Campus propels IIT quality focus

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate Indian Institute of Technology-Patna's permanent campus at Bihta, around 40km southwest of Patna, on Saturday. The institute came up in 2008 and is moving to its permanent campus in Bihta. Spread across 500 acres, IIT-Patna will go for expansion - like launching new courses, increasing student intake and recruiting faculty members - after moving to Bihta. IIT-Patna director Pushpak Bhattacharyya shares his views about the institute with Roshan Kumar.

  • Published 25.07.15
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Pushpak Bhattacharya. Picture by Deepak Kumar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate Indian Institute of Technology-Patna's permanent campus at Bihta, around 40km southwest of Patna, on Saturday. The institute came up in 2008 and is moving to its permanent campus in Bihta. Spread across 500 acres, IIT-Patna will go for expansion - like launching new courses, increasing student intake and recruiting faculty members - after moving to Bihta. IIT-Patna director Pushpak Bhattacharyya shares his views about the institute with Roshan Kumar.

What is your vision and plan for IIT-Patna after it moves to its new and permanent campus in Bihta?

As the institute is getting a new and permanent campus at Bihta, it will focus on research work such as on social media, agriculture technology research, urban traffic management etc. Under a short-term plan, the institute would focus on increasing faculty and student strength. In the long term, focus would be on fundamental research. Social media is a powerful way for users to influence thoughts, attitudes, and consumer behaviour.

Once IIT moves to Bihta, which is larger than the makeshift campus at Patliputra Colony, will the institute launch any new courses?

We are planning to launch new undergraduate courses in chemical engineering and computer science and postgraduate courses in social media research, which has a very high potential in the present context, and traffic management among others.

Tell us something about IIT-Patna's new Bihta campus.

The Bihta campus is coming up on a plot spread across 500 acres. It comprises a white building having imprints of Roman architecture and large pillars. The academic block is centrally located and has a library. There are separate buildings for academic and administrative purposes, hostels, faculty guesthouses and workshops. The campus is eco-friendly with lots of greenery. A special initiative has been taken to make the campus energy surplus, as the cost of conventional energy sources continues to rise. Alternative energy sources, such as solar, would get emphasis at the new campus.

Where does IIT-Patna stand compared to other newer IITs that came up around the same time?

In a small time, IIT-Patna has moved in a positive direction. Our new academic session kicks off on August 3 and three days later, on August 6, we are organising our third convocation where Boeing India president Pratyush Kumar, who has worked with different multinational companies (MNCs), will be chief guest. The convocation will be held at the new campus. IIT-Patna has kept a balance with humanities, mathematics and science. As inter-disciplinary, the department of humanities and social sciences offers courses in economics, English literature, linguistics, sociology and education.

How is Bihar going to gain or benefit from IIT-Patna?

IIT-Patna will contribute to the state's development. The institute's research in agriculture will help Bihar, which is an agrarian state. The state has huge stretches of Gangetic planes and efforts should be made to modernise agriculture through scientific research, an area IIT-Patna can contribute in. Also, the institute will help in better use of technology in urban traffic management.

What is IIT-Patna's faculty strength? Any plans to increase it?

Altogether, there are 1,112 students, taking together those undertaking B.Tech and M.Tech courses here. The institute requires 112 faculty members to ensure a 10:1 student-teacher ratio. At present, there are 70 faculty members. The institute requires 30 to 40 more faculty to ensure the optimum ratio. Teachers will be recruited. The institute will not make any compromise with quality.

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