The recent announcement of cutbacks introduced by the management of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) has not gone down well with the students.
As per the new contract, sent to the maintenance councils of hostels by the dean of infrastructure, planning and support of the institute, hostels will no longer be provided with hand wash. Even the cleaning of rooms, which was done once a week, will now be undertaken once a month. Similarly, toilets will also be cleaned only once a month. The monthly process of swabbing the floors, staircases, corridors, foyers, dining halls and TV rooms will now become a bimonthly affair.
When HT contacted the IIT-B management, authorities refused to call these changes as part of cost-cutting measures, instead called them ‘rationalisation’ of things.
“Why should the government pay for cleaning of students’ rooms, when they can very well do it themselves? The changes, while are cutting costs, have been made to incorporate cleanliness habits in students,” said Soumyo Mukherji, dean, student affairs for IIT-B.
He added that the changes are also keeping in mind the Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan and was a rational move by the institute to rid unnecessary expenses. “What’s more is that most of the students are not in their rooms all day due to lectures and have not even utilized the cleaning facilities, thus resulting in wastage of manpower,” added Mukherji.
However, students are trying understand the cutbacks proposed by the Public Health Office (PHO) and whether they are warranted through an article published in the in-house magazine recently.
“It is clear that the budget cuts aren’t as severe as one would expect, given the reduction in work. Even after incorporating changes in the new contract, savings amount to a mere Rs25 lakh for a year for Block C. We don’t know whether these cuts are warranted when the negatives outweigh the tiny fraction of savings achieved,” states the article published in the in-house magazine Insight.
As per the article, students have tried to critically look at these changes, keeping in mind the rise in costs of cleaning and the budget cuts that IITs across the country have been facing for some time now, especially with the increase in number of students entering the institute every year. Many students also agreed that with the rising costs, adjustments will eventually happen.
“Each and every vertical in campus is affected by the budget cuts, resulting in an overall reduction of facilities and activities on campus. These changes were inevitable from the institute’s level,” said a student.
Since the new contracts have already been implemented for the current academic year, changes can be introduced only during the next year. For now, keeping in mind hygiene issues, students expect the management to increase the frequency of toilet cleaning.
No handwash (400 litres): Rs60,000
Cleaning hostel rooms: Rs1,56,599
Cleaning toilets, bathrooms, urinals and washbasins: Rs14,881
Hard cleaning of toilet blocks: Rs33,484
Floors, staircases, corridors, foyers, dining hall, TV rooms (bimonthly): Rs72,504