By: Ravinder Vasudeva
Shimla: Even after 38 years of its establishment, the Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) – the premier educational institute of Himachal Pradesh, is still to adopt proper policy to run food messes in hostels of the varsity.
This university, most probably, is the only educational institution in the country in which students living in the hostels run hostel food messes. And in order to take control of this profit-making business, the student pressure groups in the campus, mainly SFI, ABVP and NSUI, fight hard to control the messes and, sometimes this fight to take control over the messes lead to major scuffles between the student political parties. Most interestingly, history reveals that the most deadly fights between student organizations in HPU have originated over the issue of allotment of messes. One such fight between the supporters of ABVP and SFI was witnessed in the month of December, which started over the issue of availability of ‘butter’ in the mess of Parmar Boys Hostel.
The “biggest losers” in this chaotic process of allotment of messes are the students who don’t share any affiliation to any of the student organisations. “Every month we face this humiliation. Each party approaches us to support their candidature for the messes. I wonder why the varsity administration has maintained this process of allotment of messes when it leads to exploitation of the general student,” said Sumit Sharma, a Ph.D scholar while talking to HimVani.
Another student, Vikram Kumar of the Law Department, described how he once landed into trouble for supporting a particular party. “Once I supported a particular candidate of a student outfit for the mess allotment. After the hostel meeting was over, some students from the opposite party started staring at me and I realized the fact that I was in trouble for supporting a particular candidate. On that very day I decided to boycott the meeting and thereafter, never went for any of such hostel meetings,” said Vikarm.
This procedure is also affecting the quality of the food as most of the students don’t feel secure if they questions quality of the food being served to them. “Sometimes the quality gets so deteriorated that it gets very difficult to eat. We can’t question the quality of the food as questioning a student leader means inviting problem,” rued another M. Phill student.
Unfortunately, the varsity administration is still to address this most vulnerable issue of the students residing in hostel.