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Charisma conquers convocation
Awe and shock from missile man

Former President and India’s missile man APJ Abdul Kalam on Sunday stressed the need to evolve effective flood management strategies.

Kalam, who was speaking at the third convocation of National Institute of Technology (NIT), Patna, said: “The biggest challenge for Bihar is floods. River water management by generating huge reservoirs and canal systems along with linking of all major rivers will help control floods while inland water transport systems, too, can be developed.”

Students, faculty members and parents at SK Memorial Hall were in awe as the teacher and philosopher in Kalam doled out nuggets of wisdom they had rarely received in classrooms. Kalam told the youths: “Follow your dreams with dedication.” The mission of transforming India into a developed nation can be achieved, he said, by integrating action in five key sectors: agriculture and food processing, reliable and quality electric supply, education and healthcare, information and communication technology, and self reliance in critical technologies.

At the convocation, 544 techies, including 413 BTech and 131 MTech, received their degrees. The institute’s overall topper, Bhavna Sweta, from electronics and communication engineering department was the only one to get the gold medal directly from Kalam’s hands. “It is a great moment for me,” she said. Others felt let down at not being handed out their medals by Kalam.

Computer science student Shashi Shekhar said: “Kalam is a role model for any engineering graduate. The pleasure of this convocation would have doubled had all of us received the award from Kalam.”

The BTech toppers were Shahana Shamim (architecture), Vivek (civil), Mayank Shukla (computer science), Bhavna Sweta (electronics and communication engineering), Rahul Raj (electrical), Pankhudi (IT) and Manish Kumar (mechanical).

Guest of honour R. Natarajan, a former IIT-Chennai director and former chairman, All India Council for Technical Education, highlighted the challenges in the field of engineering. He said there was universal agreement that the current engineering education system has many flaws that need to be removed. “The emerging scenario makes several new demands — largely not addressed by our technical institutions — before engineering graduates,” Natarajan said.

Institute director Asok De highlighted the institute’s achievements such as revision of curricula in all academic programmes with participation of experts from IITs, IISc, universities and industry leaders under the leadership of retired IIT-Kharagpur director K.L. Chopra.

On the placement scenario at NIT, De said: “During 2012-13, about 35 reputable firms visited the campus to offer undergraduate students over 200 jobs with annual pay packages as high as Rs 4.5 lakh.”