March 3, 2021 4:12:40 am
Students will lend a helping hand to the Border Security Force (BSF) guarding the hostile terrain in the Greater Rann of Kutch on the Indo-Pak border in crucial tasks such as detecting rogue drones and checking the death of its camels.
Following an agreement between the BSF and i-Hub, a central hub to facilitate end-to-end support for start-ups set up by the state education department that is open to students and innovators, problems were shared with the hub.
“Meetings were held between BSF officials and researchers where nearly half a dozen solutions were discussed and finalised. We are happy with the solutions that they have come up with for our soldiers who work in the extreme conditions of Rann and Creek areas,” said a senior BSF Gujarat Frontier official based at its headquarters on Chiloda Road in Gandhinagar.
The solutions that have received the go-ahead includes drone-based surveillance in Rann and Creek areas, surveillance system and desalination of highly salty water mixed with iodine and bromine from Rann and Creek areas to make it potable.
Students worked on detecting low fly path rogue drones with its height and distance within a range of 1 km and disrupt its mission by jamming.
In 2019 and 2020, BSF lost eight camels on the desert border areas due to reasons medically detected as traumatic reticuloperitonitis (TRP), rabies, pulmonary tripe calories, paraplegia and cardiac failure.
“The reason found was heavy or non-digestive feed. We need to chart out a routine as well as feed and water standards to keep the most essential asset fit for utilisation in border duties,” the official said.
The CEO of i-Hub, Hiranmay Mahanta, told The Indian Express, “There is a positive progress on the projects student innovators are working on… some prototypes are expected to be developed with the help of the state government.”
Explaining the process, Mahanta added, “Under the SSIP (student startup and innovation policy) mandate, any student or an alumni of past five years can apply and come up with solutions for these challenges. Students themselves can form teams based on their strength. For instance, an engineering student will be doing the electrical circuit but for designing the product, a design student is in the team. We also promote inter-department and inter-institution teams like CEPT and NID or IIT and NID. We are also getting applications from school students.”
Once the solution for a challenge is approved and selected, i-Hub provides mentoring and hand-holding along with technical and financial support.
Other challenges that are being worked upon includes durability of footwear in Rann and Creek areas as routine footwear of the troops is adversely affected by the climatic conditions and terrain.
“These challenges are a part of state government’s objective to support shortlisted startups and other individuals with the right mentorship and develop indigenous products under the ‘Make In India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ campaigns. This initiative will help us to develop a responsive eco-system to connect the youth and empower them to contribute with their ideas and energy to serve the nation,” said Principal Secretary, education, Anju Sharma.
There is also a requirement of raising locally sustainable vegetation around BSF BOPs in these desert areas.
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