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IIT-Kharagpur alumni protest in Bangalore

Bangalore, July 20, 2013 (IANS): 19:55 IST
Members of 'The Bangalore Chapter of Alumni Assocition of IIT Kharagpur protest by rally against undue delay in the appointment of Director for IIT Kharagpur, at Cubbon Park in Bangalore on Saturday. DH Photo.
About 100-odd alumni of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur (IIT-KGP) in West Bengal Saturday took out a rally here seeking the appointment of its dean, Partha Pratim Chakrabarti, as its director since the post has been vacant for over a year.

"As the Union Human Resources Department (HRD) ministry has not appointed Chakrabarti as director, we are forced to protest the delay as we are former students of the renowned institute and concerned," IIT-KGP Alumni Association (Bangalore chapter) president Utkal Mohanty told IANS here.

The alumnus met at the Freedom Park in the city centre and passed a resolution, seeking an early decision as the institute's board of governors had cleared Chakrabarti's name for the director post.

The 48-year-old Chakrabarti, an alumni of the institute, was selected by the ministry's search-cum-selection committee July 29, 2012 for the director's post for the next five years after Damodar Acharya retired in June last year.

The Bangalore-based IIT-KGP) alumnus are working in diverse fields as software engineers, managers and consultants in diverse sectors.

"Chakrabarti, a gold medalllist from the institute, is an exceptional scholar, inspiring teacher and an outstanding scholar who was awarded the Shanti Swarup Bhatngar prize. He has also been an able administrator and dean of the sponsored research and industrial consultancy of the institute since 2004," Mohanty recalled.

Regretting the delay in the appointment, Mohanty said for reasons unknown, clearance from the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) was pending despite the board of governors clearing Chakrabarti of any wrong doing in March 2012 and again March 23.

"As concerned alumni who want the best for the IIT institution, we have applied for relevant documents through the RTI (Right to Information) Act to ascertain the facts. We believe the board of governors was correct in clearing Chakrabarti of any wrong doing, as it is the competent body to make such an assessment," Mohanty asserted.

The CVC had inquired into some alleged irregularities in a government sponsored project Coal Net awarded to the institute to develop a software product for linking all coal mines across the country.

"A part of the project was outsourced to a software firm of the Kolkata-based PGP group as the institute did not have enough manpower to complete it," Mohanty clarified.

According to CVC guidelines, matters with minor penalty should have been resolved within two months of receiving statements from Chakrabarti, clarifying no wrong doing on his part.

"We are wondering why CVC clearance is required when the government guidelines mention that vigilance clearance for promotion may be denied only in three circumstances, none of which apply to Chakrabarti," Mohanty observed.

In a show of support for an urgent cause, IIT-Kharagpur students, alumni and faculty members have launched a 'PPC for director' movement early this month.

"As part of the movement, a hunger strike was held by hundreds of IIT faculty members, alumni and students July 17 in the institute's campus," Mohanty added.

The movement is headed by Arjun Malhotra, an alumni of the institute and co-founder of HCL Ltd.

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