Engineering college spells hope in Bihar village

Till recently, every second house in Ariaon village had someone working as unskilled labourer in Dubai. Now among those new houses, a new structure stands out, as does its unique emblem: a USB sprouting out of a field.

The Vidyadaan Institute of Technology and Management (VITM) in this village, under Dumraon sub-division, can proudly lay claim to that emblem. It's the only engineering college between Patna in Bihar and Varanasi in UP. It is also the first college to get affiliated to Aryabhatta Knowledge University, a dream project of the Nitish Kumar government to give affiliation to all 15 engineering college and six medical colleges of the state.

Of the 127 students from two batches at the VITM, 90 per cent are from surrounding villages. Among them is Satendra Kumar, a student of computer science. His father Tulsi Yadav had been the first person from Shahabad region to visit Dubai in 1975 and work there as a mason for 21 years. He now works at VITM as a guard. Satendra, who once thought of taking the Dubai route, says: "I have a definite goal now to become an engineer."

There are other students whose fathers are employed in Dubai as electricians, masons, carpenters or unskilled labourers. Dharmvir Singh says the college had "let village students like me follow their dreams". Mukesh Kumar Yadav is pursuing engineering with the pension of his grandmother and rebate from the college management.

Ariaon village of 400-odd houses has over 200 people working in Dubai. In 50 surrounding villages, the story is the same of a shrinking agricultural base and heavy dependence on the Dubai economy. With hopes vested in VITM, some students have started taking special classes to be able to get in.

The man behind the institute is a local, S K Singh (50), who was often derided for not doing anything for own village after graduating from Bihar Institute of Technology, Sindri, and joining the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) as a scientist. In 1997, he joined General Electric in the UK and worked in the US before settling down in Bangalore and opening his own company in 2006.

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