For the third consecutive day on Tuesday, residents of the Savitribai Phule Pune University’s (SPPU’s) girls’ hostel didn’t receive any food in their mess as, despite assurances by the authorities, the mess services remained closed. On Monday, The Indian Express had reported that since Sunday, residents of the girls’ hostel had not been provided any food at the mess, since the mess contractor had declared the services shut until October 28. The mess services at the boys’ hostel, meanwhile, is continuing without a hitch, prompting the residents of the girls’ hostel to complain about differential treatment.
When queried about the issue earlier, SPPU authorities, including the registrar and hostel chief rector, had said they weren’t even aware of it. They had also assured that alternative arrangements would be made from Tuesday, when food from a nearby hostel will be sent to the residents of the girls’ hostel. However, on Tuesday, residents of the girls’ hostel said that neither breakfast nor lunch had been provided. T D Nikam, chief rector of the hostel, said he had asked the rector of the nearby hostel to make arrangements. “She had told me that she was trying to help, but since it was last minute, maybe she could not arrange it. We have made arrangement in the refectory, where girls can eat meals and by the evening, we will try to arrange it in the hostel itself.”
However, the woman residents complained that walking to the refectory for meals three times a day was not possible, especially in the night, when the campus was “dark and deserted”. “Now that most classes are shut, there are not too many people on campus… so, going to the refectory at night is not possible. We pack lunch and eat stale food in the night, or else survive on biscuits,” said a student.
Meanwhile, Vice-chancellor N R Karmalkar told The Indian Express that since the university administration was unable to make arrangements for the mess services, they have instead made arrangement for a vehicle to drop the girls to a refectory for meals. “The mess contractor will be back on Saturday. Till then, since we are unable to make arrangement for the mess services, all 30 girls will be provided a vehicle for all the meals. The security officials have been informed,” he said.