The IIT-Kharagpur administration on Thursday held a meeting with students protesting the hike in hostel fees, and while it defended the hike, officials have also asked for details to determine what level of support can be provided to students within the norms.
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“The administration has been trying to make them see reason (research scholars). Efforts to engage with them in a reasonable manner are ongoing and will continue. A team of Dean Student Affairs, Dean Undergraduate Studies, Dean Postgraduate Studies and Research will work with the Hall Management Centre Team to work this out, and share the same with the Director and Deputy Director for approval followed by implementation,” said IIT-Kharagpur director Partha Pratim Chakraborty, issuing a statement after the meeting had concluded.
“They will also study the practices in other older IITs. The most suitable decision will be taken within the applicable norms. The Institute has to balance the funds we can spend on this category, as it may affect other categories like support to top national and international conferences, which helps achieve excellence,” he said.
Students who have been opposing fees hike have softened their tone, and are hopeful that of reaching a consensus within 2-3 days.
“Our issues were heard, the administrators also explained their point of view. Dialogues were exchanged. We are open to negotiations and are hopeful that things will be sorted,” student representative Sovan Panigrihi told The Indian Express.
Explaining the reasons behind the fees hike, Chakraborty through his statement said: “The mess overhead charges of Rs 8,250 per semester, which had not been changed for several years now in-spite of constant increase in cost of manpower and materials, now runs on major institute support.
“More than Rs 12 crore has been provided in the last two years to bridge the gap. Also, some costs like security, gaps in electricity bill, etc. have been directly taken over by the Institute to alleviate the burden on students.
“This has also resulted in problems with quality of food. The cost without institute support turns out to be around Rs 15,800 per semester at current rates, primarily due to salary increase and material cost over the last 6 years, and inclusion of manpower cost of more than 450 personnel of the contracted mess which was not there in earlier calculations.
“These details have been shared with the relevant people and student representatives. This helps students to only pay for food costs separately without manpower included there, thus effectively reducing food costs and helping improve food quality.”
The management during the meeting appealed to students to have patience before a more appropriate option is opted and announced.