Canteens and dhabas on JNU campus could soon make way for Haldiram’s and McDonald’s outlets, after a decision was made at an Executive Council (EC) meeting held on Tuesday to close some canteens and set up a food court.
The JNU Students’ Union condemned the move towards “corporatisation and privatisation”. In 2004, the union had successfully opposed a Nestle outlet opening on campus. “In response to growing demands from students for… clean and hygienic food… the JNU EC met on November 20 and decided to explore the feasibility of establishing food courts at suitable locations… This will enable students… to have a wide range of food choices …,” Registrar Pramod Kumar said in a statement.
“The EC has decided to take appropriate action against campus canteens not following rules and not catering to requirements of students for clean and affordable food. The EC has also decided to call for fresh tenders for running canteens. Those who have not followed rules or paid dues will not be permitted to participate in the tendering process,” he added.
An EC member said the rationale provided for opening a food court was to provide more “Indian food”. “They said they were interested in Haldiram’s, IRCTC and McDonald’s outlets in the food court to provide Indian food. But how does McDonald’s qualify as Indian food? They said they would shut down canteens and dhabas not paying their dues. Though we agreed that dues must be paid, some of us objected as it would affect livelihoods. But we weren’t heard,” the member claimed.
“It wasn’t decided where the food court would be opened, although one suggestion was somewhere near the library,” he added.
Registrar Kumar said, “We have long been getting requests for a ‘family food court’ on campus. JNU has various dhabas, but we don’t have places where we can go and eat with families. So we thought of this idea.”