The much-hyped "free" Wi-fi service on the Panjab University has now been made a paid facility.
From this academic session, PU has begun to levy a charge of Rs 50 a month to avail the Wi-fi facility on in PU hostels. And what is more, students have also been told that those unwilling to pay for the service will have to discontinue the service.
There are nearly 7,000 students residing in PU's hostels and most of them have subscribed to the facility.
Dean, student welfare, Navdeep Goyal said,"We have employed three persons to provide uninterrupted 24 hours Wi-fi facility to students. The facility also requires to be upgraded from time to time and therefore, we have levied the charge." He added that PU would earlier charge the same amount for leased line internet facility in hostels.
However, sources claim PU was not paying for the bandwidth being used to provide the facility and therefore the charge was unnecessary.
What is stranger still is that PU's computer centre seems to have not been kept in the loop about the move. Students said they received no message from the centre but were informed of the decision by hostel wardens.
"The computer centre is yet to be involved in the process as charges are being levied only on hostellers as we are providing 24 hours internet facilities for them ," admitted Goyal
Students cry foul
Meanwhile, students claim that PU habitually introduces such additional charges arbitrarily, thereby increasing fees every year.
"They set up the facility with government of India grant but now have to maintain it themselves. Therefore, they are charging use. They might consider it meager, but such charges add to our yearly expenses," said Anil Sharma, a hosteller.
Hostellers also demand to know why such charges are levied only on them why day scholars have not been asked to pay for the facility.
"Moreover, PU staffers also live on the campus. If PU has to charge a fee for the facility, it should be levied on all of use," said Neeraj Kharab, a Hindustan Student Association student leader and a hosteller.
PU has started the Wi-fi facility in the north campus a year ago with a grant of Rs 4 crore, which was given to it by the Centre. Meanwhile, work to extend the facility to PU's south campus is currently underway.