I went with one such student to the Girls' Hostel to look at the entire process. I must say that while the student volunteers were very helpful, polite, welcoming, the process itself was not befitting an IIT. At the entrance, it said, new students should report at the TV Room, and there were no directions to the TV Room. We asked someone, and she was nice enough to take us to the TV Room. I am not sure if everyone would be able to find such a helpful person all the time. At the TV Room, there were 4 student volunteers sitting on the chairs right next to each other, and there was one family in front of us. I don't think all four of them were helping that family/student simultaneously, and could have helped us in parallel, but since all four of them were sitting right next to each other, there was no way, we could approach them till the family in front made way for us. For us, it was a wait of less than 30 seconds, but what if 3-4 families came at the same time. If the volunteers had spread their tables just a bit, they would be able to help people in parallel.
Then we got the key to the room allotted, and the bad news: Three girls had to stay in the room designed for 2 students. One of the Student Guides took us to the room. It cannot have 3 beds, 3 desks, 3 chairs, and one almirah (2 almirahs being part of the civil structure). So, of course, there will be no almirah, and somehow the 3 girls will have to share 2 almirahs. There won't be 3 tables and chairs. One could keep one table in the room, and have a bit of space, or keep two tables and have no space to move about. How are students supposed to study. Well, they can go to library and study there.
We came to know that the second year students have been given single rooms. This was, frankly speaking, shocking. Why couldn't there be double rooms for both first year and second year students.
And, even if triple-seated rooms were necessary, there was an alternative that I have seen elsewhere. You put 3 beds and one extra almirah in the room. Take out all tables and chairs. Put several tables and chairs in one common room within the hostel (instead of asking them to go to library) and to make it attractive for students to study there, make that room air conditioned, just like library is.
The walls of the hostel were dirty, the corridors were dirty, and this is when the majority of the students haven't returned back. I am sure there are supposed to be sweepers in the hostel cleaning all this. Couldn't we do this a day before the new students and their parents arrived.
I am told that what I have seen today is much better than what is available at other IITs. And I have no reason to doubt that. After all, all IITs know that they will get the best students even if the facilities were much worse. But it is not a satisfactory answer to me. We just need to do the best we can, always, irrespective of what the expectations are, or what our competition is doing.
Of course, we can raise larger questions. When we knew the intake of 2011 in 2007, why do we have a shortage of hostel rooms. Is four years not enough to build sufficient capacity?