Shimla-24th February, 2021-Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi was the biggest and most prestigious institution of the State, which was a matter of honour for people of the State in general and for people of the region in particular. Chief Minister was presiding over the 12th Foundation Day programme of IIT Kamand Mandi held in Auditorium Hall at North Campus of the Institute in Mandi district today.

He said that since inception of the Institute, it has made unprecedented development. He said that alumni of the Institute have excelled in their fields, which was indeed a matter of pride for all of us. He said that presently there were 23 IITs in the country and one such institute was in the State, which was an honour for the State.

Chief Minister said that the IIT was making its valuable contribution for the development of the Country and the welfare of humanity and expressed hope that the IIT would continue to contribute in Nation building. He said that founded in the year 2009, IIT Mandi has made impressive progress in all these years. He said that at present, about 2000 students were getting education in this institute, while more than 100 professors and employees are providing their services. He said that courses like B. Tech and M. Tech are being taught in the institute, besides several Post Graduate courses in M. Tech, M.Sc, MA, MS and PhD. He said the State Government would extend all possible help to provide better connectivity and other infrastructure facilities in the institute. This institution was a Pride of the State and Government was committed for strengthening the same, he added.

Jai Ram Thakur said that having research projects worth more than Rs 100 crore was indeed an outstanding achievement for any institution. He said that IIT Mandi Catalyst has received more than 1000 applications so far and has supported 140 startup businesses and have distributed about Rs. 3.50 crore for clean energy, environment, healthcare, agriculture, enterprise management, biotechnology, education, manufacturing etc. He said that it was heartening to know that IIT Mandi was coordinating with excellent institutions and universities across the world under its International Academic Extension Program, under which more than 50 students have participated in the academic extension program in various universities of the world. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always laid stress on self-reliance in field of technology and way back in 2014 he laid stress on Digital India. He said that it was this concept of Digital India which helped in effective management during the lockdown due to the pandemic. He said that all the meetings at the highest level were held virtually and several major decisions were taken to combat the pandemic effectively. He said that the State Government also held virtual meetings with the district administration during this testing time.

Chief Minister said that technology played a major role in checking spread of the coronavirus. He said that not even a single PPE kit was prepared in the country at that time and today about six lakh PPE kits were being prepared daily and the State which about an year back had only 50 ventilators, today have about 600 ventilators, and all are made in India. He said that the Tehri Kamand road would be improved and upgraded to benefit the students and faculty of IIT. He said that Uhal bridge would be expedited and would be completed within the stipulated time period. He said that the proposed Greenfield Airport would ensure best air connectivity to the area and give big boost to the tourism industry, besides facilitating the parents, teachers and students of the prestigious institutes such as IIT Mandi.

Jai Ram Thakur said that despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Institute continued its academic and research programs in digital and hybrid mode. He said the IITs have also contributed significantly in dealing with the situation arising due to Covid-19 in the State. He expressed hope that IIT Mandi would continue to establish new milestones in future as well with same confidence, commitment and determination.

Chief Minister also inaugurated Technology Innovation Hub developed with an investment of Rs 110 crore.

Chief Minister released book Scaling the Heights: An Institutional Biography on the occasion.

Chief Minister distributed Faculty Awards, Staff awards and Students Awards on the occasion. He awarded Teachers Award to Dr. Amit Jaiswal, Dr. Hitesh, Dr. Ajay, Dr. Rahul, Dr. Mausami, Dr. Devika, Dr. Dalip, Dr. Manoj, Dr. Narsareddy, Dr. Rahul and Dr. Rajesh. He awarded Staff Award to Sunil, Milan, Daulat Ram, Deshmesh, Nangu Ram, Ram Prakash, Navin, Dinesh, Navish, Vijay, Hem Raj, Succha Singh, Ravinder Kumar, Hem Singh and Makhan Singh. He gave away Students Awards to Aryan Singh, Sachit Yadav and Parrthasarathi Nayek.

Later, the Chief Minister inaugurated the Central Library Facility at North Campus completed by spending an amount of Rs 9.5 crore.

He also visited the Advance Research Facilities at South Campus. He also planted a sapling on the occasion in the North Campus of the Institute at Village Square.

An MoU was also signed between the district administration and IIT Mandi in presence of the Chief Minister for development and deployment of Landslide Monitoring System in Mandi.

MP Mandi Ram Swaroop Sharma said that it was a matter of pride that the IIT has made a special name by undertaking research in various fields. He said that it was due to the efforts of Chief Minister that approval of about 605 projects hanging in fire due to forest clearances was possible which have paved way for taking up works of developmental projects.

MLA Drang Jawahar Thakur welcomed the Chief Minister in his Vidhan Sabha area. He said that this Institution has opened new vistas of development in the area, besides bringing the region on national map due to a national level institution. He also urged the faculty and students of Institute for carrying out research that benefit the people of this region.

Director IIT Mandi, Prof. Ajit Kumar Chaturvedi welcomed the Chief Minister. He said that IIT Mandi was established in 2009 and since then it has never looked back. He said that this day also provided an opportunity to the Institute to think over the achievements, besides pondering over the failures. He said that the Covid-19 pandemic besides posing a big challenge to the society and the Institute, it has also provided to find opportunities in the challenges. He also detailed various achievements of the students and the faculty on the occasion. He said that the Start-up scheme of the State Government has given a big boost to the start-up and incubation plans of the Institute. He said that the IIT Mandi during its initial period got wholehearted support from the people of the region which ensured its proper growth and development.

Dean Finance Dr. Vishal Singh Chauhan presented vote of thanks.

While presenting the report of the Institute, General Secretary of Students Sachit Yadav said that the Corona pandemic adversely affected the academic in the Institute but it ensured optimum use of technology to reach out to the students.

Chairman Zila Parishad Mandi Pal Verma, Chairman MILKFED Nihal Chand Sharma, President Mandi District BJP Ranvir Singh, Coordinator of the Programme and senior Prof. S.C. Jain, Registrar Kamal Kumar, Deputy Commissioner Mandi Rugved Thakur, DIG Madhusudan Sharma, SP Mandi Shalini Agnihotri were present on the occasion among others.