IIT Kharagpur plans to call research scholars back to campus in batches
IIT Kharagpur has worked out plans to call research scholars back to campus in batches, within the permissible limit of around 900 that has been fixed because of the pandemic, an institute official said.
A letter, addressed to the students from the dean of students’ affairs, Dhrubajyoti Sen, had last week said the scholars who had arrived at the campus when the institute called them back early this year but had to return home following a spike in Covid cases would be asked to come back first, provided it is convenient for them.
The scholars who were scheduled to return in April but were asked to defer their journeys because of the surge in cases would be called thereafter, the letter said.
The institute, the letter said, expects to expedite the process of recall depending on the availability of quarantine facilities on the campus.
The Telegraph had reported on July 21 that the IIT had set a cap on the presence of research scholars on the campus because of the pandemic.
On July 22, the IIT Kharagpur teachers’ association in a letter to the institute’s director V.K. Tewari appealed that the scholars, many of whose research is on the verge of completion, could be called back at the earliest.
The institute has over 3,500 research scholars.
According to the plan, senior scholars who couldn’t return when given the chance earlier, because of some reason, but want to now will be given priority.
The next batches will be decided based on the scholars’ seniority/semester of registration.
An official of the institute said the plans were being drawn up based on the available medical facility on the campus.
“We know that the teachers are eager to increase the cap…. Owing to limited isolation and treatment facilities, the institute had to earlier send some of the students to hospitals in Calcutta. But finding beds in Calcutta was difficult as the city was battling its own spike in cases. So, we are acting according to a rationale,” he said.
The fact that unlike many other IITs, the one in Kharagpur is far away from a city has added to the woes.
The official said the authorities had decided on the ceiling to avoid gatherings on the campus, which had to be shut down for a fortnight in September last year after a surge in cases.
A teacher at the institute said some IITs, like the one in Chennai, have called back almost all research scholars by augmenting medical facilities on the campus. “Unfortunately IIT Kharagpur has not responded to the challenges as the other IITs have done. The research scholars are paying a price for this,” he said.
From August, students who were unable to attend online classes because of resource constraints — 450 BTech and 50 MTech students — have started arriving on the campus in batches to stay in hostels and use the connectivity facility.
“In such a scenario, maintaining the cap is a must to avoid assembly as much as possible,” said the official.