Region on the rise

Published : Dec 28, 2012 00:00 IST

B.V. Bhoomaraddi College of Engineering and Technology was the first engineering college to be established in the north Karnataka region.-PHOTOGRAPHS: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

B.V. Bhoomaraddi College of Engineering and Technology was the first engineering college to be established in the north Karnataka region.-PHOTOGRAPHS: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Hubli and Dharwad are famous for their strong educational centres and industries. Now they are poised for a new phase of growth.

THE twin cities of Hubli and Dharwad are the second largest conurbation in Karnataka after Bangalore and have a population of approximately 15 lakh. People of these cities, which were part of Bombay Presidency before the reorganisation of States on linguistic basis in 1956, played an important role during the freedom struggle and the unification of Karnataka. Hubli is the headquarters of the South Western Railway (SWR) zone of the Indian Railways and Dharwad is a cultural centre known for its Hindustani classical musicians and its educational institutions such as Karnatak University and the University of Agricultural Sciences. A short stretch of about 20 kilometres separates the two cities but recent commercial developments have brought them closer.

Hubli and Dharwad are witnessing a spurt in the growth of industries producing valves, ceramics, paints, electrical goods and pharmaceutical drugs, and the automobile industry. The twin cities are home to major industries such as Tata Telecon, Tata Marcopolo, Vijay Sankeshwar Road Lines and Aryabhatta Tech Park. Hubli-Dharwad is strategically located and is well connected to Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Goa. The cities are also close to major tourist places of historical importance such as Badami, Pattadakal, Aihole, Bijapur, Hampi and Goa. Kittur, known for the warrior queen Rani Chennammas heroic fight against the British in 1829, is an hours drive from Hubli. A ruined fort stands testimony to her martyrdom.

This region is home to premier educational institutions such as B.V. Bhoomaraddi College of Engineering and Technology and the Karnataka State Law University. State-run enterprises such as Hubli Electricity Supply Company Limited and private real estate developers such as Suresh Enterprises Private Limited have also helped in the economic growth of the region.

Engineering excellence

B.V. Bhoomaraddi College of Engineering and Technology (BVBCET), managed by the Karnataka Lingayat Education (KLE) Society, was the first engineering college to be established (in 1947) in the north Karnataka region. The college that made a modest beginning with an undergraduate programme in civil engineering, has come a long way and now offers 12 undergraduate and seven postgraduate programmes with 5,000 students on its rolls. It has a good track record and became autonomous in 2007.

There are certain unique features about this institute. Each programme designed and offered by it has a Board of Studies comprising the academics, industry representatives and alumni. The syllabus is revised periodically so that students are equipped to meet the needs of industry.

After it attained autonomy, the college undertook a comprehensive curricular reform process with the standards of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), United States, as the basis. Each programme formulates a set of outcomes (in congruence with the needs of industry and society) that specify the knowledge and skills that a graduate should possess. According to Ashok Shettar, Principal, BVBCET, institutes of higher education in India have traditionally played two roles: transferring knowledge and generating knowledge (research). Western universities play an added role: impacting the regional economy. We wanted BVBCET to also impact the regional economy and we started the Centre for Technology Entrepreneurship (CTE) three years ago. This is the first time in India that an engineering college has tried to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem to encourage entrepreneurship in the region of Hubli-Dharwad by attracting entrepreneurs from outside the region, Shettar said. As part of the CTE, seven companies operate from the campus of BVBCET and their presence acts as an indirect influence on the student body, bringing industry and academics closer. This is a unique model and is a distinct addition to the students experience here. Our main aim is to make this model successful as it is very important for tier-II cities, Shettar said.

BVBCET is also home to the Deshpande Centre for Social Entrepreneurship (DCSE). Part of the U.S.-based Deshpande Foundation, the DSCE takes a bottom-up approach to build scalable solutions. The Deshpande Foundation IndiaHubli Sandbox works to create an effective ecosystem where resources are put to use through entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability.

Gandhian ideals

Karnataka State Law University (KLSU) was established by the government of Karnataka in 2009 with a view to providing quality legal education. It is the single largest law university in the country, with 92 affiliated law colleges spread over the entire State. The courses offered by the university include B.A., LLB (five years), B.A., LLB (Honours), LLM in Constitutional Law and LLM in Intellectual Property Rights apart from a PhD programme.

The vision of the university is to transform Karnataka into a legally conscious society by providing quality legal education that is professionally competent and socially relevant so as to realise the Constitutions primary goal of ensuring social, economic and political justice and securing human rights. It strives to promote the culture of law and justice in state and non-governmental organisations and in every individual by providing informal legal education, training and legal services.

The universitys motto is Indian Roots and Global Heights. According to Professor J.S. Patil, Vice-Chancellor of KLSU, Indian roots means a return to Indian traditions in a number of ways. In keeping with this motto, KLSU spreads Mahatma Gandhis message and creates an awareness of Indian legal traditions that prevailed before the advent of colonial legal discourses. We try to strongly inculcate Mahatma Gandhis message at KLSU. Everyone at the constituent collegesfrom students to the faculty to the non-teaching staffwears khadi every Monday. This is one way in which we imbibe Gandhis thought as he was the greatest lawyer that the world has produced, Patil said. The university also has tie-ups with Gandhian institutions such as the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, Bangalore.

The global heights in the motto refers to the high standards of teaching followed at KLSU and the advanced technology in teaching and examinations. The university uses A-view software (provided by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and developed by Amrita University) as part of its teaching methodology. This networks the university with all its constituent colleges and bridges the urban-rural divide as far as teaching standards go as common lecture material is made available to students across the State through videoconferencing.

Contemporary technology has also been adopted by KSLU to make examinations completely foolproof. Biometrics are used on every answer script to avoid impersonation. The results are posted on the university website with a facility for students to download the results on their mobile phones.

As a part of its efforts at internationalisation of the university, KSLU has signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with Ghent University, Belgium, and Pardubice University, Czech Republic. It has also entered in MoUs with universities such as the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore, and organisations such as the Karnataka Institute for Law and Parliamentary Reforms, Bangalore, and the Karnataka State Temperance Board, Bangalore.

In the forefront of Hublis expansion is Suresh Enterprises Private Limited (SEPL). Established by two entrepreneurs, Suresh Shejawadkar and Sindhu Shejawadkar in 1993, SPEL has emerged as the cities leading real estate entrepreneur in the short span of less than two decades.

Building Hubli

SEPL has played a vital role in changing the skyline of Hubli. Its every construction is a testimony to its vision and mission of providing quality housing at an affordable value and catering to the needs of all income groups. SEPL built its first residential-cum-commercial project, Akshay Enclave, at Sholapur Road in Hubli. The project had a built-up area of 69,299 square feet comprising 84 flats and 70 shops. Building Akshay Enclave was a challenging task because of the black soil of the region, which sceptics believed would affect the stability of multi-storey buildings. Today, it stands proudly as testimony to SPELs high-quality work.

The company has its own ready-mix concrete (RMC) plants, stone crushers and quarries. It also owns the Akshay Building Bazaar, a one-stop shop for all building materials. Its in-house products include RMC, cement bricks, blocks, pavers, curbs and stone jelly. It also offers branded paints, lighting and electrical goods, home appliances, sanitaryware, and various other construction and home decor items. The company has its own team of highly skilled engineers, supported by a team of consultants in various fields.

Among its major projects in Hubli are Akshay Garden (100 flats), Akshay Colony (600 houses and 50 shops, apart from schools and colleges), Akshay Hotel, Akshay Park (647 flats and 200 shops), the Big Bazaar building (built-up area of 57,145 sq ft) and Vishal Mega Mart (built-up area of 1,58,555 sq ft). Its Madhura colony, Madhura estate and Madhura apartments have become landmark projects in Hubli.

Its upcoming projects include Akshay Town, Akshay Comforts (33 flats and 28 shops), Akshay Residency (48 flats), Akshay Klassic (32 flats) and Akshay Corner (a building material outlet). Akshay Town is an ambitious project coming up on 1,000 acres (one acre = 0.4 hectare) on the Hubli-Dharwad bypass. This is planned as a modern township with sector-wise development. Each sector will have constructed properties of different types such as independent houses, duplex bungalows, residential apartment clusters, open plots, institutional areas and commercial space.

Powering the area

Playing an important role in the growth of the Hubli-Dharwad region is Hubli Electricity Supply Company Limited (HESCOM). It has completed 10 years as a power distribution company providing reliable and quality power supply to seven districts of north KarnatakaDharwad, Gadag, Haveri, Uttara Kannada, Belgaum, Bagalkot and Bijapur. Serving 37.50 lakh consumers, it has an annual turnover of around Rs.4,000 crore. The company made a profit of Rs.60 crore during the 2011-12 financial year. Its Managing Director is P. Rajendra Chola, IAS.

HESCOM has an installed capacity of 4,400 megawatts (MW). The highest peak demand recorded is 1,950 MW and the average annual power consumption is around 10,000 million units. Many more 220 kV (kilovolt) and 110 kV stations are under construction to meet future demands. Further, as many as 1,993 11 kV feeders are present and many more are under construction. A round-the-clock area load dispatch centre (ALDC) with supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems are in place to monitor on a continuous basis electricity load and interruptions.

Information technology (IT) initiatives such as implementation of web-based paperless office at the corporate office and in zonal offices have been installed. Web-based closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed at all stores and transformer repair centres across HESCOM.

These initiatives have helped the management monitor the day-to-day activities at a micro level and maintain transparency at all levels.

The companys distribution loss at its inception in 2002-03 was 29.12 per cent and it has now considerably reduced the loss to 19.95 per cent. HESCOM intends to reduce further the distribution losses to less than 15 per cent. HESCOM intends to separate agricultural load to provide 24-hour, three-phase power supply to non-agricultural loads under a scheme of the Government of Karnataka called the Nirantara Jyothi Yojana (NJY).

Apart from this, the Government of Indias scheme called the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP) is being implemented in 31 towns of HESCOM jurisdiction to utilise IT-enabled services in metering, billing, collection, redressal of consumer grievances, consumer indexing, network survey, 247 customer care centres, etc. This will help the company serve consumers promptly apart from increasing its revenue.

Irrigation pumpsets consume 54 per cent of HESCOMs output. Out of 17.5 lakh irrigation pump-sets in the State, 5.5 lakh come under HESCOMs jurisdiction. In order to provide assured hours of quality power to rural areas and to irrigation pumpsets, capital works such as construction of 11 kV link lines and a high voltage distribution system (HVDS) have been set up.

HESCOM also plans to provide irrigation pumpsets to weaker sections of society under the State governments Ganga Kalyan Yojana. Tenders have been finalised to execute these works on rate contract basis. HESCOM has also electrified as many as 139 rehabilitation centres out of the 145 identified by the Revenue Department for the victims of the 2009 flood.

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