Jamia boys hostel residents took out a rally on Friday, August 5, 2011, to protest against the increase in hostel fee and mess charges.
The march, which constituted about 100 students, started at 2:30 p.m. from the Hall Of Boys Residence (Boys Hostels).
Protesting students walked towards the south campus, past the Indian Bank, through the Ansari Auditorium lawns, and reached the Office of the Provost situated next to the Ansari Auditorium. The walk must have taken about 20 minutes as the boys hostels are at the one end of the campus, and the provost’s office is at the other end.
“The protest is [in] repercussion of repetitive reluctant behavior of the administration. They don’t even bother to notify [us] regarding the increased fee in advance. This rally is self-assertive and no student’s organization is involved,” said Danish Hameed, Senior House Monitor of Kellat Hostel.
Senior hostel officials such as Tabrez Alam, Provost Hall of Boys Residence; Dr. Mohammad Suhaib, Assistant Provost; Prof. Z.A. Jafri, Senior Warden Allama Iqbal Hostel; and Prof. Faqeer Mohammad, Mess Warden, were all present to address the concerns of the students.
The students were asked to gather in a hall inside the Office of the Provost where they could raise their questions and concerns to the officials present.
Several issues were put forward by the hostel residents, one of which was that the mess charges for food has seen a considerable hike in the past year with no significant improvement in the quality of the food. Mess charges were Rs. 1150 in November, 2010, and are now Rs. 1600 in August, 2011, resulting in a hike of Rs. 450 in just one year.
On hearing this, the Mess Warden Faqeer Mohammad stood up and turned in his resignation to the Provost right there and then, and left the hall without saying a word; leaving the students in the room feeling a little perplexed.
In regard to the hostel fee hike, the Provost said, “The decision to increase the hostel fee has been taken by the higher authorities. This is not my personal decision. I was present in the meeting, and the decision to increase the fee was taken due to unavoidable conditions. The price for every commodity is rising and we had to increase the fee under forced circumstances.”
Arshad Ayub, a student of B.B.S and a resident of Kellat hostel complained: “The food served in the hostel mess has no taste, and the quantity of food served in Iftaar during Ramadan is not enough.”
In regard to this complaint, the Asst. Provost said “The mess contractors were not ready to serve the food in the price charged earlier by the students and we cannot replace the contractors till next tender for hostel mess is called. So, you all have to bear the same food for few more days till we appoint a new mess contractor. If you know someone who can serve the quality of food you wanted, bring him to the office and we’ll replace the contractor.”
This discussion between students and hostel officials lasted till 3:30 p.m. at which time students lost their interest in the conversation and left the hall due to the reluctant behavior and petty arguments of the officials present there.
“This is what happens every time: we come here with a hope and go back unaided without any satisfactory response.” said Mridul Upadhyay a student of B.Tech and a hostel resident.
Before the meeting came to an end, the Provost did give an assurance to all students present that he will standardize the food quality.