For many years now, the Arts Faculty in Delhi University meant the garden with all those benches to sit upon and the cobbled pathway, almost hidden by bushes that led to the dhoklas, kevlas and chai at the “Spic Macay” canteen. However, all that changed forever when the canteen suddenly shut shop a few days ago and was locked up by heavy chains with security men sitting outside.
There was an eviction order on the canteen doors and there seemed to be some sort of construction work going on inside if one peeped through the dusty glass windows. This past Thursday, the mystery was solved. Another reform of the Vice-Chancellor, it was part of the drive to make hygienic and good food affordable for everyone.
“We just inaugurated a new canteen that serves hygienic yet affordable food; it is being run by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC),” said Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh. He added that the “Spic Macy” canteen was part of the university’s Central Library building and that the contract had expired a long time ago.
According to the university, the refurbished canteen which can seat up to 120 students also boasts “state-of-the-art kitchen facilities, best food practices in the industry and a multi-cuisine menu”.
Free food was also there on the inauguration day and tea can be had at Rs.6. Prof. Singh recommends the special “economy thali” which has everything you need in a meal to fill you up and comes at a throwaway price of Rs.15.
The mystery behind why railway food was being served on a university campus had been solved long ago by the V-C. “First it was the excellent food served aboard the Gyanodaya Express, the university funded train trip for our NCC and NSS cadets; then it was their catering on the day of the Academic Congress that clinched the deal. They served around 2,000 teachers and students efficiently and the food was excellent, no food poisoning, no funny taste,” Professor Singh had said when asked why the Railway caterers had won the contract.
Next up for eviction is the “Nirulas” outlet opposite the Arts Faculty. The university has long felt that the outlet was inaccessible to many students with its overpriced menu. Prof. Singh said the building also belonged to the university and that its contract with “Nirulas” had expired long ago.