Saturday, December 31, 2011

Coimbatoreans who won Olympics medals

It is time to recall the achievements of youngsters who brought laurels to their native place, Coimbatore, determined to go the extra mile in their chosen field.

Disability did not deter 26-year-old Archana from showing her prowess in cycling. She bagged gold in the 1-km and bronze in 500 metres event at the 13th Special Olympics Summer World Games this year at Athens, Greece.

On her daughter’s sports interests, the autistic girl’s mother Annapoorna said Archana evinced keen interest in cycling which she developed through continuous training under international Indian coach Avatar Singh.

Archana enhanced her skill taking part in different training camps at the national level to be chosen for the international event. At Athens, she participated in three cycling events - 5 km, 1 km and 500 metres and won in two.

For F. Shabeena Banu, 27, of Podanur, it was a dream come true in getting selected to participate in the Asian Powerlifting championship in Kobe city, Japan, during April this year. Her father, who runs a small grocery shop, encouraged her sport activity.

Banu lifted the Asian Powerlifting championship in 2003 at Kazakhstan, followed by the Commonwealth Powerlifting championship in 2005 at Northernborg. Since her father’s income is not enough to take care of the family, she feels that some corporates or philanthropists could help her participate in global events.

At a time when children find it difficult even to memorise couplets from Thirukkural, 13-year-old K. Anjana Devi has penned the book, ‘Thirukkural Thelivurai’ (meanings of Thirukkural couplets), besides publishing it. It took nearly a year for her to complete the book since she could write only during her spare time.

Dejection and deprivation forced differently-abled M. Babu to quit his sign language interpreter job due to meagre pay, but he is now teaching his clan sign language in the rural areas.

Armed with an UG in public administration before taking up a two-year course in ITI electrician trade from Hyderabad national level training centre for adult deaf in 1996, Babu did his PG diploma in computer applications and Indian sign language course.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Coimbatore's quest for traffic improvement, road connectivity

Of the major projects the Coimbatore Corporation readied for submission for fund under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, the transport project is one.

Under the head ‘Traffic and transportation – inclusive of roads, bus rapid transit system and flyovers', the Corporation sought Rs. 637 crore after preparing a detailed project report (DPR). The DPR says the objective is to identify transportation deficiencies and come up with a comprehensive mobility plan for the city of Coimbatore. This was in November 2007.

The Corporation set up four committees - the first for identification of problems in traffic network and bottlenecks for their intermodal integration and road connectivity aspects; the second for short-term measures for traffic improvements; the third for medium- and long- term measures for traffic improvements; and, the fourth for traffic management measures. The report the committees submitted identified the following as the city's problems: phenomenal growth in vehicles, lack of segregation of traffic, inadequate road network, congestion at railway crossings, lack of adequate link roads, absence of organised parking facilities, lack of sufficient signalised junctions, medians, pedestrian walkways and lack of an efficient transit system.

As part of the long-term improvements, a mass transit system was listed as priority one.

The report said Coimbatore would do well to have a bus rapid transit system (BRTS) because it suited the ‘Passenger Per Hour Per Direction' estimate, which was 6,000.

Under Phase I of the BRTS project, the committees suggested taking up works on the Avanashi Road – Dr. Nanjappa Road – Mettupalayam Road stretch and under Phase II, the Trichy Road, Sathy Road, Thadagam Road and Sanganur Canal.

The Corporation took up the committees' report and said that it would be able to implement the project with 50 per cent financial assistance from the Central Government and 20 per cent contribution from the State. It promised to chip in with the remaining 30 per cent.

JNNURM projects

This report, according to sources, is with the State Government and has not been forwarded to the Central Government because the Corporation has not been able to complete the JNNURM projects at hand such as the solid waste management, underground drainage, storm water drain, etc.

They also say that even if the report is forwarded to the Central Government, it may not fund the project because the Corporation has not taken necessary administrative reforms and acted on its promises, like for instance, collecting user charges.

This is only one half of the story, though. Even without the BRTS, the Corporation could have taken several measures to ease traffic congestion in the city, sources say.

The civic body failed to implement even short-term improvement measures such as bringing in bicycle lanes, providing pedestrian facilities, regulating street hawking, identifying hawking zones and improving junctions.

The Corporation, they say, has not been successful in bringing in many link roads, constructing flyovers, road overbridges, pedestrian underpasses, etc., as suggested in the committees' report.

If the Corporation wants to ease traffic congestion and introduce mass transport in the city, it must start from scratch because the report prepared in 2007 will not reflect 2011's reality, they say and want the Corporation to seriously consider BRTS.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

City welcomes new Rail Over Bridges announced by CM

The announcement of four new rail over bridges (ROBs) in Irugur, Karamadai, Pollachi and Podanur by chief minister J Jayalalithaa has received wide-spread appreciation among commuters in the district.

The chief minister has allocated Rs 26.70 crore for the construction of a new ROB in Coimbatore-Irigur Road, while setting aside Rs 30.70 crore for a ROB on Coimbatore-Mettupalayam Road in Karamadai, Rs 20.42 crore for ROB in Pollachi-Annamali Road and Rs 22.60 for ROB on Podanur-Chettipalayam railway crossing. Construction of ROBs is fast progressing at eight locations in the district and the four newly-sanctioned projects are expected to decongest roads to a great extend.

"Coimbatore city is fast expanding its limits and adjoining towns are also developing. Vehicular traffic has increased many-fold and more ROBs are inevitable,'' said K Kathirmathiyon, secretary, Coimbatore Consumer Cause. "Most rail crossings within the city and adjacent areas are facing severe congestion during peak hours. Number of vehicles has increased and only ROBs can ensure free flow of traffic,'' he said.

"Construction of ROBs is a welcome step but its implementation depends on acquisition of land. The district administration has to work in tandem with highway authorities to evacuate settlements near railway crossings,'' said R Raveendran, honorary secretary, Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore.

"Most of the on going ROB works inside the city and the outskirts are stopped due to problem related to land acquisition.The district administration should take active measures involving the corporation and other official bodies to execute the projects. Only if it is done, such projects would be completed on time,'' he said.

"It is necessary to build bridges at all level crossings as roads are getting congested everyday," said V Balachandran, a resident of Nanjundapuram. Motorists have to wait long hours when gates are closed for passing trains, he said.

But the government has to ensure the works are completed at the earliest. Citing the example of rail overbridge at Nanjundapuram, he said the work is moving at a snail's pace for the past two years.

"People are suffering the most due to this. The delay is always followed by excuses. The officials should ensure that the project is well planned and executed," he said adding that the past experience has been bad for the people and the administration should ensure that it is not repeated again.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ubislate (Aakash-2) – Indian make - Aakash tablet

The commercial version of Aakash tablet is named Ubislate (Aakash-2). It brings with it all the features of Aakash tablet. It has some additional features as well that make it a not-to-miss device at a very low price.

Some of the additions to the commercial version will be the availability of GPRS along with its usability as a phone. You don’t have to be satisfied with 2G. There is an option to convert your tablet to 3G as there is a plug-in for 3G dongle as well. The memory is expandable up to 32 GB. You can also get a keyboard, a mouse or a pen-drive. Two USB ports are available with the tablet. Both GPRS and Wi-Fi can be accessed at a monthly cost of only Rs 98/ 2GB. You can also access up to 1.5 lakh applications for your tablet. All this and much more! You only have to shell out Rs. 3000 for this dream device.

The device was launched last month in New Delhi by Mr. Kapil Sibbal. The tablet aims at bridging the digital divide that exists in the country.

The commercial version Ubislate (Aakash-2) is soon going to be launched in the market. Currently, only the student version of the tablet is available.

To get answers to all your questions about Aakash tablet or Ubislate (Aakash-2), you can call at the toll free number 1800-180-2-180. You can also reach us by filling the query form available on the official websites and

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Entrepreneurship should flourish

Entrepreneurship should flourish in the country for the growth of the manufacturing sector, Chairman of Rane Group L. Ganesh said here on Friday.

He inaugurated the three-day technology and engineering exhibition, TechEx 2011, organised here by PSG Tech Alumni Association and PSG College of Technology. Sustenance of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at eight per cent to nine per cent should be led by the manufacturing sector. The manufacturing units should capitalise on the brand image of India and supply world-class products.

There were challenges in the country and China was a formidable competition to India in manufacturing. However, there were inspirations from pioneers here who had created industries in more stifling environments. “We operate in a relatively free environment now.” Large-scale Indian companies should invest more in research and development, industry-institute interaction should be strengthened and entrepreneurship should grow. Only the innovative ideas of the entrepreneurs would help in the growth of the country. Capital availability was not a problem, he said.

Dr. Ewald Bentz, Chief Representative of LAPP Group, said the welfare of a country came from science and technology and manufacturing. Germany was always a technology-driven country. Apart from the large-scale companies, it also had several mid-sized, family-owned companies. These not only supported the big ones but also had their own brands. These companies followed the large-scale ones as they expanded to other countries. Indian SMEs should also look at exports as globalisation enabled the units to assess their competitiveness.

Manufacturing and education were important and Germany had a dual education system that developed the skills of students with hands on experience. This made the students ready for job when they completed their education. Coimbatore had several mid-sized companies and the institutions should look at offering such dual-systems of education.

K. Jayakumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Science and Industrial Research, said small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) played an important role in the Indian economy. About 45 per cent of industrial output in the country and 40 per cent of the country’s exports were from these units. The SMEs employed nearly 60 million people and contributed to 17 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This was expected to increase to 22 per cent by 2020.

The West Asian and African countries preferred Indian products and faculty members. Indian companies need to tap the potential areas such as engineering consultancy and scientific and technical consultancy. The department had 10 outreach centres for science and technology programmes. The SMEs should be more creative and build organisations that would achieve breakthroughs in several fields.

L. Gopalakrishnan, Managing Trustee of PSG and Sons’ Charities, said the institute had played a major rule in developing Coimbatore as an industrial city. Several students who passed out of the institute aspired to be entrepreneurs and job providers.

R. Palaniswami, Chairman of TechEx 2011, said that apart from the exhibition of products manufactured by the companies of the alumni, the three-day event would also have sessions on Saturday and Sunday on financial support schemes for technology ideas, commercialisation, and financial support for growth and expansion. These would be organised by the PSG STEP.

G. Ranganathan, President of PSG Tech Alumni Association, said the association had 10 chapters in India and another 10 abroad. It had taken up five major projects for the diamond jubilee year, including the TechEx event.

R. Rudramoorthy, Principal of PSG College of Technology, said the college was organising national and international conferences as part of the diamond jubilee programmes apart from the exhibition. The college offered over 50 courses, had nearly 8,500 students, and more than 1,000 faculty members. It had established collaborations with several overseas Universities.

The Hindu is the media partner for the three-day event.

Pick up business ideas from newspapers

Management students should be alert enough to pick up business ideas from reports that are churned out by the newspapers as there are mini-case studies waiting to be explored, according to Mr D. Sampathkumar, Editor, The Hindu Business Line.

He felt that while the media is not ‘completely presumptuous' that it could entirely bridge the gap between the industry and academic institutions, it could still expose people who were concerned with the business of management and open up the ‘mental horizon' in a way that was somewhat better than what if the person was not familiar with newspapers.

Speaking at a Business Line club meeting organised by the PSG Institute of Management Studies (PSGIM), Coimbatore, on Monday, he said a question often raised was whether newspapers helped the students perform better as managers or make them better as students.

An issue that frequently cropped up was the industry-academia divide, which was particularly relevant for business schools.
Not a producing machine

Even engineering colleges were confronted with the criticism that the students were not equipped to perform the tasks that the IT companies expected them to do, which may be true with other industrial segments too. Even medical education was not exempt from this criticism.

Mr Sampathkumar said there was a perception that the academic institutions were ‘simply not turning out the kind of people' that the industry seemed to want. It was not as if this criticism has gone ‘unrebutted' by the academic community, who say the industry doesn't do enough to ensure that the students are ‘adequately equipped' when they pass out of courses, like sharing information as to why some products launches failed.

Management courses are not something like a raw material that, when put through some manufacturing process, comes out as a product! That the industrialists ‘generally tend to shy away' from parting with information about their operations makes it tough to bridge the divide between academia and the industry is a common refrain of the academic community.
Gap getting wider

The problem would not have engaged everyone's attention to the extent it has but for the fact ‘this divide is actually getting wider and wider' as days go by, he said. The real world was also becoming complex in that what would impact the fortunes of a business are not defined so easily that effective counter strategy is difficult to formulate.

It was only natural that the ‘fundamental divide' between the academics and industries ‘should get even wider' as we are beginning to see now.

He felt that newspapers could play a positive part in this scenario, though the media is not ‘so presumptuous' as to think that it could bridge the gap between the real world and the academia but could move towards exposing the people who were concerned with the management of businesses/ economy towards things they should be guarding themselves against.

It would help open their mental horizon in a way that was somewhat better than what it would have been if they had no exposure to the media.
Waiting to be explored

Mr Sampathkumar's advice to the students was to look for news reports from which they could pick up business ideas and said ‘there is probably some mini case studies that are waiting to be explored in each and every story that we publish' that may be true of other business dailies too.

Newspapers in their own way try to bridge the academic-real world divide. Since competition in the job market is getting more intense, students were required to equip themselves a lot better.

Prof Umesh Chandrasekhar of PSGIM said the interaction of the students with Mr Sampathkumar had helped to reduce the disconnect between the industry and the academics, and reading good business newspapers/ magazines regularly would help the students improve their awareness as managers.