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    January 16th, 2018adminBusiness & Economy, Records, All, World Opinion
    Over 1,000 pumps were used to form the words ‘Coimbatore Pump City’ by pumpset manufacturers in the city on Thursday as part of Coimbatore Vizha. | Photo Credit: HANDOUT_E_MAIL

    Over 1,000 pumps were used to form the words ‘Coimbatore Pump City’ by pumpset manufacturers in the city on Thursday as part of Coimbatore Vizha. | Photo Credit: HANDOUT_E_MAIL

    About 100 people worked for nearly eight hours to form the words “Coimbatore Pump City” with pumps on Thursday at VOC Grounds here.

    According to Kanishka Arumugam, director of Ekki Pumps and Deccan Pumps, about 10 pump manufacturers, including leading brands and smaller players, supplied pumps for the formation. These include agriculture, domestic, and industrial pumps.

    “Coimbatore is making pumps for more than 50 years now and the next generation needs to focus on innovation. The objective of the programme is to showcase that Coimbatore is a leading manufacturer and supplier of pumpsets. In the recent years, the range of pumpsets made here is also widening,” he said.

    “The brand made in Coimbatore for pumps should become popular,” he added.

    S. Prasanna Krishna, Young Indians (Yi) chair, Coimbatore, said the city had over 200 pumpset manufacturers and only Rajkot and Ahmedabad were the other major pumpset making hubs in the country. The global market size for pumps was estimated to be 45 billion $ and India’s market size was ₹ 10,000 crore. The manufacturers here catered to over 40 % of the country’s demand.

    “A couple of leading multi-national brands also have presence in Coimbatore. We should aspire more for the next decade and become a pioneer city to manufacture advanced pumping systems,” Mr. Arumugam added.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Coimbatore / by Special Correspondent / Coimbatore – January 12th, 2018

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    January 13th, 2018adminBusiness & Economy, Nature, Records, All

    At Kuttapalayam, located about 100 km from Coimbatore, is a research foundation that focuses on in situ conservation and breeding of native breed of cattle (Kangayam cattle).

    At an event held here on Sunday at K’ sirs, the Seenapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation (SKCRF), which is involved in the work at Tirupur district for several decades now, launched an updated website of its activities (, released brochures, and sought more support from the public to improve infrastructure and awareness on the Kangayam cattle. The website was hosted in 2009.

    A release said that the school organises Pongal festival annually and this year was a platform to create better awareness on Kangayam cattle.

    The foundation also has a resource and research centre for conservation of Kangayam cattle and Korangadu, a Silvi pasture grazing system in the western districts of the State.

    “An awareness for the protection of indigenous breeds of cattle has been created because of the jallikattu protest last year by the people and students of Tamil Nadu. I would like to thank them all on behalf of the cattle grazers,” says Karthikeya Sivasenapathy, managing trustee of the foundation.

    Protection of indigenous varieties of cattle is now becoming prevalent in India because of last year’s protest. The public have understood the need to conserve the native cattle breeds, said R. Radhakrishan, MP.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Coimbatore / b A. Kishore / Coimbatore – January 08th, 2018

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    With Suvastra Designs, this NIFT graduate creates fashion for everyone, regardless of disability

    Meet fashion designer Shalini Visakan, a pioneer in adaptive clothing style in India.

    When big brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry launched their adaptive clothing lines in 2016, they weren’t successful, mainly because their designs were wearable for only a certain category of the differently-abled.

    The physique of each differently-abled individual differs according to their disorder and lifestyle, and Visakan understood this. She understood such requirements better, since her husband is also differently-abled. And that is how Suvastra Designs was born.

    Ergonomic designs

    She says, “We used to travel a lot, and every time he had to move, people wouldn’t know how to lift or handle him. So, I designed pants with handles to carry him along, with extra crotch length that would give space for his urinal cups, unlike normal pants. The important part is that it should also look good and formal.”

    Visakan took it forward by designing a one-piece sari for her friend’s mother, who wasn’t allowed inside a temple because she was wearing a nightie. The sari has an attached blouse, inskirt, pleats and pallu.

    She states, “My friend’s mother is very religious and had to stop visiting the temple since she couldn’t wear a sari any more. So, after looking at the clothes that I had designed for my husband, he requested me to do the same for his mother.”

    “We either meet the customer in person or ask them to send a video about themselves to understand their demands. For example, thicker fabrics such as denim are used to stitch pants for someone with polio.

    Likewise, for people with spinal cord problems, clothes are designed using materials that allow free air circulation. Velcro or elastic-attached towels are made for people who are fragile and unable to control their own body. People who are paralysed on one side of their body can use shirts with magnetic buttons and an easy-to-handle zipper,” she explains.

    Bridging the gap

    Her husband and pillar of support, Visakan Rajendiran, says, “In a country like India, people feel more comfortable attending a social gathering in traditional attire. We realised that there is a big gap between the clothes available in the market and the requirements of the people.”

    The Trios fashion show, held at Hilton, Chennai,  in January this year, was India’s first fashion show that had models on the ramp in wheelchairs, alongside able-bodied odels. Visakan took the initiative to include physically-challenged models, and designed outfits for the ramp.

    She explains her intent, “The idea was to create awareness about an inclusive societyThere is no need to be sympathetic. The disabled also live a normal, happy life. This show was not made to showcase their struggles or tell inspiring stories. It was instead a show where the platform about equality; to show that beauty is inclusive.”

    The success of the event was soon evident, as a lot of people started approaching Visakan. Their recent ad shoot for Suvastra Designs showed a differently-abled model.

    “We approached a lot of brands, offering to shoot for free, but the idea was rejected. Only then did we decide to shoot an advertisement for our own brand, Suvastra Designs. Many people weren’t able to tell that the model is differently-abled. We wanted this to be a motivating factor for others,” discloses Shalini.

    Bigger gains

    The custom-made clothes start from a basic price range of ₹1,000. The couple reveals that although the business isn’t profitable yet, they want to expand its reach, rather than focus on profits.

    The couple is also planning to train differently-abled persons to groom themselves, maintain fitness, ramp walk and build confidence, so that they can enter beauty pageants. They also hope to expand their stores across India to cater to the larger population.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Priyadarshini Natarajan / December 29th, 2017

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    Start ups looking for investment, mentoring, or any support now have a platform to pitch the ideas.

    Sivarajah Ramanathan, founder and CEO of Nativelead Foundation, said Aadukalam will be a monthly meeting at PSG College of Technology with a group of investors and start up entrepreneurs.

    This will be a pitching platform where start ups can present ideas, get feedback from experts, and develop the concepts.

    Mr. Ramanathan explained that start ups can register online on the Aadukalam site and those identified for a particular month’s meeting will present the concept before the experts.

    Nativelead launched NAN (Native Angels Network) here two years ago to promote local start ups.

    The idea was to identify and nurture start ups. The network is engaged with about 100 companies in different kinds of activities, including mentoring and marketing lead. However, it is a challenge to take these to the level of investment.

    The top level start ups move to cities such as Bengaluru and those in the next rung in the ladder need to be prepared to move forward.

    Investors, who are part of the network here, have now invested in start ups in other cities in the State too.

    The local investors also need a learning platform where different kinds of start up pitch ideas.

    Hence, it was decided to come with Aadukalam. The concept will be introduced in other tier-two and tier-three towns also. In other places, the start ups come with agriculture-related ideas.

    In Coimbatore, many are technology-oriented, he said.

    source: / The Hindud / Home> News> Cities> Coimbatore / by Special Correspondent / Coimbatore – December 17th, 2017

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    Centre will largely benefit senior citizens and the physically-challenged

    Two years after shedding his stake in Metropolis Healthcare Limited, G.S.K.Velu is busy with his next healthcare venture — Neuberg Diagnostics — and has opened Chennai’s first drive-in Phlebotomy (blood collection) centre.

    “Neuberg Ehrlich has opened the first drive-in blood collection centre,” the healthcare entrepreneur told The Hindu.

    According to Mr. Velu, chairman, Neuberg Diagnostics, the drive-in blood collection centre will provide ease, especially for senior citizens and the physically challenged, for quick blood collection even without getting out of the car. If possible, they could briefly get out and give the blood in the drive-in area itself without even getting into the laboratory and waiting in queue. All testing requests can be made through the phone and the validated results can be obtained through the internet.

    Quick testing

    “The entire process can be done in seven minutes and if there is a pre-booking it can be done within three to four minutes and by pre-booking one can save on registration time,” he said.

    Mr. Velu said that the equipment were specially designed to collect samples.

    Neuberg Ehrlich currently has eight centres in Chennai, and the group intends to open 25 centres in the next one year. It also has operations in the UAE, South Africa and Sri Lanka, and carries out over 16 million tests per annum.

    Ehrlich Laboratory, accredited by NABL, Government of India and CAP (College of American Pathologist, USA) was recently renamed as Neuberg Ehrlich after it became a part of Neuberg Diagnostics Group.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Staff Reporter / Chennai – December 16th, 2017

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    Furniture made in lantana, an invasive weed scrub, by the tribal artisans of western ghats on display for sale at Poompuhar’s Crafts of Tamil Nadu exhibition in Coimbatore. | Photo Credit: M_Periasamy

    Furniture made in lantana, an invasive weed scrub, by the tribal artisans of western ghats on display for sale at Poompuhar’s Crafts of Tamil Nadu exhibition in Coimbatore. | Photo Credit: M_Periasamy

    Lantana crafts of the tribal people of Singapathy, near Kovai Kutralam, is a new attraction at the Poompuhar’s ‘Crafts of Tamilnadu’ annual exhibition at its main showroom in Coimbatore.

    With a view to encourage the tribal people in crafts to eke out a living, the Handicrafts Development Corporation in association with the government is encouraging the tribal artisans to make furniture and other craft materials near Singapathy, said R. Narendra Bose, manager of showroom. Lantana, a weed shrub that invaded from Central and South America is a grave threat to the native flora in the reserve forest. The rapidly growing weed is considered to be a threat to biodiversity.

    The bamboo-like weed grows very fast, covers open ground very quickly and hinders the regeneration of species. It often outgrows other species, which leads to reduction in biodiversity.

    Besides Coimbatore, these types of weed shrubs are found abundantly in the forests at Chennapatna in Karnataka.

    Based on a tip-off given by the trainee IAS officer Sharanya Ari, the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited took interest in introduction of furniture made using Lantana species (bamboo like) by the trained tribal artisans and were on display for sale at the exhibition for the first time.

    “It helps local artisans to create wealth from waste,” Mr. Bose said.

    Sofa sets, corner stand, tea table etc costs much lower than those made of bamboo and other types of woods, he added.

    Aadhi Yogi statue made of coconut shells by artisans and paper crafts made by the inmates of the Residential Industrial Training Centre for Mentally-Challenged Persons at Iruttupallam in Coimbatore are also an attraction at the expo.

    More than 150 products are on display for sale at the exhibition. Poompuhar expects the sale during the exhibition period to cross Rs. 5 lakh.

    The exhibition will be held between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. on all days up to December 16, he said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> City News> Coimbatore / by R. Arivananthan / Coimbatore – December 13th, 2017

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    Chennai-based industrialist C.V. Karthik Narayanan died on Wednesday morning in Chennai .

    He was 79 and is survived by his wife Uma, son Ram Gopal and daughter Gayathri.

    Narayanan, was Chairman of Ucal Auto Pvt Ltd and an independent director at Sundram Fasteners Ltd (SFL).

    He also spearheaded Standard Motor Products of India Ltd, which was an iconic brand in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

    Narayanan also served as President of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (earlier called of Indian Automobile Manufacturers and Automotive Research Association of India) in 1980. He also played a key role at Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

    Narayanan is also known for his work in translating Kalki’s epic “Ponniyin Selvan” in to English.The other interesting facets of Narayanan include his love for the mridangam and trekking. He had told The Hindu that he wanted to explore the Chera history.

    “A true friend for many years, an industrialist par excellence, a very exalted person with many and varied skills. We will miss his guidance at SFL,” Suresh Krishna, Chairman and Managing Director of Sundram Fasteners Ltd. said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Staff Reporter / Chennai – December 13th, 2017

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    Two former students of a college in Kodambakkam make it to a special list by Forbes, for their innovations in health care

    While he and his team have developed a compact affordable device to treat pre-natal jaundice, she is working on a software platform to help addicts free themselves of substance abuse.

    Meet Vivek Kopparthi and Akshaya Shanmugam, who now work in the United States.

    A few years ago, they went to the same college.

    Alumni of Meenakshi Sundararajan Engineering College in Kodambakkam, the two have made it to the “Forbes 30 Under 30” list, which recognises excellence in professionals aged under 30. Vivek is on the list released for 2017; and Akshaya, on the one for 2018.

    Social impact

    The son of Srinivasa Rao, a first-generation learner and Mangadevi, who believes employees in her small unit are family, Vivek says he hopes to make a social impact with the device, and is not interested in making money out of it.

    “The World Health Organisation says that in South East Asia India, Myanmar and Africa, roughly 5.4 million infants go untreated for jaundice, every year. Nine percent of them either die or suffer permanent brain damage, every day. Our device, which uses light to treat jaundice, would be among the most affordable in the market, as it based on simple plug-and-play technology that can run on solar power or batteries. The device has just four pieces, no complicated machinery and not much training is required to use it,” explains Vivek, who is co-founder and CEO of NeoLight, a healthcare company that engineers and designs solutions for newborns in need of neonatal medical care.

    Vivek is looking for organisations to tie up with him to supply the devices.

    Akshaya Shanmugam, CEO, Lumme Labs, an alumni of Meenakshi Sundarajan Engineering College in Chennai. Photo: Special Arangement | Photo Credit: Special_Arrangement

    Akshaya Shanmugam, CEO, Lumme Labs, an alumni of Meenakshi Sundarajan Engineering College in Chennai. Photo: Special Arangement | Photo Credit: Special_Arrangement

    Overcoming addiction

    His senior at college, Akshaya was part of team that was recognised for its work on creating a software platform to help addicts shake off their dependence.

    “What we have is a software platform that is capable of collecting data from wearable sensors like smartphones and watches, basically Android devices that help us understand the behaviour of addicts and the triggers associated with the behaviour. Finally, we also give them personalised interventions to help them recover,” explains Akshaya, who has co-founded Lumme Labs and whose first target are smokers.

    “This work is an outcome of research conducted at the University of Massachusetts and the Yale School of Medicine. Our work is funded and overseen by the National Institutes of Health. We have conducted two national-scale clinical trials in which we demonstrated that we can automatically detect smoking with an accuracy of 95% and predict smoking events six minutes in advance,” she explains.

    Their college secretary K.S. Babai, says that she is very proud of the achievements of her students.

    “Both of them did very well in academics when they were with us. We recognise leadership qualities in students and encourage them to organise events where they can showcase their capabilities,” she says.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Deepa H. Ramakrishnan / December 08th, 2017

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    December 7th, 2017adminBusiness & Economy, World Opinion


    While competition continues to intensify in the mobility space, it is the humble bicycle that is the next target. Chinese bicycle sharing company Ofo has made its India entry via Chennai.

    Launched in 2014, Ofo offers a ‘non-docking’, bicycle-sharing platform, operated via an online mobile application. The company has over 100 million registered users across 180 cities globally. Ofo will import bikes into India which will be available in Chennai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Indore, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

    The company has also been actively looking for talent to build teams for various locations in Asia Pacific and cities like Delhi, Coimbatore and Pune, it is learnt. Emails sent to Ofo did not elicit a response.
    In China, Ofo competes with Mobike, backed by Alibaba rival Tencent. The unicorn’s entry comes at a time when players like Ola and Zoomcar have pilots running in various cities. Earlier this month, Ola announced commencement of Ola Pedal pilots. Zoomcar’s PEDL presently operates over 500 cycles in 4 cities, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune and Kolkata. PEDL cycles come with features like custom designed aluminum alloy frames and drum brakes, anti-slip chains, airless solid tyres and smart locks. PEDL also has the option for anyone to become a host by allowing cycles to be placed at the individual’s residence in return for various benefits.

    “It is always good to have a competitor as it helps the market to grow. Ultimately, cycles will do better part of multi modal vs stand-alone,” said Greg Moran, cofounder, Zoomcar.
    While welcoming the entry of Ofo, industry observers are circumspect about its sustainability. “It disrupts the way people look at last mile connectivity. However, a lot of issues need to be addressed such as infrastructure support (public restrooms/changing rooms), statutory frameworks and issues arising out of current ecosystems (share autos losing their business),” said KP Krishnan, who runs Cycos, a cycle rental company.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / TNN / December 07th, 2017

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    December 6th, 2017adminBusiness & Economy, Education, World Opinion

    Flinto Learning Solutions plans to expand to other parts of country, southeast and middleeast Asia

    City-headquartered start-up firm Flinto Learning Solutions has received funding to the tune of ₹45 crore ($7 million) from Mumbai-based venture capital firm Lightbox.

    The start-up, which is popularly called Flintobox, plans to utilise the funds it obtained to capture the pre-school market in India, which is worth over $4.5 billion.

    Flinto is also gearing up for global expansion, starting with south-east and middle-east Asia.

    Arunprasad Durairaj, chief executive officer and co-founder, Flintobox, said, “In India, pre-school penetration is less than 10% when compared to the developed countries, where it is anywhere between 90-100%. Flinto deep dives to address this major concern.”

    The funds will be utilised to further strengthen the firm and expand to every nook and corner of India.

    Currently, the start-up has over 4 lakh parents as customers from over 700 cities and towns, including Port Blair and Diu and Daman.

    The firm is shipping more than 40,000 boxes per month.

    Mr. Arunprasad said, “Flinto is redefining early learning by changing classrooms into big co-operative fun activity spaces where every child explores things that interest them. Flinto is designed in a such a way as to ensure parents/teachers spend time with children in a productive way.”

    Lightbox partner Prashant Mehta says, “Flinto is addressing a massive need in early childhood development by delivering a subscription-based product to your doorstep every month.”

    Life lessons

    Flinto is the brainchild of three young entrepreneurs — Arunprasad Durairaj, Vijay Babu Gandhi and Shreenidhi Srirangam — who personally experienced the lack of quality early learning in India.

    These experiences led them to set out to create tools and products that would change the way children learn and play.

    In 2013, the founders pooled in ₹10 lakh from their personal savings to start this venture.

    The first round of funding was ₹15 lakh raised through GSF accelerator.

    They later got funding to the tune of ₹1.8 crore from Globevestor, a U.S.-based investment firm, with participation from Asian E-commerce Alliance (AECAL) and Mauj Mobile Pvt. Ltd.

    The third (₹2 crore) and fourth (₹6.2 crore) rounds of funding were led by Ashwin Chadha, an angel investor and globevestor, with participation from existing investors.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Sangeetha Kandavel / Chennai – December 06th, 2017

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