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Infrastructure

Updated: Feb 28, 2023

Introduction

We have been seeing so many new structures sprouting on campus: the research park, an upcoming new shopping complex, the Mittal Sports Complex, the new hostels, and much more, about which you can read here. Equipped with world-class facilities, the institute is definitely taking a leap forward with the projects of the infrastructure team.

But we must take a step back, stop, and look around us. The main building, our hostels, our student activity centre: there are so many facets to these buildings that we overlook, despite spending most of our days here. We bring to you this piece that covers the old infrastructure on campus, covering multiple dimensions of our most visited places. Combining onsite journalism with student surveys and interviews, we present this infrastructure article through the eyes of the student population at IITD.


Survey Analysis: What the students say

We conducted a survey to get direct feedback from the student community on various broad issues we encountered while researching the campus infrastructure. In this article, we try to analyse and assimilate the information and opinions that we collected from 613 responses across all hostels.


Hostel Issues

Given the new additions to the fleet of hostels at IITD, namely the Dronagiri/Saptagiri hostel complex, there seemed to be discontentment among the student community that is accommodated in the older hostels. We, therefore, asked the students if they were willing to have new facilities (such as centralised AC and renovated infrastructure, etc.) in their hostels with the added catch of increased hostel expenses.

Interestingly, a staggering 78.79% of the community is willing to take this option.



Conditions and Sanitation of Hostel Washrooms

Data suggests that maintenance of bathrooms is one problem that pervades almost every hostel, with the average ratings for most hostels hovering close to the midway mark. Aravali is the most dissatisfied with its washrooms, with an average rating of 4.28/10. While Zanskar residents appeared to be the least dissatisfied with the sanitary facilities, with an average rating of 5.16/10, the ratings indicated that it is still bothersome, albeit less than the other hostels. We also observed no notable difference between the quality of washrooms in the girls' and boys' hostels.


Condition and maintenance of the common areas of the hostels, like the common room, visitors' room, gym, etc.

The Himadri girls rated their hostel’s common areas close to 6/10, making it the best.

Contrary to the sanitation facilities, Zanskar seems to be the most disappointing in this respect, with them rating their hostel at a paltry 4.8/10, the only hostel rated at less than 5. The non-UG living areas like Nalanda and Married PhD Quarters have far more severe problems as they lack common areas and internet connectivity.

The hostels, Aravali, Girnar, Shivalik, Kailash, and Dronagiri, are close to the 5.8-point mark, indicating satisfaction with basic facilities, although the older hostels, including Girnar and Shivalik, are missing a few common areas that the comparatively newer hostels have.


Overall infrastructure of hostels

The distribution of ratings in this sector is concentrated around 5.6/10, with Zanskar and Vindhyachal at the bottom of the ratings with scores closer to 5.2/10. Hostels Aravali, Dronagiri, Himadri, and Kailash are least dissatisfied with the infrastructure, with their ratings clocking in at 5.8/10.


SAC and sports facilities

Sports form an integral part of most students' lives at IIT Delhi. To facilitate the same, we inquired about the state and quality of sports facilities at SAC and the newly opened Mittal Sports Complex from the student community.

The results show that most of them are satisfied with the quality, with an overall rating of 6.3 out of 10 across all programmes. However, we must highlight that the current conditions are not exceptional, and there is scope for improvements that will be well received by the student body if implemented.



Opinion on membership at Mittal

The recently inaugurated Mittal Sports Complex has drawn much appreciation from faculty, students, and staff. Traditionally, facilities at SAC have been free to access, given availability. However, we inquired how the decision to levy a membership subscription to access Mittal facilities affected the student body.

The general public's opinion was varied, with about 45% dissatisfied with the decision, about 20% indifferent, and 35% in favour of the levied membership.



Departments and main building condition

Students spend a significant chunk of their day in the institute area, specifically the main and department buildings, requiring detailed attention to the condition of the infrastructure of the same. We inquired about the infrastructure and facilities available to the students and faculty and what their expectations were.

The overall rating showed that students are satisfied with the current infrastructure, but a significant number of them said it is cramped and poorly maintained. The graph below clearly shows that, although the existing facilities are satisfactory, there is scope for revamping and renovation.


Yulu and public transportation within campus

The value of YULU and other public transportation is highlighted in the early morning hours, when late risers can get to class and eat breakfast. However, the quality and service of YULUs have seen a downward deterioration, as most students gave it the lowest possible rating overall. With the arrival of the new Yulu bikes, we expect to see a significant increase in satisfaction among the students.

The average rating overall was a poor 4.4 out of 10. This value was shared by almost all programmes.


Hospital and healthcare infrastructure

Healthcare infrastructure and facilities form an absolutely critical part of any institution. The focal point for dispensing this service lies at the IITD hospital. The facilities remain satisfactory, with an overall rating of 6.64 out of 10. The average rating remained in the 6.0 to 7.0 range across all programmes.


We also furnish the individual voting statistics breakdown for each programme category. Once again, although these figures do not indicate abysmal conditions, they do indicate scope for improvement, especially keeping in mind the fact that healthcare for students, faculty, and staff should be top-notch and without compromise on any aspect.


Main Building and Blocks

Our information is derived from on-site journalism, observation, and conversations with people who spend the majority of their time in the main building and blocks or are in some other capacity posted here.


Main Building

The main building is the first building you would take a visitor to and is the defining characteristic of an institution. We walked through the main building, and there were a lot of issues that came to our notice:

  1. The first strikingly strange characteristic about the main building is the concept of washrooms alternating by gender on each floor, which a lot of students find inconvenient. Additionally, there is seepage in the walls near the washrooms and a lack of systematic drain cleaning and other washroom maintenance, which is known to cause periodic flooding of floors. Further, we heard a lot of complaints regarding the washrooms on the ground floor near the exhibition hall due to their foul odour and cleanliness issues.

  2. Students have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the lifts being accessible only on certain floors. Some of the lifts are wholly defunct, and we have gathered a few incidents related to students getting trapped in lifts or lifts halting in between floors as well.

  3. There are evident issues with exposed wiring in several places and little to no ventilation in the main building’s corridors due to the absence of fans and air conditioners. This causes great discomfort, especially considering the intensity of the summers in Delhi. Places with air conditioners installed face another major problem: dripping water, necessitating containers to collect water or regular mopping.

While we noticed a large number of broken windows and poorly lit staircases, there have been major positive developments as well, including the installation of CCTV cameras and new fire alarms in the main building. We also heard that the maintenance team fixes queries promptly, often within 24 hours. New lifts have also been put in place recently, making travel across multiple floors easier and making the main building area more accessible.


Blocks

The blocks house a lot of departments and other offices in the institute. There were, however, a lot of issues that we noted, which we feel require the utmost attention of the administration.

  1. Externally exposed wiring poses a grave safety hazard in the blocks. Moreover, air conditioners do not have structured outlets, leading to leaks and improper water collection systems.

  2. The new 3rd-floor offices on blocks III and IV and block VI have all the amenities of a modern office area, including central air conditioning, modern tiled interiors, and safety equipment. There were, however, complaints about Block IV's lack of properly demarcated women’s restrooms.

  3. The labs related to atmospheric sciences in the rear blocks, while well-constructed, were short on space, with much of the waste and other chemicals being dumped in the older, nearby labs. This was the case with many other labs' inadequate waste disposal systems.

  4. The courtyards in between the blocks were underutilised as well, with most lying empty or filled with unused equipment and unattended garbage.

  5. The structural integrity of ceilings, walls, and railings throughout the blocks is failing.

  6. As the institute moves forward with the theme of inclusivity, the blocks’ infrastructure has yet to keep up with it, as there are minimal options for people with disabilities.

Hostel Infrastructure

A place that students consider to be a second home, this deserves our full attention and is most relevant to the student population on campus.We have gathered, albeit similar but very different shades of students' opinions about their hostel infrastructure from various hostels.


Aravali

Another of the oldest hostels on campus, Aravali suffers from a host of infrastructural and maintenance problems despite having a rich and vibrant legacy. Most residents complained about bad washroom conditions, especially poorly maintained urinals. They cited a lack of proper drainage as one of the reasons that leakages are quite common. Some residents are also in favour of reinstalling foot-operated taps for better hygiene. Aravali residents are in favour of installing air conditioning because it becomes unbearably hot during the summer, as is the case in all hostels. They also pointed out maintenance issues such as dust accumulation, cleanliness problems, and ceiling breakages.


Dronagiri-Saptagiri

The brand new hostels, Saptagiri and Dronagiri, are not free from any issues. The infrastructure survey conducted by BSP received tons of negative responses regarding the facilities available at these hostels. Several residents have stated that they seem to be paying for the location and aesthetics more than the facilities. The promised central air conditioning (the primary reason for the much higher hostel fee) hasn't started working yet, and there aren't high hopes for the future. While washrooms are inclusive and modern, a lot of water heating system issues arose as soon as winter arrived.

The beautiful OAT, the single rooms, the great location, and the WiFi that took weeks to get operational are what the residents are thankful for. But the woes don't seem to end. House secretaries stated there were no rooms allocated for gyms or sports facilities, which meant a room had to be converted for use. Basic amenities like water coolers on each floor, curtain rods on glass windows, and washing machines took months to be installed. Residents who braved the summers by opening their windows at night and overcame the monsoons with roofs and windows leaking wonder if they need a new tactic to deal with mosquitoes next year as the nets promised on the first day seem like a distant dream. While the hostel exteriors are glossy and modern, unsturdy construction litters the interiors, with residents concerned about the quality of the plaster used.


Girnar

Survey results showed the dissatisfaction of the residents of Girnar with their common areas. They suggested better maintenance of the gym, reading room, common room, and TV room. The residents were also dissatisfied with the lack of open green areas in their hostel premises.


Himadri

Himadri residents were extremely dissatisfied with their restrooms. The reasons behind this include both insufficient cleaning due to a shortage of staff and poor hygiene practices by the residents. The residents also had to complain about the structure of the hostel, which restricts natural lighting greatly. Thefts of clothes are a recurring problem too, for which the maintenance secretary has been planning to install more CCTV cameras while at the same time not causing a breach of privacy for the residents. The current maintenance committee has digitised query resolution, most of which is carried out on time.


Indraprastha Apartments

The general consensus among residents is that Indraprastha is not designed for student housing. No messes; no gym; no common areas. On the plus side, each apartment has its own bathroom and kitchen. The absence of any CCTV cameras is a security nightmare and makes the residents worry about their belongings and safety. Wifi was installed much after the '21 batch freshers had started living there. IP is extremely segregated from the rest of the student spaces and located furthest from the LHC area, making cycles a necessity. Messing facilities are provided in the boys' hostels, and residents have to layer up to grab meals. Interviews with residents revealed inferior maintenance work that caused leaky ceilings and mouldy walls.


Jwalamukhi

Compared to other hostels, the residents of Jwala found the quality of their washrooms to be decent. However, they still had their fair share of concerns about the lack of handwashing. The common areas are a tad bit better than decent, while the overall infrastructure is a tad bit worse. Residents expressed their desire to get a treadmill for the hostel gym, without which the facility is incomplete.


Kailash

Similar to Himadri, Kailash had a lot to complain about in terms of the cleanliness of their washrooms, the shortage of western washrooms, and the large number of defunct washing machines. The canal near the hostel emits a strong, pungent odour that must be addressed immediately. The ceilings are also highly susceptible to leaking during the monsoon season. According to the maintenance secretary, the budget for additional washing machines has been approved, and whitewashing has been done. Like Himadri, an online system has been implemented for query redressal.


Karakoram

The survey of residents revealed plenty of issues with the infrastructure. Some of these were common to all hostels, while some were unique to Kara. The most notable one is about the poor quality of the ceiling plaster. Pieces of it have fallen on students, causing serious injuries. Urgent action must be taken to prevent further harm. Residents also complained about the washrooms, specifically about the lack of mugs and handwashing facilities in the toilets. The supplies of both water and electricity are irregular, causing great inconvenience to residents. And finally, the lack of clothing stands and functional washing machines makes doing laundry a lot harder than it needs to be.


Kumaon

Kumaon, being more than half a century old, is in dire need of renovation. The walls are damaged, and damping is a very common issue. Hygiene is a big problem, with frequent cleaning required in the washrooms as well as the upper floors in general. The common areas are in decent condition, and the residents are quite satisfied with them.


Nilgiri

The residents of Nilgiri have heavily complained about the condition and maintenance of their washrooms, which are plagued with broken fixtures and extremely unsanitary conditions. Residents have also criticised the lack of equipment in their common areas like the gym.


Satpura

Most of the infrastructural problems are centred around the plumbing system. Lack of maintenance and repairs has led to the frequent flooding of overhead water tanks. Taps in the washrooms often malfunction, and so do the jet sprays. Residents also complained about the unavailability of hot water. The hostel also doesn’t have a common room or a dance room, due to which important meetings have to be conducted in the visitors’ room, which is too small for the purpose. Other miscellaneous issues include the lack of HD CCTV cameras outside the hostel, which allows bike thefts to occur; the gym having insufficient equipment; and the toilets not being cleaned frequently enough.


Shivalik

Shivalik is the institute's oldest hostel, visibly evident by the hostel’s ageing infrastructure. After talking to the various residents and hearing about their complaints, the hostel seems to have major issues requiring immediate attention. General facilities like a common room, art room, dance room, etc. are missing because the constricted space of the hostel gives no scope for extended construction. Residents had to complain about the recurring hygiene issues and poorly maintained sports facilities. During monsoon season, there is frequent waterlogging on the ground floors and damp and leaky ceilings. On the bright side, the residents were satisfied with the general cleanliness of the common areas. The hostel's security was reported positively, with the CCTVs working. There also exists a general forum to report any infrastructural grievances or suggestions to the maintenance committee.


Udaigiri

Udaigiri, one of the younger hostels in the hostel fleet, shares Girnar's sprawling infrastructure and the equally difficult task of maintaining it. Although the maintenance committee works towards the cause, we uncovered a few glaring issues with Udaigiri’s infrastructure. There are no functional security cameras despite the growing rates of theft on campus. Multiple requests to higher authorities have gone in vain. Common areas suffer more as they are located in the basement and lack decoration, air conditioning, and regular maintenance. The badminton court's bad design allows for water pools to collect, which serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other pests. The guard desk does not have a microphone and TV. CCTVs which were not functional for over eighteen months have recently been installed.


Vindhyachal

Vindhyachal is another one of the institute’s oldest hostels. In addition to the common complaint about the poor state of washrooms, residents specifically pointed out issues with the plumbing and shower heads, taps, rods, etc. being rusted and outdated. The hostel is also poorly ventilated, and residents have expressed dissatisfaction with the room furniture. Issues of leakage and damp walls have plagued the residents for a long time.


Zanskar

Zanskar hostel, being at the crossroads of the SAC circle and one of the more easily noticeable hostels, suffers from numerous maintenance and infrastructural problems too. Most of the residents complained of a faltering gym infrastructure and inadequate or broken equipment to meet the students' needs and expectations. Moreover, they pointed out a failing washing machine infrastructure, as most washing machines either malfunction or do not provide adequate service. And following the theme across other hostels, Zanskar residents complained of poorly maintained washrooms that compromised personal hygiene as well. We also noticed the lack of a ramp inside the hostel, lowering accessibility in the hostel.


Hospital infrastructure

The IIT Delhi Hospital is a primary healthcare centre offering basic healthcare infrastructure for initial diagnosis, minor injuries, and the common seasonal flu. The hospital ideally has visiting doctors and highly knowledgeable medical specialists on certain fixed days of the week. Patients in critical condition with severe injuries or diseases are transferred to nearby hospitals with advanced healthcare infrastructure.

We visited the IIT Delhi Hospital and spoke to the administration there. We also spoke to the students at IIT Delhi who had received treatment and care at the hospital. These were a few essential observations that we wish to highlight:

  1. The availability of a single ambulance is insufficient and disadvantageous. During festivals like RDV and Sportech, the hospital has the provision of ACLS (advanced cardiovascular life support) and can rent ambulances using the festival funds. However, the hospital claims that due to administrative hindrances, the process of obtaining even BLS (basic life support) ambulances is extremely sluggish and may take up to 4–6 months.

  2. Students have complained about the unavailability of an X-ray machine, saying that it is a critical requirement of every healthcare centre. The hospital had an X-ray machine until 2014 and is in the process of purchasing one, mostly funded by alumni donations. The hospital is also currently attempting to purchase an ultrasound machine with the understanding that it would have to prepare reports every month and take special precautions regarding prenatal sex determination.

  3. There is a paucity of wheelchairs, and the ones present are in an extremely dilapidated condition. The doctor in charge has been informed regarding this scarcity, and it is a matter of immediate concern. However, there have been cases in the past where students have borrowed wheelchairs for emergencies and failed to return them.

  4. A lot of students have raised the problem of the absence of any juice shop or shop selling healthy food in the vicinity, in which case the friends of the person who is sick have to bear a large inconvenience. There is no immediate infrastructural plan of action in this regard, seeing that there are a large number of eateries in the surrounding area, but vending machines for tea and coffee are simpler ideas that the hospital is willing to implement.

  5. Students who were on campus during the spread of dengue or COVID faced quite a lot of difficulties, ranging from erroneous or inconclusive blood tests to poor management while being redirected by their public relations officers to nearby private hospitals like Sitaram Bharti and Max. Students claim that in the absence of any referral from the doctors at the IITD hospital, they are given no preferential treatment even if they are in a critical condition. While the hospital does not have a formal collaborative arrangement as such, experiential learning has improved its communication with other hospitals. In cases of dengue or malaria, the hospital borrows beds from hostels, and their temporary arrangements help contain the outbreak.

In the recent past, there have been marked improvements in certain facilities as well, like the availability of medicines. Due to the medical funds of BSW, all medicines are accessible and can be obtained free of charge. Students are also equipped with medical insurance to suit their needs. A Pulse Polio Camp was organised in September 2022, and hospital-organised lectures centred around non-communicable diseases and elderly care are available on the internet as a part of the hospital’s initiatives to increase community awareness, accessibility, and affordability.


SAC infrastructure

The Student Activity Center is the centre of all things extracurricular at IIT Delhi. Fully equipped with two multi-gyms for fitness, an Olympic-sized swimming pool that recently hosted the Inter-IIT Aquatics meet, an open-air amphitheatre that can seat 2000 people, a newly renovated and well-stocked library, an indoor sports room, a Gymnasium Hall, indoor badminton and squash courts, a well-equipped music room and dance room, and a common room. Filled with walls for students to paint on, large halls, and committee rooms for club activities, the SAC is undoubtedly one of the finest institutions of its kind in the country.

Being old, SAC comes with its own drawbacks. We spoke with students who regularly use SAC facilities and solicited their feedback on the state of the facilities. Essential observations we’d like to highlight are:

  1. The foremost issue cited was the unhygienic and cramped conditions of the washrooms in SAC. The women's restroom, in particular, was a major complaint.

  2. The weightlifting halls and multigyms are only open during very narrow intervals of time in the evenings and early in the morning. This leads to the gym being crowded and especially unwelcoming for women. There is a separate women-only gym, though, that caters to this issue.

  3. The Institute music room, though adequately stocked with instruments and a recording studio, is especially small, with the effect of allowing only one group to use the room at a time, even if not all the instruments are being used. This is also exacerbated by the fact that it is very difficult to obtain permission to issue the instruments for use outside the room. The room also has strict timing, not allowing for late-night practice sessions.

  4. The indoor badminton hall is in terrible condition and not likely to be refurbished soon due to the presence of better facilities nearby, in the Mittal Sports Complex. Those facilities, however, are paid and require membership.

  5. The swimming pool, though in good condition, is outdoor, which prevents its use during the especially cold Delhi winters.

In conclusion

Despite the shortcomings in existing infrastructure, there have been great improvements in the living conditions of hostels and the working spaces in academic areas. Some of the failing infrastructure is partly due to low maintenance during the pandemic, owing to reduced staff and budget issues. While the administration is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure in prim and proper conditions, the students must also execute their part by not causing external damage and maintaining proper hygiene practises in public spaces.


The data stated in the above article was collected in the months of October-November, therefore there can be discrepancies in case of new infrastructure developments post November. We had also attempted to contact the administration for interviews covering these topics however we did not receive a satisfactory response.

 

Journos: Aanya Khurana, Abhinava Mohanty, Adnaan Mansoor, Amogh Vijayvargiya, Ayush Agarwal, Basil Labib, Gauri Agarwal, Harsh Swaika, Janki Insan, Jivesh Kesar, Kavya Chopra, Mahima Mukherjee, Raavya Jain Techies: Akshay V, Divya Gupta, Maitra Patel, Rakshitha, Shankh Gupta, Shouryan Singh, Shreya Gupta, Vandit Srivastava

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