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JNU students should call off agitation to avail fresh concessions, 2-week relaxation: HRD

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Concession in hostel fees proposed by the HRD Ministry for JNU students and the two-week relaxation for the lost academic period can be availed if they call off their strike and normalcy is restored on campus, the ministry has advised.

The JNU students' union, however, maintained that they will not call off the agitation till their demands are met in totality.

"In the meeting on Wednesday, we had proposed that the UGC will bear the cost of service and utility charges till further orders. In order to compensate for the academic period, the academic council will be requested to give relaxation of up to two weeks," a senior HRD Ministry official said.

"They can avail the concessions but they need to call off the agitation as per the discussion in the meeting and not stage protests at the administration block. We have also asked the university to take a lenient view of the incidents that occurred since October as part of the current agitation," the official added.

The HRD Ministry has called for a "foolproof" system to prevent recurrence of issues like the ongoing standoff between the JNU administration and students over the hostel fee hike.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students boycotted exams on Thursday over the hostel fee hike issue, but students of three schools appeared for their papers.

"The ministry has emphasised that not only shall the campus return to normalcy but a foolproof system shall be put in place for non-recurrence of such issues in the future," a senior HRD Ministry official said.

"We have stressed in our meetings with all the stakeholders in JNU that they should adopt a flexible approach in order to find a satisfactory solution and end the confrontationist situation prevailing on the campus since the last month or more," the official said.

The ministry has held a series of talks with the university administration and the students' union and offered to remove service and utility charges.

The institution has been seeing protests for over a month over the hostel fee hike issue and even though the university has twice offered partial rollbacks, the students have refused to accept them.

The ministry last month set up a three-member committee to recommend ways to restore normalcy in JNU and mediate between students and university administration. The panel has submitted its report but the ministry is yet to take a call on it.

The ministry last week asked the high-powered committee to compare the hostel fee structure of JNU, after the second rollback, with other central universities.

HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' informed the Lok Sabha on Monday that the government has not directed any central university to increase fees.

His comment came on a day the police lathicharged JNU students when they tried to march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet the president and urge him to ensure the hike in hostel fee is completely rolled back.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, December 12 2019. 21:00 IST
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