If Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is trying to make Bengal the Detroit of India by rolling out the red carpet for automobile and auto ancillary companies, the oldest engineering college in the state is gearing up to supply a steady stream of manpower to the industry.
Bengal Engineering and Science University (Besu) is setting up on its Shibpur campus a centre of excellence in automobile engineering to meet the human resources requirement of auto majors like Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland and Bharat Forge.
“No institute in India other than the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai, offers specific courses in automobile engineering,” said B.N. Dutta, dean, research and consultancy, Besu.
The centre will be set up in collaboration with the University of Windsor, which supplies manpower to the auto industry in Detroit.
Last month, Besu vice-chancellor N.R. Banerjea and his counterpart in the University of Windsor, Ross Paul, signed a memorandum of understanding and formalised the association.
“Our target is to launch a postgraduate course in automobile engineering from the next academic session, starting July 2007,” said Dutta.
Not just association with a world-class academic institute, the centre is also scouting for partners from the automobile industry.
Besu officials are excited that Tata Motors has favourably responded to the university’s request for technological support and endowments.
“We are looking at means through which we can participate in the Besu initiative for its centre of excellence in automobile engineering,” confirmed a Tata Motors spokesperson.
To begin with, the postgraduate programme will have 30-odd seats. The course structure and content will have similarities with the programmes offered by the University of Windsor. The two-year programme will include one year of classroom sessions and a year of industrial training.
“To have a first-hand experience of their teaching methods, we are sending three teachers to Windsor next month. We will also take part in the auto technology meet in Detroit, due this April,” said Dutta.