Leave ‘highly risky’ campus: IIT to students
IIT Kharagpur has requested the 60-odd students still on the campus to leave at the earliest as it is “highly risky” to stay in hostels amid the Covid-19 pandemic considering the “stressed and insufficient medical facilities” in the town.
The dean of students’ affairs at the institute, Somesh Kumar, has written to the students saying: “Due to stressed and insufficient medical facilities in Kharagpur, it is highly risky to stay put in hostels. I again request all of you to please make arrangements to reach your home and stay with your family members as early as possible.”
A spike in the number of Covid cases on the campus has prompted the IIT authorities to shut down the campus at least for a week till September 13.
The dean’s letter follows a joint appeal from research scholars to director V.K. Tewari on Sunday that the students who had gone home be called back and research activities resumed as soon as possible.
An official said the dean in his mail had drawn attention to the rising case count on the campus as well as immediate surroundings. Besides, the outpatient department of BC Roy Technology Hospital on the campus has been closed till further orders.
“The dean is justified in saying that the medical facilities in Kharagpur are insufficient,” the official said.
South Eastern Railway Main Hospital, about a kilometre from the IIT campus, is operational but had to be closed for a few days earlier after several doctors and nurses tested positive.
“There are hardly any beds in the state hospital outside,” the dean has written, referring to Kharagpur Subdivisional Hospital near the campus.
Midnapore Medical College and Hospital is about 17km away.
A West Midnapore district official denied any paucity of Covid beds. But many on the campus said they were still reliant on hospitals in Calcutta for critical treatment.
A scholar said their appeal to the director to let research resume followed an order from the ministry of home affairs on August 29 that said higher educational institutions would be permitted to function only for research scholars and postgraduate students of technical and professional programmes requiring laboratory/experimental work.
A professor said the order was not applicable to the IIT because of a steady rise in the number of Covid cases on the campus and outside.
Close to 3,500 students were on the campus till June 20, the day the first order on vacating the campus was issued.