Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Vice Chancellor’s office at the Berhampur University (Bhanja Vihar) in the Silk City turned into an agitation ground after scores of hostel boarders staged a demonstration protesting the hike in hostel fees, on Thursday.

The boarders who alleged that the University authorities, who have already received the annual hostel fee in February this year in advance, have notified for readmission into hostels with added fees once again this month.

As per reports, the students of the academic year, 2020-21 were admitted into the hostels after depositing Rs 7850 towards hostel fee. After just two months of stay, the authorities asked them to vacate the hostel following the enforcement of COVID guidelines in May this year. Then in August 2021, the boarders were allowed to come back to their respective hostel rooms after the government decided to reopen the hostels.

However, the University authorities again notified for readmission into the hostel on October 1 with an additional fee of Rs 5350, fuelling resentment among the inmates.

An agitating boarder said, “The students here are either from poor background or belong to middle class families. If we had so much money, we would have travelled to foreign universities for study.”

Some students even questioned the decision to collect fees for second year when the second semester exams are still to be held.

Another agitating student said, “In these pandemic times when the financial backbone of our families are already in shambles, an increase in the hostel fees is like adding salt to the wounds.”