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BIT job woes trigger Sindri roadblock

Final-year BTech students of BIT-Sindri embarked on the protest path on Wednesday to vent their ire against this year’s poor campus placements, alleging mismanagement by the state-run cradle which, in turn, cited economic downturn as the primary reason behind the less number of jobs on offer.

Over 200 students sat on a dharna at the main gate of the lone state-run engineering cradle and then put up a road block on Dhanbad-Sindri Road around 11am, accusing the college administration and the government of adopting an apathetic attitude, which had led to fewer job opportunities for them.

Of the 700 students in the present (2012-13) final-year batch, only 117 have landed jobs ever since recruiters started arriving on campus from September 16. Last year (2011-12) the placement figure was 451, while the year before (2010-11) it was a record 532.

The students blamed poor liaisoning with recruiters by Girijesh Kumar, professor in-charge of the training and placement cell, for the sorry state of affairs.

They pointed out that TCS, which was given the coveted Day Zero slot for hiring, picked up only 78 students, against 200 it hired last year. Denied the opening slot, software giant Infosys stayed away for the second year in succession.

“We have heard that Infosys wanted to pick up 250 students if it got the Day Zero slot. However, Kumar chose TCS which picked up only 78 students,” charged a student, adding that Kumar was late in contacting companies like Exide and Electrosteel Castings.

The students said the government should also approach companies operating in Jharkhand like Jindal Steel, Electrosteel Castings, BCCL, ECL and CCL.

“The placement record has been deteriorating steadily over the years,” alleged the student. Another said if the trend persisted, not more than 200 would find jobs by the time placement season ended in May 2013 and students would have to look at off-campus placements or remain unemployed.

The students alleged Kumar, who dons several hats including secretary of the sports department, head of the geology department, chief hostel warden, superintendent of hostel and was also associated with BIT-Sindri Alumni Association, was so preoccupied with other duties that he could not concentrate on training and placement.

“Instead of Kumar, student volunteers in the training and placement cell are often deputed to liaise with recruiters. Hence, they do not receive a favourable response,” alleged an agitator.

Kumar vehemently denied the charges. He said the ongoing economic slump was why fewer students had got placed this year, but added that the placement figure should touch 350 by the end of the season with more companies, like L&T and Ambuja Cements, expected to visit the campus over the next few months.

Defending the decision to grant TCS and not Infosys the Day Zero slot, Kumar said during a pre-placement workshop in April, TCS had promised to pick up 200 students like it had last year.

The last time Infosys picked up students from BIT-Sindri was two years ago. The Bangalore-headquartered software giant hired 130 from the 2010-11 batch. It has not turned up ever since.

After much persuasion, the students withdrew the roadblock around 4pm. BIT-Sindri director S.K. Singh assured them that the placement cell would be reconstituted. He also promised a tripartite meeting between the institute, students and the district administration on December 8 to discuss the issue of more placements in industrial houses operating in the state.

Another meeting is scheduled on December 6 between BIT-Sindri and the state government, led by additional secretary in the science and technology department Vinod Agarwal, to discuss various problems afflicting the institute.