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Fee structure hike: IIT Kharagpur students end gherao, sit-in protests

The students of IIT Kharagpur lifted the gherao of the senior officials of the institution who remained confined for nearly 15 hours following the intervention of the police on Wednesday morning.

The IIT Kharagpur director, registrar and other officials of the institute were gheraoed overnight in their offices by a group of students protesting against 20 per cent hike in hostel fee. On the same night, the students also withdrew their sit-in demonstration.

The decision to hike the fee was taken recently and will be effective from January next year. The protests, which began on Tuesday, ended on Wednesday morning after a meeting between the students and management in which an assurance was given that their demands will be looked into.

IIT-KGP Director Partha Pratim Chakrabarti, Registrar Pradip Pyne, dean of students and a number of other senior officials were not allowed to leave their office by the students who sat at the gate last night.

The students who were participating in the agitation said that fee hike will affect them as many of them have to send money to their family out of the scholarship they get. It was learnt that a researcher gets Rs 25,000 as scholarship while an M.Tech student gets Rs 12,000. 

If the fees get restructured then they will face problems. Once the new fees structure comes into force the research and M.Tech scholars have to bear a cost of Rs 37,000 per semester instead of existing structure of fees of around Rs 29,000.

The students also alleged that while the fees remain the same in all other IITs in the country then why the IIT Kharagpur authorities are issuing notice for hiking the fees.

“We were waiting for a discussion with the management over this fee hike. Kharagpur is a cheap place, but the fees are the highest across all IITs. So what is the logic behind the hike?,” said one of the protesters.

It may be mentioned that IIT Kharagpur had issued a notice to the students in April after getting a fee revision note from the Centre. It was said that the new fee structure would be applicable for new as well as current students. The Centre had decided to hike the fee structure from Rs 90,000 to Rs 200,000.

Hundreds of students started sit in demonstration from Tuesday morning by blocking the main gate of the institution hampering its normal works.
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