Mess workers announce strike on IIM Calcutta campus; all eateries closed

Students complained about contaminated food being served in one of the hostels. The protest by mess workers comes after the mess was shut down, and a new contractor was hired 
Hostel mess workers protest at IIM Calcutta | Pic: Sourced
Hostel mess workers protest at IIM Calcutta | Pic: Sourced

IIM Calcutta is under siege — This is what students of the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta are describing as the situation on the campus today, November 8. All messes and eateries on campus were shut this morning after mess workers went on strike against the dismissal of 40 of their colleagues from the mess at the New Hostel in September this year. 

The mess workers were relieved of their duties after students complained about unhygienic food being served, which allegedly led to them falling sick. A first-year student of IIM Calcutta who resides at this hostel told EdexLive that multiple complaints to the administration about the condition of the food were to no avail, "The food was barely edible. We would routinely find wires and insects in the food. We have registered several complaints with the Housing and Social Affairs Secretary of the student body, who brought it to the attention of the administration. However, no action was taken." 

Frustrated, about 170 students of the hostel declared that they would no longer be eating at the hostel mess and also stopped paying mess charges. "At the time, we had term exams going on, but we would travel to other hostels to eat. We did not have a choice," said the student, on the condition of anonymity. This was in September when the mess contractor was dismissed from his post, along with the mess workers, and the mess was shut down. 

On November 4, a new mess contractor was hired but he allegedly received death threats from the mess workers, the students claimed. "All mess workers on campus are unionised. They have been working here for 20-odd years and there is no accountability because they are affiliated with the ruling party (Trinamool Congress)," alleged another IIM Calcutta student.

Today, November 8, all messes and eateries on campus were shut and the mess workers embarked on a protest on campus against the replacement of the workers at New Hostel. In a statement, the students of IIM Calcutta claimed that the workers were blocking food delivery inside the campus as well. "The health and safety of IIMC students are at stake if urgent steps are not taken to resolve this issue," read the statement.

"We have approached the administration but even they are under pressure from the ruling party, so they cannot do much," claimed a member of the student body on the condition of anonymity. "We are helpless now. The administration has to come and take the lead on this. We are here to study. The kind of politics that happens in the institute and the interference of the political parties of the state is a disappointment. It leads to the downfall of this prestigious institute," added the student.

EdexLive has reached out to the IIM Calcutta administration for a response and this article will be updated accordingly.

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