KARACHI: Much to the students' disappointment, the famous pharmacy canteens at the University of Karachi (KU), which used to be crowded at all times, have been shut down and relocated by the administration after several warnings and notices.
As the canteens were established alongside the main circular road in the university and were always crowded, the road started experiencing traffic jams. The five canteens were established opposite the faculty of pharmacy around three years ago to cater to the needs of students from the nearby departments.
Students from the commerce, microbiology, public administration, business administration, mass communication and computer science departments used to walk all the way to these canteens to grab something to eat.
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Before the construction of the extra canteens, for more than eight years there was only one canteen opposite the faculty of pharmacy, which was famous for its mouthwatering kachoris. However, around three years later many other canteens were set up in the empty land next to it. With the passage of time, an entire food street emerged and five big canteens, each offering four to five different food items, emerged.
"After these canteens were shut down, we only have the option of PG [Prem Gali] canteens, which have limited variety and options of food," said Iqra Khan, a student who used to visit the pharmacy canteens daily along with her friends. She added that compared to other canteens at the university, the pharmacy canteens were clean and had hygienic food.
The pharmacy canteens offered a variety of food items from kachoris to zingers and from chai to milk shakes. "The best part about the canteens was that they had a large space at the back for sitting, relaxing and celebrating birthdays," said Ali Hussain, a student. He added that almost all the canteens at the university lack a proper sitting area except for the central cafeteria, which is near the faulty of arts. According to him, it becomes difficult for students of other departments to walk all the way to the central cafeteria.
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The canteens were allocated the space through contracts and agreement, said an official of the university's administration. "The main reason for shifting the canteens was because of several complaints from the faculty of pharmacy about the crowd and traffic," the official said, adding that none of the canteen contractors were asked to leave; instead the canteens have been relocated.
"All the canteens have been given a different space in front of various departments so that students do not suffer and have to walk miles to find the nearest canteen," he said.
The owners of the canteens were given several notices and the Rangers had even put up a notice alongside the canteens a few months ago. According to the notice, parking of vehicles was not allowed but, despite the instructions, the problem was not resolved. "One canteen has been shifted near the commerce department, another has been moved towards the science departments while a few are yet to be relocated," the official said.
"The university administration has relocated the canteens, but it is not a loss for us. It will take some time for our businesses to start doing well again," said Muhammad Arif, who sells fries.
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