The Hostel and Mess Secretary of the Students’ Council 2018-19, Mr. Sameer Ahmed sat down with us at the NMC to discuss his performance in the odd semester.
Sameer’s motivation for contesting was his inability to alleviate the students’ concerns with regards to hostels and mess back when he was a branch representative in his second and third year. “So in final year when I got to know about this post I was pretty much interested and I thought I could solve many of the problems related to hostels and mess, that’s what motivated me”, he added. His vision as the Hostel and mess Secretary is pretty ambitious as he plans to revamp the mess system followed on campus. He further explained, “ I did a bit of background work. I have many friends in other NITs, so I had a look at their methodology of arranging mess-cum-hostels and I found out that our college is a bit lagging in terms of mess. But hostels I guess it is giving some comfortable rooms and also some comfortable facilities. Lot of changes should be done especially in mess”.
One of the major differences this year when it comes to elections was the lack of a manifesto. None of the candidates released what could have arguably been the easiest method to hold them accountable. Students could have judged the work done by the council both qualitatively and quantitatively with respect to their manifesto points. Sameer Ahmed’s reply on not releasing one was lack of time considering the fact that the R.O was released late and the new system of elections took place immediately after, leaving limited time for him concentrate on a manifesto.
On being asked why he didn’t release one after winning the elections, Sameer changed backtracked and replied, “I never thought this election will demand all this manifesto. We will sort out problems. Once the problem comes we will sort it out. It was the only motto. We have some plans. We didn’t want to disclose it because we don’t like to give fake promises. Just the things get done, we post it.” Elaborating on his reluctance to release a manifesto, Sameer further explained, “As you all know, people here don’t concentrate much on the works getting done as you can see in your Students’ Council facebook group. There you will always try to point out things which are not done.” We felt this was a revelation of his attitude towards criticism from students. In the end, he finally agreed to release a manifesto for the next semester.
Moving on to his achievements, he first mentioned the monthly uploading of mess bills in WSDC portal which allows students to resolve queries at the end of the month instead of at the time of payment of mess dues. Although, a noble initiative to deal with the discrepancies in mess bills, the problem with mess bills was still observed at the beginning of the even semester. The online registration for winter mess on a day-wise basis was also implemented for the first time in this semester. The disbursement of hostel caution deposit was completed within a month and half. Sameer considers it as an achievement since no other Council has been able to accomplish this in such a short period of time. First aid kits have been made available in all hostels which apparently weren’t available since the past 2-3 years. Reading rooms with proper chairs and tables have been opened in 1K and 1.8K hostels. A prayer-cum-meditation and yoga hall has been started in the 1.8K hostel. Minor repairs were done in the 1K washrooms and several taps and other defective equipment were replaced. Solar geysers were installed in 12th block after an informal discussion in the beginning of September.
The tender for mosquito nets has been processed after an informal discussion with the Chief Warden and will be installed in all hostels in the coming semester. Along with Rishabh Shukla (Hostel and Mess secretary), he successfully represented regarding the requirement of gymnasium equipment in various hostels and got it sanctioned. He told us that he was waiting for a proper quotation from vendors in Warangal at the time of this interview.
Regarding the allowance of food delivery guys inside the campus for the first time,
Sameer is positive the Council will come up with a solution and resolve this issue in the next semester. A fine of Rs 20k was imposed on the caterers of IFC-A as a result of their unsatisfactory performance. A representation has been submitted asking for a similar fine on the caterers of IFC-C. Sameer is doubtful that it will be accepted and hence, plans on representing it again in the even semester. The representation for sports accessories in various hostels has been accepted and the specific requirements will be submitted in the next semester after discussing with the sports secretary.
Coming to his failures, Sameer explained that he wanted to change the system of mess especially for the IFCs and LH mess since people are not satisfied with the food and the food quality of these messes. “I thought I’ll implement that in the odd sem itself but I couldn’t do that. So I’ll at least see that we can bring some change or initiatives in the coming semester,” he added. He also hoped to get the hostel gymnasium equipment in the odd semester itself but due to the government procedure to be followed for such tenders and lack of vendors, he couldn’t complete it and hopes to get it done in the next semester. Another failure is lack of improvement in the quality of food served in IFC A even after the imposition of a fine. “We are thinking of another solution since we couldn’t bring the change in food quality,” he added.
The problem of stray dogs could not be resolved. “We are planning to do it in the winter holidays. But already twice the municipality people came last year but it wasn’t resolved. Finding a methodology to remove is necessary because the municipality didn’t work.”
Sameer doesn’t consider the food delivery guys not being allowed inside after the first few days as a failure due to amount of risks involved in its implementation. He further explained, “If a delivery guy is going around 60-80 kmph on the road and there are no proper lights and if he hits anyone like our student, so who’ll be responsible. That’s the main question arising here. Hence, I don’t think that it’s a drawback of not providing a solution at that time. Building speed breakers and getting undertaking from managers, I am thinking that we can do it in next sem. Also, we did not expect the count to be so huge.”
Sameer concluded by saying, “As far as I know, every area which I got to know, I’ve been working on it.”
Plans for next semester:
(This being a rough plan, we hope that Mr. Sameer Ahmed releases a detailed manifesto soon as mentioned by him at the beginning of this interview.)
- Incorporate changes in the current mess system.
Sameer plans on modifying the current mess system along the lines of other NITs. There are two changes which he’s mainly focussing on:
- Mess registration on a day-wise basis:
Sameer explained, “This is related to the fee which we are paying for the mess. Most of the days we are not eating and wasting money. What my idea is, as you can see in the winter mess registration portal, you are registering day wise instead of monthly basis. Actually if you’re planning it well enough and well in advance that you cannot eat in mess on certain days you cannot register for those days and save money.”
- Option to change mess once a month
This will ensure competition between the messes to provide better quality of food. The system is already followed in several NITs.
After working out a solution to deal with the problem of mess capacity, he plans on submitting a representation to incorporate the above mentioned changes in the next year’s tender since the current tender rules cannot accommodate them.
- Minor repairs in 1K, 1.8K and old blocks:
Representation yet to be given. Repairs to broken doors, handles etc to be done
once the hostels have been vacated.
- Follow up on the sports accessories representation:
Representation has been accepted. Requirements such as TT nets, chess and
carrom boards etc to be submitted in the next semester.
- Hot water dispensers:
An informal representation has been accepted and will be implemented in the
next semester. Packaged food to be made available via COOPs.
- Food stalls near hostels:
The issue has been represented and will be implemented in the next semester.
The requirements and type of stalls for the various hostels is yet to be submitted.
- Installation of carpets in TV rooms and DTH connections for old blocks.
- Sports competition between all hostels not just the old blocks.
To conclude, Sameer Ahmed considers his performance as the Hostels and mess Secretary to be “way better” than the work done by the previous Students’ Council since a lot of changes have been made which weren’t done previously. Personally, he is satisfied with his performance as a secretary in the odd semester. On being asked to rate his work for the odd semester on a scale of 1-10, Sameer replied, “I would give an eight.”