Give the students of Dow Medical College theirs hostel buildings back!

Give the students of Dow Medical College theirs hostel buildings back!

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Dispute of building custody between Dow Medical College and Insitute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (IPMR) runs backwards in time since the inception of IPMR itself. Dow Medical College had three buildings to its name for accommodation of its male students. Those were called Hostel 1, Hostel 2 and Haribhai Pragji Karia Building. After that Dow Medical College closed its hostels completely and those buildings were temporarily converted into Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (IPMR) and Institute of Medical Technology (IMT). A few years later, students were given accommodation in Sindh Medical College (SMC) Hostel which was affiliated with Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) at that time. In 2013, Sindh Medical College became affiliated with Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU) and students were asked to vacate SMC hostel and were shifted back to Haribhai Pragji Karia building.

It was in such a dilapidated condition that it’s a perfect location if anyone wants to shoot a horror movie. The most talented doctors of this country were displaced and forced to suffer in the horror movie site building. Five years ago, a serious incident happened when the roof of this century old ruin of a building fell off and nearly killed a student named Dr. Syed Annas Parvez. A mess worker also fell to his death from the balcony of this very building. Students resorted to stage various protests and demonstrations and to snuff that incident and to make for their ineptness, the admin provided the students with only a portion containing of 2 out of 6 floors in the IPMR to live in and call a ‘hostel’.

It should be noted this building along with IMT building and HPK building originally belonged to hostel. The students were promised with handing over of all the buildings later when the institutes will have their own. They were provided with no reading hall. No gym. No sports ground. No common room. Not even a mess. Just three tables and benches placed under a shade and they were supposed to call that a mess and eat there. All the freshers were denied accommodation at first on the pretext that there is not enough space in the hostel and they lived in rented apartments for 4 months. After much hue and cry, four to five persons were crammed into a single dingy and stuffy room with a single bedbug infested mattress to a person. That too borrowed from a generous passing out senior. They were provided with substandard furniture after six months when they had rubbed their shoe soles flat from doing multiple visits to the principal office but the then principal refused to meet. It was even more difficult for four persons to live in a room that can hold no more than two when furnished.

The students requested DUHS admin time and again for provision of all these basic facilities but instead of redressal of their grievance they were met with replies like, “Why are you even here?” “Why don’t you to go back to your villages in interior Sindh”. It was nothing short of a racial discrimination to students from Interior Sindh who are the toppers of their respective districts and they left their homes and their cities for Dow University because they were promised accommodation in the prospectus. But little did they know that they are about to experience the worst mental torture from their own institution. Majority of these students belongs to the farfetched areas like Thar Parkar and they can’t afford the hefty rents of private accommodation in a beast of city like Karachi.

But now instead of handing over of those three buildings, given temporarily to the IPMR, students are being ripped of whatever little they had in the name of a hostel mid studies, worse in the midst of a pandemic, and being forced to move out by the all-powerful and politically backed Nabila Soomro who has been granted green signal to convert IPMR into and independent institute named Sindh Institute of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation just so that she can mint money under the guise of caring for the disabled and physically impaired. While in fact, she has no sympathy for her own students who themselves want setup for their institute separate from the hostel buildings.

When the students approached Principal DMC Dr. Amjad Siraj Memon, he excused himself by saying that his hands are tied and Nabila Soomro has more political approach and overturning his efforts of providing accommodation for the students of DMC.

According to PMDC rules, a medical university must provide at least 20% of its students with accommodation for its registration to be considered valid but DMC, the no. 1 medical college of Sindh does not have that facility and is risking cancellation of its registration from PMDC.

It has been a very tough decision especially for doctors who are risking the health and life of their family members by staging protest in the time of a pandemic. Our charter of demand is handing over of all three buildings to its rightful owner i.e. Boys’ Hostel, and providing it with reading hall, mess, sports ground, and a gymnasium so that the future doctors of this country can study without the constant looming fear of sudden evacuation.

This is not the sole issue of students of DUHS but every other institute of Karachi, like Karachi University, Dawood University Of Engineering And Technology, NED University of Engineering and Technology, etc whose hostel buildings have been utilized for other purposes instead of giving accommodation to students.