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Foreigners tracking system goes live in Tiruchi

The Immigration, Visa and Foreigners Registration & Tracking (IVFRT) project launched by the Central government has become operational in Tiruchi district.

The project is aimed at delivering online service to foreigners such as registration, visa extension, and exit permission.

It can also track the movements of foreigners easily. As per the project, the police said it was mandatory for those providing accommodation to foreigners in Tiruchi to furnish details of them through online to the Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO). To elaborate the functioning of the system, an awareness camp would be held at Bharathidasan University Campus, Kajamalai on Wednesday. The proprietors of hotels, lodges, schools, colleges, hospitals, individual houses and Dharmasalas, who accommodated foreigners, should make it as an opportunity to learn about the IVFRT system.

Source: The Hindu
 

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Soil testing lab gives banana growers a strong grounding





The soil testing laboratory at the primary agricultural cooperative credit society at Varadarajapuram in the district has been playing a crucial role in improving the soil fertility of banana cluster in Thottiyam belt.

Started in 2009 with a financial assistance of Rs.6 lakh shared equally by the State Departments of Agriculture and Cooperation, the laboratory has been serving the banana farmers of Musiri, Thottiyam and nearby villages well. Excess application of potash and poor availability of urea have been the major problems confronting the farmers. “We educate farmers to stabilise soil nutrients and they have been reducing the quantum of potash and stepping up urea use,” says S.Saravanan, secretary of the society. The entire service zone had been divided into three major centres: Tirunarayanapuram, Arasalur, and M.Puthur. The society had so far conducted 2,689 soil tests, 1,323 field tests, and nine water sample tests; he said adding that the society members also collect samples by visiting the fields.

The society has been creating awareness among farmers on a sustained basis. “We convene farmers’ meetings and discuss various issues. A discussion on soil test tops the list of such discussions,” he says. The services being rendered by the society has gone down well with the farmers of not only Thottiyam but also adjoining districts. “Farmers from Namakkal and Salem districts too make use of our service,” he says. Furnishing result within 24 hours of collecting samples makes the lab an attractive option. Farmers show keen interest in taking remedial measures for enriching soil fertility in their fields, he said.
 

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KMF to export Nandini Milk to Africa; Karnataka CM flags off container



Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) has now set its eyes on Africa as an export destination.

As part of this programme, KMF’s Nandini milk would be exported to South Africa through Vanya Food Exports Pvt. Ltd. In this regard, the state’s Chief minister Siddaramaiah flagged off a 16,800 litre milk container that will be shipped to South Africa.

“We are getting many enquiries from African countries for Nandini milk. Indians living there want to savour the goodness of Nandini products,” said A S Premanath, MD, KMF, Bengaluru.

The federation has tapped a substantial export potential in 23 countries. In its Africa Safari, it would ensure that its Nandini milk brand would be available in countries such as Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Congo, Algeria, Libya, South Sudan, Kenya and Angola.

On the occasion of World Milk Day and Nandini Sweet Festival held earlier this month, KMF organised distribution of compensation cheques to milk producers who recently lost their cows because of Foot-and-mouth disease. It also awarded the highest milk pourer and the best Nandini milk agent which was one man and woman from each of its 13 district milk unions. The Nandini wholesale dealers who sold highest amounts of milk products in Karnataka were also honoured.

Further KMF recognised the first and second rank holders of the 2014 SSLC and PUC examinations of Karnataka. Besides it also honored milk producers and Nandini wholesale dealers’ children who secured highest marks in SSLC examination,2014 - one from each district. In addition it also honoured the children of KMF and its Union employees, who secured highest marks in SSLC & PUC examinations in 2014 in Karnataka.

As part of its efforts to strengthen domestic market presence, KMF has opened new depots in New Delhi,Jammu & Kashmir, Assam (Guwahati), West Bengal, Tamil Nadu (Chennai and Tiruchi), Maharashtra (Nagpur) and Goa.

At the Nandini Sweet Festival held across Karnataka in 220 taluks and 2,458 Nandini parlours, KMF sold peda, jamoon mix, payasa mix, mysore pak, cashew burfi, ready jamoon mix, and rasgulla among other Nandini products at 10% discount.
 

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Corporation plans additional solid waste processing facility

A bio-fertilizer unit currently processes 150 tonnes of solid waste

Even as the Corporation garbage dump continues to smoulder for the third day after Sunday’s major fire, the civic body says that it will firm up a plan to create an additional facility for processing solid waste in the city within three months.
Although Fire and Rescue Service and Corporation officials said that the fire has been brought under control, smoke continues to billow from the massive dump spread over 45 acres off the Tiruchi-Thanjavur Highway. Thousands of residents in and around the garbage dump continue to suffer a harrowing time in wards 7, 28, and 29 and most of them were forced to stay indoors with doors and windows shut.

Eight fire tenders and a dozen water tankers of the Corporation and about 50 men each from the Fire and Rescue Service and the civic body continued the massive operation to put out the embers smouldering deep inside the huge mounds of accumulated garbage.

Meanwhile, irate residents of the locality staged a protest and staged a blockade of Corporation lorries carrying solid waste to the yard on Tuesday morning. They demanded the shifting of the garbage dump. Corporation Commissioner V.P.Thandapani pacified the agitators.

Speaking to The Hindu on Wednesday, Mr.Thandapani said the fire was brought under control on Sunday night and the smoke emanating from the smoulders will be controlled in a couple of days.

Mr.Thandapani said the Corporation had put in place internal measures at the dump after successive fires in May last year. “As many as 112 small fires were put out by the men and machines at the dump over the past eight months. However, the team could not put out Sunday’s fire which was fanned by strong winds,” he said.

Elaborating on the civic body’s plans to find a permanent solution to the recurrent problem, he said expert teams constituted by the government had taken up studies after last year’s fire.

A bio-fertilizer unit already functioning at the garbage yard was processing about 150 tonnes of solid waste everyday. The city generates about 435 tonnes of solid waste every day and the Corporation is planning to set up another processing facility in the city to handle about 300 tonnes of solid waste. Proposals such as setting up bio-reactors and incinerators are under consideration. “We will finalise the technology and obtain sanction for the project within the next three months,” he said.

This apart, the Corporation will also go ahead with its plan on bio-capping the accumulated non-biodegradable waste at the Ariyamangalam dump. Mr.Thandapani said the government was also planning to set up a regional land fill for a cluster of urban local bodies. The Corporation was also setting up a bio-methanation plant at Srirangam at a cost of Rs.95 lakh to produce power from solid wastes.


Proposals such as setting up bio-reactors and incinerators are under consideration

A bio-methanation plant to be set up at Srirangam to produce electricity from solid waste
 

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'Financial literacy vital for MFs to grow beyond metros'


"R Janakiraman, V-P & Portfolio Manager, Franklin Equity, Fanklin Templeton Investments, speaking at the launch of 'Vazhga Valamudan' programme by the fund house at Tiruchi on Tuesday."

Despite high savings rate, Indians tend to put their savings largely into unproductive physical assets, says Franklin Templeton Investments President

Financial literacy is vital if the mutual fund industry is to grow beyond metros and large towns and it is the industry’s responsibility to educate the investors there about the benefits of professional fund management, according to Harshendu Bindal, President, Franklin Templeton Investments (India).

Despite high savings rate, Indians tend to put their savings largely into unproductive physical assets due to poor financial education and the fund house seeks to fill this gap by organising educational programmes like 'Vazhga Valamudan’.

'Unproductive physical assets'


A release issued by the fund quoted Harshendu Bindal as saying that much of the high household savings in the country were diverted to "unproductive physical assets''.

He felt that the primary reason for this was the "lack of awareness'' about MFs and the absence of a "robust distribution network'' beyond metros and towns. He felt that financial literacy was vital if mutual funds were to extend their reach to smaller towns.

Professional fund management

He said investors in these places sought refuge in traditional investment avenues that were not adequate to meet their different financial needs. It was the responsibility of fund houses to make the investors there understand the benefits of professional fund management.

R Janakiraman, Vice President & Portfolio Manager – Franklin Equity, Franklin Templeton Investments, who was participating in a 'Vazhga Valamudan’ programme organised by the fund house at Tiruchi on Tuesday, pointed out that it was such programmes that helped take the mutual fund products beyond the top 15 cities, where the investors are concentrated at present and to cities like Tiruchi.

Stressing the role played by distributors in bringing more people into investment mode, he said that one of his fund house’s main objectives would be to "enroll a new cadre of distributors'' trained sufficiently in offering the right advice and to spread awareness about the benefits of mutual fund investments. This would also provide the intermediaries, including lawyers, CAs, and SHGs, another source of income while assisting the fund in expanding its investor base.

District adoption programme

The fund said that the event was part of its district adoption programme that had the support of the market regulator SEBI and coordinated by AMFI, which is the umbrella organisation of the mutual fund industry.

The programme aims at enhancing awareness about the investment opportunities in mutual funds in 178 districts across India adopted by different mutual fund houses for this purpose.

Three-point agenda


The programme has a three-point agenda of improving awareness through various means like advertising and activation programmes, enlarging distributors’ reach with greater engagement and by promoting mutual fund investment as an investment tool.

The fund house has planned to engage locals in Tiruchi who would be called 'MF Sevaks' for coordinating activities like holding investor camps and contact programmes even as they worked closely with national-level distributors such as banks and local independent financial advisors. The whole effort would be focused on increasing investor awareness about MFs.
 

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Hotel owners sensitised to registration of foreigners



Police official explaining the objectives of Immigration Visa and Foreigners Registration and Tracking System at an awareness programme held at Tiruchi on Wednesday. Photo: A.Muralitharan

The programme was for proprietors of hotels, lodges, educational institutions, hospitals, and individual houses accommodating foreigners.

With the Immigration Visa and Foreigners Registration and Tracking System (IVFRT) having been implemented in Tiruchi, the city police organised an awareness programme on Wednesday driving home the objectives of the project and its modules.


The programme was for proprietors of hotels, lodges, educational institutions, hospitals, and individual houses accommodating foreigners.

The police advised the participants to furnish details of foreigners living in such establishments.

The IVFRT is a mission mode project of the Ministry of Home Affairs developed to secure integrated service delivery framework that facilitates legitimate travellers while strengthening security.

The participants were asked to furnish details of foreigners through online to the Foreigners Registration Office in Tiruchi city and district.

A power-point presentation was made by technical personnel from the National Informatics Centre on the ways of furnishing details of foreigners in the prescribed format through C-Form and S-Form.

The C-Form was meant for hoteliers, guesthouses, hospitals, and service apartment while the S-Form was meant for educational institutions.

The participants were asked to get themselves registered with the Foreigners Registration Office and obtain a user ID and password to upload foreigners’ details.

The objective of IVFRT was to track foreigners living in Tiruchi and know ready hand if they had overstayed, the participants were told.
 

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Kingdom of sound



AIR staff with 1947 Audio Recorder discs in the archive room. Photo: B. Velankanni Raj


The archive of All India Radio Tiruchirappalli is a treasure trove of sound clips from 1930s to the present.

There’s no better place to see the march of recording technology than the archive room of All India Radio Tiruchirappalli. Tucked away in a corner of the ground floor of the vast AIR building, the archive is a treasure trove of sound clips from 1930s to the present.


Keeping pace with the conversion from analogue to digital format, the archives too are gradually getting transferred from magnetic tapes to computerised sound clips. A. Rajaram, Library Information Assistant, has been overseeing the conversion of 1,114 magnetic tapes (of 15- and 30-minute duration) into .wma (Windows Media Audio) files.

“Each of these tapes comes with a handwritten note on the content which has to be catalogued as well,” he says, showing visitors around the room. “So far we have managed to save 405 music recordings, 333 Tamil talks (non-musical content), 26 radio plays, and assorted folk music and feature programmes in digital format,” says Rajaram of the process that lasted over a year. “We have 8,000 such tapes in total, so there’s still more work to be done,” he adds.

The archive room, which has to maintain a temperature of 18-20 degrees Celsius to prevent the magnetic tapes from getting damaged, is also a sort of mini-museum of sound recording technology, as it’s still possible to see long-out-of-circulation machines being kept here for the conversion work.

The magnetic tapes, manufactured exclusively for AIR stations by the Hindustan Photo Film Manufacturing Co. Ltd, Ooty, have to be first fixed on a turntable console before being converted to digital files with the help of specialist software, a time-consuming process that needs staff to be familiar with old and new technology.

“Preserving classical music recordings is the most difficult, because each sound clip has to have additional information about the ragas, talas, and even the accompanying musicians,” says Rajaram, pulling out detailed tabulated sheets.

Digitalisation has changed the role of the archive too, as archivists now have to deal with cue sheets that give the details of the recordings on a computer database, rather than physical tapes.

Among the gems in this collection are the speech made by Rajaji in Tiruchi ahead of the Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha, and recordings by the greats of Carnatic vocal and instrumental music, from K.P. Sundarambal, Thiruvavaduthurai T. N. Rajarathnam Pillai to Sheik Chinnamoulana and Embar Raghavachariar among others. Speeches by prominent personalities are also available here.

The station also maintains a separate library of printed material in Tamil, English and Hindi.

“What we have here is very valuable,” says Rajaram, who has been working here for the past 18 years. “We don’t destroy any sound clip, because someone may appreciate listening to them many years later.”
 

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Ruling the airwaves


M. Jothimani, Assistant Director, Programme Head, and Shantha Srinivasan, Senior Announcer seen at one of AIR Tiruchi's recording studios. Photo:B.Velankanni Raj


In its 75th year, All India Radio Tiruchi continues to mark many milestones

There is a palpable sense of excitement among senior executives of the All India Radio, Tiruchi as the station gets ready to conclude its year-long celebration of its platinum jubilee this week.


The station, one of six pioneering stations in pre-Independent India, and the second in the erstwhile Madras State after Chennai, has been recording not just the pulse of the people, but also has been an important link between the public and the government for the past 75 years.

Its establishment in May 16, 1939 with a 5 KW medium wave transmitter from a rented premises in Tiruchi’s Williams Road, was marked by a message from C. Rajagopalachari, the then Chief Minister of Madras State and Lionel Fielden, the first Controller of Broadcasting.

The station today functions from its own building on the Bharathidasan Salai, and is equipped with a 100 KW high power transmitter that caters to 10 districts – Tiruchi, Peramabalur, Ariyalur, Karur, Salem, Namakkal, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Pudukottai. From April 14 this year, the entire process of programming has been converted from analogue to digital format.

“We are switching over to digital technology, but we are still a public service broadcaster,” says M. Vasuki, Deputy Director General, AIR Tiruchi. “Since we are not in this for revenue, or advertising, our role will remain strong and crucial for the country,” she adds.

AIR Tiruchi has three channels – the youth-oriented FM Rainbow (5 a.m. to midnight), news and information-heavy Primary (5.45 a.m. to 2.45 p.m.; 5.30 p.m. to 11.05 p.m.), and the 24-hour Carnatic music Ragam DTH (produced in collaboration with AIR Bangalore) – to cover topics ranging from agriculture and education to women’s issues, culture and literary appreciation.

It is among the rare radio stations to devote at least two hours of programming every day to agriculture, a key occupation in the Cauvery delta districts.

“We try to highlight inspiring success stories in farming, so that listeners from other areas too can pick up these ideas,” says B. Saravanan, Programme Executive. “At least 70% of our programming is done outside the studio to keep the broadcasts relevant and interesting.”

The station has also played a crucial role in the preservation of Carnatic music (especially the Tamil stream), and folk arts of the state. Aspiring singers and musicians must first pass through a rigorous audition system before they are permitted to go on air. As many as 150 such graded artistes belong to the AIR Tiruchi zone.

“It is an honour for our station that some of the most sought-after names in the field of performing arts have specially requested to record in our studios,” says M. Jothimani, Assistant Director and Programme Head.

“We also have a valuable archive of sound clips that showcases our national and state history down the ages,” she adds. See related story.

The recent boom in commercial FM radio has not been lost on the state broadcaster, says programme executive R. Venkateswaran. “We are modifying ourselves according to the taste of the people, but even in FM, we aim at info-tainment.”

“The habit of listening to the radio will never really go away,” says Mrs. Jothimani. “The devices may have changed, but there will always be a listener.”

The curtains will fall on the platinum jubilee celebrations with a cultural evening in Tiruchi on June 25.
 

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Kuruvai paddy to be raised on 8,000 acres

Rs. 1. 47 crore allocated for Tiruchi district out of Rs. 32.95 cr.

Kuruvai paddy cultivation is expected to be taken up on 8,000 acres in filter point areas of the district this year with farmers being supported under the special package announced by the State government.


The normal kuruvai area is 16,000 acres in the district. But given the poor storage in the Mettur reservoir and delay in release of water in the Cauvery, kuruvai paddy could be raised in only the filter point areas in the district.

The Agriculture Department is gearing up to implement the special kuruvai package announced by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to help farmers raise the crop. The package will be implemented in filter point areas in Andhanallur, Musiri, Manachanallur, and Lalgudi areas.

The government has allocated Rs. 1.47 crore for Tiruchi district out of Rs. 32.95 crore sanctioned for implementing the special package in delta districts.

Apart from three-phase power supply for 12 hours a day, the package envisages distribution of bio-fertilisers, micronutrients, pipes, and other inputs free of cost to farmers in filter point areas.
 
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