Amid charges that IIT Kharagpur authorities snapped internet connection in hostels of students and research scholars so that they are forced to vacate rooms,the management on Thursday said that they were repeatedly asked to leave since the end of June. While over 10,000 students had left the campus since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, about 100 are not vacating their rooms, Registrar Prof B N Singh said.
An institute source said that net connection in five hostels lodging 65 research scholars and several BTech, MTech students was discontinued on September 1 after the inmates informed the authorities they cannot leave the campus till the situation normalises. One of these students said that the move of the institute was aimed at forcing them to vacate hostels, but they cannot leave the campus due to lack of adequate transport facility.
"Initially they had sought a little more time citing lack of travel options and to make necessary arrangements. But two months have passed since June. There is no possibility of campus activities starting this month, Singh told PTI. The institute has started online classes as the new semester began in September.
"We had considered their request earlier as they are our children. But this cannot go on indefinitely. The director himself had also requested them to leave. They must be aware of the pandemic situation," Singh said. He said that 12-13 people including five students staying in the campus have been tested positive for COVID-19 in less than two weeks.
"We cannot risk the health of our students, the registrar said. IIT Kharagpur had asked all students, who got stranded because of lockdown, to leave the campus by June 30, but a few of them remained there.
The first COVID-19 case was detected in the institute when one of them tested positive on August 19. The authorities then asked all the students staying in the campus to vacate their rooms by August 23.
Asked about the condition of those who have been infected with the virus, the registrar said, "They had all been admitted to a hospital in Kolkata. Several of them have already recovered."