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An Interview with Prof. M.K. Barua regarding Hostel Allocation

July 27, 2023

WONA: Sir, girls are being asked to shift that too, in the middle of intern season, and they have classes and practicals during the day and intern tests in the night, and we have 75% attendance criteria, so they can’t really miss classes, and adding to that issue is the nonfunctional C block lift, that has not been functioning for more than a week, so students have been requesting some sort of help, so have those reached you and what has been done.

DOSW: I spoke with the institute engineer about the lift, who assured me at least one lift would be operational. I think one lift is working (“No, it is not’’). Not even one? So I’ll see that at least one will work. Actually, all should work but ill see that at least one is working because shifting is going on. I’m told that the pit which is there of the lift, there is waterlogging, so that is the problem. Otherwise, everything was alright. It was a temporary phase, and it rained heavily, so the lifts are not working, but we will ensure that the lifts will work.

WONA: We are supposed to shift within the span of three days, if could there be some workers within the hostel who could help students shift their luggage from the 6th floor to the 3rd floor since it is not possible for girls to pick up such heavy luggage, and if any health issues arise, that won’t be in the benefit.

DOSW: But shifting started today, right?

WONA: Yeah, but mostly only students from the 3rd and 4th floors have started shifting because it is too tough to shift from the 5th and 6th. They are waiting for lifts.

DOSW: Let me see about assigning some workers. We’ll see to it.

WONA: There are some 4y students and Mitacs research interns who haven’t returned, and they won’t be back within the next three days to shift-

DOSW: Let them shift when they come back to the campus

WONA: But they have been told that their rooms and almirahs will be broken and Bhawan authorities will take out their luggage, is there any way to ensure that won’t happen?

DOSW: In fact, as far as the academic calendar is concerned, all of them should be back by now, right?

WONA: But unfortunately, research internships don’t exactly align with our present academic curriculum and calendars

DOSW: How many such girls are there?

WONA: About 30 are in Mitacs, apart from that, too, there are a few. They have messaged the group.

DOSW: We’ll see that nothing goes against them. We’ll ask them to shift once they are back on campus.

WONA: Regarding the 3y and 4y shifting process, girls were kept in the dark and weren’t given information until the last moment. They were told just before they came back to go back to their old rooms and were given no information about when they could move to HB. So there is a lot of communication gap that exists in our scenario.

DOSW: I don’t think there is a communication gap. The work in hb is still ongoing, and in the middle of all such things, we are shifting the girls because we want to shift the girls. If you don’t want me to shift, let the hostel be ready, and let other works of the hostel comp get ready, it’ll take 3-4 months. Shall we stop shifting? There are several constraints you should try to understand. This is not an ideal world. I tried a lot to get the hostel in the month of June itself, but because of the rains, Kanwad, things got delayed, and nobody is responsible for all such things right. We don’t have workers. They are not coming to work because of the flood in their villages. So things got delayed because of kanwad, and we couldn’t get the furniture in time. I’m told that several trucks carrying furniture were stopped outside Uttarakhand because of Kanwad. So there are constraints, and we are working under those constraints. The moment I got the hostel, I shifted the girls, and as far as three days’ time is concerned, we’ll extend, but it can’t be beyond August 1 because we are getting 1y right, so this time you are getting to shift to HB will be extended. I don’t want our girls to have to face any difficulty. In fact, I have asked Professor in charge of Security to tell all the rickshaw drivers not to charge much money, and rickshaws will be there inside the hostel, not at the gate of the hostel (they allowed in the girls’ hostel, but not JB or RJB) We’ll allow in Jawahar and Rajendra as well.

WONA: As you mentioned, the Himalaya Bhawan is still under construction, so there are a lot of facilities that are still missing. They don’t have a functioning canteen or night canteen, so do you have any plans?

DOSW: we will get all these facilities for the residents within 10-15 days because there will be 800 girls, and we need to have all such facilities.

WatchOut!: Initially, there was this decision that some girls would stay in Sarojini and 88 girls would be shifted to Kasturba. So is that process still going to happen?

DOSW: Yeah appropriate decision will be taken. But now the good news is that the first-year girls will not be put in triple accommodation.

WONA: No, sir, I was talking about the second-year girls. Is this decision still going to happen because GenSec Hostel Affairs mentioned that this decision was still under your consideration?

DOSW: So as to ensure minimum shifting, we planned to shift only 88 girls to Kasturba Bhawan. I think that’s a better decision. Otherwise, students would have complained about why is everyone benign shifted, so we have tried to minimize shifting. I think in the last five years; this is the first time that it is happening that all first-year girls will be put in double accommodation.

WONA: So, sir, since the fact that some of the second-year girls will be staying in Kasturba and there will be first-year students there, and it is the policy of the institute that the first-year students are not kept with their immediate seniors to prevent ragging. So are there any measures you are going to take to ensure that this doesn’t happen

DOSW: Yes, we have a committee in place. Also, I hope that our girls are mature enough so they would treat their first-year girls just like their younger sisters.

WONA: Sir coming to the boys’ hostel. The boys are staying in Rajendra Bhawan because they have not been allotted rooms in Jawahar Bhawan and are using Cautley mess. Not to mention the first-year students will be here 1st of August, and Jawahar Bhawan washrooms in many blocks are under construction. also, there is the issue of leakage in some of the rooms.

DOSW: yes, I am aware of the construction work ongoing in the Jawahar Bhawan, and I ensured that by the 30th of this month, all the washrooms are fully prepared. We have to keep RJB ready for first-year students by the 28th or 29th of this month; only then can we assign them to the 1st of August. There are a lot of complications when it comes to shifting, but I hope by 1st week of August, everything will be resolved. There is an acute shortage of boys’ accommodation now. This year in PG, we have 1000 admissions, 250 more than last year. Yesterday 20 MTech students were temporarily placed in Married accommodation. So, right now wherever there is space, we are giving. That is what we are ensuring, that accommodation should be made available on a priority basis, and the effect is that we won’t be able to provide accommodation to married research scholars. But we will make some arrangements for them too. We are listening to the needs of all different categories of students and trying to accommodate all of them.

WONA: During a survey we conducted, a lot of students talkies about this issue that there is a communication gap, that the Bhawan secretaries are not putting notices in the Whatsapp groups. So if there could be a proper communication channel.

DOSW: The chief warden is responsible for issuing notices about shifting and everything important. Whatsapp isn’t the official channel to communicate this anyway. It’s the responsibility of the chief warden to issue such notifications.

WONA: Recently, we also talked to the present GenSec Hostel Affairs and Deputy GenSec Hostel Affairs (Girls), specifically talking about the allotment issue. And we inferred that there is a lot of miscommunication between the administration and the GenSecs, resulting in students having no information about the same.

DOSW: The allocation was done by GS Hostel Affairs. Students only oversaw the accommodation process, and I asked GS only to inform the students, and he informed

WONA: Sir, but about the updates like the facilities available in the Bhawan, and status of construction, it doesn’t come under the jurisdiction of GS

DOSW: Actually, that doesn’t come under the jurisdiction of DOSW either. Whenever students approach me, I contact Dean Infrastructure, So I am just a medium between students and Dean Infrastructure.

WONA: Thank you, sir. These are just some of the queries we had. Thank you for your time.

DOSW: Thank you