Mumbai: Around 100 IIT-Bombay students staged an impromptu sit-in protest on Tuesday to oppose the recent 35-45% fee hike in M.Tech and PhD courses. TOI had earlier reported about the decision. The protesting students submitted a statement to the director with 1,000 plus signatures and are planning to mobilise more students for an open house assured by the institute. In 2017, too, a protest was launched under the banner – ‘IIT-B Students Against Fee Hike’ – forcing the institute to partially rollback the hikes.
On Tuesday, when students were allegedly not allowed to meet the director, they staged an impromptu sit-in protest in the main building for an hour and left only when an institute official assured to look into their demands.
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Students claimed that the increase in fees are unreasonable and that many students rely only on stipends to support their families. “There has been a 45% increase in fees with most of the components being raised from 25% to 50%, while the gymkhana fee is increased by 340%… Hostel rent has increased by Rs 600 which was already hiked from Rs 500 to Rs 2000 in 2017-18… no clarification or reasoning has been given to us for such a drastic step and unjust increase in the fees,” said the statement submitted by the students. They have sought withdrawal of the fee hike, and extension of the last date of payment till the fee hike is rolled back.
An institute official said that the fee increase may seem higher as a percentage due to the deferred implementation on account of Covid. “But it is only five per cent per annum on a very low base amount. The room rent, for instance, after the hike is only Rs 2,000 for six months. We will be meeting the students in an open house,” he said.
A protesting student said that there is confusion in some components too. “We will be holding out posters and pamphlets and mobilising students in mess and hostels. The institute has told us that the expenditure has increased, and we are asking them to just make it transparent. The hikes are more for new entrants, and are likely to discourage some from pursuing M Tech,” he said.