Friday, October 8, 2010

Delhi University Hostels Still Waiting for Tourists

Seeing empty rooms at Delhi University hostels, it is hard to believe that the Commonwealth Games is in full swing. The hostels, which students vacated so that room could be made for tourists who were expected to arrive in Delhi during the Games, are still waiting for guests.

Except for nine visitors at Miranda House, who came for the opening ceremony and left on Thursday, there are no official guests or backpackers taking up accommodation in these hostels, which were especially renovated for the Games. In a bid to salvage the situation, UGC last week slashed the room rates by around 50% but even that failed to attract any guests. Meanwhile, nearly 2000 students who were told to vacate the hostels continue to pay through their nose for private accommodations in area near DU.

At Daulat Ram College, four Nigerians turned up for accommodation last week. But they stayed in the hostel only for two days. According to college sources, DU officials later found out the foreigners were not visiting for the Games but had come to the city for a conference. The hostel warden could not be contacted despite several attempts.

On Thursday, these budget accommodations were all empty and college officials were not expecting any guests. Among the three venues Hindu College, Lady Shri Ram and Jamia University where volunteers from Sports Authority of India were supposed to stay, only in Jamia there is some action with the other two hostels wearing a deserted look.

In DU, Hindu was the college where guests were almost certain to come. SAI was supposed to allot rooms at Hindu hostel to its volunteers. But that never happened. ‘‘We are ready with our renovated rooms but guests have not showed up so far. SAI had earlier planned to accommodate about 1,000 volunteers in Jamia hostel and ours. But only half of volunteers could get accreditation. All of them are staying in Jamia,’’ said Warden Chandrachud Singh. ‘‘We clean the hostel every day just to make sure that we are ready if someone shows up at our doors.’’

Added Rajendra Prasad, principal of Ramjas College, where 200 beds are available for Games guests, ‘‘We haven’t received any list of guests from the Games travel office yet. And I don’t think there will be any guests coming our way now.’’

The colleges aren’t really complaining. ‘‘Who will come to DU hostels to stay during the Games? Our hostels have become really swanky but we are still waiting to see if any tourist arrives,’’ said Bhim Sen Singh, principal of Kirori Mal College. ‘‘Probably, nobody will come but this deal with the OC has been a blessing in disguise. Our hostel is ready with new infrastructure. Besides rooms and furnishings, the kitchen of the hostel has become clean and up market.’’

It’s the same story at Shri Ram College of Commerce, where all rooms have marble flooring. Principal P C Jain said: ‘‘We slashed rates to suit the budget of different travelers. Where else will you get such accommodation at such a cheap rate?. He added that guests are not coming but it doesn’t bother him. ‘‘We are happy that students will stay in a better place after the Games,’’ said Jain.