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Transparency has to come from within, and at a micro level. This was recently illustrated in an incident at H7. When a request to increase the number of plug points in a room from the existing two, was put forth to the Dean IPS, it was promptly approved and a work order was generated. An estimate was drawn which came out to be around Rs 600 per room, across 254 rooms, taking the total cost to around Rs. 2 lakhs. As the work commenced, the H7 G.Sec, Rishabh Agrawal observed that the wiring for the new plug points was drawn from a switchboard on the opposite wall, while ignoring a switchboard right beside the location of the new points. This was even more unusual in light of the fact that the switchboard right beside had a higher capacity than the other one. The difference in the costs between the two methods would later prove to be more than Rs 300 per room with total savings of around Rs. 1 lakh.

When Rishabh shared these concerns with the supervising officer from the electrical maintenance department, the reply was rather vague and unsatis­factory. There seemed to be no likelihood of a revised work order. Rishabh then took up this matter up with the Dean IPS, Prof. K.V. Krishna Rao and Mr. B.K. Sahoo, Executive Engineer (Electrical Maintenance). The response from both of them was swift and a new work order was created where the wiring was indeed sourced from the closer switchboard.

However, Mr. B K Sahoo says that reliability and maintenance friendliness was higher in the old plan. He explains that in the older plan, any maintenance work required opening of only one circuit as opposed to three that would be required in the new plan. He disputes any great efficiency in the new system, only cost is saved. He says that the new proposal as suggested by the H7 G.Sec was accepted only because of aesthetics – “It was just a trade-off between aesthetics and reliability, so we figured in user requirement, user being student community here.” But, considering that the cost savings were huge, it is really difficult to digest that such a cost intensive measure was justified to save on future maintenance work, which may not even cost so much. When asked about the reason behind the initial inefficient work order, Prof. Rao clarified that it was an oversight which should be avoided in the future and has promised a thorough examination of all future projects

However, this brings a bigger question to the fore. We have always been aware of the delays that usually accompany any infrastructure project in the institute, but this is a proven case of wasteful expenditure and inefficient construction. The question that arises is – what is to stop this from happening again and what can the students do to mitigate this? Being watchful and taking proactive measures from the students’ side is necessary. However, our GSHA Abhishek Agarwal (Monty) has set up a Special Task Force to look into these matters. The objective is to scrutinize the tenders and work orders that are released from the estate office and keep a check on the deliverables of these tenders. The members of the task force will check on how these projects are being planned and implemented and whether or not the quality of work being promised is being delivered. The task force has already been formed with a few members but it hasn’t begun operation now. Abhishek clarified that this will be a completely voluntary job and no certificates will be provided for the same. The STF is scheduled to begin operation from the next semester and anyone who wants to contribute can contact the GSHA. Hopefully students can play their role and help eliminate wasteful expenditures and inefficiencies. 