Coffee With Feeds – Jittam Bhattacharya, candidate for General Secretary, 2017-2018

You said that you’re standing in the elections to help the student community. Any particular reason why you decided to stand for the post of General Secretary? Why not stand for President next year?

I have always been dedicated to helping the students, from my first year where I was the mess representative. I’ve taken a lot of steps to ensure the messes function properly and the menu is balanced. I also took initiative to help during the water and mess crisis last year. I had interacted with the students a lot and learnt how to solve problems.

When we moved to Garnet hostel this year, we faced 3 major issues.    

WiFi: the geometry of the hostel gave a lot of issues related to WiFi. We made a petition and escalated it through the right authorities. We were made a lot of promises, but nothing really happened. CSG is very approachable, so when I went and met him, he explained all the problems. They came to my room to explain how there are compatibility issues between HP and the L1 bidder in the tender process for the routers. This issue will take time to solve and needs constant following up.

Mosquito nets: Students from Garnet A and Garnet B aren’t able to enjoy the benefit of mosquito nets. This becomes a big problem later on. I kept enquiring with the EMC, but nothing could be done due to lack of funds. I feel if I stand for the post of GS, there will be representation to solve this issue.

Quality of water: We all know the issues that occurred when the Kelby systems were replaced. The solution proposed right now involves the construction of a centralized RO plant which distributes water throughout campus. If I am elected, I will definitely fight for this process to be followed up properly.

Change cannot happen in one day. I can however continuously work to make sure that gradual change does happen.

Your manifesto talks about regulating auto fares. How do you plan to convince the auto drivers to do so?

Firstly, if we improve the existing transport facilities in campus, the requirement for auto is not needed. Previously the prices for other products like coconuts was regulated in campus. I think a similar agreement can be made here also. If there is a regulated fare chart for autos, that would also immensely help the students.

Many people in NITT feel that what candidates write in their manifestos are empty promises that won’t be implemented. How does one change that mindset?

By focusing on what is important. I’ve gone around talking to people and campaigning for this post. This way, I’ve prioritized the 3 most important points which I will focus on: mosquito nets, Wifi and water quality. If I’m able to do at least these 3, people will be happy and even I will be satisfied.

One of your points on your manifesto is about ‘no cultural barrier’. As an NITT student, do you feel that sometimes language becomes a barrier? If yes, how do you tackle it?

I think language is a barrier at the start. I am not a Tamilian and I don’t know the language. But I think NITT culture is very cosmopolitan and I am easily able to learn about many languages and cultures here. That was the reason I had spoken about that.

Why do you think the implementation of the food court hasn’t happened all these years and what is your plan to implement it?

If I’m not wrong, the student council 2 years ago did something about that. There was something in the mess tender that addressed this very issue. The way we should tackle this is to adopt a strategy similar to the one in IIT Madras. I have spoken to the concerned authorities and I think we can reach a solution.

What do you think about NITTFEST chairman being chosen like how it is done in Festember and Pragyan? Also, affter your experience in NITTFEST this year, if elected, what would you change next year as chairman of NITTFEST?

What I heard from many PG students yesterday at Soapbox is their participation in NITTFEST and there are a lot of issues surrounding that. If I am elected, I will make sure there are no issues with regard to the participation of the PG students. I think one post in NITTFEST core should be from an elected representative, and the other posts can be nominated by the previous core members. I think the current system of selection is proper and need not be changed.

What are your plans to ensure the smooth implementation of time table scheduling?

Some departments have exams almost every day. I think there should be a 1-2 weeks period in a month where there are closed book tests. We should talk to Raja sir and then implement such a system.

What is your opinion on the curfew system?

If the curfew system is changed, it should be done gradually. Maybe start with the M.Tech and MS and PhD courses first, before moving on to the other courses. I think the creation of ‘Safe Activity Zones’ can also be done to try and solve this.  I believe admin has already done something in this regard. If this is successful, we can fight for incremental change.

What do you feel are the issues that are majorly affecting our campus at the moment?

WiFi is a major issue, Steps are taken to solve, I will make sure we follow up. Water is another issue which I will make sure gets solved in my tenure. I think the branding of the campus is also of great importance and we should try increasing our ranking in NIRF and other lists.

Is there something you would like to tell our readers specifically before they vote?

I want everyone’s participation, to just turn out and vote. They may choose me, they may choose another candidate, but it is important to actually go and vote. Please go through the manifestos, watch the Soapbox videos and make an informed choice.  


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