A marginal increase in the rates of food items in the canteens of University of Pune (UoP) after five years did not go down well with the students. They have demanded that the rates should be rolled back.
With effect from Tuesday, the University increased the rates of tea and some selected snacks across all the canteens which are on the premises of the varsity. As soon as they learnt about the rise in the rates, the students from the campus on Tuesday protested in front of the canteens and demanded that the increase in the rates should be rolled back immediately.
The contractors of these canteens, however, said that for the past five years, there was no hike in the rates of the eatables, but due to inflation and rise in the prices of basic commodities, they had to approach the university to increase the rates.
Some angry students even damaged a window pane of the canteen and demanded the canteen should be closed until there is a roll back.
Students who study at the varsity departments said that earlier students used to get a cup of tea for Rs3 which, as per the new rate card, has become Rs5 and, for a special tea which earlier used to cost Rs7, now students have to pay Rs10.
They said the Rs3 tea was however all watery and of poor quality. “The canteen owners are also discriminated against the students. They provide good quality snacks to people who come for morning walk from outside the university and provide substandard stuff to students who start coming in for breakfast after 8 am,” said a student, requesting anonymity.
He said that the canteens on the UoP premises are bound to give snacks in subsidised rates and if they cannot bear the expenses, it is the duty of the university to waive off the rent of the canteens.
Owner of Adarsh Canteen, which is near the administrative building, complained that for the past five years, there was no hike in the rates in the basic snacks like poha, uppit, dosa, uttappa and misal and tea. Of late, contractors are feeling the pinch of the inflation and the raised prices of the basic commodities such as edible oil, spices, vegetables, pulses, sugar prompted them to request the UoP Canteen Committee to hike rates. Another canteen owner said that they even pay Rs35,000 rent to the university which is excluding power and water bills.
The committee, presided by registrar Dr Narendra Kadu, after analysing other rate cards at the canteens of other educational institutes, decided to go ahead with the increase. Kadu said that the committee has asked the students to submit their demands in the writing and assured that the issue would be resolved amicably.
“We have decided to hold a meeting on October 3 where, all the contractors of the canteens, students representatives and the officials on the food committee will be asked to resolve the matter,” he said.