NEW DELHI: With the oldest IIT at Kharagpur going without a director for a year now, agitating staff, students and alumni on Friday announced protests in Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore against the delay.
A hunger strike was also observed by over 400 IIT students on July 17 on the Kharagpur campus.
Though a selection panel by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) had appointed Partha Pratim Chakrabarti to the director’s position in June 2012, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has not given him the clearanc because of his alleged involvement, along with two senior professors, in the so-called Coalnet project scam.
Under the Coalnet project, given to IIT Kharagpur by Coal India Ltd in 2001, the IIT was to develop a software called Coalnet to facilitate sharing of information between the Ministry of Coal, Coal India Ltd and its subsidiary.
But because of multiple delays and rising costs, it couldn’t be completed. Later, the Central Bureau of Investigation also found alleged irregularities by Prof Charkabarti and the two professors in manipulating records.
The agitators want Chakrabarti be given clearance by the CVC, saying that the board of governors of IIT Kharagpur has cleared him of any wrong-doing.
Reports says that with HRD Minister Pallam Raju visiting the Kharagpur campus on July 27 for the convocation function, a new director could be appointed by then.