The Telegraph
Thursday , August 2 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Calling all IITians to Calcutta this winter
- Eastern India debut for global conference

At last, something big is coming to Calcutta — and that too for the first time.

Over 3,500 delegates will troop into town this December for one of the biggest networking events in the country — the PanIIT Alumni Global Conference. And eastern India will play host for the first time since its inception in 2003.

The PanIIT forum is one of the largest alumni networks involving over 2 lakh graduates from 16 Indian Institutes of Technology — Kharagpur, Bombay, Madras, Kanpur, Delhi, Guwahati, Rourkee, Ropar, Bhubaneswar, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Patna, Rajasthan, Mandi, Indore and Varanasi.

“Calcutta used to be a hub of industry but then there was a flight of capital. People from all over the world will come in for this conference and it is our responsibility to showcase the potentials and possibilities that Calcutta offers to the delegates,” said Y.C. Deveshwar, the chairman of ITC Limited and the mentor of the PanIIT Global Conference 2012.

The conference will be held at the Science City auditorium from December 7 to 9 and will focus on the theme of “Excel — Transform — Sustain”.

Since its inception, the PanIIT Global Alumni Conference has been held alternately in the US and in India — San Jose (2003), New Delhi (2004), Washington DC (2005), Mumbai (2006), Santa Clara (2007), Chennai (2008), Chicago (2009), New Delhi (2010), New York (2011) — but never in the eastern region of the country.

“We wanted to host it in Calcutta because Kharagpur would not have been able to accommodate such large numbers and commuting to Kharagpur is also a problem,” said Sandipan Chakravorty, chairman of the PanIIT Global Conference 2012 steering committee.

PanIIT was set up in 2002 to bring under its umbrella all graduating IITians since 1955.

The objective of PanIIT was to provide a platform for networking, enhance the IIT brand, provide a forum for policy advocacy and contribute to nation building.

Keeping alive the tradition of bringing together leaders from various walks of life, the 2012 conference has confirmed the likes of N.R. Narayanamurthy, Arjun Malhotra, Kapil Sibal, Shashi Tharoor, Nandan Nilekani and Srikumar Banerjee.

One of the focus areas will be Resurgence of the East which will see many chief ministers from the region showcasing the potentials of their states.

“The conference in Calcutta assumes even greater importance in terms of the government’s renewed enthusiasm in promoting Bengal as an investment destination, especially since there will be so many luminaries from various parts of the world attending it,” said Aniruddha Lahiri, chairman of the sponsorship committee of the conference.

The three-day conference will focus on various aspects of PanIIT’s nation-building initiatives.

This would include PanIIT Alumni Reach for India, Wheels, IIT Mentors, Avanti Fellows, I Create India and Indian Nirman Sangh. Also in the spotlight will be IITians in literature, media and entertainment, bringing in sustainable changes in the development of India, competitiveness of the Indian IT industry, women entrepreneurship, alternate energy and more.

There will be a writing competition for IIT students and the children of IITians on water, health, energy, education, lifestyles and security to raise awareness about these critical issues. There will also be a debate between senior IITians and senior IIT students, and a technology exhibition with all the participating IITs showcasing their history and achievements.

It is not going to be all serious discussions at the conference, though. Evenings will be reserved for entertainment, IIT-style. There will be performances by IIT bands as well as the likes of Bickram Ghosh, Usha Uthup and Mamata Shankar.

Plus, there will be time to rewind and unwind with the good ol’ IIT Adda.

What does hosting PanIIT 2012 mean for Calcutta? Tell