Ashok Leyland, Wipro, HCL among companies to hire them during campus placements.

Life has never been easy for G. Arunanandh, who lost his parents when he was still a child and was brought up by his grandmother in Poonamallee. Three years ago he was referred to Sri Ramakrishna Mission Polytechnic College by a well-wisher and was admitted to the mechanical engineering course. In May this year, he will join TATA Advanced Systems Ltd at Hyderabad and will start making helicopter cabins for a monthly salary of Rs. 18,500.

Similarly, S. Lokesh from Tiruvarur, also an orphan, joined automobile engineering at the college on the advice of his school teacher. He has now been recruited by Royal Sundaram. Fellow student S. Prasanth, whose widowed mother earned her living as a labourer, opted for mechanical engineering and now this boy from Dharmapuri will soon take up a job with Viprotech in Dubai.

“A total of 84 students — 40 mechanical engineering, 28 automobile engineering and 16 computer engineering — of the Ramakrishna Mission Polytechnic College have been selected by large companies through campus interviews. TATA Advanced System alone has recruited 22 students,” says Swami Satyajnanananda, secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission Students' Home, Mylapore.

Barring 2008-09 when India was hit by the economic meltdown, other years have seen all the students of the institute securing decent jobs in the final year of their courses.

According to Swami Satyajnanananda, orphans are given priority during admission to the institute. Children of single parents come next in the priority list. They are followed by children of poor parents. Accommodation and education for them is free. Every year, the college admits 40 students in the first year and another seven students in each stream in the second year as lateral entry. There are three streams available at the polytechnic college: mechanical engineering, automobile engineering and computer technology.

“Companies prefer our students because of their dedication, discipline and the right attitude towards work. Today the students have a variety of options to choose from and they settle for plum jobs,” explains M. Sugumaran, placement officer of the institute.

K. Ranganathan, son of a weaver from Vanavasi, a small village in Salem, is set to join Wipro along with four other classmates. He is a student of computer engineering. While working for Wipro, he and the others will simultaneously pursue a five-year MS programme in BITS, Pilani.

“We train them to improve their English-speaking skills. Now we also offer a course in Hindi as many of them are getting placement in north India,” says Mr. Sugumaran.

Eighteen students including M. Thanigaivel, who lost his father in childhood and was brought up by his mother, will join Ashok Leyland. In the first year they will get Rs 15,000 per month, second year Rs 18,000 and from third year, upwards of Rs 43,000. S. Govindarajan, son of a weaver from Srivilliputhur in Southern Tamil Nadu, will join HCL along with six others.

“When the student's home was inaugurated in Chennai, many wondered whether such a palace-like building was indeed necessary. But Swami Brahmananda responded to the criticism, saying that there was no rule that poor students should live only in huts. It has indeed proved to be a palace for the poor,” says Swami Satyajnanananda.

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