Mumbai University staff oppose canteen closure, open their own

Updated: Dec 20, 2016, 15:33 IST | Pallavi Smart |

Upset that the tea and snack stall near the examination department was shut down, its employees set up their own; varsity slams pressure tactics, says looking for a solution

The canteen offers free tea and snacks at minimal rates
The canteen offers free tea and snacks at minimal rates

What do you do when your favourite tea stall shuts down? Most just find a new haunt, but the frustrated yet enterprising employees of Mumbai University’s examination department took a different route. When the canteen near their department shut down, they just started a free tea stall outside it.

To put it in context: The campus has three canteens, but over the last 20 days, when the one outside Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Bhawan in MU’s Kalina campus that houses the examination department — with hundreds of employees and caters to thousands of students everyday — shut down, it made things difficult because the other two are a far way out.

Tables turned
Last month, amidst much drama, the administration forcibly shut down the canteen in question citing security reasons. It also reasoned that the canteen’s contract was over and it simply couldn’t stay open. But despite this, there was opposition from every quarter and now the employees have started a free tea and minimal cost snacks stall outside the very canteen to mark their protest.

Abhay Rane, president of the Mumbai University Staff Association, said, “This shows administration’s autocratic approach in taking a decision. They just shut down the canteen without realising how it is going to affect thousands of staff and students. We have to walk all the way to the canteen near the Marathi department or in the Institute of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL).”

Ironically, the place now houses a security office, to which Rane said, “We do not deny the importance of security required for the examination section, but the admin should have at least made alternate arrangements.”

Varsity says
When contacted, Registrar Dr MA Khan, he said, “We understand that the staff needs a canteen there and administration is already looking at resolving the situation. But staff should not have had put up such a stall without permission. Action will be taken against those resorting to pressure tactics like these.”

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