New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru University on Thursday said it has a deficit of more than Rs 45 crore and there is a “misinformation” campaign being run in the name of hostel fee hike.

The JNU, in a statement, said the deficit is largely because of the huge electricity and water charges and the salary of contractual staff. The UGC no longer allows payment of salaries of contractual employees of hostels from the salary head of the budget. The number of such employees is over 450.

“The UGC has given clear instructions to JNU that all shortfalls in the non-salary expenditures should be met by using the internal receipts generated by the University. Thus, there is no alternative for the IHA than to collect service charges from the students,” it said.

According to preliminary estimates, the revised hostel charges for each general student is approximately Rs 4,500 per month. Out of this, Rs 2,300 is for food charges per month. Of the remaining amount of Rs 2,200, BPL category students have to pay only 50 per cent.

Therefore, a BPL category student has to pay approximately Rs 3,400 per month, it explained. This is to underline that there is a misinformation campaign which says that there is a massive hostel fee hike in JNU, they said.

“In reality service charges are being levied, which have been zero so far. For sustainability of the University budget which has run into huge deficit, it is necessary to levy the service charges in the hostel,” the institute said.

There is also a propaganda that large number of poor students will be adversely affected by the revised hostel charges, it said.

“It may be noted that out of around 6,000 students who are residing in the hostels, 5,371 students receive financial assistance in the form of fellowships and scholarships,” the statement said.

The university also dismissed reports that the revised hostel charges in JNU are more than similar charges in other Central Universities. “It needs to be underlined that JNU does not charge developmental fees, unlike other universities. Moreover, the admission fee in JNU has been minimal for decades and no revision has taken place for more than four decades,” the varsity said.

They said the Central University of Hyderabad charges admission fee of Rs 10,000 per annum whereas JNU charges around Rs 300 per annum.

Students of JNU have been protesting for over three weeks against a draft hostel manual, which has provisions for a hostel fee hike, a dress code and curfew timings.