Published: Saturday 15 July 1995

HOMING IN WITH FLOWERS: Cashing in on the flower boom in the country, the Haryana-based Karishma Floriculture Ltd (KFL) has decided to manufacture indigenous greenhouses for floriculturists. Negotiations are on with Dalsems, Netherlands, the world leader in the production of greenhouses, stated S N Bansal, the managing director of KFL. Currently, floriculturists in India rely on imported greenhouses for their use. The company has also tied up with Van Dijk Flora BV, Netherlands to produce 'Eurieka Cartons' for packing flowers to retain their natural freshness and fragrance.

FROM TIN TO GOLD: As if being Indonesia's largest tin producer was not enough, the state-owned PT Tambang Timah has plans to diversify into gold and diamond mining to generate profits. Spurred on by its success in tin production which reached an output of 33,900 tonnes last year, Timah is now prospecting for additional ventures. The likely sites for mining are in Kalimantan in Borneo Island. Clearly, for Timah, all that glitters holds the promise of being a money-spinner.

NOW IT'S PAPER: Genetic engineering could provide the key to developing a tree which would grow fast, be easy to process and yield quality paper fibre, as the British bioscience company Zeneca has realised. The company has developed a gene that results in the growth of these trees, which are a boon to the paper industry as they need less energy, water and bleach to remove lignin; removal of lignin is important for producing high quality white paper. These trees reduce fibre damage too as they require mild processing. Zeneca has entered into agreements with companies like Nippon paper industries of Japan to exploit gene technology.

SEEKING HELP: Agra's foundry industry, which has hogged the headlines for its scant regard for the environment of the city and its famous landmark the Taj is now turning to US counsel for controlling pollution. Under an US Agency for International Development initiative, a 14-member delegation of the industry is now in the US hoping to acquire the latest technology which would help them in continuing with their activities without spoiling the environment.

FAKING WOOD: With wood becoming an increasingly endangered product, efforts to create an alternative to it have also proceeded, without much success though. B C Mitra and B L Ghosh, 2 scientists of the Indian Jute Industries Research Association (IJIRA), have now succeeded in creating artificial wood using jute mill wastes and resin. The new wood has superior strength and durability and can be developed to become moisture-proof, flame-resistant and insect and fungus-resistant. Commercial production of this wood is expected to go a long way in reducing deforestation.

EYEING THE COAL SECTOR: The mining supplier industry of North-Rhine Westphalia in Germany plans to keep track of the development of the coal industry in India -- and rake in the chips in the process -- by setting up an information bureau in Calcutta. Production of the Indian coal industry is expected to go up by 300 tonnes (t) from the previous estimate of 240 t. "Equipment (mining) suppliers in Germany hope to cash in on this demand," states Dieter Schreiber, head of the section for foreign economic relations, ministry of economics and technology, North-Rhine Westphalia.

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