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Institute GBM Phase IV: Minutes

Phase IV of the institute GBMs, for the Hostel Affairs Council and associated faculties (IS- International Relations, IS-Alumni) was brought to an abrupt end because of time constraints. Following are the minutes of the GBM:
GSHA Devashish Sethia read his Work Report after which the session was opened to Question-Answers.
Copies of Devashish Sethia’s manifesto were not distributed, he hadn’t printed any. Some members of the audience expressed their dissent over this.

1. Mohit Kabra, GSec of Hostel 8, raised the following query about tum tum fees.
(Background: Hostel 8 had agreed to pay the compulsory Rs 800 fee for Tum tums on the condition that a tumtum would be made to run starting from Hostel 8 during peak hours, within 1-2 months from the start of the previous semester. In the present scenario H8 residents are unable to use the tumtum service as tumtums arriving at H8 are always full)

Mohit alleged that Sethia had promised to start tum tums from in front of H8/H11 within 1-2 months and only then had H8 agreed to pay the money. As the new Tumtum service from in front of H8 was started in late February, Mohit said that most of the academic year (for which the money had been paid) had passed without H8 residents availing the facility.
Ans. Sethia responded by saying that the procurement of new tum tums took over 4 months as their Octroi documents were stuck. He also added that in such a set-up such lags happen and are unavoidable.

Mohit responded to this by saying that even then, the new tum tums had arrived in the institute in the beginning of January, and yet they started plying in late February, 3 days before the GBM. He demanded to know the reason for the delay.
Ans. Sethia responded by saying that there was a change in administration and this caused the 2 month delay. Some members of the crowd expressed their dissatisfaction at this explanation.

Mohit continued to press the issue citing that this reason as inadequate. The Chair, Harsh Jhaveri (GS Cult), tried to control proceedings and encourage audience members to move onto other points of contention as he felt the conversation was going in circles, but this only resulted in commotion.
Mohit then, representing the interests of his hostel, demanded that his hostelites be refunded the Rs. 800 tumtum fee.
Ans. Sethia said that the compulsory payment for all students was a sort of ‘community service’ and for the greater good everyone had to pay, so that the TumTum system could continue. To illustrate, the example of SAC grounds, a facility paid for by all by utilised by some (the fee is included in our semester fees) was cited by Sethia.

An H11 student pointed out that this comparison could not be drawn as presently, the facility of using the football field is available to anyone who wishes to avail of it, whereas H11/H8 students are by circumstance not able to use the facility they pay for. She also went on to ask why, of the existing tumtums, one tumtum was not rerouted to meet H8/11’s demand till the new tumtums arrived.

After around half an hour of heated discussion, the crowd’s dissent was sufficiently expressed (with an H4 representative suggesting that a new Tumtum needed to be started from H4 due to its student strength). The Chair, Harsh Jhaveri was reprimanded by some members of the crowd for his attempts to hasten the questioning.
An audience member pointed out that Sethia’s manifesto had promised a waiving of the compulsory Tumtum fees for freshies, but in fact the opposite had been implemented. Sethia accepted that this was a complete u-turn from his proposal, and was brought on by the dire circumstances. He also accepted responsibility for the 2 month delay in starting the service.

2. Ankur Jain, Hostel 6 GSec alleged that Sethia had not provided a forum to the hostel GSecs to air their grievances, and that enough HGSC meetings (which are supposed to be monthly) for the hostel GSecs had not been held.

Ans. Sethia responded by saying that 6 HGSC meetings were held, and that the questioner had not been present at some of them. Ankur alleged that meetings without proper agendas were redundant and that they were not general HGSC meetings but were called for specific reasons. Sethia replied that all meets were open to discussion for all kind of issues and never was any topic of discussion thwarted in any meeting.

3. A few hostel GSecs (Hostel 8, Hostel 6) alleged that Sethia and his Council were never prompt with their replies to queries on the mailing group, and demanded to know why.

Ans. Sethia replied that he had been prompt in his replies over the phone and so did not post the same replies on the thread. The GSecs insisted that posts should have been made in the interest of keeping all GSecs in the loop, and keeping a written record of conversations, so that the hostel GSecs would have proof of their conversations. Sethia then accepted responsibility for not replying on the thread.

4. The H6 Maint Co and some GSecs alleged that HMC meets were ineffective; problems weren’t solved through the HMC, and deadlines that were promised by PHO/Estate Office authorities to Maint Council were never met. Even pressing health issues were not given due attention.

Ans. Sethia replied that for precisely the above reason, after the ineffectiveness of the first HMC meeting, Dean IPS, who Estate Office and PHO are answerable to, was requested to chair these meets. Also he would constantly review the work of the HA Council.

The crowd responded by saying that the move hadn’t solved the problem, especially as the Dean was not present in a good part of the subsequent meetings.

5. Hostel 10 then raised the issue of not being able to use the exhaust system in their kitchens as surrounding residents were affected by the fumes. The issue has been continuing for a year now causing much discomfort to mess workers.

Ans. Sethia said that he was not apprised of the issue, which is now being pursued directly by Dean IPS. He said that his council would also follow up on the issue.

6. At this point H6 GSec brought up how Sethia had appointed 3 Hostel GSecs as members of SAC Committee without consulting the other GSecs. He alleged that Sethia had defied the constitution and aggrieved the hostel GSecs by not taking their views into consideration.

Ans. Sethia said that he had sought the DoSA’s permission to nominate 3 members, a girls’ nominee, a UG nominee and a PG nominee. If the GSecs had some problem with this, they should have raised it with him earlier. He said he had chosen the 3 Hostel Gsecs who he felt collectively represented the student demography.

He refuted the allegations of overriding the constitution by saying that at the time of appointment of the committee the constitution was undergoing changes and thus not being followed.

After a volley of exchanges, Sethia conceded that he should have involved the hostel GSecs in the decision making.
The crowd was being continuously urged by the Chair to hurry up with their questions as the institute GSecs insisted on sticking to the pre-announced duration for the GBM of 1 hour.

7. The H14 GSec raised the issue of lack of cooperation and support from the Hostel Affairs council in getting H14, a new hostel up and running. He alleged that Sethia had been unresponsive to mails and the HA Council had not extended support in procurement/installation of tubelights/fans/coolers/LAN etc. The only contact made by Sethia to H14 Council was when he wanted them to permit the cellphone tower to be installed atop H14. A parallel issue of not informing H14 Warden and HCU chairman about this impending move was also raised.

Ans. Sethia said that these issues should have been brought to his attention, only then could he have extended support. Audience members pointed out that furnishing a new hostel was an obvious responsibility of the Hostel Affairs Council and one should not have to alert them of it.

8. An H8 student asked Sethia why he was not present at the Open House convened in H8 to determine the fate of H8’s D wing to be given to H11, and listen to student views on the same. When Sethia failed to show up, he was called. At that point of time, Sethia said that he could not come to the meeting for personal reasons. That was the only open meet held to discuss the issue.

Ans. Sethia said that the H8 GSec was always kept in the loop on developments on this issue.
The crowd turned on Sethia and said that it was his duty to hold at least 1 open house for such an important matter in which he was present, to gauge student opinion.

At 10pm, the Chair Harsh Jhaveri announced that the GBM has to be stopped as the OAT had been booked for other purposes. Some members of the audience found this very inappropriate and after pushing for relocation to another venue, demanded a re-GBM at the very least. Jhaveri responded by saying that as the one GBM has not been sufficient for the students, an appeal needs to be made to the DoSA for another session.

This suggestion was met with dislike and a written appeal for another GBM was submitted by 9 out of 14 hostels the next day. (Hostels 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14 supported another GBM while Hostels 2, 3, 4 and 5 didn’t want another) Hostel 11 wanted another GBM on the condition that the next GBM should be chaired by the president of SAC council, which boils down to DoSA chairing it. The proposal was met with opposition in office of Dean SA and the Dean asked students dissatisfied with Sethia’s work to submit their queries in writing to which replies would be provided in writing. After incessant appealing, as the present scenario stands, another GBM is to be arranged shortly.
Watch this space for more updates.