October 27, 2020

Riot act for girls’ hostels

Patna: Divisional commissioner Anand Kishor and inspector-general of police (IG), Patna zone, Nayyar Hasnain Khan on Thursday convened a meeting of owners of girls’ hostels in the state capital and made it clear that they must follow the norms for the safety and security of women – or they will be forced to shut shop.

Kishor told the around 350 hostel owners who attended the meeting that they must install CCTV cameras with night vision at entry and exit points.

There must also be ample data storage space for the camera footage recording, he pointed out, in case footage is required for police investigations.

At the meeting, which was held at Gyan Bhavan, Kishor also emphasised on not compromising on disaster management preparedness.

Before the meeting began, all the girls’ hostel owners were asked to fill a form giving details about the present basis amenities and security arrangements at their hostels.

Some of the points on which they had to provide details included capacity of the accommodation, number of rooms, whether there is a common room for the inmates, details about the hostel kitchen, whether there is a recreation room, whether the food quality is regularly checked, CCTV cameras, number of lady wardens, security guards, record of girls’ IDs, health and hygiene, disaster management, and parking facilities.

There must be at least one woman manager in the case of a small hostel and two for a big hostel and there must be a register in which visitors’ names, addresses and contact numbers must be mentioned, Kishor said.

“For the security of the girls, there have to be trained security guards in every hostel and installation of CCTV cameras,” he said.

“The basic amenities must be provided to the girls by the hostel management and it should be done in the next one month. CCTV should not affect the privacy of the hostel inmates.

“We will take action against anyone who fails to adhere to the norms, and such hostels would be asked to shut down until all requirements are fulfilled,” he warned.

Patna district magistrate Kumar Ravi, Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj, city superintendent of police (central) D. Amarkesh and Patna Municipal Corporation commissioner Keshav Ranjan Prasad were also present at the meeting.

Maharaaj told the hostel managements that they must ensure police verification of every employee and to take the help of police in case of any problem such as sexual harassment.

The hostel managements were asked to call on the women’s helpline number 971468024 and toll-free number 181 in case of emergency.

Girls’ hostel inmates The Telegraph spoke to said most boarding facilities do not follow the norms.

Deepika, a boarder at a hostel on Boring Road, said: “We pay Rs 4,300 for a triple-sharing room. The fee also includes food charges. The food served in the hostel is not up to the mark.

“The quality of the rice and pulses is not good and the curry they serve is most of the time tasteless, but we have no option. There are no security guards either, although the hostel is in a posh area,” she added.

Nimisha Bharti, who lives in a hostel in Shastri Nagar echoed Deepika.

“The rooms at our hostel are very congested and there is no proper ventilation. The meals served to us are also not good,” she said.

Nimisha also said that there were no security guards at her hostel.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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