Jadavpur University vice-chancellor Suranjan Das has appealed to “ex-students, guardians and well-wishers” to raise funds for rebuilding the Manick Sorcar Laser Animation Laboratory, which was gutted in a fire last week.
The lab, named after Manick Sorcar, a lighting design wizard based in Denver, US, and eldest son of magician P.C. Sorcar, comes under the illumination engineering section of the electrical engineering department. It was ravaged by a fire on March 24.
“We are earnestly appealing to all ex-students, guardians and well-wishers of Jadavpur University to make a financial donation to enable the Jadavpur University to renovate the illumination engineering laboratory in the electrical engineering department...,” says the appeal posted on the university’s website.
Sorcar had in March 2011 helped the university set up the laser animation lab.
The Telegraph reported on March 25 that instruments like chroma meter, oscilloscope, thermal imager, flux meter and other high-value instruments melted because of the heat generated by the fire.
The appeal says the amount will be credited to a special head named: “A/c for the renovation of illumination engineering laboratory, EE Dept”.
An official said that given its financial health, it’s impossible for JU to rebuild the laboratory without financial help from former students and others.
The JU finance committee resolved after a meeting in February: “All the departments be apprised to restrict their expenses, as far as practicable, in view of scarcity of funds and in view of huge gap of budget provisions and actual funds received. The procurement of high value equipment be avoided.”
A member of JU’s finance committee said the university had a deficit of Rs 15 crore under the non-salary head in the current fiscal because of inadequate grant from the government, waving of admission and examination fees and the expenses incurred for providing smartphones and data pack to students during the pandemic.
“The university has little choice but to make an appeal for a fundraising drive to rebuild the lab as it is saddled with a deficit,” he said.
VC Das said the university would make a detailed plan for renovation once a substantial amount was raised.
Saswati Mazumdar, head of the electrical engineering department, said the financial aid would help them procure high-value instruments. She said the loss was estimated to be between Rs 4 crore and Rs 5 crore.
Those willing to donate have been requested to remit the funds with a confirmation by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.