Revisiting Matters of Concern
With one month into another semester, Team MM caught up with the Director for a quick chat on a late Sunday evening to follow up on the old issues and resolve some new ones. Some old promises were assured to be implemented, as were new promises made. Read on to find out more.
MM: The student body was supposed to be up and running by August, but it is still not in force. What is the final timeline for that?
Director: The final contents of the constitution for the Student Body has been decided upon and is presently with Prof. KC Pati (Dean – SW). The language of the said document needs certain modification for the purpose of archival and is presently being revised to make the necessary changes. Thereafter I shall put the document in circulation among students and faculty. We expect the whole process to be completed within a couple of weeks.
MM: The guest house is in need of a lot of improvements. The Wi-Fi and LAN don't function efficiently, and there are power and air-conditioning problems. When will these be rectified?
Director: This problem has to be referred to Prof. Jena. We are aware of the various problems that the guests have been facing. Recently, during the inauguration of the Lakshmana Rao Peri Centre for Advanced Decision Sciences (LPCADS), we had guest faculties from the US who had to be moved to an off-campus accommodation after the first day of their stay in the guest house. It is their dissatisfaction that made me realise the urgency of the situation. As soon as the proposal for procuring the required list of items is put forward, things could be expected to go the way they should.
MM: There is a lot of resistance to the food delivery vehicles (except Dominos) entering the institute. What is the current policy which is being followed regarding the delivery of food, inside the institute?
Director: Keeping in mind, the difficulty in disposal of meal type/wet-food and its implications on the cleanliness of the institute, it is not permissible to have them delivered inside the institute. Furthermore, these types of food items are often the ideal supplements for noisy parties (with alcohol), thus causing inconvenience to immediate neighbours, especially when too many people are involved.
However, bringing in home-made food and to that matter, moderately dry food items e.g. pizza etc. would not be a problem as they generate minimal waste that are disposable, with much lesser effort, when compared to the above-mentioned wet-food.
MM: It is a widely known fact that several NITs have a provision of change of branch, for a few meritorious students, at the end of the first year. NITR, too had it until 2010, which was later scrapped due to unknown reasons. How is this move justified?
Director: The fundamental concept of branch-change allowance, for students, after choosing a branch already, is highly flawed at many levels. The most important reason why this policy had been taken down by the institute is because of the demoralization it could cause in professors and students of a particular department when highly-capable students migrate towards other branches. This fall-out of confidence may directly or indirectly lead to the collapse of the branches which are not very competent, in the present scenario of job opportunities but are nevertheless extremely important in terms of nation building.
MM: Regarding the frequent power cuts bothering the residents of the institute, how soon do we expect the approval of the status of load restriction exemption from the Bhubaneshwar authorities?
Director: The paper work for this issue is yet to be done and is being delayed due to my frequent trips for official purposes. As soon as the process gets initiated, it would be intimated to the institute and further updates would be provided later.
MM: The Dual Degree/M.Tech students have not yet received their stipends. What is causing this unexpected delay and when can they expect it to be resolved?
Director: There are three aspects regarding the stipend delay issue. Firstly, the DST (Department of Science and Technology) when releasing the new stipend amounts earlier this year listed the M.Tech, B.Tech and M.Sc. students and this was followed by the MHRD who released their list sometime later. However, NITR also has M.A. and MBA students whose stipend was only listed once the UGC brought out its notice. Consequently, we requested for an amendment of the MHRD notice, which is presently underway and has been facing some delay.
The other issue is the enchancement of stipend for PhD scholars following their second year. This has been stalled in some cases as the preceding exam that they must qualify could not be held for all of them. The delay is mostly a result of students and their advisors delaying things for the last moment.
Another issue is that the students do not inform the Academic Section of the institute about their problems regarding stipends and bills. The Academic Section can only help in such circumstances if they recognize the particularly affected student and thus find out what is causing the delay.
MM: A few roads within the campus, mostly those in front of the halls of residences are still half built. When can we expect the completion of the project?
Director: The construction work has come to a temporary stop because of the rainy season. The work will resume as soon as the season becomes dry and reasonably hot which is when it is more feasible for work to happen, with lesser glitches.
MM: The students, rather the co-ordinators of the Training and placement Cell, have been offended by the comments made against them, regarding the approval of non-genuine leaves. Please comment.
Director: There have been cases where leaves were approved of students, who were indeed irregular to classes, on flimsy grounds. To prevent the re-iteration of such cases, it is important that the process should be reviewed to detect any loop-holes and at the same time, ensure that students are not inconvenienced. The placement co-ordinators are most welcome to submit a proposal, citing reasons and numbers, for the same. The institute is not in an adversarial position. It is to be emphasised here, that a stringent yet sensible leave policy is to be followed to improve attendance of final year students, in their course subjects.