The canteen near the examination centre was shut last week
Around 300 female students in three hostels, one functional mess. That’s the state of affairs at University of Mumbai’s Kalina campus.
The campus has three hostels — Savitribai Phule, Pandita Ramabai and Dhondu Keshav Karve — but the canteens of the latter two were shut around two months ago after the university failed to renew the food vendors’ contracts. Hostellers of Pandita Ramabai and Dhondu Keshav Karve are forced to undertake at least a 5-minute walk to have their meals. "The university should have renewed the contracts before they lapsed. What’s the point of paying the mess fees if I have to look for other options or walk to another hostel’s canteen?" complains a Pandita Ramabai hosteller and MA psychology student.
An MSc student from the hostel points out that the Savitribai Phule hostel houses around 100 girls and its canteen is equipped to handle only that strength. "Additional students — over 100 residents of Maharshi Karve hostel and around 50 from Pandita Ramabai — are a burden on the mess. This not only delays service to students but also causes problems like shortage of plates, tables, chairs and manpower to serve the crowd. Every day, an argument or two breaks out amongst students." Students have written to the university administration, demanding a quick resolution.
Sanjay Wairal, former senate member of the university, said, "This situation has persisted for over two months. Initially, most of the students were willing to adjust, but how long can they bear the brunt of the administration’s inefficiency?" A senior administration official said, "The renewal of contracts has been delayed. Contracts are never renewed before they lapse. But the process of renewal has never been delayed so much before this year."
Dr MA Khan, registrar of the university, was not available for comments despite several attempts.
Toying with student amenities
The Kalina campus is supposed to have nine canteens — three each in the girls and boys hostels, three others for general use. On November 23, the university closed down a canteen near the exam centre, citing security measures. Owing to the shutdown, students have to get to the main entrance even to get a bottle of water or take a photocopy. A few months ago, students of Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil Boys’ Hostel complained that the building was unsafe after parts of it began to give way following a fire caused by a short in the circuit. The university had assured them of repairs.
Mumbai University's Kalina campus has one functional mess for 300 students.