Around the annual admission season in Delhi University (DU), it’s not just the application counters across colleges that see huge crowds and serpentine queues. Vendors in the varsity area also enjoy towering sales, making more earnings than any other time of the year. Because when else can you expect a footfall of 7 to 8 lakh — of hopeful aspirants (local and outstation) and anxious parents in the sweltering summer of Delhi. But, NOT this year.
The business of vendors in DU is expected to take a hit this year, as registration for 54,000 undergraduate seats goes online from May 28 to June 16. A tiny window of hope: the offline registration, which will be available in a select few colleges for the last five days, June 12 onwards. With a thanda admission season upon them and their earnings expected to dwindle, most stall owners, street vendors and rickshaw pullers are preparing to pack their bags and head back to their village till the colleges re-open mid July.
“Pehle toh high cut-offs ne business ko maara aur ab yeh online registration. Itni kam kamai ho gayi hai. We have kept the stall open for the small crowd that we are getting for post graduate admission, but as soon as we find an excuse to leave, we will, and come back only when the colleges will reopen in the new session,” rues Mahinder, a vendor who runs a banta stall outside the Law Faculty in North Campus.
Rajesh Kumar Yadav, a rickshaw puller, says, “Iss baar toh 300 rupaye bhi roz nahi kama payenge. Pehle to admission time pe Rs 1,000 tak kama lete thay roz. Main toh ghar chala jaunga bas kuch din mein. Itne mehenge shehar mein bina kamaai kaise rahunga?”
Vishu Gupta, who heads a drinks stall along with her father near the Northern Ridge road, finds herself in a similar situation. She laments that the sales have already taken a serious hit due to the online admission process. “Kuch bikta hi nahi hai ab. Earlier there would be so many students buying things from our stall during the admission season. When it’s so hot, who doesn’t want a cool drink? Ab sab ghar reh ke apply karenge, yahan kaun ayega?. Abhi bhi kam hi log aatey hain,” says Gupta.
Things are not any different for stationery sellers in the campus. Rows of pens, glue sticks and envelopes — that otherwise sold like hot cakes — remain untouched at Dinkar Singhal’s stationery stall inside the Art Faculty. He says his sale has gone down by 60%. “Every year during admissions, DU aspirants would line up here. Ab toh college ke bacche aa hi nahi rahey university mein,” adds Singhal.