The woes of IIT Bhubaneswar

Delays in the construction of campus, vacant seats and an acute shortage of faculty have downgraded IIT Bhubaneswar (IITBBS) to just another engineering college.

Though IITBBS was the first among the eight new IITs to start functioning and got 518 acre (of the total over 900 acre) in February 2009, the construction work is still in its initial stages. A visit to the campus site at Arugul village, on the outskirts of the city, reveals only some internal roads and an 800-seat hostel building are under construction. Only 50% of the work on the boundary wall, which started in March 2009, is complete. National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), whose construction was started alongside that of IITBBS in 2008, is nearing completion at Jatni.

Sources said the Union ministry of human resources development (MHRD) had approved construction of a building spread over 2,21,000 square meters, but the institute has obtained approval of Bhubaneswar Development Authority for 1,27,000 square meters. The 256th report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development of Rajya Sabha, earlier this year, described the progress in construction of IITBBS, along with IIT-Mandi, as “very discouraging”.

Twelve out of 160 BTech seats were lying vacant after the first-round of counseling, though institute sources said the same were later filled up. According to data presented by the Union government in the Rajya Sabha on March 22, some seats remained vacant in the institute most of the years. While there were no takers for seven seats in 2012, eight remained vacant in 2011. Similarly, 11 seats remained unoccupied in 2009. All seats were exhausted in 2010. The total number of seats was 120 all these years, which was increased to 160 this year.

IITBBS sources said there are around 75 teachers against the sanctioned faculty strength of 90. The maximum vacancies are at the middle level (associate professors).

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