Protest yields no results: A month after protests, mass food poisoning in IIIT Basar

On 20 June, Telangana education minister Sabitha Indra Reddy visited the IIIT Basar campus and assured the students that all their demands would be met in a short while after which the students called off the protest. But nothing has changed since then, said the students.

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  16 July 2022 10:50 AM GMT
Protest yields no results: A month after protests, mass food poisoning in IIIT Basar

Nirmal: Anusha, a second-year student of Computer Science Engineering, was in class on Friday at around 3 p.m when she started feeling nauseous. Her head was aching too. She rushed to the washroom. Five minutes later, five of her friends also rushed to the washroom. They did not know what was happening. Anusha felt tired and was unable to stand. She somehow managed to reach the campus hospital of IIIT Basar with the help of her friends. In the hospital, she found around 300 students of the college with illnesses varying from headaches to dizziness to severe stomach pains to breathing issues to vomiting.

On Friday, thousands of students of IIIT Basar fell sick after eating the veg fried rice and egg fried rice provided by the mess in the afternoon. The food poisoning had affected students who took the food from the mess, including intermediate first- and second-year students and BTech first and second years.

300 students, 1 nurse, 1 doctor

According to Manoj, a member of the food panel of the Students Governing Council, IIIT Basar, around 200-300 students were treated at the campus hospital for food poisoning and more than 16 students were taken to hospitals outside campus in Nizamabad, Bhainsa, and Navipet.

"In the campus hospital, they asked us what our symptoms were, gave an injection, saline, and medicines. But there was only one nurse and a doctor to monitor and take care of around 300 students who had fallen sick," said Anusha.

Anusha is now better and has only a mild headache but she is scared to eat from the mess now.

Low-quality ingredients used

The cause of food poisoning has not yet been identified. However, students suspect rotten eggs and poor-quality oil that is being used. "They use an oil called Tasty Drop which is a cheap, poor quality, unknown brand. It costs around Rs. 80 per litre," said Manoj.

Another student member from the SGC said some of the ingredients that were used did not have manufacturing and expiry dates.

Nothing changed after the protest

According to the students, it is not the first time such an incident has happened in the last month. "A week ago, we found a cockroach in fried rice, and a week before that, a needle was found in Upma," said Shiva Sai, a member of the food panel, SGC. In response to these incidents, the administration assured that they would provide quality food thereafter.

It is important to note that it has been just a month since the students of IIIT Basar protested raising 12 demands, including good quality food. Students of IIIT Basar started protesting on 14 June against the poor quality of education and lack of facilities at the institution. Students had made 12 major demands which included improving the faculty-student ratio; the quality of food and water; appropriate sports, ICT, library, washroom, and hostel facilities; appointing a permanent Vice-Chancellor, and good teaching staff among others.

On 20 June, Telangana education minister Sabitha Indra Reddy visited the IIIT Basar campus and assured the students that all their demands would be met in a short while after which the students called off the protest. But nothing has changed since then, said the students.

The contract of the intermediate mess is with SS Caterers and for the engineering first and second years, it is with Kendriya Lal Bandar. "The contract of the mess is with the same people who were handling it before the protest. No new contract was signed after the protest. The contract of all the mess halls is going to expire in the next three months. We hope that the contract will not be given to the same people," said Shiva.

Shiva also pointed out that most of the time, there is a monopoly tender, which means the contract is given to the same people despite them not doing their job properly. "One of the demands that we made last time during the protest was to stop giving monopoly tenders," he said.

The students have been disturbed by this incident in just less than a month after their protest. "We are not asking for tasty food, but at least give us healthy and clean food," added Shiva.

Next Story
Share it