NEW DELHI: Nightlife in Jawaharlal Nehru University could undergo a change with the university administration declaring its intention to shut down the dhabas on the campus and replace them with food courts. At an executive council meeting chaired by Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar on Tuesday, the administration said “appropriate action would be initiated” against the dhabas as they “do not follow rules” and are not “clean and hygienic”.
Reacting to the development, JNU Students’ Union president N Sai Balaji said, “The dhabas have been integral part of JNU for decades and any effort to touch them will not be tolerated. It is a clear cut way of corporatising the eateries on the campus and an attack on the student culture.”
The move comes days after the administration decided to cut the library budget by about 80 per cent.
A senior member of the JNU teachers’ association said the cut in the library budget and the intention to shut dhabas were the first steps towards a massive fee hike.
There are about 10 dhabas on the campus, the most popular being Ganga Dhaba, Parthsarathy Rocks and Northeastern Dhaba. They are the favourite hangout spots not only for the students but even outsiders.
The administration said the food courts would give the students “who are from various parts of the country an option to have a wide range of choice of food and provide a hub for networking and interactions”.
University sources said as per the norms, such a decision should first have been presented before the campus development committee and the academic council, where representatives of both students’ and teachers’ unions also have a say. The V-C could not be reached for comment despite multiple attempts.