A high-level committee set up by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration has recommended that concession in utility and service charges be given to all university students and not only to those below poverty line.
The committee submitted its report to the university administration on Monday, a JNU official statement said. The formation of the committee had been slammed by the JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) and students’ union, JNUSU.
The panel recommendations have been approved by the Executive Council (EC) through circulation, the statement said. Three members of the EC, however, said they were never consulted on the panel’s recommendations.
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The committee scrutinised the estimated utility and service charges in the hostels, which is Rs 2,000 per month, including electricity and water charges of Rs 300 a month. The panel has recommended that Rs 1,000 may be charged per month in place of Rs 2,000 a month towards the utility and service charges for all the students, the varsity said.
The committee has also recommended 75 per cent reduction in the utility and service charges for all eligible BPL students who would be charged Rs 500 in place of Rs 2,000 per month. It is expected that 75 per cent concessions in utility and service charges to the eligible BPL category students and 50 per cent concessions to the rest will go down well with the student community and stakeholders at large, it added.
The HLC has recommended that the Revised Hostel Manual, as approved by the Executive Council in its 283rd Meeting held on November 13, be implemented from January 2020. The statement said the HLC considered the feedback of student representatives, submitted to the Dean of Students’ office through emails.
The committee has made significant recommendations that would benefit all the students in the university by addressing their concerns. “The student strike has caused enormous academic loss to a vast number of students in the university. “The administrative shutdown due to occupation of the administration building has
compounded the woes of the JNU community. Further continuation of lockdown of Schools would be unacceptable national loss,” the statement said.
In a statement, Sachidanand Sinha, Moushumi Basu and Baviskar Sharad Pralhad said, “As the three elected representatives in the Executive Council, we would like to put on record, that none of us were ever approached either through mail or phone for approval of the HLC recommendations, as claimed in the press release issued by the Registrar.”
The claim made that the recommendations of the HLC was approved by members of the Executive Council through circulation is therefore untrue, they alleged. The students’ union said the very idea of of utility and service charge is “outrageous and unacceptable”.
The amount they suggested is untenable and students will have to drop out if this sustains, they said.
“The administration should think twice before engaging in such juvenile stunts and testing the patience of students.
“If it thinks this is some sort of bargaining going on where it can dangle out carrots to.placate agitating students, it has a very limited idea of JNU students and refuses to learn. We warn it not to test our patience,” they said.
The issue of this latest circular and the process that preceded it are a clear reflection of the Vice-Chancellor’s desperation to salvage his position even after his continuation in office has become untenable, the JNUTA said.
Meanwhile, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Federation (JNUTF), an organisation of teachers who dissociated themselves from JNUTA, welcomed the circular issued by the JNU administration. A high-powered committee constituted by the HRD ministry is also likely to submit its report soon. The varsity has seen protest by students over issue of hostel fee hike. The varsity had announced a partial rollback of the hiked fee, but it was not accepted by students.