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Mess fee triggers varsity ruckus

In an unprecedented incident, over 200 students of Central University of Jharkhand (CUJ) vandalised varsity property and manhandled staff on Thursday over bad hostel food and advance fees.

Resentment was simmering since deputy registrar Kalipada Mohanta directed students a couple of days ago to deposit two months’ mess charges in advance.

At around 3:30pm on Thursday, a handful of students got into an argument with varsity staff and mess officials over poor quality of food served at the hostel.

Tensions ran high on both sides and soon the Brambe campus, some 30km from Ranchi, became a battlefield.

“Flower pots, chairs or desks, nothing escaped the wrath of students as they launched an attack in and outside the mess. Such an incident was never witnessed on campus before,” said an eyewitness.

Sources said most students were unhappy with the food. The directive seeking advance payment added insult to injury.

A section of officials also said that appointment of R.K. Dey, head of centre for applied chemistry, as the new registrar added fuel to the students’ anger.

An official said students had been long wanting a pay-and-eat scheme, but authorities continued with advance payment method despite assurances of looking into their demand. “Before the deputy registrar issued the directive, the pending issue should have been addressed,” he said.

CUJ’s chief communications officer Prasanta Bora said: “Our VC A. N. Mishra met students on Thursday. The issue will be resolved soon.”