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IIT, Kharagpur plans black bands protest over director issue

IIT, Kharagpur plans black bands protest
New Delhi, (IANS): Demanding appointment of Partha Pratim Chakrabarti as IIT Kharagpur director, an alumni association announced the graduating batch will be sporting black bands at the convocation July 27.

They will be protesting Chakrabarti's non-appointment as the institute director, the association said.

Despite being selected, he could not take charge as he was named in the Coalnet scam, a case involving IIT and Coal India Limited.

The alumni association that wants him at the helm will also stage protests in Pune and Hyderabad same day.

The faculty members will also stage a silent protest on the campus. HRD Minister M.M. Pallam Raju is scheduled to visit the campus for the convocation ceremony.

A nationwide hunger strike would be held Aug 3.

"This is a pivotal moment in IIT Kharagpur's history and its future as it embarks on Vision 20-20 - a bold initiative to be a top-20 institute in the world in the next 20 years. Such an inspiring vision requires an extraordinary person and a capable leader at its helm. Prof. Chakrabarti is such a person and leader," said Arjun Malhotra, a distinguished IIT Kharagpur alumnus and co-founder of HCL and Headstrong Inc.

When Chakrabarti's name was nearly finalised as IIT-Kharagpur director, the HRD ministry's vigilance department said their views were not sought and pointed out his involvement in the Coalnet scam.

The Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) and the Central Vigilance Commission conducted a probe.

IIT-Kharagpur said its board of governors had quashed the CBI report against Chakrabarti and others. Coalnet was a Rs.28-crore project to enable data sharing between the coal ministry and CIL and its subsidiaries.

It was awarded to IIT-Kharagpur. However, the institute flouted norms and awarded the project to a third (private) party, owned by an alumnus.

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