About two months back, Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU) fulfilled a big dream – it became the first institute in India to be made into an Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST). This has also made it into a central institute.
The National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2013, passed by Parliament last December, and then signed by the President, provides the basis for IIEST. The new status changed the name of the university to Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur.
The logo of BESU
What IIEST means
Becoming an IIEST is a huge achievement, that too the first such in India.
IIESTs were proposed by the government of India in 2007 to meet the increasing demand for technological and scientific workforce in the industrial and service sectors as well as in research and development.
The Anandakrishnan Committee recommended the setting up a new family of institutes by upgrading select engineering institutes under the various state governments through an act of Parliament; these are to be called Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology.
After upgrading, these institutes would be granted the status of ‘Institutes of National Importance’, on the lines of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the National Institutes of Technology (NITs).
IIESTs would receive funding similar to that of IITs over the next five years.
Each institute will receive a one-time amount (spread over five years) of Rs 5 billion for infrastructure improvement, and an annual funding of Rs 500 million.
The initial list had five names, out of which BESU has become the first, and till now, the only, institute to achieve IIEST status.
A view of BESU
A long tradition of excellence
Bengal Engineering and Science University owes its origin to the erstwhile Bengal Engineering College.
Prompted by the idea of meeting the requirement for trained engineering personnel for the Public Works Department, the Council of Education, Bengal, decided to open civil engineering classes and a Professorship in Civil Engineering.
An institute was established in 1856 named Calcutta Civil Engineering College, training personnel for the Public Works Department.
The institute was affiliated to Calcutta University in 1857, and the first degree examination in Bachelor of Civil Engineering was held in 1864, when two students graduated.
In 1865, the institute merged with Presidency College (now Presidency University), and till 1869 it functioned as the Civil Engineering Department of Presidency College.
In 1880, the institute was shifted to its present campus at Shibpur in Howrah district, and was christened Government College, Howrah. It remained a part of Calcutta University.
In 1906, mining engineering as a discipline was introduced here for the first time in India.
In 1920, the name was changed to Bengal Engineering College, Shibpur.
In 1921, the word ‘Shibpur’ was deleted and the name became Bengal Engineering College.
The old gate of BESU
The Department of Metallurgy started its journey in 1939. It is the second oldest metallurgy department in India.
In 1949, the Department of Architecture, Town and Regional Planning was started; it offered the first degree in Architecture and the first diploma in Town Planning in India.
In 1957, the architecture and town planning students of this institute, along with those of six other institutes in India, founded the National Association of Students of Architecture, a one-of-its-kind non-political, non-profit students’ association for undergraduate students of architecture in India.
One of the oldest buildings of BESU
In 1954, post-graduate courses were introduced.
Doctoral programs were also introduced around this time.
In 1954, an agreement was signed with the University of Wisconsin, USA, whereby six guest professors from USA joined the college and in exchange, five teachers from the college went to USA as research associates.
The clock tower at BESU
The institute celebrated its centenary in 1956.
It was selected as a participating institute under the World Bank EIDP Project and an endowment for Rs 200 million was received for upgrading the teaching facilities and laboratories in the Electronics and Computer Science Departments.
In recognition of its service to the nation, the institute was elevated to the status of a Deemed University in 1992, breaking its ties with Calcutta University.
The name was changed to Bengal Engineering and Science University.
In 2014, the institute became the first in India to be granted the status of an IIEST, and the name again changed, this time to Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur.
Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur is the
fourth oldest engineering institute in India, considering the year of
establishment, and the second oldest engineering institute in India
after Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, considering the first
batch of graduation from the institute.
Another building of BESU
D Litt to Sourav
In February 2014, the last convocation of Bengal Engineering and Science University was held; from next year, it would be held as of that of IIEST. Former India captain, Sourav Ganguly received an honorary D Litt to become the first sportsperson to be awarded the degree in the history of the institute.
An overwhelmed Ganguly said, "Though this is not my first D Litt but this is definitely my best." While giving advice to the graduating students, he added, "Whatever you are doing always try to excel. Because second does not matter." Sharing his mantra for success, the former captain said, "Work hard and you will get success. Give everything you have."
Sourav Ganguly receiving the honorary D Litt from Governor MK Narayanan
This upgrading to IIEST has made a lot of BESU alumni throughout the world very proud. We thank the present state government for following through on this achievement.
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