By A Newsman
Midnapore, 21 December: AFTER over 35-hours, students of IIT Kharagpur has suspended their agitation this evening following an assurance from the authorities to consider their demands in a time bound manner.
The students had launched an indefinite agitation on the campus since yesterday noon against exorbitant hike in tuition fee in the current semester and other demands like payment of house rent allowance to research scholars and rationalising the cost of meal at the hostel, etc.
By evening, the demonstration had escalated into a gherao of IIT Kharagpur director Partha Pratim Chakrabarti and other senior officials who remained cooped up in their office chambers overnight. The gherao was lifted around 12.30 today noon only after the police intervened; but the students continued with the demonstration on the campus demanding that the director must talk to them over the demands.
After staying unmoved, the institute authorities relented in the evening and held a meeting with representatives of the agitating students. During the meeting, the director and others assured the students that they would consider the demands and convey a decision to the agitators by 07 pm tomorrow.
Following this, the students suspended their agitation this evening albeit clarifying that the agitation would be resumed if the authorities fail to come up with a positive solution.
The agitating students alleged that while IIT Kharagpur usually hikes the tuition fee by about Rs 2,000 every semester, this time the fee had been increased by about Rs 8,000. This has made things very difficult for the research scholars as many of them supports their families from the meagre fellowship that they get from the Centre.
This apart, the students were being forced to opt for a uniform meal at the hostel mess and Rs 95 was being charged for every such meal in addition to applicable taxes. The students further alleged that while in all institutes of higher education, research scholars were given house rent allowance, the same was being deprived at IIT Kharagpur.