More students on IIT-B campus = bad Internet

In-house magazine, InSight, claims that institute’s ambitious plan of accommodating more students is taking a toll on basic amenities such as accommodation, research infrastructure and availability of Internet

Though the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) has opened its gates to accommodate more and more students before starting a new academic year, its officials seem to have forgotten the toll the ambitious move is taking on the available resources, say its existing crop of students.

On several occasions, students have complained about waiting for weeks to lay their hands on the equipment and work at odd hours to finish their projects. File pic for representation
On several occasions, students have complained about waiting for weeks to lay their hands on the equipment and work at odd hours to finish their projects. File pic for representation

Be it accommodation, research infrastructure or availability of Internet, existing students have highlighted the need for the management to upgrade these basic amenities.

As per an article published in the latest edition of InSight — the institute’s in-house magazine — population of students seeking under-graduate (UG) and post-graduate (PG) courses has increased by 41 per cent and 66 per cent, respectively, in the last five years.

The article reads: “While the management has hired new professors to maintain a healthy student-teacher ratio for undergraduate courses, accommodating them is becoming more and more difficult.”

Students, however, claimed that the accommodation scenario has improved marginally in comparison to the last few years wherein final year under-graduate and PhD students used to share rooms. Compared to other IIT campuses in the country, accommodation facilities at the IIT-B remain inadequate, they lamented.

Problems galore
The report added that with a 30 per cent rise expected in student population by 2018-19, accommodation scenario is likely to worsen because the project to build new hostels is still in the pipeline and will not see the light of day for another two to three years. Besides, students highlighted the shortage of necessary research infrastructure and equipment.

“There’s a lot of stress on central research equipment and the waiting list keeps getting longer. Students have complained about waiting for two to three weeks to get their hands on the equipment. In some cases, students have worked from 1 am to 4 am, as it was the only available slot,” said Shreerang Javadekar, a third-year under-graduate student.

He added that in PhD and MTech courses, some professors are guiding over 20 students against the healthy student-teacher ratio of 10:1. “This is leading to a delay in PhD students getting their certificates,” he said.

Besides highlighting accommodation and research infrastructure issues, students also complained of the on-campus Internet facility, which has been marred by poor network speed and service outages of late.

However, students claim they are unsure whether the Internet issues are outcome of foul play or simply due to excessive load on servers following increased overall usage. “Besides sudden inflow of students, poor planning on the management’s behalf have aggravated the problems. The chaotic scenario raises questions on the management’s ability to manage the campus effectively,” said a student.

Official speak
When contacted, Soumyo Mukherji, student affairs dean at IIT-B, said that the institute cannot deny the lack of infrastructure woes faced by the students at present. “Besides, with students, professors are also facing accommodation woes.

But within a month, tenders for two new hostel buildings will be floated and work will begin at the earliest,” said Mukherji adding, “The institute is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that all its students and staffers work and stay well on campus. We are currently lagging in terms of infrastructure and upgrading it is our priority right now.”

500 acres
Area on which the lush green IIT-B campus sprawls

41 per cent
Increase in the number of students opting for under-graduate courses since 2009

66 per cent
Increase in the number of students opting for post-graduate courses since 2009

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