Tamil Nadu

Canteen cooks up trouble; CUTN shut

New canteen contractor, cooks likely to be in place by Monday


Following concerted protests by students against the quality of food served at the hostel canteen, authorities have shut the Central University of Tamil Nadu (CUTN) at Neelakudi near here till Sunday.

Trouble had been brewing in the hostel canteen for some months now as the inmates had been bitterly complaining that the quality of the food served to students there was sub-standard. More than 1,450 of the 2,000-odd students from various parts of the country, including Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, Karnataka and Telangana, are pursuing various courses staying in the hostel.

On Tuesday, scores of hostel inmates resorted to a stir condemning the quality of the food served and alleging that despite warnings, the canteen contractors were using banned substances in preparing the food.

Vice-Chancellor A.P. Dash and other officials held discussions with the protesting students who were determined that the canteen contract be given to someone other than the person who had been running the canteen for the past four years.

Subsequently, the officials declared the CUTN closed indefinitely and ordered the students to clear the premises by 11 a.m. on Wednesday. Defiantly, the students continued their sit-in agitation that brought revenue and police authorities to the scene.

During the talks involving the student representatives and CUTN officials, it was decided that a new canteen contractor and cooks would be in place by Monday and till then, the students had to find their own means for food but would be allowed to stay on the campus. Following that, the students withdrew their protest and dispersed.

Some students said the CUTN administration had extended the contract to the person, who had been running it, for four terms even as the inmates complained of poor quality food being served to them.

Had the officials in the Mess Committee tasted the food being supplied at the canteen regularly, they would have understood the situation.

They wondered how could the students, most of whom were from other States, access food till Monday, especially when they were required to prepare for the fast-approaching exams. They could not travel to Tiruvarur every day just for food, they said, and sought the intervention of the district administration.

Later in the day, an official release from the CUTN acknowledged that the unrest among students arose after a taste enhancer was detected in the stores by student members of the Mess Committee. The demands of the protesting students, including immediate closure of the caterer’s contract, alternative arrangement by the CUTN for food to students till a new cater was engaged and legal action against the offending caterer, had been addressed. Normality had returned and classes would resume soon, the release added.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 9:41:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/canteen-cooks-up-trouble-cutn-shut-tiruvarur/article23436965.ece

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