A week after a lizard was found in the lunch served at a government hostel, most city colleges claim to have a robust system to check the quality of food being served in their hostel canteens. Urvashi Pandya, in charge of three women’s hostels in the Kalina Campus of the University of Mumbai, goes on regular ‘food walks’ to check on the quality of food, she says.
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Residents of all three hostels have a single mess where they get a variety of food and beverages at subsidised rates. “We have had the same contractor since the past seven years and the quality has remained constant,” says Pandya, who visits the mess at least once in two-three days.
In some other colleges, the responsibility is delegated to student bodies. While some of these bodies are appointed by the college management, some are elected from among the residents.
“We have a very traditional set-up. The contractor has been associated with us for 30 years now,” said Agnelo Menezes, principal of St Xavier’s and warden of hostels.
While the student body is responsible for mediating between the residents and contractors, the management takes care of the nutritional value of the food.
“Compared with other hostels, the food is quite good. The quality too is good, barring the occasional fly in the spinach during monsoons,” says a third-year student who lives in the hostel. The problem, he says, is that the menu is decided by the contractor.
At Wilson College, the student body decides the menu, says principal Vishwas Sirwaiya. “We have strict rules for the contractors about hygiene in the kitchen and the nutrition content of the food,” says Sirwaiya.