Today, on July 12, the protest at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Hyderabad entered its fifth day.
The students have been protesting against the abrupt hike in the hostel fee. Students, including the beneficiaries of government of India’s post-metric scholarship (GOI-PMS), will now have to pay Rs 54,650 to avail accommodation and food.
According to students, the meeting between the chairperson, the acting director and the head of the equal opportunity cell on July 11, regarding this issue, was “unfruitful.”
“After the meeting, the TISS administration promised to increase the student aid, but it was just put up verbally and no written agreement regarding the same was given. Moreover, no promises were made to the upcoming batches. So the student body decided to continue the strike,” said a student.
Thereafter, eight students went on hunger strike and, according to students, two of them are on IV drips at the moment.
“We want the TISS administration to come forward and address the students at a general body meeting and come up with a solution to our demands. If not, another set of students will be joining them in the forthcoming days,” the student added.
On July 12, the college’s student action committee released a statement saying that the administration tried to enter the college building along with a group of students. However, they couldn’t enter and the administration, according to the statement, left without addressing the “questions regarding the corruption in the process of selecting the new campus.”
The acting deputy director, students say, refused to come after repeated calls. On the same day, three members from the administration visited the protest site but they, too, left without uttering “a single word.”
The demands, as mentioned in the statement, are as follows:
- Reduction of the hostel fee
- Transparency in conducting the tender process
- Three installment payment for government of India post-metric scholarship students
- Sustainable mechanism for upcoming batches
- Reinstatement of the office of hostel management
Furthermore, according to students, a meeting with the acting deputy director was expected to take place on July 13 but ultimately fell through.
LiveWire wrote an email to the acting deputy director asking for her response over the concerns raised by students as well as the meeting. She reverted the same day with a statement by the college’s management committee who clarified on students’s demands:
While earlier, TISS was able to step in and provide financial support for GOI-PMS students with ease, insufficient grants from the Government, depletion of its own corpus money and increase in the number of students has placed a strain on the resources of TISS in recent times. It now raises funds for providing financial aid to students. For the academic year 2018-19, TISS mobilised Rs.38,60,000/- and disbursed the amounts as financial aid to students in need. Upto Rs. 55,000 per annum (per student) have been sanctioned to the neediest students from SC, ST GOI PMS students to support their hostel charges
It further highlighted that the administration has approved a “financial support of Rs 15,000 for each GOI-PMS student” for them to pay the service provider.
According to the statement, 26 GOI-PMS students are already benefiting from this decision in the academic year 2019-20.
Students, on the other hand, are not convinced with the administration’s claims and continuing with the agitation on the campus.
Meanwhile, six more students will be joining the hunger strike from today evening and the student body has also written several emails to the university grants commission intimating them about the fee hike.
All images by special arrangement.