By Duncan Mlanjira
Management of the Polytechic in Blantyre is asking the public to contribute towards raising K146 million to go towards the rehabilitation of the 28-bed Nyika hostel block that was gutted by fire on November 26.
The fire, that started after students had rioted when demonstrating against rampant theft at the campus being perpetrated by outsiders, completely destroyed the top floor of one wing of the the building and rendered the whole hostel inhabitable for the 268 students.
Management was then forced to temporarily close down the institution as it sought short term interventions to manage the situation.
That short term intervention is to seek public support to raise the K146 million needed so that they reopen the college on January 6 for the second semester.
The needs include accommodation, beddings, clothing, transport and learning materials.
“Management of the Polytechnic is, therefore, appealing to well-wishers (individuals, families, business community/private sector, the diplomatic community, NGOs, religious community and the general public) to assist the students in any way possible.”
The press release said any assistance in form of monetary form should be deposited into the following bank account;
*Account name: Polytechnic Research Project
*Account #: 9100002491181
*Ginnery Corner Branch
“Any other material support could be delivered to the Collegebthrough the Office of Dean of Students (Luciano Ndalama) who can be contacted on 0888 85 27 07/01 870 411 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Management would like to comment the courageous behavior of all those that managed to contain the fire amidst challenges and rescue property as the impromptu emergence response,” the statement.
According to reports, the college students have been affected by the theft from the outsiders because most of the hostels are not well secured and was showing their discontent to management to do something about it.
On Monday, night robbers are reported to have broken into two hostels and went away with laptops, cell phones, clothes among others that made them demonstrate.
But in the process, the demonstrations went out of hand when the students took to the streets and affected traffic along Masauko Chipembere Highway, forcing the police, who are just a stone throw away, to come and intervention of the police.
The police are reported to have fired tear gas to force the students to get back into their campus.
In the midst of the tear gas splee, the hostel caught fire from an undisclosed source.
Some people commenting on social, though it hadn’t been confirmed, just assumed that probably one of the tear gas canisters may have landed on beddings in one of the rooms and caught fire.
One student, commenting to a debate on Facebook, had said that there’s a tuck shop at the ground floor of Nyika hostel where potato chips is served and that they use a deep frier.
The person explained that when the police fired the teargas, the tuck shop operator ran away without switching off everything.