The mess at the girls’ hostel of the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) has been shut for two days, forcing the students to eat out. However, talking to The Indian Express, the chief rector of the hostel said he was not aware that the mess has not served meals since October 15.
Incidentally, the mess at the boys’ hostel of the varsity has been open. It has led the girls to raise their voice against the “differential treatment” meted out to boys. While the hostel mess facility has been shut for girls since October 15, with a notice informing them that it would be closed till October 28, the mess at the boys’ hostel has been serving three-time meals. In fact, no notice of shutdown of the service had been served at the mess in the boys’ hostel, which means barring the three official holidays, the boys would be served food on all days.
One of the girls staying at the hostel said, “Around a week ago, the contractor informed us that from October 15 to 28, the mess would be closed. We eat all three meals here. Many girls have gone home for vacations, but there are still many who have stayed back. We understand if they want to keep it shut for Diwali, but why two weeks? Is that how long they will celebrate the festival and why has no alternate arrangement been made for us? Just because fewer girls are living here, is it not necessary to provide food?”
Another hosteller said that for many students, internal exams were scheduled from October 22. When they informed the contractor about the same, he refused to budge. “Right now, we are skipping breakfast because no one wants to go walking out for food early in the morning. When we go out for lunch, we get dinner packed too and eat it cold because we don’t want to step out at night,” she said.
Meanwhile, SPPU Registrar Dr Arvind Shaligram and hostel Chief Rector T D Nikam said they didn’t know that the girls were not being served food since Sunday. However, after sometime, the hostel rector called this reporter back to inform that it was indeed the case and the varsity will take “corrective measures”.
Nikam said, “Actually, the mess contractor informed the rector at the girls’ hostel that very few girls were coming for food. That’s why he would be shutting for a few days. However, we understand the inconvenience the girls must be facing. When informed, the vice-chancellor asked us to make immediate arrangements. So, till Saturday, food to the girls’ hostel will be provided from boys hostel mess. Subsequently, the mess contractor at the girls’ hostel would resume service.”