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4,000 more engineering seats in Tamil Nadu? AICTE dismisses reports, says this

Financial Express | Mouli Bose | New Delhi |  May 21, 2018 |

AICTE has dismissed media reports claiming 4,000 engineering seats have been increased in Tamil Nadu by the All India Council for Technical Education this academic year.

AICTE has dismissed media reports claiming 4,000 engineering seats have been increased in Tamil Nadu by the All India Council for Technical Education this academic year. In a report, the Hindu cited data provided by the Council to claim that nearly 40 engineering colleges of Tamil Nadu have been given the approval to increase the number of seats by 4,145. However, when financial express.com contacted AICTE, R Hariharan, Assistant Director of Approval Bureau of AICTE said, “The news is not correct.” Another official from AICTE Chennai office also denied the report. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, “it is not possible to increase 4,000 engineering seats in Tamil Nadu itself. If we are talking about the entire nation, then that might still be a possibility.”

The council approves over 10,000 technical and management institutions with a total of 60 lakh students nationwide, every year. In 2017, a report stated that 51% of the over 15 lakh seats in over 3,900 engineering colleges in India had not been filled. Several private engineering colleges across the country have been demanding and AICTE has also been planning to reduce the total intake of B.Tech and M.Tech. students by almost 1.3 lakhs, because of the lack of interests of aspirants for these courses. As many as 83 engineering institutes across the country, having around 24,000 seats have applied for permanent closure, and over 494 other colleges have sought permission from AICTE to discontinue some undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, an ANI report said last month. – Courtesy

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JNU announces admission to its much-awaited 5-year dual degree engineering programmes

Financial Express | PTI | New Delhi |  May 21, 2018 |

Calling it one of major initiatives of the varsity in the past two years, he said the University Grants Commission (UGC) had accepted the proposal and allocated seed money for infrastructure development.

Jawaharlal Nehru University has announced admission to its much-awaited five-year dual degree engineering programmes under its newly established School of Engineering. Only two courses — B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering and MS/M.Tech with specialisation in Social Sciences/Humanities /Science/Technology, and B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering and MS/M.Tech in Social Sciences/ Humanities/ Science/ Technology — will be available to students of the inaugural batch. “The students will be admitted through Joint Seat Allocation Authority 2018 (JoSAA-2018) based on the ranking in the Joint Entrance Examination, JEE (Main). The school will admit 50 students in each stream,” Rector II Prof. Satish Chandra Garkoti said in a statement.

Calling it one of major initiatives of the varsity in the past two years, he said the University Grants Commission (UGC) had accepted the proposal and allocated seed money for infrastructure development. “Construction work of the school has begun… With an existing infrastructure and a group of expert faculty, pooled from various schools of the varsity and appointment of guest faculty, we are ready to launch the two new programmes from the coming monsoon semester, July 2018,” Garkoti said. “Technology today cuts across almost all the disciplines, and an engineering graduate with specialisation in Humanities, Sciences and Technology will be better able to perform in the modern world, where understanding of various aspects of Economics, Commerce, History, Politics and indeed Linguistics ability becoming increasingly desirable for a successful career,” he said. Details including degree, disciplines, objectives, programmes and vision are available on the university website : https://jnu.ac.in/se      /   Courtesy

Igniting minds, from India to Zimbabwe

The Hindu | Sweta Akundi  |  May 21, 2018 |

The founders of Infinite Engineers discuss their transition from being students to teachers, working with innovative children and their recent African experience.

A month ago, MA Aravind, co-founder of the city-based Infinite Engineers, decided that he would make his first international flight in two weeks. It was to Harare, Zimbabwe, where he taught applied science to children of the city — including the granddaughter of former President Robert Mugabe — in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Science Fair. This is the third country that Infinite Engineers is teaching in, after Singapore and India. The four-year old education startup goes around the State distributing their science kit — the Dexter Box — to both Government and private schools and training teachers in its use, hoping to bring applied science to classrooms. “Most schools allow students to use laboratories only after class IX. There too, we see that the environment is restrictive: ‘Be careful, otherwise you’ll break something.’ So there’s no room for children to experiment, just rote learning,” explains Harish Srinivasan, another co-founder. The group also interacts with children, holding workshops to motivate innovation. The company has made good use of Facebook to market their skills: it was how the founder of the Zimbabwe Science Fair got in touch with them this year, and it was how the Tamil Nadu Government learnt about them back in 2015. “We approached 100 schools in 2014, and only six of them allowed us to hold workshops. Today, we are supplying to 320 Government schools, 10 from each district,” says co-founder MC Jaikanth. The group also collaborates with the NUS High School of Mathematics and Science in Singapore.

Filmy start

Remember the famous scene from 3 Idiots when Raju, Farhan and Rancho are caught napping in class and asked to explain how an induction motor starts? Jaikanth had a similar experience in his fourth year of mechanical engineering at the Rajalakshmi Engineering College, that led him to the founding of Infinite Engineers. “My friend and I were cutting class and trying to avoid being seen by faculty. We randomly slunk into the back-bench of a seminar hall which was holding a conference competition. When the professor there caught us anyway, we lied saying that we were there to give a presentation too,” says Kanth. However, unlike Raju’s hilarious sputter start take from 3 Idiots, Jaikanth not only managed to give a presentation on the project he was working on — bladeless wind turbines — but also won. “It was a turning point for an average student like me. I realised that I had the potential for innovation,” adds Jaikanth, who then started working on several projects. Later in 2014, on his Head of Department’s advice, he got his batchmates Aravind and Srinivasan on board to start holding science workshops for school children. “We see a lot of dropouts in engineering, because school students tend to take up this specialisation blindly, without understanding what kind of study it would entail. So we thought we could increase awareness and interest through our kits.”

Looking ahead

Infinite Engineers is gearing up for Round Two of Harare in August, where it will be teaching children how to design products. “We met a few bright kids who had ideas for how to improve the collective health conditions in poorer areas of the city. One 10-year-old girl came up with a cheaper design for sanitary napkins that would make them more accessible,” recalls Aravind, who still mentors the children through Facebook. From June, the group will also be turning 17 activity centers in the city into ‘Dexter Zones’ for children to conduct experiments using their science kits twice a week, and learning how to dismantle and put together daily-use machines, among other things.For Srinivasan, children are the be-all-and-end-all for this initiative. “Working with children is the most rewarding experience. Every time I teach them, I feel like I have learnt something new,” he says. “Even when we make education policies, children are never consulted. We give them a lot less credit than they are due,” he adds, recalling how a 11-year-old girl surprised him by figuring out how the time period of a simple pendulum varies with its length — a concept taught in Class XII — all by herself. “She said it was the first time she was made to think like a scientist.” Agrees Aravind, “Be they from India or from Zimbabwe, children have bright minds full of ideas, all they need is the room to tinker around.”   –   Log on to www.infiniteengineers.in or call 9884190950 for more details.  – Courtesy

Engineering graduates tricked by fake ONGC job offers

People Matters | Drishti Pant | 21 May 2018 |

Several engineering graduates from across India arrived at ONGC’s Delhi office with fake appointment letters for which each candidate had given Rs 10 lakh.

Representational Image

On March 7, 2018, two men from Hyderabad came to the Delhi office of ONGC and showed their appointment letters for the post of graduate engineer trainees at Eastern Offshore Asset, ONGC at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. After conducting an internal inquiry, the officials concluded that the letters were fake and informed the candidate that their selection was not registered.  Later, the vigilance department of ONGC contacted the two aspirants for more details where they were informed that a job consultancy firm in Hyderabad promised them the job. In fact, each candidate had given Rs 10 lakh for the job under the ministry quota to the crooks, who contacted them through a placement agency in Hyderabad. Reportedly, the accused even conducted interviews inside Krishi Bhavan. Now, the Delhi Police is examining this multilevel job racket after ONGC informed them and brought this scandal to light.

One of the candidates shared that they met an agent based in Delhi in April 2017 who promised the job under the ministry quota. He told them that his brother-in-law is working with ONGC and asked them to send their documents to the agent. Later they also received a mail from ‘ONGC HR department’ through the email id ‘hrd.ministry@ongc.co.in.’ After a few days, the candidate received another email that confirmed his interview for the post of assistant executive engineer and asked him to report at ‘Recruitment Cell, ONGC, Krishi Bhavan’ on August 24. He shares that there were six more candidates from Hyderabad at the location. Four days after the interview, he got a mail confirming his selection and a pay grade of Rs 24,000-50,500 with a 3 percent increment per year. While investigating the matter the company’s vigilance inquiry found that the signature on the offer letter had some resemblance to the officials from HR department. While the standard format was not followed, the examination of the email ID indicated their origin from ONGC domain thus indicating the involvement of an insider. In the preliminary investigation, the police have found that the consultancy firm has shut down and the phone numbers used by the crooks are not functional. They are further looking into the matter and searching for the cons that pulled off this job racket. – Courtesy

Indian engineers, IT professionals, doctors and teachers among thousands being denied visas to UK

The New Indian Express | 17th May 2018 | PTI |

UK data showed Indians as largest chunk of skilled work visas granted (57 per cent) to nationals from outside EU, indicating that Indians are like likely to be the hardest hit by the visa cap.

Representational Image

LONDON: Indian engineers, IT professionals, doctors and teachers are among 6,080 skilled workers holding a UK job offer who were denied visas to the UK since December 2017, according to a data released today, indicating that Indians are likely to be the hardest hit by the country’s annual visa cap. The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) acquired the figures via a Freedom of Information (FOI) to the UK Home Office to highlight the “scale of the problem” being created due to the British government’s annual immigration cap for skilled professionals hired by UK-based companies from outside the European Union (EU). Latest UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures record Indians as the largest chunk of skilled work visas granted (57 per cent) to nationals from outside the EU, indicating that Indians are likely to be the hardest hit by the visa cap. “Science, engineering and technology has long benefited from mobility of talent and collaboration across borders” including between India and the UK. The figures we’ve obtained from the Home Office show that currently our immigration system is hampering this ambition, said CaSE Deputy Director Naomi Weir. “We’re calling on government to make immediate changes so that employers can access the talent they need, and in the long term to ensure that the UK immigration system is aligned with the ambition to be open and welcoming to science, engineering and tech talent,” she said. While there is no nationality-wise breakdown of the 6,080 visa refusals under the Tier 2 category between December 2017 and March 2018, it has emerged that more than half (3,500) were for engineering, IT, technology, teaching and medical roles. The cap under the Tier 2 visa category to allow companies to bring in professionals from outside the EU is set at 20,700 per year, with a monthly limit of around 1,600. Until December 2017, that limit had been exceeded only once in almost six years but since then that limit has been breached nearly every month. Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association Council (BMA), called for a more “flexible” immigration system which does not end up turning away doctors desperately needed to fill staff shortages in the state-funded National Health Service (NHS).

“The Tier 2 visa quota has been reached for the fifth month in a row, yet there are still more than 100,000 NHS posts unfilled, with vacancy rates rising. At a time when the NHS is under enormous strain and struggling to fill positions, the current visa restrictions and arbitrary caps for non-EU workers entering the UK are inexplicable and threatening patient care and safety,” he said. Last month, it had emerged that at least 100 Indian doctors were denied visas after being recruited by the NHS due to the Tier 2 monthly quota being over-subscribed. In other fields as well, experts warn that access to overseas professionals remains crucial for the growth and development of the UK economy. “Employers know and accept that there is a need for highly skilled immigrants as do the majority of the general public.The people standing in the way are those who set random immigration limits that seem to be plucked out of the air for political purposes,” said Nobel Prize winning Indian-origin scientist Prof Venki Ramakrishnan, the president of the UK’s Royal Society. CaSE has been lobbying the UK government to make job offers in areas where there were clear shortages, such as science and engineering, exempt from the Home Office cap. “The cap is beginning to cause damage and it needs to be addressed quickly. In the immediate term, shortage and PhD level roles should be made exempt from the cap. In the long term, an immigration system for a Global Britain that supports research and innovation should not feature a cap on the international specialists we want to attract,” said CaSE Executive Director Dr Sarah Main, who had written to the British Prime Minister Theresa May earlier this year on the issue. The UK Home Office said that while it recognises the “contribution” of international professionals, it is important that the country’s immigration system ensures that employers look first to the UK resident labour market before recruiting from overseas. “When demand exceeds the monthly available allocation of Tier 2 (General) places, priority is given to applicants filling a shortage or PhD-level occupations. No occupation on the Shortage Occupation List has been refused a place,” a Home Office spokesperson said. It also highlighted that any applications refused during over-subscribed months can re-apply for consideration in the next month. However, critics believe the the Shortage Occupation List does not go far enough and the entire quota-based system in unworkable. – Courtesy

Andhra Pradesh State mulls 6-Years integrated course for engineering students

Times of India | TNN |  May 16, 2018 |   B. Tech. (6 Years Integrated Diploma & Degree Program)

Vijayawada: The All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and the state government are working on a proposal of introducing ‘3+3 integrated courses’ for the engineering students. A six-year course for the students who passed the class X exams with two-and-a-half year diploma course, two-and-a-half years of degree course and a year of industrial training.  According to Panda Das, commissioner at Department of Technical Education, the courses will be implemented at five places in the state in all engineering branches as a pilot programme. “There is a gap between the traditional engineering courses and the industry requirement, and the AICTE has been making reforms to bring out skilled manpower ready for industries and this program is one such initiatives,” said Panda Das. The colleges have been focussing mainly on the theory part, and AICTE has been making changes to the curriculum and removing all the portion that is not relevant to the skills required by the industries.

About 1,500 students will be able to register for the courses beginning from the next academic year with 60 students in each branch. The courses will be available in five branches at five places in the state. The syllabus is also being designed for the proposed project. Upon the completion of class X, the students can do the diploma course for two-and-a-half years and then take an internship program for one year. The internship program is called the sandwich course, as it is followed by the degree courses and preceded by the diploma course. The students will gain industry exposure and then get into the degree course. The students can exit the program after the diploma course if they do not want to continue with the internship and degree courses, Das said.  This way the students will have no insecurity after their 10 class, he added. The students will have many opportunities on the completion of the six-year course with the salaries ranging from Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000, he further added. – Courtesy

Performance report: Less than 10% pass in 60 engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu

Deccan Chronicle | A RAGU RAMAN |   May 15, 2018 |  Performance report: Less than 10 per cent pass in 60 engg colleges in TN |

10% to 20% variation between April and December semester results. Three colleges in the state two in Kancheepuram district and one in Perambalur district registered zero results.

Chennai: Due to the streamlining of evaluation of answer scripts in December 2017 semester exams, 60 engineering colleges in the state have registered single digit pass percentage and the difference between April 2017 and December 2017 semester exams is huge with more than 15% variation in the results. With over one month to go for engineering counselling, the Anna University released the academic performance of nearly 500 engineering colleges in April and December semester exams on Monday. There is a huge difference in the pass percentage as the top-ranked institution in April exams has got 97.99% and the top-ranked college in December exams has got only 86.71%. In a rare move, the Anna University has debarred over 1,100 faculty members from evaluation of answer scripts following variations in marks in over 50,000 answer scripts of students who appeared for April/May 2017 exams. The punishment varied from one to three years proportionate to the variation of marks. The answer scripts had variations up to 40 marks. It also streamlined the evaluation process for December exams by providing answer keys with marks for correct answers. PSG Institute of Technology and Applied Research in Coimbatore has secured top position with 86.71% results in November/December 2017 semester exams. It is followed by Vellammal Institute of Technology in Thiruvallur district with 84.97% and SSN College of Engineering in Kancheepuram district with 84.77%. Of 497 engineering colleges, 60 colleges registered less than 10% pass percentage and 83 colleges register pass percentage from 10% to 20%. In total, 382 colleges got less than 50% pass percentage in the exams. Three colleges in the state two in Kancheepuram district and one in Perambalur district registered zero results as 91 students in these colleges failed to clear the exam. Except for the top 11 colleges, the rest of colleges secured less than 80% results in the semester.

The results of April 2017 exams is in contrast with the December results as 234 colleges registered pass percentage more than 50%. The number of colleges secured the single digit pass percentage is also less with only six colleges registering less than 10% pass percentage. In April 2017 exams, the Regional Centre of Anna University in Tirunelveli secured top position with 97.99% and it was followed by Sri Sairam Engineering College in Chennai with 90.46% pass percentage. “This year the variation in pass percentage is 10% to 20% in the results. The punishment to faculty members for variation in marks in April exams has played a major role and the regionwise evaluation also one of the main reasons for the variation of pass percentage between April and December semester exams,” said B.Chidambara Rajan, principal of Valliammai Engineering College, Chennai. He also suggested following a state level evaluation like in polytechnic colleges to reduce the difference in evaluation. “In polytechnic colleges, the answer scripts for each department are evaluated at the state level. Such an evaluation will reduce the variation in results,” he said. Career consultant Jayaprakash A. Gandhi said the academic performance of engineering colleges does not have any impact on the admissions. “The academic performance was released more than a month in advance and during the counselling, the students will not remember the performance of individual colleges,” he said. – Courtesy

765 Engineering College Teachers Sacked, 1 Lakh More To Be Axed

News Click | Tarique Anwar |  12 May 2018 |

So far, 765 teachers have already been removed from different engineering colleges across the country.

At least 1.5 lakh qualified and experienced teachers will be terminated or will be made to resign forcefully from most of the self-financing and private educational institutions of various states, estimates All India Private Colleges Employees Union (AIPCEU) – a forum of 10,000 engineering professors across states. With the end of the academic year, a number of engineering colleges in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have started removing staff members. This is apparently a consequence of implementation of a new student-faculty ratio (SFR) – which is 1:20 – by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for the academic year 2018-19. The ratio was earlier 1:15 in private and self-financing engineering colleges for BE, B Tech, B Arch, MBA, MCA and hotel management. It was 1:20 for diploma in engineering courses. However, the SFR of 1:15 for engineering and technology and other programs such as MBA, MCA, HMCT and M.Pharma has been “irrationally decreased” to 1:20. For diploma, the earlier 1:20 ratio has been lowered to 1:25.

The table below lists number of teaching staff who have already been terminated from different technical institutions across the country:

“This is going to have a negative psychosis in the minds of the students, who had just gone for their vacation. When they return, they will have to adapt with the reduction in the staff members. Since some colleges remove more staff members than required and replace or plan to replace them with less experienced new staff, who could be paid low salary, students will have to face a lot of incompatibility issues and diminished morale,” said AIPCEU founder KM Karthik. Some colleges remove ad hoc staff members, whereas some will target senior staff members. “All these teachers (ad hoc or senior) are reportedly well-experienced to serve as teachers. All of them are master graduates in engineering, and it cannot be said that they are unskilled or poorly talented,” he said.

 

Fees remain unchanged

It is noteworthy here that the students, who have just passed first year of the course, will have to study for the next three years with the same fee structure, but with less staff strength. The fixing of a standard fee in colleges is done by a fee fixation committee under every state’s higher education department (or the Directorate of Technical Education). “Not even a single state government has modified this fee structure for students before reducing their staff strength as per the AICTE’s new SFR ratio. The change in this ratio (from 1:15 to 1:20) is likely to render 25 per cent staff being removed from the institutes,” alleged Karthik.

Accreditations/NIRF rankings void?

The accreditations by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA), National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) are now allegedly nullified due to the implementation of the new SFR policy. “Very few top-ranking, self-financing institutes still retain their old staff strength. For other institutions, reduction in staff strength with AICTE’s ruling is just like cutting a cake with a knife. So, all accreditations that had happened are not applicable for the new atmosphere,” added Karthik.

AICTE and Trusts in nexus?

The AICTE continuously highlights closure or reduction in number of of colleges and seats, which is “intentionally” reducing the positive perception towards education. “Unfortunately, the AICTE supports such a move despite being a regulatory body,” said Karthik, adding, “When there are plenty of available areas of improvement, AICTE projects only the closure of seats for the last complete month, hinting towards being in the hands of college-owning barons, who could twist the facts to aid their education-business”. It is learnt that the AICTE decided to reduce the faculty to help the institutions recover from financial burdens. It raises a big question as to whether the AICTE has monitored or cross-verified the institutions’ bank statements along with the faculties’ salary statements. The answer is negative. “It is clear that even after demonetisation and digital economy initiatives, the AICTE is not bothered about digitising the students’ fees and staff salaries in the institutions. Issues are of meager importance that are being promoted by the AICTE and important issues are being summarily disregarded,” said Karthik.

In implementing new faculty student ratios, the AICTE – according to the petitioner – has broken the transparency that it followed all these years. The matter was allegedly not released in public domain prior to the decision. The decision was imposed over the society in an autocratic manner. “The AICTE had acted on the advice of associations of the managing trusts of colleges. Every trust is not a non-profitable service organisation, and largely are money-churning, family-owned organisations. Some AICTE officials have acted in nexus with these trusts, making a secret society, and the new faculty-student ratios are only a result of the meetings in these secret societies,” he alleged. During the academic year 2015-16, the total number of staff in all the approved institutions of AICTE was about 7,00,000 (as per the records of AICTE). It is further stated that for engineering & technology colleges alone, the number is a staggering 5,78,000. Even if the number is taken as an approximate of 5,00,000, said the petitioner, the same accounts for 5,00,000 families with direct benefits from the employment in these private engineering colleges. – Courtesy

Devalued Degree: Engineering seats down by 1.67 lakh, sharpest dip in five years

The Indian Express | Ritika Chopra | New Delhi |  May 10, 2018 |  Devalued Degree – An Express Investigation |

The total number of B.Tech and M.Tech seats this year, across all AICTE-approved institutes, has dropped by 1.67 lakh, which is almost double the dip witnessed in 2017-18.

At 14.9 lakh seats, the total engineering intake in the country has witnessed the sharpest fall in five years, according to data released by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) this week. The total number of B.Tech and M.Tech seats this year, across all AICTE-approved institutes, has dropped by 1.67 lakh, which is almost double the dip witnessed in 2017-18. The undergraduate and postgraduate engineering intake was 16.62 lakh seats last year, and 17.5 lakh seats in 2016-17 (see box).  Out of the engineering seat cut, 92,553 seats are on account of 755 colleges approaching AICTE seeking a reduction in approved intake or complete closure of some engineering branches. Another 24,290 seats have been reduced as the Council has agreed to wind up 83 engineering colleges. That apart, the regulator has also imposed penalties on colleges, whether by forbidding fresh admissions this year or withdrawing their approval. About 53 institutes have been penalised and 17,907 seats have been cut as a result, said sources. According to Council sources, the significant drop in engineering seats is a result of poor admissions in colleges for the last few years. Although the intake has been on a downward slide since 2014-15, it has witnessed its sharpest fall this year. “A consolidation of sorts is expected for this sector. The market forces have now come into play and the mediocre institutes are being forced out,” said an AICTE official, who did not want to be identified.

Last December, The Indian Express had published the findings of its three-month-long investigation, which found there were no takers for 51 per cent of 15.5 lakh BE/BTech seats in 3,291 engineering colleges in 2016-17. The investigation found glaring gaps in regulation, including alleged corruption; a vicious circle of poor infrastructure, labs and faculty; non-existent linkages with industry; and the absence of a technical ecosystem to nurture the classroom. All this, it found, accounted for low employability of graduates. A few weeks later, the AICTE announced its decision to reduce the intake in courses with poor admissions by half from the new academic year and the move was aimed at addressing the above mismatch. – Courtesy

IIT-Kanpur graduate Karttikeya Mangalam creates insulin pen mid-air to save a life

News Bytes | 09 May 2018 |  Pallabi Chatterjee |

Using basic engineering skills, this IIT-Kanpur student saved a man’s life, who was slowly dying due to lack of his medicines. The 30-year-old Dutch, a Type-I diabetes patient, was aboard the same flight as Karttikeya Mangalam, the student. Mangalam was returning from Switzerland after appearing his final semester exam at EPFL, where he was an exchange student, on a Geneva-Delhi flight.

BeginningMangalam’s slumber was disturbed due to an emergency doctor call

Mangalam, also a Stanford-graduate, said the flight was half-empty and he used the two vacant seats in his row to slip into a comfortable siesta. Suddenly after 3-hours, he was disturbed by a commotion: an air-hostess was running up and down asking for a doctor. After sometime, a doctor rushed to two rows behind Mangalam’s, who then found out the passenger needed insulin.

Details After no insulin for 5hrs, Thomas’ body had almost given-up

30-year-old Thomas had diabetes since past 19-years and used to carry a kit comprising his insulin shots, said Mangalam in his memoir that was later shared by his alma mater. But at Sheremetyevo International Airport, he forgot to collect it from the security-check. While Thomas was flying at 30,000ft, his body was already bereft of medicines for 5-hours, a dangerous situation for a diabetic.

Riveting When first insulin shot didn’t work, air-hostess announced emergency landing

The attending doctor, himself a diabetic, had short-term fast working insulin with him, different from what Thomas needed. But given the emergency, he took the risk and shot the dose using the insulin-pen. It didn’t work. After an hour, an air-hostess announced that they would make an emergency landing in the war-torn Afghanistan-Kazakhstan region. Thomas was foaming at the mouth, she said.

Finding solution Using flight’s Wi-Fi, Mangalam read up pen’s mechanism online

The doctor explained that Thomas’ blood sugar had touched an alarming level and that his medicine might not work due to a resistance Thomas had developed gradually. Still, he attempted to push, but this time, the insulin-pen didn’t work, though it did the first time. It then struck a suspicious Mangalam to use the flight’s Wi-Fi and read the insulin-pen’s mechanism online.

SolutionUsing a simple ball-pen’s spring, Mangalam repaired the insulin-pen

“I found a large engineering drawing style diagram in the manual showing how every part works,” said Mangalam. He disbanded the pen and realized it was the absence of a spring that caused the malfunction. He asked for ball pens and found a perfect-fit spring from one pen. He reassembled the insulin-pen, returned it to the doctor, who injected the readjusted dosage to Thomas.

Gesture returned Mangalam assisted Thomas to a check-up, arranged for insulin-pump

In 15-minutes, Thomas’ blood-sugar levels started normalizing and emergency landing was called off. He was shifted to business class, along with Mangalam. Upon landing at Delhi Airport, Mangalam assisted Thomas to a check-up at Medanta hospital and also arranged for an insulin pump. As a return gesture, Thomas invited Mangalam to his Amsterdam restaurant and gorge his way to glory without paying a penny!

‘I am grateful to IIT-K for making me this capable’

“This incident has made me realize the importance of the basic engineering skills we are taught in our freshman year. I am grateful to IIT-K for making me this capable to actually matter in such a critical situation,” wrote Mangalam in his memoir. –  Courtesy

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