Jaitley sir, thank you for early Holi - ISM campus celebrates IIT tag

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By Praduman Choubey
  • Published 1.03.15
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Students of ISM click a group selfie for their celebration album on Dhanbad campus on Saturday. Picture by Gautam Dey

Dhanbad, Feb. 28: ISM-Dhanbad campus on Saturday looked like it was celebrating Holi and World Cup all at once.

As soon as Union finance minister Arun Jaitley announced the IIT tag for ISM in his Union Budget speech, cheers of jubilation rang out on the campus that is officially now the "oldest" IIT. ISM-Dhanbad was founded in 1926 while the oldest original IIT, in Kharagpur, Bengal, was set up decades later in 1951.

Though ISM has always been seen by the scientific fraternity, the academia and industry head-hunters as a centre of repute, getting the IIT tag means an increase in brand value, better placements, more funds flow and exposure.

No wonder, ISM is celebrating. Second-year BTech chemical engineering student Anjali Gupta said as soon as news on institute upgrade came on TV, "it seems like India won the World Cup."

Shortly after Jaitley's announcement, over 100 students led by teachers and core committee members of ISM-IIT upgrade such as Abhinav Peshwani, Shashank Shekhar, Varun Pandey and others assembled at the ISM main canteen near Diamond Hostel around 12.30pm.

Handshakes, back thumping and hugs followed, and with it the burst of colours and beat of drums, marking a "glorious end" to the crusade for IIT status since September 2009 from the streets Dhanbad to Jantar Mantar in Delhi.

Soon, techies were dancing and hugging their way across the 210 acre-campus with abir, gulal, dhol and nagada.

The ISM has 5,500 students in 15 undergraduate engineering course, six dual-degree programmes, several postgraduate courses, cutting-edge classrooms and labs, 10 student hostels and over a dozen administrative, departmental and other buildings, including a sports activity centre.

Shashank Shekhar, a final-year computer science engineering student, who has bagged a placement offer from Amazon with a yearly Rs 26 lakh package, and was among those leading the movement for the IIT tag, laughed: "What a moment! Seems after five years we have cracked IIT-JEE again. Our clothes are a complete mess thanks to abir and gulal."

He added that HRD minister Smriti Irani assured them of IIT status during their last meeting in October 2014 in Delhi. "She repeated her assurances to us during the sidelines of a election rally at BSK College Maithon in December last year. Thank you, ma'am, thank you, Mr Jaitley, sir."

Varun Pandey, a fifth-year mining engineering dual-degree programme of ISM said they rang up ISM director DC Panigrahi, now in Delhi, to congratulate him. "He sounded elated," Varun said.

Chitransh Jain, BTech mineral engineering final-year engineering student, said they cancelled their trip to Parasnath in Giridih. "We postponed it. After all, this a watershed in our history,"

Students apart, ISM faculty and officials also expressed their joy. ISM associate professor and faculty in-charge of mines surveying section Dhiraj Kumar, who joined students in their Budget Holi, said: "Though our administrative, academic and other structures are no less than any IIT, and our admission process is via IIT-JEE, IIT status will help us get better-ranked students."

"It's a long overdue honour," said ISM management department head and president of its teachers' association Pramod Pathak.

ISM registrar Colonel (Retd) M.K. Singh, over phone from Delhi, said: "It is a historic moment. The IIT status will help better our brand value and placement scenario."