In the midst of controversy over the slashing of fees in IIMs, the Union human resource development ministry has locked horns with IIT-Powai, taking exception to the construction of two multi-million-rupee 'luxurious' hostel buildings without sanction.
"The Indian Institute of Technology-Powai has not observed the code formalities as required for such type of construction. Estimates were not prepared as per CPWD (Central Public Works Department) norms and specifications. Rather, the building has been planned to make it a luxurious one," the ministry sources said.
It noted that Rs 36.50 crore (Rs 365 million) were spent for the construction of two hostel buildings of 532 rooms each and a cafeteria of 1,500 capacity when the government grant was Rs 27.53 crore (Rs 275.3 million) and the alumni of IIT-Powai had provided Rs 10.77 crore (Rs 107.7 million).
Referring to the response of the IIT in the matter listing reasons for the huge cost of construction, the ministry felt that the items mentioned by the institute were 'sheer luxury and not required for providing hostel facilities for students.'
Besides, it observed that the built up area per student came to around 24 sq mts which seemed to be on a 'much higher side. Normally 15 sq mts, including the common area, is more than sufficient for a student for single occupancy.'
In this regard, the ministry felt that the per student cost of construction of Rs 350,000 was 'very high' in comparison to the normal cost of Rs 100,000 per student in other IITs.
The ministry also faulted that IIT for not floating open tenders for shortlisting of contractors for award of construction work and no detailed advertisement or tender notice was issued for shortlisting of architects.
"It is clear that the institute has not observed any code formalities required for award of such huge work and overshot all the specifications and norms of providing a decent accommodation to the students," the sources said.