Ashberry Apartments, a residential society located about 20 km away from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Amritsar, is home to 165 students of the institute. It was recently in the news when a neighbour fired in the air after a clash with the students, who were reportedly playing loud music late at night.
IIM Amritsar officials refused to comment on the incident or on the need for security of the students when contacted by HT Education. However, a source who did not wish to be named said, “the (security) decision has to be taken by the senior management. Currently, all the services including security and housekeeping are taken care of by the service provider of the apartment.”
Not having hostels on campuses can be a problem. Students living in the hostels of IIMs Ranchi and Amritsar say their accommodation is located far away from the institutes.
Most of the new IIMs, including those at Udaipur, Trichy, Bodh Gaya and Sambalpur function from transit campuses of other institutes and share hostel facilities with them – these are Mohanlal Sukhadia University (MLSU), Udaipur; National Institute of Technology (NIT), Trichy; Magadh University, Bodh Gaya; and Silicon Institute of Technology, Sason, Sambalpur, respectively.
Many of the new IIMs have in the first few years also have had to settle with part-time faculty members from the older IIMs and transit campuses.
IIM Ranchi’s hostel, located 12.5 km away from the institute, has “21 security guards manning eight blocks and one assistant warden,” says Asis Chakraborty, administrative officer (programme) at the institute. IIM Visakhapatnam, which started operations in September 2015 at Andhra University, has hostels located three km away, confirms Janaki Ramachandra, head of administration and programmes.
An alumnus from one of the new IIMs who does not wish to be named says “Such incidents of open firing (as in Amritsar) can happen in any of the newer IIMs that don’t have hostels within campuses.”
Often private apartments are hired to accommodate the students. They have to then deal with all kinds of neighbours – who might not be familiar with the students’ lifestyles. Safety is a big concern.
“Hostel life was a big thing I missed out on as a student in the new IIM. If you don’t live on campus you waste time commuting to the institute , and miss out on the vibrant campus ‘atmosphere’, conveniences of libraries and other facilities. Many neighbourhoods in cities have their own rules, not allowing music or any kind of noise beyond 11 pm. There are curfew hours for girls and they have to be back in their rooms by 10 pm. Students also have to follow the pick and drop timings of the transport provided by the IIM or the host university. Often, we have to stay up late to work on projects. We also cannot play music. There are curbs on freedom if we live in the city, we can’t organise social or cultural activities in our apartments for fear of disturbing our neighbours,” says the IIM alumnus.
Many are opposed to such arrangements. As Professor Prafulla Agnihotri, director, IIM Trichy says, “I did not approve the earlier arrangement of allocating apartments to students. I had insisted on the NIT Trichy campus which had hostels. While security is crucial, having a good hostel within campus provides students a good academic environment too.”