Kalarabank Smart Village Highlighted at Ideal Village Conference

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Dr. Priti Ranjan Sahoo, Associate Professor (II), KIIT School of Management, presented a technical paper on the theme “Enhancing the accessibility of school among the rural students: A study on Kalarabank Smart Village” at the 7th Ideal Village Conference on “Rural Transformation for Sustainable Growth”, held at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) recently. The conference was organized by Stanford Ideal Village Project of Stanford University in association with Pan IIT –Alumni; African-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO); WHEELS Global Foundation; Science for Society; Confederation of Indian Industry (CII); Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI); Federation of Indian Physician Association (FIPA); and Institute of Management Studies, BHU.

Kalarabank, a remote village in Cuttack district of Odisha, has been developed as a ‘Smart Village’ by KIIT at the initiative of its Founder, Prof. Achyuta Samanta, who is a native of the village. In his case study, Dr. Sahoo presented how a smart rural English Medium School – Kalinga English Medium School – started in the village brought about significant changes in the primary to high school education among rural students.

The panel of reviewers appreciated the study’s findings on accessibility. The convenience of the rural campus, surrounded by all civic facilities and amenities such as a Health Center, Public Library, Public Park, Children’s Park, Bank, Post Office, Police Outpost, Cluster of fifteen Temples, Spirituals Centers, Safe Drinking Water Project, Concrete Road, Citizen Knowledge & Service Center, Community Hall, Canteen, Internet, Hygiene and Sanitation practice, and Vocational education adoption led to enhancing local village students’ and peripheral village students’ access the schools.

Kalarabanka model village was inaugurated by Shri Rameshwar Thakur, the then Governor of Odisha, in 2006, and on his request, the entire panchayat was converted into a proper model panchayat turning the entire village Wi-Fi, and solar energy-enabled. In 2016, Dr. S.C. Jamir, the then Governor of Odisha, inaugurated the same as Smart Village with increased amenities and the entire Panchayat as a Model Panchayat. KIIT is the only self-financing University that has created a benchmark by transforming a remote and backward village, Kalarabank, into a smart village with its own effort and financial support.

During the three days conference, several Central & State Ministers, Industry and CSR leaders, Rural (Panchayat) Community Leaders, Bureaucrats, Policy Makers, Academic Leaders, Social Impact Organizations, Foundations, Trusts, Academia, Research Labs, and NGOs deliberated in six Conference Tracks namely Water & Sanitation; Healthcare & Nutrition; Energy & Environment; Education & Skill Development; Livelihood & Sustainability; and Agriculture & Farming.

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