A former IIEST student now based in California in the US, who started an online signature campaign highlighting the persistent slide of the institute, wrote to the Union education minister on Tuesday saying “the institute is suffering because of the lack of funding approved by the parliament”.
The campaign, signed by over 2,000 former students of the Shibpur institute, has sought to know from Dharmendra Pradhan whether his office would be “kind enough to approve the release of part of the fund approved by the parliament for upgradation of the academic and infrastructural facilities?"
“We are sure that the MED (Ministry of Education) under your leadership will not allow this heritage institution to perish for lack of government support and pass into oblivion,” says the signed appeal.
A copy of the appeal was sent to the Union minister of state for education, Subhas Sarkar, who is a BJP MP from Bankura.
Swapan Saha, who graduated from the Shibpur campus in 1988 in electrical engineering and is now based in California, started the campaign last month, days after IIEST teachers launched a “Save IIEST” campaign to protest the alleged absence of infrastructure, erratic recruitment process and absence of appropriate classrooms and laboratories at the IIEST.
The Telegraph reported on November 13 last year that a group of former students of IIEST had met the chairperson of the institute’s board of governors to highlight that the institute had not received the funds that Parliament had approved for the upgrade and expansion of its infrastructure.
A fund of Rs 592 crore had been approved at the time the Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU) became IIEST in 2014. BESU was a state-aided university, while IIEST is run by the Centre.
The fund was supposed to be meant for the construction of academic complexes and hostels and repair of existing hostels.
Calls and text messages to the IIEST director, Parthasarathi Chakrabarti, went unanswered.
Minister of state Sarkar in a text message said: “We will go through the email on Wednesday."