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August 26, 2001 - August 26, 2001

Surat textile markets observe bandh Sunday, August 26, 2001

SURAT: All the shops and trading houses in textile markets in the city remained closed on Friday in response to a bandh call given by the Federation of Surat Textile Traders Association (FSTTA) following death of a businessman _ by cardiac arrest _ in Ratan Market allegedly due to excessive harassment by the corporation's octroi officials on Thursday.

According to FSTTA president Tarachand Kasat, the octroi officials of the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) had unnecessarily forced the businessman, Purushottam Arora (51), to pay octroi charges for the goods he had brought to his shop from Bhiwandi in Mumbai. As per the rule, the SMC has a fixed structure of octroi to be paid periodically on the goods brought from outside.

Since Arora had stopped bringing the raw fabrics from Mumbai and accordingly, he had informed the SMC officials in writing about the same, the corporation officials, however, forcibly inspected his shop and asked him to prove that the goods kept there had not been brought from Mumbai, one office-bearer of the federation said.

Despite repeated claims that the goods were not from outside, the SMC officials remained adamant on their stand and asked for payment of octroi charges, which was a huge amount, sources in FSTTA informed. Arora could not withstand this and suffered a massive cardiac arrest and subsequently he died in the shop, South Gujarat Texturisers Association S S Yadav said.

Hearing the news of his death, panic gripped the whole textile markets in the city on Thursday evening, as many of them took the inspection as from the Central excise department. Soon a meeting was convened and it was resolved that all the shops would remain closed on Friday, firstly as a mark of respect to the departed soul and also in protest against the highhandedness of the revenue officials, according to Yadav.

It may be noted here that for the last few days, the Central Excise department has been on an intensive combing spree in the city, causing worry to many in the trade circles. Hence, the incident in Ratan Market on Thursday was mistaken by many there, as the raids by the excise department were being conducted randomly, according to sources in the textile markets.

As part of solidarity among the business community, the funeral procession of Arora was marked by a huge gathering on Friday morning.

Later during the day, office-bearers of FSTTA and other associations jointly held a meeting near Ratan Market and it was resolved that a memorandum be submitted to the corporation chief to restrain the octroi officials from such behaviour.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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IIM 'incubator' to hatch hi-tech projects Sunday, August 26, 2001

AHMEDABAD: At a time when innovation is the only surviving catalyst in a slow-moving world economy, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad has set up an 'incubator' to promote innovators of high-end technology.

Launched last month , the Centre for Innovation and Incubation will identify potential projects in cutting-edge engineering, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals and turn, what they consider, good ideas into commercial ventures.

The state government has already committed Rs 1.28 crore for the project for capital expenditure, while the rest of the cost will be borne by the institute and its network partners like the Gujarat Venture Finance Limited (GVFL), National Institute of Design, Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research, Space Application Centre and Physical Research Laboratories.

"Although the centre will be set up on our new campus, we will scout for talent across the country," Institute professor Dr Devnath Tirupati said. "We don't want to restrict ourselves geographically." Also, a mere good business plan will not be enough. It will have to involve innovation in one of the high-end technologies to be considered for the project. Eventually, they will have room for six innovators spending about three years at the centre.

GVFL managing director Vishnu Varshney, who has been invited to be on the board of the centre, is optimistic about the project. "They have the academic knowledge and we have the practical experience in supporting start-ups," Varshney said. "In fact, we have experience in helping companies right from the stage of conception when most other venture capitalists like to provide only growth capital once the company has settled down. It is about time IIM-A came up with a project like this." GVFL is looking at the project to identify good funding opportunities as well.

And there is no shortage of such innovators, according to Tirupathi. Three years back, about 50 innovators had attended a workshop at the institute, as a first step of setting up the centre. "We realised then that there was no shortage of ideas in the country. What was missing was a support system," he said. "We were surprised to find that innovators were in fact being discouraged. The scientific community felt they were compromising academic integrity by wanting to go commercial, which obviously does not make sense in today's world."

With the network of partners in place, an innovator will have access to some of the best laboratories and experts apart from the IIM-A faculty. "Many of the ideas are technologically very sound but fail because they don't have a sound business plan. We hope to fill this gap."

For the project, Tirupati hopes to use his 12 years of experience with the University of Texas, Austin, which also has an incubator since 1987. "I have seen that such projects not only help innovators, but will also help the students of the institute, who can help design the business plans. Many of them may be hoping of becoming innovators themselves. Such projects can be a first step."

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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Lord Ganesh ascends throne of modern India Sunday, August 26, 2001

VADODARA: The clock chimes 4.30 pm, chants of 'Ganapati bappa' soar high and the elephant God takes centerstage in some 1300 colourful pandals in city.

Music blares out of loudspeakers. Numbers from blockbuster 'Lagaan', 'Dil Chahta Hai' and pop albums are belted out. Along with 'aarti' and 'bhakti' songs the loudspeakers throw a curious mix of devotion and entertainment, enthralling devotees virtually at every 'nukkad'.

Yuvak Mandal boys get on their jobs: managing queues, disciplining and guiding devotees through the pandals.

Done up in varied forms, most of the pandals in city (that are also part of a pandal competition) have put the 'dundada dev' creatively. The pandal themes are innovative and offer a sight of Lord Ganesh amid the 'saas' and 'bahus' of mega TV serial 'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi' or coolly sitting atop a Sheshnag as 'Vishnu Avtaar' floating on an artificial pond containing 36,000 litres of water.

In some pandals, the backdrop is this year's blockbuster 'Gadar', whereas elsewhere Ganesh is enjoying the rains, overlooking a good harvest.

At the SRP campus, two cannon guns salute Lord Ganesh while at Gorwa Housing Board Society Atladra's famous Swaminarayan temple serves as a fore ground for Ganesh.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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French Film festival at MSU Sunday, August 26, 2001

VADODARA: A festival of classic French films by directors like Jean Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Jean Pierre Melville, Luis Bunuel and Jacques Becker started at the fine arts auditorium here on Thursday.

The film festival is being organised jointly under the aegis of the MS University, department of French and the faculty of fine arts. On Thursday Claude Chabrol's 'Le Bucher' was screened.

The film-screening schedule is as follows. On all weekdays except Sunday the films would be shown at 6 pm. On Sunday two films would be screened.

On Friday August 24, 'Coup de Torchon' directed by Betrand Travenier, on Saturday Jean Luc Godard's 'Alphaville', on Sunday (at 9.30am) Jean Pierre Melville's 'L'Armee des Ombres', (Sunday 4.00pm) Luis Bunuel's 'Le Fantome de la Liberte' and on Monday (6pm) Jacques Becker Le Casque D'or would be screened. All films would be subtitled in English.

A nominal entry fee of Rs 10 would be charged.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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Food-processing sector to touch Rs 140 bn by '05 Sunday, August 26, 2001

VADODARA: Over 50 local food-processing units, many of which are export-oriented, will now have to ready themselves to face the global challenge and match international quality standards in the food-processing sector.

The MS University's faculty of homes science, department of food and nutrition, organised a special two-day symposium on 'Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point' (HACCP) implementation system, which ensures global standards in food manufacture.

The symposium was inaugurated on Friday. It was attended by over 50 companies, including Windsor Foods, Vasudana Canning Company, Cassila Foods, Rosna International, Gits Foods and Everest Masala.

The HACCP is a safety-assurance system that first originated in the US and was developed for astronauts.

All India Food Processors' Association, Vadodara chapter, chairman Vijay Shah said in addition to providing technical know-how on the HACCP, and the methods to be followed to ensure that food processors manufacture as per the quality standards, the symposium would also provide a platform to industries to interact with researchers. Such interactive projects and seminars are the need of the hour.

Department of food and nutrition's former head Bijoy Chakraborty said, in his key note address, that as per industry sources the Indian food-processing sector is vital to the country as it would grow to over Rs 140 billion by 2005.

He said since our food industry is the largest determinant of the GNP, it would have to prepare itself for the qualitative changes in terms of modernisation of food production systems and better nutritional supplement to the domestic consumers. New norms would soon make it mandatory for food processing industries to ensure they follow the Codex quality standards, ISO 2000 and other standards to ensure quality in manufacturing of foodstuff.

"A pre-condition for export of fruits and vegetables is the HACCP a safety assurance system," he said.

Chandresh Shah of the Madhav Agro Foods Limited, which is the first agro-food industry in the country to receive the HACCP certification and the ISO 2001 certification, says these certifications help to provide an added assurance to consumers.

"We feel such seminars help to exchange technical know-how. Students of this department are technically aware of HACCP standards, and, therefore, we would prefer recruiting students from here," he said.

Shah received a special prize in the function for receiving the HACCP certification at his factory.

According Dilip Parikh of the Harshad Mango Products Limited, "We want to provide quality products. Whether they are for the local or export market. By following the HACCP parameters at each level we can provide the best."

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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