A California-based platform of former Jadavpur University students, which is raising funds to help the cash-strapped university, has contributed around
Rs 5 lakh for the upgrade of a remote sensing lab of the geology department that has many non-functioning computers.
The money from the Global Jadavpur University Alumni Foundation will go into buying new computers for the lab, said a JU official.
This was the first time that a science department reached out to the platform for their lab.
Many engineering departments have already received help from the platform as the university does not have much in its coffers, allegedly because of shrinking support from the state and the central governments.
Dipak Pal, head of the geology department, said they needed 20 computers for their remote sensing laboratory.
“The money that the foundation has provided will be spent on buying 10 computers. We hope they will contribute for buying the remaining computers as well. As teachers, we know that the department is not in a position to buy computers, given the funds constraints the university is facing,” Pal told Metro.
He said the department got in touch with the foundation through a former student.
“There was no point informing the university administration, which had last year mandated that if the annual budget of a department went beyond Rs 3 lakh, only 60 per cent of the amount could be spent. The move was part of a ‘general embargo’ on spending,” Pal said.
A teacher in the geology department said the new computers would enable them to run latest software.
Since the remote sensing laboratory is a compulsory component at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, students were struggling to work with the obsolete computers, he said.
The contribution from the foundation reached the university’s finance officer Gourkrishna Pattanayak last month.
This newspaper reported on June 16 that a summary statement drawn in May by JU’s finance officer stated that the deficit under non-salary heads (such as electricity charges and hostel and library expenses) was Rs 24.05 crore in 2022-23 and the university received a grant of Rs 21.74 crore from the state during the period.