Suchandana Gupta, TNN Aug 6, 2011, 12.56am IST
BHOPAL: Frustrated by government's apathy towards their demands of an engineering college, the farmers of Burhanpur, a small district adjoining Maharashtra, refused to give up: they pooled money for 10 years and finally have an engineering college of their own. This Independence Day, aspiring engineering students of Burhnapur and nearby areas will no more have to trudge to distant places; they will get their own institute.
"Our children have the right to dream of becoming engineers," said Virendra Kumar Singh, farmer and one of the directors of the Naval Singh Cooperative Sugar Mill Ltd. "We approached leaders of political parties to help realize our dream. But even our MPs and MLAs set-up their private engineering colleges in Indore and Khandwa and other places," Singh said.
In the year 2000, the thousands of sugar farmers of the cooperative gave up on pleading with their political masters. They decided to donate just Re 1 per quintal of sugarcane and build the college which would give an engineering degree to their children.
"The total project cost is Rs 26 crore," Virendra Kumar Singh said. "We have invested Rs 4.5 crore saved over the past decade. There is basic infrastructure and facilities after which the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Rajiv Gandhi Technology Mission gave us the recognition. We will start admission from August 10," said Singh.
In the 1990s former Madhya Pradesh minister and MLA from Nepa Nagar constituency of Burhanpur, Tanwant Singh Keer, set-up two private engineering colleges in Indore and Khandwa. Farmers were shattered. Every year, approximately 1,200 students from Burhanpur appeared for the state's pre-engineering test (PET). They then travelled 68 km to Khandwa or 181 km to Indore for admission into engineering colleges.
The streams offered are civil, computer science, mechanical, electrical, electronics and communication. Although the faculty is being brought in from the engineering colleges of Indore, administration would be managed by the farmers themselves. "There are a total of 330 seats and this will probably be the engineering college with the lowest tuition fee in the country. But preference will be given to the children of farmers from aspiring engineers from Burhanpur," Virendra Kumar Singh added.
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Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University
Varanasi 221005, UP