Chennai: The alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras donated more than US$ 2 million towards COVID-19 relief efforts.
The contribution was used to purchase 200 oxygen concentrators (10 liters each) that was handed over to the commissioner of Chennai Corporation on 3 June. Further, Dr. Jane Prasad, the registrar of IIT Madras, handed over 74 BiPAP units to Chennai Corporation officials recently. IIT Madras alumni have also donated 200 oxygen concentrators (5 liters each) to the Telangana government.
The fundraising was coordinated by the office of Alumni and Corporate Relations (ACR) of IIT Madras in association with IIT Madras Alumni Association of North America and IITM Foundation in the US.
Elaborating about these efforts, Anand Rajaraman, a partner at a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Rocketship VC and an IIT Madras alumnus, said, "It is the duty of the Indian diaspora to rally and help the country get through these darkest hours. As a Chennai boy, I am grateful and proud that the IIT Madras alumni network has mobilized to help Chennai and Tamil Nadu with medical equipment and supplies to fill critical gaps and save thousands of lives."
N. Alamelu, secretary of the IIT Madras Alumni Charitable Trust, added, "Through this donation, our (IIT Madras) alumni would like to say that while we may be separated by physical distance, our thoughts and support are always with you. We are with you."
IIT Madras alumni working as senior executives with reputed MNCs were actively involved in evaluating and finalizing the options available at various stages throughout the process.
Prof. Mahesh Panchagnula, the dean (alumni and corporate relations) of IIT Madras, lauded the efforts of the IIT Madras alumni and said they reacted swiftly to fulfil a need created by the pandemic.
Rekha Ranganathan, an alumnus of IIT Madras, said, "Chennai is home. When I learned about the challenges due to COVID for all patients and my friends, I strongly felt I had to give back and help. IITM Foundation and MAANA came together to make it happen. I contributed as much as I could in resources and effort."
Besides these efforts, IIT Madras has formed a COVID relief fund to support students and faculty members who are in distress due to the medical exigencies caused by the pandemic. In the last financial year, IIT Madras raised as much as Rs. 96 lakh to cater to the COVID relief requirements of students and employees of the institute.
It also plans to upgrade the medical infrastructure within the campus to cater to any potential requirements that may arise as it re-opens the campus to receive students, as and when the lockdown conditions are lifted and the threat of the pandemic eases out.