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CBIT Taken for a ride01

After a rather long, dreary and extended break that stretched into more than two months, students of Chaitanya Bharathi Institute Of Technology (CBIT, Gandipet) returned to their campus on the 13th of July, 2009. “I can’t wait to get back to college”, yelled Ram, a 3rd year student when contacted over phone during the holidays. Such was the enthusiasm and excitement running in the veins of students that some of the shopaholics didn’t mind emptying their wallets to get fully geared up for college.

Contrary to their expectations of a red-carpet welcome, CBITians had to wade through testing times on the very first day of college; courtesy, the transport department. Chaitanya Bharathi Institute Of Technology (CBIT, as it is affably known) is located in Gandipet, a remote area on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Dheeraj, a 2nd year student, who resides in ECIL argues, “The college is situated a good 45 km away from my place; that makes it 90 km of total travel in a day. Understandably, I rely heavily on the college bus plying in my area as commuting by RTC buses for 90 km in a day would mean sheer madness”.

CBIT boasts of close to 40 private buses meant for students apart from the parade of staff buses and RTC ‘exclusive’ buses. As a matter of fact, deluxe, fully air-conditioned buses were pressed into service recently in 3 routes.

Students wait in vain to get into the buses Credit: Surreal Gaze

Students wait in vain to get into the buses Credit: Surreal Gaze

The transport department in CBIT has been doing a commendable job managing vehicles that fan out to every nook and corner of the city; in the process, covering a mammoth radius ensuring hassle-free travel. Vivek, a 4th year states with a tongue-in-cheek, “Though the buses appear to be falling to pieces and seem to be ready to go under the sledgehammer, they act as efficient carriers transporting us to college day in and day out”.

However, “On July 13th, 2009, as the bus entered the college premises and we were busy flexing our muscles readying ourselves for the day, our bus’ in-charge rose from his seat and said something that came as a rude shock”, recollects Priyanka, a 3rd year student who’s been traveling by ‘G’ bus for the past 2 years. She adds, “Batta sir (the bus in-charge’s alias- a striking reference to his near bald head) asked all of us to pay 500 bucks towards ‘registration’ fees by the evening. He also mentioned that we wouldn’t be allowed to board the bus if we didn’t pay up and produced the corresponding receipt”.

This shock indication left all the bus-travelers in CBIT dumbfounded.

Reveals Arjun, “We were like, what the f***! Even before stepping into the college, we were asked to shell out 500 bucks. Also, we were ridiculously asked pay up by the same evening”. Bharath, a 3rd year complains, “Who would carry 500 bucks to college on the very first day without prior notice? We weren’t informed in the first place and to top it all, there was this bloody ‘Show receipt-Get in’ rule that stranded us for hours.”

Apparently, the head-honcho of the transport department was on vacation and there was no second authority to take charge of the affairs in his absence. As a result, the number of buses plying on the first day was conspicuously less, very less than usual. The management couldn’t risk ferrying around 140 students in a 60-seat bus, which could inflict lethal damages to the bus; the threat of being charged with ‘overloading’ by traffic personnel loomed large as well. Hence, they employed a time time-tested tactic of asking the students to pay up by the same evening for they knew it would rid them of many travelers. The set deadline also ascertained that students, who were still undecided about traveling in the college bus had very little time to act. This would hurry them, turning the tide in the management’s favor.

A scene of utter chaos and confusion Credit: Surreal Gaze

A scene of utter chaos and confusion Credit: Surreal Gaze

However, the ever-resilient CBITians weren’t willing to be tricked by the callous behavior of the management. They stayed put in large numbers around the buses without paying the said amount and the ruckus worsened in the evening. The students’ number gradually swelled as they raised a hue and cry. Gangadhar confesses, “All I wanted was- at least a place to plant my feet in the bus because I didn’t have enough money even to travel by RTC”.

An atmosphere of commotion prevailed even as the management tried to break the deadlock. Finally, after an hour of deliberations and charged up arguments, peace crept in as the authorities gave in to the students’ demand. The transport dept. realized that they were at fault, for they had not intimated the students in advance about the ‘registration’ fees, albeit after frequent appeals by students.

“What happened thereafter is something we hope does not happen anytime again”, says Isaac, referring to the sequence of events that followed. Students were crammed into the ‘available’ buses and were asked to ‘adjust’ on their way home. With hands firmly gripping the edges of the seats and legs positioned haphazardly, the balancing act put up by students could give some of the top acrobats a run for their money. “The feel-good factor is that the management has promised more number of buses in the days to come”, opines Nandini, evidently an optimist in every sense.

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