The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration’s decision to evict utility shops on campus and implement a proposal to allocate shops to the highest bidder has lead to opposition from the university’s student’s union.
Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) has termed the move as a ‘tilt in the balance’ of the campus environment. “There is no reason why JNU has to actively open up its spaces for such a trend and add to the spiraling inequity in society. Shops and services in a university campus is not about monetary strength of the owners, but about quality of services and their personalised approach to the campus community,” JNUSU president Akbar Chawdary said.
In its last Campus Development Committee (CDC) meeting, the administration came up with a proposal of using the ‘highest bidder’ policy for allotment of shops. This is a shift from its earlier ‘progressive shop allotment’ policy, which gave priority to the backward classes.
The students’ union has demanded that the earlier policy should be retained. “A BPL card holder should be given priority during allocation. Women, backward classes, minorities and physically handicapped should also be given top priority,” the JNUSU president said.
It has also been proposed that the practice of sub-letting shops, while continuing to be the de facto owner, should be curbed by an annual declaration of original shop allottees. “CDC must implement a one-time policy of regularsing shops in the present owners’ names, who have provided unstinted service to the campus community,” Chawdary said.