Kolkata, Dec 23: IIT Kharagpur Director P.P. Chakrabarti has urged agitating students to restore normalcy at the institute and called for bridging the communication gap.
The IIT-Kharagpur on Thursday dubbed the agitation as "undemocratic" after a section of students demanded the rollback of a hike in mess overhead charges, but said efforts were on to engage with them in a reasonable manner.
"The situation arising out of such over-reaction was extremely painful for all of us, including me as director of the Institute which is also my alma mater," Chakrabarti said in a letter to all the students dated December 22.
"Some of you have been agitating regarding the revised Mess Overhead Charges that are applicable from the next semester. The reasons are due to the sudden increase in the charges from Rs 8,250 to Rs 15,800. While the institute was willing to listen to the students in a peaceful manner, we were not at all agreeable to engage in any discussion under duress," Chakrabarti said.
He asserted IIT-Kharagpur is "the last institute to overburden students unnecessarily or discriminate among them".
The director also requested the students to "not be provoked into creation of an atmosphere" where the rest of the world -- including recruiting agencies, national and international institutions, which take the institute's students -- feel that IIT-Kharagpur students are not the type of people they want.
"I guess that there has been some communication gap as IIT-KGP students are not known to react this way. We are in the process of examining all the issues in details to see what is the best we can do," he said.
"Little did I know that on December 20 night and on December 21 morning, I would be profusely apologising to the several (at least five) distinguished alumni on campus in the last two days (who are giants on their fields now), two major industry leaders who came to initiate unique collaborations and the National Steering Committee on e-Library Consortium which I chair nationally to enable large discounts on e-books and journals, that I could not meet / discuss with because I and my colleagues were held hostage in my office and that they had to leave / cancel the meeting under such disturbing conditions," Chakrabarti said.
"I tried my best to explain to them that is not the 'new normal' of IIT-KGP and it still remains the great institution it was three days ago," the director added.
Hoping that good sense will prevail and the students will "refrain and get back to the true normal of IIT-KGP", Chakrabarti said the authorities will try to work out what is "best possible as soon as they can" and discuss how to take it forward in the future in a "democratic manner".
"We have to remove the disconnection that I observed in a much better manner. If you have any suggestions, please consolidate them and share with us," he added.