the fast life in Pune, which lures collegians to smoking, drinking and drugs, are the banes of freedom.
No doubt, students in general, lead happy lives despite several inconveniences thanks to its good climate compared to several other cities and no hostility from the locals.
The fact remains that every student faces daily hardships on several counts and has to keep overcoming them to pursue his or her academics. For here too, infrastructure required for an educational hub, is far below the requirement.
That's Vinita Deshmukh, Senior journalist and RTI activist who believes in journalism that reflects the views and needs of the common man.
Get Real And Stay Relevant says Vinita,