The students temporarily called off their protest on Wednesday evening and chose to discuss matters over a meeting on Thursday. In April, undergraduate students staged a peaceful protest against a decision by the IIT council, the governing body for the technical institutes, after it doubled the annual tuition for an IIT education to Rs2,00,000 ($2,948) from Rs90,000 ($1,327). The cost without institute support turns out to be around Rs 15,800 per semester at current rates, primarily due to salary increase and material cost over the last 6 years, and inclusion of manpower cost of more than 450 personnel of the contracted mess which was not there in earlier calculations.
The gherao was lifted on Wednesday morning following intervention of officials from Hijli outpost inside the institute campus.
A section of students said since the authorities have assured them to look into their grievances they were allowed to return to their quarters.
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While a almost 28% hike is sizable, the benefits students receive from an IIT Kharagpur degree are enormous: Graduates often go on to work at top-tier engineering, IT, finance, and consulting firms.
A protester said, "As a result, the expenses for research scholars and M Tech students would shoot up to Rs 37,000 from being a little over Rs 29,000 at present". "If the stipend is not increased how can we pay the increased hostel fees?" one PhD student wondered. The faculty member at the IIT also allegedly said that if students were unhappy with the fees they shouldn't have even come to study at the IIT, said the student. As per a student, it is very hard to manage with the stipend especially for the ones who come from economically weaker sections.
Students holding placards and shouting slogans demonstrated in front of the Director Building on Tuesday and prevented the officials from leaving the university premises. The students have also gheraoed director of the institution along with a few other officials.