Stalemate between PU, students over hike in mess and canteen rates continues

By, Chandigarh
Apr 01, 2022 01:53 AM IST

PU students have intensified their protests over hike in mess and canteen rates; student bodies carried out a march ob campus and also held a meeting with the authorities that remained inconclusive

The deadlock on the hike in mess and canteen rates between Panjab University (PU) student bodies and authorities continued on Thursday as the meeting between them remained inconclusive.

PU students and administration failed to arrive at an understanding on the hike in mess and canteen rates. (HT File)
PU students and administration failed to arrive at an understanding on the hike in mess and canteen rates. (HT File)

Student bodies’ members held a meeting with PU’s dean student welfare (DSW) and other varsity officials over the demand to roll back the hike. Members of several student bodies including Students For Society (SFS), Punjab Students Union (PSU-Lalkaar), Ambedkar Students Association (ASA), Students Organisation of India (SOI) and National Students Union of India (NSUI) attended the meeting and later walked out after their demands were not accepted.

PU had in December announced the revised rates of eatables in the university hostels for 2021-22 academic session on the representation of the contractors of mess and canteens. The decision however, drew criticism from the student bodies, who were quick to demand the pre-Covid rates be reinstated.

The university’s decision had come after the recommendations to revise the rates was made by a panel that was constituted after receiving the representation from the contractors. The details of the revised rates were sent to the university hostels after the recommendations of the panel were approved by vice-chancellor Raj Kumar.

Student bodies have intensified protests over the last few days against the hike. They also alleged overcharging by the shopkeepers at the student centre.

According to students, the rate for a regular meal for boys was around 34 which was increased to 40 during the lockdown and its rate has been increased to 43.50 now. The rate of a regular meal (mess) has been increased to 42 (girls) and the revised rate of the special meal (boys and girls) is 48.5 now.

ASA’s Gurdeep, who attended the meeting, said, “They proposed that if the rate is brought down to 41 then 30 diets (meals) will be compulsory and similarly 25 diets (meals) will be made mandatory, if the rate is revised to 42. But we did not accept the proposal.”

The students reiterated their demand that pre-Covid rates be restored. SFS president Sandeep said, “We proposed to fix the rate of the regular meal at 30 and issue an open tender.” The student body also held a protest march at the campus.

PU’s dean student welfare (DSW), Jagtar Singh, did not comment on the matter.


    Dar Ovais is a Chandigarh-based Hindustan Times correspondent who covers higher education.

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