IIT Madras has apparently been violating green zone restrictions by felling more than 8000 trees in the past few years to cater to its ever growing infrastructural needs (For more details, refer this). E. Seshan, a wildlife photographer who worked for the Zoological Survey of India, took note of this and filed a petition with the National Green Tribunal against any further construction on the IIT Madras campus. NGT-Southern Division, the fast-track court established under the National Green Tribunal Act of 2010, accepted Seshan’s appeal. Consequently, IIT Madras had to halt the construction process in accordance with the order issued on the 4th of March.
Hence, Zaitoon, which was nearing completion, and the construction of several other buildings also face a standstill until further notice from the court. The hearing is scheduled for the 5th of May, and environmentalists are rooting for a ban on any further construction on the premises. The student body may well favour their appetites over the environment in this case.
Fret not, a recent interview with Jayachandran K, the Institute Hostel Affairs Secretary has brought to light a few interesting developments that insti will witness over the coming days; one hopes that the setbacks will be balanced by well-planned upgrades.
While we wait for the Tribunal to cast the die, the Committee for Monitoring General Facilities for Students (CMGFS) is toiling away to completely revamp the Students Facility Centre by renewing the tenders on all of the shops. There is to be an introduction of closed tendering for the salon, travel agency and the photocopy shops, which will ensure minimal, established rates and efficient services.
The departmental store, the electronics store, the bakery and the patisserie, as well as the rest of the kiosk, will undergo changes over the next semester. There will be a pure vegetarian eatery that will have an extensive menu. Another eatery in the academic zone was to be built over last summer. It was to have two floors with a canteen on the ground floor and a food court with several vendors on the first. However, the court order has effectively prevented any further development on that one.
Mess caterers are to be hired on an open tender basis this time around, and applications will be invited via advertisement in newspapers. The Cauvery mess may face a shutdown and Mandak will be home to a new mess. Breakfast timings will soon be extended to provide grub for the not-so-early risers. There will be new non-vegetarian messes introduced as well. The minimum number of days required to apply for a mess rebate is to be reduced from the previously accepted 10 days to 6 days. Even the International Cafe (Cafe Coffee Day) might be replaced entirely to cater to more diverse food preferences.
The HAS has also proposed to have a two-day food festival that will be conducted in and around the OAT. This will be different from the food stalls put up during Shaastra and Saarang, as more emphasis will be placed on having traditional and specialized stalls that reflect the cultural diversity of India and highlight its multifaceted cuisine. It is expected to be a food bonanza, with over 40-50 stalls planned. The profits from said event are to be divided amongst the hostels for funds. This festival will not just attempt to curb our endless cravings for food; it will also help strengthen cultural ties in the campus.
In Other News…
Hostel allotment is also set to undergo some major changes in the upcoming academic year, according to the latest decision by the Council of Wardens. The current first years will be asked to vacate their hostels and move into the regular hostels so as to make room for the new batch of freshies arriving this July. This pattern will continue until it is a well-established system, wherein no fresher lives in a hostel that houses undergraduate seniors for the first two semesters of the course.
Update – The IRCTC Canteen is undergoing a caterer change and will be closed for about 2-3 weeks.