Visit to Durg, Chhattisgarh

Baji J. Ram Rao
09:00 Thu. 03-Oct-2014

Visited Durg, Chhattisgarh from Fri. 26th September 2014 to Mon. 29th September 2014.


Durg is a central Indian city in the State of Chhattisgarh and part of the Durg-Bhilai urban agglomeration.
Durg gained importance as an industrial centre after the establishment of India’s largest steel plant at Bhilai.
It is the headquarters of Durg District, Chhattisgarh


Bhilai is situated in the Durg district, 10 km E. of the district headquarters of Durg, and 32 km W. of the Chhattisgarh state capital Raipur, on National Highway 6 and on the main Howrah–Mumbai rail line.
It is famous for the Bhilai Steel Plant, India’s largest steel plant in India and India’s only manufacturer of steel rails used by the Indian Railways.
The Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) was set up in 1955, with the help of the erstwhile-USSR.


Amit Dhakulkar and I started out on Fri. 26th Sept. 2014.
The #12859 Geetanjali Express left from Mumbai CST on time at 06:00 am.

70% of the journey, completed, by 17:47 we were at Wardha jn.

It was a 16½ hour, 1,100 km train ride to Durg Junction in the State of Chhattisgarh.
We reached Durg Jn. at 22:26, the same day.

The TISS programme officer, Praveen Kumar brought a car to receive us at the station
and showed us the Bhilai Institute of Technology en route to the hotel Himalaya Park at Supela Square, Bhilai.

Steel Town Bhilai Skyline
Steel for India being produced at dawn. Bhilai Steel Plant on the horizon.
View from my hotel window.

Supela, Bhilai skyline
Supela, Bhilai skyline. View from my hotel window.

Saturday morning, we had breakfast at the hotel. The first students we met at the hotel were. Mukesh Sinha, Teekam Lal Sahu, and the cousins: Nandani and Vibha Chandrakar from the Govt. Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya PG College, Mahasamund, Chhattisgarh.

After breakfast, we drove the 6.1 km from Supela, Bhilai to the Bhilai Institute of Technology (BIT) at Durg.

Supela to Durg drive
Drive in a Tata Sumo station wagon from Supela, Bhilai to the BIT campus in Durg

Our Programme

We were a Tata Institute of Social Sciences team conducting a 3 day workshop on “Digital Literacy”, at Bhilai Institute Of Technology, Durg, Chhattisgarh 491001.

The National University Student Skill Development Programme (NUSSD) is a scheme designed to produce employable graduates in rural universities in India.

The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (YAS), consults with
the office of the Advisor to Prime Minister (APM)
on Skill Development within the NUSSD programme.

As proof of concept, the Ministry of Youth affairs (YAS) has enabled us to conduct pilot courses at 11 universities by partnering with the APM office and TISS.
The NUSSD should improve opportunities for undergrads starting their working lives. It may create rural entrepreneurs and inclusive development.
Between academic years: 2013-14 and 2015-16, 50,000 undergrad. students of science, commerce and arts from 11 universities from 9 states will credit extra classes and get practical training on weekends to learn employability skills and earn an additional certificate alongside their Bachelors degree.

The problem is: Fresh B.Sc., B.Com, B.A. graduates all over India, have degrees but cannot contribute in the employment market -- they are unemployable.

We work to improve their employability by training them on:

  • Digital Literacy
  • Legal/Contract Literacy
  • Financial Literacy
  • English Literacy

Digital Literacy, my area, is a core course of the NUSSD project.
The objective of the Digital Literacy course is to empower the learners to use digital resources effectively and collaboratively life-long.


The main gate of the 50-acre campus of the BIT is just 1½ km away from the Durg junction railway station.
BIT (estab. 1986) has a sprawling campus with four independent academic buildings around a central admin. and library block surrounded by gardens and lawns.

Our programme started on schedule at the Bhilai Institute of Technology (BIT), Durg, CG.

BIT main gate
Main gate of the lush green campus of the Bhilai Institute of Technology

BIT's basic sciences and MBA block
BIT’s basic sciences and MBA block

BIT's computer lab
Our programme was in the Computer Lab

BIT's computer lab

Day One: Saturday, 27-Sep-2014

Producing documentation in Hindi and Oriya

Introduction to Map Making and Working with Open Street Map
Working with Field Papers

Day Two: Sunday, 28-Sep-2014

Young Historians -- the movie
Digitizing Oral History
Working with Audio -- Audacity -- audio recording and editing software

experimenting with Audacity
The thrill of experimenting with the Audacity audio recording and editing software

Working with Vector Graphics -- building a visiting card using Inkscape -- professional quality vector graphics software
Working with Raster Graphics -- GIMP -- raster graphics editor for image retouching and editing, free-form drawing, resizing, cropping, photo-montages.

Day Three: Monday, 29-Sep-2014

Working with Video -- OpenShot

Amit introduces the OpenShot video editor -- gradient fade using geometric patterns

Amit observes as as Ms. Tabassum Akhtar of City Women’s College, Bhubaneshwar adds header text to the video
in the OpenShot video editor

Working with Spreadsheets -- Cricket scores using LibreOffice Calc



Ram Rao at the library and admin. block at Bhilai Institute of Technology, Durg

group photo

A memento photograph of trainers and the trained for the workshop at Bhilai Institute of Technology, Durg

Hand-painted murals of tribal art in the main hall of the Durg junction railway station.