Published: 21st November 2019
Fee hike: HRD Ministry-appointed panel to visit JNU on Friday to resolve issues
The JNUSU put forth the demand for a complete rollback of the hostel fee hike and said till the time the committee submitted its report, the fee hike must be put in abeyance
A high-power committee constituted by the HRD Ministry will visit the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus on Friday to meet the students and find a solution to the current issues concerning the university, officials said on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) office-bearers met the committee members at Shastri Bhawan here. The students have been agitating for over three weeks, demanding rollback of a recent hostel fee hike.
"The high-power committee of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry met students from JNU on Wednesday and took stock of their views at a cordial meeting at Shastri Bhawan. They agreed to meet the students again on Friday at the JNU campus to find solutions to the current issue," a senior official of the ministry said.
"The committee appealed to the students to restore normalcy on the campus immediately, to which the students responded positively," he added. The meeting commenced at around 10.30 am. The JNUSU office-bearers attended it along with the student councillors from the different schools of the university.
The JNUSU put forth the demand for a complete rollback of the hostel fee hike and said till the time the committee submitted its report, the fee hike must be put in abeyance. "We demanded that the inter-hall administration committee meeting that was held on October 28 without the students' union be reconvened and the hostel manual be passed only after suggestions are taken from us," JNUSU secretary Satish Chandra Yadav said.
"We also put forth the point about the Vice-Chancellor not meeting us, which has brought the situation to this level," he added. The JNUSU issued a statement, saying, "Our demand is to arrive at a new manual through an acceptable deliberative process. The current manual disregards affirmative action and does not guarantee reservations to SC, ST and PwD students in hostel seats, which we cannot accept. We shall neither deviate nor deter from our demands -- complete withdrawal of the manual and the decisions taken at the council meeting. The MHRD must ensure accountability of the JNU administration through the resignation of the Vice-Chancellor or recommend constitution of a visitorial enquiry," the statement added.
The committee members also met the hostel presidents of JNU later in the day. The HRD Ministry constituted the three-member committee on Monday to recommend ways to restore normal functioning at JNU. The panel members met JNU officials on Tuesday. While the JNUSU alleged that the registrar and the VC refused to meet the panel members, the university maintained that only the deans of all schools were called for the meeting.
"The committee had called the deans of all schools of the university and patiently listened to the views of the deans, where the rationale for the increase in hostel charges was explained in considerable details," the JNU administration said in a statement.
The panel consists of former University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman V S Chauhan, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) Chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe and UGC Secretary Rajnish Jain. Students of JNU have been protesting for over three weeks against a draft hostel manual, which has provisions for a hostel fee hike, dress code and curfew timings.
The executive council (EC) of the university had announced a partial rollback of the fee hike, only for the students from the BPL category without any scholarships, but the students had dubbed it as an "eyewash".
The EC had also removed the provisions for curfew timings and dress code from the draft hostel manual. Earlier, Union minister Ramesh Pokhriyal was stuck inside the convocation venue of the university for over six hours, following a protest by the students on the convocation day.