CSA Review 2019: Mohnish Wadhwa, President

DoJMA interviewed the current President of BITS Goa, Mohnish Wadhwa, towards the end of his tenure; and an interaction with him revealed the milestones achieved by him with respect to his agenda and the reasons for some of his agenda points not being delivered. He spoke of the inventory management scheme for unclaimed T-Shirts, apparently hindered, at times, by the unreported cases of T-Shirt deficits and hoardings. The eagerly awaited re-commencement of the A-Z Laundromat service, outside AH7, is tentatively scheduled to be towards the end of April, said the President. He talked of the new services that have been introduced in his tenure, such as Subspot, Amul Ice cream parlour and the ones that may commence in the near future, such as a new barber shop, a new parlour and so on. With the Bogmalo weekend bus service for BITSians and the luxury bus service for end of sem commutation to Mumbai, Pune and Nasik introduced this semester, Mohnish seems to have “striven to not only fulfil his agenda but also the promises of the other candidates”. Although he had spoken of a reading room in the library in the agenda, one of the LTs (LT3/LT4) was made accessible to students at night, before and during exams. However, promises on points such as the special BITSIAN discount in some restaurants not offering those, appending the festival charter to the SWD site, introducing a BITSWiki tab on CSA Times website, easy facilitation of POR certificates remain undelivered. Points such as a new chat and juice stall, upgradation of the existing men’s salon, normalised cab and scooty rentals remain in the grey areas as they are, as Mohnish has said, at the mercy of factors beyond his control and involve paperwork from clients, depend on admin approval or are still in a state of negotiation with the concerned authority. In response to the errors in content in several places on the CSA Times website, he agreed that a better job could have been done in that context. He justified the delay in making the CSA Budgets for clubs and departments public on CSA Times by stating the reason of the CSA being unsure of the amount that it had, leading re allotments in the second semester; and said that the figures will be released in the GBM.

While the above provides a gist of our interaction with the President of BITS Goa, read on to catch the comprehensive interview of DoJMA with Mohnish Wadhwa.

DoJMA: Your agenda speaks of implementing an inventory management scheme for unclaimed T-shirts. Can you explain how you went about that? Also, some hostels have complained of a deficit whereas there have been cases in which there were unreported excess in particular hostels. How does your scheme work for these situations?

MW: Our inventory still has a lot of unclaimed tees/hoodies. Coordinators of Abhigyaan and Nirmaan have requested me to give them the tees so that they can be donated to the destitute. Moreover, people from various hostels, particularly higher degree students don’t claim their tees. So we try to get in touch with the students before giving off the tees.

Coming to the part wherein there’s a shortage and we have to reorder tees, we need to know how many to order exactly, and a lot of the times, students don’t tell us when there is a shortage. So, unless the response from the students improves, we really can’t do anything beyond this. One of the major challenges faced by us is that ME and PhD students do not contest elections, even if we ask them to. So I’d requested a few ME and PhD students to act as representative of sorts. Similarly, for hostels with no HRs, I try to get in touch with one of the students there or if possible, I personally put up messages regarding T-Shirts.  

DoJMA: The CSA Times, as per your agenda, was supposed to be supplemented by a BITSWiki section, which is missing. Can you please explain what BITSWiki was supposed to be? Also, the CSA Times was actively updated with the events and important on-campus news, in the first semester of your tenure. Why was that discontinued, this semester? Continuing with the content on CSA Times, there are several unedited portions in the section for clubs and departments. Shouldn’t this have been taken care of?  

MW: BITSWiki was intended to be an FAQ section of sorts. We have included an FAQ section separately and a lot of information is imparted to the students from seniors and PMP mentors so we didn’t implement BITSWiki as a separate section because it would be redundant.

Moreover, the CSA Times website has been down for a while because we decided to keep the fest websites of Waves, Quark and Spree active throughout the year as we felt it would serve as an archive for forthcoming batches. This led to a shortfall in server space, and caused some hiccups in the functioning of the CSA Times website. I must admit, due to various reasons that we as CSA members have not been able to look into the content that went up on the CSATimes website, so there were embarrassing mistakes we overlooked.

DoJMA: The Laundromat services were discontinued abruptly at the beginning of this academic year. What are the arrangements for the new laundromat services? Also, your agenda reads about expansion plans of the previous laundromat services. Weren’t you aware of the fact that those services were going to be discontinued back then, when you drew up your agenda?

MW: When we had taken over as the CSA, we were informed that for certain reasons that the laundromat services will be discontinued. This led to a new issue- we had to find a substitute which fits our requirements. We’ve finalized A-Z laundromat, however it will start functioning once the construction of its area gets over, which will hopefully happen by the end of April(tentatively).

The primary reason for the delay was that it took a lot of time to finalise a vendor and paperwork takes a lot of time as well. About awareness of the previous laundromat service not continuing on campus; no, I wasn’t aware as the talks were between the previous CSA and the proprietor.

DoJMA: There have been several complaints about irregularity in the frequency of collection and delivery of laundry from the hostels, especially on the D side. What is being done to rectify this?

MW: I regularly keep in touch with the workers in the laundries on campus and they say that they have been delivering. Moreover, I haven’t received any complaints from students or their HRs regarding the same. If students want some changes to be made they need to voice their opinion. We actively try to make the atmosphere very conducive for CSA-extended and CSA interactions, but I would really appreciate it if students could approach us if they had issues rather than silently brood about it.

DoJMA: About the point on discounts in restaurants, we called up places like Ignia and Foodys’(some of the restaurants that you intended to bring a discount to) and they refused to have been offering a BITSian discount. Can you please elaborate on the same?

MW: I must admit, the first semester was very heavy for us because of Waves, Zephyr etc. By the end of the first semester, we were aware that Swiggy would start delivering on campus. Hence, I thought that pursuing this would be redundant.

DoJMA: Can you explain the incentives that the technical clubs and/or cultural clubs have been receiving in your tenure, so far?

MW: One major step we’ve taken as the CSA that has been mutually beneficial is that if two technical clubs want the same equipment, it is heavily incentivised and the proposal for the equipment is approved much faster. Moreover, we’ve also pushed for an additional fund of ₹50,000/- with Dr. C. K. Ramesha. We’re trying to bring clubs on campus under this wing as well. For example, if a cultural club wants some excess funding for equipment etc, we plan to arrange for meetings with the Director so that the proposal for the same can be accepted. The talks with the Director, for the such an arrangement, are in progress.

DoJMA: Please elaborate on how the bus services have been arranged and your plans in the future for the same.

MW: Currently, we pay out of our own pockets for the bus services. We don’t mind some losses, as long as students are satisfied. We’re trying to get a bus stop outside campus. We’ve been speaking to government officials to get more buses to take the route via the campus gate, however I cannot guarantee a confirmation as matters concerning the government and its officials is beyond our control.

DoJMA: In your agenda, you spoke of working towards normalized cab rates and providing a rate chart. What actions have been taken by you in this direction? Also, the list of cab drivers with their contact numbers and vehicle numbers(which you promised in your agenda) has been on the notice board of several hostels even before the tenure of the current CSA began.

MW: I’ve been in touch with the VP of Goa Miles, and have been requesting him to increase his service capacity. I’m also in talks with him to get us special BITSians’ discount. However I cannot promise any of these things because it’s ultimately upto the cab driver whether he wants to associate with GoaMiles or the Mafia.

I also tried to speak to the Mafia heads of Zuari Vasco in order to help with a proper pricing scheme, but due to obvious constraints, my interactions with them were very limited.

About the list of cab drivers, I agree that is the work of a previous CSA, and not ours to take credit for.

DoJMA: What are the steps that have been taken in order to facilitate acquisition of PoR certificates?

MW: SWD is running short of developers and even their current developers tend to be busy quite a few times. The website, with this feature, was supposed to be up by last September, but the way it is progressing now, I don’t see it being up for a long time from now.

DoJMA: What has been done with respect to the point in your agenda for introducing a chat stall and a juice centre?

MW: We were in talks with a chat-cum-main-course restaurant service provider. However, they needed kitchen space, which is not being approved by the admin right now due to space constraints. So, as of now, we’re waiting for the construction of the D Side to get over to see if we can accommodate the same.