IIT Bombay students put hunger strike on hold till Monday
Mumbai city news: Students received an email from the institute’s director on Tuesday, assuring action through a committee review meeting that will be held this monthmumbai Updated: Jul 08, 2017 00:25 IST
A day after students of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) started a relay hunger strike against a fee hike imposed by the institute, the strike was called off. Students received an email from the institute’s director on Tuesday, assuring action through a committee review meeting that will be held this month. Students have decided to put on hold their strike until Monday, when the committee meeting is scheduled to take place.
“According to the letter by our director, a committee meeting will be held to review the hikes on July 10, and the same proposal will then be placed with the Board of Governors in August. The last date to pay these hiked fees is July 11, so the move is not bringing relief to us anytime soon,” said a student, on condition of anonymity. He said that students will get back to their protests if no action is taken by July 10.
In May this year, the management of IIT-B introduced a hike for the new academic session, including a 300% hike in hostel rent, 167% hike in gymkhana fee, 100% hike in examination, registration and medical fees and around 50% hike in other charges. The hostel rent of students in IIT-B has gone up by 300%--from Rs 500 per semester to Rs 2,000 per semester from this year. Even the mess advance has gone up from Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 from this year. IIT-B authorities attributed this hike to inflation, however, students are upset that they were not consulted before implementation of the hike.
According to the mail sent to students by IIT-B director Devang Khakkar on Tuesday, stating that the administration is working on the issues highlighted by the students and assured them that a ‘White Paper’ on the newly implemented hikes will reach the students by mail by July 7. “A committee will look into this and the meeting will be held on Monday, July 10. The agenda will be to discuss the White Paper and to explore which fee components can be reduced,” states the email.
Students said this meeting will be of no help because by then, they will have to forcefully pay the hiked fees in order to avoid late fee payment charges. “The director’s mail clearly states that if at all any hike is rolled back, it will only happen after August, and by then we have no choice but to pay for this semester,” said another student.
Tuesday was day two of the relay hunger strike at IIT-B and had garnered interest and support from outsiders, including MP Shashi Tharoor, who on Tuesday tweeted in favour of the IIT-B students. “Students at IIT-Bombay protesting an unreasonable fee hike. Government should stay the hike and provide full explanation,” stated a tweet by Tharoor on Tuesday afternoon.