A Critique of the ICC Sexual Harassment Rules 2017 and Rules 2021

The POSH act was constituted and enacted in 2013 in India aiming to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace and offer redressal, in case of an offence. The act mandates that all employers constitute an internal complaints committee (ICC) to make recommendations for the prevention, prohibition, and redressal of sexual harassment in the workplace. IIT Kanpur being a primary employer constituted its ICC in 2016, comprising of a presiding officer and five other members from both academic and non-academic sections, and an external member who has experience working with NGOs committed to the cause of women and issues related to sexual harassment. The committee has drafted two documents titled IIT Kanpur (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of Students) Rules 2017 or the IIT Kanpur (Inquiry into Complaints of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace) Rules, 2021, prescribing the rules for the inquiry into the complaints of sexual harassment. Through an analysis of the two ICC documents, we attempt to understand and critique the existing institutional mechanisms in IIT Kanpur for preventing and redressing internal complaints.

Two primary problems in terms of the content of the policy documents are the vagueness of its language and the omission of relevant concerns. The vagueness of language indicates something which is mentioned but not adequately explained. It leads to confusing and random interpretations by all the parties involved. It may then also lead to arbitrary decision-making by the committee. In the Rules 2021 document, under the section ‘the manner of inquiry into the complaint,’ it is mentioned that “the past sexual history of the aggrieved woman shall not be subjected to probe during the inquiry proceedings and any such information shall be deemed to be irrelevant for the purposes of complaint of sexual harassment.” Despite the sensitivity towards the complainant that is implied in the clause, it allows for the misogynist practice of judging a woman’s character through questioning the nature of her social and personal relationships. The lack of clarity about the definition of ‘sexual history’ allows intrusive questioning about the personal relationships of the complainant. All her social relationships thus acquire a sexual meaning where the assumption is that her sexual history can be understood by examining her social relationships. The lack of clarity about what sexual history means opens up space for character judgement. Invoking the complainant’s relationships, her behaviour in social settings etc. has an undertone of moral policing. For example, the number of male friends a woman has, her outgoing nature and physical expressions of affection towards her friends may be misinterpreted as her sexual availability. This kind of questioning suggests that the complaint is being judged on the basis of the complainant’s character rather than on the basis of the authenticity of the complaint. As such the onus of having to prove the validity of her complaint falls on the complainant.  

Lack of clarity in the clauses applies to the 2017 rules also. Although the document clearly mentions that the rules pertain to those complaints of sexual harassment filed against the students of IITK, there is confusion in the document whether the complainant could be women in the campus in general or specifically the students. When the document defines the act of sexual harassment, it refers to the aggrieved as a woman, while at another place the aggrieved is specifically mentioned to be a student of IIT Kanpur. Such vagueness in definitions and various other clauses causes confusion as to whether the rules apply to all women of IIT Kanpur, or only to the students of IIT Kanpur for their complaint against another student of the institute.

The omission of relevant concerns and questions is another point of contention. Omissions could be understood as ideas that are excluded or left out. For example, the Rules 2021 document provides the complainant with the option to make an appeal to the Board of Governors if she is dissatisfied with the report of the committee. But it does not mention the procedure to be followed to make an appeal. Unlike the 2021 document, the IITK rules 2017, specifically drafted for the students, provides the procedure for appeal. But neither of the documents mentions the procedure to be followed if the complainant is uncomfortable with individual members of the committee and their remarks during the investigation process. 

The lack of an intersectional understanding of gender is another problem with the documents. An intersectional approach would see gender interacting with other power structures such as caste, religion, class, and family. People’s experience of sexual harassment in terms of the physical and psychological impact it has on them, and their ways of coping with the experience and their preparedness to file a complaint depend on their social background. For example, the concerns of a student from an underprivileged caste, class background may not be the same as that of a student from an urban, upper class caste background when it comes to filing a complaint. Another way in which this lack manifests is the notion of gender binary that identifies the victim as a woman while the perpetrator is always a man. The rules therefore turn a blind eye to the experiences of sexual harassment that men or, people from the LGBTQI community may face. However, this is not a problem exclusive to the IITK ICC documents, but one that is inherent in the law itself.

Moreover, although the 2017 document is drafted specifically to address sexual harassment cases of the students, it does not adopt a student-centric approach. Granted the existing hierarchy between faculty and student, a student-centric approach should entail adequate student representation within the committee, as well as adherence to a students’ perspective, which takes into account the context of students and their concerns. The document lacks both. 

In other words, without adequate student representation, the power would be concentrated within the committee, mostly composed of faculty members who might not always be able to appreciate and understand the context of students’ concerns. The concentration of power is a result of the top-down model of the committee structured by the institute. The top-down model means that the people at the top have the decision-making power while the people who are impacted by the policies have no say in the matter. The model may also lead to discriminatory practices during the process of investigation. In addition to being a workplace, IIT Kanpur is also an educational institution. Although adequate student representation does not in itself guarantee a student-centric approach, it is definitely a means to address the concentration of power and its consequences. 

To contest and challenge the undemocratic nature of the documents in what they say, how they have been constructed, what they imply, and their possible implementation, the campus community will have to initiate a conversation amongst themselves. Through such conversations, it is essential for the campus community to build a critical understanding of the various issues which concern them and possible ways to engage with those issues.

Savitribai Phule Study Circle (SPSC IITK)

12th February, 2023


Savitribai Phule Study Circle (SPSC IITK)

We are an informal feminist collective constituted by students of IIT Kanpur. We stand against structures that perpetuate patriarchy and aim to critically engage with issues that concern the campus community through an intersectional feminist lens.


Review of Report on Students’ Hostel Accommodation

It has come to our notice that a committee was formed on 22nd August 2022 through office order (no DIR/IITK/OO-64) to review the current accommodation status of students and suggest measures for improvement. The report was submitted on 28.10.2022 with the signatures in agreement by all the members of the committee including the President (Students’ Gymkhana) and a PG student representative recommended by the President. The report of the committee is attached in the annexure.

Current Situation as per Committee

  • The total strength of students as of 2022-23-1 is 9000.
  • The total number of available rooms and beds is 6100 and 7100, respectively.
  • As of August 2022, 250 Ph.D. students who have completed 6 years are staying in single rooms and 60 units of SBRA/NRA, while 50 rooms are occupied by degree extended masters’ students.

Recommendations by the Committee

  • To strive towards no crunching policy by standardizing the capacity limits as per single rooms of hall 1.
  • Delinking accommodation from admission will make the institute no longer obligated to provide accommodation on the campus to the students on joining the institute.
  • Delinking accommodation vis-a-vis academic status will put an upper limit on the duration of the accommodation provided. As per the current practice, students are provided with accommodation if they are academically registered. As per the recommendation, up to the normal duration of the program (for example, 10 semesters for a Ph.D.) normal (single) accommodation can be provided, for 11th and 12th semester shared accommodation and no accommodation beyond it.
  • Construction of new hostels.

The Reality of Committee’s Recommendations & Its Meaning for Students

  • Delinking accommodation from admission

IIT Kanpur being an all-residential academic institute provides relatively affordable accommodations to the residents, mess facility, safety & security, 24 hours electricity supply, internet facility, and easy 24-hour access to the academic area and research labs. If admission at IITK doesn’t ensure accommodation to the new students, management of residential life will add to the already high academic burden of the students. Furthermore, student friendly campuses like IIT Kanpur provide opportunity of free mixing to students coming from varying socio-economic backgrounds. Leaving students on their own to find accommodation will increase such divides among them as quality of accommodation would depend on its affordability.

  • Delinking accommodation vis-a-vis academic status

Delinking accommodation from academic status seems nothing but an unjust punishment for the students for non-completion of the program within ‘normal’ time. Research work is dynamic in nature which is affected by many factors even on a day to day basis, such as the supervisor, the availability of lab equipment, nature of the work itself etc. Double accommodation after the normal completion time and no accommodation beyond that will further complicate the residential life of those students and can lead to further delays in the program completion. If we try to check whether this recommendation can help resolve the accommodation crunch, we can predict otherwise. According to the report, about 2000 more beds/rooms are required for a crunch-free situation. 360 rooms are occupied by PG students residing in hostels, SBRA & NRA. If we assume that by the implementation of this policy, the institute will have these 360 rooms available, this will not help us with our requirement of 2000 rooms. Only the construction of new halls seems to be a rational way out of the problem of space crunch. These recommendations seem nothing but a way to get away from the responsibility of arranging accommodation for all.

  • Construction of new hostels

This recommendation of the committee of constructing new hostels according to the requirement is the only possible solution. But, beyond recommendation, the institute doesn’t seem to be serious about actually finding a solution. According to a report by Nirvaak, Hall of residence 14 was supposed to be available for students by December 2022 (quoting the DoIP office). According to the Hall allocation policy report (2022-23), this date is January 2023. In a recent email, the CoSHA quoted ADHA stating that the construction of Hall 14 will not be completed before August 2023. Regarding hall 15, Nirvaak quoted SG saying that it is not on the priority list and its work has not even started as of August 2022. At the same time, the institute has seen large multi-story buildings, tracks, etc coming up, which seem to be a matter of real priority. We have witnessed the roads built on a war footing recently before the visit of PM. This indicates that students’ issues are of no importance to the institute administration.

Role of Students’ Gymkhana and the Student Community

The responsible authorities, such as the President Gymkhana, neither communicated the formation of such a committee to the students’ community nor has made any efforts to include the opinion of students on a matter of utmost importance to them. SG has also failed to hold the institute administration accountable for the delay in addressing the students’ issues. If these recommendations become policy, it will affect the current students first, especially the PhD students. It will also distress students (in their 6th year and beyond) who are already in a stressful situation both academically and financially. Policies like these will discourage students from taking up challenging research problems which take an ample amount to solve. SG’s compliance with the recommendations does a great disservice to the student community. The student community must come together and hold the SG and institute administration accountable for not prioritising students’ concerns and for making policies that do not serve students’ best interests. The student community must also demand that these recommendations are not implemented and are taken back immediately.



Forum for Critical Thinking (FCT-IITK)

Forum for Critical Thinking (FCT-IITK) is an informal group of IIT Kanpur students and community members aiming to develop a critical understanding of issues facing the institute and the country. FCT-IITK formed out of a series of discussions amongst students who were concerned about the erosion of democratic values both within the campus and in the country. This forum aims to understand the systemic reasons that underlie the problems faced by the campus community, and attempts to understand it in relation to the socio-political context we occupy within the larger body politic of the nation.
Follow us @ https://www.facebook.com/iitkfct
You can reach us @ criticalthinkingforumiitk@gmail.com

One More Fatal Accident at a Construction Site in the Campus

Hamara Manch, December 11, 2022

Immediately after HM learnt about this accident, we tried to talk to all those who could give us some information about the incident and the person involved. We talked to the neighbours of the deceased, his co-workers and the concerned supervisors, who were present at the site at the time of the accident. We could not talk to the family so close to their loss for obvious reasons. This report is based on whatever we could gather, as there has been no communication or information forthcoming from any of the concerned authorities.

The Incident

The accident happened on Mon, 28th November afternoon, around 2-2.30 pm, at the construction site of the Type-III apartments being constructed behind the director’s residence. There are two blocks in the site – one of them is in the finishing stage presently; the accident happened at the second block which is under construction. The worker was polishing aluminium frames for doors with a hand held grinder on the ground floor. Apparently the running grinder slipped out of his hand and cut through one of his legs near the thigh and hip joint. Co-workers tied a tourniquet with a piece of cloth to stop the bleeding in the severed thigh. While the supervisors present called for an ambulance from the health centre. He was first taken to the HC, from where he was referred to the Regency Hospital. He died due to excessive bleeding by the time/ or just after he reached Regency.

The Deceased Person

The deceased Hriday Narain Pal was around 60 years old and stayed in Barasirohi close to IITK gate. His wife has a shack at that gate. His family included 3 daughters, 2 of whom are married. They stay in a joint family with the families of two of his other brothers. One of them died in a road accident a few years back, the surviving brother is a truck driver; Pal was the eldest.

Contractual Arrangements

Unlike many other buildings being constructed in the campus presently by CPWD, this particular building is being constructed under the supervision of IWD. In fact, IWD personnel are present at the site almost all the time. We were told that the building contractor is M/s Vishnu Saran. But this particular work was sub-contracted to another petty contractor by Vishnu Saran. And Hriday Narain was employed by the petty contractor. Of course, the way it works the latter two arrangements are unlikely to have any formal paper trace through a written contract and/ or appointment letter.

Apparently Rs 6 lakhs were transferred by M/s Vishnu Saran to the family’s account almost immediately after the death of Pal. Vishnu Saran has a long and chequered past when it comes to labour laws and a very brief background is necessary to appreciate the context.

M/s Vishnu Saran and the group’s other registered company, Gupta Enterprises, have made large number of buildings in the campus over the last couple of decades. While the Environment Building was being constructed by Gupta Enterprises, many workers reported violation of several statutory labour laws and the Institute was forced to form a high-powered committee which actually found the workers’ claims to be true. The workers went all the way to the CIC of India who also ruled in favour of the workers. And yet it was those workers who were ‘blacklisted’ and did not find any work by any contractor in the campus for a number of years. Their case is still sub judice in the labour court for over 13 years[1]. Meanwhile, the company continues to get regular contracts on campus despite its track record of labour law violations.

Accountability for the Accident

The fatal accident once again raises several important issues:

  1. Did Hriday Narain undergo any safety training for working with a hand-held grinder that, as we are well aware, can lead to serious accidents, like in this case?
  2. Did anyone from the petty-contractor or supervisors of the main contractor and/ or the IWD personnel have training in any sort of safety protocol and/ or protocol to be followed when such serious accidents happen at a work site?
  3. Does HC have any protocol when such potentially life-threatening cases reach them or does their responsibility end at merely ‘referring’ the case?

Of course the answer to all such questions is likely to be in the negative.

Hriday Narain is no more and we can forget this case, like many others, by either blaming his stars, or believing that Rs 6 lakhs is a good enough price for his life. Worse, we may now even blame him for his ‘carelessness’.

And this is not an isolated case either; a list of recent HM reports on worker deaths is given below:

  • In January this year a gardener in the academic area died within hours of reporting for work on a severely cold winter morning[2] (the details can be found in the links provided in the footnotes).
  • Last July a young girl passed away where the migrant construction workers of the institute were being made to stay by the contractor in Nankari[3].
  • Before this we reported on the Earth Science building wall collapse where three workers were buried under it in 2019[4].

These are only the recent incidents of fatalities that have come to the notice of HM.

Concluding Remarks

Accident by its very definition is unplanned but adequate safety protocol can ensure that the chance of a mishap is reduced to the minimum possible. According to the law the Institute is the Principal Employer of the contract workers irrespective of their direct employer. And hence it is the Institute’s responsibility to ensure adequate safety norms are in place, and more importantly, they are being followed in practise. The accidents listed above suggest there have been serious lapses in oversight. Recent tendering process of the Institute suggests that there has been drastic and arbitrary reduction of workforce combined with inadequate equipment and accessories, which is likely to lead to more serious accidents[5].

How many more accidents and lives lost like that of Hriday Narain do we need before we raise and find answers for systemic issues, so that workers have a dignified and safe work environment in the campus?

[1] For more details: https://sites.google.com/site/iitkcfdevelopment/concerns/appropriation-of-daily-wages/environmental-building-construction-site?authuser=0

[2] https://nirvaakiitk.wordpress.com/2022/01/25/the-death-and-life-of-gardener-rakesh-how-many-times-this-story-will-get-repeated/

[3] https://sites.google.com/site/iitkcfdevelopment/hamara-manch/hamara-manch-updates/2021-07-18-a-window-to-the-construction-workers-in-iitk-amidst-the-pandem?authuser=0

[4] https://sites.google.com/site/iitkcfdevelopment/hamara-manch/hamara-manch-updates/2019-09-01-retaining-toe-wall-collapsed-at-earth-sciences-building-three-workers-died-one-critically-injured?authuser=0

[5] See for instance our recent report on the new water supply contract: https://sites.google.com/site/iitkcfdevelopment/hamara-manch/hamara-manch-updates/2022-09-09-a-report-on-the-new-water-supply-and-wastewater-contract?authuser=0 

Why is a Loud Sweeper Truck Moving Around in Our Campus? Analysis of the New Road Cleaning Contract 

Hamara Manch. October 2022


Many of us have encountered the large, ponderous truck slowly trudging the roads of the  Institute and all of us have heard it even if we have not seen it. Apparently, this new truck  and over half a dozen other less obtrusive machines would revolutionise road cleaning in our  campus by mechanising it. Further it apparently is in keeping with the cost-cutting effort  which the Institute has been emphasising recently. Hamara Manch tried to assess the  implications and implementation of the new contract. We decided to follow the daily routine  of the road cleaning truck along with the other machines for a day to appreciate the change.  We talked to the workers and supervisors about their work – both in the earlier system and  the new one. We also attempted to understand the logic of the change by the Institute through  the tenders floated for the work which were available in the public domain. Our analysis  suggests that the new contract seems to have replaced an effectively working system  perfected over years with a dispensation which increases carbon footprint, increases cost to  the Institute, causes serious noise pollution, leads to job losses and does not even give a  better performance


Many of us have encountered the large, ponderous truck slowly trudging the roads of the  Institute and all of us have heard it even if we have not seen it. Covering almost half the road  in its width and with all kinds of gadgets and parts sprouting out of its body it makes for an  impressive sight. Apparently, this new truck and over half a dozen other less obtrusive  machines would revolutionise road cleaning in our campus by mechanising it. Further it  apparently is in keeping with the cost-cutting effort which the Institute has been emphasising  recently. Since it is universally acknowledged that our campus has always been one of the  cleanest spaces ever, we at Hamara Manch were keen to understand how the new  dispensation would improve a system which has been effective and efficient for so many  decades. We also tried to assess the cost implication to the Institute due to the implementation  of the new contract. But since the tendering process and the actual contract is not available in  the public domain (this is surprising since the tendering process in a public-funded Institute should be a transparent process) and usually not shared even if specifically asked for, we have tried to do  some estimates and calculation with the information available.  

We decided to follow the daily routine of the road cleaning truck along with the other  machines for a day to appreciate the change. We talked to the workers and supervisors about  their work – both in the earlier system and the new one. We also attempted to understand the  logic of the change by the Institute through the tenders floated for the work which were  available in the public domain. And this is what we learnt. 

The Work 

The sanitation and cleaning of the Institute is broadly divided into three categories – the  cleaning of the roads and bylanes of the campus, the cleaning of the enclosed and built in official, academic, and residential spaces (like the hostels) and the door-to-door garbage  collection from the residences of the non-hostel population of the campus. The disposal of  this garbage is a separate activity which needs coordination with the above three. This report  is about the cleaning of the main streets and bylanes of the campus.  

According to the tender document of IITK there are around 22 kms of roads (https://www.iitk.ac.in/iwd/file/2022/11-C-D1-2022-23/Tenderdocument.pdf , pp31-33) which need to  be cleaned on both sides including the footpaths, sidewalks and the drains (that is around 45  kms). This calculationdoes not include various bylanes and alleys, shopping complexes, etc.  which also come under the purview of the contract. The Institute supports a population of  

around 15,000 who traverse these roads throughout the day. Other than human and animal  generated waste and trash there is debris due to the foliage and vegetation, which increases  manifold during the monsoons and summers when strong dusty winds blow. Then there is the  mud, dirt, sand, due to the construction and other activities as well as much larger waste  generated at the time of activities like convocation and Antaragni. 

How was the Work Done till Now? 

● The cleaning of the entire campus (external spaces as detailed above) was done by a  crew of forty-one including three supervisors, five drivers, and thirty-three workers.  The details are as follows: 

o Six sets of three people each with a hand cart swept and gathered debris and trash  of the entire campus including the residential areas, halls, and the other areas.  These 18 people cleaned the entire campus with long handled jhadus, collected the  trash and deposited it at regular intervals to be picked up subsequently. 

o Then there were 5 tractors with a crew of four each – one driver and three helpers  who picked up the trash collected at different points in the campus and then  dumped it at the designated point at one end of the campus (near lane 37). From  there the municipality trucks collect it and take it outside the campus. These  twenty people and the tractors also collected the dry leaves and other seasonal  debris strewn all over the campus. All through the day the three helpers along with  each tractor, picked up the trash with shovels and spades and plastic gunny bags  into the tractor’s trolley.  

● Significantly, though the area and the population of the campus have increased  substantially over the years, the Institute has not increased the strength of the crew  employed to clean it. And given that the campus looked pristinely clean all times of  the day and throughout the year these workers with their ordinary equipment were  doing a stellar job in spite of the massive increase in work. Understandably their  workload kept getting increasingly intense. 

● The Institute provided 120 litres of diesel every week for the 5 tractors which comes  to 20 litres a day for the 5 tractors or 4 litres per tractor per day (sundays are holidays unless there is a special occasion/need). Surprisingly the  administration refused to increase the allocation even during phases where the  workload spiked, for example, due to extra debris that fell during storms, fallen leaves  during autumn, or events which cause a significant increase in the number of visitors  in the campus. Apparently, authorities have been regularly telling the workers to make  do with the amount or pay for extra diesel themselves if it was required. Cost reduction considerations have been cited as the reason for this stance of the Institute  authorities. 

● For the last several months the Institute has been refusing to pay for routine repair  maintenance expenses of these tractors. Most of them have been in use for several  years and need frequent repairs. Resultantly the crew often have had to make do with  lesser number of tractors which increased their workload even further.  

Given the nature of the work, the workers are out in the elements all through the year. It is  thanks to these workers that our campus remains immaculately clean through the year,  whether intense summer heat and severe cold or incessant rains. And yet till a few years back  the Institute did not even provide toilet facilities for workers who had no access to buildings.  Most of them were forced to relieve themselves in the open or hold it in till the shift got over.  Given there were several female workers, one can imagine their inconvenience trying to find  privacy and access to clean water and some semblance of hygiene. Till date there is no  restroom for workers to take a break during their long day of work. Most of us have seen  women and men workers having lunch and even lying down on the side of the road during  lunch hour.  

How is the Work Done in the New Dispensation? 

The total manpower to be deployed for the entire work detailed above according to the new  contract is ten – which includes a manager (skilled), a driver (skilled), three semi-skilled  workers and five unskilled workers (https://www.iitk.ac.in/iwd/file/2022/11-C-D1-2022-23/Tenderdocument.pdf, p28). Other than that the contract specified a list of  mechanical devices including the Truck mounted Mechanical Sweeper, one Battery-Operated  Rider on Sweeper, 5 Manual Sweepers, and a High Pressure Jet Machine with Mop and Rod  for pathway cleaning. The contract is very exact about the specifications of each of these  machines including the acceptable brands. We at HM decided to follow the routine of the  crew and their machines to better understand the entire process. Since the machines seem to  have become the focus of the cleaning, we would detail the work according to the machines  involved. 

Truck mounted Mechanical Sweeper 

● Work starts at 6 in the morning and when we reached the nursery the truck was  getting ready for the day. The truck apparently has an 1800 litre tank for water and a  6000 litre tank (Ibid) to collect garbage. It has three metal sweepers, one in the centre and  two on the sides, and the litter and garbage is collected and sucked up into the tank. It  also has nozzled jet and hose to sprinkle water to suppress dust. Around 6.30am the  tanks were filled and the truck set out for its day’s work. And everybody around and  beyond came to know about it because of the overpowering sound it emitted which  seemed rather out of place in our unusually quiet campus. 

● The truck has a driver and two workers whose primary work seemed to be to clear  upcoming traffic from the way and picking up and removing unwieldy litter from the  truck’s way. These two workers are supposed to jog behind the truck for the entire  shift. As it made its way into the main thoroughfare, we realised the importance of  these two workers. In the morning the roads are filled with school going children on  their cycles, and parents and guardians on vehicles rushing towards their schools and  

work. And this ponderous truck was a veritable hurdle holding up traffic for precious  minutes as it negotiated curves and turns and crossroads. The two workers basically  acted as mobile traffic police to minimise the disruption but most importantly  ensuring young kids do not mistakenly get pulled under the truck while trying to cycle  past. It reminded us of scenes of royal elephants making the rounds with minders  clearing the road fortheir passage. 

● About the truck’s performance, on this particular day it stopped after barely a few  paces as something had gone wrong. It was set right after the combined efforts of 5-6  workers for around 15 minutes, before it slowly resumed its journey. Given that our  roads are mostly clean it was not easy to gauge its comparative performance. But on  several stretches we noted with surprise that the roads seemed to get dirtier after they  were swept by the truck. The workers explained that the low hanging branches of the  trees planted on both sides of the roads get tangled with the roof of the truck and as it  moves along it breaks them and the twigs and leaves fall on the road as the truck  passes. These get picked up on the return journey but a fresh pile gets deposited then.  Further the truck raised significant quantities of dust especially in the roads which  have ongoing construction along it. It was sprinkling some water but this seemed  inadequate for the dust. Apparently, the truck also cleaned the side drains, but we did  not see that while we were there. On another day we saw the drains being cleaned  manually. 

● We were told that the truck clocked in 34 to 37 kms every day. Which also meant that  those two workers covered the same distance on foot jogging behind the truck.The  truck consumed 33 litres of diesel per day which means around 198 litres per  week (6 days) and this is reimbursed by the Institute.  

● Further the truck needs to be washed and serviced thoroughly every day which  requires enormous quantities of water and takes around an hour and a half. The two  workers who had jogged behind the truck for the entire day are required to do this at  the end of their shift.  

Battery-Operated Rider on Sweeper 

● This machine with one operator usually cleans the academic area. The garbage  collected is piled at one place and then disposed off periodically in the e-rickshaw  also operated by the same worker.  

Manual Sweepers 

● The 5 manual sweepers are handled by 5 workers. The machines looked like home  vacuum cleaners that are manually manoeuvred and are supposed to clean the  sidewalks. But they do not seem to be designed for the task and hence extremely  inadequate and cumbersome to operate. We watched one worker struggle to collect  the seasonal flowers that had fallen on the sidewalk for 15 minutes. The stretch which  he went over what seemed like the umpteenth time was barely 15 paces long. If he  had a broom, he might have cleared a surface 5 times longer in the same time. And  yet he had to wrestle on with the machine trying to suck that single truant flower. It  was painful to watch. 

● The workers stated that these machines have in fact slowed down the entire process  and they were able to manage much more work more effectively with manual jhadoos  earlier. 

Tractors and the Crew 

● Technically the contract does not have provision for any more workers. But we learnt  that the 20 workers continue to do what they used to do in the earlier provision. Thus,  the 5 tractors with their crew of 4 go around collecting garbage from the campus as  earlier. They also pile up neat mounds of garbage for the truck to collect on its  majestic rounds as it is unable to reach the extremities of the road.  

● Significantly, these workers who seem to be doing most of the cleaning and picking  are not covered by any contract yet. And with whatever we could gather from the  workers, and their supervisors, they do not have any idea how the arrangement was  supposed to work financially. 

Table 1 is a comparison between the two contracts. 

Table 1: Manual Cleaning Contract vs. Mechanised Cleaning Contract 

Parameter Earlier Process of Manual  CleaningNew Contract for Mechanised  Cleaning
Manpower 41 ● 10 (official) ● 20 (not accounted for by the  contract)
Machines 5 Tractors and 6 hand carts ● 1 Sweeper Truck worth Rs 80  lakhs1 ● 1 Battery Operated Rider on  Sweeper worth Rs 11 lakhs ● 5 Manual Sweeper machines ● 5 Tractors not accounted for in  the contract
Diesel 120 litres per week ● 200 litres per week for truck ● 120 litres per week for tractors  (not in contract)
Cost of Contract ● Not Available ● Rs 5.6 lakhs for diesel  for tractors● 77 lakhs per annum ● Approx. Rs 10 lakhs for diesel  for truck  ● Rs 5.6 lakhs for diesel for  tractors (not in contract) 
Our Assessment  of PerformanceExtremely effective ● Inadequate with provisions of  the official contract  ● Tractors and crew of 20  workers essential ● No visible improvement
Further  Observations● Environmentally  friendly ● Smaller carbon footprint ● Provided employment  to more workers● Noise Pollution ● Many times larger carbon  footprint ● Traffic hazard ● Raises a lot of dust
OverallThe system worked well and  hence did not need to be  fixedThe logic of introducing the new  system which not only does not  improve the cleaning process but  seems to have several negative features  is unclear with the present information  available with us.
1This is an estimation based on internet search, we do not have information on the exact price of the machines

The Conundrum of the Contractual Process 

We discovered that three tenders were floated for the garbage clearance and street cleaning  contracts over 10 months (Sept. 2021 to June 2022). It is rather surprising to have three  tenders floated in such a short period and we could figure out neither the reasons nor the  considerations for the same. We have assumed the one floated last is the one which has gone  through.  

A closer look reveals that though each of them has the exact same scope of work, there were  wide variations on various prerequisites and specifications. For example, the estimated cost  of the contract varied from Rs 1.32 crores to Rs 76 lakhs. Further, the minimum eligibility  criteria of bidders ranged from having at least 100 workers on their rolls for the last three  years to 10 workers on their rolls. There do not seem to be any apparent logic or  

considerations for these variations. This raises serious questions about the validity of the  entire tendering process. We have attempted to capture some of the discrepancies in Table 2. 

Table 2: Comparison of 3 Widely Varying Tenders Floated for the Same Job  Specifications 

Item Tender Floated in  September 20212Tender Floated in March  20223Tender Floated in June  20224
Name of  WorkMechanized sweeping/  cleaning of all campus roads, footpaths, parking  spaces including disposal of solid waste  (generated from these areas and the green areas  on both side of the road up to a distance of  10 m from the edge of  the road) at designated  Institute solid waste collection pointsMechanized sweeping/  cleaning of all campus roads including footpaths,  parking spaces/outdoor structures  etc. and disposal of solid waste (generated from  these areas and the green areas on both side of  the road up to a distance of 10 m from the  edge of the road) into dustbins at designated  Institute solid waste collection pointsMechanized sweeping/  cleaning of all campus roads including footpaths,  parking spaces/outdoor structures  etc. and disposal of solid waste (generated from  these areas and the green areas on both side of  the road up to a distance of 10 m from the  edge of the road) into dustbins at designated  Institute solid waste collection points
Approximate Cost of WorkRs 100 lakhs Rs 132.47 lakhs Rs 76.99 lakhs + diesel
Duration of  ContractOne year extendable by a  period of two yearsOne year extended yearly up  to two yearsTwo years extendable up to  two more years
Average  Annual  Financial  Turnover for  EligibilityRs 1.5 crores per annum  for last three yearsRs 198.7 lakhs annually for  last three yearsRs 115.49 lakhs annually  for last three years
Manpower  Eligibility for  BiddingBidder should have had  more than 100 people on  their rolls on a daily basis  continuously for last  three yearsBidder should have had  more than 10 people on  their rolls on a daily basis  continuously for last three  yearsBidder should have had  more than 10 people on  their rolls on a daily basis  continuously for last three  years
Proposed  Manpower  for the  ContractTotal number not  specified Total estimated 6 Total estimated 10
Proposed  MachineryNot specified but  stipulated that minimum  Rs 1 crore machinery bill  to be submitted along  with bidNot specified All machineries specified  with details including exact  brands

Does Mechanisation Reduce Cost? 

We do not have the information of the earlier contract, but given what is apparent it would  include: 

● the wages of the 41 workers including ESI and EPF contributions (around Rs 750/- per day per worker) for 6 days a week and 52 weeks 

● the diesel cost for the tractors (20 litres a day @ Rs 90 per litre) 

● GST (@ 18%) which is applicable to all service contracts. 

● a component of profit for the contractor, say 10% 

The latest tender (assumed to be the one implemented) has an estimated cost of Rs 77 lakhs  per annum and a reimbursement of the actual charges of electricity and diesel. The manpower  deployed officially is 10. The GST and the profit component are assumed to be the same as in  the older contract. What the new tender document does not include is the crew of 20 workers  with 5 tractors without which the present contract cannot deliver the service required, which  is expected to be at least on par with the earlier dispensation. 

We have attempted an annual comparative cost analysis of the two contracts in Table 3.

Table 3: Comparative Cost Analysis of the Earlier Contract and the New One5 

Item Older  ContractNew Contract Extra Which  Institute Has to  Pay6Actual Cost to  IIT for New  Contract
Wages Rs 96 lakhs Rs 24 lakhs for  official manpowerRs 48 lakhs for  the tractor crewRs 72 lakhs
Diesel Cost (Paid  in Actuals)7Rs 5.6 lakhs Rs 9.3 lakhs official Rs 5.6 lakhs for  tractorsRs 14.9 lakhs
GST @ 18% Rs 18 lakhs Rs 6 lakhs Rs 9 lakhs (for  tractor work)Rs 15 lakhs
Profit @ 10% Rs 11.5  lakhs8Rs 7.5 lakhsRs 5.7 lakhs10 Rs 13.2 lakhs
Machinery  Depreciation  AnnualN.A. Rs 39.5 lakhs11 Rs 39.5 lakhs
Total Cost Rs 131  lakhsRs 86.3 lakhs (Rs 77 lakhs + Rs  9.3 lakhs for diesel) Rs 68.3 lakhs Rs 154.6 lakhs
5Since we do not have access to the actual figures this is an exercise of estimation with whatever data  available hence all costs are approximate 
6The 5 tractors and the crew of 20 with diesel for the tractors without which the contract does not work. 7Not included in the contract cost. 
8As 10% of the manpower + GST cost as there is no other component. 
9As 10% of the contract cost. 
10@10% of labour cost + GST to the contractor. 
11The depreciation on machineries is calculated as the residual sum after deduction all other components from  the estimated cost of the contract (Rs 77 Lakhs) as the tender document does not provide any norm for  calculation of the same

A few observations on the basis of the above analysis: 

● The cost of the new contract is not less than the earlier contract; in fact even  conservatively it is approximately Rs 23 lakhs more

● 11 workers have been reduced from the earlier dispensation in the name of cost  reduction. Even the extra cost of diesel for the truck (not including the electricity  consumption) would have supported the wages of 5 workers. 

● Further the Institute is shelling out a whopping Rs 39.5 lakhs (approx.) annually on  depreciation. This would ensure that the contractor would probably recover his cost  for the truck and the other machines in less than three years. Should they be allowed  to continue for two more years they would be able to pocket around Rs 80 lakhs for  free

The Community Demands to Know 

Our beautiful and clean campus is a testament to the effectiveness of the cleaning and  collection crew and their work procedure which have been established over decades. The  population and the inhabited area and the roads have increased significantly over the years,  but the crew and their equipment have remained the same for several years now. This would  have increased the workload significantly and as residents we would have appreciated an  augmentation in both manpower and other accessories.

Recently the process has been mechanised which has led to the induction of very large  machineries and reduction of manpower. We at Hamara Manch have tried to assess the  implication and performance of the new dispensation. Our analysis suggests that the new  contract seems to have replaced an effectively working system perfected over years with a  dispensation which increases carbon footprint, increases cost to the Institute, causes  serious noise pollution, leads to job losses and does not even give a better performance. Further the new dispensation has been introduced without taking the feedback/inputs of any  of the constituencies involved – the users or the crew who have been providing the crucial  service over decades. 

We would like the responsible authorities to enlighten the community on the following:

● The logic behind the mechanisation of this crucial service which was so effective till  now. 

● The reason for three such widely varying tenders floated for the same job in such a  short period. 

● And the considerations and norms for the estimation of various parameters of any contract floated by the Institute – for example manpower estimation, costs of various  inputs, accessories and machineries and their depreciation, etc.

An Update on the New Water Supply Contract

Hamara Manch: October 27, 2022

Last month we had shared an analysis of the new water supply and wastewater management contract that commenced on August 1st this year (see the full report on the new contract here: https://nirvaakiitk.wordpress.com/). The tender document of the new contract had drastically reduced the value of the contract – by more than 40% if we take inflation into account – in comparison to the last contract done in 2019. The new contract has provision for only 36 workers and it has employed 31 of the 49 old workers; additionally the new contractor brought in 5 new workers. As we further highlighted, while so many new buildings have been added in the Institute and the campus population has also significantly increased since the last contract, these 31 old workers have been manning the three shifts round the clock, all seven days a week, while also training the 5 new workers.

But three months after the new contract has begun, the most shocking thing is that in spite of having managed all this transition and arduous work without any complaints from the users, these workers have received the wages so far only for ONE month – the month of August, that too only on the 29th September. Even more shockingly, the most important local festival of Diwali has come and gone and yet they have not received either their salary for September till the writing of this update on 27th October or even an assurance about their salary by either any Institute official or the contractor.

What is a matter of further concern is that all the involved parties have been saying to the workers and other members of the community that this contract is irrational and not workable. They include:
▪ The IWD officials to whom the workers are reporting;
▪ The highest authority in charge for managing this contract;
▪ The contractor’s men who have been telling the workers that the contract was bid at a loss and hence the contractor is in no position to clear the workers’ legal dues or pay them on time.

If this is true then it is a most absurd and telling situation:
▪ Here is supposedly a ‘new-improved money-saving contract’ for something as vital as water supply and sewage management;
▪ And every concerned authority from contractor to IWD to even higher authorities are saying that this contract it not workable as is evident from the non-payment of wages to workers.

This raises some fundamental questions:
▪ Whose interests does this new contract serve?
▪ Why should workers pay for such absurd actions of concerned authorities by getting paid for one month out of three?
▪ Who should be held accountable for executing such contracts?
▪ Why should such a vital service for the community be compromised in such an arbitrary fashion?

We hope that the community and all concerned can seek answers from those who are answerable for such capricious actions where finally hapless workers and unaware users end up paying for them.