In response to deteriorating food quality, residents of the Hansraj College Hostel have boycotted the mess.

On 29th February 2020, the students of Hansraj College residing in the hostel decided to stop the consumption of food made in their mess and proceeded to lock the mess from outside. This action, they said, was taken in response to the poor quality of food they were being served for the past few weeks.

“For the past three weeks, the non-teaching staff (the mess workers) have been on strike. Since then, we haven’t been served food as per the menu. The mess now operates on a self-service basis, and we’re only being served basic food like rice and dal. The food quality is terrible. As a result, it was decided that we won’t have lunch from today, and while lunch was cooked, no one ate it and we went and locked the mess.” said Vinay Pratap Singh, a resident of the hostel and a student of Hansraj College.

The students then had a meeting with the warden where they laid down their demands. “We have multiple demands because there are a lot of problems, but our basic demand right now is a bringing back of normalcy. While we understand that mess workers cannot come back right now, we should at least be hiring new cooks from outside. This is also something that had been promised to us by the warden but hasn’t been done for the past seventeen days. This is a very serious problem because the food not being cooked properly is also negatively affecting people’s health. We won’t be wasting the already cooked food though, we’ve asked the warden to have the food given to needy through the Hansraj National Service Scheme (NSS)”, Vinay added.

The students met with the principal in the evening who tried to reach out to the Workers’ Union, who have declined to come back to work at the moment. What remains to be seen is how the administration responds to the demands and how these protests affect those made by the Staff Union. For the moment, though, the lockdown has been called off.

 Image Credits: Hansraj College Website

Khush Vardhan Dembla

[email protected]

On the night of 1st September, a surprise raid was conducted in the LSR hostel, more popularly known as the Residence hall. The raid was conducted to find out whether the residents had any high wattage electrical appliances or items like spoons, fork, plates, etc. from the mess. A significant amount of items were confiscated, ranging from hair dryers, clothing irons, electric kettles, mess spoons to even vapourisers. The residents, specially first years, were in for a rude shock as members of the security committee of the hostel barged into their room at nine in the night, when they were actually expecting the Superintendant to be on rounds for attendance. The security committee members deftly searched nook and corner of every room and found out these ‘illegal’ items from the remotest of corners. The night turned a little dramatic, however, when one of the residents, who was ill, and distressed about the confiscation of her vapouriser, had to rush to the warden to re-claim it. The security committee members were considerate enough to return her vapouriser for an hour to relieve her from her distress. “We did what we had to do, it was our duty,” stated one of the security committee members. “We don’t care whether people hate us after this. There are stories about hostel fires due to circuit failures, and despite repeated warnings, girls still kept hair dryers worth 2000 watts. We hope this is a lesson for everybody, and they will refrain from keeping such items and breaking the rules in the future.”

The LSR hostel handbook states that hair dryers are allowed, but in the meeting that ensued with the hostel warden on Monday, the distressed and surprised residents were informed that only 500 watt hair dryers were allowed. The students whose items were confiscated had a long rendezvous with the hostel warden, who was extremely angry at the huge turnout of confiscated items including mess spoons. The warden gave the residents an ultimatum till October, and stated that if any resident was found with mess spoons, forks, or other mess items, then the hostel would stop giving the residents any spoons, forks or plates in the future, and they would have to bring their own. The owners of clothing irons as well as hair dryers were also given an hour long lecture and asked to leave their irons and hair dryers at home when they leave for the October holidays.

The LSR hostel had been repeatedly warning the residents, since last year, about not keeping any electrical appliances in the hostel, but even after numerous warnings, some girls kept high wattage items in their rooms. The hostel President has warned about  more frequent raids in the future, and with an effective security committee in tow, it is hoped that the residents do not keep any such items in their room in the future!