| The campus of NIT Silchar. Telegraph picture |
Silchar, Sept. 23: The National Institute of Technology, Silchar, will soon start work on producing clean solar energy to meet its energy needs.
The institute was converted into an NIT from its earlier incarnation, the Regional Engineering College (REC), in 2000. The REC campus was set up in the idyllic village of Siloorie in 1977.
Currently, the institute requires 1MW of power daily. A 100kilowatt capacity solar plant will soon come up on the campus.
Once completed, the plant will be the first solar energy facility in south Assam.
The director of NIT, Silchar, N.V. Deshpande, told The Telegraph that the institute would divert some of the power to illuminate the office of Cachar district’s deputy commissioner and to Madhutiulla and Babutilla villages, which were adopted by the NIT for development some time ago.
Deshpande said the mini solar energy project would cost New Delhi Rs 2.7 crore and it would be set up by Central Electric Limited, a Union government-undertaking firm.
Deshpande, a mechanical engineer by training, said Mizoram University, which set up the region’s first solar energy facility on its hilltop campus at Thanhril in Aizwal, inspired Silchar NIT’s tryst with solar energy.
The power deficient state of Mizoram, girdled by lofty green hills, was poised to get a 750kilowatt-capacity solar power project, which will cost the Centre Rs 18 crore, he said.
According to Deshpande, the North East Hills University (Nehu) in Shillong is about to follow suit with another solar power plant.
Nehu sources said the institute, with 4,500 students, is toying with the idea of installing a solar energy plant on its campus because it is currently grappling with a severe power crunch.
The university requires 2MW of power daily and Meghalaya’s hydel power units cannot sustain this load.
There are 30 NIT’s in the country and eight of them are in the Northeast. Of late, NIT Silchar has the distinction of making a mark in both academics and employment generation.
The institute has 153 faculty members and over 1,000 students drawn from six engineering disciplines in its under and postgraduate programmes.
Deshpande said the institute also has plans to install a biogas plant shortly. The Rs 27-lakh plant will help run its kitchens in the hostels.
Yet another first for the institute was when it bagged the contract to deploy its faculty members and students in a central project to stem the erosion of a 6km stretch of National Highway 6 by the Barak river.
The road is the outside world’s gateway to the Barak valley districts and the adjacent states of Mizoram and Tripura. This project will cost Rs 60 crore and Silchar NIT will wrest a constancy fee for its expertise.