Anil Singh (1964 Met) Visits BIT Sindri, and Meets Alumni Members at Delhi, Ranchi and RourkelaAnil and his wife, Radha, were in India (February 12 – March 6) on vacation. They took time off from their vacation, and visited BIT Sindri to talk with the administration, faculty members and students on February 25. In addition they met BIT Sindri alumni members in Delhi, Bokaro, Ranchi and Rourkela (Odisha) respectively on February 12, 25, 26 and 28. Shri Rajendra Choudhary 77 Mech, President of BIT Sindri Ranchi Chapter was with us for our meeting at BIT, Bokaro, Ranchi and Rourkela. Shri Navin Parmar, 77 Civil, Retired Chief Engineer, PHED, Jharkhand attended the meetings at Sindri, Bokaro and Ranchi. Narain Lal, 64 Mechanical was present in Sindri and Bokaro meetings.1.       General comments on BIT Campus VisitsJharkhand Govt. has agreed to most of BIT Sindri Alumni Association wishes e.g. autonomy, infrastructure improvements, construction of more student hostels, campus wide WiFi connectivity etc. The government has provided a funding of Rs. 156 crores. It is all due to tireless and dogged efforts by our President, Dr. Neil Pundit.But, there are many small projects that we should now be concentrating that will improve the day to day lives of students, and also boost the morale of students and staff which presently is pretty low. It is also important for us to build a cooperative relation with the BIT administration and the faculty.  Then only we will be successful.Also, I believe that we have done enough criticizing the BIT administration, mostly rightly so. But, I think we should also appreciate that they are running the institution under very difficult conditions: less than 33% academic staff, inadequate or no funding for maintenance of laboratories and infrastructure, internal dissentions and politics, to date not much support by the state government, etc.  In spite of all that, BIT Sindri still has a reasonable standing and better than 75% of graduating students get hired by on-campus interviews. I would recommend that we should not be overly critical. Instead, we should provide our helping hand and appreciation to the administration.There is good news. I find in Rajendra Choudhary, a very dedicated, practical and well-connected alum who can get things done be at Sindri or Ranchi. I consider him a God’s send to help us in to coordinate our efforts/work at the local level. He has so many good ideas how to improve the living conditions of students. He along with his friend Shri Navin Parmar has agreed to put together a list of such doable projects. He will submit the project lists along with the estimated cost for our consideration. He has verbally told me about some projects, but, I requested him to send us them in writing.2.       Meeting with BIT Registrar, Faculty and Students, Feb. 25, 2016The meeting was held in the Director’s office. Dr.  Girijesh Kumar, Registrar. Four faculty members were also present. Dr. Dey, Director could not join us as he was out of town.  We discussed the following items.  Notes in Italics are my comments.Toilet Renovation/Upgrade: Dr. Kumar stated that the toilet renovation/upgrade will be in the scope of work to be completed under the Infrastructure Improvements Projects funded by the Jharkhand Government.  And, therefore, funding by BITS AA of NA for this purpose is not required. Instead such funds should be used for other projects such as renovations/upgrades of laboratories in various departments.  List of projects not receiving government funding will be prepared by BIT Sindri administration in consultation with BIT Sindri Alumni Association. Members present in the meeting thought that the BIT Administration proposal deserves favorable consideration by the Alumni Association.·         Infrastructure Improvement Project:  Jharkhand Govt. has allocated Rupees 156 crores for infrastructure improvements at the BIT Sindri campus. The projects will include, among other things, upgrade of department and auxiliary buildings, boys and girls hostels including toilets, construction of new hostels and roads. Dr. Kumar will provide us a list of projects that are included in the infrastructure projects being funded by the Jharkhand Government.Jharkhand Government has selected EPIL (Engineering Projects India Ltd.) to manage the BIT Sindri the infrastructure improvements projects bypassing the PWD. EPIL is a Delhi based company that provides industrial construction and contracting services.It is definitely a good sign that PWD is being kept out of the infrastructure improvement project, and the government had selected a reputable private company to manage the project.·         Autonomy: BIT administration and faculty staff expressed significant reservations about the autonomy.They feel that this is something that is being imposed on them from outside without receiving inputs from them.  They stated that they have not yet seen the “autonomy proposal”.  Staff members are concerned about the financial implications in terms of their salaries and benefits. They said that they knew that when Bengal Engineering College Shibpur became an autonomous institute under the state government, salary payments were significantly delayed. Also, they mentioned that before we think about full autonomy, we should first discuss how the “academic” autonomy will be achieved in the light of the severe shortage of the teaching staff and inadequate laboratories.Earlier I had sent to Dr. Kumar the relevant section of the proposed document on autonomy that dealt with salary and benefit structure of the present and the future employees. It appeared that he had neither read nor circulated the document to staff members. As regards to the staff shortage I stated that the principal secretary of the higher and technical education, Shri Singh has promised to expedite the hiring process to alleviated this issue.I also told them that presently the autonomy proposal is with the Shri Ajay Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary of Higher and Technical Education. As soon he finishes reviewing it, the document will be sent to BIT administration and faculty for their comments/inputs. The final document hopefully will have concurrence of all parties including the staff.In order to address the concerns of the BIT administration and staff members and to secure their co-operation, I believe we need to do a better job, and keep them in the loop. I recommend that once the reviewed autonomy document comes out of the Principal Secretary office, Dr. B.N. Mishra, the author of the autonomy proposal document, and a representative of BITS AA of NA should visit the BIT Campus to interface with the administration and faculty members to address their concerns and fears.·         Sports Facilities in Girls’ Hostels: We asked about the lack of sports facilities in girls’ hostels. Dr. Kumar stated that the BIT Administration will built the badminton and volleyball grass courts in each of the girls’ hostels from its own funds, and no funding is needed from the outside sources. He instructed Dr. Tanti, Superintendent of girls’ hostels, to complete the construction of the above sport facilities in each of girls’ hostels within fifteen days.I told Dr. Kumar that we would check with him after one month if badminton and volleyball courts have been built in the girls hostels.·         Lack of Bookcases in Girls Hostel # 21: When I had visited girl’s hostel #21 in November 2014, students complained that in that hostel there are no book cases in their rooms and they had to keep their books on the floor. Dr. Kumar told us he would discuss with the Director, and he would let us know the outcome.  He thought that no outside funding would be needed for such a small project.·         Visiting Professors: As we know there is extreme shortage of teaching staff at BIT. For example, Dr. Dey, Director, is the sole staff member in the Mining Department. BIT Sindri has made some arrangements with a few professors from Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, who come to teach at Sindri. But, much more needs to be done. And, he sought help from alumni members.In 2014, my friend Shri Kumar Arun Prasad Singh, (6 4 Met, Retire Board Member Steel Authority of India, Bokaro resident) volunteered to teach (unpaid) metallurgy course. He quit after teaching a semester due to lack of interest in parts of students and administration. In spite of this bad experience by Arun, I believe we should encourage our alumni members to make themselves available for part time teaching positions at BIT Sindri.·         Video Conferencing: We enquired whether video conferencing facility exists at the campus. The answer was yes. Dr. Kumar took us to a large size room in the administrative building that had a ~ 50” TV, a VCR and a few VCR tapes.I do not think that the present facility is adequate for the video conferencing. But, the facility can definitely be developed.·         Meeting with girl students: We went to girls’ hostel #20. Third year students reside there. We talked with them at length on various issues of their concerns.  The issues as to congestions (5/6 students to a room), no privacy, lack of sports facilities, non-functional toilets and bath rooms, frequent electrical outages especially during examination times etc., that I had observed during my 2014 November visit also, are still there unresolved.  The students mentioned a few additional items as below.We floated the idea of having bunk beds in the room to address the congestions. Girls were open to this–          The students mentioned that since there are no screens on windows, during electrical outages, and especially in summer, they have to keep windows closed to keep insects/bugs out. That causes them unable to sleep due to extreme heat and humidity.–          In dining hall, where food is served, water from the upper floor bath room was leaking. They said sometimes, while standing with trays to collect the food, dirty water would drip onto the trays.–          On weekends, they sometimes go to Jharia and/or Dhanbad either for shopping or to attend training classes. They are forced to use either crowded taxis or takers, many times have to share these vehicles with the rowdy people who misbehave. They said that they are willing to pay Rupees 50 or 100 per trip if a minibus can be arranged exclusively for the BIT students over the weekend.Shri Rajendra Choudhary will contact the transportation authority to look into the possibility to have the minibus service for students over the weekends.–          There is a large flat land adjacent to the girls’ hostel #20. They wanted that land to be developed as the athletic field for them. They wanted BIT Alumni Association to bring this to the attention of the BIT administration, and if needed provide the funding.–            Many students told us that when they come for lunch after classes (12 – 2 PM), rowdy people (not students, but outsiders) do chhera-khani, and sometimes snatch their purses. Students requested that at those hours there should be increased police patrolling.Rajendra Choudhary volunteered to contact the Dhanbad Superintendent of Police, and request additional patrolling.–          Girls also complained that even though outside goons create problems/bothers them,  the girls are the ones who are “punished” by the administration by subjecting them to more restriction e.g. not being allowed to go out of their hostels after certain after hours not even to the library. They think that, instead of the administration treating them as guilty party, steps should be taken by the administration to stop the unruly persons to harass them. There should be more police patrolling to protect girl students. Rajendra Choudhary to contact the Dhanbad SP on this matter.–          We observed significant amount of continuous water over flow from two overhead tanks in Hostel #20 whereas we were told that there was water shortage in adjoining girls’ hostels.–          We also head complaints that we alumni during our visits on several occasions have promised that certain things would be done to address their concerns. But, to date, nothing concrete has happened.I could not give them any satisfactory answer.3.       Meetings with BIT Alumni·         Delhi: We met at the Indian Oil Guest House in Noida on February 12 for lunch. There were 22 in attendance including spouses. Besides my 1964 batch friends, Dr. B.N. Mishra (Chairman NJSIT, Delhi), Shri Chandrika Prasad (1963 Tele Com, Retire Indian Railways Board Member) and Shri Shashank Garouryar (President BITS Mother Chapter) also kindly joined. In addition to discussion about what is happening at BIT, there was time to do some shero-shayri.·         Bokaro: Met with Shri Shyam Nandan Mishra, 1960 Metallurgy, Retired Managing Director, Vishakhapatnam Steel Plant) and Shri Narain Lal (64 Mechanical). Encouraged them to actively participate in BITS Alumni activities.We also made a curtsy call to Shri Rai Mahimapat Ray, Deputy Commissioner, Bokaro District, and met him and his wife at his residence in Bokaro. Rajendra Choudhary enquired about his counterpart in Dhanbad so that he can discuss with him about BIT.·         Ranchi: After spending a frustrating afternoon chasing around various Jharkhand govt. secretaries offices at the secretariat, we met at Ranchi Club on the evening of February 26 for the alumni meeting. There were 23 in attendance including spouses. Rajendra Choudhary and Navin Parmar along with their spouses also attended. We had a great time.·         Rourkela: We met in Rourkela Steel Plant Club on the evening of February 28. There were 16 in attendance. Rajendra Choudhary came from Ranchi specifically for this meeting. (For whatever reason, no spouses were invited). This chapter has not been very active. But, they pledged they will from now onwards regularly meet.5.    Inspection of Toilets at Bariarpur Girls Middle School, (built under 50% matching program)I made an unannounced visit to Bariarpur Girls Middle School to check the how the toilets were being maintained after over six months of use. I was pleasantly surprised to observe that the toilets were kept in mint condition. Both students and teachers consider the toilets as their pride possession. They have hired a help who comes twice in the weak to clean them.During my all meetings with alumni, I talked with them about the 50% matching program offer by BIT Sindri AA of NA. I did not find much interest. May be most of our colleagues have now moved                from the villages, and have now settled in towns. There are mostly disconnected with the rural society.6.    Non-BIT Activities while in IndiaFebruary 14 – 17: Attended our nephew wedding in Gauhati. While in Gauhati, we visited the famous Kamakhya Temple. In the temple, there is sculptured image of the yoni of the goddess Parvati. The temple is visited by tens of thousands of people every day. We also visited Umananda (Shiva) Temple at Peacock Island in the middle of Brahmputra River.February 19: Toured ruins of Vikramshila University, Kahalgaon (Bhagalpur), built in 8th century. It was one of the two most important centers of learning in India during along with Nalanda University.March 1: Went to Puri and visited the famous Jagannath temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath. It is one of the Char Dham pilgrimage that a Hindu is expected to make in one’s life.March 2: We rented a taxi in Puri in the morning and headed towards Bhubneshwar, Odisha capital. On the way we stopped at famous Konark Sun Temple, Lingraj Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, Buddha Shanti Stupa at Dhouligiri, Udaigiri caves (residential quarters for monks), Mukteshwar Temple, and several other beautiful temples. Many of these temples were built over 1000 years ago.Want to see Photos? Please click on photo Link: