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The Times of India on Gobal Alumni & IIT Status - Tuesday, October 18, 2005 at 11:35

BE alumni on global mission for IIT status

By Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey/TNN

Kolkata: Across America, Europe, Australia, Middle East and India an e-mail is making the rounds among alumni of Bengal Engineering and Science University. It says that their alma mater is on its way to being upgraded to IIT status. Thanks to the e-mail, former students are uniting to form a global alumni association to support the cause.

The e-mail also says that the receiver must forward it to all the alumni he is in touch with, and to take the cause forward. It also says that the existing alumni associations of East Coast — USA, Washington , North California, Canada, London, Oman, Kuwait, Maharashtra, New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata are coming together under the global body.

The members have cited the reasons for the 150-year-old institute being upgraded to IIT status, in a recent letter to the Union ministry of human resources development and the state government. The Union ministry of human resources development has initiated the process of elevating the status of seven institutions. Among the signatories are Kajal Gupta of the 1956 civil engineering batch, now chief scientist of Nasa, Gautam Dasgupta of the 1967 civil engineering batch, now a teacher at Columbia University, Prabir Bagchi of the 1969 mechanical engineering batch, now a senior associate dean at George Washington University and Tarun Basu, director at Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, University of Texas, Dallas.

“The upgradation of Besu has been long needed. Besu is not at par with the IITs. If one compares the budget of the two, the reason for this gap will be obvious. The annual budget of Besu is Rs 16 crores while that of IITKharagpur is Rs 200 crore,” Basu said. Once Besu acquires IIT status, the fund flow from the Center will increase, he added.

Besu global alumni association members like Pushpashis Sen of the 1955 mechanical engineering batch, now settled in London, and Shyamal Dasgupta of the 1980 metallurgical engineering batch, now settled in Washington, feel that glaring gaps like the 50% Phd holding Besu faculty as against 100% of the IITs can now be bridged. Besu also needs to pay attention to the meagre number of papers published by its faculty (178 last year) as compared to 450 by any IIT. Also, IITs get 20 patents annually while Besu managed only three last year. “If one considers the productivity of the faculties per crore of rupees spent, Besu does better than the IITs. With additional funding, Besu can recruit better faculty and can set up better research facilities. This will bring Besu at par with a typical IIT in terms of scholarship,” reasons the alumni.

They added that it was Besu alumni who helped start IIT Kharagpur and even today a sizeable number of the latter’s faculty comes from Besu.

A correction from alumni web team: Dr. Kajal Gupta, 56CE, Chief Technologist, NASA/DFRC, Edwards, California not as "Chief Scientist" as mentioned by Ms Pandey.

TOI article Oct 14th:

Dec date for varsities’ IIT status test
Kolkata: Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU) and Jadavpur University (JU) are preparing for the acid test. On December 1 and 2, the two institutions will have to prove their mettle to a team of experts who are coming over to see if they deserve to be upgraded to the status of “institutions with potential to become IITs.”

Earlier this year the Union HRD ministry had shortlisted seven institutions which could be upgraded to IIT status. Bengal is the only state from where two universities were selected. In August, the heads of the two universities were asked to make presentations on their department-wise achievements, research projects and how they plan to upgrade infrastructure to be at par with IITs.

Now, the MHRD has informed them that an expert team will visit BESU on December 1 and JU on December 2. The experts will visit departments, laboratories and research projects at random to cross examine claims made by the two universities.

According to MHRD officials, the ministry has earmarked Rs 2000 crore in the 11th plan for the upgrading of the seven institutions. “Inspections by expert started in September. The two Bengal institutions are among the last to be examined. The three-member expert team will give us a report immediately after inspecting Besu and JU,” said an MHRD official from Delhi.

BESU vice-chancellor N R Banerjea told TOI, “We are gearing up to defend our claims. Twelve faculty members are preparing the powerpoint presentations according to the MHRD format. We will be ready by the end of this month. In our presentation in August, we said we would need at least Rs 950 crore to bridge the gap between us and IITs.”

In the vision plan prepared by BESU, 19 new schools of technology and four new departm e n t s (biotechnology, chemical engineering, food technology and safety and occupational health engineering) have been planned. A second campus — with hostels, staff quarters, gyms — has also been projected. Pro-vice-chancellor of Jadavpur University, S K Sanyal said they were also making preparations for the December 2 visit

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Comments by Readers
Comments by Asim Roy (1956 Arch.) from Canada on Thursday, October 20, 2005 at 13:41 - IP Logged
I am really elated and excited at the prospect of our beloved institution BESUS being designated as one of the IITs--a string of institutes that embodies excellence in engineering and scientific education in India. Reflecting the sentiments expressed by Susobhan Ghosh, the previous commentator in this column, I also can't wait to see this designation implemented.
It's also heartening to know that another institution from Bengal, Jadavpur University, is also being considered for designation into an IIT. This means that if the current proposal goes though, three IITs may be located in Bengal.
I sincerely hope that BESUS, with a long and glorious tradition of educating engineers and architects for almost 150 years, will be rightfully designated as one of the IITs. If so designated, I am sure the new IIT rising from the former BESUS will be able to do a fast catch-up in standard by utilizing its long tradition of excellent engineering education. Also, by being at India's eastern gateway location, IIT (BESUS) will be in a unique position to have more intense technical exchanges with such establihed/rising powers as: Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan. Language schools within IIT (BESUS) would help in such technical exchanges and communication needed.
All we can do now is to await the publication of the MHRD's report. A successful designation to IIT will make many people (V.C., Faculty & Staff, Students, and Alumni) associated with BESUS very happy.
Comments by Well wishers from India on Thursday, October 20, 2005 at 08:35 - IP Logged
Road to heart passes through stomach - a proverb
Comments by Molay Halder 2003 ELE from India on Tuesday, October 18, 2005 at 14:54 - IP Logged
I think its great that not only that BESU itself is beginning to get such recognition but that the alumni association is attracting such attention for its endeavours from the national media. We should congratulate the Global Alumni Team that made this possible by circulating the email in the article above and for the behind the scenes work that they do to make this possible. Well done team!
I don't think its appropriate to discuss state politics or to make personal attacks on previous chief ministers, having said that , Buddha da should be congratulated for turning the situation around regarding the granting of IIT status to BESU and the other institute from a situation of apathy a few months ago to one where the GOI will visit in December to inspect BESU and hopefully confer the status soon.
Comments by Susobhan Ghosh from United States on Tuesday, October 18, 2005 at 13:03 - IP Logged
Can not wait to see our college, presently known as BESUS, be upgraded to IIT status. We the proud bengalees have been going down the hill for the last 30-35 years under the great leadership of Jyoti Basu. It appears that Mr. Budhdhadev Bhattacharya, although belonging to the same political party, has earned interest from various corners of the society because of his vision for West Bengal and his sincere effort to bring business to our state. If we succeed upgrading two premiere institutions, e.g., JU and BESUS to IIT status, we will have three IITs in one state. Bengal and Bengalees deserve it, and if we succeed to have 3 IITS, it will not be too long before Premji, Narayan Moorthy, Bill Gates, along with others like Mittal, Tata, Birla, and foreign investors from Korea, Japan, Indonesia, etc. start increasing their investing plan in the state. Kolkata is still the inexpensive place in India, and with the availability of skilled man power, W. Bengal may thrive again and become envy of other states. Do not know whom should we credit besides Budhdhadev B. All I can say we need more of Budhdhadev and say bye to Jyoti.


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