Report: Hamza Saeed
Female students from Punjab University Lahore campus have been protesting against the expected spike in mess dues and the deteriorating food quality in hostels.
Punjab university girls hostel management has informed the students of an expected spike in mess dues recently. According to the students, they are being coerced into signing a document that asks them either to accept the increase of 1700 in the meal cost or sign out of getting breakfast. In some hostels, the provision of afternoon milk for tea has also been stalled. Students have been railing against this unfair increment.
After students protested the expected rise in dues in their respective hostels, the management tactfully turned the menu over without increasing the mess fee in order to pacify them. ‘The food,’ students reported, ‘is not edible. Dishes with meat have vanished from the menu entirely. Most of the time we skip meals and buy our own food while having to pay the mess fee in full.’
In addition to poor food quality, girls hostel differ from boys hostels in various ways including the fact that females are bound to pay the dues bi-annually whether they avail mess services to the full or not. Many a time, female students are expected to wash after their dishes as well.
Nusrat Rani Rai, central organizer Progressive Student’s Collective PU chapter, led a campaign against the fee spike in hostel no. 8 and together with all the female students, pressurized the hostel administration to reverse the decision and upgrade the food quality. Their efforts bore fruit and the administration was not only put in a position to take back their decision but was also forced to built a new canteen in one of the hostels.
‘I’m glad to announce that our collective effort has started to pay off and the food quality has considerably improved along with the decision to build a new canteen in hostel no. 8. We will keep on resisting unless these measures are extended to all the hostels and the administration starts cooperating with the hostel students who already have to face numerous hurdles in supporting themselves away from their homes’, said Rani Rai.