IIT Bombay gives in to student protests, allows non-vegetarian food at campus eatery

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The Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) has decided to withdraw its notice banning non-vegetarian food at a cafe in the campus premises, after students protested against the move. The decision was taken on Monday in a meeting held between the head of the civil engineering department, deputy director of the institute and other senior faculty members.

“The decision to disallow non-vegetarian food at this café was to ensure that students don’t end up eating stale food. However, students have not taken it in the right spirit. Non-vegetarian dishes will be served at the café as usual. In the meantime, we will conduct an audit on the café,” said a senior official.

“We have received several complaints of food poisoning from students who have eaten there and the audit will check the cleanliness levels maintained by the caterer and the quality of every dish served at the café,” added the official.

In the last week of January, the institute’s civil department issued a notice to Civil Cafe, which is popular among students as it has an adjoining terrace. The notice, which outlines a list of 15 ‘do’s and dont’s’, states, “Non-vegetarian items are strictly banned and should not be served; lunch services are not permitted and the list of veg items on the menu will be reviewed by the food committee.” It also prohibits the cooking inside the area allotted to the café as it is set-up in the academic section.

Last month, the institute faced criticism from students after one of the hostels asked students to use separate tables and plates for non-vegetarian and vegetarian food items at the hostel mess, after receiving complaints from some vegetarian students.

An official statement release by the institute on Monday evening said, “The notice issued was in the context of stale food and the no-cooking policy in the academic area. The institute does not favour any one preference over another or discriminate on such grounds.”

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