How does the mess system at IIT Madras work?

Students who go to hostels and coaching centers away from the comfort of their homes to crack JEE and reach an IIT would be curious about the type of facilities, especially the food, that their “dream institute” offers. At IIT Madras, you need not have such worries since the variety of food in the messes is comforting and satisfying. There are three substantial mess complexes: Himalaya, Vindhya, and Nilgiri, with 10-11 messes and food courts.

What do the messes provide?

The messes have fingerprint access, and people use their ID cards in the food courts to pay for the food they order. There are separate North and South messes, which offer options to the students to stick to familiar tastes or to opt for something else if they feel the need for a change. Being in Chennai doesn’t mean Idli or Dosa are your only options. The day’s three meals are sumptuous, and the menu is wide-ranging. Indian food like poori-bhaji, roti, poha, idiyappam, appam, uthappam, upma, etc., with bread, cornflakes, eggs, sprouts, milk, tea, coffee, and even fruits are found on the breakfast menus. Lunch has delicious servings of chapati, dal, rice, different types of vegetable dishes, and paneer, and some staple South Indian curries and sides are provided in the South messes. Extras like chicken dishes and others can be availed at mess using extra money paid in the iKollege Portal using the student ID card. Dinner is also similarly versatile, with a green salad and fruit juices available. One may also enjoy desserts like gulab jamun or ice cream in the food courts or as extras. In addition, evening tea is provided, and some messes have snacks. A Jain mess is also available for students wishing to have Jain food. All dietary requirements of the students are met in the messes of IIT Madras with no compromise on quality or nutrition.

How does the mess registration portal work?

The mess registration process at present is managed by the iKollege portal, keeping in mind the introduction of a new system called Meal Billing, where a student pays only for the meals they eat. A rough estimate of the percentage of registered students dining in a particular mess is seventy-five percent, meaning introducing such a system will result in significant student savings. The iKollege system ideally reduces the amount of wasted food in the mess, as the caterer will be aware of the approximate number of diners. Also, students have the benefit of not paying for the meals they don’t have.

How to facilitate mess registration?

Students can make use of the mess registration facility on the iKollege portal on the dates prescribed by the Office of Hostel Management and register messes of their choice in order of preference. Every attempt is made to provide all students with their first choices. The rare incident of a student being allocated another mess may be due to the mess capacity and many students opting for it before. A first-come, first-serve basis is followed in the allocation of the mess of first preference. Students may change messes every one or two months. Mess registration for vacation stay is also done through the portal, provided the student has accommodation and permission to stay from the concerned authorities, like Deans, HoDs or project guides.

What makes IIT Madras’s mess system unique?

While some IITs have mess halls in each hostel, IIT Madras mostly has familiar dining halls with capacities as high as 1500. This is an opportunity to interact with students across departments and years of study since no fixed population would frequent a particular mess. International students, too, like the food offered at IIT Madras. The menu offers variety throughout the week, thus avoiding monotony in taste. Students also have the facility to claim mess rebates in case of valid reasons for not eating at the mess, such as Ramadan fasting or health issues requiring recovery away from the Institute. The mess system in IIT Madras is constantly being improved - in terms of food quality, management, seating capacity, and so on to provide the best services to the students, and to enable them to be productive in campus life.

Looking forward to having lunch on campus?