Published: 15th May 2019
This is how NITHM in Hyderabad has one of the greenest campuses ever
After a visit to NITHM and a chat with the director Dr Chinnam S Reddy, we recall some of the most striking points about the campus and the man behind its progress
As we stepped into the sprawling campus of National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management (NITHM) in Gachibowli (it's between a lake and some lush green cover!), we instantly concluded that this campus must be nurtured by an environment lover. And we were right because when we met the director of NITHM, Dr Chinnam S Reddy, he waxed eloquent about not only the quality of education and discipline of their students, but also about the initiatives they are taking to make the campus more green than it already is. Another point that became clear to us during our insightful chat with Dr Reddy, who has been in the education field for over 20 years now, was that he knows the psyche of students, inside and out, and knows how to run a successful institute. He also tells us about his plans for the institute and the five-star hotel that's coming up which will serve as a training centre for the students of NITHM. Excerpts:
What were some of the immediate problems you identified when you started your association with NITHM?
In 2009, I had come to NITHM for a workshop. I remember thinking to myself, 'What an excellent campus this is, I wonder why it's not developing?'. So, with a mission to develop this institute, I shifted from Ahmedabad to Hyderabad. I noted that some of the immediate problems I had to deal with were funds, a dismal number of admissions and faculty and student indiscipline. When I came here, the turnover was `4 crore, today it is `8 crore. This was possible due to our various initiatives. We increased our capacity and we are still increasing the number of admissions too. We started skill development programmes and as a part of our CSR, we train unemployable youth and have four different programmes for them — ground staff for airport, Ayurveda Panchakarma, chef and bakery training. We have trained 1,250 students already. From June, our electricity bill will be almost zero because we are going to install solar panels. We have already implemented water harvesting methods. Both of these help us save `48 lakh per month.
We also have 21 students coming from 10 countries, so, we are converting one part of the hostel into an international wing which will be operational from July. We also offer need-based scholarships; last year, we handed out ten such scholarships. Because of all these initiatives, we usually have excellent placement drives.
On campus: National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management in Gachibowli | (Pic: NITHM)
What other developments can we expect at NITHM?
First, we want to secure the Deemed-to-be University status. We also have a five-star hotel of our own coming up by 2020 and it will become a part of our training centre. We have also considered starting our own incubation centre on campus and no other campus is offering anything like this in the travel and tourism space. We are in talks with NITI Aayog and in this process, two companies from T-Hub have already started working from here — Greens and More and Imagica.
What is the scope of tourism in today's world?
About 9 to 12% of the GDP is coming from the tourism industry across the globe, but here, we haven't been able to focus on it as much. But the past few years have certainly been different. And because tourism is increasing, the hospitality industry is also on the rise. Also, the income of families is increasing and so is the scope for international travel. So, for students looking for opportunities in this field, there are many. I always tell my students that ‘This is also a job where you can enjoy without paying a rupee’.
On weekends, they give the institute for film shooting. Parts of Vijay Devarakonda’s movie Geetha Govindam, especially the song Inkem Inkem, was shot here. They charge `50,000 per day
Can you tell us about the environment-friendly steps taken for the campus?
The peculiarity of the campus is that we have different types of landscapes here — a lake, a forest, flat lands and hills. We wanted to bag the Green Building campus award. We also have our own vermicompost plant coming up. So, whatever waste produced on campus, we will make use of it here. The three-and-a-half-acre lake on campus will also be cleaned and rejuvenated by an NGO from Chennai and they will be spending `33 lakh on it, through funds from CSR. They are going to add a walking track, new plantations and lighting as well. I want to plant native trees near the lake so that it attracts birds — we have 8,000 trees now, I want to add another 2,000. Annually, students clean up the campus twice as a part of the Swachh NITHM mission. We intend to ban plastic as well. After all, if we protect nature, it will protect us. We have even sealed the drainage that was being diverted into the lake. We clean our own water and then release it into the lake, which is why it is always brimming.
How do you ensure that your doors are always open for the faculty and, more importantly, the students?
I believe I am approachable to every student because I teach one subject every year. That way, I know about every student. I do this because unless I am involved, it becomes difficult to control them. Recently, I invited students from the hostel who were complaining about some facilities to list out all their problems. Then, within four days, we fixed everything. Even if there are problems in the classroom, I independently inquire and take the necessary actions immediately.
The man behind it all: Dr Chinnam S Reddy, Director, NITHM | (Pic: S Senbagapandiyan)
What are a few changes that you would like to see in the education sector?
I want all exams to be open book exams. It needs a lot of critical thinking. This also entails that we reorient the faculty as per this format. Internships should be an integral part of the curriculum. Also, students need to understand the problems of society and spend time solving them.
Tracking Dr Reddy's timeline:
- Dr Reddy was with AV College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Hyderabad for four years as an MBA faculty and left as an HoD in 1996
- He joined IIM Ahmedabad as an Academic Associate and worked there for two years
- In 1998, Sarva Vidyalaya Kelavani Mandal Trust started an MBA and MCA college, SK Patel Institute of Management and Computer Science. He joined as a lecture and became the HoD within three months. Within two years, he was made director incharge. They started a BBA and BCA college on the same campus and he was handling three colleges
- In 2009, Gujarat Technological University was started and he joined as the Founder Dean, Faculty of Management. At the same time, the Marwadi Education Foundation, Rajkot, wanted to set up a big campus with a `200 crore investment. He was the director and by the time he left, the turnover was `400 crore
- In 2016, he left the campus and joint NITHM
For more on them, click on nithm.ac.in