Nobel laureate faces visa hassles

IIT faculty say they too suffer similar problems with other countries.

Chennai: Nobel laureate Professor Kurt Wüthrich had to go ba­ck to his family roots and give inf­ormation even on his gr­andmother’s na­me just to get an Indian vi­sa that he needed to come to IIT-Ma­dras to deliver a lecture.

His visa application was sent back thrice for flimsy reasons and he was also ch­­a­rged extra as he was to attend an educational con­fe­­rence in India. In an in­teraction with reporters at IIT-Madras on the sideli­nes of Nobel laureate lecture series on Friday, Prof Kurt Wüthrich lamented that he and his wife had to fill up a four-page visa ap­pl­ication and the Indian of­­ficials even asked his gr­and mother’s name in the visa document. “My secretary took two days to fill in the form as it had numero­us details to be filled in and the visa application was sent back to me thrice on flimsy grounds,” he said.

Further, he said that his wife’s visa got cleared and his application got del­a­yed, as the Indian government wanted him to pay an additional 70 Swiss fr­ancs to attend educational conference at IIT-Madras.

“It is not that I cannot pay 70 francs but why does the Indian government want to charge extra stating that I am not only a to­ur­ist. This is not the first time but second time for me,” Prof Wüthrich who was awarded Nobel prize for Chemistry in 2002, sa­id.

Countering the charges made by the Nobel laureate, Prof R. Nagarajan, dean of international relations and alumni affairs at IIT-Madras pointed out that IIT faculty too faced a similar problem with governments in other countries.

“Several countries have denied visa for our faculty and that too when they see the word aerospace in the visa document they imme­di­­ately reject our visa app­lication. So this is comm­on in all countries,” he said.

Prof Wüthrich also poi­nted out that India’s lack of investment in laboratory infrastructure would slow down the progress of research in the country.

( Source : dc )
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