NEW DELHI: Taking their protests for the confirmation of dean Partha Pratim Chakrabarti as the director of IIT Kharagpur, to various cities across India, faculty, students and alumni on Saturday held protests and gave memorandums to the President and the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter.
Protests were held in Kolkata, Bangalore and New Delhi where the alumni and faculty submitted memorandums to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to clear the appointment.
The memorandums appealed to the President and the Prime Minister “to do everything in your authority and influence to clear Prof. Chakrabarti and appoint him as the next director of IIT-Kharagpur without any further delays and before July 29.’’
Protesting faculty and alumni staged a silent protest march in Kolkata, carrying placards and banners in support of Prof Chakrabarti. The IIT-KGP alumni associations in Delhi and Bangalore organized protests and submitted memorandums in their respective cities.
The protests come in the wake of the year-long pending appointment of dean Partha Pratim Chakrabarti.
Though a selection panel by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) had appointed Prof Chakrabarti to the director’s position in June 2012, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has not given him the clearance 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.
Since HRD Minister Pallam Raju is visiting the Kharagpur campus on July 27 for the convocation function, protesters want to pressure the government to clear Prof Chakrabarti’s appointment as the director of India’s first IIT which started from the Hijli Jail campus in 1951.