A Harrowed Journey: CVR Hall of Residence
The CVR hall of residence has been facing myriad problems since the beginning of this academic session. After the new Warden and Hall Executive Committee members took charge, Team MM discussed some pertinent issues that were being faced by the boarders with them. While there have been instances of visible improvements, there are certain subjects which still require attention and others which are cropping up, afresh.
The Gym and the Sports Rooms:
Initially at the beginning of the year, the gym and the sports room were converted into dormitories to accommodate the influx of new students. They had promised to shift them later on when rooms got emptied, probably within a month, but the boarders have still not been relocated.
Prof. Archana Mallick, Warden of CVR, said:
The students have already been allotted rooms and they should have shifted by now. I am unaware of the reason behind their reluctance to move, but I will be looking into it. As far as the gym is concerned, it has been shifted to the TV Room so that there is adequate space. In addition, a budget of INR 2-3 lakhs has been sanctioned to purchase more equipment and incorporate them with the old ones into the proposed Gym and Sports room.
Installation of Mosquito Nets:
Due to the rainy season, the numbers of mosquitoes have increased and the spraying of insecticides is also proving to be ineffective. Moreover, several boarders are suffering from insect bites due to the invasion of bugs into rooms as well as washrooms. On being asked if anything could be done to protect the interests of the boarders, the secretaries clarified, “During the last HMC it was proposed that mosquito nets will be installed in all the halls starting with SD and VS Halls of Residence. Hopefully, after that, the authorities will cater to the needs of CVR. However, during this HMC the matter was taken up again and as per the hall budget allocation we will be purchasing nets, soon.”
Before a centralized laundry system existed for all the Halls of Residences, CVR had a washing machine which was operated by a person-in-charge, who took a nominal price for an entire bucket. The boarders found this more cost-effective, as well as convenient since they could get their clothes back on the same day, after drying. Since last year, the washing machine started malfunctioning and has not been repaired. When asked about the current status quo, the secretaries said,
There are rats in the hostel that meddle with the electrical connections and damage it thus incurring high repairing and maintenance charges. Moreover, the people washing clothes do not have a proper rate chart which is why we do not want such provisions as they might charge more from the boarders.
Furthermore, the warden said,
If the dhobis aren't doing their job on time or if they aren't regular in coming to collect clothes, the boarders should give a written complaint to me stating so. Then I can take some as required.
The Day Canteen:
The day canteen at CVR comes to the rescue of several students who skip meals at the mess. However, recently because of its location it is facing severe maintenance problems. This monsoon, the windows that are installed proved to be insufficient in providing shelter and the entire space is getting flooded with rain water. The person-in-charge of the day canteen approached several boarders for help, and the matter has been taken up with the Warden as well. She said that maintenance work at this scale has to be done through the main office and the complaint has already been sent. She reassured the students that this matter would be taken care of as early as possible.
The Departmental Store used to serve soft drinks, lemonades and other refreshments for students, until last year. The person in charge has been specifically asked not to keep any drinks or sell them to boarders. When asked about the reason behind such a decision, the Warden said,
All those people who work inside the hostel have to sign a contract beforehand. According to the contract, the departmental store lady is not allowed to keep any eatables. Since she was illegally maintaining and selling the refreshments, she was asked to stop. I will personally see to it that such instances are avoided in the future as this also negatively impacts the business of the two canteens that I have facilitated.
Door To Door Milk Facility:
Until last year a lady used to come to CVR to provide milk from door-to-door, but since the beginning of this session, she has been disallowed from doing so. When asked about why such a convenient practice was discontinued and the only means of livelihood of the woman in concern was taken away from her, the secretaries opined:
There were complaints of theft against her. Moreover, if the students want a door to door service, we can ask the night canteen lady to facilitate this service.
The Warden said that she did not want any person to enter the hostels and go from door-to-door on such a pretext as she would not be able to exercise any control over this person or address any complaints that boarders might have against her. Furthermore, since she was found guilty of theft it seemed like a rational choice to discontinue her services. She also said that there was no need for such a facility, as boarders can walk down till the Night Canteen if they want fresh milk.
No Personal Utensils Allowed In the Mess:
Recently, the boarders were not being allowed to take food to their rooms even in their own utensils. When sick students wanted to take their food back to their room they were being subjected to unnecessary scrutiny and questioning. Finally, it was said that nobody would be allowed to take food out of the mess without the permission of the Warden. When asked about this, the secretaries said,
We are not allowing such things since it had become a common practice for boarders to carry food plates to their rooms and leave it outside their doors once they were done. As a result, dogs started feeding on them and the sanctity of the corridors was destroyed. However, if there is a genuine case of a person being sick, the mess staff will go and verify first and then provide her with food.
The warden reassured students that if for health issues a boarder wanted to eat food in their room, no mess worker was entitled to prevent them from doing so. She also clarified, that there was no need to contact her personally if a boarder was sick and food can be taken to rooms, as long as boarders are responsible with the used utensils, after that.
Steel Pipes Installed:
Sometime in the middle of the last year, two steel pipes had been installed on every floor. The boarders had no idea what the pipes had been installed for since the matter had never been discussed in any of the general body meetings. As a result, a lot of people started disposing general waste into the steel pipes as opposed to disposing of sanitary napkins, which was the primary reason for its installation. On being asked why such an infrastructural investment was undertaken without ensuring its proper implementation, the Warden said,
Notices have to be put up in order to make them aware of the various new things that are being implemented so that the boarders make proper use of it.
Quality of Food:
The quality of snacks that are served has improved over time. But still, the quality of breakfast, lunch, and dinner remains the same. Even though there have been positive introductions to the menu like cornflakes for breakfast, it is not being regulated properly and many boarders are not even aware the changes. On being asked if an improvement in the quality of food can be expected, the Warden said,
It will take time but it will surely improve, just as it had at KMS when I was Warden, there.
Late Entry Issue:
Recently there has been a lot of hue and cry about the late entries at the ladies hostel. While previously there was only a register that was maintained to keep track and warn students whose names appeared frequently, the rules have been made more stringent now. Currently, boarders are allowed only 3 late entries in a month and in the case of a 4th late entry they will be subjected to severe disciplinary action. Moreover, the entry timing which had been increased to 10:30PM has once again been reduced to 10:00PM. Amidst these various changes and introduction of rules and regulations, no formal notices have been issued to any of the boarders leading to a lot of miscommunication and harassment.
When asked about her viewpoint, she said:
We have a constitution where it is mentioned that all the hostels, irrespective of boys and girls have a late entry at 10PM. The rule about three late entries is also not new but when the HMC passed a rule saying that the boarders will be thrown out of their hostel after the fourth late entry, I was against it. But the other disciplinary actions like enquiring them or calling up their parents were always there in the rule book. In my opinion, even three late entries a month is too much. According to me, it should be three late entries per semester.
When asked about the students who work late night due to club activities or the Ph.D. students who have their research projects she opined,
I have always allowed such people to work late night. All they need to do is mail me a letter stating their reason for coming late to the hostel and I will give them my approval. I only have a problem with those who come after 12:00 AM and those who are drunk. Another interesting thing that I found out while going through the late entry register is that there are only 15-20 people who come late regularly, and they are the only ones who are being inconvenienced by strict rules.