Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT-R), situated in the hilly state of Uttarakhand, is also embarking on two other projects - providing the best of healthcare at affordable costs to remote villages in the hill state as well as effective water harvesting and waste water management in the hills.
Three centres of excellence are being developed by students and faculty of the premier institution - Centre for Urban Design and Development, Centre for Packaging and Centre for Healthcare Engineering.
"I call these centres of excellence because they are very different from the academic entity. It is how we can leverage the strengths of our researchers and then reach society and help them," IIT-Roorkee director Pradipta Banerji told IANS.
Elaborating on the packaging technology, Banerji said: "Whenever you have to open ketchup packets it is difficult to tear them and the contents spill out. We are working to develop easy and flexible packaging for the Indian market. It will be a blend of paper pulp and polymer technology."
IIT-Roorkee is the only IIT that has pulp and paper technology and polymer science departments.
"The centre will bring together the students and teachers to create bio-degradable innovative and flexible packaging," he said.
"The Indian market is in dire need of easy packaging technology."
Banerji said he is keen to take the best of healthcare provided by superspeciality hospital chains to remote villages in the state.
"We want to deliver the best and affordable healthcare to the remotest villages, like in Mana, which is situated in Chamoli district. Our effort is to be able to deliver the same healthcare which Max Hospital in Dehradun delivers," said Banerji.
The centre will also be working on a design for a hospital setup, complete with proper sanitation and a well-planned structure of construction and hospital management. It would work as a basic design for setting up future large healthcare centres in the state.
Researchers from the department of nuclear science, electrical engineering, chemistry and biotechnology will work to develop an effective healthcare model, he said.
For optimum water utilization in the hill state, IIT-Roorkee is also working on rain water harvesting, waste water recycling and water management. This would help farmers with irrigating their terrace farms.
The Centre for Urban Design and Development will bring together students and teachers of architectural planning, civil and electronics engineering and the departments of earth and earthquake sciences to develop models for waste management, he said.
"We are also looking at a couple of villages as pilot sites around which these water management projects will be developed. However, this project will be taken forward only after close interaction with the people of the region so that their wants and aspirations are fulfilled," he said.
The director is hopeful the institution will be able to deliver on the projects.
(Shradha Chettri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
--IANS (Posted on 13-10-2013)