College textbooks prescribed for degree courses can burn a considerable hole in the budget of a student. The book bank project by Rockcity Welfare Association Tiruchi has come to the aid of more than 1,000 underprivileged students by loaning textbooks free of cost for the duration of their study.

Around 1,333 students from 12 colleges received textbooks for a three-year period at a recent event at Srimati Indira Gandhi College. Eligible students are recommended by principals and screened through an interview by members of the managing committee. Course books are loaned to selected applicants who are required to return them at the end of the year.

To spur students, cash prizes are awarded to top performers amongst the recipients and certificates presented to students who score above 85 per cent. Grooming classes to gear up students for post-college opportunities were launched this year. Beginning with 107 students, the project launched in 1988 has benefitted around 17,000 students, said Ashok Gandhi, chairman of the project, appealing for donors to be more generous.

Sri Brijmohan Choudhari Memorial Rolling Trophy for the best performing college was presented to Chidambaram Pillai College for Women. P.Kumar, MP, honoured best performers and M.Agarchandji Chordia, proprietor, Sri Jain Jewellery, Virdachalam, distributed prizes to toppers in individual disciplines. T.G.R.Vasantha Kumar, Sumathy Publications, Tiruchi, spoke. Donors, principals and coordinators were recognised for contributions to the project.