C. P. Belliappa's Column

Coorg Institute of Technology: A jewel in the crown of Kodagu

(By: C.P. Belliappa)

It was in 1997 that a delegation from Kodava Samaja, Bangalore (KSB) initiated a joint meeting with Coorg Education Fund (CEF) at Madikeri. The subject matter for discussion was a proposal from KSB to start a professional college in Kodagu. As a member of CEF, I was present at this meeting, and there was unanimity in accepting the suggestion. After an in-depth debate it was felt that starting an engineering college would be the best idea as the IT industry was growing rapidly. The fundamental purpose of this proposal was to provide youth of Kodagu access to professional education at their door-step at affordable costs.

Several meetings were held between members of KSB and CEF. It was finally decided that a separate Society should be started by the Kodava community and this new organization should take the responsibility of establishing professional colleges. KSB gave an assurance that they would organize a programme in Bangalore in memory of Field Marshall K.M. Cariappa, and the proceeds from a souvenir to be brought-out would be donated to the new Society. Thus Kodava Education Society (KES) was started in 1997 with Late Dr Mukkatira M. Chengappa as the President, Late Sri Cheriappanda K. Poovappa (Mani) as the Honorary Secretary and Sri Kattera N. Uthappa (Jaji) as the Honorary Treasurer. It was decided that the President of KSB would be a permanent ex-officio Vice-President. I was nominated as the second Vice-President along with 19 Executive Committee members.

KES immediately set-out enrolling members from Kodava community. With concerted efforts of Dr M.M. Chengappa, Sri C.K. Poovappa, Sri K.N. Uthappa and other members, several Kodavas took membership in KES. Sri C.K. Poovappa was in the forefront in identifying land where the main campus of the proposed engineering college was to be set-up. After much discussion it was decided to name the engineering college as: Coorg Institute of Technology (CIT). About 23 acres of land in Halligattu village near Ponnampet was identified. However there was a problem. Proprietor of Sadhoo Bedi from Kerala had already signed a MOU with the owner of the land. It was Sri Poovappa, who personally met the proprietor Sri P.P. Vinod, and persuaded him to allow KES to purchase the land for setting-up an engineering college. Sri Vinod, a UK educated gentleman showed enormous sagacity in readily accepting the request and withdrew his MOU so that KES could acquire the land for this noble cause. Around the same time a coffee-planter in the area, Sri Chodumada Appaiah, very magnanimously donated 12 acres of land about a kilometre from the main campus.

By then the membership drive gained momentum. In addition, Dr M.M. Chengappa approached several charitable organizations, corporate sector, and individuals. Dr Chengappa was successful in getting major donations from Volkart Foundation, TATA’s, ICICI and TATA Coffee Ltd.

There were several procedures and applications to be made to various government agencies to start an engineering college. Sri M.C. Nanaiah who was Minister in the Karnataka government extended his valuable help and guidance in getting timely approvals, and CIT was able to admit the first batch of students in August 1999. Thanks to Cauvery Education Society, classes for the first batch were held at Cauvery College, Gonicoppal since our buildings at Halligattu were not ready. However, the very next year the required class-rooms, laboratories, and hostels were completed and students moved to the new campus. Sri C.K. Poovappa worked tirelessly in getting the facilities ready at the new campus with able assistance from members of KES ands KSB.

Four branches that were initially offered in CIT were: Computer Science & Engineering, Electronics and Communications Engineering, Telecommunication Engineering, and Information Science & Engineering. Professor N. Cheluve Gowda was appointed principal and his dedicated service in establishing the academic part of CIT is very much appreciated.

During the first two years the number of students from Kodagu was in the range of 10-15%. This figure has steadily grown, and we currently have nearly 40% of the students from Kodagu. CIT offers special concessional fees to students from Kodagu and to Kodava students settled outside Kodagu.

The environment in the campus is very conducive for serious pursuit of knowledge and skills. Our students are faring well and have secured attractive placements. Students from CIT can be found in well-known companies such as: Microsoft, Honeywell, IBM, Infosys, Wipro, HCL, TCS, L&T, HP, Huawei etc. Some of our students have joined the armed forces after qualifying in their rigorous selection process. One of our students has succeeded in clearing the UPSC exam and is now an IPS officer posted in Karnataka.

In 2010 we added Mechanical Engineering as a new branch. The required classrooms, laboratories, workshops and equipment are in place.

The total investment in establishing the campus as on date is around Rs. 25 crores. We need to set-up a separate library-cum-office block, and an auditorium. These projects will be taken-up in the coming years.

The present Executive Committee consists of the following members:

1. Sri. Chepudira P. Belliappa (President)
2. Sri. Chepudira M. Tilak Subbaiah (Vice President representing KSB)
3. Sri. Machimada M. Raja Thimmaiah (Vice President)
4. Sri. Cheriappanda P. Rakesh Poovaiah (Hon. Secretary)
5. Sri. Kattera N. Jaji Uthappa (Hon. Treasurer)
6. Sri. Koluvanda P. Subramani (Hon. Joint Secretary)
7. Sri. Mallengada N. Dada Belliappa (Director)
8. Sri. Kuppanda A. Chinnappa (Director)
9. Sri. Mukkatira N. Cariappa (Director) (passed away in July 2012)
10. Dr. Mukkatira C. Kariappa (Director)
11. Sri. Machimanda Mohan Madappa (Director)
12. Sri. Cheriappanda M. Raja Nanjappa (Director)
13. Sri. Chandanda D. Rally Joyappa (Director)
14. Sri. Mathanda C. Monnappa (Director)
15. Sri. Nadikerianda P. Kalappa (Director)
16. Sri. Chepudira K. Harry Devaiah (Director)
17. Sri. Ajjikuttira S. Sanny (Director)
18. Sri. Kalapanda C. Sudhir (Director)
19. Sri. Nadikerianda Bose Mandanna (Director)
20. Sri. Berera M. Aiyanna (Co-opted Director)
21. Sri. Koothanda P. Uthappa (Co-opted Director)
22. Dr. Jammanda Shanthi Machaiah (Co-opted Director)
23. Dr. P. Mahabaleswarappa (Principal – Ex-officio Member)

Kodavas can be proud of this professional educational institution established by the Kodava community. Kodagu is now home to several well-run private educational institutions such as: Coorg Public School, Coorg Institute of Dental Sciences, Lions School, BVB-Kodagu Vidyalaya, KALS, Forestry College, etc.

KES is confident of developing CIT as a premier institution with the support of enlightened Kodavas spread all over the world. A medical college is also a possibility in the future.

C.P. Belliappa
(President, Kodava Education Society)

(Visit CIT webpage: “