In a bid to break the logjam in Jawaharlal Nehru University over the hostel fee hike issue, HRD Ministry functionaries held a lengthy parley with students and the varsity administration on Tuesday but could not reach at an agreement, officials said. The meeting will continue on Wednesday, the officials said and expressed hope that the matter will be resolved.
JNU vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, Registrar Pramod Kumar, and students' union representatives attended the meeting at the HRD Ministry. "The meeting was held with both the parties. The issue was discussed threadbare but no agreement could be reached. There will be a meeting again tomorrow and the issue is likely to be finally put to rest," a senior Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry official said.
The students' union reiterated its demand for a complete rollback of the hostel fee hike and the postponement of examinations. Semester-end examinations are scheduled from December 12 and the students' union has called for an exam boycott till their demands are met.
The HRD Ministry had last month set up a three-member committee to recommend ways to restore normalcy in JNU and mediate between students and the university administration. The panel has submitted its report but the ministry is yet to take a call on it. The ministry had last week asked the committee appointed by it to compare the hostel fee structure of JNU, after the second rollback, with other central universities.
The HRD Ministry is unlikely to pass any directive to the university as it is an autonomous institution, but will only "facilitate" a resolution, the officials said.
Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' informed Lok Sabha on Monday that the government had not directed any central university to increase fees. His comment came on a day police lathi-charged JNU students when they tried to march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet the president and urge him to ensure the hike in hostel fee is completely rolled back. In an earlier statement, the JNU administration said the students had been invited for talks but they were "spreading false statements and not attending the meeting."