Category Archives: Inspiration / Positive News and Features

Policing feather in city girl cap

Millie Banerjee

London:

Calcutta-born Millie Banerjee has been appointed the new chairman of the UK’s College of Policing.

Actually, she has been interim chairman since November last year so her appointment was today made permanent by the home secretary, Amber Rudd.

“Working with Millie over the last year I have been impressed by the insight she brings from her time leading other public and commercial organisations, including the British Transport Police,” Rudd said on Thursday.

Millie’s responsibilities are highly sensitive – keep an eye on “standards in policing” across the 43 police forces in England and Wales; developing knowledge and “what works”; and assisting with education and career development.

It is possible she will want to exchange notes on policing in Calcutta.

“Millie” is really her nickname but it has come to stay as she has become part of the great and good in Britain. She was born Urmila Ray-Chaudhuri in Calcutta on June 30, 1946, and is friendly with a number of prominent figures in the city, among them the physicist Bikash Sinha.

Millie, who was honoured with a CBE on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2002 and was High Sheriff of Greater London in 2012-13, was chairman of the British Transport Police Authority for seven years and spent 30 years in the telecommunications and satellite industries. This included 25 years with BT in senior positions.

She is currently the chairman of NHS Blood and Transplant and a board member of East London NHS Foundation Trust.

Reacting to her confirmation, Millie said: “I have spent many years in policing and it has been a privilege to witness the dedication and compassion of officers and staff to protect the public. This is evident when I see that public approval for police has remained high despite officers and staff being faced with ever more complex crime, a reduced workforce and greater demand.

“We are dedicated to providing access to the best knowledge and skills which sits behind the bravery, dedication and compassion shown by police on a daily basis. We have ambitious plans ahead and I intend on working with people across policing to continue building a professional body that supports all officers and staff.”

source: http://www.telegraphindia.com / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcuttu / by Amit Roy / November 17th, 2017

This Startup Made its Founder Vow to Make Her Presence on Earth Worthwhile to Benefit Mankind

Shruthi started Anthyesti in February 2016 with Rs one lakh that she borrowed from her husband

Death is grim business, but Shruthi Reddy Sethi, a young, enthusiastic software engineer in Kolkata has made it her business to make it easier for those left behind. With her uniquely focused services, in just over a year, her company Anthyesti has notched up a turnover of Rs 16 lakh.

Shruthi’s work begins in the aftermath of a life sadly ending. “Once we get a call,” she explains, “we first arrange for the hearse van and also ask if there is any need for preservation, such as a freezer box.

“After the hearse van moves to the crematorium, we assist the family to procure the KMC (Kolkata Municipal Corporation) death certificate if they seek our help. We then offer them our priest package if they want.”

Her company – Anthyesti – offers well-organized and efficient post-demise packages such as VIP hearse services, mobile freezer or embalming, repatriation of remains, and Shraadhs (a ritual to pay homage to the deceased in the family) for communities such as the Arya Samaj, Gujaratis, Marwaris and Bengalis. These services range from Rs 2,500 to Rs one lakh.

Yes, that’s right, Shruthi Reddy Sethi, 32, is a funeral services planner – officially the first such company in this sector in Kolkata.

“I first shared the idea of setting up a company that provides cremation and funeral services, with my husband,” she says. He promised to support her.

“But my parents,” she adds, “especially my mother, were very upset and said that this kind of ‘ignominious’ work was an insult for an IT engineer. She didn’t talk to me for a month!”

Shruthi had moved to Kolkata in 2015 to be with her husband who had shifted there with his job. Originally from Hyderabad, where she completed all her education, she was the older of the two siblings, with a brother.

Her father worked as an electrical engineer in Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), while her mother sold saris from the home to supplement the family’s income. Shruthi studied in Sai Public School till Class 10, after which she joined Little Flower Junior College in 2002.

By 2006 she had completed a degree in engineering from Bhoj Reddy Engineering College and she left her home town. “I joined an IT company in Bengaluru as a junior programmer,” she says, “and moved back to Hyderabad with another IT job in 2011.

In 2009, she got married to Gurvinder Singh Sethi who worked in Tata Motors in Hyderabad. “Life was moving smoothly till my husband was transferred to Kolkata in 2011,” says Shruthi. Her employers let her work from home at first, but in 2015 when they asked her to move back to Hyderabad, she resigned.

Shruthi had to plan her next step. “I wanted to do my MBA as I thought it would help me set up my business,” she recounts.

“With a view to joining one of the year-long executive programs in IIM and other reputed B-schools, I took the GMAT exam and cleared it.”

She got admission offers from IIM-Indore and IIM-Lucknow. She was about to get enrolled in one of them, when Siddharth Churiwal, a businessman friend, suggested: ‘Rather than spend that money on a degree, use it for bootstrapping your business. Have faith and you will find everything else on the way up.’

His advice took seed, even though Shruthi had no idea of the nitty-gritty and formalities of entrepreneurship.

“The concept of a funeral service start-up was subconsciously in my mind,” she recalls, “as I saw my husband facing a lot of problems at the death of his maternal grandfather in 2014 – making all the arrangements for cremation and prayers meant that he didn’t have time to grieve with his family.”

So that’s how she started setting up a company geared to efficiently and sensitively taking care of every aspect relating to the processes and ceremonies following a death, starting from embalming human remains to the conclusion of all rituals.
She had the business logic for it. “There is a large population of single old people in Kolkata,” she explains. “There are many people who live all by themselves. They would be more than happy to find someone to help in their last moments.”

In order to gain knowledge of the market and costs, Shruthi began to visit crematoriums, find out about the number of deaths every day, research charges for hearse vans, mortuaries, priests and pujas.

People working in this male-dominated sector were mostly uneducated, and many were drunkards. “My friends and family thought that I had lost my mind as I was busy with the dead throughout the day,” Shruthi says. “It was very tough.”

Finally, Shruthi started Anthyesti Funeral Services Private Limited on 19 February, 2016, with an investment of Rs one lakh, which she borrowed from her husband.

She is the founder-director of the company with 99 percent shares, while her mother, Suhasini Reddy – who came around to support her daughter – is the other director with one percent share. “It took me days before I zeroed in on the name Anthyesti, which means funeral rites in Sanskrit,” Shruti shares.

The company started with two employees in a rented office space of around 1,000 sq. ft. The concept was new to Kolkata and while Shruthi invested in marketing, the gradual increase in her business was mainly due to word-of-mouth publicity. “There were no sudden breakthrough moments,” she says.

“I built contacts with hearse van drivers and priests to be paid on a case-to-case basis,” she explains. “We got enlisted on Justdial in April 2015, from where I started getting calls for funeral services.”

But people normally called for the hearse van and not for cremation or performance of last rites. Shruthi found a solution and purchased two freezer boxes in June 2016 and an air-conditioned hearse van with an investment of around Rs seven lakh.

Now, bookings for Anthyesti’s can be made on the phone or online. The company now has six employees, receives around 35 orders every month, and its turnover has touched Rs 16 lakh in just over a year.

Wait there is more – with an eye on the future.

Anthyesti also offers services for pre-planning funeral service packages – ranging from Rs 6,000 to Rs 20,000 – for those who live alone. “Pre-death packages are an assurance to such clients that, should something happen to them all of a sudden, we are there to carry out the last rites,” says Shruthi. “Our legal agreements for this are prepared and vetted by experienced lawyers.”

Anthyesti is filling a much-felt gap. “Death is a crucial part of life and it needs to be served with professionalism, poise and dignity,” says Shruthi. “Staying calm, sensitive and empathetic is what I and my team focus on.”

Shruthi plans to expand and scale up through the franchising model by 2020. She feels her experience has taught her the value of money and the fact that death is the only truth in life.

“Make your presence on earth worthwhile so that you can benefit mankind,” this mother of a four-year-old son says wisely. She also shares her mantra for women entrepreneurs: “Have belief and never underestimate yourself. Small things will take care of themselves when you aim big.”

This Article is Part of the ‘Super Startups’ Series

source: http://www.weekendleader.com / The Weekend Leader / Home, Vol. 8, Issue 44 / by G. Singh, Kolkata / November 01st, 2017

Blind boys in melody mission – MUSIC RESTORES WHAT LOSS OF SIGHT SNATCHED

The band rehearses on September 22, a day before going to Delhi to play at a puja concert. Picture by Anup Bhattacharya

Narendrapur:

Asit Sil can feel the calluses on his fingers from hours of playing the sitar but still won’t use a plectrum.

Touch and feel are integral to the music created by this 16-year-old and his friends, part of a band of talented teens from the Ramakrishna Mission Blind Boys’ Academy in Narendrapur.

The band comprises more than 10 members, all of them students with varying degrees of visual impairment. Asit has 90 per cent blindness. Vocalist Dipu Roy, 19, was diagnosed with Nystagmus disease as an infant and lost his eyesight by the time he turned 2.

“Sight is not a must-have for musicians. But it is a different ballgame when you are playing in a group. In a concert, one wrong note can disrupt the entire performance. It takes hours of practice to get the coordination right,” said Bishnu Deb Chakraborty, one of the music teachers at the academy.

The band performs at concerts in the city round the year. From Tagore to SD Burman, instrumental compositions based on ragas to bhajans and folk, the band’s bouquet of music spells variety.

The boys have been invited to perform at pujas in different parts of the country in the past couple of years. Last year, it was Mumbai. This festive season, they performed at a celebration in Delhi.

“They had been invited by a puja near Dwarka. Most of them went to the capital for the first time,” said Biswajit Ghosh, the principal of the academy.

Indranil Kesh, who plays the violin, is from Bardhaman. He had joined the academy in 2011 and has been playing for close to four years. The VG Jog admirer remembers “sweating in panic” the first day he took the stage for a concert at the Rahara Ramakrishna Mission.

“Now I don’t get nervous unless the event is really big,” smiled Indranil, who loves listening to Arijit Singh’s melodies.

If Indranil’s favourite raga is Shivranjani, its Yaman for Asit, who is from a family of farmers in South Dinajpur.

Asit had started taking singing lessons at a very young age. Joining the academy seven years ago changed his passion. “I fell in love with the sitar,” recounted the teenager, who loves listening to Vilayat Khan and Ravi Shankar on YouTube.

On normal days, the boys practise in an auditorium at the academy for an hour after their regular classes. “They put in more hours before an event,” said principal Ghosh.

Sandip Sen, 18, plays the tabla. The Asansol boy’s only memory of music before joining the academy in 2012 is of his mother singing him to sleep. “I had kept my formal initiation into music a secret. When they first heard me in a programme in Calcutta, they could not believe it,” Sandip recalled.

source: http://www.telegraphindia.com / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / by Debraj Mitra / Tuesday – October 17th, 2017

A scooter-riding bookseller has served Kolkata better than Amazon could ever hope to

From Vir Sanghvi to Aveek Sarkar, everyone is a fan of Tarun Kumar Shaw’s unique personal book home delivery service.

Photo credit: Rana Chakraborty.

If a book has been printed, and is in circulation in even the remotest part of the world, chances are, Tarun Kumar Shaw will be able to get it for you. Be it a banned title, a rare tome, the latest edition of a prestigious science journal, Tarun-da, as he is popularly known in Kolkata, knows how to sniff out that book you want from under a pile of rubbish or email trail half way around the planet. Once the prize is in his hands, he will roll out his trusted two wheeler to ride to wherever you are – at your desk, at the Golf Club, or at the airport lounge – to personally deliver it to you. Commission on every sale depends on the challenges of the Holy Grail.

For more than three decades now, Tarun Shaw has been running what is possibly the only one of its kind personal book home delivery service in Kolkata. From the secured offices of leading media houses, to the corporate offices, the impenetrable Alipore and Ballygunj bungalows to the hallowed libraries of the academic institutions, Shaw has an all-access pass. Rather, he is the all-access pass and can reach where Amazon cannot – into the proud Bengali’s very cluttered headspace.

Ever since his father, Gopal Lal Shaw, wound up his tenure at Dey and Brothers, a bookstore in what used to be the Book Range in New Market, Shaw has been personally delivering books to every client in the city. He has been a particularly familiar and welcome sight in newspaper offices, carrying cases full of books that cover everything from science, politics, fascism ( a popular obsession, he says), general knowledge and literature.

Editors’ pick
In a quiet room in a quiet house, painted in loud pop colours, Tarun-da recapped his extraordinary life as an itinerant bookseller in the city that has been home to two Nobel Laureates, several Sahitya Akademi and Jnanpith awardees. It began with his father, who realised almost four decades ago that traditional bookstores would disappear, but a book lover will still want to read.

“It was to reach out to the diehard reader, and his old clients, that my father decided to start this door-to-door bookselling service,” said Shaw, 53. Calcutta was still reading voraciously at that time, and business flourished. “Our USP was our ability to procure imported newspapers and journals within days, sometimes hours,” explained Shaw about how the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, the various science and literary journals became a part of their repertoire. The Shaws were also canny businessmen and realised that siting on unsold inventory did not make sense. “We only procure on demand. Where is the space to stock books?”

An avid reader, Shaw also perfected the art of reading his client’s mind. “I have always loved talking to people about books. And once I have spent some time with anyone, I get a sense of what he or she would like to read. Next time we meet, I would suggest 10 books out of which, I guarantee you, the client will like at least one.”

Photo credit: Rana Chakraborty.

As work began to expand, Shaw’s elder brother joined the team, though Shaw-junior remained the most visible face of the book business, traversing the city, carrying a dozen odd books every day. That this was a successful business model became evident when others began to try out something similar. But the Tarun-da had an upper hand, and others fell by the wayside.

“I have known legendary editors such as MJ Akbar and Vir Sanghvi,” he said. “The latter especially was extremely generous and introduced me to some of the biggest business families who are now my clients. I enjoy a certain rapport with everyone and they trust me…” He was interrupted by calls from clients, one of whom wanted him to suggest a book to gift at a sacred thread ceremony, and another who wanted something on Swami Vivekananda.

Shaw’s relationship with the ABP Group, the media house that publishes The Telegraph, is special. There have been times when Aveek Sarkar, editor emeritus of the group, has called him in the dead of night to request for a rare title, or a special thesaurus, and Shaw has delivered. The employees too have developed a bond with him. Shaw sells everything from Sidney Sheldon to Andre Gide. He does not judge. The thrill, for him, has been in the chase. “I love challenges,” he said. “Even when Satanic Verses was banned, I got several copies of the book. It took time, but I did it.”

He prefers to sell only English and Bengali books because, in his words, “no one reads books in any other language here”.

Photo credit: Rana Chakraborty.

For the longest time, the city that has had a very special relationship with the written word had a very special place in its heart for the man who showed up with something or the other of interest. While College Street now lives on textbooks and nostalgia, there are hardly any bookstores of consequence left in the city, and Shaw refused to blame the decline on the internet. “It is us,” he said. “One generation gave up reading. But younger people are moving back to books. Kindle could not wipe it out. But why have we not been able to produce any writer of consequence after say a Sunil Gangopadhyay [one of Bengal’s most respected authors]. Why are Paulo Coelho, Jeffrey Archer failing to produce bestsellers?”

Last chapter
Of all the editors he has sold books to, Shaw had the most engaging conversations with the late editor of the ABP Group’s film magazine and noted filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh. “I remember, every time I walked in, he would literally throw everything away from his desk to make room for the books that I carried with me. I have not met anyone who was so obsessed with reading.” After his untimely death, Ghosh’s collection of 1,500 books were gifted to the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute. According to Shaw, most of those books were bought from him.

Shaw misses these associations. “It is not work. I have no problems selling you a book and walking away. It is business after all. But it breaks my heart to see a new book lying in a forgotten corner. I used to enjoy going back to my clients to discuss the book. I looked forward to these invigorating, stimulating conversations. I have had clients who call me home point to a wall and say: Isko Kitabon Se Bhar Dijiye! Not just any kind of books, they want leather-bound, gold-embossed books as a status symbol.” Shaw also blamed Bengali soaps for weaning the once fiercely well-read Bengali homemaker off books. “In the afternoons, after lunch, women would retire with a novella, a literary magazine or even a mythological book. Now it is just crap on TV.”

Even in the institutes, money spent annually on procuring rare titles, world class journals, are not actually realised because “not a page is turned”.

Shaw’s son works in Singapore, but he acknowledges his role in helping him reach out to publishers around the world. “I studied in a Bengali medium school. I am not tech savvy either. But my son started tracking down publishers and established a global network which I am still enjoying. He helped me tremendously to expand our business.” But neither his brother’s children, nor his son are interested in taking over the reins of the business. It is not as if Shaw is keen to see it continue either. “The whole business worked on trust, familiarity. People see my face and I put my personal equity out there every day over the past 30 years. We hired a couple of people to deliver newspapers, magazines, but not the books. That is special. It had to be me delivering them to those who waited for them. And it ends with me.”

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.

source: http://www.scroll.in / Scroll.in / Home> Magazine> Book Lovers / by Chandrima Pal / Thursday – May 03rd, 2017

Memorial on Mahasweta Devi to come up in Kolkata

(Pic Credit: Google)

A memorial to Magsaysay award winning late author and social activist Mahasweta Devi will be set up at her residence in Rajdanga in Kolkata, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on February 27.

“The memorial is ready. The memorial will house her belongings, books, and other materials used by her,” Banerjee said during an informal interaction with mediapersons at Eco Park.

Jnanpith awardee Mahasweta Devi, who crusaded for the rights of tribals and the marginalised throughout her life, died on July 28, 2016.

Banerjee also said the state government would establish memorials for famed journalists Barun Sengupta, Gour Kishore Ghosh and Amitabha Chowdhury. The government also had plans to rename roads after the three journalists. A road close to the office of the Bartaman newspaper on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass founded by Sengupta would be rechristened after him.

The government was on the lookout for sites to set up the memorials on June 19.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> Lifestyle> Books / IANS / February 28th, 2017

Doctor far-off, care close by – Satellite health unit set up at remote Rimbick

A patient being treated at the medical unit at Rimbick. Telegraph picture

Darjeeling :

An idea that bagged an award from the Acadèmia de Ciències Mèdiques, a forum of healthcare professionals in Barcelona, Spain, has blossomed into a fruitful project that is saving human lives in one of the farthest corners of Darjeeling district in Rimbick.

Plaban Das, a medical director of Planter’s Hospital in Darjeeling, during his advanced medical studies at La Santpau hospital in Barcelona, had through his Spanish friends proposed an idea in 2009 to create a satellite healthcare unit in remote areas.

The idea we bagged the Beques de Cooperacio Academia del Mon award that carried a prize money of 200 Euros in 2009.

“Anna Goma, a Spanish doctor, has presented the idea to the academy and it bagged the first prize. It was just an idea then and wanted to replicate the same in Rimbick, where I had conducted a medical camp in 2007,” said Das.

He mulled over the idea for long and once social media, more particularly WhatsApp, became common among people, he started working on the project.

“The basic idea was to ensure the people of Rimbick and its surrounding areas quick medical intervention during emergencies so that lives could be saved,” said Das.

Rimbick is about 90km from Darjeeling and one has to trek 6-7km further to reach the villages of Srikhola and Daragoan.

“With the help of local people, we formed a 12-member committee and set up the Rimbick Singalila Health Care Centre, a no-loss-no-profit venture which was inaugurated on September 13, 2015,” said Das.

Das made a personal contribution of Rs 2.5 lakh, along with the prize money of 100 Euros (the remaining 100 Euros was used in a project in Nigeria), while local people contributed around Rs 1 lakh. “Dr Hem Gosai, who practices in London but is from Darjeeling, later contributed Rs 1 lakh when he heard about the project,” said Das.

Two nurses, one para-medic and two technicians run the two-bedded centre at Rimbick with ECG, X-ray machine, nebuliser, oxygen cylinder and lab equipment.

“Whenever there is an emergency, the nurses contact me through WhatsApp. Primary tests are done there and they send the report on Whatsapp to me. Then I prescribe preliminary treatment right away, which is important in cases like brain stroke and heart attacks,” said Das.

Prakash Gurung, GTA Sabha member of the area, has also donated an ambulance to the centre.

In fact, this year, the centre observed a Stroke Survival Day, where five patient who had become paralytic and fully recovered because of immediate medical intervention were felicitated.

Shiva Rai, a hotelier, said: “I would not have been speaking to you had the centre not been there. I had gone to bed normally but in the morning, I found that my hands were paralytic and my face slanted. I could recover fully because of immediate medical intervention.

Binod Kumar Rai, a teacher of Rimbick Higher Secondary School, said: “I had a bee sting followed by fever and diarrhea. I recovered immediately. Importantly, my relative who had a stroke also recovered well.”

The centre needs Rs 30,000 on an average a month to function. “They charge a minimum amount. If we were to go and meet Dr Das in Darjeeling we need to spend anything between Rs 2000 to Rs 3000. But treatment is much cheaper and efficient at the Rimbick centre,” said Binod.

Das, along with other doctors visit the centre, once a month. A group of doctors from Zion Hospital in Nagaland held a free medical camp on February 15 there.

“People from Nepal also visit the centre now,” said Das.

Apart from the Spanish doctor, Anna, Martha Gallego, a nurse, Pau Casan Bonet, a pianist, and Begonya Crespo Bosque held a musical event in Barcelona to support the centre.

A similar project is being worked out for Badamtam tea garden, about 20km from Darjeeling.

source: http://www.telegraphindia.com / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Front Page> North Bengal> Story / by Vivek Chhetri / Monday- February 20th, 2017

Tea garden woman gives karate classes

Subrati Baraik performs karate with a student in Jaigaon. (Anirban Choudhury)

Alipurduar :

A 23-year-old woman is providing training in karate to youths, particularly females so that they could protect themselves from teasing and stalkers.

Subrati Baraik, a resident of Madhu Tea Estate, is running a karate camp in Jaigaon and training youths for their own safety.

Baraik told Metro that she had decided to learn karate after being repeatedly teased by youths at different places.

“Eight years ago, I was teased by some youths while travelling on a train. I was returning home from Siliguri. When I tried to resist them, they passed lewd comments. After few months, a similar incident occurred again at a fair. I felt insulted after both these incidents and decided to learn karate for my safety,” she said.

In 2010, Baraik came to Alipurduar town and met Apra Bora, a karate coach.

“I requested him to teach karate and he started training me. In December 2015, I participated in a National Karate Championship in Hoogly and came first in ‘Kiyukishan Full Body Contact’ category,” she added.

In Jaigaon, located on India-Bhutan boarder and 15km from here, Baraik teaches karate to 20 students, of whom 15 are females.

“I started a camp around three years ago in Jaigaon. I came here with my coach and the urge to learn karate among students made me start the camp. I charge Rs 200 per month for a student,”she said.

Classes are conducted from 8am to 9.30am on Sundays.

Baraik said after learning karate, she had once beaten up a group of youths who were teasing her and also wanted her friends residing in the estate to learn the same.

“I could study till Class X because of financial crisis in the family. I have decided to teach karate to the youth in the garden but it will take time to convince them as they are very shy,” she said.

Baraik holds brown belt in karate.

Apra Bora, Baraik’s coach, said: “She is really talented. If she does training with a lot of sincerity, she will be able to win more championships.”

The garden is 36km from Alipurduar town.

source: http://www.telegraphindia.com / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Front Page> North Bengal> Story / by Our Correspondent / Friday – February 17th, 2017

Blind steer cars in rally

The Agarwals of Phoolbagan and Laxman Mondal, the navigator, with their amateur category trophies

On February 5, it was the sightless in the navigator’s seat as participants in a car rally made their way from Acropolis Mall to the Harley Davidson showroom in New Town.

The Exide Rotary Car Rally for the Blind was organised by the Rotary Club of Calcutta MidTown in partnership with Just Sportz & Turnstone Global in the TSD (time, speed and distance) format.

The TSD format requires each car to pass through several manned time control points in a specified time, failing in which one is penalised. The team with the least penalty points is declared the winner.

The blind persons guided the driver with the help of the route chart printed in Braille. The rally had about 300 participants with each team being paired with a visually impaired navigator. The route map in Braille was handed over to the teams just before the flag-off and could be deciphered only by the navigator.

There were trophies for professional rallyists, amateurs and all-women teams. Director general, fire services, Jag Mohan was present for the prize distribution ceremony.

The winner in the expert category was Avik Saha with Debargha Mukherjee as the navigator.

In the amateur category, the husband-wife duo of Sandeep and Mukti Agarwal won with Laxman Mondol as the navigator. “We were debutants but Laxman had won a rally before. He was so quick with the instructions that we won easily,” said Sandeep, a Phoolbagan resident.

source: http://www.telegraphindia.com / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Front Page> Salt Lake> Story / by A Staff Reporter / Friday – February 17th, 2017

Now, Rs 5 wonder sachet to help you save teeth, bone

HIGHLIGHTS

. Scientists have developed an inexpensive kit to test the fluorosis level in the body

. The fluoride level detection kit that will soon be available in shampoo-like sachet
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Kolkata :

Scientists at a top-notch research institute in Durgapur have developed an easy-to-use, inexpensive kit to test the fluorosis level in the body so that one can take corrective measures before it causes teeth and bone deformity.

A team led by CSIR-CMERI scientist (surface engineering and tribology division) Dr Priyabrata Banerjee has developed the fluoride level detection kit that will soon be available in shampoo-like sachet. The sachets, to be priced around Rs 5 each, will contain two kits comprising two vials and a strip of colour-coded paper. While one vial will be empty, the other will contain a chemo-sensor liquid.

“All that a person has to do is spit into the empty vial, then pour the chemo sensor into it, close the vial and shake it vigorously. There will be an instant colour change, indicating the level of fluorosis in the body. If it is orange, it will indicate unsafe level of more than 1.5 ppm. Yellow indicates safe level of less than 1.5 ppm. The vial can be placed against the colour coded strip to match the colour and the fluorosis level it indicates,” Banerjee pointed out.

The Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) is a leading mechanical engineering R&D institute under the aegis of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) that has developed technologies to provide societal solutions.The folurosis level detection kit is one such that has already been provisionally patented and technology tranferred to small scale industry for commercial production. The institute showcased this and other technologies at the 31st Indian Engineering Congress organised by the Institute of Engineers (India) in Kolkata recently.

“We expect the kits to be available in health stores in rural Bengal, particularly villages in Purulia, Bankura and Birbhum where fluorosis is a problem,” said Banerjee, who is the key inventor. Fluorosis can be dental, skele tal or non-skeletal and cause motteled teeth or deformity of limbs.

Banerjee’s team has also developed a chemo sensor station costing around Rs 2,000 each that will be placed at the primary health centres in fluorosis-affected districts where people can get the samples electronically verified.

“The salivary fluoride level detection kit is the latest technology that our scientists have come up with. The patent for this product was filed on November18,” said CSIR-CMERI director Harish Hirani.

Another technology that the R&D institute demonstrated was a smart card operated and pluggable energy meter through which one can instantly measure the energy level of an electrical installation using a smart phone. “One only needs to have internet connectivity or bluetooth to link a smart energy meter with a smartphone,” said a scientist.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / by Suman Chakraborti / TNN / December 20th, 2016

IIT Kharagpur introduced Staff Excellence Award on 66th Foundation Day

Kolkata :

Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur celebrated its 66th Foundation Day on August 18.

“With the history of a political detention camp where freedom fighters, of the age of first year IIT students, gave their lives, the IIT system has become one of the finest brands that independent India offered to the world”, said Partha Pratim Chakrabarty, Director of IIT Kharagpur. He also remembered his school teacher on this occasion who was incarcerated in the Hijli Detention Camp for 15 years. “Building leaders is the aim that is fostered at the Institute now” added Chakrabarty.

Surajit Kar Purkayastha, Director General of West Bengal Police and an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur who was the Chief Guest of the programme said, the standard of IIT Kharagpur is such that any student can become high ranking civil service officers. He explained how the scenario of recruitment in civil services changed in late 70s’ with encouraging more engineers to join the services and enrich the country with their analytical skills and technical expertise. Shri Purkayastha also appreciated the serene atmosphere of the IIT Kharagpur campus separated from the chaos of the world outside and helping students to concentrate more on their career development. He urged the students to lay foundation of strong character on the occasion of the Foundation Day which will take them and the country forward.

On this day, the Institute announced life-long email service for its 55000+ alumni community. The Institute presented the Nina Saxena Excellence in Technology Award to Jeen Britto.M, ISRO Scientist, for his exemplary innovation in the field of Cryogenics Instrumentation and Automation. Krishnendu Chakrabarty, distinguished professor and Director of Graduate Studies at Duke University, was handed over the Distinguished Alumnus Award to which he was a recipient in 2014. IIT Kharagpur also introduced the Staff Excellence Award this year and honored three staff members in various categories.

The programme also saw participation from high school students of three schools – South Point, DAV Model School and Kendriya Vidyalaya. An interactive session was organized with the school students with the faculty and students from IIT Kharagpur. The students were given brief introduction of the interdisciplinary domains of technology education which they can pursue. While the faculty emphasized on the following the passion of the young mind instead of 7-digit pay packages, the 1st year students from IIT Kharagpur suggested their juniors to balance the hours of study and recess.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> City> Kolkata / Somdatta Basu / TNN / August 19th, 2016