JNU hotel fee hike row on way to resolution

JNU hotel fee hike row on way to resolution

File picture of JNU students protesting over hotel fee-hike. (Credit: PTI)

A resolution of the JNU hostel fee hike, which led to a massive protest by the students and first-ever incident of violence in the campus on January 5, seems likely after HRD ministry held a series of confabulations with the varsity's students, teachers and administration.

However, the protest of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students union seeking removal of M Jagadesh Kumar as vice-chancellor of the varsity will continue, president of the students body Aishe Ghosh indicated.

A final decision on whether to JNU students union (JNUSU) would call off its over two-month-long strike in the campus will be taken at the meeting of the counsellors and all office-bearers of the students body after the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry issues “a circular” detailing the steps to be taken to address the “demands and concerns” of the students, she said.

After back to back meetings with the JNU administration officials, JNUSU office bearers and university grants commission (UGC) chief D P Singh, higher education secretary Amit Khare said that the vice-chancellor has given an assurance for implementation of all the decisions jointly taken by the varsity administration, students body and ministry last month to restore normalcy in the campus.

“We apprised the JNU students union's office bearers about it during the meeting and appealed them to call off their strike,” he added.

JNU, meanwhile, issued a circular making it clear that students will have to only pay revised hostel room rent—Rs 300 for a single bed and Rs 600 for double bed with provision for 50% concession to students belonging to below poverty line. Service and utility charges for the hostel residents will not be charged from the students.

“The appropriate modalities will be worked out by the UGC for additional funds to bear the service and utility charges for the hostels of the students,” Khare told reporters.

Kumar assured the HRD ministry that that JNU administration will take every effort to make sure that all students and teachers have “a conducive atmosphere” to pursue their academic activities.

"In a meeting with the deans and chairpersons, it was decided that the classes would start from January 13. If required, the date for winter semester registration would further be extended,” Kumar said in a statement.

Ghosh said HRD ministry was “positively” intervening into the matter.

“After HRD ministry's intervention, the vice-chancellor is now saying he will implement the decisions taken last month. He is also now talking about extending the date of registration. Ministry is repeatedly assuring that it will support us,” she said.

HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank later said he was "distressed" over the involvement of JNU students in the campus violence as pointed out by the Delhi Police in its [preliminary investigation, asserting that his ministry will not tolerate any violence and anarchy on the campus.

"Those students who were stopped from registering themselves and others are appealed to register and participate in smooth conduct of academic activities," he tweeted, appealing to the students to maintain a "dignified" atmosphere in the university.

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