Touring The Labyrinth: Vikram Sarabhai Hall of ResidenceReview
Situated adjacent to the Naga pond, the Vikram Sarabhai Hall of Residence is one of the largest and most-sought halls of residence. Ranging over eight blocks, it houses over 1000 boarders. Housing so many students pose various problems for both the boarders as well as the wardens and secretaries. Monday Morning conducted a detailed study and covered the basic day to day problem faced by the student and questioned the authorities responsible to bring about the required changes to make the stay of the borders comfortable.
HALL ELECTED COUNCIL MEMBERS
The members of the Hall elected Council were selected through the general Hall Elections and their details have been provided in the photograph below.
The hall consists of 8 blocks with each having 128 rooms distributed on four floors. The sophomores are provided with double-seater rooms, while students from third year onwards are allotted single rooms. The rooms have three power ports, but a single LAN port. Each room has a mesh fitted on the windows to keep the insects out. For every eight rooms, two bathrooms, one urinal, two toilets, three sinks, one hot water geyser and one water purifier has been provided.
The Hall has a well-maintained garden in the vast open space at the front, which has benches and pathways for boarders. The stationery shop on the ground floor provides with necessary study equipment to the boarders. The regular day and night canteen satisfies the appetite of the boarders.
There is a cycle stand below the C and D block and has an entrance from the backside of the hall. There is also a cycle repair shop there and has basic tools to repair a cycle. It has a capacity of almost 500 cycles but it is difficult to access to students living in the other blocks of the hall.
New Cycle stand
Boarders were previously unhappy with the location of the cycle stand being near C and D block which was very inconvenient for the students of other blocks to daily use it. This construction of cool cover is running and will soon be ready to use. The latest cycle stands running along the road will be functional soon and could accommodate around 700 cycles with a roof on the top of it.
Vikram Sarabhai Hall has its mess in a humongous separate structure and can boast of a feeding capacity of 1200 residents. The mess is well lit and ventilated and the quality of food is better as compared to other halls. With a menu that changes every semester, it is ensured that it can cater to the tastes of students coming from different parts of India. Talking about the numbers, there are 50 benches in the mess with 6 chairs each. So, at a time, 300 students can eat in the mess. To maintain the hygiene standards, the dishwashing area has been made separately from the cooking area and all the mess workers have been instructed to wear hair caps all the time.
On an overall note, the residents of VS Hall are satisfied with the quality and taste of the food of the mess.
On being asked about the mess and food quality to the general secretary, Shivam Shrivastava, he said:
Students of VS hall have had many complaints regarding the food quality and we have addressed them as it’s our duty to serve them the best. For this we tried to introduce a new menu on a 15-day trial basis and if we received complaints about it, the dish could be replaced with other dishes. Moreover, we put in a register in the mess where students can register their complaints regarding any issue they face. The quality of food has now improved heavily and I talk to the staff and students about the improvements and changes they need.
According to Shivam, there was a retendering process which would give professional caterers to each hostel who have the experience to handle such a crowded mess and serve efficiently, but this was cancelled at the last moment. The existing mess in-charge does not have much experience to handle such a huge amount of students which results in problems faced by students.
Night and Day Canteens
To cater to the untimely hunger of the students, one Day Canteen and Two Night canteens have been established inside the premises of the hall. The day canteen opens at 10:00 am and runs up to 7:00 pm. It serves packet foods like chips, biscuits and chocolates to fast food like Noodles, patties and eggs. It is just near the entrance of the hall.
In addition to a night canteen below the C- block, another night canteen has been opened on New Year’s Eve in the central area of the 2nd floor. The night canteens serve cooked food like Noodles, Paratha, eggs, Rolls, Sandwiches and more. They also serve packed food.
Talking to the Warden about the new night canteen, he says:
To accommodate a count of 1200, a single night canteen was not enough and the old night canteen is difficult to reach for half of the students. So we proposed a new night canteen in the HMC meeting and it was approved.
General Secretary had the following to say about the introduction of new canteen:
There were constant complaints from the students about poor food quality and irregularity of the night canteen which was very uncomfortable for residents of VS hall and they used to go to different Night Canteens. As a solution, we had to propose a new night canteen in HMC and the process was recently speeded up.
Located near the entrance, the gym of VS Hall is one of the best gyms of the institute. It has most of the equipment required and is very spacious. The timing for the gym is 6-8 both in the morning and the evening.
There is some equipment which is broken to which the general secretary said:
The gym need renovation and the bills have been made and sent to the HMC. Once it is passed, we will send it to the vendor and by February end, the gym will be fully renovated. Moreover, we are working to make it the best gym of NIT Rourkela and I will leave no stone unturned to bring all facilities to the gym and provide the residents with the best.
There are numerous sports and games area which have been allotted to specific games inside the premises
- Badminton court in from of B-Block.
- Volleyball court in the right laws of the Hall.
- Table Tennis table in front of the entrance.
- Basketball court-Behind the hall.
- Carrom on the 1st floor.
Regarding the maintenance of Basketball court, Shivam said:
Students dont play basket ball in the court and it turns into a cricket ground. That is why we have decided not to repair the nets and baskets anymore until further request.
During the exams, the students gather in the reading room to study peacefully as it is difficult to study and concentrate in the room. VS Hall can also boast of such a reading room which is situated on the first floor. It is quite spacious, well ventilated and equipped with chairs and tables. Although there are some broken benches, it is made sure that they don’t face any scarcity of space during exams. There are two televisions in the reading room also.
There are six newspaper stands just at the entrance of the hall on which have newspapers of English, Hindi and Odia languages to keep the boarders up-to-date with the daily happenings of the world.
On the second floor of the right side of the hall, a Music Room is there where interested students can go and practice any instrument or singing so that they don’t disturb their roommate or neighbours. The room is generally locked but can be opened on request.
A stationery shop is situated on the left side of the entrance which caters to most of the stationery needs of the residents such as copies and pens to printing services and is open from 8:00 in the morning to late 10:00 pm in the night.
For the entertainment of the residents, there is a T.V. room above the reading room on the second floor which can be opened the demand of students for watching matches or movies on weekends. Although there isn’t much activity in the T.V. room, it has been maintained regularly and is in good condition and the students are given the freedom to choose their favourite channels.
Pest control is done every Sunday in the hall and there is not much of a nuisance created due to these pests. However, dogs and cats are seen regularly around the mess and in front of rooms of residents. Around 2 years back many animals were taken away by Municipal Corporation but that isn’t an option now for the authorities. All the dogs are sterilized and they have been taken out of hostel premises but they somehow find a way in. There haven’t been many complaints by students regarding this issue but authorities are working to find a solution to his problem.
About the pests and stray dogs, the environmental secretary, Somdeb Ganguly says:
VS being the second largest hall in the campus has over 1100 boarders residing in it. In such a big hall surrounded by a dense canopy of vegetation pest control becomes a difficult task but still, there is proper and regular fumigation done here. Dustbins are regularly cleaned and emptied and the general hygiene of corridors and bathroom is always maintained in the hall. Also, regular trimming of the hedges and trees is carried out. This way the nuisance caused by pests is reduced to a large extent.
BUDGET ALLOCATION AND BREAKDOWN
Vikram Sarabhai Hall has been allotted an annual budget of 26 lakh rupees from the Hall Managing Committee but it may reduce in further years as the number of single-seater rooms is increasing in the hall. Talking to the Warden about the breakdown, he explains:
There is no fixed distribution of budget and we allot the budget according to the requirements. But tentatively, 10 lakh rupees has been alloted as salary to the staff, 2 lakh rupees has been allotted to the Garden Fest and Hall day and a part of the remaining is reserved for the renovation of the gym and othere expenses.
FUTURE PLANS FOR THE HALL
When asked about the future plans for the hall, the Warden mentions:
We have proposed a construction of two fountains inside the premises of the hall. We have also requested in the HMC for extension and renovation of the kitchen area of the mess.
On a concluding note, Vikram Sarabhai Hall of Residence is well equipped with all the facilities to accommodate a ton of students. Although there are some problems that students face on a daily basis, arrangements have been made to resolve them.