Delhi University admission hopefuls pour cash into cyber cafes on North Campus
Online forms for admission to Delhi University are being filled up at cyber cafes, which are charging up to Rs 600 per form. However, if a student needs help, the service is free at DU help desks.education Updated: Jun 20, 2017 18:19 IST
The Delhi University (DU) admission season means great money for some businesses. One of the first things that an admission hopeful has to do is fill up an online form. For this, they need access to a computer. And for that, they need cyber cafes. For cyber cafes on the North Campus, this is highly profitable — several of them are charging as much as Rs 600 for filling each online form. All colleges and courses can be picked through one online form.
The fee for the service starts around Rs 150 and goes up four-fold, depending on the size and location of the cyber cafe. The irony is that students don’t need to pay anything at all; DU colleges and student organisations have admission help desks that offer this service for free. The reason cyber cafes still make a killing is that several students don’t know about this — outsiders in Delhi are among the first ones to head for a cyber cafe.
Cafe owners defend the charge. Mohan Sharma, owner of a cafe, says, “Whatever we’re charging is justified. Itna to banta hai na! Kabhi website hang ho jati hai, kabhi kisi ke document poore nahi hote, aur kabhi mode of payment clear nahi hota. Ek form ko bharne mein do-teen din lag jate hai. Ek banda agar daily ke 30 minute de raha hai ek form pe, to chhe sau to charge karega na (It would come to that much. Sometimes, the website hangs; sometimes, someone’s documents are incomplete; and sometimes, the mode of payment is not clear. It takes two-three days to complete filling one form. If one person spends 30 minutes a day on each form, then wouldn’t he charge six hundred rupees)?” The two-three days he talks about refers to the step-by-step admission procedure. The fee charged includes the money for each form.
Diljeet Khurana, who also runs a cyber cafe in the area, says, “Sabse zyada dikkat sports quota-wale students ke form mein aati hai. Unke practical aur theory-wale marks mein clarity hi nahi hai. Ek din mein, mushkil se do-teen bachhon ke hi form fill ho pate hai, to uss hisab se charges zyada nahi hai (Filling the forms for sports quota students is the most problematic job. There is no clarity in their marks for theory and practical. In one day, the forms of only two-three such students are filled. Considering that, the charges are not high).”
Students who’re not confident prefer to cough up the cash. Maya Khurana, from Mandawali, West Delhi, says, “I tried filling up the form from home, but the website was freezing too much. I visited a nearby cyber cafe, but then got confused by the [online] requirements. Then I decided to visit the campus and someone suggested that I take the help of cyber cafe owners, as they know the procedure. I paid Rs 500, but I don’t think this is too much. Everyone was paying the same amount there.”
Kriti Yadav, who is from Rohtak, Haryana, hopes to bag a Delhi University seat under the sports quota, but faced some problems when filling up the online form. “I took my brother’s help to fill up the form, but there was some confusion. My relatives live in Delhi. So, I thought of visiting the campus, and while staying here, I have filled the form by paying Rs 400. I’ll also enquire about the dates and timings of the sports trial.”
Cafes on the inner lanes of the area are cheaper than those on the front lanes. Mahesh Kumar, owner of a cyber cafe, says, “We can’t charge a hefty amount because we’re on an inner lane. Cyber cafes on the front lanes make most of the money during Delhi University admission season, because students only care about [filling up] the forms and don’t mind paying exorbitant fees. Those who come to us are already aware of the lower fees we charge.”
Gurpreet Singh Tuteja, Deputy Dean, Students Welfare, says, “Students don’t need to go anywhere. Every computer is a centre in itself. There are guidelines in English and Hindi, and before filing the form, [students] can go through the guidelines. In case of any difficulty, they can contact their local college. Several help desks are set up on the campus, along with scanning facility. Students should fill the form on their own because if the cafe misses the college choice by any chance, we will not entertain it later. They are grown-up students; they should be careful.”