North Campus students battle diseases
The Students Federation of India (SFI) Delhi convened a condolence meeting to mourn the loss of a student named Angith Sivan who died of jaundice.
A harrowing narrative of unsanitary conditions and systemic neglect emerges from the accounts of those who call North Campus home. A resident since 2018, Varkey Parakkal, offers a poignant glimpse into this ordeal. “Sewer water gets mixed up with drinking water,” he reveals, a distressing mix that jeopardises health and safety.
Each monsoon season, dozens of students fall ill due to this hazardous blend due to inadequate resources and infrastructure. Parakkal paints a grim picture: “All at once you get to hear that 10 or 30 people, 30 people you know are seriously ill. This often coincides with the tap water supply in our areas smelling of raw sewage. The water turns green and is filled with particles.”
A deeper look into the lives of these students uncovers a distressing reality – the practice of surface-level diagnosis. Faced with limited options, students wait, hoping that they will get well on their own, before seeking medical attention.
Over the past five years, Parakkal has raced against time to save friends and comrades, navigating a health center in disarray and overburdened government hospitals that offer questionable diagnosis and treatment.
But the challenges don’t stop there. North Campus harbours an intricate power dynamic, with landlords flouting the Delhi Rent Control Act, leaving students already grappling with financial strain in dire straits, beyond cramped living conditions and a minimum rent of Rs 8,000 per head, electrical hazards and inadequate drainage compound the ordeal.
Student bodies assert that this water is so tainted it cannot be trusted for any purpose. Yet, obtaining a purifier is impossible to afford for these students. Left with no alternative, they resort to using this compromised water for cleaning and washing, fostering a breeding ground for jaundice and other ailments.
At the South Asian University’s new campus, 50 out of 300 students grapple with dengue, underscoring the wider issue of student health being neglected in the capital.
Students have reiterated that the corridors of academia should be a sanctuary of enlightenment and growth, not a battleground for survival.