Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hang out in Coimbatore city now with ease

Disappointed after a virtual search on the internet about hang outs in the city that did not yield the required information, two students of PSG Institute of Management (PSGIM) took it upon themselves to compile the details. They decided to print, publish and sell a ‘hang out’ magazine.

For students

Prince Mohamed Khan, second year MBA student, and S.R. Bharatt, a second year PGDM student, hit upon the idea of launching a monthly magazine to benefit students from other parts of the state and country who were studying in Coimbatore, and visitors / tourists staying in hotels.

Thus was born CHO — Coimbatore Hangouts, with digital expertise from Ignatius Anto Rex, a second year MBA student of PSGIM, and marketing expertise from B. Saravana Pandian, second year MBA student of Sri Krishna Institute of Management.

As the team awaits the ISBN registration to publish and sell it commercially, the formal online launch and release of a sample hard copy of the magazine were held on the institute premises on Monday.

The magazine contains information on verticals such as restaurants / cafes, shopping, cinema, fashion / beauty, and events.

It is not merely a directory listing out the places, but also has on offer the kind of food served, reviews of food, reviews of the movies playing in Coimbatore that month, fashion in vogue, places to visit, and so in addition to some general articles.

Releasing the first copy, director of PSGIM R. Nandagopal said the magazine was a student venture in terms of investment, operation and marketing.


“They have planned to operate it on a voluntary basis with editorial contributions from freelancers and a 10-member student team. After a trial period of three to six months, the voluntary venture will be converted into a company”, he said.

To be priced at Rs. 50, the 50-page magazine would hit the stands shortly with an initial print order of 3,000 copies a month.

It would eventually increase its readership, offer subscription, and accept advertisements.

Those interested can visit

Unique learning experience for Coimbatore Corporation special school students

The students of the Corporation school for special children here are all set to take a major leap forward with the adoption of a new learning methodology in which information technology will play a major part and reverse the traditional roles of students and teachers.

With the establishment of a ‘tab lab’ at the Corporation School for the Deaf at R.S. Puram here, students will now be able to prepare ahead of their classes by viewing the subject in tablets, which will be issued to all the students and teachers.

This initiative will be launched next week by the Corporation.

The tablets will have video files of the school teachers explaining the subject curriculum in sign language. After going through these files, the students will be asked to explain some of the lessons during the class, American India Foundation Director (Digital Equaliser programme) J. Sundarakrishnan told The Hindu on Thursday over phone from New Delhi.

The video files will be prepared by the AIF personnel who will shoot and edit them. Each video file will have a duration of three to five minutes. This new methodology was developed by AIF and Carveniche Technologies to focus on outcome-based approaches, he said.

Teachers will be training in technology pedagogy (science of teaching) and learn how to prepare for their classes using the tablets. They will divide the class hours and allocate time for showing videos, solving problems and students interaction.

Mr. Sundarakrishnan said that the ‘flipped classrooms’ will help teachers focus on weaker students focus. The Foundation, which was implementing educational projects in several States, was introducing this concept of ‘flipped classroom’ first at Coimbatore. Following this, it will be introduced at a Government school in Bangalore, he added.

S. Tamil Selvi, Headmistress of the R.S. Puram School, said that students can view the video files any number of times till they comprehend the lesson completely. Visual representations will also make it easier for the students to learn.

The teachers were also conducting research online on how to prepare these files, she added.

The project was part of the ‘Digital Equaliser’ Programme for which the civic body had inked a three-year MoU (2012-15) with the AIF. It covers all the 10 high schools, 16 higher secondary schools, and one special school of Coimbatore Corporation, which had provided 464 computers for the project.

Coimbatore passport office to withdraw walk-in facility from Nov. 1

 Passport Office, Coimbatore, has decided to withdraw the walk-in facility for all categories of applicants, except those seeking police clearance certificates and differently-abled.

Talking to The Hindu, Passport Officer S. Sasikumar said that from November 1, 2013 those seeking passports under tatkal or ordinary categories, re-issue of passports, and miscellaneous services will have to apply online and obtain an appointment.

When the Passport Seva Kendra was brought in, there were 14 categories of applications under the online appointment category and five under walk-in facility. Of the applications under the walk-in category, fresh passport applications under tatkal category, for infants below the age of three and senior citizens were now being brought under the category wherein an online appoint was a must.

Mr. Sasikumar said that tatkal applicants were hardly 10 per cent on any given day. From the earlier system of allotting 280 appointments per day, depending on the growing need, the number of appointments gradually increased. Till recently, the number of appointments was 438 per day and it was increased to 500 and taking into account the withdrawal of walk-in facility, the number of appointments was being increased to 525 per day with effect from November 1. Getting an appointment online was now made easy and appointments are available within the next five working days.

Applicants under tatkal category are cleared the same day (provided the application was intact and all documents were enclosed) and the applicant gets the passport very next day. Under ordinary category, passports are issued within 28 days and there were cases of passports reaching within one week to 10 days and it largely depended on the pace of police verification.

About 16 per cent of the applicants were found to be re-scheduling their appointments. Three re-schedules are permitted for an applicant. With the applicants paying the fee online, the time taken for each applicant at the counter while submission of application has considerably come down. This has resulted in the Kendra being able to handle more number of applicants.

With online verification of the genuineness of documents enclosed with applications, the number of cases wherein applicants enclosed forged documents had also come down drastically.

Considering the negligible number of applications received by the District Passport Cells (DPCs) and absence of biometric details recording facility at the cells, already the DPCs have been removed in the Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Tirupur and Erode.

With effect from November 1, the DPCs are being removed in Salem and Namakkal as well. Salem and Namakkal were handling only 11 and seven applications per day on an average respectively. In fact, absence of biometric details recording facility and also that the applications from DPCs were found to be having inaccuracies and inadequacies, a decision was taken to withdraw the same.

Mr. Sasikumar commenting on delay in issue of passports in certain cases, pointed out that the pace of police verification was one reason and the other major reason was that 12 per cent of the applications on an average are found to be having insufficient details or documents. Many of the applicants were found to be turning up for submission of applications without original documents. This caused delay at the counters and also in the delay of the passports, he added.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Computer-aided learning in five Coimbatore Corporation schools

Coimbatore Corporation has decided to introduce computer-aided learning in five Corporation schools. 

The civic body decided to extend the facility to the Corporation Girls’ High School, Selvapuram, Corporation Higher Secondary School, Udayampalayam, Corporation High School, P.N. Pudur, Corporation Girls’ Higher Secondary School, Oppanakara Street, and Corporation Higher Secondary School, Peelamedu. 

At present the Corporation has such a facility at its school in Maniakarampalayam.
The Corporation decided to do so at its Council meeting held on July 24, wherein it said that it had chosen one school a zone. There are five zones in the Corporation. 

To introduce the facility, promised in the Corporation Budget for 2013-14, the Corporation had formed a committee comprising Commissioner G. Latha, Deputy Commissioner S. Sivarasu, accounts officer, city engineer and 11 other people. 

It had also allotted Rs. 20 lakh a school and said that it would meet the expenses from its Education Fund. 

The Corporation had introduced the computer-aided learning facility in association with the American India Foundation and Dell under the ‘Dell Connected Class Room’ concept.
The project would benefit 370 students in the Selvapuram school, 578 students in the Udayampalayam school, 453 students in the P.N. Pudur school, 1,477 students in the Oppanakara Street school and 692 students in the Peelamedu school. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Japan beckons Coimbatore industrialists

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Just as a business delegation from the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has returned from a trip to Japan, a delegation from the Coimbatore District Small Industries Association (Codissia) is now preparing to visit the Land of the Rising Sun.

Apart from underscoring the importance of Japanese investment in India, what is significant is that at the centre of both visits is the SME sector. While ICCI wants the potential opportunities in Coimbatore to be known to the SMEs of Japan, Codissia is largely a representative body of the MSMEs.

Speaking to Business Line today, R. R. Balasundharam, President, ICCI, said the main aim of the visit to Japan was to make the Japanese companies aware of the immense potential in the SME sector.

During their visit, the delegation members addressed seminars in the three key cities of Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo.

Japanese SMEs appeared to be interested in five areas. These were semiconductors, biomass for power generation, water and waste water management, instruments and sensors and Information Technology (IT).

He said Japanese SMEs in Coimbatore could be offered incubation facility.

The Japanese participants evinced interest in visiting Coimbatore later this year. R. Ramachandran, President, Codissia, is leading a delegation of 30 members to Japan, during which they would visit companies such as Isuzu Motors, Yamazaki Mazak and Toshiba Carrier Corporation.

He believes the visit will offer an insight into the best practices followed by the Japanese companies and this will help “enhance the competitiveness of MSMEs in the international market.”

He said the Codissia team has planned a visit to the Renewable Energy &amp; PV Japan 2013, Tokyo. This has assumed importance in the context of the efforts taken by the Tamil Nadu Government to tap solar energy for power generation. </div>

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Coimbatore lad ranked third in science Olympiad

For K M S Rohit, a class 10 student of Lisieux Matriculation Higher Secondary School in the city, securing a third rank in the National Science Olympiad was literally a walk in the park. To put it in Rohit's own words, if he is passionate about something in life then it is science, his favourite subject.

"Science has always been my favourite subject. I also spend a lot of time reading scientific books and articles on the internet. I always ensure that I know a little bit more than what is included in my academic syllabus," says Rohit.

Rohit had cleared the preliminary stage of the Science Olympiad examination held a few months back and then appeared for the second level and emerged as the third rank scorer.

As per the norms of the National Science Olympiad conducted by the Science Olympiad Foundation (SOF), Rohit's will be officially called international third rank holder as children from CBSE and ICSE schools abroad also appear for the examination.

The National Science Olympiad is being held for the last 16 years in the country. The British Council and BBC knowledge is also involved with Science Olympiad Foundation for conducting the Olympiad.

"The exam is conducted in multiple choice objective answer format. It was not very difficult and I gave my best for it," Rohit adds.

Rohit says his parents, G Madhusudhanan, a city-based businessman, and his mother Sheela Madhu, an assistant engineer with TANGEDCO, always support him and constantly motivate him in his studies. "My teachers at school guide me and make it a point to patiently solve my doubts even if I ask questions repeatedly," Rohit adds.

A cash award of Rs 10,000 has also been announced for Rohit, which was to be presented at the award ceremony in New Delhi on June 16. Rohit could not attend the function due to some emergency at home. Former chief justice of India, RC Lahoti was the chief guest at the function.
Though science is his passion, Rohit is not the stereotypical book worm and participates in sports and cultural activities.

He also says that his ambition in life as of now is to become an IITian. "I play football for my school team and participate in inter-school tournaments. I am part of my team's defence," Rohit says.

Project to generate power from waste in Coimbatore city likely

Coimbatore Corporation is going to replicate a Singapore power project that utilises domestic waste to generate electricity.

Mayor S.M. Velusamy told journalists here on Thursday that half the 800 tonnes of waste generated every day in the city was disposed of through landfills at Vellalore, and the rest could be used to generate electricity.

Official visit

A three-member team from the civic body comprising Mr. Velusamy, Corporation Commissioner G. Latha and S. Baskar, Coordinator of IC Centre for Governance — the anchor non-governmental organisation that oversaw Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) projects — undertook an official visit to Singapore from May 26 to 31 as part of a delegation comprising representatives from 11 cities across India.

The trip was undertaken after an invitation from the Government of Singapore.

Officials from various departments explained to the Indian delegates how the infrastructure was developed in Singapore and the execution of different projects.

The Mayor said that the visit proved useful in studying the reasons that powered the extraordinary growth of Singapore from a colony of the erstwhile British emprise to a global economic power house.

Another initiative that would be adopted here was increasing the number of trees as Singapore had nearly 40 per cent green cover.

In the first phase, saplings would be planted at ideal locations on Avinashi Road and Tiruchi Road.

Mr. Velusamy said that in order to make the city completely free from garbage, non-governmental organisations would be given the task of creating awareness among the public on proper waste disposal.


The civic body was also contemplating the launch of a survey with feedback forms distributed to the residents of the city on the ongoing projects and ascertain future requirements.

A plan was also afoot to completely revamp VOC Park and add more recreational facilities. Non-governmental organisations would be given the task of maintaining other parks, he added.

Science Express train to visit Coimbatore on August 20

The Science Express – Bio-Diversity Special (SEBS) is finally coming to Coimbatore on August 20 and will be halting at Coimbatore Junction till August 23.

In the recent times, only two thematic expo trains visited Coimbatore, one was the Red Ribbon Express (to generate awareness relating to AIDS) and the second was Mother Theresa Express.


Coimbatore never found a place in the schedule of Swami Vivekananda Express and after repeated representations by the Ramakrishna Mission it was routed via Coimbatore with a halt for two days on July 21 and 22 in 2012.

Last year, when the schedule of SEBS was announced, Coimbatore was missing in the route map in the fifth phase of its journey. Coimbatore Struggle Committee fighting for improvements in rail infrastructure for Coimbatore region, took up the issue with Railway Board, Department of Science and Technology and Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.

Sixth phase

After all such efforts, now in the sixth phase, Coimbatore has been included in the tour.

Coimbatore region has the Nilgiris Bio Sphere Reserve (NBR) and it also hosts institutes such like Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding (IFGTB), Tamil Nadu Forest Academy – which is celebrating its centenary year, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), and Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON).

These institutions have a significant role in forestry and bio-diversity related studies and research.

Interestingly, only recently, western ghats that runs through this part of the country was declared a World Heritage Sight and now the train which has a special pavilion for Nilgiris Bio-Sphere Reserve is visiting Coimbatore.

The exhibition also showcases aspects of climate change, water, energy conservation, environment and the legacy of the Science Express.

The expo-on-wheels, a collaborative initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests is an innovative and unique mobile exhibition mounted on a specially-designed 16-coach AC train travelling across India. The train gains significance as the decade 2011-2020 has been declared by the United Nations as the “Decade on Biodiversity” and by the United Nations as the “Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification”.


The exhibition aims to showcase the wide array of biodiversity in the country and the conservation measures adopted. The exhibition is open for all.