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Heater ban in Visva hostels

Santiniketan, July 11: Visva-Bharati has decided to stop students from using heaters to cook in hostels as the university is having to foot power bills running into lakhs.

According Visva-Bharati officials, the varsity had to pay an electricity bill of over Rs 40 lakh for its 39 hostels in the March-May cycle.

The university has decided to collect an extra Rs 2,100 a month from each hostel inmate for food. None of the Visva-Bharati hostels provides food to inmates now.

“Students use heaters in hostels for cooking. We are worried about the huge electricity bills because of the use of heaters. The power bill for each hostel should have been Rs 40,000 for every three-month cycle (Rs 15.6 lakh for the 39 hostels). But we are paying close to three times that amount,” a senior Visva-Bharati official said.

“Apart from that, using heaters is risky,” he added.

Visva-Bharati has issued a circular asking all hostel inmates not to use heaters. “We will give breakfast, lunch and dinner to those staying in our hostels,” the official said.

Around 2,500 students stay in Visva-Bharati’s 39 hostels. “We will implement the system from August 1,” he added.

Students said they were unhappy with the heater ban.

“What will happen if we don’t like the food the varsity offers us? What will happen when we go home during vacations? Shall we have to pay for the food then too?” asked a second-year student.