‘IITs doing well in basic research’(The Assam Tribune,31/052005)

One of the major reasons behind this has been the lack of support from industry. The IITs need to gain momentum to meet the challenges, which face the nation, said Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh, at the seventh convocation ceremony of IIT, Guwahati.

Urging the IIT, Guwahati to become a fountainhead of knowledge he enquired when the institute would develop cutting edge technologies. “The region is rich in petrochemical products. When will we see petrochemical plants being set up? Floods in the North East are a major problem. I would like to see concrete suggestions and solutions emerge from this institute.”

In the presence of the Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, he mentioned that a certain shift was taking place in the mindset of the people of Assam. “Earlier the oft-heard word was sovereignty, now that has been replaced by stress on development.”

Earlier, inaugurating the library-cum-computer centre of the IIT, Singh hoped that the institute would be able to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of the people of the North East. He further described the institute as an outcome of the vision that late Rajiv Gandhi had.

In his speech the Chief Minister said his government is doing the best to attract the leading IT and ITES companies of the country. Such efforts require technical inputs from various scientific and engineering fields, which IIT Guwahati can provide. He appreciated the manner in which the institute has responded to local needs and problems.

Addressing the gathering, A K Saikia, Chairman of the Board of Governors IIT Guwahati observed that the institute was putting great emphasis on the development of infrastructure. By the end of the 10th plan period, the institute will have a student capacity of 2,800. To keep pace with its extension, the faculty strength would also have to increase, he informed.

Referring to the institute’s contribution to the development of the North East, he said, “The IIT Guwahati is participating in an all-India programme on Earthquake Engineering. The institute is also involved in a Khadi and Village project through which work in the areas of biogas, bamboo, and cane craft … has also been undertaken.”

Articulating the present status of the institute, the Director of the IIT Guwahati, Gautam Barua stated that the institute must improve its R & D performance. He further said one cause of concern for IIT Guwahati was the decline in the number of students pursuing Ph D programmes. He appealed to the students to consider the institute as a place for research.

Today’s convocation witnessed BTech/BDes, MSc, MTech and PhD degrees being conferred on 241 students. Shantanu Gupta of the Computer Science and Engineering Department received the prestigious President of India Gold Medal for academic excellence. Talking to The Assam Tribune, the young engineer who would be going to University of Michigan for his PhD, said Guwahati IIT possesses the most updated syllabus and its faculty was especially supportive to students.

- The Assam Tribune