Everything is at stake from studies to the life of students and teachers at Delhi University’s, Daulat Ram College. A portion of the building, known as the Western wing of the college, is in the worst state with ceiling plaster inside classrooms and corridors coming off with iron rods visible in the patches of broken ceilings. Damaged beams and pillars are visible in the corridors of the first floor.
The college has temporarily installed a gate, closing off access to the section. All the chairs and desks are kept in a pile in the barred area, which might also fall with the ceiling, increasing the severity of the situation. The food and nutrition lab has been shut along with a few classrooms. Reallocation has been done in the seminar hall which has been partitioned into three sections and three classes are held simultaneously in this small pocket, making it extremely difficult for students and the staff. The lab has also been shifted there. There is a possibility that broken chunks may fall off, on students and faculty members which has created tension inside the college. They are also worried that the ceiling might fall on them from the first floor while they’re busy taking lectures in classes on the ground floor.
On the evening of 1 November, while the preparations and decorations for Diwali Mela were going on, which is to be held on the 2nd of November, a portion of the building came off indicating the condition of the building and created a fuss for the upcoming event.
A lot of questions have been raised in front of the authorities as to why this is happening, despite the college receiving the building infrastructure funds from the ‘University Grants Commission’ (UGC). A college official blamed the governing body for not taking any action to prevent such a situation. The principal was quoted as saying, “I have raised the matter with the governing body several times, but no action has been taken.” The governing body chairman, Suneeta Sudershan, did not respond to calls and messages.
It has become extremely chaotic to run the food and nutrition lab properly as the new space is too small to fit all students. A teacher was quoted as saying, “We had no choice but to shift the class as everything around was crumbling down”.
A similar incident happend in 2016, three students were injured after the ceiling plaster fell off in a classroom. The President of the college along with a few other students staged a protest and filed an FIR. They had alleged that the college administration was not carrying out any renovation work and demanded improvement of infrastructure.
After that incident, other buildings were renovated but the work remains incomplete. There are areas that remain in extremely bad condition and demand immediate attention.