IIT Bombay Students Suspend Hunger Strike After Director Promises Fee Cut

Post-graduate students at the IIT Bombay started a relay hunger strike from Monday afternoon. They have been boycotting classes from the third week of June as a mark of protest.

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IIT Bombay students were holding a relay hunger strike against a fee hike.


Mumbai:  Students at IIT Bombay have temporarily suspended their hunger strike after the college director reportedly assured them that a committee will be set up to discuss the fee hike and examine a possible reduction in fees. The post-graduate students started a relay hunger strike from Monday afternoon. They have been boycotting classes from the third week of June as a mark of protest.

The administration has also informed the students that an official document detailing the hike will be released on 7th July.

This is the third in a series of protests held by students over the last two months that has finally yielded some result.

"With the new fee structure, there is an increase of up to Rs 8,000 to 12,000 per semester for each student. This goes up to anywhere between Rs 17,000 to Rs 24,000 each year per student. This is a massive fee hike for students. It's not like everyone is from a well-off family. There are many students who come from rural areas who also have to support their families. This is problematic from them and hampers their education. At this stage, they should only think about their education," said a protesting student.

The increase in the fee structure had been imposed from this academic year. The proposal has prompted protests by students who feel the hike is massive and unjustified. 

According to the new fee structure, hostel rent at the IIT Bombay will go up by 300 percent that is from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000. There has been a hike of 167 percent in Gymkhana fees, where students now need to shell out Rs 2,000 as opposed to Rs 750 in the last semester. Exam and registration fees have increased by 100 percent.

While the IIT council of the Education Ministry fixes the tuition fees for all IITs, which was last increased in 2013 from Rs 50,000 to Rs 90,000 for undergraduate students, the institutions themselves can decide hostel, mess and other amenity costs. In the last five years, students of IIT Kharagpur, Indore and Madras have also held similar protests against high hostel costs.

"Things are getting costly due to inflation. So even for us, as an institute, maintenance has been a problem. On the other hand we are also increasing facilities. We have added many new facilities in the gym for the students, hostels are being improved. So if there is improvement, then somewhere or the other it's cost also increases", said IIT Bombay spokesperson Falguni Banerjee Naha.

The agitating students are getting some high profile support as well. Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor has also tweeted in support of the students:


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