As per sources, the central government has decided to grant a special fund of Rs.97 Crores (about USD 20 million) for the diamond jubilee celebrations of the coveted and pioneering Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Kharagpur in West Bengal, which would be completing 60 years of its existence in 2011. Incidentally IIT of Kharagpur in West Bengal is the oldest of all the IITs in India.
The decision to grant the funds have been taken by the HRD ministry on the request made by Damodar Acharya, the director of Kharagpur IIT on 27th June this year, for meeting the jubilee expenses.
This amount will be over and above the normal annual budgetary support of Rs.45.3 crores (about 10 million USD) required for meeting recurring expenses of the institute for the current financial year.
As per a HRD ministry official, IIT Kharagpur played a historic role in creating a technology base in India and needed more funds to renovate the buildings, which were oldest among all IITs.
The special funds would be utilised in constructing a library building, a convocation hall, lecture theatres and many other infrastructures apart from meeting celebration expenses. Incidentally, IIT Kharagpur has the largest campus and the highest student intake in both the postgraduate as well as the undergraduate courses if compared with other IITs.
Looking back into history, IIT Kharagpur was inaugurated 18th August’1951 by the then Central Education Minister Moulana Abul Kalam Azad and the campus was started at Hijli Detention Camp where many freedom fighters suffered in detention and sacrificed their life for the independence of our country. Therefore it is probably one of the very few institutions in the world, which stated operating in a prison house.
In its first convocation address in 1956 Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said, “Here in the place of that Hijli Detention Camp stands the fine monument of India, representing India’s urges, India’s future in the making.” Pandit Nehru laid the foundation stone of the Institute’s new campus in March’52
The seed that was sowed in 1951 has blossomed into a tree of 450 faculties, 2700 students, 2200 employees and a self contained township of over 15000 inhabitants with an area of 2100 acres of tree laden campus as of today from the inaugural run of modest 224 students, 42 teachers and ten departments, all housed in detention camp building.