In IIT Delhi to inaugurate a new teaching-learning complex Friday, Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani paid an “unscheduled visit” to two hostels after her interest was “piqued to go and see the conditions in which students live”.
Accompanied by IIT Delhi Director V Ramgopal Rao, Irani went to the Kailash Hostel (for girls) and Shivalik Hostel (for boys). Both were found to be facing infrastructural shortages.
She asked students about the condition of toilets, mess food and room cooling facilities in the summer. Several students complained about the lack of desert coolers, water coolers, and the quality of food.
Irani was at the institute to inaugurate a New Lecture Hall Complex, and Unnat Bharat Abhiyan Cell, as well as lay the foundation stone of two engineering blocks and a research park. After hearing the students, Irani told them she had talked to the director, and their issues would be sorted.
”I was hoping to quietly leave after the inauguration and foundation stone laying ceremony, but my interest has been piqued… Though it is unscheduled, I would be heading to Shivalik and Kailash. If some of you would like to come there, I would be interested in knowing first-hand what are the facilities you still want in your hostel,” Irani said while addressing students.
Asking students about the quality of food served to them and whether their “loos stink”, Irani went around various areas, including the mess and the toilets. Several students complained to her about inadequate water and cooling facilities. “The administration has not made any arrangement for installing desert coolers or air conditioners. Moreover, we have only one water cooler for four floors and four wings, which house 375 students,” said Puneet Kumar, a first year student of civil engineering and resident of Shivalik. Another student said the quality of food was not up to the mark and the rear of the mess was “very dirty”.
In her speech prior to visiting the hostels, Irani announced the success of UDAAN, a programme launched in 2014 by the HRD ministry and CBSE to provide supplementary training to girls from disadvantaged backgrounds to clear IIT-JEE. “… I was hopeful of beginning a programme called UDAAN. I am glad to share that in one of our first batches, out of 300 students, I am told, 143 passed the JEE exams.”
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