A rather unfortunate incident shook all the students in the Institute on March 9, when 57 students from Hostel-10 had to be hospitalized due to acute food poisoning caused by the consumption of Hostel-10 mess food The situation’s severity can be gauged by the statement given by the students who claimed to have been affected within 45 minutes of having their dinner.
We are pleased to inform the residents of Hostel-10 that the mess is expected to start functioning in 2-3 days as the civil work that was going on inside the kitchen, to replace the broken tiles with Kota stones has reached completion. The broken tile flooring in the kitchen causing water clogging affected an immediate reconstruction work within the semester to avoid hygiene problems to the residents.
The investigation into the cause of food poisoning led Insight to the doors of the Joint Deputy Registrar, Mr. C. P. Joglekar. He was inquired about the reports on the food sample inquiry that was conducted by a government laboratory. Certain other sources had suggested that the food samples were given a clean chit; however, the Joint Deputy Registrar did not further comment on the matter and pointed out that there could have been multiple other reasons for the poisoning apart from bad food, like negligence, by using unclean utensils, inquiry about which is ongoing.
It has been decided by higher authorities that certain previous fines levied on the current vendor shall be waived off. A mail was sent out by the Hostel Council asking for the opinions of the Hostel-10 residents regarding the same. The students of Hostel 10 have vehemently protested against the waiver. It has come to the fore during this unfortunate incident that all the fines that are levied on the vendors for violations of hygiene and food safety are deposited in the hostel fund. On learning this, the students strongly objected to this prevalent practice. They were of the view that when they’re the ones facing the brunt of these failing hygiene standards and suffering due to them, then the fines should be adjusted to the mess bill of all the students, instead of adding it all to the hostel development fund.
The Hostel-10 mess will continue with the same vendor until the end of the semester after complete sanitation with a regulatory menu. Students, as well as the Council Members, have had some reservations about continuing with the same vendor as this isn’t the first time that regulations have been violated. A detailed monthly report prepared by the Hostel 10 Council revealed numerous counts along with proof where the students found worms, nails, and plastic in their meals. There were also occasions when expired ingredients were used. If found guilty, the current vendor shall be blacklisted and a new vendor will be appointed. The Joint Deputy Registrar made an example of Aroma’s Delight eatery where such steps had been taken previously after it was found to be violating certain hygiene protocols.
Preventing such incidents in the future should be a priority for the administration. On being asked about the existing preventive measures, Mr. C. P. Joglekar informed Insight about the appointment of food safety auditors and the audits that were done by them last year in December, as well as this year in January, whose reports had been dispatched to all the hostel wardens for taking necessary actions. They’re planning for one more audit in the upcoming semester. Audits aside, there’s a hygiene committee which visits the eateries and if it smells a rat, fines are levied. The fines start from Rs 5000, depending on the severity of the issue.
We hope this news of the mess re-opening brings some relief to the residents of Hostel-10, who had to travel all the way up to the boys’ hostels for meals or have food in canteens or by ordering it from outside. In the meanwhile, the students remain skeptical about the quality and hygiene of the mess food especially since the mess will continue with the old vendor until the end of the semester.
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