Mumbai colleges give mixed response to UGC’s ‘no junk food’ notice

A week since the notice arrived, the city colleges have barely made any change in their canteens. The menu remained almost the same with very few or no modification.

Written by Priyanka Sahoo | Mumbai | Published:November 17, 2016 2:54 am

THE UNIVERSITY Grants Commission (UGC) has recently asked colleges to take junk food off the menu and display the calorie content of the items served. The governing body of all educational institutes had instructed the colleges to implement measures to sensitise the students on ill effects of junk food.

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“Universities can serve as important data sources on student’s health. Information on markers like body mass index (BMl)/percentage of body weight, waist-and-hip ratio etc can help in creating awareness among students towards their health,” read the UGC notice.

However, a week since the notice arrived, the city colleges have barely made any change in their canteens. The menu remained almost the same with very few or no modification.

At St Xavier’s College, Dhobi Talao, only aerated drinks have been taken off the menu and the rest of the menu remains unchanged. “They are still serving baked and fried items in the canteen. The only thing off the menu is aerated drinks,” said a student from the college.

At Wilson College in Chowpatty, the students were disheartened to find their all-time-favourite ‘chicken frankie’ off the menu. While the students thought this was an after-effect of the UGC notice, Principal Vishwas Sirwaiya denied it.

He said the menu has not been changed yet and there was no immediate plan either. SIES College, Matunga, on the other hand, was serious about the notice.

Principal Uma Shankar said, “We plan to take away all junk food from the menu. A meeting was held regarding the same with the college management and the decision will be implemented in a couple of days.”

Even as the menu at Mithibai College, Vile Parle, remained the same, the institute has adhered to a part of the notice that asked the colleges to conduct programmes to create awareness among students about the effect of junk food.

“The student council has been assigned the task to conduct such awareness programmes among students to make them understand the importance of nutritious diet,” said Principal Rajpal Hande.

The UGC has also asked the colleges to conduct orientation programmes for faculty and staff on health issues.

“Wellness clusters should be created under the students welfare department where counselling should be done regarding proper nutrition, proper exercise and healthy habits. These wellness clusters can also provide psychological support to the students to prevent and reduce the incidence of obesity in young students,” read the notice.

Hande said the college already had an expert committee in place to conduct daily checks on the kitchen and ensure proper hygiene.

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