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IIT scholars seek extension of fee deadline

Tuesday was the last day for paying the fee of Rs 18,400
The scholars have stated in the letter that “economic depression unleashed by the pandemic has intensified the hardship... many parents have lost their business, jobs or have (had) to bear salary cuts”.

Subhankar Chowdhury   |   Kharagpur   |   Published 06.01.21, 03:26 AM

A section of research scholars at IIT Kharagpur has written to the dean of students’ affairs appealing for an extension of the deadline for paying the fee for the spring semester by at least a month because of the pandemic-induced economic distress. Tuesday was the last day for paying the fee of Rs 18,400.

The scholars have stated in the letter that “economic depression unleashed by the pandemic has intensified the hardship... many parents have lost their business, jobs or have (had) to bear salary cuts”.

The dean of students’ affairs, Somesh Kumar, did not take calls or respond to text messages from The Telegraph.

The mail that was sent on behalf of the Science Education Group, IIT Kharagpur, a forum of research scholars, says: “The payment link was activated on 28/12/2020 and the last date for payment is 05/01/2021, which leaves the students with less than 10 days to arrange the required amount. Many scholars do not belong to affluent families and their families depend on their fellowship to meet the family expenses…. Therefore, if the last date for payment could be extended by at least a month’s time, the scholars would have enough time to arrange the money.”

The scholars have also pleaded for withdrawal of charges for laboratories, and gymkhana and other amenities since most students were not using them. In September, the students who were still on the campus were asked to leave following a Covid outbreak in the area and the institute is yet to recall most of them.

The fee structure is - establishment charge: Rs 12,500; tuition fee: Rs 2,500; student amenities: Rs 600; gymkhana: Rs 600; Internet connectivity: Rs 400; examination: Rs 300; medical registration: Rs 50; laboratory contingency: Rs 600; registration: Rs 300; hostel seat rent: Rs 550.

Of the 3,000-odd scholars enrolled with the institute, close to 60 are on the campus. A research scholar said since the fee structure did not include the mess charge of Rs 12,000, they were assuming that the authorities were not planning to call back all researchers to the campus.

“They are calling back students phase-wise…. A large number of students are not going to use gymkhana and other amenities, but they are still being charged for those facilities. We feel this is completely unfair and the charges must be waived,” said a research scholar who did not want to be named.

Another research scholar said that since the institute was recalling students in batches of 10 to 20 each month from December, it was clear that such a huge number of researchers could not be recalled in this semester.

The scholars have also called for waiver of the tuition fees for those who are not attending any coursework.

In July, the students’ senate of the IIT had passed a resolution, demanding that the mess fee of Rs 10,000 and the hostel overhead charge of Rs 600 per semester be “completely waived”.

The institute waived the mess fee and the hostel overhead charge, along with some other charges.

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