ISLAMABAD – The renovation/construction work of hostel of Islamabad Model College for Boys (Postgraduate), H-8, has been marred by red-tapism and there is a little chance that the hostel will be opened this academic session.

The hostel was to reopen its doors for the students after a long closure of four years. It was certainly good news for the students who are seeking admission in the coming session in August 2012.

IMCB, H-8, one of the biggest and oldest institutions of the federal capital, caters for educational needs of a large number of students. Majority of the students hail from far-flung areas of the country and have earnest desire to seek lodgments in the college hostel.  But the hostel of the college was closed about four years ago and now presents the best picture of a ‘ghost house’. It badly needs repair and renovation to make it livable for the students.

A senior Professor on the condition of anonymity informed that realizing the importance of hostel, the present college administration had requested Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) to give permission for renovation of the hostel building. After strenuous efforts for almost three months, the college received a permission/sanction in March for Rs.60, 000 to be used from the college funds but the amount was too little to repair even a washroom of the hostel. The amount was been spent at once. Consequently, the college administration highlighted the issue once again and wrote to FDE through repeated reminders but of no avail.

This is really mocking and a question mark on efficiency, understanding and consideration on the part of those dealing the affairs, said another official. “When we contacted the Director Planning & Development of FDE, the reply was really interesting. It was no less than an excuse from FDE on the grounds that Public Works Department (PWD) demands the renovation/construction work be accorded only to the defined procedure under supervision of PWD. The estimate provided by PWD amounted to Rs 3.2 million whereas an estimate got by the college administration for the same civil work from private contractors amounted to Rs 1 million”.

The FDE showed helplessness, as per government rules, to permit any institution to accord repair/renovation work beyond the defined sum. The PWD, on the other hand through its complicated procedure has many diggings to bury a huge part of the amount released for construction work and these diggings are always there on the way to follow the codal procedure. This is how the public money is wasted mercilessly, the officials regretted.

However, the Principal of the college Professor Kazim Hussain, on its own part, is very keen to reopen the hostel to provide boarding facilities to the students. Talking to TheNation, he said, ‘We are facing a lot of hurdles in the way of its opening but we are determined to open it in the coming session for the students in any case. The existing capacity of the hostel to accommodate students is 70 only. For a big Postgraduate College, this hostel is too small to accommodate all the students seeking for hostel facility’, he added.

Professor Atta Muhammad Marwat who was given the task of reopening of the college hostel when contacted said, ‘the renovation work of the hostel is going on at a snail’s pace. A series of obstacles are there in the way of attaining the target. If we get permission from FDE to spend money, we can renovate the hostel rapidly and make it livable in a couple of weeks’.

Professor Tahir Mahmood, spokesperson of Federal Government College Teachers Association (FGCTA) opined that in spite of the complicated procedure and different types of red-tapism, the hostel must be functional from this session and the poor students from hardest hit areas should be accommodated.

They are compelled to live in unhygienic and costly private hostels where living for young students is a hell. This is indeed service of the poor students as well as the nation in the wider perspective. Hostel is a basic need of the students of the remote areas. Without it, they not only damage their studies but also waste a lot of time and money. So it should be reopened on war footing basis, he stressed.