As part of administrative reforms, the new dispensation at Annamalai University has decided to deploy a section of surplus staff at the lower cadre at the hostel messes. The university has also decided to run five of 34 messes while letting out 29 messes to private caterers.

The caterers have been selected through tender process as provided under the Tamil Nadu Transparency in Tender Act 1998 and the subsequent Rules 2000. The university has also enforced stringent measures on the caterers to ensure quality of food served and maintain hygiene in the messes.

Government-appointed Administrator Shiv Das Meena told The Hindu that the university has decided to run five messes on its own where the students’ strength is less than 250.

The university-run messes would be supervised by Special Officers. None of the caterers would be allowed to collect mess bills from students. Instead, the university would collect the fees at the beginning of every semester and settle the bills to the respective caterers on a monthly basis. Through the tender documents elaborate instructions have been given to the caterers.

Their performance would be monitored by the centralised hostel committee, which would make periodical physical verification of the condition of the messes and get feedback from sub-committees (to be set up in each hostel) consisting of student representatives and wardens.

The university has introduced the “point system” for caterers under which points would be awarded on set parameters on quality and quantity of food served in the messes, cleanliness, hygienic condition, kind of services offered and punctuality.

The number of points obtained by caterers would act as a determining factor for settling the monthly bills. In case of shortcomings on the part of the caterers, penalty would be imposed on them on the basis of the points scored.