Kharagpur, Sept. 19: The IIT here has taken up a project to introduce technology to 100 panchayat areas around it.
The project includes imparting computer education in schools, educating farmers in modern agriculture techniques, wasteland development, rainwater harvesting, conservation of forests and food processing based on local produce.
If successful, the move may change the quality of life of villagers in the vicinity of the institute in the next 10 years.
S.K. Dube, the IIT director, said the institute wants to reach technology to those living around the campus. “Technology we are developing should be of use to those living nearby and that is why we have taken up this project,” he said.
Project coordinator H.R. Tewari said women engaged in tomato processing are being trained in groups at Balarampur, Cherua, Khyarbati and Gopali, villages about 120 to 150 km from Calcutta.
“Two computers have already been installed in Gopali Indranarayan Memorial School, where our experts are training teachers and students in computers,” said Tewari.
Besides, experts are carrying out soil tests and briefing farmers on the science of cultivation on barren land. The farmers are also being educated and trained in rainwater harvesting. A team of experts led by S.. Panda of the department of agricultural and food engineering is educating cultivators on the technique of building an on-farm reservoir, a way to preserve rain water on land all through the year.
“An on-farm reservoir helps farmers in the dry seasons. They can also be developed for pisciculture. In this technique, farmers have to convert 10 per cent of their land into a reservoir where water is stored,” an official said.
Another IIT team is helping the villagers with tips on small savings and ways to come out of the moneylender’s trap.
An official said apart from the IIT’s own funds, assistance from the Union human resources development ministry will be used for the project.