GITAM Deemed to be University will be establishing Science, Technology and Innovation Hubs (STI Hubs) in the selected villages of Araku Valley and Paderu mandals in the Alluri Sitharamaraju District. The project is supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, through a financial aid of ₹3.64 crore.
The hubs are aimed at improving the socio-economic conditions of the scheduled tribe population and will operate in the hub and spoke model, said the principal investigator of the project and associate professor of GITAM Biotechnology, I. Sarathbabu.
The main hub will be in Paderu (district headquarters) while the 12 identified villages in Paderu (Thumpada, Modapalli, Minumuluru, Raigedda, Talarisingi and Yegumodaputtu) and Araku Valley (Padmapuram, Pappuduvalasa, Yandapallivalasa, Chompi, Hattaguda, and Lotheru) mandals will act as hubs, he added.
The project team is planning to establish cold storage units, vegetable processing machinery, beekeeping, and processing equipment along with a training centre in the STI Hubs, he informed, adding that training will be provided on the niger value chain, beekeeping, establishing quality assurance and quality control laboratories for honey and niger oil, vegetable processing units, cold storage units, and intercropping. Konga Gopalakrishna, Science for Equity Empowerment and Development Division Scientist, DST, said that the STI Hubs will improve the livelihood of small and marginalised tribal communities with skill development.