IIT-Delhi looks at building hostel facility with private partnership
As it grapples with a shortage of up to 1,000 hostel spaces, the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi is exploring the feasibility of setting up a residential building on a public private partnership (PPP) basis, something that would be a first for any IIT if approved.
The idea was discussed during a meeting of the board of governors of the institute last week. The institute director V Rampgopal Rao and other officials mentioned the need to explore new ways to address the challenge.
IIT Delhi, one of the country’s top ranked engineering colleges and among the first to be granted the Institutes of Eminence status, faces an acute problem of space crunch. At 320 acres, it is the smallest amongst the 23 IITs in the country.
And, with its student strength constantly increasing due to factors like introduction of a supernumerary quota for girls, EWS quota and now research scholars from ASEAN countries too expected to join, the hostels in the institute are bursting to the seams. So much so, that the institute already is considering tying up with space aggregators like Oyo to lodge its students.
However, as a long-term solution, it also decided to explore the possibility of creating hostels through the PPP mode.
“The matter was discussed in the board of governors meeting last week and it was decided that the institute should examine if a change can be made from the traditional model and a new option of providing residential accommodation can be provided without compromising the students’ interests,” a senior official said.
However, the way forward is not that easy as there is no precedent among any IITs, or, for that matter, other public institutions.
“This is new territory and a lot of aspects have to be looked at. In the meeting, it was mentioned that probably one NIT had tried something. However, for us, it is a new area and all aspects have to be examined,” the official quoted above added.
There are advantages of the PPP mode that it can bring finds from the private sector, probably a professional approach and may also run hostels sparing the institute’s energy to focus on academics, the official said.
There is a limit to government support and even the amount given under Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) by the HRD ministry have to returned to the institutions. Bringing up hostels can also take a lot of time. However, issues like how to ensure quality, access and affordability for all students and protecting their interests have to be balanced, the official added.
When contacted, the institute’s Deputy Director (Strategy and Planning) M Balakrishnan confirmed that the IIT was exploring the possibility of hostels through the PPP mode but added that a whole lot of aspects were to be examined.
“As new situations and challenges emerge, out of the box ideas have to be considered. But we have to find the right model. We have been considering the possibility of a PPP model. However, all aspects are being studied before any step is taken,” he said.