Three months since over 500 IIT-B students from three hostels reported symptoms of food poisoning, a new mess contractor has finally been selected and the canteen is set to undergo a long-pending renovation to cater to increasing number of students.
The new contractor will take over from January 15.
An official from the institute said, “The canteen when it was built (in 2003) was prepared to cater to around 8,000 students. But, the number has now increased by as much as more than 2,000 students. The infrastructure was always ready, as the plan for renovation when it was decided (2000) had taken into consideration future needs. A larger kitchen area, called ‘future kitchen’ was built then, and has now been put to use. The old kitchen area, where food has been cooked till now, will be used for washing. Moreover, the dining area will now be extended. And the construction work is expected to be done before monsoon.”
Besides, the salary of mess workers will be credited to their bank account. The official said, “This is to ensure that mess workers are not unhappy over payment and therefore, compromise with the quality of food. As the payment will be credited to their bank account, the authorities can keep a check that nobody is paid less than the decided amount.”
Students from hostels 12, 13 and 14 - from which the food poisoning cases were reported, who have had to share one mess, though, have found other options of a food joint. “How could they expect us to continue eating at the same mess which has been the reason for a severe food poisoning case? Many of us have been skipping lunch or dinner served at this mess. We do not mind paying guest charges and eating at another hostel mess, where we know that the food will be better,” said a student.
Another student said, “Mostly, we have breakfast at the mess. But once we are out of the hostel for academic work, we either eat at the commercial restaurant on campus or at another hostel mess where a friend can take us after paying the required guest charge.”