In response to the non-payment of mess bill, Sutlej Hostel has stopped providing food to over 200 hostelers. Students have alleged that they were not given their fellowship money because of which they were unable to pay the bills, The Indian Express reported. Since January, students from financially poor backgrounds have not been getting their non-NET(national eligibility test) fellowship – Rs 5,000 for MPhil scholars and Rs 8,000 for PhD scholars – or their Merit-cum-Means scholarship- Rs 10,000 per semester for BA and MA students.
Before taking the stern action of stopping the food, two notices signed by mess warden Arnab Bhattacharya were circulated. First notice, dated March 31st, said, “You are once again directed to clear your outstanding dues latest by April 3, failing which food will be stopped strictly from April 4 morning without any further notice.”
In another notice, dated April 4 signed by Bhattacharya as well as by the senior warden talked about the extension of the deadline to 4 pm on April 6.“Any defaulter will not be allowed to take food from April 7 morning and onwards,” it read.
While talking to The Indian Express, Hostel President Piyush Ranjan said that 227 students out of 341 occupants were not given food. He also added that“We have not been getting our fellowship and the hostel administration stopped food for many students. So, residents of the hostel boycotted food and took their utensils to the Dean of Students’ office in protest. They have agreed that mess bills for January and February can be paid until April 30, but that will only help if fellowships reach students by then.
Talking to the reporters, another student Pritam Gupta, who was also not given the food said he hasn’t been able to pay his bill because he wasn’t getting his non-NET fellowship. “I don’t take money from home, so the fellowship money is crucial to pay bills. I used to hold tuitions to make money, but I have been working on my synopsis for the last few months and have had no time for that. I had applied for the fellowship in February but am yet to receive it.”
The JNU Student Union, who protested against the non-supply of the food held the administration responsible for the incident.
“It is the responsibility of the administration to ensure the scholarship for the students. Both UGC and JNU administration have to stop this fund cutting off the student community and provide them with the fellowship,” said JNUSU general secretary Satarupa Chakraborty.