Odisha engineering graduate becomes India’s first-ever gold medallist in World Skill Contest
Showing his skills in the emerging field of water technology, a 25-year-old electronics engineer from Odisha became the first-ever gold medallist from India in the prestigious World Skill Competition at Kazan(Russia) which ended yesterday.
Aswatha Narayana Sanagavarapu, a B Tech graduate in Applied electronics from CV Raman Engineering College of Bhubaneswar won the gold medal, the only gold by any Indian so far, as he showed his skills in the water technology beating nine other competitors from countries such Korea, Germany, Brazil, Iran, Belarus, Vietnam, Russia and South Africa. Apart from him, Lufeng Zeng from China also won Gold. The contest was held at Kazan city between August 23 and 27. The closing ceremony of the Contest held today saw 35000 people attend the event featuring music, dance, and fireworks.
Apart from Aswatha, the other Indians who won medals in the competition are Pranav Nutalapati, Sanjoy Pramanik and Shweta Ratanpura. Pranav Nutalapati won silver medal in web technologies, Sanjoy Pramanik and Shweta Ratanpura won bronze medals in Jewellery and graphic design technology respectively.
The World Skills Competition is a biennial event that attracts more than 1,300 competitors from all over the world and gives youth the chance to compete, experience, and learn how to become an outstanding performer in their skill of choice.
This is India’s best performance since it started participating in the World Skills Competition in 2007. The Indian team participated in 44 skills including mobile robotics, prototype modelling, hairdressing, baking, confectionary & patisserie, welding, brick laying, car painting and floristry. Two years ago, the Indian team had won one silver, one bronze and nine medallions of excellence.
Aswatha, who stays with his father, a tuition master in Bhubaneswar, said in water technology, he donned the role of a Water Technician to ensure that the potable water is available from a treatment plant.
“This involved us to do tasks based on the challenges faced in Water Supply and Waste Water Treatment. We had to collect and analyse the samples of water and perform chemical & biological analysis to achieve optimum dosages of chemicals in the treatment process. Then we were asked to find faults in piping, valves and pumps and carry out repair if needed. We were also tested on our ability to assemble sensors to monitor process parameters and be able to create an automated system where we control the process of the plant in filtration and supply of water and monitor them by plotting & visualising graphs using the Process control system,” said Aswatha, who completed his B Tech course this year with CGPA of 8.2.
The soft spoken engineer who is known to work in the college lab till late evening, said his interest in the field of industrial automation drove him to choose this skill.
“Since water is the world’s most precious resource, the importance of this occupation and the quality of those fulfilling it, is second to none. Water technicians ensure that enough drinkable water is available every day. Before water can get processed to become potable, it needs to be extracted from wells or springs. After its treatment in filter systems, it gets stored and distributed. As a water technician has to observe, identify, report, maintain, control and repair equipment and processes throughout the plant and the networks, one must have knowledge and expertise in mechanics, chemistry, biology, electrical skills automation and environmental protection,” he said.
Congratulating him, chief minister Naveen Patnaik said Odisha was feeling proud of him. Chairman of Odisha Skill Development Authority, Subroto Bagchi said Aswatha’s win was a testimony to Odisha’s potential to produce world-class talents while competing against developed countries. “Congratulate the collective leadership of Sanjay Singh, Rajesh Patil and Balwant Singh who showed us that the coal mine of skills(in Odisha) was actually a diamond mine! Above all, I salute the vision of @chairman_cvrgi. whose vision, far sight & unstinting support made Aswatha happen,” tweeted Bagchi.
In the Narayana household, the news of his gold medal came as a pleasant shock to his tuition master father Sadashiva, his mother as well as his elder sister who is pursuing her Ph D. Sadasiva said that he always encouraged his son to follow his goals without being burdened by parental dreams.
“Though I took a loan of ₹4.5 lakh from bank for his studies, I was not unhappy when he did not take up a campus placement and instead focussed his energy on water technology. From childhood, he had a genuine fascinations for how things worked and would disassemble electronics euipments to see how they worked. As a father I feel proud for what he has achieved,” said Sadasiva.
The young engineer had his first brush in a technical competition in 2017 whe he won a state-level atomated robotics competition organised by International Institiute of Information Technology, Bhubaneswar by building a robot at a cost of ₹950. He came second in DrishTI – Online Contest in Circuit Design & Digital Signal Processing held by Texas Instruments the same year.
Last year, he won the State Skill Compeition and then went on to win the National Skill Competition which enabled him to participate in the World Skill Competition this year.
Giving credit to the engineering college for Aswatha’s gold medal, his father said the college built a special lab spending more than ₹1.5 crore so that he can prepare for the world skill competition. “They even spent ₹20 lakh for his travel to Germany in April this year, where he trained for 9 days to compete in the World Skills competition,” he said.
Professor Priyadarshi Kanungo, head of the department of electronics and telecommunication engineering in CV Raman College, said the college chairman Sanjib Rout was confident that Aswatha was a rare gem.
“After he won the State Skill Competition, the chairman imported several instruments so that a special lab can be built for him in college. Our confidence on him grew further when he won the National Skill Compeition. We knew that barring a misfortune, he would win the World Skill Competition. He was always a dedicated student, devoted to honing his craft,” said Kanungo.