IIT Delhi Controversy: Additional Charges For Non-Vegetarian Meals Spark Debate

IIT Delhi Controversy: Additional Charges For Non-Vegetarian Meals Spark Debate

Students express worries over proposed additional fees for non-vegetarian meals, bringing up the IIT Delhi mess controversy once again. A 'form' that revealed a fee for selecting chicken selections provoked controversy.

Simple VishwakarmaUpdated: Thursday, January 18, 2024, 10:02 PM IST
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In a recent development, the mess issue surrounding vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals at top Indian institutes has resurfaced, with IIT Delhi now at the center of controversy. Students have raised concerns about the possibility of an extra charge for choosing non-vegetarian (chicken) options in the hostel mess.

The issue came to light when a user, @VoiceofIITD, posted a screenshot of a ‘consent form’ circulated among students in hostels Dronagiri and Saptagiri on January 13.

What is the exact issues of the IIT Delhi mess? 

An anonymous student from IIT Delhi told The Free Press Journal (FPJ), “Students opting for non-vegetarian meals would be required to pay a surcharge on top of the regular mess charges.”

According to him, the purpose of the form, as stated in the screenshot, is to distribute the cost of non-vegetarian meals among those who choose them. 

Questionnaire Sheet Snap and Once a week Non-Veg Meal in Dinner that has 2 piece of chicken served

Questionnaire Sheet Snap and Once a week Non-Veg Meal in Dinner that has 2 piece of chicken served | Special Arrangement

“The form is mandatory, and upon completion, a QR code is generated for mess entry,” the student further added. 

QR Code Registration Mandated by the IIT Delhi Institute

QR Code Registration Mandated by the IIT Delhi Institute | Special Arrangement

He also said that it’s unfair to charge students extra for their preferred food choices. He added that the students already bore high costs for their education and living expenses. With approximately 800 students in the hostels, 500 preferring non-vegetarian food, the students argued against the introduction of additional charges.

According to the student, the IIT Delhi has already segregated spaces for non-vegetarian and vegetarian meals in Saptagiri and Dronagiri hostels, respectively. However, the main bone of contention is the proposed additional charge for non-vegetarian meals, he claimed.

Student representative indicate that on the evening of Jan 15, the IIT Delhi made a notable modification to the consent form, specifically addressing a contentious point that had sparked concern among the students. The additional point in question was subsequently revoked.

Officials of the IIT Delhi claimed they weren’t aware of the development. Public Relations Officer Shiv Prakash Yadav refused to answer the FPJ’s questions on the issue.

What is a similar issue with IIT Bombay? 

IIT Delhi is not the only institute facing mess-related challenges. IIT Bombay has also been accused of discrimination because of banners in the canteen designating a specific space for vegetarian students to sit. The Ambedkar-Periyar-Phule Study Circle raised issues such as separate dishes and stoves for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. In 2017, students reported facing fines of up to Rs 50,000 for breaking the kitchen guidelines.

Notice stick on the table at IIT Bombay

Notice stick on the table at IIT Bombay | Special Arrangement

In November 2022, an RTI revealed no separate Jain food spaces, yet reports indicated forced segregation. Despite condemnation from students, the institute administration, including Dean Suryanarayana Doolla, has not commented on the issue.

What’s IIT Madras has a take on it?

While IIT Delhi and IIT Bombay grapple with mess-related challenges. IIT Madras, on the other hand, takes a different stance, asserting that they do serve non-vegetarian meals. However, upon reviewing the IIT Madras official website's menu, we observed that they provide omelettes and boiled eggs only for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, the menu exclusively consists of vegetarian dishes.

As the debate intensifies, students question the rationale behind additional charges based on dietary preferences, emphasising the need for a fair and transparent approach in addressing the concerns of the diverse student body.

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