Shards of glass lie on the hostel floor. (Jahangir Badsa)
Tamluk, March 16: A private engineering college in Tamluk suspended first-year classes today after students went on the rampage in their hostel last night because there were flies in the food.
The registrar of Haldia Institute of Technology, Anjan Mishra, said the first-year students, who are believed to have destroyed hostel furniture and food, have been asked to vacate the hostel. We have asked all first-year students to vacate the hostel and we have suspended their classes indefinitely. We will identify the students responsible and take stern action, he said.
The college today formed a six-member probe committee, headed by principal A.B. Maity, to identify the students responsible and punish them.
The chairman of the college is Lakshman Seth, the former CPM strongman of Haldia. The college is run by an NGO, Icare, that Seth heads.
Salil Ganguly, the subdivisional police officer of Haldia, said the college had lodged a complaint in Haldia police station against the students but not named anybody.
Police said over 50 first-year students went on the rampage in the hostel kitchen last night during dinner when some of them spotted flies and other insects in the dal and found the fish had gone stale.
The students started throwing chairs and tables and overturned utensils full of dal, fish and curry, said a canteen worker. The canteen employees informed some private security guards at the hostel and about eight of them arrived with batons.
A college official said a scuffle broke out between the students and the guards. By this time, students who were in their rooms on the upper floors of the building started hurling chairs and tables to the ground floor. Some others set the furniture on fire.
One of the first-year students said: We started our classes in August last year and from the first day the food was bad. We repeatedly told the authorities about the substandard food but no steps were taken. Half of the students in the first-year hostel could not eat the fish on Monday because it was stale. We lost our cool when we found flies and other insects in the dal.
Principal Maity, registrar Mishra and other officials rushed to the hostel. We assured the students that we would speak to the canteen owner and ask them to improve the quality of food, said Mishra.
But at 2am today, the students went to the college and broke windowpanes there.