Driving Away the Clouds of Uncertainty

The main concern of mankind at large is the huge uncertainty of its own fate. Forget what is in store for them a year down the line. They have no idea whatsoever as to what awaits them the next day. Also, this concern is amplified when this uncertainty is imposed due to the actions of other men. Physicists find Heisenberg to be a genius when it comes to solving problems of statistical physics, but when this rule of uncertainty is reflected in their own lives, things just go down the hill. There are many issues, according to Common Perception, that annoy the NITR junta; issues of great uncertainty, giving way to great distress among them. Right from the NITR Alumni relations to 4th year dual degree summer internships to film fest, and so on;

team Monday Morning, took the onus upon themselves to drive away these clouds of uncertainty by consulting the Hon’ble Director Prof. Sunil Kumar Sarangi Sir (D), to bring some temporary, yet much needed solace to the NITR junta.

MM: How has the response been to the NITR Alumni Reunion?

D:To say the truth, it has been quite bad. I will let you in on my experience of this Alumni relations issue from IIT Kharagpur. There have been many eminent alumni of IIT Kharagpur who have donated great amounts to their institute. This movement was driven forward by those residing in USA. Their people aimed at elevating the position of the Indian Engineer, specifically the IITians, in the States so that any IITian can benefit who goes there. Now this was possible because the alumni took the extra step, and the institute welcomed these moves warmly. In contrast to this, the alumni relations aspect of NIT Rourkela was in shambles. It consisted of meetings in Rourkela, with few people attending the meetings. I had asked for using the technological advancement of the modern era to contact the 16,000 alumni from all over the world, but they rejected it, thinking about their own importance. This hasn’t materialized till date.

The NITR Alumni Association (NITRAA) is still staying in the Stone Age.

The world has moved on to an institute alumnus paying back to his alma mater, while our alumni still believe in taking money from the students. Though this is not true for all of them. Yesterday, Mr. Peri has gifted 100000$ (around 70 lakh rupees), being the highest among the alumni donations. Mr. Pramod Jain has donated 3 lakh rupees. As of now this body has been interested in only collecting money from final year students, for arranging the Grand Dinner, and buying them some souvenir. That’s all that they were concerned in doing. A few of these alumni, with that archaic train of thought, have been providing roadblocks to a few of the other alumni who believe in philanthropy. Giving is a new word for most of these alumni. Also 70 lakhs is not a big amount for many of our alumni, with a flourishing business in India. This money earned by philanthropy is essential for doing those things that can’t be done with either government money or the students’ money. Like deputing students abroad for conferences, sponsoring the automotive and satellite projects of students along with a few social needs for instance, supporting a student who has faced a grave calamity. Another realization is that this money that they take from the caution money, is for the dinner is unnecessary. This money can be helpful to these just graduated students who have not received their first month’s pay, or those who haven’t got a job yet. Also, this dinner can be easily sponsored by the money of the alumni alone, who, in total, earn not less than 100 crore per month. This subscription money can be paid by the students during their career, but not at the start. Since they are registered under the Odisha government, they are not an institute body and under no obligation to do networking with the institute. This is evident from their reply to the telephone calls and reunion invitations.

MM: Is it true that the NITRAA and ALNET are not working together well?

D: NITRAA does not want us to reach out to other alumni, which ALNET has intended to do. NITRAA has been our only source of connect to the alumni all over. And it has only taken money from the students. I have been fighting this uphill battle, in vain to change their mindset. Also, one of the reasons I wanted to organize a reunion was, not only to meet your batch mates, but also interact with the current students and administration. They can be instrumental in using their vast experience in helping the institute as a whole. And this is not among the objectives of NITRAA. I had written a letter to NITRAA to make it our official Alumni relations committee, and it was accepted temporarily. Just before the final approval, it fell through because they didn’t want their members to be nominated by the institute.

An alumni association based solely on elections will never get talent.

This is because of the vices of elections like maligning of fellow candidates that the people in the top echelons of society would not want to get involved in. Prof. Subbudhi Sir is assisted by a group of faculty members, students and a few alumni, who believe in giving, like Suresh Venkatraman, who have been nominated completely in this body called NITR Alumni Network (ALNET). They take care of the alumni-student, alumni-administration relations, alumni-society bond but they don’t have mandate over the alumni-alumni relations like organizing small games and events for the alumni and so on. It does not obstruct NITRAA from doing it all though.

MM: The air-conditioning is working in BBA and PPA. Where else can we expect this work to start and by when?

D: Wherever the pipes have been installed, those areas shall be up and running in due course of time. It includes main building, the mechanical sciences building and library and so on. In 2 years’ time, every visible place shall be centrally air-conditioned. A few patches of area might be over-looked in the process though considering the tremendous power consumption required. Though central air-conditioning is a cheaper and far more cost effective measure and has greater longevity than normal installation of air-conditioning machines.

MM: 4th year dual degree students are not being allowed for summer internships. Why?

D: The dual degree students as well as the normal M.Tech students are treated equally from the 8th semester onwards. In that summer between 8th & 9th semester, they are supposed to do a research project that is a simulation of the real-life research practices that undergo everywhere. Industry is the best area to solve real-life problems whose answers aren’t pre-decided in contrast to the classroom assignments of the professors whose answers are known from before-hand. It is different from normal internships in the sense that normal internships or trainings have no deliverables.

Students are advised to spend time in the industry. But it must be established though a link between your teacher and supervising engineer with the target of adding brains to the company, if necessary by legal mandate. If it is possible, then students are most welcome to apply, get selected and call themselves interns of that company.

Their deliverables are more than that of undergraduate students. If a PG-student writes an essay of his experience in that company, then he/she gets a zero while a UG student gets full marks for the same. He/she must solve a particular problem in that company, or do something that adds profit to the company, in his own line of studies. All interns are not same. A banking intern might get a clerical work. I am not interested in that. He must be an assistant to an executive. A computer science engineer might be an analyst. A mechanical engineer might be asked to handle and regulated design data of products in core/automobile companies. But if that mechanical engineer goes for a bank job, then he/she gets a zero for the credits on his summer projects.

MM: Initially there was a proposal of a film festival to be conducted by FMS during the weekend of celebrity night. It was however cancelled later. Give us an insight about the major reason behind this.

D: I am not aware of this fact and the student convenors would be the better people to answer. However I would like to comment that the FMS conducts activities excluding film and music. One thing that I suggested that let there be a week of films of all Indian languages except Hindi which would be the classics of all time or also having a fest of Non Hollywood movies of different countries. Such things can be provided to access by a collective body and I feel that FMS should think on such lines.

MM: Most of the construction work seems to be on a standstill right now. What is the reason behind this?

D: The thing is all NIT’s have a fixed amount of grant as a whole (about 1300 crores for all NIT’s except North Eastern). But all NIT’s were not in the same development stage earlier. Their administrative machinery was not the same to be able to carry forward a construction. So during the recent past years NIT Rourkela has been the highest spender among all NIT’s. However, now more institutes have started with their developmental work as the government supports every institute with plans to expand infrastructure. Hence getting that extra advantage in spending money is not possible now.

The construction work is not frozen, however the speed with which the construction was going on has definitely slowed down. The frames of many of the buildings are complete however the interior work has not started.

MM: Regarding the Inter NIT Sports Meet few of the teams have not had their sports meet this due to various reasons like swine flu (in case of Table Tennis and Tennis) and disinterest in conducting the meet (in case of Kabaddi). As of now few of the meets stands cancelled. Why hasn’t O-INSA intervened in this matter?

D: The institutes which were supposed to conduct the meet did not do their job hence the meet got cancelled. We started off late and it was difficult to manage a whole organisation like O-INSA. It could have been done by more manpower spent by us.

O-INSA should have intervened by sending emails regularly to the organising institute so that they take it seriously. However O-INSA failed to do that. I feel it needs a secretariat to do that.

In the coming year we will keep the organisation intact but we’ll involve younger faculties and also include VP’s of society to ensure a faster management.

MM: Ola cabs are not being allowed without troubles at the security gate. Can there be a message that can be passed on to the security to allow the cabs in without any troubles?

D: I’m not aware of a company like OLA Cabs has started providing transport in Rourkela. If it’s a registered company then it shouldn’t be much of a problem. I’ll immediately inform CSO regarding the matter.

(Calls CSO and after a brief conversation) There has to be a brief questioning asking about the destination of the cab. Instructions have been given to keep the questioning brief so that it does not create many problems. However if there are queries further you should contact the Chief Security Officer.

MM: What is the status of the development of the Student Body in this institution?

D: It was an idea given by Nishant Nihar however there has been no development in it. My brainpower could not come up with a constitution however Nishant Nihar came up with a suggestion of a constitution and I’ll have to go through my mails to check it. I’m also in a fix regarding the people who should be selected and how should they be selected. Much has not been thought regarding this matter.