The Rising Giant: SD Hall Review
The first thoughts that come to one’s mind when someone hears the name ‘SD Hall’ are modern, distant and spacious. It is set up in a corner of the campus and is known and dreaded for its distance from the academic departments. Since the problems and frustration of the boarders kept going uphill and so was the case with the dissatisfaction with the mess, Team MM took inputs from the boarders and set meetings with the warden and hall secretaries in order to clarify on the various problems and little-known updates on the hall.
Around 1200 boarders reside in the 1014 odd rooms spread across 6 residential blocks, with A, B, and C on the western flank and E, F and G on the eastern flank. There is a central D block that houses the mess on the ground floor and the common room, badminton courts, TV room, Table Tennis tables, gym and the proposed music room. The gym is well-equipped with dumbbells and bars. But there was a lack of cardio machines which the cultural secretary said would be purchased if left with a budget at the end of the academic year. There are pathways that connect D-Block to the 2nd floor of the 6 residential blocks. The I-Block is what one sees first when one enters SD through the front gate. It is the administrative block which houses the Warden’s office. Each block has 4 floors which have 42 rooms each. Each floor has 2 washrooms and there is a geyser in 1 of the 2 washrooms on each floor. Each room has a sliding window, a tube light, a fan, and open shelves. Each room has one LAN-port despite the fact that many rooms are doubly occupied.
Jainam Varma, a boarder of C-Block opined:
There should be 2 LAN-ports provided in each room as many a time, roommates require LAN internet due to the extremely poor mobile data speeds, especially on the ground and first floors.
From the survey we conducted, we observed that 84% of the boarders would want a curtain in the windows in their rooms. Because the hall is a new one, this would require some time.
The fact that this is the only hall without a reading room is pitiable. We desperately need a reading room to cater to the needs of more than 1000 students.
Is the opinion of Arun Sourab, a boarder from A block
In the words of the chief warden, the SD Hall administration has tried to implement a reading room for a very long time but has been failing as there are 6 blocks out of which A, B, C are together and E, F, G are together. So, due to the distance between the blocks, the common room would have been the ideal location, but because of the other activities going on there like TV, gym, table tennis and badminton, which will be a disturbance and counterproductive to the whole motive of the reading room. The other option is to set up one reading room for A, B, C and the same for E, F, G. But The problems faced here were in manning them for security and for the procurement of benches. The new procurement process in effect from January 2020 is really long and inefficient. But since it's put up by the government, there is no choice but to follow them. The benches can't be procured from the Hall's budget as it exceeds the limit put up by the guidelines. But, as suggested by the students, the plan of setting up a temporary reading room on top of the warden's office during and before the exams will be undertaken.
Lawn and Gardens:
A lot of money and time was invested in the development and maintenance of the gardens of the hall. The contrast between the present and the initial garden is clearly visible. New flowering plants and a lawn were put up due to which the garden is a beautiful sight to witness. Many more plans are in progress for developing the gardens.
The Environment Secretary said:
We are slowly yet steadily working on improving the gardens. But SD has a huge garden area which requires a lot of funds to maintain it. New grass structures shaped like animals and others have been added and a fountain was started last semester. Both sides of the garden have been leveled and the procurement of steel chairs has been initiated.
As the Reading room couldn't be implemented, the hall administration decided to set up a music room for the boarders. It is to be set up at the place of the old gymnasium. It was planned to be inaugurated during Saraswati puja, but due to some difficulties, it had to be delayed. All the musical instruments have been procured. Only the lighting and other aesthetics related items are left out. It will be a very good stress buster for the boarders after its set up.
The General Secretary said:
Instruments have already been purchased. They include the violin, drums, guitar, keyboard, etc.
These were some of the responses we received in response to the Google Form we had circulated in the hostel. And these speak volumes about the prevalent mess food quality at SD Hall of Residence. Serpentine queues, delay in serving, insufficient quantity of servings, improperly washed plates and poor quality of certain dishes are some of the issues that a border of the hall faces in the mess on a daily basis.
Ishu Goyal, a boarder of G-Block was of the opinion:
The plates are not being properly washed. Vegetarian food is served on the same plate as that of non-vegetarian food that is improperly washed is a very filthy situation.
Coming to the mess food quality, the Mess Secretary told us that the caterer was to change earlier this academic year. Unfortunately, due to circumstances unknown to even him, the tendering process was cancelled and the change in caterer is possible only after 6 months, in the next semester. According to the mess secretary and warden, the queues would soon be shorter as soon as extra vessels reach the hall. Currently, they have already been purchased but are yet to reach the hall. The mess secretary asserted that borders should directly contact him in case they don’t feel satisfied in any of the aspects related to mess.
Not to mention, the widespread dissent of the boarders due to the Garden Fest being ironically organized indoors, in the mess. Team MM met the Mess Secretary and the Warden to clarify the boarder's complaints and the inconsistencies with regards to the mess. One of the most talked-about things last semester in SD was the Garden Fest which was organized inside the mess in sharp contrast to other halls which had organized theirs in their respective gardens.
When asked about the same, the Mess Secretary said that the garden fest was organized indoors in order to prevent a washout like last year’s hall day. Last year, the hall day was organized in the garden but an unfortunate set of events led to it being shifted inside after rain played spoilsport. The situation was so worse that boarders were served partially uncooked food. When the boarders campaigned for a compensation hall day dinner, it was turned down due to insufficient funds.
The Warden further said that last semester, the garden fest was organized indoors due to the weather forecast according to which rains were probable that evening. But seating arrangements were made in the garden so that boarders could have food outside. Also, last semester’s garden fest was the first time when the DJ was held in the garden. Previously, this time, the Hall Day might be held in the garden depending on the prevailing weather conditions, which would be reviewed 10-15 days before the hall day.
The general hygiene of the hall is satisfactory. The rooms are cleaned once in a week either on Saturday or Sunday and the washrooms are cleaned every day. Students complain of washrooms being unclean at night because of various reasons. Beehives sometimes are formed on the walls of the hostel and the boarders should report these to the maintenance secretary or to the caretaker. Dustbins have been installed on each floor. Water Purifiers are not maintained properly and some of the water coolers are not working which the maintenance secretary said would be repaired. Water leakage can be seen in the connecting passages between blocks.
Canteens and Shops:
The hall has a stationary and photocopying shop on the ground floor of F-Block which remains open in the morning and evening for a couple of hours each. There is a juice centre that is on the ground floor of G-Block which serves beverages and shakes, Maggi noodles and egg-based items.
There is an only one-night canteen which is located under the kitchen, equidistant from both the clusters of blocks- A, B, C and E, F, G. It is not very popular amongst the boarders of other halls and the crowd is mostly from SD hall, owing to its proximity. The night canteen remains open till 2 AM every day. Most boarders are of the opinion that there should be 2-night canteens which would result in a healthy competition eventually leading to better taste. Owing to the humongous population that resides in SD, one odd night canteen simply isn’t enough to cater to its demand. The Warden said that they have contacted 3-4 businesses for setting up another night canteen in the hall. But, they were sceptical because of the initial investment of around 1.5 Lakhs involved in setting up the night canteen.
Despite various problems and shortcomings faced by the borders of the newest boys hostel, things are changing for good as new facilities and services are coming up. With the development of the garden, the hostel would surely be the most enviable one in the institute. There is a huge scope of development as the hall progresses to fulfil the needs of the borders.