I believe in having personal contact with the students: Col. CMS Kalakoti6 min read
“Sir, I was allotted a room in the New Girls Block, but was given temporary accommodation in the eighth block. Is it all right if I continue to stay there? I have been advised by medical experts not to strain myself with matters like shifting into a new building…”
“Is that why you don’t want to shift into the new block? If that is the case, I will help you move your luggage”.
It isn’t often that one comes across a member of the administration who takes such interest in the welfare of the students.
After serving the country for 33 years, Col. CMS Kalakoti took over as the Chief Warden of Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) in July; a post tossed between different faculty members of MIT in the past. The ex-defense personnel was previously a part of the administration of a hospital for retired Defense personnel in Dehradun. After taking over in July to serve on a long-term basis, he keenly looks forward to work with young students.
In conversation with TMJ, he talks about his plans as Chief Warden. Excerpts from the interview:
As the new Chief Warden, is there any sort of change you would like to bring in?
The first major change is that I will be holding this post for a while. My predecessors were faculty members. They were all very good and respectable, but since they had academic duties as well, it becomes hectic for them. The role of the chief warden is my only responsibility. The duties and procedures are all clearly stated. As of now, my job is to implement them. In due time, however, improvements will be made when necessary.
Another thing that I would like to stress on is the fact that students should be able to come up to authorities if they feel they have a problem. Because it is such a big university, there are chances of people being left in the dark. I believe in having personal contact with the students. They are away from their home, and while they are here, they should know we are here to help.
The previous semester witnessed an event where a student was attacked by an auto driver on campus, an event that was brushed under the carpets. What kind of precautions has been taken to improve the security on campus?
The security on campus has been beefed up, especially at the gates. Also, the traffic within campus is regulated in a better manner. Auto drivers have been told to have a certain order while they are at the stand. No such incidents have happened since. And it won’t happen again.
Speaking of security, the incident brought to light the fact that security guards have in fact no power to interfere in trifles. Will anything be done so that they will have more authority?
Well I believe it their duty to sort out any disputes that might pop up. They have been told what it is they can and cannot do. But giving them more power straightaway… no, which will be a slow process.
The New Girls Block (Block XVIII) which is still under construction, has been a cause of inconvenience for many students, as the academic year for many colleges started in July. Students have also complained for being charged for the temporary accommodation that was given to them. Tell us your side of the story?
There were quite a few reasons for the delay in the construction of the Block XVIII. However, it will be ready for occupation by August 15. Students were provided temporary accommodation by the administration, they were not asked to pay for it. It doesn’t make sense to ask to pay either. It is a wrong statement.
MIT has been increasing its intake of students. Will there be a proportional increase in the infrastructure to accommodate them?
As of now there are almost 7000 students staying in the hostels. New hostels are being constructed for both boys and girls. As for the food court, there is the one that functions at Kamath Circle. As of now, it is big enough to accommodate all those who are living on campus.
The recent ban of the bus service within the MIT campus has caused inconvenience for many students. Are you in support of this decision?
I feel it is a good step. The decision was taken by the authorities concerned only after the student representatives were heard. It was taken with their best interest in mind. Also, there are alternative paths between the food court and the blocks which make their commute easier. Through this route, the food court is exactly 450 steps away from the Block XV/XVI. These routes are being expanded into pavements.
The Manipal University (MU) hostels were declared one of the best in India at the India Today Summit in January 2012. Yet, the maintenance staff for the same is not given proper accommodation. Are any steps being implemented to make their stay more comfortable?
There are going to be a few changes in the hostels. A reception area will be constructed shortly. There will be separate rooms for matrons and the housekeeping staff. The hostel log will be computerized as well.
According to MU website, the curfew for senior girls and senior boys is different; that is 10:30pm and 11:00pm respectively. Also the students living in the Kasturba Medical College (KMC) hostels have more flexible timings. Is there any particular reason for this disparity?
As of now, the curfew for all senior students living in the MU Hostels has been changed to 11:00pm. There is no variation or flexibility in the curfew timings in the entire University. As for the difference in timings that existed before between MIT and KMC hostels; medical students need to use the library more than others. For students living in the MIT campus; the libraries are open only till 10:30pm which has been set to cater to their need. The difference in curfew was purely based on academics.
Even then, there are a lot late comers. I usually sit at KC at 12 o clock to see who comes in late. I feel it is best if they are advised, before any serious action is taken.
Students often complain about the ION wi-fi services on campus. Every year they are assured of improvement but many condemn that it is still the same. Will anything be done about it?
As I understand, the problem persists in the boys hostels than that of the girls’. And it is not unusual for us to discover broken equipment in the boys’ hostels. Because of this, we have to keep changing the hardware which is also a reason for the slow service.
Some of the female students who use the MIT swimming pool say they are uncomfortable about the fact that there is a construction site right next to the pool. Are any steps being implemented for their privacy?
We are going to cover the area so that no one from outside will be able to see those who are using the pool. It will be done shortly.
Sub-edited by Priyanka Sharma