At the annual WorldSkills 2019 competition staged in Kazan (Russia) from August 22-27, Bhubaneswar (Odisha)-based electronics engineer Aswatha Narayana Sanagavarapu (25) bested participants from ten countries including South Korea, China, Germany, Russia, Iran and Brazil to be adjudged India’s first gold medallist in the water technologies management skills category (individual). The 48-member Indian contingent competed in 44 skills categories bagging one gold, a silver, two bronze and 15 medallions of excellence, with an overall rank of 13.
Aswatha impressed the eminent jury with his precision, adherence to industry standards and minimum time taken to complete five rigorous project modules including treatment of sewage water and designing a water treatment plant model among other tasks spread over four days. Started in 1950, this biennial competition (aka World Championships of Vocational Skills) organised by the Madrid-based WorldSkills Foundation attracts youth from industry, government and education institutions of its 79 member countries. In the latest WorldSkills 2019, over 1,500 participants from 63 countries competed in 55 different skill sectors including water technologies, a skillset introduced for the first time this year.
The younger child of Sadashiv, a school teacher, and homemaker Krishnadevi, Aswatha, an alumnus of Bhubaneswar’s C.V. Raman College of Engineering, attributes his recent achievement to college and faculty support. “I owe deep gratitude to my college management and faculty for providing me support and guidance starting from convincing me to choose a new skill with limited competition, setting up a centre of excellence in water technology within the college, and arranging for South African water technology expert Hugo Van Niekerk to train me for a month. Prof. Rajat Kumar Samantaray has been my mentor in this journey. In between, I travelled to Germany on an all-expenses-paid trip for 11 days training at Festo Corp, a German industrial control and automation multinational,” says Aswatha.
Deeply concerned about the global water crisis, Aswatha plans to sign up for a Masters degree programme in water technologies management at the University of Stuttgart (Germany) next year. “I intend to make good use of my newly acquired skill mission ambassador status to spread the water conservation message among the masses,” he says.
Right on, Bro!
Autar Nehru (Delhi)