Hyderabad: Students from north-east and Kashmir have been left to fend for themselves after universities decided to close down the campuses to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

With airfare going through the roof, students are unable to arrange for money to return home.

English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) and MANUU (Maulana Azad National Urdu University) have asked its students to leave the campus, as a precautionary measure against further spread of COVID-19. The University of Hyderabad decided to lock down its hostels from March 20

The decision has left many students from the north-eastern states with little option. They have to spend a bomb on air tickets to go home.

Rhulia Nukhu, a Ph.D. student from Nagaland, was one of the lucky ones who spent Rs 10,000 for a ticket to Kohima. “I was fortunate, so I got a ticket for 10k. But my friend who returned to her hometown in Imphal had to pay Rs 25,000 for her flight to Imphal. Not many people have the financial capability to spend so much on a single ticket,” said the student.

Incidentally, most of these flights go via Mumbai, Delhi and Guwahati. “Most of these connecting flights take too much time to reach and pass through major cities with huge layover time. So the risk of taking Corona back home is higher with too much physical contact in such cases,” said Jenny Diamari, a Ph.D. student from UoH.

Likewise, MANUU students struggle to go back home as authorities are considering making the university a quarantine center.

“University administration has asked us to leave, but many cannot, owing to financial reasons. Some people are taking trains, which is even riskier in the current scenario. But students don’t really have another option,” said Azhar Shaheen, a Kashmiri student from MANUU.

Several students from EFLU have alleged that the Students’ Union has not made alternate arrangements. “They are letting foreign students stay, while Indians are asked to go back. The Students’ Union did not arrange for alternate accommodation for students. So we are forced to take OYO rooms outside, or live at the mercy of others,” said an M.A student from Assam.

With mess facilities already closed in EFLU, students have begun to run out of options. MANUU has also asked its students to leave campus by March 20. UoH will also shut down its mess on March 23 till April 6.

Amritha Mohan

Amritha Mohan is a reporter at the NewsMeter. Shortly after completing her Master's in Communication at the University of Hyderabad, she began teaching courses on media and culture as a guest lecturer at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong. Amritha has previously interned with news organisations such as Greater Kashmir and Newslaundry. A lover of travel and photography, she spends most of her time planning road trips to the North-East. Nothing makes her happier than a green turf and a team to play football with. She primarily reports on education, tech, human-interesting and critical features.

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