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Archive for October, 2009

Husk Power Systems (HPS), a rural electrification company in Bihar engaged in generating electricity from rice husks using biomass gasification technology has been granted a second round of support from Shell Foundation.

HPS owns and operates 35-100 kW “mini power-plants” which delivers electricity as a pay-for-use service to villages of 2,000 to 4,000 inhabitants in the Indian Rice Belt – North Bihar. Each plant becomes profitable operationally in the first six months of operations. HPS has successfully implemented projects in 50 villages in Bihar and will expand its footprint to 100 villages in 2009, 400 in 2010, and 2000 in 2012.

This second round of support from Shell Foundation will certainly help deliver more power plants, increase the operational and technical capacity of the company and develop the Husk Power Systems brand in India and the US. Shell Foundation has been a partner to Husk Power Systems since November 2008, providing ongoing business development assistance and technical support.

Rice husks (the casing on the outside of rice grains) have traditionally been discarded however, upon heating, rice husk releases gas which in turn HPS uses to run modified diesel engines to generate electricity. The waste product of the process is high in silica and can be sold to concrete manufacturers. This business model has also been awarded the first prize in the 2009 Global Business Plan Competition by leading global venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and Cisco.

As per Shell Foundation’s analysis, more than 40% of the Indian population, or rather more than 1.25 lakhs villages have no access to reliable electricity. The existing energy options in rural communities such as diesel generator sets and kerosene lanterns are polluting, prohibitively expensive, and logistically difficult to disseminate. Those villages with access to electricity are often subject to frequent power cuts and shortages in power supply. This becomes a major deterrent in the economic development of the affected communities and indeed India as a whole.

Husk Power Systems is using unique technology and processes to tackle the rural energy deficit in India in an environmentally and commercially sustainable way. They are proving that rural Indian communities are willing and able to pay for reliable electricity and that Bihar represents a viable market to deliver modern energy services. The Husk Power Systems team has surpassed Shell Foundation’s expectations as a result of which the foundation has took a step further and with a second round of financing required to lay the groundwork for a wider scaling up of operations of HPS.

 
The first round of Shell Foundation financing enabled HPS in providing access to energy for 15 villages and critical improvements to scale up business. HPS would also need the people and resources in order to become an important player in the Indian rural power market.”

The company which has set up 10 plants is creating new job opportunities locally in Bihar. HPS is currently looking for 3 RM’s to oversee 35-50 plants each, dozens of mid-level managers i.e. Fresher Mechanical Engineers, Talented Fresher Management Trainees & Experienced Project Managers above all this HPS is also looking for close to 100 field workers mainly skilled mechanical technicians from local technical schools. As the company scale up, it will hire hundreds of employees – most of them coming from Bihar. Candidates will be trained at their training facility where they will be provided skill based trainings primarily in large engine repair and maintenance, facility management, and continuous improvement processes. The information is very well available at www.huskpowersystems.com.

Shell Foundation aims to help small enterprises with modern energy services for the poor in ways that are financially viable and scalable through a combination of direct investments and support of intermediary organizations.

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40th anniversary of Vishwa Shanti Stupa atop Ratnagiri Hills in Rajgir was inaugurated on Sunday evening by Bihar CM Mr. Nitish Kumar, on this ocassion he spoke about the contributions of the ancient Nalanda University, and expressed his desire to make the students of proposed Nalanda International University the brand ambassadors of peace. He also showed his satisfaction on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former president A P J Abdul Kalam’s special interest in reconstruction of the University.

Stressing the need for world peace Bihar Chief minister Mr. Nitish Kumar emphasized on the teachings of Gautam Buddha on non-violence & endorsed the relevance of the same in today’s scenario more than in the past. He was confident that differences of opinion between countries and societies could very well be sorted out through Buddha’s preaching.
On this occasion the chief minister announced that the Buddha Memorial Park near Patna railway station would be completed by mid-2010. The state government has planned to put the casket containing ashes of Lord Buddha on display at the park.

Atsuhiro Hariuchi, chairman of board of directors of CGC Group of Companies of Japan; Takao Morita, president of CGC, chief monk of Nipponzan Myohoji G Okonogi and Mahashweta Maharathi, secretary of Rajgir Buddha Vihar Society also spoke on the occasion.

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First ever Children’s Film Festival was inaugurated by Bihar Chief Minister Mr. Nitish Kumar on 10th Oct’09 at Mona Theater in Patna organized by the state Information and Public Relations department in coordination with the Children’s Film Society of India.

The festival will end on November 14 and would feature a host of nationally and internationally acclaimed film for the younger audience and would also be replayed in Gaya, Muzaffarpur, and Bhagalpur later next month.

Mr. Chief Minister wished hundreds of children success in future and appealed to them to grow up and be good citizens and contribute towards a better & developed Bihar.

Prior to the screening of the first movie, children associated with ‘Kilkari’ presented a short play ‘Sheikh Chilli’ that left the audience laughing aloud.

A grant of Rs. 5 lakh was also announced by the honorable Chief Minister for developing ‘Kilkari’ and suggested an annual award event for its young artists.

Deputy CM of Bihar recalled how it was a pleasure going to films with friends and family members and wished this film festival would revive that tradition.
 
Including all senior officials of Information and Public Relations Department, Minister Ramnath Thakur & Department Director Rajesh Bhushan were also present on the occasion.

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Archeological Survey of India is planning to develop the excavated site of Vikramshila University in Khagalgaon sub-division of Bhagalpur district. Different ways for conservation of the ancient site are being evaluated.

Making the condition of the roads better which leads to the site is also being worked at. For proper exploitation of tourist potential it is essential to make the site easily accessible.

The ASI, in association with the state government is also preparing a development plan for the site. The ASI is ready to provide required tourists’ facilities at the site.

This is for the first time after 1974 that a team of the ASI visited the site. The visit follows a meeting of the local MP, Syed Shahnawaz Husain, with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue.

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Pandawa Cruise, a ship carrying foreign tourists from Kolkata to Varanasi was manoeuvring on river Ganga crossing important tourist destinations in the state of Bihar like Bhagalpur, Munger, Patna which fall on the banks of River Ganga.

It was a warm natural welcome of the vessel with heavy rains and strong winds as it entered Bihar from Sahabganj in the neighboring state of Jharkhand.

ADG Of India Tourism – Mr. Shreevats played a key role in getting tour operators to start cruise tourism. The foreign tourists hailing from US, UK, Russia, Australia and Canada were undertaking a 14-day voyage from Kolkata to Varanasi by cruise. The tour started from Kolkata on September 28 and reached Varanasi on October 11.

Tourists visited Vikramshila University in Bhagalpur as well as the famous Bhagalpur silk manufacturing units. The ship also had a halt at Munger in order to pay a visit to the internationally acclaimed Yoga School.

The ship was docked at Barh to facilitate the tourists to visit Bodh Gaya, Nalanda and Rajgir by road, meanwhile the ship sailed to Patna. The tourists went for site seeing at Patna and attended a special cultural show organized by the India Tourism. They also drove to Haldi Chapra Ghat near Maner to pay a visit to Manershareef in Patna district before boarding the ship to Varanasi.

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