Vidyadaan Institute of T&M in Bihar Village
By Santosh Singh
Updated Saturday, 24 March 2012 10:03:48 - IST (UTC +5:30)
Till recently, every second house in Ariaon village had someone working as unskilled labourer in Dubai. Now among those new houses, a new structure stands out, as does its unique emblem: a USB sprouting out of a field.
The Vidyadaan Institute of Technology and Management (VITM) in this village, under Dumraon sub-division, can proudly lay claim to that emblem. It’s the only engineering college between Patna in Bihar and Varanasi in UP. It is also the first college to get affiliated to Aryabhatta Knowledge University, a dream project of the Nitish Kumar government to give affiliation to all 15 engineering college and six medical colleges of the state.
Of the 127 students from two batches at the VITM, 90 per cent are from surrounding villages. Among them is Satendra Kumar, a student of computer science. His father Tulsi Yadav had been the first person from Shahabad region to visit Dubai in 1975 and work there as a mason for 21 years. He now works at VITM as a guard. Satendra, who once thought of taking the Dubai route, says: “I have a definite goal now to become an engineer.”
There are other students whose fathers are employed in Dubai as electricians, masons, carpenters or unskilled labourers. Dharmvir Singh says the college had “let village students like me follow their dreams”. Mukesh Kumar Yadav is pursuing engineering with the pension of his grandmother and rebate from the college management.
Ariaon village of 400-odd houses has over 200 people working in Dubai. In 50 surrounding villages, the story is the same — of a shrinking agricultural base and heavy dependence on the Dubai economy. With hopes vested in VITM, some students have started taking special classes to be able to get in.
The man behind the institute is a local, S K Singh (50), who was often derided for not doing anything for own village after graduating from Bihar Institute of Technology, Sindri, and joining the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) as a scientist. In 1997, he joined General Electric in the UK and worked in the US before settling down in Bangalore and opening his own company in 2006.
“I casually took part in the 2007 Bihar global summit and saw a presentation from the then HRD secretary M M Jha on how and why one should come back to Bihar. I immediately called my brothers Manoj and Bharat at Buxar village and asked if we could do something for our area,” Singh says.
He was amazed at the speed with which the whole thing came together. Thirty people decided to give their land after a 15-minute meeting at the village. Some withdrew their Kisan Vikas Patras prematurely, others sold their cows to donate money. Singh took a Rs 5 crore loan for the Rs 15 crore plan.
“The unused tract of land where our forefathers once ran horses has an engineering college now. OBC people with poor income gave their land without any condition. How often does it happen that people sign papers saying they got payment when actually I will be paying them in easy installments?” says Singh.
Incidentally, Singh’s own brother is a “returnee” from Dubai. When they started work on the project, the younger brother covered over 70,000 km on his bike, convincing locals about the college, lugging cement bags on it for the building.
When it started in 2010, VITM had 57 students, mostly from villages in a 10 km radius. It enrolled 70 students in 2011. With fresh admissions set to begin for the 2012-16 batch this July, Singh has been getting calls from even eastern UP. The number of girls is up from one in the first batch to six in the second.
“As the main objective is to draw local students, mostly from poor economic backgrounds, the college charges Rs 35,000 per semester, with scholarships on offer. There is 10 per cent scholarship for girls,” Singh says. (IE)