Canteens shut, PU students go hungry
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With the summer vacations in progress, students residing in the boys hostels of Panjab University (PU) are going hungry — out of eight hostels, messes in only two are open to cater to more than 1,000 students, who are facing a hard time in having three meals a day.
On an average, each hostel has around 150 students who stay back during vacations. While most of them are research scholars, some are undergoing compulsory courses and coaching for competitive examinations.
During vacations, only two hostels have their messes operational. While students from hostel 1, 2, 3 and 8 have access to the mess of hostel 3, the mess of hostel 4 caters to students from hostels 4, 5, 6 and 7.
A student can get food only on producing his identity card and immediate cash payment.
"We are supposed to prepare food for 600 students during the vacation, but there is a trend that students don't turn up. Either they don't like the food or they don't have the patience to wait for their turn. Initially, we used to run into losses but now, we prepare food for 200 students," said Rinku, the hostel 4 mess coordinator.
Left with no option, the students go looking for food at the students' centre, night food street, roadside joints or small restaurants in the Sector 15 market. Most rue that it is heavy on their pockets.
Amandeep, a resident of boys hostel 5, said: "We have no other option but to go to other places because there is so much rush." Others like Chetan Dhiman, who is preparing for his UGC exam scheduled for June, said: "It is a wastage of time looking for places to have food. We have crucial examinations coming up and this creates a lot of problems. Sometimes, we even have to skip meals."
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