‘Living Lab’ On Utkal University Campus; How About Knowing This Park

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It is being described as a “living lab”, a veritable storehouse offering end to end solution to a rural entrepreneur or student who wishes to sow and reap benefit from rural products, goods and services.

Spread over one acre inside the Utkal University campus, ‘Rural Technology Park’ is more than just a park where one can enjoy the rural charm or that quintessential rural ambience. It houses a small pond, an agriculture field, small scale enterprise units, cooling and freezing technology, apiculture, food processing, etc, providing a multitude of income generation opportunities and promotion of livelihood. The park offers a suitable business model as well to those who are willing to take up farming in the countryside Odisha.

“This a like a living lab. We have created a village-like ambience where an urban student can come and see the type of technologies being used in rural areas,” university Vice-Chancellor Prof S M Patnaik said. It was inaugurated by Governor and University Chancellor Ganeshi Lal on Wednesday.

Prof Deepak Ram, Head-Agribusiness at the Centre For Agri-Management told Odisha Bytes that it is proposed to offer certificate training programmes ranging from three days to a fortnight here.

These programmes will help candidates develop skill sets on making home-based products, soya products, food processing using solar energy, leaf plate making and conversion of handmade paper into value-added product bags, among others.

“We will even offer linkages and assistance along with training to the people,” he said, adding the courses are open to people from across class and age.

The Rural Technology Park has been set up under Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) 2 initiative to promote rural technology through live demonstration and dissemination of entrepreneurship development, promotion of livelihoods and income generation activities.

The university has signed an MoU with institutes such as University of California, Berkeley and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for technical support.

Prof Ram said the MoU signed with BARC has helped them set up a biogas plant, solar dehydration technology, domestic water purifier, banana tissue culture technology.

Key focus areas of the park:
Waste management
Agriculture and water management
Renewable energy
Livelihood
Project facilitation and research support

This park is a must-visit for rural producers who can tap rural opportunities and create value for their enterprises. This will generate opportunities for rural youth across the state, besides address the current unemployment scenario.

Proposed programmes:
Training course on preparation of neem, vermi compost and vermi wash liquid
Training course on mushroom cultivation and mushroom products
Training course on preparation of different soya products
Training course on solar light assembling, maintenance and management
Training course on beekeeping for promotion of livelihood

Utkal University has also proposed to set up a park on a much bigger scale at its new campus in Chandikhole, Prof Ram said.

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