Old Stephanians unite on right to eat their rolls

Old Stephanians unite on right to eat their rolls

Collect 700 signatures so far to save 90-yr-old dhaba

Former students of St Stephen’s College have started a signature campaign, gathering 700 signatures so far, to stop the shutting down of the 90-year-old Rohtas Dhaba.

The Association of Old Stephanians said though the administration has not asked the dhaba owner to shift from the college campus, they have banned the sale of its rolls - which attracted most of the crowd. This will have a grave consequence on the livelihood of the owner, association members said.

“It is all about sensitivity and the attitude towards the poor. It is about Rohtas being able to run a viable and sustainable business,” said association’s media coordinator Ashish Joshi.

“The dhaba owner needs to be allowed to sell more items, including rolls. What does he do with the dhaba, if he is unable to meet ends?” added Joshi. The dhaba sells snacks like samosas, gulab jamuns, and nimbu pani.

Students feel that the dhaba rolls are greal for an inexpensive quick bite between
classes. “It is a small dhaba as compared to the lavish college cafe that we have. When the weather is good, it feels nice to catch up in an open place,” said Aditi, a third year English (H) student.

The talk of removing the dhaba has been going on for a few years now, teachers said. Earlier, the administration got a complaint from the college cafe owner that the dhaba was taking away their business.

“How can a small eatery which sells few food items compete with the extravaganza sold at the cafe. Ex-students go to Rohtas because that is one of the hang out points for many students,” said an ex-Stephanian Vrinda Nath. “And one likes to visit the place that one knows, which has fond memories attached to it.”

The people at the dhaba say they were asked to stop selling the rolls `without being given any reason’. “They said we did not take permission,” one man said.

Nandita Narain, professor of Mathematics at the college, considers Rohtas one of the two college icons.  “One icon was Robert Saab, personal assistant to the principal who served for almost 50 years and will be remembered by Stephanians, and the other one is Sukhia, who started the dhaba which is now taken care by his son Rohtas,” she said. “The dhaba has always found a place in university magazines.”

The association is demanding a written assurance from the administration that the dhaba will not be closed, and allowed to restart the sale of its rolls.

A senior college official said the dhaba will not be shut down. Discussions regarding an audit by the government, which objected to the vast space given to the dhaba, are going on. However there is no confirmation.