The Ghaziabad district administration in Uttar Pradesh (UP) said late at night on Thursday that it has scrapped the proposal to convert the hostel earmarked for the Scheduled Caste (SC)/Scheduled Tribe (ST) students into the state’s first detention centre for illegal foreigners.

The government officials said that a hunt is for a new place for the proposed detention facility.

The hostel was constructed in 2010-11 when Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)-led government was in power.

The hostel is located adjacent to Raj Nagar Extension Master Plan road and is a part of the Nandgram locality.

On Thursday, BSP chief and former UP chief minister Mayawati tweeted that it was unfortunate that the multi-storeyed Dr Ambedkar SC/ST Hostel would be converted into UP’s first detention centre for illegal foreigners. She described the decision as painful and condemned the Yogi Adityanath-led government’s move.

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Ajay Shankar Pandey, district magistrate (DM), Ghaziabad, announced late at night on Thursday that he has scrapped the bid to convert the hostel into a detention centre for illegal foreigners.

“The building will continue to be used as a hostel for SC/ST students. It was proposed to convert the building into a detention centre for foreigners, who are living illegally in the state without valid visas etc. We will find a new suitable place for the proposed centre,” the DM said.

Initially, students from western UP and other districts in the state were staying at the hostel, but of late it has been lying vacant.

Officials said the decision to convert the facility into a detention centre was taken by the Ghaziabad district authorities in 2017.

Later, the state social welfare department had issued a notification to this effect following which the police’s housing development unit started the preparations to turn it into a detention centre.

Earlier in June, the hostel students had also submitted representations to the district administration when the facility was proposed to be converted into a coronavirus disease (Covid-19) care centre (CCC) because of a spike in the viral outbreak cases in Ghaziabad.

However, the bid to convert the hostel into a CCC was rolled back later.

The hostel has 250 beds and SC/ST students, who are pursuing college education in the district, are allowed to stay at the facility for free.

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