Published: 24th August 2020
After ABVP's mass demonstration, JNU agrees to resolve issues with inflated mess bills, fee waiver
ABVP had also demanded the refund and settlement of last semester fee including the hiked hostel and establishment fees which were paid by the students and were later decreased
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad at Jawarharlal Nehru University had been protesting against the inflated mess bills and the clearance of mess and hostel dues amid the financial crisis faced by students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Monday, following a mass demonstration in front of the Dean of Students' office, the administration agreed to three of their demands — a committee to audit the inflated mess bills will be formed, proper mess facilities along with breakfast will be resumed from September 1 and finally, the vice-chancellor and the executive committee will look after the issue of fee waiver with exigency.
"ABVP-JNU has repeatedly been pointing out to the JNU administration and to the Dean of students about the financial crisis faced by the students due to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown. But the recently released circulars and orders from the Administration and Dean of Students office had not at all taken this into consideration in any of its decisions. The same mentality was also seen in the inflated mess bills that the students were being asked to pay. But now the dean has agreed to a few of our demands. We will be watching the VC office closely with regular follow-up of the demands made," Shivam Chaurasia, President ABVP-JNU said.
Shivam added that numerous students who had not used the mess facility during the period of lockdown have also been unjustifiably charged with inflated mess bills. Therefore ABVP had also demanded that students should not be forced to pay for the services that were neither utilised nor rendered to them by the administration during the COVID-19 lockdown. Earlier this week, during one of their demonstrations, ABVP had also demanded the refund and settlement of last semester fee including the hiked hostel and establishment fees which were paid by the students and were later decreased as per the orders of the High Court.
Shivam added: "A large number of students are facing financial difficulties due to the ongoing lockdown. To put students to further stress through such arbitrary decisions is uncalled for. JNU administration should act more sensibly during these times."
Govind Dangi, Secretary ABVP-JNU had said, "Our demands are genuine after proper consultations with the students. The Dean of Students office should take necessary steps at the earliest and take back the unjust charges imposed on the students with immediate effect."
The ABVP had also pointed out that at a time when JNU students are not receiving their fellowships (Non-NET/JRF /MCM) for several months due to COVID-19, the JNU administration had come out with an elaborate circular ordering to compulsorily clear hostel and mess dues before registering for the upcoming semester. MBA and Engineering students have also been asked to pay thousands of rupees as semester fees when there was no offline activity in the university due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Shivam had earlier in a statement said, "The simple logic is why should the students pay hostel fees when the University is shut due to lockdown and the students are at home? Moreover, fellowships of students have not been reimbursed for six months. From where will the students pay these dues?"