Coming back to their alma mater after a quarter-century, alumni of the Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS) here on Saturday dedicated the newly constructed Pilani Resource Centre to the people under “Project Atma Nirbhara” with the promise for their all-round development.

The unique project, which has come up at Gyan Vihar just outside the BITS campus in this small town, is the brainchild of the BITS Alumni Trust comprising mostly the students of the 1975-80 batch now settled in different parts of world. The Pilani Resource Centre has been constructed under the project with a sound infrastructure for community development.

Non-government organisations such as Nirmaan, Helpage India, Pratham and Harnessing Value of Rural India (HarVa) have extended support to the BITS Alumni Trust for constructing the three-floor building at a cost of Rs.2 crore. The BITS Housing & Welfare Society has provided the land free of cost.

Prominent among those present at the centre's inauguration were BITS Vice-Chancellor B. N. Jain, Pratham CEO Madhava Chavan, BITS Director Raghurama G, HarVa Chairman Ajay Chaturvdi, BITS Dubai Director R. K. Mittal and BITS Goa Director K. E. Raman.

BITS alumni from all over the country and abroad, many of whom are senior corporate functionaries, scientists and entrepreneurs, had gathered in large numbers with the spirit of nurturing its roots and giving back to the people and the institution that helped them shape their lives and careers.

In his address, Dr. Jain said the ventures to be taken up at the resource centre would be designed with participation of the local community to suit its needs. He assured that the centre's functionaries would be given full access to the expertise, funds and volunteers of BITS.

Dr. Raghurama said there is “something in Pilani which attracts” the people and alumni long after they leave the place. “A lot of work could be taken up at the centre with the passion for community service.”

The resource centre, which is set to benefit underprivileged children, local youths, womenfolk and senior citizens, took one year of planning and two-and-a-half years of construction. It will take up primary teaching for underprivileged children, vocational training for local youths under the National Skill Development Centre curriculum, care of senior citizens, a digital hut programme to educate and employ rural youths and community library for children, besides providing space and infrastructure for self-help group projects.

BITS Alumni Trust member Sanjiv Lodha said the alumni would act as facilitators giving ideas, conceptualising plans, managing complexities and raise funding using their vast network for empowerment of the local community.

BITS Dubai Director R. K. Mittal said while a dream had been fulfilled with the inauguration of the resource centre, a “Desert Valley” would come up shortly near Pilani on the lines of the Silicon Valley near Stanford in the U.S.

Dr. Madhava Chavan said Pilani would turn out to be a “testing ground” for the resource centre, as the premier temple of learning is situated in its vicinity. He said though Jhunjhunu district, in which Pilani is situated, always occupied a leading position in the Annual Status of Education Report prepared by Pratham, it chose to partner with the alumni association to associate itself with BITS.