Don’t disrupt democratic decision making: IIT-Kgp

Kolkata, Dec 22 (IANS) The IIT-Kharagpur on Thursday dubbed as “undemocratic” the agitation by a section of students demanding the rollback of a registration fee hike, but said efforts were on to engage with them in a reasonable manner.

“The efforts to engage with them in a reasonable manner are on and will continue. However, democratic decision making processes cannot be subverted through disruptive coercion and under duress,” IIT-Kgp Director P.P.Chakrabarti said in a statement.

According to the protesters, university authorities have almost doubled the hostel fees and plan to increase the registration fees significantly.

They prevented the director, Registrar Pradip Pyne, the dean of students and other senior officials from leaving their office Tuesday night. The gherao was lifted on Wednesday.

Setting the record straight, the director in a statement said “there has been quite a lot of improper information making rounds” in reference to the “recent incident” at IIT Kharagpur regarding hike on hostel overheads and “agitation by a small group of research scholars”.

Chakrabarti said based on “specific request and discussion” with the students, the actual mess overhead cost was computed in a “transparent manner” with the agreement of student/hall representatives by consolidating all the manpower, cleaning and other costs.

The student representatives had made an appeal to provide institute support because though this is the real cost, the jump appears high now.

A team of dean student affairs, dean undergraduate studies, dean postgraduate studies and research will work with Hall Management Centre Team to work this out and share the same with director and deputy director for approval and implementation. They will also study the practices in other large/older IITs, according to Chakrabarti.

“The most suitable decision will be taken within the applicable norms. The Institute has to balance the funds we can spend on this category as it may affect other categories like support to top national and international conferences, which helps achieve excellence.

“Unfortunately a group of research scholars were trying to disrupt this in the most undemocratic method that is also a violation of basic discipline and ethos. The administration has been trying to make them see reason to the best of our abilities,” he added.