JNU Fee Hike: JNUSU Adamant on Restoration of Old Fee Structure In Toto, To Form a Human Chain on Wednesday In National Capital
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 26— Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) is adamant on restoration of the old fee structure in toto and has declared that nothing short of it is acceptable to it.
On Tuesday evening, the union burnt a copy of the November 25 circular about second partial fee hike withdrawal at Freedom Square of the university and announced to hold a human chain at the Connaught Place in the heart of the national Capital to press the university administration and the Central government to concede its demand.
JNUSU, in a statement on Tuesday, appealed to the students and youth across India to join them “for national protest day in defence of affordable and accessible education on 27 November, 2019”. It also asked them to organise any form of democratic protest in their respective institutes/area in this connection.
Regarding a press release issued by the High level Committee (HLC) on November 25 evening wherein the suspension of classes and agitation by students against hostel fee hike has been termed as “loss to the national cause”, the students union retorted, “The administration should know that the real loss to the national cause is a vice-chancellor (VC) unfit for office who is trying to dismantle a university of national stature.”
The union called the November 25 press release of HLC as “outrageous fraud” by “incompetent vice chancellor” and “his partners in crime of the so-called HLC”.
Talking to India Tomorrow, JNU Students Union Vice President Saket Moon categorically rejected the November 25 revision: “We cannot accept it. We want complete withdrawal of fee hike. Students are still angry that without talking to them and without consulting the statutory body of the students, they are changing the fee structure on their own. This is a clear violation of rules. Moreover, there is apprehension that after partially rolling back today, they can increase it again tomorrow. With such attitude, they want to show that they do not need students’ opinion.”
On Monday, JNU issued a circular revising the hiked fee structure, second time in less than two weeks. As per this circular, general students will have to pay Rs 1000 monthly as utility charges and students under BPL category will have to pay Rs 500. In the existing structure, students do no pay utility charges. This is new change from the November 13 revised chart whereby general students were required to pay as per actual consumption and students of BPL category would pay 50% of actual consumption charges. The Monday revision, however, has maintained the hiked monthly room rent for general students, one of the major concerns of the students (Rs 10 – Rs 300 for double bed and Rs 20 – Rs 600 for single bed). For BPL students without JRF or SRF, it stands revised at Rs 150 and Rs 300 respectively.
New Hostel Fee Structure was first revised on Nov 13, 2019 after massive protest.
New Hostel Fee Structure was revised again on Nov 25, 2019, two days after thousands marched from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar.
Further criticising the functioning of the HLC, the JNUSU said that ever since its formation on November 24, the committee has been working through press releases and circulars. “Thus the functioning of the university has now become a farcical game of Tweets, facebook posts, videos and press releases. Statutory bodies like the IHA (Inter-Hall Administration), Executive Council and other deliberative structures have been completely bypassed. Hence, if accepted, this would set a precedent where any High Level Committee can be formed in future to take any arbitrary steps without the need to call any meeting of the consultative bodies,”, the union said in its release.
Stating that JNUSU as well as university teachers have been trying to protect sanctity of the JNU from such attacks, the student body said that “our repeated demand has been to cancel the sham decision of October 28 IHA meeting, call a new one with the JNUSU and discuss the modalities of a new hostel manual and fee structure to be implemented with students’ consent.”
On the issue of the partial rollback and concession to poor students, the union said that the administration seemed to have no idea as to how it was going to implement the so-called relief for BPL students. The union said that the university administration has never had any data on BPL students in JNU because no such survey has been made by the government since 2002 and the definition of the BPL as those with annual earnings of Rs 27000 per annum is itself hotly contested.
The union described the utility and service charges imposed in the hostel manual as “outrageous and unacceptable.” It said that the amount suggested “is untenable and students will have to drop out if this sustains.”
The union warned that any attempt to divide the movement against fee hike will not succeed.