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IIT Bombay students threaten to go on hunger strike over fee hike

Following the announcement about the strike, the institute accepted students' demand to include their representatives in the standing committee for fee matters.

IIT Bombay, Fee hike, fee hike IIT BombayAccording to the students at the institute, the fee for MTech and PhD programmes has increased by 39 per cent and 45 per cent respectively. (Express photo by Pallavi Smart)

— Harleen Agarwal

Students of IIT-Bombay have threatened to go on hunger strike over the recent hike in fees for MTech and PhD programmes if their demands for a rollback are not met by August 5.

On Thursday, following the announcement about the hunger strike, the institute accepted students’ demand to include their representatives in the Standing Committee for student fee matters. The committee would include four members from the student body as permanent invitees.

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Students at the premier engineering school have been protesting since July 22 against the fee increase for almost ten days. It started on July 20 when close to 100 students started a spontaneous sit-in protest at the main building after the institute director refused to meet them. The students wanted to submit an open letter against the hike to him.

According to the students at the institute, the fee for MTech and PhD programmes has increased by 39 per cent and 45 per cent respectively. As mentioned in the recent fee circular for the upcoming autumn semester, the break-up of the fee structure shows a rise in all heads except the tuition fees, including the hostel fees, medical fees, electricity and water charges among others, the students informed.

The institute administration has justified the hike on the ground that it was approved almost three years ago by its Board of Governors, but its implementation was put on hold due to the COVID19 pandemic.

Apart from a complete rollback, students are also demanding “revocation” of the Board of Governors’ resolution “that recommends a 5% annual hike in the fees” based on which the recent hike was implemented.

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“Considering that many of the students are yet to come out of the effects of the covid pandemic (even as the global economy is) , and they are having to cope with steepening inflation, the decision of compounded fee hike was extremely inconsiderate towards the students,” reads a statement by a student collective against the hike.

The statement further adds, “By making education more and more expensive in important public institutions like IITs, we are effectively closing the doors of these institutions on many.”

First published on: 29-07-2022 at 17:23 IST
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