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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Centre panel set to suggest rollback of JNU hostel fee hike

The panel, set up by the HRD Ministry on November 16 to “recommend ways to restore normal functioning in JNU”, held its most recent meeting Friday. Former UGC chairman V S Chauhan, AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe and UGC Secretary Rajnish Jain met students on the university campus.

Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi | Updated: November 23, 2019 7:26:38 am
Centre panel set to suggest rollback of JNU hostel fee hike At the protest by JNU students in New Delhi on Monday. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

The Union government’s high-powered committee is expected to recommend that the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) should reconsider the hike in hostel fee approved earlier this month.

The panel, set up by the HRD Ministry on November 16 to “recommend ways to restore normal functioning in JNU”, held its most recent meeting Friday. Former UGC chairman V S Chauhan, AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe and UGC Secretary Rajnish Jain met students on the university campus.

Over the last five days, the committee has held meetings with the university administration, which Vice-Chancellor
M Jagadesh Kumar chose to skip, the students and teachers.

Based on feedback from all stakeholders, the panel may suggest that JNU should roll back the decision to hike hostel fee for now, and going forward, ensure that all stakeholders participate in decision-making, it is learnt. The panel is expected to submit its recommendations over the weekend.

The fee hike has led to protests by students and a section of teachers, many of whom believe the university will
become out of reach for poorer students if the hostel fee increases. Students also claim that the JNUSU wasn’t consulted during decision-making.

The main point of protest is the introduction of service charges — for maintenance, mess workers, cook and sanitation — and utility charges (power and water consumption), which were so far not included in the hostel fee.

Rent for a single room has been increased from Rs 20 per month to Rs 600 per month, and for a double-sharing room from Rs 10 per month to Rs 300 per month.

Won’t accept even Re 1 fee hike, JNU students tell panel

Although the university, after protests last week, reviewed the fee structure, it reserved the bulk of changes for students falling under the ‘below poverty line’ category. Students are demanding a complete rollback.

The government’s high-powered committee met with JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) Wednesday, even as the university administration has refused to engage with them. It met 13 deans of JNU on Tuesday and the teachers’ union on Thursday. Friday’s meeting was the second with students.

The student representatives have placed three demands before the committee members. First, they want the new inter-hall administration (IHA) manual revoked. Second, another IHA meeting involving the students’ union and hostel presidents should be held to deliberate on hostel issues. And, lastly, the resignation of V-C Kumar and Dean of Students Umesh Kadam, which they referred to as “a must for restoring normalcy in the university”.

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