By Vinay Umarji
In its first project after setting up a major centre of excellence (CoE) in technical textiles, the Ahmedabad Textile Industry's Research Association ( ATIRA) is set to kick-off work on road building, slope covering and reservoir improvement project in seven north eastern states.
While the project is being executed by the Centre in consultation with the Indian Road Congress (IRC) through respective public works department (PWDs), ATIRA will provide its geo-textiles expertise.
"The project will be kicked off with Manipur. Detailed project reports (DPRs) are being prepared for all but two states currently. We have already presented the usage and applications of geo-textiles specifically meant for the north east states. We are waiting for the next approval on guidelines from the Centre," said KK Mishra, chief executive officer at ATIRA.
According to Mishra, the north eastern states had earlier taken up road building projects in places like Guwahati in Assam, Shillong in Meghalaya and parts of Sikkim in consultation with the Indian Road Congress (IRC) but intended to make use of geo-textiles technology.
In this regard, the Government of India roped in ATIRA since the institute had seen launch of the country's first centre of excellence in composites and geo-textiles.
"The centre of excellence at ATIRA has developed an expertise in geo-grids and geo-synthetic sheets that are used in road building," said Mishra.
As part of the project, ATIRA will not only suggest proper usage of geo-textiles in road building but also in coverage and improvement of water reservoirs as well as slope coverage in the north eastern states.
Apart from a centre of excellence, ATIRA also houses Asia's first testing and certification laboratory in geotextiles at its campus, which has been set up in association with German lab, Geoscope.
Set up at a project cost of Rs 250 crore, the CoE includes facilities in verticals other than geotextiles as well. For instance, the institute has signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the likes of Karl Sruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, Bremen University of Germany, and National Composite Centre, University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
The MoU with Karl Sruhe Institute of Technology, Germany encompasses development of new technologies in composites, while that with Bremen University of Germany is for providing training programmes and certificate courses in composite.