Consulting a nutritionist, training mess workers and revamping mess menus are all part of measures in an overall health and hygiene initiative the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) is planning.
The IIT-B campus at Powai has 12 messes catering to 14 hostels and around 8,000 students. Last September, more than 500 students suffered from food poisoning after dinner at a common mess shared by three hostels. A new contractor for the mess began catering from January.
"We have just started exploring the process of making the menus go through a dietician, decreasing the amount of fried foods, etc.," said U Yajnik, dean of student affairs at IIT-B. "We want to improve the protein content in the food, bring in more fresh, vitamin-enhanced foods."
Five years ago, the institute had taken the help of Taj flight catering services to train mess workers. The institute might do so again, said Yajnik.
But students aren't necessarily impressed by the 'healthy eating' focus. "Frankly, I don't care about the nutritional value, I would just like better tasting food," said a fourth year student who did not wish to be named.
Candidates contesting for the post of general secretary of hostel affairs have been campaigning on the plank of better, tastier and more hygienic food.
IIT-B is also planning to refurbish each of the messes. It would take around two years to finish redesigning all the messes. None of these changes are likely to have an impact on the students' mess fees, said Yajnik.
'4 canteens have no licence'Bhavya Dore
Four out of five canteens on the Mumbai University's Kalina campus have been operating without licenses, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials have found. The officials conducted a surprise check at the campus on Saturday.
According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) rules, it is mandatory for every canteen to have two licences - a registration licence under the Shop and Establishment Act, 1959, and a BMC trade licence under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 - for quality control.
"We have given them a notice saying they should apply for the licences by next Monday or they will have to face action," said an FDA officer. Offending canteens might have to pay a fine if they do not adhere to the FDA notice they have been served, said the official.
Following the incident of food poisoning on the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) campus last September, the university had appointed a four-member panel, which inspected the canteens.
"We will look into the matter," said Mridul Nile, director of students' welfare, on the matter of the canteens operating without the licenses.
Students say that they have been facing the problem of crumbling infrastructure, poor food and unhygienic conditions for a while now. "Students have been asking for something to be done for some time, it has been an issue," said Tejas Deshpande, chairman of the Mumbai University Students' Council. "Senate members are trying to look into it."