Published: 07th February 2018
No Swiggy, No FoodPanda - UoH students banned from ordering food online for "security" reasons
Students at University of Hyderabad talk about why it's frustrating that they are denied such a basic right and they will be discussing it in their GB meeting on Friday
No Swiggy. No Zomato delivery. No Foodpanda. This may be just another restriction imposed on the students of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) but this one goes straight to the stomach. Last September, the students were surprised when they were issued a notice that forbade them from making online food deliveries. When they made enquiries, they were informed that it was for "security" reasons.
The administration has claimed that allowing delivery persons on campus will "endanger" the security of the University. "The administration is just coming up with ridiculous reasons to ban online food delivery. Basically, the administration wants to protect the interests of the canteens that function inside the campus and are therefore bringing forth such outrageous rules. But it is because of the bad quality of food on campus that we want to order from outside," said Sreerag P, President of the Student Union. This is one of the points of concern raised in a long notice issued by the UoH Students Union, calling students to attend a General Body Meeting on Friday to protest against the "tyranny" of the administration.
The University campus is laid out over 2300 acres of land, most of which is forest - the library on campus is two kilometres from the main gate, the hostels are about three kilometres and the South Campus is four kilometres. For students who have bikes, going out and getting food might not be too big a task but what about people with no vehicles or cycles and who have to walk it. Worse still, what if it's late in the night?
However, the distance constraints are secondary - Food is our fundamental right, the students say, "Do we not deserve to eat?"
Lost meal: The students spend hours working in the library and prefer delivery services as they can manage a quick meal and get back to work
Isn't food a fundamental right?
"We might have a lot of work to do in the library or in the hostel, so it's easy to just order some food, come out and eat and then go back to doing our work. If we have to work late into the night too we prefer having food delivered to us but now we just have to put up with bad quality food," he added. The students say that for a long time now there has been an increasing demand for better quality in the canteens but there has been no attempt to improve it, "Besides the quality, the other issue is that there is no variety in the food. We cannot eat the same kind of food every day. We would like to eat according to our wish. That is a basic human need that we're being denied," he explained.
Suspension has become the norm
Besides the food issue, the other problems that will be brought up at the meeting are - arbitrary suspensions, PhD cancellations, seat cuts, fees hikes and the refusal of student union participation in decision-making. Almost 50 students have been suspended in the last year, the student representative said. "Suspension has become the norm now. For the smallest things, students are being dismissed and they are not even given a fair hearing. There is not even the slightest scope for any discussion on the matter," a student said.
Besides the food issue, the other problems that will be brought up at the meeting are - arbitrary suspensions, PhD cancellations, seat cuts, fees hikes and the refusal of student union participation in decision-making.
With regard to PhD cancellations, students say that those students who come back to submit their thesis after six years are suddenly not eligible for a degree, "A PhD takes years and sometimes due to financial constraints or other problems, students choose to take some time off and come back later to submit their degrees but that is no more allowed," he said. The students anyway needed to re-register for their degree if they take more than six years to finish their thesis, however, now at UoH, these scholars are being de-registered from the University.
After the meeting, a list of all the recommendations will be submitted to the VC and Registrar, so do they expect anything to go in their favour? And are they choosing to take this route because students are now fearful of taking to the roads to protest in case the police arrest them? "The administration has become lethargic in its treatment towards the students. They just want to ensure that there are no students on this campus and are waiting to kick us out every chance that they get. They simply don't care about what happens to us. But yes, there is some hesitation to get on to the streets but we are still going to come out to fight against injustice. We want this campus to remain ours and we have to protect it for the future generations, " he added.