Nagpur: Vishram Jamdar, a well known local Industrialist and an alumni of Nagpur based Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT), formerly VRCE was made Chairman of his alma mater in September 2014, almost two months ago. But a controversy has erupted about his appointment by HRD Minister Smriti Irani, because of a news article carried by a national newspaper, in which it was alleged that his RSS credentials helped him in getting him elevated to the coveted post. A letter he wrote to the Minister congratulating her and applying for the post became the high point of this controversy.
In a first media interview post this controversy, Jamdar interacted with Nagpur Today put an effort to clear his stand.
“Yes, I am an RSS man, so what?” He said. “Does it take away from my technology expertise and experience, in both industry and academics?”, he questioned.
“Do they know that I was Chairman of the Board of studies of the Nagpur Polytechnic when it was made autonomous and the process took place under my guidance? I have also been on the Board of Governors (BOG) of VNIT ever since It became autonomous in 2002. Besides, I have been a student of this institute and am Chairman of four successful companies established by me. I think that makes me eminently suitable for the position” he concluded.
Mr. Jamdar had all praise for Ms. Irani. “She is very sincere, hard working & dynamic and has to manage one of the biggest Ministries. She has the vision to make a difference to our Education scenario that will benefit Indian children and youth.” He said.
Plans for VNIT
Right now, VNIT is ranked 10th among the NITs of the country. “Our goal is very simple. We just want to remove the 0 – taking VNIT to number one position” said the Chairman.
The strategy they have in place for this is three dimensional – Fill up the vacant faculty positions so the student: faculty ratio is 13:1 as prescribed by the Kakodkar Committee. The present strength of VNIT students is 4000. The aim is to henceforth hire only doctorates even if it is for the position of Asst. Professor. Exposure to industry will be considered an additional qualification but the norm for holding a Ph.D. will not be relaxed. Scholars will be sourced from the Indian community internationally.
Curriculum will be altered to make Engineering studies more practical. A Research park is proposed with the theme of ‘Research with a Social face’. Explaining this concept Jamdar said that Research should be such that it makes the life of people easier. It should save time and money when applied to industry without diverting from the quality.
“On the one hand we have European and American customers who want precision and excellence in their products but cannot manufacture in their own countries due to cost escalations and other factors, on the other hand we have China which has mastered the technique of mass production at cheap prices – but often at the cost of quality, consistency or schedules. And then these industries come to India where they are satisfied on all counts without compromising too much on price. This is the Indian Engineer’s intrinsic talent which our institutes should hone,” Jamdar pointed out.
Many machines are in the domain of CNC – Computer Numerically Controlled. If their process time can be brought down from a few hours to 30 minutes it will lead to a huge saving. When quizzed on this, he said, “We have done these things in our own companies and students have done Research papers on this”
The third goal the BOG has set for VNIT is making it a GREEN institute. “We will make best possible use of the land we have while conserving power and water.” said Jamdar.
Thus they plan to install solar panels wherever possible without disturbing the tree cover and also go in for recycling of water. It must be mentioned here that VNIT campus is like the lungs that keep South Nagpur from suffocating from vehicular and other pollution that has gone up a lot recently. It is also a haven for morning and evening walkers who look forward to a refreshing stroll in its green environment to get rid of the day’s stress.
– Sunita Mudaliar with Charles Salve