Students at New Hostel of IIM Calcutta on Wednesday had their lunch delivered by the new mess contractor, who had been forced to shut service following a protest by the staff of the previous contractor whose service the IIM students’ council had discontinued because of “bad food”.
Workers of the previous contractor forcibly shut down the mess of all hostels and prevented food delivery personnel from entering the campus on Tuesday to protest the council’s decision to hire the new contractor, who was brought in on November 4.
After instances of the alleged excesses were widely reported on Wednesday, the workers withdrew their agitation allowing the new contractor to start work with his staff, said an IIM official.
“The students’ council and IIM office staff called us up and told us to resume service on Wednesday. We had been receiving persistent threats, but today there was no one to threaten,” said an employee of the new contractor.
A student pursuing a twoyear MBA programme said although they arranged the breakfast on their own, the new contractor provided the lunch and will keep serving all meals henceforth.
“We are feeling relieved because the contractor who was serving us poor quality food has finally been replaced. Over the past two months, we had to endure a lot of difficulties,” said the student, who is a boarder of New Hostel.
The previous contractor, the students have alleged, shut down the mess at New Hostel on September 1 after the boarders refused to pay him because of alleged poor quality food.
On Tuesday, his staff allegedly forced the mess workers of the other three hostels on the campus to suspended the service to protest the New Hostel boarders’ decision to hire a new contractor.
“We were feeling bad because the students of three other hostels — Old Hostel, White Hostel and Lake View Hostel — were suffering because of us,” the student said.
Manish Thakur, the dean in charge of new initiative and external research, who looks after student issues as well, said: “Normality has returned to the campus. The mess service has been resumed at all four hostels. There was no protest at the gate.”
Workers protested through the day on Tuesday with many of them holding aloft the flag of Trinamul Congress, prompting Haridevpur police station to depute cops to keep a watch on the situation.
The police were present at the IIM entrance on Wednesday as well.
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