New rules anger eateries on Panjab University campus

November 27th, 2008 - 11:12 am ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Nov 27 (IANS) With its eateries that offer snacks at subsidised rates, the Student’s Centre in the Panjab University campus is a popular hangout joint. But now shopkeepers there are at loggerheads with the varsity administration over the presence of outsiders.A few weeks ago, the university here had issued a circular saying shopkeepers should check the identity cards of customers before selling anything. It cited increasing violence on the campus as the reason behind the move.

Sanjiv Tiwari, the university’s official spokesperson, said, “The Student’s Centre is part of the university and all the shopkeepers here have to follow the rules. If they have any problem, they can approach us anytime.”

The university has also made a half-a-kilometer area surrounding the Student’s Centre a vehicle free zone.

“The present vice chancellor is bullying us with his illogical decisions and by slapping frequent fines on us,” a shopkeeper at the Student’s Centre told IANS on condition of anonymity.

“This year they suddenly increased the monthly rent by 30 percent and a few weeks back, they placed a fine of Rs.3,000 on us for not maintaining cleanliness. On Wednesday, they sent a notice placing a fine of Rs.1,000 for not checking the identity cards of students.”

“We cannot tolerate the dictatorship of this vice chancellor anymore. We have not accepted the latest notice. We will shut all shops and sit on an indefinite protest if they do not relax the conditions.”

The Student’s Centre is situated right in the middle of the campus and over 2,500 students visit it everyday. It is visited by many people, especially youths, from outside the campus.

There are eight shops there offering fast food and Indian food at nominal prices. There is one shop offering stationery and gift items. People can be found sitting there and chatting away at any time of day.

“We are ready to abide by the rules and regulations of the university but it is not feasible for us to check the identity of everyone. That is the job of the security men at the entrance gates of the university,” said Shalinder Singh, one of the shopkeepers.

“Making this area a vehicle free zone has already affected our business badly as the rush of students has decreased substantially ever since. We cannot stop any outsider from buying here as a student can buy 10 plates of food by showing his identity card and can easily entertain his guests,” said Singh.

Said another shopkeeper: “Our customers also include outstation students and their parents who come here to buy prospectuses, submitting fees or for any other purpose. We cannot refuse these people.”

“Moreover this is affecting relations between the shopkeepers and students. Last week there was a major scuffle between some boys and a shopkeeper when a shopkeeper asked them to show their identity card.”

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