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Student angst at IIT-Indore over food, transport, personal freedom

Indian Institute of Technology-Indore (IIT-I) authorities and students have been at loggerheads for the last 12 days over a variety of issues, including food and personal freedom.

bhopal Updated: Jan 30, 2018 11:48 IST
Punya Priya Mitra
Punya Priya Mitra
Punya Priya Mitra, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Indore,IIT,Madhya Pradesh
IIT Indore students staging dharna before the director’s office recently.(HT Photo)

Indian Institute of Technology-Indore (IIT-I) authorities and students have been at loggerheads for the last 12 days over a variety of issues, including food and personal freedom.

Students have taken to the social media with appeals for support, alleging that the institution campus has turned into an “open jail”.

Both B Tech and post-graduate students have termed the food served at the institute as “inedible”, and alleged that the authorities were unwilling to change the caterer. They have also accused the authorities of forcing out another caterer who enjoyed the students’ approval for “no good reason”.

“It was out of sheer frustration that we gheraoed IIT-I director Pradeep Mathur on the night of January 18. The next day, they announced that the general secretary of the IIT’s student body has been removed. However, there was no written order,” a student said on the condition of anonymity.

Another student complained about being forced to deposit their identity cards at the gate every time they venture out for dhaba food. “Even then, faculty members come to check what we are up to,” he said. “They are even calling up our parents to say that we are misbehaving.”

The post-graduate students, who reside at the Silver Springs colony located 17 km from the Simrol campus, complained about inadequate transport facilities. “Earlier, the buses would make enough trips to take us to the institute and back. Lately, they have been cutting back on the number of trips. We walked all the way to the institute last week as a mark of protest,” one of them said.

He said that though the IIT authorities want them to shift closer to the campus, the rent remains a deterrent. “A room that costs Rs 3,000 at Silver Springs – a secure housing colony – costs anywhere between Rs 10,000 and Rs 12,000 in Simrol.”

While students dean Abhishekh Shrivastava refused to comment, a detailed questionnaire sent to Mathur also went unanswered.

Nirmala Menon, the official in charge of handling the media, was not very forthcoming about the complaints either. “This is an internal matter of IIT-I, and the authorities are trying to resolve the students’ grievances,” she said. “We respect their right to express their anger at anybody in authority, be it the director or the deans. We hope the misunderstanding will be cleared soon.”

First Published: Jan 30, 2018 11:48 IST