The students' union had refused to accept it saying they wanted a complete roll back including the increased room rent.
While a section of JNU students agitating over hostel fee hike took out a march to the HRD Ministry on Thursday, the “non-agitating” students are still in a dilemma whether to register for a new semester or not due to lack of clarity on the fee amount being finally charged.
After the hostel fee hike was announced by JNU last November, there has been a series of consultations and “partial-rollbacks” and “waivers” with the students taking to the streets boycotting exams, prompting the HRD Ministry to intervene for resolution of the issues.
The university, however, began the registration process for the semester from January 1. While the administration officials including Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar have repetitively maintained that students are not being charged utility and service expenses, there has been no official notification, which has caused confusion.
“I have nothing to do with protests. I don’t go to any but I haven’t registered yet. I have no clue what is being charged ultimately. One person says something, another says something else,” said a student pursing MA in International Relations, not wishing to be identified.
Another student at the School of Linguistics said, “I get daily calls from my family back in Jharkhand, enquiring why I have not registered yet. I do not want a semester to go waste but there is no clarity on what we should pay. I am told that utility and service charges like electricity will not be charged but when I login to the portal it says ‘as per actuals’. How can that be possible?”
“Many of us are in confusion whether we are not being charged for it now and will be asked to pay the bills later as per actuals? There is no notification of the same, so I am still waiting to register,” another student said.
“When we ask for the notification, we are seen as part of the ‘protest gang’, while actually we just want to have clarity on the fee that we will be paying,” he added. The three students, who were not part of the examination boycott last month, said they have fulfilled the academic requirements for registration in the new semester and have obtained the NOCs too but haven’t registered yet.
In a meeting between HRD Ministry officials and JNU students union and later with the university administration, it was decided that the JNU administration would charge only the increased room rent and the service and utility charges are to be borne by the University Grants Commission.
The students’ union had refused to accept it saying they wanted a complete roll back including the increased room rent. However, when the registrations were started, students were told that there is no utility and service charge but the varsity has not issued any notification yet.
Till date, 3300 students have registered for the new semester and agreed to pay the increased room rent. JNU has around 8000 students. Vice Chancellor Kumar on Thursday maintained that there is no deviation from the “formula” arrived at the HRD Ministry.
“As far as the fee issue is concerned, there has been no deviation from the formula arrived at the HRD Ministry last month. As decided, students are not being charged any services or utility fees,” Kumar told PTI. “We have also written to UGC to release funds for covering the utility and service charges as decided,” he added.