Around 150 students of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) were on a relay hunger strike today to protest a hike in fees. The agitation began yesterday with a march on the campus. The latest fee hike comes a year after undergraduate tuition fees more than doubled across the IITs.
While tuition fees has not been hiked, there is an increase of 300 per cent in hostel rent, 167 per cent in the gymkhana fees, 100 per cent in exam, registration and medical fees, and 30-50 per cent increase in other charges.
“The students met the director yesterday. The board will meet once again to review the hikes and come to an understanding. They have to be patient,” an IIT-B spokesperson told PTI.
“These fees have not been revised for over 20 years, and to maintain top class facilities this has to be considered,” the spokesperson said.
IIT-B director Devang Khakhar was unavailable for comments. This is the second protest on the campus after the fee hike was announced in May.
For nearly two months, the students of IIT-Bombay have been coming together on the campus demanding rollback of the fees hike, which they have called “undemocratic” and “non-transparent”, while claiming that no elected student body was consulted on the matter.
They have formed a collective, called Students Against Fee Hike, IIT-B, and sent emails and submitted representations to the administration. The students, who have one more week to comply and pay the fees, have now intensified the protest. The final decision on fee reconsideration will be taken in the institute’s next board meeting scheduled in August.