IIT Kanpur has been facing a space crunch for quite some time now. The demolition of Girls Hostel(GH)-2, led to a shortage of rooms for female students, even though GH Tower had been set up.
Last year, female PhD students of two batches were housed in New Research Associate(RA) building – Y13 with single and Y14 with double accommodation. One of the reasons for space crunch was that the strength of Y13 female PhD students was way beyond usual, with around 80 girls in the batch, compared to over 40 in Y14 and around a dozen in the new batch of Y15.
For the Y14 female PhD students were to be given single accommodation, and around 200 girls were expected in the Y15 batch(across all programmes of study), the institute was falling short of rooms, yet again.
In lieu of that, it was decided to accommodate girl students in a newly constructed block in Hall-8. The block was constructed over the hostel football field; isolated from the main building.
In a meeting held on July 2, 2015, the Hall-8 HEC approved the proposal in principle. Certain guidelines were laid down, in consultation with Hall-8 members, female representatives and the institute. That included a proposal to issue a separate I-card to the female residents, endorsed by the warden in charge, which has to be deposited with the lady guard at the time of entrance. Further, if any non-resident girl is visiting the hostel after midnight, double entry – both at the main gate and the girls block – be required apart from being escorted by a resident girl student. Also, it was suggested that separate I-cards be issued for mess, to avoid any misuse by non-resident students.
The new block has 58 rooms, out of which 53 rooms were proposed to be allocated for residents and 5 rooms(with double accommodation) to be reserved for guests. Prevailing restrictions like 12 am to 6 am curfew were agreed upon to be upheld for movement between blocks. The common areas to remain accessible throughout; excluding the badminton courts, which were proposed to be closed for girls during 12 am to 6 am, for it is located between the boy’s block. It was decided that the resident girls will be represented in the HEC by at most two female representatives.
Note that the aforementioned rules are not strict, but guidelines, that can be revised over time.
Though a co-ed hostel has come up for the first time in IIT Kanpur, so is not the case with IITs in general. For instance, IIT Gandhinagar has introduced gender-neutral housing. As per newspaper reports, though one among the six hostel blocks has been reserved for girls, they are free to opt for a room in other blocks. IIT Bombay also has one co-ed hostel.
Speaking to Vox Populi, Samyak Jain, Convener of the Council of Students for Hostel Affairs, said: “This is an interim solution to the space crunch. Girls will eventually be moved to GH Tower-2, which is currently under construction. But that will take at least two years to be complete.”
Written by Bhanu Pratap Singh Tanwar and Samarth Bansal