A group of former Jadavpur University students have begun raising funds for the maintenance of the university’s laboratories.
Reason: the alumni said, “the state government pays for the salaries of the university’s staff and faculty” and “they don’t have any budget for maintenance of the laboratories”.
The Global Jadavpur University Alumni Foundation based in California, US, gave a call for money on its Facebook page on July 17 with a message explaining what prompted them to initiate the move.
The president of the foundation, Ranjit Chakravorti, said they plan to provide financial support to laboratory operation and maintenance, the post says.
Chakravorti, who graduated from JU in 1961 in chemical engineering, said they came to know about the university’s requirements when he along with a few other former students met the university officials in April. “The officials said they were struggling to maintain the laboratories. When the members of the foundation managed to meet in California on July 17 following a dip in cases, the fundraising drive was taken up. We are looking forward to raising $1,00,000 in the first phase to support our alma mater,” Chakravorti said on Tuesday.
After JU failed to feature among the top 10 in engineering in the latest ranking exercise carried out by the Union education ministry, vice-chancellor Suranjan Das had said an institute needs funds to overhaul its infrastructure for better performance in engineering and science.
Das had told The Telegraph: “JU could have found itself in the top 10 had the UGC not denied it the status of ‘Institution of Eminence (IoE)’, a status that would have brought in substantial funds.”
But JU officials who look after the university’s finances said the depletion of support from the state government over the years has compounded the crisis.
Chakravorti wrote in his post: “West Bengal state government pays for the salaries of the Jadavpur University staff and Faculty. However, they don’t have any budget for maintenance of the laboratories.”
A member of JU’s finance committee had said in March that besides lack of support from the state, they were also hit by the pandemic-induced situation.
The finance committee had resolved after a meeting in February: “All the departments be apprised to restrict their expenses, as far as practicable, in view of the scarcity of funds.... The procurement of high-value equipment be avoided.”
On Tuesday, Chakravorti, who did his MTech from IIT Kharagpur, said: “If the students suffer owing to the absence of maintenance of the laboratories and high-value equipment, the university won’t be able to retain its standard, let alone scale it up. We want to support the JU on a scale that the alumni of IIT Kharagpur do for their alma mater.”
Another member of the foundation said they had plans to create a post of chair professor after Triguna Sen, the first VC of the university.
VC Das said: “We are happy to learn that the foundation is doing its bit to help Jadavpur. This has been a global pattern where the alumni step forward to support in boosting the infrastructure and creating the chair professor.”