The Jawaharlal Nehru University administration has increased hostel and mess fees, sparking protests by students who called the decision arbitrary, PTI reported on Tuesday.

A circular from the office of the dean of students – dated February 27 but with retrospective effect from January 1 – lists the new charges for mess admission, guests, meal charges for guests and fines for late payment, among other revisions.

“Under Mess Admission Dues category, the refundable mess security has been increased to Rs 4,500 from the earlier Rs 2,700 while the establishment charges per semester will be Rs 1,100 from Rs 550,” the circular reads. It says annual crockery and utensils charges have been increased from Rs 50 to Rs 200 while the annual newspaper charges are now Rs 50 instead of Rs 15. The fine for late payment of the mess bill has been increased from Rs 1 a day to Rs 20 a day.

Former JNU Students’ Union General Secretary Satarupa Chakraborty called the circular “obnoxious”, and said the administration was “leaving no stone unturned to attack the livelihood of students”.

“A university, which was a place for students, particularly for the deprived sections, is becoming a place for subsequent alienation of thousands of students,” Chakraborty said, according to PTI.

Dean of Students Umesh Kadam is yet to comment on the matter.

Other students said the decision was taken without discussing it with student representatives.

“The administration called us for a meeting on January 17 when we were told about a possible hike in hostel facilities such as guest and mess admission charges, fine on late payments and a hike on certain food items,” Simone Zoya Khan, JNU student union vice president, told The Times of India. Khan said the students had not agreed to the proposal, and wanted a special committee with a students’ union member and a hostel president as representatives to look into it before the rates are increased.

“But just like in the past, they have gone ahead with their decision,” Khan said, referring to the administration’s earlier move to make attendance mandatory.