SKUAST-K student bags Rs 1 lakh prize at IIT Jammu startup competition



Faculty member Dr Khalid Masoodi wins special prize  

BK News

Srinagar, Feb 7: SKUAST-K student, Ahmer Bashir Shah, has won first prize and a Rs 1 lakh cash award for his startup idea of converting human hair into organic fertiliser in a contest organised by IIT Jammu.

IIT Jammu’s Institute Innovation & Entrepreneurship Development Centre (I2EDC) has organised the ‘Startup Competition for Enterprising Teams with Million Dollar Ideas’. Ahmer Bashir of SKUAST-K’s College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology (CoAET) has secured the first position among 130 contestants from various higher education institutes of Jammu and Kashmir.

Another member of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir Dr Khalid Z Masoodi, Assistant Professor at the Division of Plant Biotechnology, has won a consolation prize of Rs 10,000 under ‘Best Local Resource Relevant Project’ for his idea of anti-cancer food from a local underutilized crop.

Vice-Chancellor Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai congratulated Ahmer Bashir and Dr Khalid Masoodi for bringing laurels to SKUAST-K. He said to make SKUAST-K the best innovation university in the country, every possible step is being taken to create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship and startup creation at the university.

Ahmer Bashir, mentored by the IDP-NAHEP team of the university, has won many awards, previously as well, for his idea to solve the poor solid waste management problem in the country, particularly keratinous wastes, including human hair, which are the hardest protein and take more than 50 years to decompose naturally, making it an environmental concern. It took him several attempts to devise a method for converting all these keratinous wastes into an organic liquid that can be readily used as an NPK, mineral and micronutrient-rich fertilizer in Indian agricultural systems resulting in restricted use of toxic chemical inputs into soil.

Dr Masoodi has screened 25,000 medicinal plant extracts endogenous to Kashmir valley, resulting in the discovery of 16 new anticancer molecules against Prostate cancer and Lung cancer. SKIDDDL-1 was one of the molecules isolated from an underutilized crop TaxO that has been consumed for ages in Kashmir as a vegetable. Dr Masoodi and his Team designed a Magic food from this.

At the IIT Jammu competition, the second and third prizes have won by Harkeerat Kaur of Azad Identity Solution and Mansi Sharma of Manukrishi, respectively, for Rs 50,000 and Rs 25,000 cash prize.

To encourage entrepreneurship in J&K and Ladakh, IIT Jammu hosted the competition for startup ideas exclusively for the teams led by Higher Education and Research Institutes fraternity, including students, faculty, and staff in J&K and Ladakh.

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