There is a severe space crunch in the hostel this year. An idea was proposed by the Dean, Admission Committee and the Students’ Council to ask existing students to volunteer to share their single-bed rooms with the freshers and, in turn, not pay the hostel fees for the semester. This was not a success and less than 1-2% volunteered. However, the student council and its volunteers did a wonderful job in receiving new students.
How did we land up with this situation? Well, the OBC quota was implemented and the number of seats had to increase by 54%. Thus the number of M.E/M.Tech seats had to increase by 54% over a staggered period of three years. Though this was implemented immediately, the money for the construction of new hostels was sanctioned much later and the construction started only last year and the new 900 room hostel will be completed only in Aug 2011. Further, due to pressure from various sources and measures like not requiring GATE for admission to Ph.D, the number of Ph.D's admitted in engineering has nearly doubled in the last two years. The increase in number of M.E/M.Tech seats was 27% this year. Thus, this year (like last year), nearly 800 students were admitted while only 650 rooms were available. However, every student has been provided accommodation on campus. Alternative arrangements were made and students were accommodated in old guest houses and even the ex-director's bungalow (which is vacant now) [This does not mean that this accommodation is poorer than the hostels]. Hopefully, it will be resolved in the next few months as senior Ph.D students graduate and the students move back to the hostel. This situation is not unique only in IISc but also in IIT-B and other places.
Fundamentally, the way campuses are constructed and maintained have to be changed. Currently, the administration spends a huge amount of time maintaining the hostels and houses on campus. The current HRAs are fixed by the government and it is not possible for students to stay outside comfortably. One way is to pay high house rent allowance to both students and faculty so that they will stay outside. On the other hand, students who get scholarships from CSIR, DBT etc get around Rs. 4000 as HRA, which IISc will reimburse if they stay outside. If some students move out, the situation will considerably ease.