Students at the Indian Institute of Science say they will pursue talks with the administration unless they get a satisfactory answer over a proposal to do away with subsidy for the mess.
On Thursday, hundreds of students gathered near the main building of the IISc protesting against a proposal to “slowly remove the mess subsidy at the rate of 10-15 per cent every month.” Speaking to Express, a member of the IISc Mess Committee said students were not consulted about this proposal.
“The subsidy amount of `13.12 lakh per month will reduce every month, translating into an increase of `700-1,200 in our monthly mess bill. The institute’s budget is around `12 crore and, with this subsidy cut, it will generate another crore,” a PhD student said.
There are three messes at IISc. One of them, named A-mess, is a pure South Indian vegetarian eatery. The other two are named B-mess and C-mess, serving both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. “There are very few eateries on the campus as the Faculty Club is now closed and Tea Board and a new eatery near the Biosciences building are yet to come up,” the student said adding that, “even keeping cooking utensils in hostel rooms is considered an offence.”
According to the student, the meal expenses was around `1,500-2,000 in 2008 depending on whether it was vegetarian or non-vegetarian. “This has gradually increased to `3,000-3,500 over the years. Without the subsidy, it will cost us nearly `4,000 a month. We have not been informed of any hike in scholarship/stipend either.”
At present, an undergraduate student gets a monthly stipend of `4,000-5000, post-graduate student gets around `8,000 a month (hiked last in 2008), a PhD scholar gets `16,000-18,000 while a PhD engineering scholar gets `18,000-20,000.
IISc director P Balaram said a committee was looking into the matter. “We have not even done anything and there seems to be an issue over it. The committee will get back to me with a decision.”