IIT-Kharagpur alumni start 'PPC for director' movement
The alumni association of IIT-Kharagpur has started a campaign called 'PPC for director' to press for the appointment of Partha Pratim Chakrabarti as the institute's head.

A silent march will be organised Saturday in three cities -- Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore -- to press for this demand, the alumni association announced in the national capital Friday.

"We have lost faith completely (in the system) and so we are organising the silent march. We demand that P.P. Chakrabarti be appointed by July 29, as it would be a year since he was issued an appointment letter," said Arjun Malhotra, IIT-Kharagpur alumnus and co-founder of Hindustan Computers Limited (HCL).

The post of the director of the institute has been vacant since June 30, 2012.

Partha Pratim Chakrabarti was to be appointed the new director. However, his appointment was halted as he was accused in the Coal Net case, between IIT and Coal India Limited (CIL), a matter into which the Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) conducted a probe.

The Coal Net issue involved a Rs.28-crore project that would enable data sharing between the coal ministry, CIL and its subsidiaries, that was awarded to IIT-Kharagpur. However, against the rules, the institute awarded the project to a third, private party, owned by an alumnus.

"CBI report had recommended only minor penalty against Chakrabarti. His appointment is pending as we are awaiting clearance from the CVC," Arjun Malhotra said.

According to CVC guidelines, matters with minor penalty must be resolved within two months of receiving statements -- alumni members say Chakrabarti had responded to the first CVC/CBI enquiry over four-and-a-half years ago.

"We have sent 20 public interest litigations (PIL), but we have not received any information on them," said Atul Bal, an alumnus of IIT.

He also said there were other professors who carried out the project, too, namely R.N. Banerjee and Anil Bhowmick, and the CBI report had recommended that they be given major penalty.

"Bhowmick has been appointed director of IIT Patna. What is the problem with PPC," Bal questioned.

The lack of a director for a year is known to be badly affecting the administrative process at the institute.

Apart from the alumni, the teachers also organised a hunger strike in the campus on Wednesday. Students will also be taking part in the move to press for the early appointment of a director.