Mumbai University Issues Notice To Student After Hostel Food Complaint

Mumbai University Issues Notice To Student After Hostel Food Complaint

Earlier this month, the students had staged a 'boycott' of the mess to protest the food quality, which prompted the hostel administration to discontinue its current vendor and contract a self-help group (SHG) to run the facility.

Musab QaziUpdated: Saturday, June 01, 2024, 12:26 AM IST
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Mumbai University | File photo

The University of Mumbai (MU) has issued a disciplinary notice to a student for speaking to the media about 'unhygienic' food being served at the mess of KBP boys hostel at the varsity's Kalina campus. The student's action is maligning the MU's image, said the notice.

Hostel warden Santosh Gite has alleged that Siddhant Shinde, an MA Economics student, has violated the disciplinary rules. However, the latter criticised the action, claiming that it's an attempt to curb his right to free expression. In his notice, Gite claimed that Shinde is getting news about the hostel mess published in a newspaper, maligning the image of the varsity. This, according to the warden, also violates the hostel's disciplinary rules, which restrict the students from speaking to media persons and police personnel. The rules also stipulate that the inmates cannot submit their complaints directly to the vice-chancellor, pro-vice-chancellor, registrar or the police, and should route them through the hostel warden.

Shinde has been asked to submit an explanation. “As a citizen, I have a right to speak to the media. The university's rules are unconstitutional. Besides, there's no clarity regarding which authority has approved these rules,” said a defiant Shinde. He has been vocal about 'unhygienic conditions' and 'health code violations' at the hostel mess, having raised the issue with the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) as well as the BMC. Following his complaint, an FDA team carried out the inspection of the mess facility a fortnight ago.

Shinde alleged that there have been multiple incidents of insects being found in food. “In the last 15 years, the university has never carried out the bidding process to provide food at the hostel. Instead, it relies on a temporary contract with the caterer. There are no safety and hygiene standards for food in place. The facility is open for half-day on Sunday, forcing students to eat outside,” he said.

Earlier this month, the students had staged a 'boycott' of the mess to protest the food quality, which prompted the hostel administration to discontinue its current vendor and contract a self-help group (SHG) to run the facility. However, it shifted back to the same vendor after the self-help group was unable to provide adequate food. The hostel has now asked the university administration to change the vendor.

However, Gite claimed that Shinde is trying to create a controversy over 'small' issues and advised students who don't like the mess food to look for other services. “Someone had clicked a purported picture of a housefly in the food. Why make it such a big issue? They could have simply changed the plates,” Gite said.

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