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DoJMA : What makes you the perfect man for the job?
Aseem : Nothing is perfect. A good Gen-Sec according to me is someone who can take up responsibilities despite knowing the fact that people will blame him later on for every small complaint. I feel, being HR of DH-2, that I have a certain understanding of the workings of CSA which would thus help me in my tenure.
DoJMA : What do you think is the single best thing that you are proposing as compared to the other candidates ?
Aseem : The best thing would have to be the change in mess system as I have mentioned in my agenda. I feel that a lot of food is wasted in the mess as people don’t inform the mess staff prior to skipping meals and I would like to minimize that wastage and my second point is that people
DoJMA : Considering the fact that the mess buys food in bulk at the start of the month and if you are to inform the mess a day before, that you won’t be attending the mess, how would that result in minimizing food wastage?
Aseem : The things bought about a month before consists generally of Masalas, Maggi, and these can be stored for a long time without getting wasted . The groceries are not bought that early as they have a possibility of getting spoilt. Vegetables, eggs etc are bought a day or two before the actual preparation according to the demand.
DoJMA : In the GBM you mentioned that you had talked to Bijil Sir to create a statistical model to predict the pattern as to when people skip the mess. Have you spoken to the mess contractors regarding this system?
Aseem : If I were to go the mess contractor now and tell him that students would not pay for the meals they don’t eat then certainly he would reject the idea which is why when I meet the contractors I would like to approach them with my model ready so that I can explain them that this helps the mess as well as the students.
DoJMA : According to the current system, you are still charged for 33 percent if you’re on a leave and that was up on the mess contractors department. What makes you think that they would accept your proposal?
Aseem : The caterer serving in BITS-Hyderabad and the one serving in C mess are the same but the one at Hyderabad charges Rs 119 while here they charge Rs 112 but I think that they also include the price of snacks in that amount (Rs 119) whereas here we have to pay a total of Rs 132 if we wish to have snacks. I believe we should not be paying higher amount for the same food. We’ll be making a model which would tell me how many grace days I will have like the system similar to Hyderabad where one can have 4 grace days. The implementation of this model would take some time as the SWD would provide the data only once I get to the post. Once I have the statistics I would have to increase the price a little from Rs 112 and the base price would also have to change which at present is Rs 10 in Hyderabad and Rs 35 in Goa. So basically the mess contractors would not be able to argue with the proposed model as we are paying them with an additional base fare of Rs 25 and an additional increase of Rs 10 in the price of daily meals.
DoJMA : But not everyone eats snacks so why would they be willing to pay for it?
Aseem : I am not saying that I will include the price of snacks in that of daily meals like the system in Hyderabad. The point I am trying to make is that we are paying way more than Hyderabad.
DoJMA : There are already CSA meetings so what makes the new system of monthly meetings of HRs different and also why would the MRs passing the doc file would be any different while it’s their duty to represent their hostels in the mess committee?
Aseem : According to our constitution a Gen-Sec Is supposed to conduct 2 meetings per semester what I am proposing are monthly meetings because when small problems approach CSA through a medium other than meetings it becomes too informal and is not given the desired attention. The monthly meetings would also allow HRs to get familiar with the CSA which is not possible if the meetings are restricted to two.
Coming to the point of doc, I used to sit with the MR for helping him out with the required changes in the menu but we used to be out of ideas with the regard to the items that should be added in the menu as one can’t think beyond a certain range of dishes and most of the time it so happens that the menu remains the same only the days on which a particular meal is served are changed. Floating a doc would allow people to submit their grievances and ideas regarding the changes in the mess menu.
DoJMA : You are proposing an alternative place in the D-Side for parcels to be held. Considering the fact that one guy from Amazon sits almost a whole day for delivering parcels, how would you convince them to send another guy to do the same just at another location?
Aseem : Companies like Amazon and Flipkart are supposed to deliver orders at the doorstep but the administration has made a checkpoint in order to avoid the chaos caused by the orders being transferred from one hostel to another. I am proposing that since an eatery is bound to open up at D-Side that it could serve as an additional checkpoint and if not the eatery then maybe the mess can do the job. The delivery guy is then bound to come to that checkpoint as according to the company rules he can’t deliver a parcel at a place other than the one mentioned else we can file a complaint.
DoJMA : ‘Ice n Spice’ is listed as an Amazon pickup point. So are you proposing a new pickup store or just an unofficial delivery point?
Aseem : ‘Ice n Spice’ has become a pickup spot as the administration didn’t allow the delivery at each and every hostel but since Amazon can’t stop it’s services it requested for the facility of a pickup point. Similarly if another place has to emerge as a pickup point then the delivery guy has to deliver the parcel there even if he’s reluctant to do so as those are the company rules.
DoJMA : Have you spoken to the admin about this?
Aseem : Yes I have and in fact this was the point which was much well received by the administration because even they realize that the D hostel is on the rear side of the campus.
DoJMA : Utilization of CSA times effectively has been a campaign promise for the last 3 years but nothing has changed so what’s different with you this time and how will you convince people that you can achieve this change?
Aseem : The CSA times runs on WordPress and making it more efficiently utilized is no that tough of a job but it’s just that I can’t prove that I will do it it’s more like it will happen or it’s bound to happen.
DoJMA : Regarding the cashless campus, which vendors are you in negotiations with and at what stage of negotiations are you currently in?
Aseem : Talking about D-mess, I asked the contractor to start the facility of Tez and he said that he would do it if given some time as the staff under him had been changed. He even suggested that he would purchase a new sim and link the sim to his account and give the mobile to one of his employees so that students can’t get away with showing the staff the earlier messages of transaction in his absence.
DoJMA : Besides D-mess the one of the laundries as well as the fruit vendor in the shopping complex still don’t accept cards or Tez, what do you plan to do about it?
Aseem : The guys at Ice n Spice don’t accept Tez because they fear that students would fool them resulting in losses but I guarantee you that if I provide them with the solution as mentioned earlier, then A, C, D And Food King would be happy to utilize Google Pay. There are two laundries and out of those two Power Laundry accepts cashless transactions while the other doesn’t but as per the current CSA that laundry is about to be replaced by another one soon enough so it’s no point worrying about lack of Tez at the laundry.
DoJMA : Your agenda also points towards a cleaner campus so have you estimated the cost for this project?
Aseem : I had mentioned Clean Campus with a particular regard to the hostel because when I talked with the administration regarding the lack of greenery in the campus they explained that for maintaining it they would have to bear huge costs so I changed my agenda point with main focus on hostel and questioned the administration about the provision of grass which was provided earlier. The administration said that the grass had to be cleared for construction of badminton courts for the students due to which the area surrounding the court was also cleared off grass, I enquired whether we can grow grass on the remaining portion and they agreed. As soon I get the post I will make sure that this happens at the earliest.
DoJMA : About the bus services, you mentioned at the debate that you have been talking to the Public Relations Officer, Mr.Halankar, who is in contact with the unions. What is your role in these negotiations?
Aseem : Firstly, about inter-city bus services, I intend to continue the work of the present CSA. About intra-Goa bus services, when I asked Sir about this, he said that he was already in talks with the Transport Minister, but negotiations had slowed down due to the death of Shri Manohar Parrikar, and he said that the matter would be resolved soon. I can’t say what soon is, but he said it will take some time, and didn’t give me an exact timeline. Till then, I intend to bring a private bus service on weekends to Bogmalo and Dabolim, from where students can catch another bus to other places.
DoJMA: Given the rolling out of this service by the present CSA for weekends, who have you spoken to about this?
Aseem: As a member of the present CSA-extended, I have been personally involved in this process, and took the responsibility on one weekend to collect the fare of 40 rupees. On that day, only four people came, and on my way to the gate from DH2, I met a lot of people who did not know that the service exists, and I realised that there is a lack of awareness among people. When I proposed this idea to the warden of DH-2, Dr. Sanjay Sahay, and told him about the current weekend bus service, he was surprised that it exists, and asked since when it was happening. ME and PhD students, and professors were not aware of this service. Someone said that professors have cars, and therefore won’t take the bus, but this is a flawed argument. When I was in the chamber of Sahay Sir, there were two other professors present, and they felt that this service must be there, as even they would prefer taking a bus for their daily commute. Workers need a bus service too, and if we can get the message out to everyone that this service, we will have more people using it than the four who were there that day. On the first two weekends of this service, it ran in profit. Only on the third weekend, it ran into loss and had to be discontinued. So, this idea has potential.
DoJMA: You proposed setting up of a hygiene committee to keep a check on places like the washrooms in the academic block. Who will this committee consist of?
Aseem: Presently, hygiene of campus eateries and areas within the academic block comes under the contracting committee, which is a 5-member committee consisting of the Deputy Registrar, Sailesh Mohanty Sir, and four professors, with no student involvement. I propose setting up a committee involving members of the student union in order to keep regular checks on places like washrooms. Presently, I feel the issue isn’t a lack of maintenance, but a lack of ventilation. We can’t make windows but we can make sure basic supplies like phenyl and Odonil are available to control the odour.
DoJMA: Are you in contact with any salons to replace the existing men’s salon on campus?
Aseem: When I spoke to the administration regarding this, they said that any salon coming in should be systematically managed. There should be transparency as to profits and salaries of workers. Also, the administration wants the cost to be in the range of 50-70 rupees, as the previous two CSAs tried to bring in a more expensive salon costing 100-120 rupees for a haircut. The administration refused because professors as well as a large number of students did not want to pay such a large amount for a haircut. For that, I have spoken to the owner of Max’s in MES, where most BITSians go, first informally, and later in formal capacity as a candidate. He said that he can’t make a pitch to the administration himself, and if I manage to bring him in as a member of the CSA, he’ll be most happy to set up shop on campus.
DoJMA: What do you feel is the benefit of setting up ramps in each mess, considering most buildings on campus have stairs?
Aseem: The B-Dome and the LTs and other academic buildings do have a provision for ramps, and D-mess has no stairs if I recall correctly, but A and C mess have 2-3 stairs at the entrance. The Government of India mandates that there should be ramps for the disabled in places where students have to go on a daily basis. If I break my leg, I’ll either have to hop my way up the stairs or be carried. When I approached the administration about this, they agreed to look into this, and this was even noted down on paper in a diary. However, given the way the campus is constructed, in hostels, there are lots of stairs, and building a ramp there will be a lot of trouble. However, this can be done for messes.
DoJMA: Let’s move on to continuing the work of the previous CSA. For your first point, are you in contact with any opticians for spectacle repairs?
Aseem: I’m currently in talks with Eye Care Opticals, Vasco. There is a currently an empty shop in the shopping complex, and I did consider bringing in a full-time optical store, but I spoke to previous CSA members who told me that it once housed a bookstore that closed down as it ran into loss. Most people won’t even buy new specs, they will repair their existing ones instead. So, I propose to have someone from the shop collect them on a monthly basis, repair them and deliver them on campus 3-4 days later, just like Mukund Rathi did during midsems, but on a regular basis.
DoJMA: On BITSian discounts, in addition to places already offering discounts, are you in negotiations with anyone else?
Aseem: I’ll say that firstly, those places that already offer discounts will continue to do so. When it comes to new places, I can negotiate a price with them only in official capacity as a member of the student body, along the appropriate channels, if I’m elected.
DoJMA: About continuing Passport Seva, have you spoken to the present CSA about the process and paperwork involved?
Aseem: I have received information about the person to contact in the passport office from the present CSA. Due to the positive response in previous editions, we only need to email him and decide a date, all you need to do is set aside your time to show up.
DoJMA: Thank you for talking to us.
Aseem: Thank you.