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    Viktor Axelsen with My Game Stat founders Sunil Kumar (extreme left), Senthil Kumaran (2nd from right) and Ashok B

    Viktor Axelsen with My Game Stat founders Sunil Kumar (extreme left), Senthil Kumaran (2nd from right) and Ashok B

    Chennai :

    Viktor Axelsen is Indian badminton star Kidambi Srikanth’s enemy No.1.

    The World No. 1 is a step ahead of Srikanth in the rankings and there’s a Chennai firm that has played a major role in the Danish star’s rise to the top.

    Since early 2017, Axelsen has been working in close collaboration with My Game Stat (MGS), which offers performance analytics in badminton. Comprising former player Ashok B, Sunil Kumar, Senthil Kumaran and Sajith. The company was set up in August 2016 with the intention of devising a performance analytics tool which the players can access for a wide range of data about their game.

    Axelsen, who became the world champion earlier this year, even sported the MGS logo on his T-shirt for three Super Series tournaments earlier in the year. The player’s association with the company started just before the Indian Open earlier this year.

    “I was very curious to know whether the top badminton players were using any analytics. This entire topic is very new. When you discuss this, everyone is immediately interested. When I got in touch with Viktor using my contacts, I found out he was still using his diary to make notes after every match and tournament. He probably plays 70 to 80 matches in a year and he can’t note down every detail. Once we started talking, he was immediately interested and said he had never been exposed to this kind of data,” Ashok told TOI .

    Firm eyes tie-up with Sindhu & Co

    Axelsen, too, acknowledged the difference that MGS has made to his game. “It is very useful and definitely helping me to prepare for my matches,” he was quoted by the MGS website.

    According to the analytics experts, Axelsen himself was unaware about a potential weakness to lefthanded players. “There was this particular pattern where we noticed that he was susceptible to lefthanders. He was shocked with what he saw and understood the kind of contribution we could make to his game,” Ashok said. It was no surprise that Axelsen went on to beat Chinese legend Lin Dan, a left-hander, in the World C’ship final.

    While the passion that the four shared for badminton brought them together, Senthil’s work experience as a consultant to a company which is the prime vendor for the National Football League in the US, combined with his eye for detail for the sport, was invaluable. Indian badminton is on a high with the rise of PV Sindhu, Srikanth and a host of other players, but the quartet hasn’t yet tied up with Gopichand & Co. The founders, though, insist it’s a matter of time.

    “As an Indian company, we obviously want to associate with Indian players. That is the next objective. We did not want to contact the Indian players until and unless we had a time-tested, proven module.

    We cannot afford to fail in India. We have already been in touch with the Badminton Association of India (BAI) and we expect things to be in place by January,” Sunil added.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / by Vivek Krishnan / TNN / November 19th, 2017

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    Non-functional mobile phone chargers, adaptors, calculators, old wires, bulbs, printers, and toners are all part of the e-waste generated at offices, industries, and even households. These mostly get into the regular garbage bags.

    Green Era Recyclers, a seven-month-old start-up by Prasanth Omanakuttan and Syam Premachandran, looks at recycling the e-waste generated in the city. In the last seven months, it has collected and recycled eight to 10 tonnes.

    The firm has recently got a five-year authorisation from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to recycle 150 tonnes of e-waste annually.

    According to Mr. Prasanth, a study on the e-waste inventory shows that Coimbatore generates nearly 2,500 tonnes of e-waste a year. However, most of it goes unsegregated.

    The waste batteries, cartridges, displays, and printers are all collected from institutions, a few houses, and industries and dismantled. The waste is segregated into hazardous and non-hazardous and the non-hazardous waste is recycled. “We also try to recover a lot of materials and refurbish some products,” he said.

    Green Era is in talks with Coimbatore Corporation to collect e-waste from houses in one or two wards initially. “We have designed a special bin for households. It has four compartments to collect bulbs, wires, printers and toners, and miscellaneous items. We will pay an amount for most of these and collect them,” he says. The civic body has asked for some more details on recycling and the company will submit the information in a week or so. The preliminary recycling will be done in Coimbatore and the hazardous waste will be sent to Chennai for safe disposal.

    Started with an investment of ₹15 lakh, the start-up also has a research unit that designs and develops machinery for recycling, “We now have shredder, extruder, and cable stripper,” says Mr. Prasanth. If the machinery available in the market is purchased, a large-scale recylcing plant needs at least ₹2 crore investment. The start-up has machinery that costs much less and plans to commercialise these too.

    “We will go for external funding after developing the machinery,” he said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Coimbatore / by M. Soundariya Preetha / Coimbatore – November 17th, 2017

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    November 16th, 2017adminBusiness & Economy, Records, All
    Tasting success: The pricey delicacy is known for its nutritional and medicinal value

    Tasting success: The pricey delicacy is known for its nutritional and medicinal value

    Fisheries university pushes for official recognition of Ayirai

    Ayirai meen (loach) has so far been known as a pricey delicacy worthy of the gourmet’s palate. Soon, the fish may well get official recognition as the State fish of Tamil Nadu.

    “We are discussing the formalities with the Director of Fisheries and other higher officials. Kerala has already declared Karimeen as the State fish and murrel  has gained that status in Telangana,” Dr. S. Felix, Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Fisheries University (TNFU), told The Hindu on Wednesday.

    He added that the Centre has asked every State to identify its own official fish species.

    TNFU has succeeded in raising the fish through pond culture, and sees potential in the technique. “The fish has huge commercial value and our Finance Secretary K. Shanmugam is keen on developing techniques for cultivation of the fish. We are planning to set up two research centres, one in Madhavaram in Chennai and another in Parakkai in Kanniyakumari district, once we get funds from the government. We have already started functioning in Madhavaram,” said Dr. Felix. Priced between ₹1,200 and ₹1,500 per kg in the market, Ayirai(Lepidocephalichthys thermalis) is available in lakes, ponds and rivers. The fish was first raised successfully in a pond by Pughalendhi, a fish-farmer from Vaduvur in Thanjavur district. The university provided him technical support.

    “Two years ago, he approached me for guidance on raising fish through pond culture. I asked him to try his hand at Ayirai  and it proved to be a great success. He raised Ayirai as an inter-crop with other carp fish species. There is a huge demand for the fish and we have to concentrate on further research to meet market requirements,” said Dr. K. Karl Marx, Dean, Faculty of Basic Sciences, Institute of Post Graduate Studies (IPGS), TNFU, OMR Campus. Scientists of Central Institute of Fresh Water Aquaculture (CIFA) have visited Vaduvur to witness the harvest. “After the harvest, the fish weighing approximately 3 grams each will be conditioned before taken to the market. In this conditioning process, the fish’s gut is cleansed naturally, making it fit for cooking,” said Dr. Marx.

    “The fish has nutritional and medicinal value since it is consumed as a whole. Ayirai consumers get more calcium as the bones are not discarded,” Dr. Marx said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Tamil Nadu / by B. Kolappan / Chennai – November 16th, 2017

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    Artistes of Karaikudi, company’s designers, handcrafting the eco-friendly products of Tetewood

    Artistes of Karaikudi, company’s designers, handcrafting the eco-friendly products of Tetewood

    Chennai :

    As fashion progresses towards going green, this Chennai startup went one step further turning spectacle frames biodegradable. Though there are many options for buying spectacle frames in the market today, an online store TeteWood, deals in a unique product — biodegradable wooden frames. ‘When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves, so why not go green, make a cleaner greener environment and make the Earth a better place for our fellow Earthlings’ reads the company’s motto.


    Jayakumar Mamani, (24), CEO, TeteWood, started the company in January 2017. ‘Tete’ stands for Tectonas Texture. He was inspired by a local optical vendor in Karaikudi and that is how it all began. “I am interested in wood and studied a lot about bamboo in Auroville. When I visited Hyderabad, I loved the concept of the wooden house, and wanted to learn more,” he says. “I was always looking forward to creating something innovative that can be used by people on a daily basis. So I thought of making wooden eyewear which is a unique concept in India, and preferred by youngsters,” he says.

    The business is helmed from Chennai and Bengaluru. They also ship orders to  Maldives, Kenya and Australia. Most of their products go to retailers and wholesalers, and the stalls at international optical expos paved way for it. Jayakumar does his business online in other websites like Indiamart and TradeIndia.

    He faced several challenges in the initial stages. “My mother was a house maid; we struggled to eat one square meal a day. I also lost my father in the first month of the launch of our website,” he shares.

    Collecting wooden frames for sampling was also difficult as there were lots of legal formalities. Now, he wants to take Tetewood to the next level and is looking for big investors.

    “Customers can bring any wooden piece to us and we will make the desired spectacle out of it. For instance, even if a broken chair is given to us, we can make multiple frames out of it!” His investors include his friends with whom he plays basketball. “They gave me all that I wanted; they are my genies. One of my friends, Ragu showed great interest in the product and invested Rs 5 lakh for starting the project. Now I have three other individual investors, a sum of Rs 25 lakh on the whole,” he says.
    There are 12 employees in the team and 80% of the work is handcrafted by the traditional artists of Karaikudi. Sonnet and Booze model are in demand in the Indian market and product with customer’s name engraved on it is most liked.

    Tetewood has taken the patent for the patterns/engravings over wooden optical frames, luxury frames — frames with wood and gold costing from Rs 20,000 to Rs 60,000 per frame. In future, he plans to make frames from wood and jean, oxidized plate, metal/stone/linen/other combo with natural prints, wooden phone cases, bowties, wooden certificates, wooden notebooks and  the list goes on.

    Due to the large scale demands of the products, he had to reject few offers as they only produce around 100 pieces of frames as the time and labour invested is more. “We are the first manufacturers in India to build a company exclusively for the wooden eyewear, so there is not much competition for us in the market,” claims Jayakumar.
    To make a strong base offline and market his project he would need Rs 3 crore.

    Rs 5 lakh
    The basic investment Tetewood started  off with

    Rs 25 lakh
    The current capital with which they work on wih three investors on board

    Rs 3 crore

    The amount they  need in investment for venturing into luxury products

    12 employees
    While their products are handcrafted by artistes of Karaikudi.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Chennai / by Priyanka Susil / Express News Service / November 01st, 2017

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    Red diamonds, he calls them. The fruits of his labour. And since January, Gopinath Jayaraja and his coterie of city farmers have harvested three tonnes of this precious commodity. Incidentally, it has also made his idli-dosa batter taste spectacular.

    During Pongal 2017, Jayaraja and friends decided to try their hand at community farming on a leased land near Chengalpet, calling the initiative Valam 1.0, after the organic produce store they run in Chennai. Their first crop — the red diamonds, a native rice grain called poongar. “We sell organic products from our Tirunelveli farm but found customers in Chennai were interested in trying their hand at farming. So, for Valam 1.0, we got people to invest in leasing five acres from a farmer to cultivate rice,” says Jayaraja, who farms part-time, and works full-time at an IT firm.

    With 54 investors joining in for round one, Jayaraja has begun preparing ground for Valam 2.0 near Mambakkam. “At the end of the crop cycle, investors share the harvest with everyone taking home a certain amount of organically grown native rice. The idea of farming draws people in. Most of those who put in their money, also put in their time working the land along with the farmer who owns the land,” says Jayaraja.

    The Valam collective is one of several mini urban-rural joint ventures cropping up across TN, which not only encourage organic farming and give city-dwellers a chance to explore their entrepreneurial side, but also help rural farmers who are in dire straits financially.

    Anything that gives financial respite to farmers is an encouraging trend, believes Dr M Maheswaran, director of research, TN Agricultural University, Coimbatore. “Many from the IT industry are getting into organic farming and collaborating with farmers. The government too is facilitating it,” he says.

    At Valam, land is leased from a farmer who also works at the collective, thereby earning him a steady income, apart from what he makes from the rest of his farmland. Divya Shetty and Vishnu Vardhan of Indian Superheroes (ISH) from Coimbatore, started a similar venture a few months ago, where people can rent out a portion of farmland for three months to a year. “We have 823 organic farmers on board and have got several NRIs to book farmlands, which they want to cultivate whenever they come down,” says Shetty, 27, a management graduate whose grandparents were farmers. ISH also runs weekend workshops with farmers to generate interest in sustainable agriculture.

    Ilumurugan, a farmer who has signed on with ISH, says doing workshops has not just given him a second stream of income but a voice too. “When people from the city work on the farm, they understand the effort we put in. I don’t know how much of a steady income it will generate but at least I see respect in their eyes at the end of every interaction,” says the 22-year-old, who has a 15-acre farm where he grows turmeric, cotton and sugarcane.

    At ISupportFarming, a community initiative in Cuddalore and Virudhunagar, co-founders and brothers Vijaykumar and Vasanthkumar Mani see themselves as a “hinge” between the disjointed worlds of the officegoer and the farmer. Here, all the working capital is given by people from the city, and the farmer who owns the land does the work, while we monitor the process, says Vijaykumar, an HR consultant with a farming background.
    “The farmland is evaluated on aspects like water facilities, and farmers on social credibility before they are signed on. After the harvest, farmers get 80% of the returns, investors get 15%, and we take 5%,” says Vijaykumar, adding that they are now working with 80 farmers, 50 investors, and 250 acres of land, growing paddy, maize, groundnut and watermelon.

    Vijakumar says the average investment to cultivate one acre through one crop cycle of three to four months is `25,000. “Most of our investors are IT professionals and each of them usually puts in `5,000. At the end of a quarter, we divide the profit and they can choose to reinvest or pull out,” says Vijaykumar.

    But for investors like Gokulavan Jayaraman, for whom farming is the ‘ultimate dream’, pulling out is nowhere in the picture. “I started a year ago with an investment of `5,000, not expecting anything other than the satisfaction of helping a farmer and spending time working in fields with my family. I was surprised to realise farming was also giving me financial returns, 12% in the first year,” says Jayaraman, lead auditor at a city IT firm.

    “I’m now in this for the long run,” he adds. And of course, the organically grown watermelon he brought home from his farm is just the more mouth-watering piece of that pie.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / TNN / November 11th, 2017

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    Engineering Export Promotion Council has recognised Coimbatore-based KU Sodalamuthu and Co for the regional export award for 2015-16.

    The company manufactures paper conversion machinery for production of paper cones, tubes, edge protectors and pulp moulded products.

    It claims to be a market leader in India, apart from exporting to more than 60 countries, said its Managing Director K S Balamurugan.

    source: / Business Line / Home> News / The Hindu Bureau / Coimbatore – November 06th, 2017

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    November 3rd, 2017adminBusiness & Economy, Records, All

    Neeru’s, a leading ethnic wear retailer is opening its first family store at Anna Nagar. The store will be inaugurated by actress Shruthi Hassan along with Neeru’s family. Alongwith Chennai, Neeru’s has also expanded its footprint in Kochi and Kanpur.

    Apart from opening in Chennai, Neeru’s has also made its mark in MG Road Kochi and Lucknow

    Apart from opening in Chennai, Neeru’s has also made its mark in MG Road Kochi and Lucknow

    The store features an inviting and inspiring design which exudes the sophistication of the brand.

    The store showcases Neeru’s extensive range of clothing which redefines and modernizes Indian attire for women. Right from innovative silk lehengas to stylish Banarasi sarees, suits, mix-and-match, accessories and the signature Neeru Kumar collection. The store also houses Little Neeru’s which is dedicated to children up to 14 years of age. Ranging from everyday ethnic wear to festive wear, the brand caters to a spectrum of discerning audiences with varied tastes and style.

    Neeru’s has an exclusive 1,000 handpicked silk saree collection and is all set to revolutionize silk with a bouquet of ensembles from silk collection from Kanjeevaram, Banarasi, Uppadas, Pochampally, Coimbatore, Gadwal, Rajkot Patola and Pure Zari.

    Apart from opening in Chennai, Neeru’s has also made its mark in MG Road Kochi and Lucknow.

    The store also caters to the young fashion trends with an array of ethnic attires for the little ones. The kid’s collection is on par to the men and women’s collection when it comes to designs and style.

    Stating the USP of the brand – Selling the latest and the best of Indian ethnic wear at a reasonable price tag, Director, Neeru’s, Avnish Kumar said, “We are delighted to open our first family store in Chennai and will be expanding our presence with three more stores, taking the count to five stores. Our aim is to serve the clothing demands right from everyday to D-day of the mass, thus our collection rejoices the finest craftsmanship and grandeur of luxurious fabrics with just perfect blend of traditional Indian finery with contemporary styles.”

    source: / / Home> Fashion / by India Retailing Bureau / October 30th, 2017

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    My Binny story last week had me recalling the life the early 19th Century sahibs led, as reflected in John Binny’s and Thomas Parry’s wills. Discussion of that lifestyle is sure to generate a plethora of views, but one view I don’t think can be denied, namely, that they had a conscience and a sense of obligation. But discussing the morality of the times is not my intent today, I merely present the gist of two fascinating documents.

    John Binny, a bachelor, died in Madras in 1824. His last home leave began in August 1816. In his 1823 will he left a legacy to “a child now of the age 5 years and 5 months named John William Crouchley and boards with one under the charge of Mrs Wicklow…” Make of that what you will. Rather different is the record in India. The Company kept paying 8 pagodas (about ₹25) monthly in Binny’s name to each of two children. They each also received an annual clothing allowance of ₹105 and the elder, Charles, got ₹11 monthly from 1821 for education in the Madras Free School. In later years, the Binny records list a clerk, Charles Binny, who seemed of modest means. Was the second child his sister Belmina who received a marriage settlement of ₹3000, making you wonder whether that too had been left by John Binny? F De Souza, who wrote The House of Binny 50 years ago, leaves you wondering – particularly for answers.

    Thomas Parry

    Thomas Parry

    Thomas Parry, in Madras from 1788, nine years before Binny, has a better recorded life, judging by his will, curiously also dated 1823. He too died in 1824. He left ₹110,000 in investments to Mary Pearce, whom he’d married in 1794. She went back for good to England in 1807 with their two children, both dying young there. Unfettered in India, Parry seemed to have enjoyed a home at every place he had business in on the way from Madras to Cuddalore, judging by his will. His legacies started with amounts to young George Parry Gibson (who travelled with him) and Emma Louisa Gibson, both left in the care of a Mrs Dowden. Compounding the mystery, he also left something for two Army captains called Gibson and Dowden!

    A little clearer is his relationship with Mary Ann Carr, an Anglo Indian, by whom he had Thomas William Parry and Edward Moorat Parry in the early 1820s. Both probably died young, for only Mary Ann is remembered in the will. But then so are Elizabeth Chinnery, Charlotte Myers, Mrs Weehedie of Tranquebar and the son of Babkismah Candy. Parry certainly enjoyed the good life, even as he built a business empire that still flourishes.

    To Parry and Binny India owes its industrial beginnings. While Binny’s is no longer a name in business circles, Parry’s is a respected one, the name remembered in a major junction and the firm’s headquarters building, instead of giving way to new highrise, remaining a landmark in Madras. But where the Parry’s name is endangered is in San Thomé. His home, Leith Castle, near his industrial unit, the first in the country, a tannery and a leather goods ‘factory,’ is a threatened heritage precinct.

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    What’s happened to the prize?

    Nobel Prize time reminded 90-year-old Ramachandran (Chandru) Arni of Hyderabad that long before CV Raman and S Chandrasekhar won Nobel Prizes for Physics, they’d won the Jagirdar of Arni’s Gold Medal for Physics/Chemistry at Presidency College, Madras. Why isn’t the College awarding the medal nowadays, he wonders. I look forward to hearing from Presidency, but meanwhile my correspondent’s surname struck a chord.

    Arni Palace today

    Arni Palace today

    I first heard of the Jagirdar of Arni when writing a book on the West End Hotel, Bangalore, that, mysteriously, never got published. The West End was the second home of the then Jagirdar, Srinivasa Rao Sahib, the father of my correspondent who lists him as the 12th and last Jagirdar of the 211 sq miles zamin near Vellore. I’d written that the Jagirdar had stayed there occupying a three-room suite for over 36 years and that he was a regular at the Crazy Horse Bar at boisterous post-race parties. His son tells me horses and gambling were very much part of his life, but his “magnificent obsession” was cars. He bought his first car in 1923, when 19, and by 1948, when the Jagir was abolished by Government, had bought 182 cars! He kept the cars in immaculate condition, drove them himself and never lost on a sale of any of them.

    Arni House Front view

    Arni House Front view

    The Arni Jagir dates to 1640, when this Maharashtrian Brahmin family received it from Shahjee (the father of Shivaji) for services rendered in the Carnatic. It was the 10th Jagirdar, also Srinivasa Rao Sahib – a name the eldest generally took – who created the endowment for the prize at Presidency in 1877.

    A footnote Chandru Arni adds is that his mother was the great great grand-daughter of Purniah, Dewan to Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan and the Mysore Royal Family. An old Presidencian himself, he says he is the country’s first games developer and the first, in 1953, to a win an official meet in a self-built sports car.

    The chronicler of Madras that is Chennai tells stories of people, places, and events from the years gone by, and sometimes from today.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / Madras Miscellany – by S. Muthiah / October 30th, 2017

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    “The functionalisation process avoids the use of organic solvents. This makes it safe and eco-friendly,” says Pradeep (second from right).

    “The functionalisation process avoids the use of organic solvents. This makes it safe and eco-friendly,” says Pradeep (second from right).

    The material can be coated on a variety of surfaces including glass and paper

    Nanocellulose-based liquid dispersion that renders the coated surface extremely water repellent — superhydrophobic with water contact angle more than 160 degrees — has been developed by a team of researchers led by Prof. T. Pradeep from the Department of Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras.

    The material can be coated on a variety of surfaces including glass and paper. It has several distinct properties such as high mechanical durability and chemical stability. Like other superhydrophobic materials, the dispersion-coated surface exhibits microbial resistance thus preventing biofouling.

    The researchers used cellulose nanofibres (5-20 nm wide and more than 500 nm in length) and functionalised them with flurosilane in water over six-seven hours at room temperature. The linkage of fluorosilane with cellulose happens through the hydroxyl groups present on cellulose.

    The functionalisation makes the long fibres of cellulose, resembling bamboo poles of molecular dimensions, to be covered with fluoroalkyl groups. This reduces the surface energy of cellulose fibres. Low surface energy together with enhanced surface roughness at nanoscale renders the coated surface highly water-repellent. Tiny water droplets dropped from a height bounced off the coated surface attesting the extreme water-repellence. Other tests too confirmed superhydrophobicity.

    “The functionalisation process avoids the use of organic solvents. This makes it safe and eco-friendly. This science helps expand the use of sustainable materials. And similar to water, the dispersion is not sticky thus making it easy to coat or spray paint on any surface,” says Prof. Pradeep.

    Superior durability

    The coating exhibited superior mechanical durability even when subjected to a variety of abrasion tests — scratches using a knife, peel-off test and sand paper abrasion. “There was negligible reduction in water repellence even when subjected to wear and tear. The covalent linkages between the cellulose fibres provide superior mechanical stability to the coating,” Prof. Pradeep says. The coating also strongly adheres to the surface.

    Even when exposed to organic solvents such as hexane and ethanol, the coating exhibited chemical stability and retained its extreme water-repelling property. “The coating absorbs organic solvents. Once the coating dries, which happens very quickly, the water-repelling property returns,” says Avijit Baidya from the Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras and the first author of the paper published in the journal ACS Nano.

    “The coating remained stable even when subjected to extreme temperatures of 200 degree and –80 degree and exposed to direct sunlight,” says Baidya. “The longevity was also tested for two years under laboratory conditions.”

    Despite the extreme water repelling property, coated paper absorbs organic components. “Since ink has organic components, the coating allows the ink to diffuse. Unlike normal paper where the ink washes off when exposed to water, the ink on the coated paper remained intact even when in contact with water,” says Baidya.

    Though the coating strongly adheres to glass and exhibits all the desirable properties, light transmission gets compromised as the coating turns the glass white. “This material is truly not for glass. Better applications will be in paints and for coating the paper used for printing currency,” says Baidya.

    The team is already working to address the issue of light transmission by using a starting material other than cellulose. “We have nearly developed a superhydrophobic material that remains transparent once coated,” says Prof. Pradeep, who is the corresponding author.

    “We are willing to commercialise the product either through a start-up or by licensing it. We have already filed for a patent,” He says.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Sci-Tech> Science / by R Prasad / October 28th, 2017

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    Trichy :

    Like Kancheepuram which is known for its sarees, Thathayangarpettai, a sleepy town situated around 60 km from the district headquarters was known for the finest handloom dhotis. Quality of the dhotis produced here was such that even AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran (MGR) fondly purchased the dhotis weaved by Thathyangarpettai handloom units.

    B Manivel had woven several dhotis for MGR in the 1980s.

    B Manivel had woven several dhotis for MGR in the 1980s.

    B Manivel, 61, was one of the few craftsmen in Thathayangarpettai who had woven several dhotis for MGR in the 1980s. But nowadays, the handloom weaver makes a living by selling fried fishes near the Thathayangarpettai bus stop, and so do many other craftsmen in who have migrated to greener pastures.

    Before the penetration of powerloom, handloom had been the major producer of fabrics with clusters spread in Musiri, Thathayangarpettai, Metupalayam, and Woraiyur. Unable to cope up with powerloom’s product capacity and inability to offer at affordable rates, handloom has been in a downfall since the last two decades.

    Even as the state government celebrates the birth centenary of AIADMK founder in grandeur at Trichy on Thursday, the handloom weavers who once weaved the finest quality dhotis for MGR continue to be in distress. Though there were several clusters across the state that manufactured dhotis, Thathayangarpettai was a trademark for dhotis because of the craftsmanship.

    “We have woven dhotis for MGR and other former AIADMK leaders such as R M Veerappan and S Thirunavukkarasar. If any dhoti order was placed for MGR, we weave it with special care as he prefers ultra-thin dhotis. Ever since his loss, we not only lost the orders but also a leader who cared for us,” Manivel told TOI.

    It has been five years since Manivel produced a dhoti with his handloom unit. He has been running a fish fry stall near Thathayangarpettai bus stand ever since then as handloom weaving had become less profitable to make ends meet. Not just Manivel, several other craftsmen who wove dhotis for MGR are not into handloom anymore, such is the plight of once most successful handloom cluster.

    “Thathayangarpettai handloom weavers were specialist in weaving AIADMK flag bordered dhotis. We were even shipping orders to Kerala once. Over the years, just like handloom units, our orders and as well as fortune declined drastically. Probably, we are the last generation of handloom weavers now,” M Ravi, a handloom weaver for the last three decades in Thathayangarpettai adds.

    Many of Manivel and Ravi’s colleagues are now into other employments even as waiters in hotels. Though the governments floated several welfare schemes for handloom weavers including subsidised loans, the measures were too late as a majority of handloom clusters have been dissolved by now, according to the weavers.

    Acknowledging severe migration among handloom weavers in Thathayangarpettai, an official with handlooms and textiles department said, “The numbers of existing handloom weavers in Thathayangarpettai is in decline despite our initiatives to support their needs. There are hardly 150 handloom units in the town and no new takers are coming forward for the same.”

    As a remedy, the official added that potential marketing platforms for handloom weavers are being provided by the department by hosting special exhibitions in the city.

    source: / The Times of India / Home> News> City News> Trichy News / by Deepak Karthik / TNN / October 26th, 2017

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