Mumbai: Students at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) started a relay hunger strike on Monday against the recent fee hike. Students have also boycotted classes since the third week of June to stage the protest.

The institute, however, has decided to set up a committee to look into the hike in fees of mess, hostel, medical, gymkhana facilities extended to students on the campus. The administration has decided to set up a committee and come out with a white paper on the fee hike issue.

In May, the management of IIT-B introduced a hike for the new academic session, including a 300% hike in hostel rent, 167% hike in gymkhana fee, 100% hike in examination, registration and medical fees and around 50% hike in other charges. IIT-B authorities attributed the hike to inflation.

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On Monday, a group of students staged a march across the campus which ended at the main building foyer. Nine students started a relay hunger strike at 2pm. “The nine students will continue the hunger strike. Tomorrow, other students will take over. We will only intensify our struggle till we hear from the administration,” said a student.

Officials from IIT-B said the institute director has assured students that a committee would look into the issue and publish a white paper on it soon. “We have already shared with students a detailed version of the hike structure and its need but the committee will once again see if any of the hike is unreasonable. It will take some time and students will have to be patient,” said Soumyo Mukherji, dean-student affairs, IIT-B.

IIT-B director Devang Khakkar has spoken to students and sought time for the committee to publish its report. Students, however, are not convinced.

“The administration has only been giving us false promises but no one has given us assurances of rolling back the fee hike. The increase in the fee structure is unfair and unwarranted,”  added another student.