KARACHI: A meeting chaired by University of Karachi Acting Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Nasira Khatoon on Thursday decided to reopen main cafeteria after all canteens were closed for an indefinite period of time.
The acting registrar, Prof Dr Maqsood Ali Ansari, Finance Director Tariq Kaleem and Incharge Transport Unit Dr Qadeer Muhammad Ali were also present on this occasion.
After the unfortunate suicide attack at the varsity on April 26, 2022, on the campus, the administration decided to close all the canteens, including the central cafeteria, until the compilation of a database of people working in such food outlets.
After the verification of the details of workers of the central cafeteria, it was decided that the central cafe should be opened with immediate effect. Informed sources have claimed that the contactor – Saleem Arian – has agreed to pay some amount from Rs4 million in order to open the central cafeteria.
Sources further claimed that Saleem Arian obtained the contract for cafeteria in 2017. According to sources, the reopening of the central café will deprive other rental canteen owners of their rights, while the burden of 40,000 students will fall on one canteen.
It has been learned that the university is facing loss in canteen contracts due to uncertainty in the advertisement prepared by State Officer Noorin Sharq. The contract of central cafeteria was awarded for Rs199,000, and instead of increasing it by 10 percent every year, the price was being raised after two years.
Unlike others, electricity, gas and water are also provided free of cost by the university to the contractor. On the other hand, the contractor did not paid rent under the guise of holidays, while 10 months rent exemption was also given due to COVID-19.
Despite all the facilities, the contractor – Saleem Arain – has not paid the due amount Rs4 million and once again the administration has awarded him the contract to reopen the central cafeteria.
When contacted by M.M News in this regard, Saleem Arain said he did not pay the rent because the cafeteria was closed for two years due to COVID-19. “I invested Rs6.8 million in the preparation of the canteen, and I will soon meet the KU administration for my repayment of dues along with all the records,” he said.
Surprisingly, despite the controversial advertisement and lucrative agreement, the KU administration has awarded the contract to Saleem Arain, while the other 30 contractors – who are constantly paying rent – are not being allowed to open the canteens.
Nonetheless, the KU administration has permitted mobile tuck shops to operate within the campus. These tuck shops are to operate near the central library, and department of applied chemistry, pharmacy building and UBL branch from 9am till 6pm.
To facilitate students on campus further, the varsity has also recently added new buses to its fleet owing to the ban on the operation of rickshaws and other vehicles on the campus. In addition to this, on-campus shuttle services shall also be launched to facilitate the students of morning and evening shifts, and faculty, staff, and employees which are to be free of charge.