by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine “I believe in hard work,” said Raj Peter Bhakta. He is not thinking small. All he wants to do is save America.As of Monday Bhakta is officially the owner of Poultney’s Green Mountain College. Bhakta presented the winning bid of $4.55 million for the sprawling former environmentally based institution on September 4. With a 10 percent buyer’s premium, the deal is valued at just over $5 million. He is the sole owner.When asked after the auction what he planned to do with the property, he told a Poultney resident, “I promise a revival of the college of Poultney, of Vermont, and of the United States.”The college closed in 2019.Bhakta told Vermont Business Magazine that he will keep the name and will pursue a sustainable model in which students will not be burdened with debt and “useless degrees” when they graduateBhakta said he is “impossibly aggressive” and hopes to have the first students enrolled as early as spring.There is logic there.Bhakta envisions “regenerative agriculture” using the entire campus and the substantial surrounding farmland to teach students how to work with and develop organic agricultural and business practices related to his spirits businesses.He was the founder of Shoreham-based WhistlePig Whiskey.Now he is developing Bhakta Brandy and other brands, including a whiskey in the future. He has two parcels in Shoreham with a total of 15,000 acres where most of the farming will be done. He said they’ve already planted 10 acres of vineyards.To make brandy, for instance, he said first you need to make wine. To make wine, you have to cultivate the best variety of grape for the local conditions.Students will learn that process and study soils, develop viable vineyards, learn how to prune and harvest and distill and then learn finance and how to market the product.He said the financial symbiosis will benefit his businesses which in turn will benefit the students and college which in turn will benefit the business.Bhakta envisions bestowing an associate’s degree first and eventually developing a four-year program for high school graduates.Beyond that, he said, he believes this model can be expanded to include nearly any age group from kindergarten to retirement.“I think we’re starting something completely new,” he said. He will run the school as a nonprofit.And the college will benefit Poultney.On the day he bought it he doubled employment to about 16. He has moved his wife and four children there.“We’re in whole hog,” Bhakta said.WhistlePig photo of Raj Peter Bhakta.Bhakta sold his stake in WhistlePig for an undisclosed sum in 2019.Green Mountain College President Robert Allen announced in January 2019 that the college would be closing. It held its last commencement that year.GMC was one of four colleges in Vermont that closed within a year, along with Southern Vermont College in Bennington, St Joseph’s College in Rutland, and Marlboro College.Bhakta said he is investing in the local community by restoring the college and using every part of it, “stem to stern.” Along with the college he hopes to revive Poultney.Agriculture is the root focus of the new Green Mountain College and farming is crucial to restoring the nation, he said.For a bright future, the nation needs to get back to its core values, he said, which he describes as, “A moral, just society that rewards hard work and dedication.”He’s trying a new model not only because the current model of higher education is not working, he said, but because the entire concept of for-profit education mirrors the immoral concept of for-profit healthcare that feeds a sick society led by the pharmaceutical industry.They and the food producers have manipulated society. They benefit from the “poison food” they’re serving up and this “moral outrage” has resulted in a “sick society.”Green Mountain College will be part of a system that grows better food for a healthier society, where family farms can thrive again, he said.Bhakta, 44, said he has a five-year plan to make it all work.“I have a vision,” Bhakta said, to restore the American Main Street as it might have been in 1955 as a place for families, optimism and growth.In Poultney, Main Street literally ends at Green Mountain College.
GAUGE conversion work on the Bangalore – Hassan – Mangalore corridor in southern India is to be completed by December 2004, following the decision to form a Special Purpose Vehicle to fund and manage the Rs1·5bn project. Indian Railways signed an accord in June with Karnataka’s state-owned infrastructure development corporation K-RIDE, covering gauge conversion work on the 142 km between Hassan and Mangalore (RG 6.02 p322). IR has already converted 189 km between Hassan and Sakleshpur. When completed, the route is expected to handle between 3 and 5 million tonnes of iron ore, manganese, granite and chemicals being shipped through Mangalore port by a consortium of industries including the National Mineral Development Corp. K-RIDE is currently working on four rail projects within Karnataka, including the Rs2·7bn Sholapur – Gadag line. The corporation hopes to form a second SPV to fund construction of the 58 km new new line between Hubli and Ankola, which is estimated to cost Rs10bn.H Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee laid a foundation stone on June 6 for a 2 km railway bridge across the Kosi river at Nirmali, in Bihar state. Expected to be completed in four years, the Rs3·2bn bridge is one of four being funded through the National Rail Vikas Yojana programme; it replaces a rail link washed away in 1934.
ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC):West Indies will attempt to break a 17-year winless streak against India in the longest format and also stave off another series clean sweep when they clash with the tourists in the opening Test here today.Their last success in a Test came when Carl Hooper’s side posted a 10-wicket victory at Georgetown on India’s tour of the Caribbean in 2002. Coincidentally, that five-match rubber was the last time the Windies beat India in a series.Since then, West Indies have endured a wretched run against the Asian powerhouses, losing 12 of their last 21 Tests home and away. Last year on the subcontinent, neither Test lasted three days.Despite the miserable record, captain Jason Holder said his side was upbeat ahead of the two-Test series, especially following on from their success against England earlier this year in the Caribbean.“I think the mindset of the team is a positive one. The guys are upbeat for the challenge,” Holder told reporters ahead of the contest at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.“We’ve been playing some pretty good Test cricket over the last couple years, and we’ve been able to put together some series wins which will prove pivotal for our confidence and our development. “The start of the Test championship brings something special. The guys really knows what’s at stake. It’s just a matter for us to continue doing the small things we’ve been doing and keep building a unit.”West Indies’ success against England came almost out of nowhere. They had suffered chastening defeats to India and Bangladesh in their previous four Tests late last year and had been given little hope against world number ones England.However, they crushed England by 381 runs in the Kensington Oval first Test, setting in train a stunning 2-1 series result that saw them reclaim the Wisden Trophy for the first time in a decade. Holder said if they were to be successful against the Indians, the Windies batsmen needed to follow the example of the bowling group in terms of their discipline. Disciplined bowling “As a bowling unit, we’ve been very, very disciplined, and it gave us a lot of positive results. In terms of our batting, we’ve got a number of individual star performers, [but] I still don’t think, collectively, we’ve done well enough as a batting unit. “The onus is on the batters now to just continue to improve. We have seen a lot of improvement, but we just want to get a little more consistency in that department.”West Indies have retained the core of the group, which were successful against England, but selectors have brought in off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall as the spin option.The 26-year-old has been rewarded for his consistency in the first-class championship and for West Indies A, and Holder said he was expecting him to excel once selected.