Girl students of Presidency University have told the authorities that they won’t pay the enhanced hostel fee from next month as there was no decision yet on the resumption of the bus service to ferry them from their Salt Lake hostel to the campus and back.
The fee — “seat rent” — has been increased from Rs 90 a month to Rs 500.
The students last week informed the dean of students, Arun Kumar Maity, about their decision after holding a protest on the campus on August 1 over the discontinuation of the bus service.
Before the outbreak of Covid in 2020, Presidency used to run a bus service to ferry the girl students staying at the hostel in Salt Lake’s BF Block to the campus in north Kolkata and drop them back at the hostel.
Sources on the campus said the escalation in transportation costs had come in the way of the resumption of the service.
The students also told the dean that they wanted the hike in the establishment charge — raised from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 — to be rolled back.
“Once we came to know about the imposition of a fee hike minus resumption of the bus service, we held a protest on the campus on August 1. The university is yet to decide on the resumption of the bus service. On August 10, during our meeting with the dean of students, we informed him that we would not pay the enhanced seat rent from next month as the bus service has not been restored,” said Ankita Sarkar, one of the hostel boarders.
Repeated calls and text messages to the dean of students went unanswered. Calls to Presidency vice-chancellor Anuradha Lohia also failed to elicit any response. Students said they were willing to pay the revised rent provided the bus service was resumed.
A Presidency official said that even with the enhanced fees, they would not be able to cover the rising transportation costs.
Another student said Maity had told them that they needed to pay between Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,000 to avail themselves of the bus service. “Earlier, we would pay Rs 400 for transportation each month and a monthly seat rent of Rs 90. The surge in fees that the dean of students has proposed is not acceptable,” said a boarder.
Another student said she spends Rs 60 every day to come to the campus and travel back to the hostel.“The travelling cost is pinching our pockets. The authorities must understand we don’t stay at a place that is adjacent to the campus,” the student said.
Eden Hindu Hostel, the boys’ hostel, is located on Peary Charan Street in north Kolkata, next to the Presidency campus.
The Telegraph reported on Thursday that the students, who had forced their way into the closed Hindu Hostel in March and have been staying there since have written to chief minister Mamata Banerjee alleging “apathy” of the university authorities in reopening the hostel although education minister Bratya Basu had in March asked for immediate reopening.