Category Archives: Business & Economy

Alumni Mentor IIT Kharagpur Students for Social Entrepreneurship

Kolkata :

Alumni of IIT Kharagpur have come forward to mentor students of the esteemed Institute to encourage them pursue career in the area of Social Entrepreneurship. The activity is part of the Students-Alumni Meet organized by the Students’ Alumni Cell (SAC) of IIT Kharagpur.

The event was organized in collaboration with the alumni association at the Kolkata campus of IIT Kharagpur. The alumni shared their experience in the domain of Social Entrepreneurship.

“Few young people are aware of the opportunities in this area which is actually blooming keeping in mind the government schemes such as Standup India and Startup India in place,” said Vishal Singh, General Secretary of Students’ Alumni Cell.

The students organized a competition where alumni and students were grouped together into teams of 5 each and were given a problem statement related to Social Entrepreneurship to discuss and debate amongst them and come up with an implementable business model.

Under the guidance of the knowledgeable and experienced alumni in each team, the students came up with innovative ideas and talked about the necessity, economic stability and sustainability of their solutions. This also led to a healthy debate among the crowd about the pros and cons of the model and how it could be improvised.

Students in consultation with Alumni presented on various Social Entrepreneurship models on areas like Eco Tourism, Resource sustainability, Growth and development of villages using natural resources etc.

The group leaders have been asked to further work on the subject and send an executive summary of the proposed social Entrepreneurship model for circulation among Alumni so that they can suitably contribute for execution / sustainability of the model.

“We will review the projects and approach alumni who are experts in these domains to mentor the students on the project proposals to develop business models. Some of the domain experts were present during the event and several of the other alumni we will help the students connect with,” said Siddharth Roychowdhury, Secretary of IIT Kharagpur Alumni Association Kolkata Chapter.

The guest speaker of the event was IIT Kharagpur alumnus Shri Amitava Bhattacharya who is also an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and the founder of banglanatak.com, a social enterprise in the socio-cultural domain. He mesmerized the audience with a talk on his life journey and how it led him to found his successful venture banglanatak.com. His conceptualization and perception gave a new insight on the idea and notion of Social Entrepreneurship to the audience. Through banglanatak.com, Bhattacharya fosters inclusive and sustainable development using culture based approache for protection of rights of women, children and indigenous people.

“We have several other well-known social entrepreneurs from IIT Kharagpur like Dr. Harish Hande of SELCO, a Magsaysay Awardee, Shri Vinayak Lohani, Founder of Parivaar, a humanitarian institution, National Awardee for Child Welfare, Shri Dipak Basu, founder of Anudip Foundation, a nonprofit company dedicated to improving livelihoods of rural poor in developing countries through training in information technology and entrepreneurship.

These people have achieved more than personal success. Through their ventures they have brought significant changes in the world around. Through this initiative we are striving to inspire the students to explore opportunities in the domain of social entrepreneurship,” added Vishal.

SAC held similar events at Mumbai on ‘Make in India’ and Bangalore on career guidance. Similar events have been planned at Delhi and Hyderabad during the winter recess. “The Students Alumni Meet serves as a platform to encourage students from IIT Kharagpur look beyond the narrow idea of career for a livelihood and find a passion which they can use to impact the world.

The talent which the students of the Institute foster in the 4-5 years of study is much more than internships and placements and the alumni serve as just the perfect guide to open the realms of their passion which they can pursue as successful career” said Bharat Chandra, another student lead of the Cell.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News> Schools & Colleges / November 16th, 2017

Sweet victory: Bengal wins bitter battle over rasogolla

Kolkata :

It was a bitter battle but, in the end, victory was sweet. Bengal has won the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Banglar Rasogolla, a sweet the state has almost been synonymous with, beating Odisha in a hard-fought war. The win came on Tuesday which was, ironically, World Diabetes Day.

The verdict comes after a two-year-two-month-old battle that the two states fought in the intellectual property wing of the ministry of commerce, which confers the tag. The war over the ubiquitous sweet was, by no means, simple: each state submitted reams of theses supporting their respective claims, drafted by historians, food technologists and even bure-aucrats. In the end, the first use of chhana (curdled milk) in making Bengal’s best-known sweet clinched victory.

The GI website mentions Banglar Rasogolla as “registered” for the coveted GI tag. The item was applicant number 533, and was registered as the 308th item to win the tag.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who is in the UK now, expressed her joy in a tweet. “Sweet news for us all. We are very happy and proud that #Bengal has been granted GI ( Geographical Indication) status for Rosogolla,” she wrote. State higher education minister Partha Chatterjee, too, was ecstatic.

“We had applied for the GI tag in 2015,” said food processing secretary Nandini Chakraborty. “Rasogolla — under the name Banglar Rasogolla — will be registered under the Food Processing and Horticulture Development Corporation Ltd.”

Bengal perhaps never imagined that it would one day have to stake a claim on the rasogolla, but a claim made by the Odisha government, on the day of Ulta Ratha, 2015, saying the day should be declared as Odisha’s Rasogolla Day, made it sit up and take note.

Soon, Odisha applied for a GI tag on the rasogolla and Bengal’s science and technology department, prodded by thousands of rasogolla fans, lodged a counter-claim. In September 2015, the state prepared a dossier containing all sorts of proof — documents, historical texts and analogies — in support of its claim that the rasogolla was native to Bengal, and had been invented in two stages in two completely different historical time zones. The claim was registered by the GI registrations office and separate investigations were launched to authenticate the respective claims.

The Bengal government consulted sweets researcher Haripada Bhowmick for the historicity of the rasogolla, while the Odisha government got Jagannath cult researcher Asit Mohanty to look into its claim. Bhowmick’s book ‘Rasogolla — Banglar Jagat Matano Abishkar’, has been used as part of the material that was submitted to the GI office. Odisha evoked its gods and temples while staking its claim, replete with references of how Lord Jagannath used the kheermohan, the precursor of the rasogolla, to appease his consort goddess Lakshmi. And why mythology alone, even ancient history — from the time of the Dandi Ramayana, an adaptation of the epic by Balaram Das of the 16th century — has been used as reference. Bengal, too, has argued that it can trace the roots of the rasogolla to the times of the Bhakti movement of the 15th century and how Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanya might have taken the sweet, in its formative stage, from Bengal to Odisha, when he started residing in Puri. Food writers who have been watching this space said the two states agreed on the antiquity of the sweet, if not its place of origin.

“We stand vindicated today,” said Mohua Hom Chowdhury, representative of the state science and technology department, who had coordinated the process with the GI registration office. “There should not have been any debate in the first place. We were rooting for our Banglar Rasogolla, which should not be confused with their kheermohan or their pahala rasogolla, which might be later variations, but are completely different sweets.”

Bengal has explained that the art of rasogolla-making lies in the use of chhana (Bengal-style cottage cheese). “Bengal is the only state that uses chhana, which is curdled milk, to make sweets. The process of curdling is considered ‘unholy’ by most communities including Odiyas, who never offered any sweet to Lord Jagannath made of chhana. The temple records that contain details of the food that can be served to the Jagannath does not mention rasagolla anywhere. To prove its point, the Bengal dossier quotes liberally from historical texts, records and literature like ‘Nadia Kahini’ by Kumudnath Mullick, proceedings of the Bangiya Sahitya Parishad, translations from the ‘Chaitanya Charitamrita’, ‘Chandimangal’ by Kabikankan Mukunda, etc. Kheermohan is made of kheer or concentrated milk and pahala rossogolla, a variant of Bengal’s original sweet, is yellowish in colour, less soft and much more sweet.

“Odisha should apply for kheermohan and pahala rasogolla separately,” Hom Chowdhury added.BoxGI tag : What does it mean?It is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (town, region, or country)

Use of GI may act as certification that the product has certain qualities, is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a certain reputation, due to its geographical originWhat will happen now?Any sweet maker can apply to the state science and technology department for the Banglar Rasogolla GI tag. There will be an investigation as to whether he is using the right ingredients, in the right quantity and following the specified manufacting process to be worthy of the tag.What are the advantages ?The tag is a proof of authenticity and someone who has been awarded the tag is definitely superior to one who is still selling rasogolla but doesn’t have the tag.Other Bengal items with GI tagThere are 15 items from Bengal with the GI tag now, some of them are :

Darjeeling tea (drink), Lakshman bhog, fazli, himsagar, baluchari sarees, dhaniakhali sarees, Joynagar moya, Bardhaman Sitabhog, Bardhaman Mihidana, Gobindobhog rice, Tulaipanji rice, Banglar RasogollaGI tag awaited Sarpuria and Sarbhaja.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / by Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey / November 15th, 2017

How World War II cramped Kolkata airport runway

HIGHLIGHTS

Kolkata airport currently has a runway capacity of only 30 flights per hour

Airports Authority of India is considering a second airport for Kolkata.
________________________________________________________________________

Kolkata :

A decision taken during World War II has now come to haunt Kolkata airport’s growth prospects. The airport which currently has a runway capacity of only 30 flights per hour, could have handled twice the number of flights had there been a proper second runway at its disposal. But the plan to create a second cross runway in the east-west direction was junked and instead a parallel runway was built that cannot be used for simultaneous operations now because they do not meet safety parameters.

It is this runway constraint, coupled with lack of space for additional parking bays that is forcing Airports Authority of India to consider a second airport for Kolkata.

It was the Allied Forces’ fear of the airport at Dum Dum being bombed by Axis powers during World War II that led to the British opting for parallel runways instead of ones that cross each other. With Japanese bombers a constant threat, the Allied Forces felt that if a bomb was dropped at the point where the runways intersect, it would take out both runways. Instead, having them parallel would give them an opportunity to use the alternative runway if one was destroyed.

“Kolkata airport’s first landing strip dates back to the 1920s. It was later strengthened for use as taxiway and is still in use to taxi aircraft. Around 1932-33, a proper runway was constructed in the north-south direction. This is now the secondary runway at Kolkata airport. To cater to the increased requirement during WW II, it was decided to construct another runway around 1942-43. That is when the cross runway proposal was mooted and then dropped in favour of the parallel runway,” the source said.

While airports around the world have parallel runways in which flights take off and land simultaneously, it is not possible at Kolkata airport because the two runways are too close to each other. “When they were built, there were Dakota and Fokker planes with small wing span. The separation between the two runways at Kolkata airport at 213 metres was sufficient then. But as aircraft dimension changed, the minimum distance criteria was revised. Today’s Boeing and Airbus with large wing spans require a minimum distance of 760 metre between parallel runways. There is no space at Kolkata airport to create that separation as the terminal building is located to the west and boundary wall to the east,” an official said.

At present, the primary runway is used for flight operations with the secondary runway coming into play when the primary runway is shut down for maintenance or other exigencies.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / by Subhro Niyogi / TNN / November 14th, 2017

‘Longest’ sari in making

– Art work with colours of national flag

Krishnagar:

An award-winning weaver from Nadia’s Phulia is leading a team to make a 3.85km long sari, which he claims is the longest in the country.

The sari will be displayed at a Phulia school ground on January 1. The sari, being built at a cost of Rs 2.9 lakh, will have colours of the national flag – saffron, white and green.

Biren Kumar Basak, 72, who took the Sant Kabir award from Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, said he would dedicate the sari to the nation on New Year’s Day as a tribute to his country.

Basak, who designed the sari and is financing the weaving, said: “This work of art will be longer than the 3.05km long sari made at Bharuch in Gujarat in March this year. I will dedicate the sari to the nation. I will then cut the polyester sari into 700 normal saris and distribute the same among the poor women of Phulia.”

Weavers busy making the sari at Phulia. Picture by Abhi Ghosh

The sari made in Gujarat earned a Guinness book entry.

Basak and five other weavers have been working almost round-the-clock at a power loom in Krishnagar using 316kg of yarn of saffron, green and white color brought from Surat to meet the target of January 1.

“My dream was to make the longest national flag. I then changed my mind and decided to make the longest sari using the colours of the Tricolour. My workers also supported the idea and I started working on it from September,” Basak said.

Raju Basak, a weaver who is monitoring the progress of the sari, said: “We have already completed around 3.2km and hope the target will be met.”

source: http://www.telegraphindia.com / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Home> West Bengal / by Subhasish Chaudhuri / November 13th, 2017

Footwear retailer Khadim’s to take the ‘premium’ path

Siddhartha Roy Burman, CMD

Kolkata :

Kolkata-based footwear retailer Khadim’s is eyeing the premium category for driving its future growth.

Khadim’s, which primarily operates in the economy footwear segment through its own brand, competes with Bata India, Relaxo Footwears, Liberty Shoes, Mochi Shoes and Sree Leathers, among others.

According to Siddhartha Roy Burman, CMD, Khadim’s, the company will continue focusing on growing its retail and distribution business. At the end of FY17, retail sales accounted for nearly 74 per cent of the company’s total revenue of about ₹621 crore. The remaining came from distribution. Of the total retail sales, sub-brands, which mostly fall in the premium range, accounted for majority sales at about ₹256 crore.

source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com / Business Line / Home> Companies / The Hindu Bureau / Kolkata – October 27th, 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

Where an iconic press struggles for survival

Tucked inside one of the many old red mansions that still dot the city skyline is a 15,000 sq. ft. space, which houses a press that had printed the Indian Constitution. But five years away from its centenary, the iconic printer is gasping for breath.

How old is it?

Hooghly Printing is a subsidiary of Andrew Yule, a Central Public Sector Enterprise. It came into being in 1922. This was at a time when the printing industry was in its infancy in these parts. Once running to full capacity, now it is knocking on the doors of the Central and State governments to get printing orders to survive. Hooghly Printing is part of the Andrew Yule Group of companies, which started operations in 1863 when a young entrepreneur from Scotland arrived in erstwhile Calcutta, then the Imperial capital. By 1875, the company had grown to mark its footprints in jute, tea, coal and insurance. Andrew Yule’s control passed from one sibling to another, and Sir David Yule assumed full control of the company after the death of his brother George, who had run it since 1875.

By 1902, Andrew Yule had expanded its business throughout the country with over 30 businesses which included jute and cotton mills, tea and coal companies, a railway company, a paper-making company and a printing press. It even had under its control a zamindari in Midnapore district of West Bengal, where it virtually ran an administration with agriculture, forestry, fisheries, roads, schools, hospitals and dispensaries, the company’s website says.

What did it print?

Hooghly Printing not only printed the Constitution but was also responsible for supplying the parchment paper on which it was printed. The first few copies were printed at the Dehradun printing facility of the Indian government as these were to be the best copies. The rest were printed at HPC.

Why is it in trouble?

In recent times, however, Hooghly Printing’s journey has been a rough one. As printing facilities have proliferated, Hooghly Printing’s need to play by the rules of a government-owned organisation has shackled its growth, admits Andrew Yule chairman Debashis Jana. It has been printing books, brochures and the like, but it needs bulk orders to survive.

What is the way ahead?

It needs to modernise to put in machinery that will help it get customers. It also needs space. Andrew Yule has put in place a strategy of upgrading the unit while relocating it to an unused space in another of its units on the western precincts of the city. Alongside, it is appealing to the Central and State governments to give it orders for printing textbooks.

The Hooghly Printing’s turnover was ₹17 crore in 2016-17 with a post-tax profit of ₹3 lakh. This thin margin is getting steadily eroded. Its parent, Andrew Yule, which celebrated its centenary year in 1963, too fell into bad days with the nationalisation of the coal and insurance business. In 1969, the government stepped in to acquire a 49% stake, making it a public sector enterprise. Its journey continued to be a rocky one thereafter and it moved to the sick bay. It has since made a remarkable turnaround. Today, it is in profit, and there is no reason that Hooghly Printing should not be a contributor to its parent’s strength. No one knows if a plaque would mark the space in Kanak Building on the arterial Jawaharlal Nehru Road, where the Constitution was printed, but it will be pity if a heritage institution like Hooghly Printing is allowed to fall by the wayside, say historians.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> City> Kolkata / by Indrani Dutta / October 14th, 2017

Project to revive lost glory of Kolkata-Puri pilgrim route

Kolkata :

A team of researchers has taken up a project to revive the lost glory of Jagannath Sadak — the ancient trail from Kolkata to Puri used by travellers and pilgrims before the railways came. The project was launched by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach), Bengal chapter on November 19, 2015.

Titled, “Listing and Documenting the Monuments of the Jagannath Sadak in West Bengal”, the compiling of heritage sites dotting this coastal route between Odisha and Bengal is now an elaborate three-volume document that informs about the precious structures lost in oblivion and also those which can still be protected. It will be released at the Indian Museum on Sunday. Anil Dhir, chief coordinator of the project, told TOI, “We have traced 200 remnants in Odisha, but only 100 in Bengal.

Many of the monuments don’t exist any more, but some structures, such as a Gurudwara at Chandrakona, a Jagannath temple at Dantan, a Kali temple at Bagnan and the Nandagopal temple at Mellock near Panskura, are still there.”

Travellers would cover the 516 km stretch in bullock carts, palanquins, horses, camels and elephants. Many walked.

Three years ago, Dhir took a bullock cart to traverse the entire stretch. “For the documentation, three different routes were taken in Bengal. They culminated at Dantan on the Odisha border,” explained Dhir. The route taken by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was through Tamluk, Mahisadal, Kanthi and Mohanpur while Guru Nanak took the route through Chandrakona, Midnapur and Narayangarh.

The popular and shorter route through Uluberia, Panskura, Debra and Belda. G M Kapur, convener, Intach’s Bengal chapter, said, “We will approach the Bengal and Odisha governments and the ASI to notify these 315 structures as protected monuments and help in their conservation.” With the advent of the railways, Jagannath Sadak was abandoned.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / by Ajanta Chakraborty / TNN / October 21st, 2017

Krishishakti tractors commercially launched in West Bengal

Kolkata :

The CSIR – Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), Durgapur, commercially launched ‘Krishishakti’, – the low cost tractor in West Bengal for the benefit of small farmers in the state. A batch of tractors will be sold to the farmers of North Bengal through the dealer.

For the sake of farmers with small land holdings, CSIR-CMERI had developed Krishishakti – a 12 hp tractor and the technology was officially launched in 2014 at New Delhi.

Since then, the technology has been transferred to a private company in Howrah for production and commercialization in West Bengal. With continuous technical assistance of CSIR-CMERI, the licensee private firm established the assembly line for Krishishakti tractor at Howrah with an initial capacity of 100 tractors per year. This tractor is very much suitable for small sized land due to its size and lower turning radius.

Officials said that compared to other available large sized tractor, the operation and maintenance cost of ‘Krishishakti’ is much lower. Due to this, small farmers may be in a position to have the ownership of ‘Krishishakti’ tractors instead of cultivating with a walking tractor or a hired one.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / by Suman Chakraborti / April 28th, 2017

Art of craft: This Sunday, RBU to organise fair to promote Bengal’s indigenous handicrafts from across districts

The traditional craft of the Lepchas along with Bonbibi masks and clay dolls of Joynagar in South 24 Parganas will be displayed for the first time at the ‘Lokshilpa O Karukirti Mela’ organised by Rabindra Bharati University on May 7.

Professor Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury, Vice-Chancellor of the university will preside over the inaugural function at the Dwarkanath Mancha, Jorasanko Thakurbari. The three-day fair has been organised by the West Bengal State Akademi of Dance, Drama Music and Visual Arts.

Haimanti Chattopadhyay, secretary of the Akademi said the main purpose behind holding the fair was to create awareness among people about the rich tradition in the field of art and crafts in the state. “We often decorate our rooms with masks that are famous in South Africa and Thailand but in Bengal, there are districts where the artisans make masks and which can compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world.” The clay dolls of Joynagar which have a long history will be displayed for the first time.

Similarly, the traditional crafts of the Lepcha community will be on display.

It may be mentioned that the Backward Classes Welfare department has chalked out schemes to help Lepcha artists and musicians to pursue their carrier.

Nearly 60 artists, craftspersons and weavers from 17 districts of Bengal will take part in the fair with a wide range of attractive traditional art and craft items made by them.

These will include — patachitras, mats, and decorative items made with wild grass and buffalo horns from Paschim Medinipur district; lac items from Purba Medinipur district; clay dolls from Dakshin 24 Parganas district; dokra jewellery, shola crafts, kantha-stitch items and batik products from Birbhum and Howrah districts; kanthas and wood carvings from Bardhaman district; traditional clay models from Nadia district; Baluchari sarees, dokra crafts and dashabatar cards from Bankura district; Chhau dance masks from Purulia district; bamboo crafts from Malda district; jute crafts from Murshidabad district; wooden masks and dokra items from Dakshin Dinajpur district; polia clay models from Uttar Dinajpur district; wooden handicrafts from Alipurduar district; shitalpatis from Cooch Behar district; and wood carvings from Darjeeling district.

source: http://www.millenniumpost.com / Millennium Post / Home> Kolkata / by Team MP / Kolkata – May 05th, 2017