The Amicable Abode: MV Hall of Residence
Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya (MV) Hall of Residence is one of the oldest halls of residence at NIT Rourkela. Named after the great engineer Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, the hall is also one of the smallest halls of residence at NIT Rourkela. The iconic hall is allotted to freshmen- B.Tech, M.Tech and PhD students due to its proximity to the academic area. With the beginning of the spring semester, Team MM reviews the current status, problems faced by boarders and the changes made in MV Hall.
The hall has one of the smallest rooms among all halls of residence at NITR. The hall houses about 460 students including the freshmen B.Tech, M.Tech boys and few PhD scholars. The entire hall is divided into three blocks- A, B and C. A block contains 84 dwelling rooms and the other two blocks B and C comprise 90 rooms each.
While the majority of the rooms in A and B block have been allotted for two boarders each, the rooms in C block have been occupied by M.Tech and PhD scholars and are single-seated. Apart from the small rooms, students complained of termite infestation, insufficient shelves and tripping MCBs in the rooms. Upon interrogation, Prof. Saurav Datta, Warden, MV Hall said that according to the hostel rules, high-voltage appliances are not allowed in rooms. While some of the rooms had two LAN ports each, C block rooms (of which some house 2 boys) have one LAN port while a few other rooms in the other two blocks had one non-functional LAN port. The Warden said that boarders with non-functional LAN ports should fill a form and get it signed by him and the Chief Warden. They should then submit it in the LA Computer Centre which has control over this. The hall shares a common bicycle shed with GD Birla Hall of Residence under the RN Patel Cafeteria which has sufficient space to keep all the boarders’ cycles.
Coming to the sports facilities in the hall, the Sports Secretary summed it up as follows:
We have two badminton courts of which one is operational. The second one’s net was broken and a new net has already been purchased. In my tenure, the maintenance of volleyball court was done. Apart from that new equipment for gym was purchased and a music system earlier absent in the gym was installed. The gym equipment require new grips which would be purchased soon. There are 4 normal and 2 muscle power badminton racquets at present, which are given to the hostel team to practice.
The hall also boasts of a decent garden with many kinds of flowering plants. It has walkways and the grass is maintained well by the gardener. When asked about the gardens, the Warden said that the gardener was quite sincere and did his best to ensure that the gardens were well maintained. The Environmental Secretary said:
Sometimes the grass at the backside of the hall was delayed, which resulted in a mosquito menace. The garden is not at par with GDB’s because there are pests in our garden which do not let the uniform growth of grass and other plants. As a result, MV’s garden is not as beautiful as GDB’s.
MV hall of residence shares the RN Patel cafeteria with its neighbouring hall GD Birla for mess food services. The mess has 25 small 6-seater tables, 21 large 10-seaters altogether capable of accommodating 360 students at any given time. Two new water-coolers have been installed in the mess area and are in active service. A requisition for tandoor grills has been submitted by the warden of MV hall to the chief warden’s office, he is hopeful that the order for tandoor grills will soon be placed. The mess is equipped with 42 fans, 17 windows and 28 exhausts which ensures that the hall does not become suffocating for the diners.
As per a survey conducted, on a scale of 1-5, 31.3% of students gave a 3 to the quality of mess food while the same percentage of students rated the quality as 4. A paltry 12.5 % of students were completely satisfied with the quality but a major 25% were completely dissatisfied with the quality of mess food and rated it 1 only.
On the whole, it is safe to assume that the majority of the boarders 75% are comfortable with the mess food but the alarming 25% of dissatisfaction provides room for improvement. The mess secretary said:
We are ready to give naan to boarders but since it’s a common mess, GDB should be ready too. They have a fund shortage though, at present. The mess quality has improved.
Ansuman Nayak, a boarder of MV hall opined:
The quality of the mess food given to us is good but the quantity should be improved. They never give us extra servings in some items.
The rooms are cleaned once a week, either on Saturday or Sunday and the washrooms are cleaned twice a day. The cleanliness of the hall was satisfactory but now it has somewhat degraded. In a conversation with the maintenance secretary, we found that the cleaning staff of GDB and MV have been exchanged. The Warden also added that this was the reason for the lower cleanliness in the hall this year. He also added that the cleanliness of the hall and its premises are the responsibility of everybody including the boarders. He further added:
Whenever I am on inspection rounds around the hall, I see borders carrying food items into the reading room and sometimes leaving the spilled food and packaging there itself. So the students must also be careful while using these facilities. The institute has appointed 4 staff members under a supervisor for the cleanliness purpose owing to the huge size of the hall, only 4 staff members cannot clean every inch of the hall every day, that is why they clean the hall according to blocks. So everyone should be responsible for maintaining hygiene around the hall.
Coming to the washrooms, there are 4 washrooms on each floor i.e. a total of 12 washrooms in the entire hostel. According to students, faulty flushes and broken showerheads were one of the most common problems persistent in the washrooms. When enquired about this issue, the Warden said that a plumber has been appointed for the maintenance of the washrooms. The non-functioning of flushes and shower-heads occur very frequently and one cannot expect that they would be repaired instantly. There are 2 Aquaguards on each floor. Students alleged that they are facing problems regarding their proximity to drinking water. Many of them also complained about leakage of water from water coolers that led to the connecting corridors being wet for the entire day. The Warden said:
2 new water coolers are purchased and are currently in service in the dining area. The older ones have been shifted to the hostel area for the general use of the borders. Aquaguards are being regularly serviced, the chief warden office has appointed a permanent employee for the servicing of the aqua guards. The problem might be arising due to low pressure of water supply in the upper levels of the hostel, since its an old hostel,our piping systems are not that new and fitted with pumps. There is a proposal too with the HMC to replace all the old aqua guards, but when will it be passed I don’t know.
As we enter the MV Hall of Residence, the first room on the left is the Warden’s office. The next room on the left is the Common Room with a couple of TVs in it.
It has adequate space with sufficient chairs for students. But the students did complain about the chairs not being comfortable enough to sit on. They felt that the chairs were like those used at hospitals and wanted better chairs. Further inside, there’s a reading room with 2 ACs and a TV.
On a surprise visit by Team MM, students were found to be watching a cricket match on the TV installed in the reading room. This could particularly be disturbing for those who want to study there. Upon enquiring about this matter, the Warden said that the TV installed in the reading room was part of a government initiative and the first year hostels were the first ones to get the TVs. He further said that the sole purpose of the TV was to broadcast the Swayamprabha channel which had educational modules, using a special set-up box for this purpose. The Warden said he hadn’t received any complaint regarding this previously and that he’d look into the matter. When asked about the TV, the Cultural Secretary said that the TV had a DD Freedish which broadcasts the Indian team’s cricket matches.
The next room on the left is the gym. It is spacious and has adequate equipment for all kinds of exercise except cardio (such as treadmills). On the purchase of cardio-exercise equipment, Warden had this to say:
Our purchase limit is only Rs 25,000 and the annual budget is Rs 10,00,000. From the annual budget, all the things starting right from hall fests to the salaries of the staff working here for the maintenance of the hall is taken care of. So I cant buy such costly equipment, such equipment can only be purchased by the chief warden from chief wardens fund. I will submit a requisition to the chief warden regarding this. We have already purchased gym items worth Rs 25,000. Still, if something is needed then the sports secretary can contact me and if it’s within the direct purchase limit of Rs 25,000 I will make sure that the need is fulfilled.
The cultural secretary added that musical instruments were required for the hall, like tablas, guitars etc. Team MM observed that the gym was quite close to the reading room which can be an issue sometimes due to the loud music during the times when the gym is open. We recommend that the gym should have a stringent volume control rule or a sound-proof door in this regard.
There are two night-canteens situated on both sides of the cycle-stand entrance which remain open between 4 PM and 1.30 AM. It provides all the required food items to the students.
The hall also has a day canteen inside the premises which provides snacks and beverages to the students during the day time.
One of the complaints received in the survey conducted by MM was the unavailability of washing machines, which the other first-year hall GDB has already in place.
The maintenance secretary said that the hall already has a washing machine and a room but the machine is not working for a long time and the room is used as a storage room for now. On asking the Warden about the purchase of washing machine as demanded by the boarders, he said
Recently GD Birla hall has placed the order for washing machines, which I believe will soon be installed, so MV hall boarders can use that facility. The last warden purchased a semi-automatic washing machine which is not reliable at all. Hall Day is coming and we don't have a lot of budgets, We will think about purchasing it after the hall day
All in all, the historic MV Hall of Residence stands tall in the face of difficulties. The hall is slowly but steadily progressing. The major accomplishments include installing grills in windows, music system in gym and newer gym equipment. Some more facilities like washing machines, mosquito nets, better maintenance of coolers and washrooms are what concern the boarders and hopefully these issues would be addressed with time.