March 21, 2013
IIT Kharagpur alumni from different walks of life have stepped up to support the candidature of their fellow alumnus and director-select, Prof.
Partha Pratim Chakrabarti
(PPC as he is fondly known at the campus). In mid-2012, Prof. Chakrabarti was selected to be IIT Kharagpur's next Director but his official appointment currently has been delayed with his alleged implication in the Coalnet scam.
Over 1500 alumni of IIT Kharagpur have now joined forces and have risen in an unprecedented support for Prof. Chakrabarti. There has been an overwhelming response on Social Communities like Facebook, through the PPC For Director page, where over 1200 IIT Kharagpur alumni have signed up in less than a week to show their support to the movement. Over 800 alumni have signed a petition on change.org, asking the Board of Governors of IIT Kharagpur to exonerate the professor and appoint him as the Director. Over 100 RTI's have been filed by the alumni community to ensure that the relevant documents which would prove his innocence are brought in public attention. This overwhelming alumni reaction in support for PPC is one of a kind and has never been seen earlier.
Prof Chakrabarti is an IIT Kharagpur President's Gold medalist (PGM,1985 batch), awarded to the top student of the graduating class. Prof. Chakrabarti chose to forgo lucrative opportunities overseas to stay in
and teach in his alma-mater. Says Shail Kumar, previously senior administrator at
University of California, Berkeley
, and a 1987 graduate of IIT Kharagpur, "In our times, the most logical route for an IIT graduate, especially for a PGM, was to pursue graduate studies at a premier research university in the
. PPC, fortunately for IIT Kharagpur, was an exception to this rule."
Professor Chakrabarti excelled as a distinguished academician being one of the youngest to win the Prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award, which is the highest recognition for scientific achievements in
. He also has a number of patents and publications to his name, and was a pioneer in setting up the world class VLSI laboratory at IIT Kharagpur. He was made the Dean for Sponsored Research (SRIC) at IIT, at the age of 40, one of the youngest deans ever at any IITs. Under his leadership and administration, IIT Kharagpur' SRIC grew into the largest cell of its kind at any educational institute in the country.
Prof Chakrabarti has also been a pioneer of innovation and research among the student and faculty ecosystems at IIT. His involvement and support led to the formation of IIT Kharagpur's first ever Formula race car project under the aegis of SRIC, putting IIT KGP on the world formula car map. His continued support to this student project has led to the successful creation of 2 more cars till now for major international events. Says Siddartha Khastgir, Founder, IIT KGP formula car project, "Back in 2009, Prof. PPC was one of the very few people in the institute, who thought that an automotive innovation project should be done at KGP and he supported the initiative by making it an SRIC funded project. He is responsible for bringing the Automobile Engineering tradition back to KGP. His vision has led to the setting up of one-of-its-kind and state-of-the-art Automotive Lab at IIT KGP."