ICAR IARI: Protesting students meet director seeking changes in fee hike; await official notice

"The students have met the director, submitted the letter and have come back. We are waiting for their final decision," said a student 
This is what the director said | (Pic: EdexLive)
This is what the director said | (Pic: EdexLive)

The Post Graduate School Students' Union 2022-23 of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (ICAR IARI), New Delhi have met the institute's director Dr AK Singh and submitted a letter seeking changes in the fee hike and hostel allotment. With regards to the matter, the Master of Science (MSc) and Doctor of Philosophy students have been on a silent sit-in-protest in front of the director's office since the morning of October 5, Thursday, demanding the cancellation of the fee hike and resolution of hostel allotment issues.

Speaking to EdexLive, a student who wished to be anonymous, said, "The students have met the director, submitted the letter and have come back. We are waiting for their final decision." To recall, on October 4, the MSc and PhD students wrote to the director, "regarding students protest against fee hike and hostel allotment policy."

Upon knowing about the protest, the administration issued a notice which read, "... the plan to stage protest/ strike is gross violation of the on campus discipline conduct is unacceptable. The responsible elements are advised to withdraw their letter delivered to the Director's Office and also the plan of indulging in undesirable activities as above, failing which strict disciplinary action will be taken." 

Listing out their demands and asking for the revocation of the above-mentioned notice announcing disciplinary action against protestors, the students' union submitted a letter to the director on October 5. The demands mentioned in the letter are:

1) The exact date should be fixed for the allotment of hostels to MSc and PhD students, and it should be released officially to prevent any kind of state of confusion among the students.

2) As mentioned in the circular dated September 18, 2023 the hostel security money amounting Rs 10,000/- should be withdrawn for the batch 2022-23 (MSc and PhD Students).

3) As conveyed by the director verbally to the students, the hostel allotment policy should not be applicable to the students admitted in 2022-2023

4) Notice vide TGS/Misc-IX/180/2023 dated 04/10/2023 should be nullified and no disciplinary action should be taken against any IARI student for the same.

Further, seeking instant action, the letter added, "We will call off the protest peacefully immediately." 

To note, the major issues of the students include fee hikes and non-allotment of a hostel to the students admitted in January 2023. 

Fee hike issue
On September 18, 2023, a notice issued by the institute, to which EdexLive has access, mentioned the hiked fees to be Rs, 36,000 (hostel fees = Rs 30,000 + common electricity and water charges = Rs 6,000). Speaking to EdexLive, a student said, "The students demand paying the fee mentioned in the fee brochure during the admissions in January 2023, which was, Rs 27,650." 

However, upon the request of students, the management has agreed to reduce the fee and as per the latest notice issued on October 5, the fee was reduced to Rs 24,000 (hostel fees Rs 18,000 + common electricity and water charges Rs 6,000). As per students, the institute also charges Rs 10,000 as a Hostel Caution Money which is refundable. In the letter submitted to the director, the students have also demanded the management withdraw the cautionary fee for the 2022-23 batch as the total fee along with the cautionary fee amounts to Rs 34,000. 

Regarding this, the student who wished to stay anonymous told EdexLive, "This revised fee notice is non-satisfactory. Although the fee has been reduced, this is not a great reduction." Remembering that this is not the first time the fee was hiked, the student said, "In May 2023, the institutes issued a notice with an exorbitant fee of over Rs 50,000. But following our protest, it has withdrawn the notice." EdexLive has access to both the notices. 

Further speaking about another issue which is the hostel allotment, the student said, "Despite adequate amount of rooms, the administration is not providing students the hostel rooms."

Hostel allotment
The issue dates back to August 22, 2023, when the 2022-23 batch of MSc and PhD students were asked to report to the institute as the second semester offline and research classes were to begin on September 25, 2023. Regarding the hostel facility, the notice, which EdexLive has access to, read, "Students should note that because of the limited availability of hostel facilities, the allotment will be made based on the availability of rooms, merit and hostel allotment policy. List of hostels allottees and related details will be intimated two weeks prior to September 25, 2023."

On September 21, another notice was issued to the students extending the reporting date. As per the circular, to which EdexLive has access, for the master's batch 2022-23, the reporting date has been extended from October 17 to 20 and from October 17 to 30 for PhD 2022-23 batch students. 

Mentioning this concern, the students, in their letter to the director, demanded clarity over the date of reporting. "Students have already booked flight tickets and two batches are suffering. It's been two weeks, many students are already on campus and are awaiting an allotment," a student who wished to stay anonymous told EdexLive

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