Ramjas College saw organised protests held by its students on 11th August, 2016. The protest primarily targeted the exorbitant increase in prices in the canteen since the start of this academic year. The canteen staff apparently charged higher prices than those mandated by the college. In what a student called an act of “corruption,” the canteen staff would charge a first-year student INR 50 for an item that actually cost INR 30. Speaking out against this practice, a group of students spread word through social media and organised a protest by inviting the Ramjas community to gather at the college gate and march towards the canteen.
The canteen was accused of not only charging more than what was written in the price list, but also of failing to provide good quality and hygienic food. The staff does not provide receipts or bills and has failed to deliver on the promise of a digital price list. There is also a shortage of staff in the canteen. Students demanded the lowering of prices, failing which they intended to boycott the college canteen.
Rishabh Bajpai, who is also running for this year’s college elections, along with a group of students filed an application. However, when no action was taken, they staged a peaceful protest to grab the attention of the administration. The tagline of the protest was “halla bol,” a sentiment close to the students’ hearts. The protest had no political backing, and the organisers ensured that the student body was fairly represented in terms of their demands and grievances.
The hard work of the students was indeed fruitful as the Principal and Vice Principal themselves conducted an examination of the canteen, and invited the students to hold meetings regarding their issues. Some student representatives went on to discuss their requests with the staff advisers and the Student Welfare Committee. Here, they brought up additional concerns regarding the water coolers, hostels, etc.
In an effort to thank the students for showing their solidarity and to inform the college community of the consequences of the protest, the organisers set up a signature campaign. Approximately, a thousand students acknowledged the protest and the steps taken by the administration. The canteen prices have since been lowered and the other issues are on their way to being resolved.
Image Credits: Halla Bol Campaign