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Establishment of NTTF Technical Training Centre

at Dharwad by HEKS.Switzerland

Partially Reproduced From The Book


[NTTF] by Dr.Alfred Frischknecht. Fellow NTTF.

For Internal Circulation Only. Not For Commercial Purpose.

Establishment of NTTF Technical Training Centre

at Dharwad by HEKS.Switzerland
From the book,
[NTTF] by Dr.Alfred Frischknecht. Fellow NTTF.
HEKS -"Hilfswerk der Evangelischen Kirchen der Schweiz"
Rev. Dr.H.C. Heinrich Hellstern,Director of HEKS, from 1945 to 1964
was the patron of NTTF. He brought up the idea of providing Technical
Training as a means to improve conditions in a developing country. He
organised funding from the Swiss Protestant Churches and
commissioned Mr Alfreid Frischknecht to start and organise training
centres at Nettur and Dharwad.
Rev.Dr.H.C.Heinrich Hellstern was put in charge of co-ordinating relief
actions in October 1945 by the Federal of Swiss Protestant Churches a
new organisation HEKS to people suffering in war-torn Europe. After
1956 HEKS extended their service to Third World Countries "Under the
development assistance to Third World Countries"and "The Swiss
Government Service for Technical Co Operation"now known as Swiss
Development Co-operation(SDC) made possible for HEKS to establish
its First CSI Technical Training Centre at Nettur in 1959 and later called
as NTTF Technical Training Centre,Nettur.

1)First NTTF Training Centre at Nettur 1959,

2)Second NTTF Training Centre at Dharwad in 1964,
3)Third NTTF Technical Training Centre at Bangalore in 1977.
4)First NTTF Tool Room at Katpadi in 1964, and
5)Second NTTF Tool Room at Bangalore in 1977.

NTTF Technical Training Centre.Dharwad.

In August 1961-two years after the start of the CSI Technical Training
Centre at Nettur and later called as NTTF Technical Training Centre
Nettur,a delegation of the former United Basel Mission church of India
which was joined the CSI in 1958,called on Mr Alfried Frischknecht,the
HEKS representative in India. It consisted of.Mr R.S.Banghera and
Mr Ammanna,and requested Mr Alfried Frischknecht to visit Dharwad
with a view of establishing a similar Technical Training Centre on a plot
belonging to the Basel Mission Trust Association adjucent to the
Dharwad Hubli Main Road.
Mr Alfried Frischknecht visited Dharwad and submitted a report to
HEKS in September 1961.It so happened that The World Council of
Churches held its assembly in New Delhi in December 1961 and
Rev.Dr.H.C.Heinrich Hellstern,Director of HEKS also attended this.
meeting initiators M/s R.S.Banghera, Ammanna, Bhasme, Jogul and
Velon, a missionery of Basel Mission with Rev.Dr.H.C.Heinrich
Hellstern,Director of HEKS and Mr Alfried Frischknecht was possible
on 26th December 1961.At that meeting Rev.Dr.H.C.Heinrich
Hellstern,Director of HEKS pointed out the principles of operation of
HEKS:"Open for everybody,admission on merit,independent of
Government,priority on quality and a legal solution for all Training

Mr R.S.Banghera,Chairman of the Basel Mission Education Trust held a

meeting on 5th April 1963,in which many prominent persons
attended,namely: M/s G.R.Nalawad Mayor, Hubli Dharwad
Corporation,A.M.Shaikh,Commissioner,Hubli Dharwad
Corporation,Corporators,B.B.Desai,proprietor,Dharwad Electricity
Supply Co., Industrialist,Journalist,Principals and Mr Alfried
Frischknecht HEKS Representative.
The Mayor and Commissioner assured those present that they will do
everything possible to bring about this project and exercise their role in
providing land,water and electricity.
Mr Alfried Frischknecht explained that the complete course for training
in Precision Tool and Die Making will be four years,but split in to two
parts. The basic course will be according to the 'National Council for
Training on Vocational Trades NCTVT.
After 18months training the trainees will appear for an examination
conducted by the NCTVT. The next 2 and 1/2 years will be for those who
want and are able to continue. It was initially thought that this could be
according to new apprentice act,but as later experience showed,it had to
be an independent course as prescribed by NTTF.
The District Church Board expressed its happiness and it considered the
benefits which the NTTF Technical Training Centre will bestow on
theyoungsters. Families who can not afford to send their children to
private Schools are provided with opportunities to have a better future

and the training will be to a great extent similar to that at NTTF Nettur.
Mr.R.S.Banghera confirmed on 19th October 1963 that the Municipality
re transferred the plot of land to Basel Mission Propriety Trust, and on
20th January 1964,the Basel Mission Propriety Trust transferred the same
to the CSI Propriety Trust.
As no Indian personnel was available with required qualifications to be
in-charge of the workshop at Dharwad,Mr Kurt Horlacher a Swiss
engineer was selected by HEKS. as Principal of NTTF Technical
Training Centre,Dharwad. He arrived to Dharwad on 18th February 1964
and on 4th May 1964 the first batch of 18 trainees were admitted. The
Basel Mission High school at Dharwad made available its craft section
for temporary use until the new building was constructed.
The following Swiss Experts were responsible to Start and
Establish the NTTF Technical Training Centre at Dharwad.
Mr Alfred Frischknecht , First Principal of NTTF Technical Training
Centre Nettur and First HEKS Delegate in India from 1958-65.
Mr Hans Freudiger Second HEKS Delegate to India from Nov1965-69.
Mr Kurt Horlacher,First Principal of NTTF Technical Training Centre,
Dharwad from 1964-69.
The capital investment for the NTTF Technical Training Centre at
Dharwad was estimated as Rs 12,84,302/-.This was the beginning of
NTTF Technical Training Centre at Dharwad.

Mr Kurt Horlacher.First Principal of NTTF Technical

Training Centre, Dharwad.1964-69.
I was working in a Food Processing Plant in charge of the department of
Human Resources and Training. Despite this promising occupation I felt
the urge for a new challenge in a foreign countries. I got the offer from
HEKS to go to India to build a training centre for Tool and Die Making. I
was totally enthusiastic. First Tool and Die Making was my area and
secondly India was the country of my dreams since childhood.
On the day of my departure I traveled with my boxes by train to Genoa.
There I boarded a steamer to travel Bombay. I still remember the
impression I had as I disembarked at Bombay. It was simply
overwhelming. I entered a new World. However I did not have much
time to ponder. I had to look after my huge boxes. I hired a shipping
agent to unload the boxes and clear them through customs. Another agent
was responsible for the transport to Dharwad by train. HEKS was
generous in putting me up at the Taj Mahal Hotel,I had never experienced
such splendour before.
The journey to Dharwad by train was another exciting and unforgettable
experience.From Pune on wards I had my own two bed cabin with baths
and toilette. To my surprise I was told to close the doors and windows
before going to sleep. I arrived at Dharwad on February 18th 1964.

Since the railway station at Dharwad had no unloading equipment,the

stationmaster had to organise 12 people to unload the boxes and I became
the responsible for the train leaving Dharwad 30 minutes behind
schedule. With the help of kind people I could organise everything.
Within two weeks I could occupy a big house in Saraswatpur which Mr
R.S.Banghera had organised for me to settle down.
When I arrived I did not have the least idea about India,its people,their
language and their way of life,but I was very lucky to find some very
helpful and honest people like Mr and Mrs R.S.Banghera,to name only
two,to guide me safely through the life in a strange environment. My
wife and my two small boys arrived three months later when the minimal
infrastructure required for a family was ready.
The first problem I had to deal with was the actual situation on the
building site. Since a distance of 75 feet from the middle of road to the
building had to be kept,the site was very small to construct a training
centre big enough to train 120 trainees simultaneously as planned. I could
not but to give my consent to build the Institute at the proposed site and
this despite the fact that the Municipality offered me a much bigger plot
at the outskirts of Dharwad.It was an affair of the heart I could not
disappoint these people. So I adapted the building plans to the site. Mr
Lory Baker,an English architect,living in India,came to Dharwad and the
design of the building which was modern in appearance.

As advised by the trustees,I established a local advisory body to

understand the Indian Social System,to deal with Government
Administration and to have connection with the local industries and
Institutions. This local advisory board consisted of two members of the
Basel Mission Community and two representative of the local Industries.
Before the building plans were completed I had to organise the function
of laying down the foundation stone,a ceremony absolutely unknown to
me. The function was success. Honourable Home Minister of Mysore
State Shri R.M.Patil was the chief Guest. The foundation stone also
blessed me with the experience of Politics in India.
After two months stay at Nettur/Tellicherry,I returned to Dharwad and
recruited 20 students for the four years training as Tool and Die Makers.
There were not many applications and so no entrance examination was
required. As the building and training facilities were not seen,people
were sceptical. Another reason was that Tool Making was a profession
unknown in India and no degree could be attained. Although Tool
Making is a very demanding profession it was considered to be only
where hand skills are used and as such had a low social reputation. The
boys were ready to join were mostly collage dropouts. They were
stubborn boys not easy to handle but they were intelligent,gifted and
independent individuals. From the beginning there was mutual respect
between the students and the Principal.

In a country with 400 million inhabitants,only twenty had joined this

course. I thought this to be nothing but a drop on a hot stone. But after
the first batch of students passed out,there was some kind of avalanche
effect. As soon as one member of the family climbed up the social ladder
his family followed suit.
I had,for example,a trainee from a poor family who lived in a tiny
village. He went to Canada after the apprenticeship. With the money he
sent home his brothers' children were able go to collage and increase
their herd of buffaloes .
It was a modest beginning. From Basel Mission Boys High School we
got a office,a classroom and their handcraft shop( Carpenter Shop) to use
as workshop. The workshop had to be furnished with workbenches and
furnitures. In my opinion it was essential for an efficient and controlled
training that each trainee has his own workplace with a vice and
a drawer containing the required hand tools. At that time only few tools
were available locally and that too not of the required quality. The same
could be said about furniture. I did bring the most important tools like
measuring tools,drills and milling cutters along with me when I came to
India. Other toos were sent together with the machine tools and most
from Switzerland.
First I was alone with 20 trainees but soon I got an instructor from
Tellicherry. His name was Mr Johnson.I put him in-charge of workshop
and I conducted the theory classes. It was a very hard life for me.

During the day I was in the institute. In the evening I prepared the lesson
and wrote the required textbooks. I also drafted the detail plans for the
workshop building. After their completion I made the network plan to
make sure that the building work could progress within the timetable.
The workshop came in full swing. The trainees made their exercise
pieces and as production work we produced hammers,centre punches and
other tools as well as the first tool for the industry. We admitted a second
batch of 20 trainees. Since the institution had become very popular we
received plenty of applications due to which an entrance examination
was conducted. The selection procedure consisted of three parts. Due to
the big number of applications we could hardly call for an examination.
Some kind of pre selection had to be made. In the first round we selected
according to the marks in English and Science. A fairly good knowledge
of English was essential for the students to follow the training since all
the lessons and instructions were given in this language. I was quite
aware that this kind of selection was arbitrary. In the second step we
called those selected for an aptitude test.Last but not the least we
conducted a personal interviewee second instructor arrived from
A suitable person was found to help me supervise the building works. Mr
Deshapande was 82 year old building Engineer who had worked under
the British. He knew all the tricks used by contractors and was an honest
man. He did not claim a salary. We used to honorarium.


reward was the feeling of all being useful at his age. For me he was
The angle-iron structure for the roof of the workshop building was
manufactured at Coimbatore. It was frightened moment when the
structure were about to be mounted on the walls and pillars. But to my
big relief every thing was fine.
As soon as the workshop was completed we started shifting the
equipment. To shift the machines I designed a trolley with a platform.
The distance to the old building to new workshop was about 500m
(1/2 a kilometer).We loaded the machine by machine,some of them were
quite heavy,and dragged the trolley with the help of ropes on the national
highway. It looked like slave work but neither trainees or staff refused to
help. I think this mutual venture speak about NTTF Dharwad,they call it
out institute. Shortly after occupying the workshop we also shifted class
rooms and office.
Once established we could start the production work on the bigger scale
for the industries all over Indianian main customers were
Tata,Kirloskar,India Aeronotics and Bharat Telephones and Tiwak. We
even manufactured the deep drawing tool for the steel helmet of the
army. As time went on new batches of trainees were enrolled and the
total number went up to 120 trainees.

As the building work came to completion it was time to look for some
VVIP to inaugurate the new building,Mrs Indira Gandhi,Prime Minister
of India,was visiting Harihar in January 1967.To make her visit to NTTF
on this occasion was a political balance act and Mrs Dr.Sarojini Mahishi
consented to stop at NTTF Dharwad on her way to Kittur. We had
decided that the function should be as modest as possible and for our
Institute exclusively. It took place in the Workshop in the presence of
trainees and staff as well as some dignitaries and the representative of the
HEKS,The Ambassador of Switzerland,the home minister and some
Industrialists. The Prime Minister mentioned in her speech that the short
modest function proved to be the kind of function she liked.
Our aim was our trainees should,after a period of four years,reach the
same professional standard in Tool Making as that of an apprentice in
Switzerland. We also wanted to create in them a sense of
responsibility,professional conduct and devotion to work. This goal was
attained as the outgoing students proved in many cases. Those who
went,for example for example,to Germany could,from the beginning
easily join the German Tool Makers. Their commendable conduct was in
my opinion equally important as professional skills. It was therefore
decisive to insist on the strict observation of the rules and regulations. In
this aspect I was uncompromising but at the same time I considered the
trainees as equal human beings.

We paid all the trainees a stipend of 60/-per month from the second year
onward. Trainees who did extremely well in Manufacturing a particular
tool were given as incentive. Prior to the visit of the Prime Minister the
trainees collected Rs 1050/-by working over time,and donated this
amount to the Prime Minister,s drought relief fund. Along with the
drawing, we gave the trainees a limit for finishing the tool. Because first
we had to keep the date of delivery and secondly the trainee had to
organise his work and coordinate the use of machines with others. In this
way we developed in them a sense of teamwork.
After my service from 1964 to 69, HEKS sent a replacement from
Switzerland.However, I actually never left Dharwad in my
heart.From1972 onwards,we visited Dharwad every second year. In
1993,I retired and settled down at Dharwad again.
A lot of time lapsed since I stood hungry and four huge boxes on the
railway platform in Dharwad. Looking back I am still proud about the
work I have done in Dharwad. I have never regretted going to India. For
me the time in Dharwad was an invaluable enrichment of my life. I can
proudly say:Mission Successfully Completed.

Mr N.Reguraj.
First CEO of NTTF.
Mr N.Reguraj joined as Assistant Business Manager NTTF Tool Room at
Katpadi / Vellore in November 1967.He held a Mechanical Engineering
and before joining NTTF he had acquired 3 years of experience in
Tooling Technology in the Government Tool Room at Guindy,Madras
under the Colombo plan with American Expert.
It was indeed the good fortune of NTTF to have found Mr N.Reguraj an
eminently qualified Indian Engineer who not only had practical
experience in Tool Making,but also was highly motivated to serve
humanity.He also shared the ideals of HEKS.Mr N.Reguraj soon became
the driving force for the further development of NTTF.Fortunate NTTFas the later development proved-to engage in 1967, a young,well
quilified Engineer,Mr N.Reguraj,who was instrumental in the future
development and outstanding performance of NTTF.
HEKS finalised the project to have another NTTF Training & Production
centre at Bangalore,and for this Mr N.Reguraj was invited to
Switzerland.In the meeting with the members of Swiss Churches and
HEKS.Mr N.Reguraj pointed out that One Tool Maker can create an
employement for five,there by supporting six families which in turn 30
people.They were wooed by the concept and thus the Bangalore unit at
Peenya was established in 1977.
Mr N.Reguraj was Elevated to Business Manager in 1968,and as Works
Manager in 1970. He became the General Manager in 1973,the youngest
General Manager in the History of NTTF.
Mr N.Reguraj was the Member of First Board of Examiner for NTTF
Dharwad 1st batch of Tool Maker Examination held in1964 and also was
a Selection Committee Member in selecting 4 Tool Maker trainee
graduates to NTTF Tool Room Katpadi.
I P.B.Kamatar was one among them selected to NTTF Tool Room
Katpadi in 1964.

Mr Alfred Gamper.
First Instructor CSI TTI/NTTF Nettur 1959-66.
As an apprentice-trainer and teacher/Vice Principal/Acting Principal,I
was engaged in the CSI TTI (Church of South India Technical Institute)
resp.NTTF(Nettur Technical Training Foundation)from 19.11.1959 to
Thirty six year later,We visited India after my retirement and met some
former trainees in Bangalore.In a conversation with Mr Salathiel
Devanur (Founder Member and Presindent of NTTF Alumni
Association),he confessed that he comprehended,years of soak pit
action,the real meaning of action at that time.He had been put in charge
of setting up the NTTF Quality Management System (ISO norms) and
was at that time the head of section responsible for the qualitysupervision of production and education.
He fully understood that the same guiding principles are applicable to a
working economy for all participants.Every work must be made
according to the customer's specifications,with topmost quality.Mistakes
of every type,deviation from the norm should not be repeated,instead we
must bring about an improvement-programme.
It surprised and of course also pleased me,that such a result became
possiblewith such a trivial past event.
In a HEKS bulletin dated 21st December 1959,Mr Alfred Gamper
writes:It was Tuesday afternoon,when we stood in front of unknown
Indian young boys.I am happy to work with them.In a few weeks time
they will get used to work as carried out in modern workshop in

Mr Alfred Frischknecht
First Principal and HEKS Deligate in India from 1958-65
In charge of Co-Operation at HEKS Head office from 1965-68.
I still remember vividly the day when I saw the advertisement placed by
HEKS in a Technical Periodical: Wanted qualified Mechanical Engineer
to organise a Training Centre in South India I was that time employed in
a company Socie'te'de la Viscose Suisseas a group leader for Design
and Erection of Chemical processing Plants and had taken over the parttime task to look after our Trainees.
It is not common to find someone with a Federal Proficiency Certificate
in Tool and Die Making who had graduated from HTL Winterthur on
Machine Tool Working in a chemical factory.I had left The Rigid SA,a
leading producer in Hydraulic Copy Milling Machines two years ago
because I wanted to widen my professional experience in new fields of
I had been married for three years and we were expecting our second
baby.This was certainly not a situation for adventures of any kind.On the
other hand my wife Sylvia and I had always thought that we should 'see
the world' before we settle down for good.But now it looked as if the
point of no return was reached.
I don't know what made me-or I should say rather 'us',as my wife had
her share in the decision making process-to contact HEKS.There seemed
to be some kind of irrational compulsion which made us take the first
step to obtain more information about this organisation and consequently
to submit a formal application.The first encounter with Rev Dr.Hellstern
was very informal. We met in a small Tea Room in Zurich for an excange
of ideas rather than information.Many questions were left
unanswered,but a foundation of common understanding and trust was
established.Some aspects of the venture became clearer after the return of
Ms Elisebeth Werner from a personal visit to her brother who was a
medical doctor in a mission hospital at Gadag-Betgeri in Mysore State

( now Karnataka).Rev Dr Hellstern had asked her to make a detour to

Malabar to meet the promoters of the project.There followed
Correspondance from the Bishop's Economic Advisory Committee which
led to the signing of an agreement between this Committee and HEKS.
While we personally ventured to engage ourselves in what by any
standard was an adventure,which was met with apprehension or even
disapproval by parents,relatives and friends,it was also a new venture for
HEKS.HEKS had worked in a social rehabilation in war torn Europe till
It was the circumspect director of HEKS,Rev Dr.H.C.Heinrich
Hellstern,who foresaw in 1957-58,that a new task lay before the
recovered western world: assisting the countries which has recently
shaken off the bonds of foreign domination in assuming their new
economic welfare of their people.
We boarded the passanger ship 'Victoria'sailing from Genoa through the
Mediteranean at the end of November 1958 with our two daughter.At that
time flying was more expensive than sea journey and we had to
economise wherever possible.
We reached Bombay on 16th December and sailed by MS Sabarmati to
Mangalore,and from their reached Tellicherry by train on 22nd
December.My recollection is clouded by overwhelming impression of the
land and people and my worry about the health of our second daughter
who had a high fever.We glad to stay with the Renfer's,the only Swiss
family in North Kerala,for two days.
On the Christmas Eve in 1958,we moved to Nettur to stay in the two
room of Gundert Bungalow. The people from Nettur gave us a warm
Once we got down to work there were many who helped.The Rev.Marc
Karunakaran was among the first.The most important assistance,I
gratefully remember,came from R.K.Renfer,Manager of Volkart Brothers
at Tellicherry. I also remember the help of Mr C.S.Chandran,Secretary,
and F.Salathiel,Supervisor.

On 24th November 1959,the first batch of trainees started their

work.Mr.Alfred Gamper and his wife Helen had arrived at Nettur ten
days before that. When I compare the preperation time by experts today,I
bow respectfully to the early pioneers who took up their duties without
much ado. Mr.Alfred Gamper was a father figure for the boys.He
succeeded in transferring the very essence of Swiss qualities like
precision,reliabity,puncuality and hard work to the trainees.The noise of
filing and hammering was like music to my ears.To start work at 7.30 am
and to keep working till evening, only with a few short breaks was very
hard for them.We valued their will to learn and to bear with unexpected
circumstances.I started to teach Physics and Technology,While
C.S.Chandran tought English and Mathematics.
To choose the path of self relience was a venture for which there were no
example and I attribute my own inexperience to have engaged upon it.I
made many calculations to find out whether it was possible to generate at
least the running expenses of the training Centres-There would soon be a
second one at Dharwad-by a production unit.This was necessory as
HEKS could not be expected to provide running costs for ever.I think the
creation of the NTTF Production Centre at Katpadi was again an act of
faith rather than of rational reasoning.
And things went smoothly:The Director of Industries at Madras agreed to
let out the newly constructed Tool Room at the Industrial Estate Katpadi
at concessional rates. My boss Rev Dr.Hellstern in Switzerland,-who was
never averse to taking risks-and his more prudent committee could be
convinced of the advisability of the NTTF scheme which was developed
in discussions with Muirhead.A contributing factor was the awakening
interest of a large section of the population in Switzerland in the so called
'Development Assistance to the Third World Countries'and the increasing
contributions people were ready to make in the early sixties.As from1964
the Swiss Government also offered assistance.
The NTTF Dharwad under Mr.Kurt Horlacher and Production Centre in
Katpadi were started in 1964 with Mr.H.R.Fassler and Mr J.Forrer and
six graduates from NTTF Nettur.

Fortunate we were-as the later development proved-to engage in 1967,

a young,well-qualified Engineer,Mr N..Reguraj,who was instrumental in
the future development of NTTF. In 1968 another four graduates from
NTTF Dharwad joined.
I was transferred to HEKS Headquarter by the end of 1965,with Mr
H.Freudiger replacing me as HEKS Deligate in India.In my capacity as
In-charge of development projects in India as well as in African and
South American Countries.I observed for further development of NTTF
with keen interest.I left HEKS in 1968 to create the Technorama
Switzerland in Winterhur.
By virtue of my relationship with co-operative organisation,I had an
opportunity to render service for project planning and evaluations
throughout my professional life.In 1982,I was called by SDC to serve as
Co-ordinator for the Swiss projects in Nepal,followed by an assignment
in South India from 1989 to 1992,during which time,I once again served
as Trustee of NTTF.I retired in 1992.
My visit to NTTF in 1980,followed by other encounters were occasions
for joy and satisfaction. A dream had come true.The Nettur Technical
Training Foundation had become truely self-reliant and service to the
nation.NTTF added one more production Centre and Training Centre at
Bangalore.I am grateful and proud to have had the previlege to serve the
venture at its early stages.
I am proud of my first trainees whom I was very happy to meet in 1980
and who have been ambassadors of hard work and service,which is
still,the basis of the success of NTTF.I congratulae all collaborations of
NTTF,in particular Mr N.Reguraj for their outstanding performance in
the service of India.
With all the good wishes from my wife and myself for a bright future and
happiness for each and every man and woman associated with the NTTF.