Published: 02nd December 2020
Two months after MHA nod, IIT KGP calls 50 researchers back. Wanting to be back on campus, students start Twitter storm
Around 3,000 students are pursuing research from the IIT. The students say that a delay in being called back to campus is affecting research
Two months after the Ministry of Home Affairs gave a nod to the universities and institutes to call their research scholars back to campus, IIT Kharagpur has decided to call 50 of its senior-most PhD students back to campus. According to an email sent by the institute's Dean Professor Somesh Kumar, 50 students from the batches of 2011, 2012 and 2013 were called to the campus. According to the IIT KGP officials, approximately 3,000 students are pursuing research there.
"It was decided that they will be called on the basis of their seniority. An undertaking is to be given by the student, parent and supervisor," reads an email by the institute's Dean Professor Somesh Kumar. "In the first phase, we will be able to accommodate only 50 students (35 boys and 15 girls) from the combined list and call them back between December 1 and 15," the email reads. However, a lot of the major IITs have already called a sizeable number of its research scholars back to campus, in batches.
In response, the researchers of IIT Kharagpur have now started a Twitter campaign, asking it to call more scholars back, as a delay is affecting their research. Previously, they had written to the institute's director and the Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' stating the same. "A broad section of research scholars are not able to work from home as they have research work requiring sophisticated and high-end machines, chemicals, cultured organisms, or other lab facilities. After the recent MHA and Ministry of Education (MoE) guidelines, many research scholars have repeatedly appealed and requested the institute administration to call us back to the campus," reads their letter to Pokhriyal.
"This not only delays our research but also affects the funding," says a researcher who did not want to be named. "Our projects are funded for a limited time. There are chances that a lot of us may have to start from scratch and the funding may not be extended," she says.
At the same time, speaking with EdexLive, IIT-KGP's Deputy Registrar Tamal Nath says, "Kharagpur is a small city and we have around 13,500 students. The medical facility at this moment is not sufficient to call all of them back to campus. We are in the process of bringing back the students. We have already brought back 20 researchers," he says, adding that the institute is working on strategies to bring them back effectively.