Maitreya Doshi, Chairman and Managing Director of engineering and auto company Premier Ltd (formerly called Premier Automobiles Ltd), donated Rs. 2 crore from the Lalchand Hirachand Premier Trust referred to as the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation to the College of Engineering, Pune (COEP) to modernize and renovate their production engineering laboratory. The lab was named Vinod Doshi Memorial Production Engineering Workshop, in memory of the late industrialist Vinod Doshi, father of Maitreya Doshi.
When contacted Maitreya Doshi, Chairman of Premier Ltd and the managing trustee said, “My father strongly believed in supporting technical education in India and wanted students to have high-quality facilities to improve their knowledge.” The 138-year-old lab was fully upgraded and will be equipped with state-of-the-art CNC machines, some of which have been provided by Premier’s machine tool division. The COEP faculty and students are very excited about this new lab. According to Kanad Saha, third year mechanical engineering student, “Earlier, we worked with British-made traditional lathes. Now we are able to work on CNC machines. We can now implement all the theories that we have learnt about CNC machines. Even the workshop environment has drastically improved after the renovation. Our workshop is more in line with industry conventions now.”
The Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation’s managing trustee, Maitreya Doshi also instituted five annual scholarships called the Vinod Doshi- COEP Merit Scholarship, for students with strong academic credentials, but in severe need for finances. Each scholarship, of Rs 2.5 lakh, covers the student’s entire tuition fee, lodging, boarding and course material required during the four-year degree program. The only condition is that they maintain their academic performance, failing which, the scholarship will be withdrawn. The students are selected by the COEP faculty, and the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation is not involved in the process.
The recipients are offered a paid summer internship at Premier’s factory in Chinchwad for the four years at his/her option. “We get to manually work on various machines, which helps breathe life into the theories we learn in the classroom. The line managers are not only well-versed in the field, but also patiently supportive through our learning process,” says Anirudha Kulkarni, third year B.Tech Production Engineering student, who also trained in the machine tool division. On successful completion of their degree, the students are also guaranteed a job at Premier Ltd. where Maitreya Doshi is the Chairman and Managing Director. The choice of accepting this offer, however, is left to the student with no obligation imposed by Premier Ltd. or the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation.
The “Lalchand Hirachand Premier Trust” known as the Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation, of which Maitreya Doshi is the Managing trustee is a non-profit charity trust that supports initiatives in the fields of Art and Culture, Education and Community. It seeks to embody the lifelong passions and values of Vinod and Saryu Doshi, who believed that the mind is enriched through education and the spirit through art and culture. They have spent a considerable part of their lives supporting these causes.
The Foundation provides scholarships to financially challenged young Indians enabling them to catapult themselves to a higher economic and social orbit. It fosters emerging talent in the visual and performing arts through fellowships, performances, exhibitions and festivals. It is committed to improving the community by funding initiatives in environment protection and social upliftment..
The Vinod & Saryu Doshi Foundation donates over Rs 1 crore every year to support education, health and cultural activities. Maitreya Doshi says, “Our family is committed to philanthropic work and our thrust is to promote higher education in India.” Premier Ltd does not however contribute company funds to the Trust’s corpus. “We keep the two activities separate. Premier Ltd. does its own CSR activities as part of its corporate responsibility,” adds Doshi. Its focus is to create stakeholder value.
Premier Ltd has three major businesses – CNC Machine Tools, Heavy Engineering and Vehicles. All its operations are located at its Chinchwad plant that has been expanded and modernized over years. Besides being a pioneer and leader in the machine tool sector, Premier Ltd’s heavy engineering division also makes large components for windmills, metro bogies etc.