Category Archives: Business & Economy

Family contests GI tag for Aranmula mirror, says their formula was leaked

The unique mirror, made of high-tin bronze in a secretive metallurgical formula, has found patrons across the globe.

Kochi :

The geographical indication (GI) of Aranmula mirror  — the first product from Kerala to receive the tag in 2005 — has been contested by a family that claims to have developed its technology. The unique mirror, made of high-tin bronze in a secretive metallurgical formula, has found patrons across the globe.

Members of Thikkinampallil family, hailing from Aranmula in Pathanamthitta, have contested the GI tag given to Viswabrahmana Aranmula Metal Mirror Nirman Society (VAMMNS) by the Geographical Indications registry. “We have moved the Chennai registry to cancel the tag for Aranmula mirror and instead give it to our Thikkinampallil Aranmula mirror,” said M C Sureshbabu, secretary of Thikkinampallil Aranmula Metal Mirror Nirman Family Charitable Trust (Thikkinampallil Trust).

The family also plans to move court against the tag. Sureshbabu said his predecessors were brought from Shankaran Kovil near Thirunelveli by a former Pandalam raja for the construction of Aranmula Parthasarathy temple. “The manufacturing technique of the mirror was developed by one of our family members through trial and error. We have a certificate given by the Travancore ruler to one of our family members in the 1940s to attend an exhibition to support our claim that our family had traditionally been into Aranmula mirror making. The formula, however, leaked through workshop assistants,” he said.

The website of GI registry shows that the application from Thikkinampallil Trust is being examined. “The first sitting on our application is over; we are awaiting the examination report,” James said.

‘ Application from Thikkinampallil Trust being examined’

“We have a certificate given by the Travancore ruler to one of our family members in the 1940s to attend an exhibition to support our claim that our family had traditionally been into Aranmula mirror making. The formula, however, leaked through workshop assistants,” he said.

The website of GI registry shows that the application from Thikkinampallil Trust is being examined. “The first sitting on our application is over; we are awaiting the examination report,” said Febin James, legal counsel to Thikkinampallil Trust.

The immediate provocation for the petition with the GI registry was the opposition from VAMMNS to Sureshbabu’s mother Maniammal opening a mirror dealership near Aranmula temple nearly three years ago. “We have a certificate given by the Travancore ruler to one of our family members in the 1940s to attend an exhibition to support this. The formula, however, leaked through workshop assistants,” Sureshbabu said.

Society founding president A K Selvaraj said it tried to stop the sale of mirrors as Maniammal’s shop had been sourcing them from a relative’s workshop in Cherthala. “When something is GI tagged, it should be produced in that region only,” he said. “A member of Thikkinampallil Trust was the founder treasurer of VAMMNS but the relationship soured after VAMMNS decided to impose holograms on products.”

James said VAMMNS couldn’t insist on manufacturing mirrors in Aranmula. “Unlike the Darjeeling tea, which is very much tied to the locality where it is grown, the Aranmula mirror is a technology-based product and it could be made anywhere,” he said.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kochi News / by Shenoy Karun / TNN / January 04th, 2018

Marayoor jaggery to get GI status

Awareness meeting of sugarcane farmers and jaggery producers on Jan 4

Marayoor jaggery, a world famous delicacy, will soon get Geographical Indication status. The documentation and scientific studies on this unique jaggery are in the completion stage.

Marayoor and Kanthalloor Panchayaths in Idukki district are famous for the unique product Marayoor jaggery or Marayoorsharkara.

Marayoorsharkara is one of the sweetest jaggeries produced in the area using traditional technologies. High sweetness without salty taste, high content of iron, less sodium content, less insoluble impurities, organic method of production and dark brown colour are the unique characters of this traditional sharkara.

A meeting of the apex body constituted for the GI registration of Marayoor jaggery chaired by Minister for Agriculture V.S. Sunil Kumar at Kerala  Agricultural University on Thursday decided to submit the GI application at the earliest.

An awareness meeting of sugarcane farmers and jaggery producers will be held on January 4, 2018 at Marayoor as a prelude to this.

The quality of Marayoor jaggery is attributed to low temperature prevailing in the area, soil characteristics, quality of water used for irrigation and jaggery production, the traditional methods of production and sugarcane varieties used in cultivation.

Another specialty of this jaggery is that it is not made in factories using modern equipment, but in the jaggery production sheds located in the farm itself, in a traditional manner. The jaggery produced from the geographical area has a higher market demand than that produced from other regions, since it is very sweet in taste and is of good quality.

Marayoor sharkara without colouring agents will be dark brown in colour. Undasharkara (ball shaped, solid form) is the main product of the area while paani ( liquid form), flavoured sharkara and powder form are also produced in minor quantities.

The procedures for GI registration of Marayoor jaggery was launched on December 29, 2016 by Agriculture Minister V. S. Sunil Kumar. KAU Vice-Chancellor Dr. Chandra Babu R , Registrar Dr. Leena kumary , Director of Research Dr. Indira Devi and Dr. C.R. Elsy, Coordinator of IPR Cell participated in the meeting, along with apex body members.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by Mini Muringatheri / Thrissur – December 29th, 2017

Keralite in tourism encyclopedia team

World’s largest encyclopedia on Tourism

‘Gods Own Country’, billed as one of the ten paradises in the world and one of the 50 must-see destinations of a lifetime, is now seeking attention through an academic contribution to the world’s largest encyclopedia in tourism.

Dileep M.R., a researcher in tourism-related issues and Head, Department of Tourism, Pazhassiraja College, Pulpally, Wayanad, has made this possible by getting nominated as a member in the expert team of hundreds of researchers and academicians from around the globe that prepared the Encyclopedia of Tourism.

Published by Springer, New York, the United States, the reference book, running more than 1100 pages, has elaborate descriptions consisting of definitions, explanations, examples/cases, and references for more than 700 key topics spanning travel, tourism, hospitality, and allied areas of the industry.

Dr. Dileep was included in the team based on his research paper published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research brought out from Hong Kong.

“The encyclopaedia is more research-oriented, collects the essence of the world’s leading tourism research with its application, and provides authoritative definitions and explanations of all important tourism topics. It is going to be the epicentre of this emerging discipline of tourism,” says Dr. Dileep.

source:  http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by S. Anil Radhakrishnan / Thiruvananthapuram – December 29th, 2017

Malabar: It’s no giving up for footwear industry

Started in the 1980s, the footwear industry in the region is growing with new units emerging every year.

Representational Image

Kozhikode :

The footwear industry of the Malabar region registered a jump over the years with the annual cumulative turnover of the Kozhikode-based footwear companies alone crossing Rs 1,500 crore, according to the Kerala State Small Scale Industries Association. With 150 manufacturing units supported by 300 ancillary units and providing direct employment to 25,000 workers, the footwear sector has been a breadwinner for thousands of families. With many popular brands including VKC, Paragon, Lunar, Mark, Odyssia, Cubiz, Fisher, Hawalker and Jogger, the footwear sector of the state is strong and most of the players have their origins in Kozhikode, it was pointed out.

Confederation of Indian Footwear Industry vice-president V. Naushad, who is also the managing director of VKC group, told DC that Kozhikode is contributing a lion’s share of the state’s footwear production. “Unified efforts of the industry players helped in making significant growth over the years”, he said, adding that India could pose a challenge to China, the global footwear market leader, in a few years.

“The entrepreneurs here have been getting exposure to world class technologies and changing trends during the International Footwear Exhibitions that is organized often which attracts several players to the footwear industry”, he added.    Started in the 1980s, the footwear industry in the region is growing with new units emerging every year. The flagship footwear company of the region is the VKC group with an annual turnover of Rs 1,500 crore (approx.).

source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com / Deccan Chronicle / Home> Nation> In other news / Deccan Chronicle / November 28th, 2017

Rasayana gets thumbs up from scientists

Paper vouches for cardioprotective properties of gooseberry-based Rasayana

Rasayana treatment, a specialised branch of Ayurveda, is traditionally associated with rejuvenation of vital body tissues and retardation of the ageing process. For thousands of years, Ayurveda physicians have used an array of herbal formulations to promote strength and increase resistance to toxic agents.

Now modern science has come up with experimental evidence for the beneficial effects of Rasayana and its mechanism of action. A team of scientists from the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology and Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, Manipal University, Vellore Institute of Technology and Kottakkal Arya Vaidyasala have published a paper corroborating the cardioprotective properties of Amalaki Rasayana, a traditional Ayurvedic formulation based on the Indian gooseberry.

Animal trials demonstrated that long-term intake of Amalaki Rasayana (AR) can ameliorate cardiac dysfunction associated with ageing and Pressure Overload Left Ventricular Hypertrophy, a condition that causes thickening of the cardiac muscle, leading to heart failure.

The scientists found that AR induces molecular-level changes that build up resistance to the toxic effects of free radicals and maximises the efficiency of heart muscle contraction, leading to better energy. The work has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Exercise tolerance

“We found that aged rats fed with AR had higher exercise tolerance,” says C.C. Kartha from RGCB, one of the co-authors of the paper. Fatigue time in treadmill exercise was found to be significantly higher in AR administered rats. AR was also found to increase the exercise tolerance and left ventricular function in hypertrophic rats.

Gene expression analysis proved that AR could trigger the expression of proteins to arrest age-related changes in cardiac muscles. The scientists reported the presence of anti-inflammatory metabolites in AR that contribute to improved cardiac function. “Though the therapeutic properties of gooseberry are well known, it came as a surprise to us that AR could induce such changes at the tissue, cellular and molecular levels,” Dr. Kartha said.

The team is currently working on scientific evaluation of the process of preparing AR as prescribed in ancient Ayurvedic texts. “For instance, there is a section that insists on distilling the gooseberry juice 21 times for maximum efficacy. The role of honey and ghee and their proportion in preparing the formulation have to be examined in detail,” says Dr.Kartha.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by T. Nandakumar / Thiruvananthapuram – December 22nd, 2017

Diving school named after war veteran

Chiman Singh interacting with naval divers at the Naval Base on Friday.

It will be known as Chiman Singh Block

A newly-constructed modern dive training facility at the Diving School of the Southern Naval Command, christened as Chiman Singh Block, was jointly inaugurated by Chief of Staff of the Command Rear Admiral R.J. Nadkarni and former Petty Officer Clearance Diver and Maha Vir Chakra holder Chiman Singh at an event held at the Naval Base on Friday.

The facility houses a state-of-the-art recompression chamber complex and a laboratory, besides modern stores. It will make dive training at the school comparable with the best in the world.

Chiman Singh, after whom the new facility is named, was awarded the second highest gallantry medal for his exploits as a Leading Seaman in the 1971 Indo-Pak War.

Unmatched valour

Deployed off the Bangladesh coast, he displayed unparalleled gallantry in the face of the enemy in rescuing several of his colleagues, despite being severely injured.

The sailor was eventually taken prisoner-of-war (POW) and released on culmination of the war.

This is the highest gallantry award ever received by a naval person. Bangladesh honoured him with the Friends of Bangladesh Liberation Award in 2013.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu /  Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Special Correspondent / Kochi – December 16th, 2017

Kudumbasree’s meaty move, this time from Palakkad

To open 10 poultry meat stalls across the district in January in a first such move in the State

For the first time in the State, women self-help groups under the Kudumbasree Poverty Eradication Mission will start 10 exclusive shops in key locations of Palakkad district by January first week to market their own brand of processed and packaged poultry meat.

The shops, supported by 102 poultry farms across the district, will supply high-quality broiler meat at an affordable rate. In another two months, similar shops will start functioning across the State.

Talking to The Hindu here, Kudumbasree district mission coordinator S.P. Harifa Beegum said Palakkad would be the first district to have the retail chain titled Kudumbasree Chicken. Initiated with the assistance of the Animal Husbandry department, these stalls would help the State to stop depending on neighbouring Tamil Nadu for chicken. With the retail chain becoming a Statewide network, Kerala could achieve self-sufficiency in poultry meat production and broiler chicken rearing, she said.

“It was in the first week of November that the Kudumbasree chicken project was initiated in Kerala with the State-level inauguration in Thiruvananthapuram. Since then, we have been attracting women self-help groups to the sector by ensuring financial backup. Women are getting attracted to the field on a large scale in Palakkad because it needs low investments and minimal space,” she said.

Kudumbasree’s own hatchery in Thrissur would supply one-day-old chicks to the units in Palakkad on a daily basis. There would be strict quality monitoring at all levels, including rearing, processing and packaging. The prices would be less than the existing market rate. Among the 102 groups in Palakkad, 41 are existing licence holders in the field with previous expertise in rearing. Kudumbasree is encouraging rearing units set up by groups and individuals, Ms. Beegum said.

“If there is a shortage in supply of chicks from Thrissur, we will ensure alternative availability from hatcheries in Tamil Nadu. However, there will be strict enforcement of scientific rearing with quality,” said Ms. Beegum. According to her, Palakkad would have the largest network of broiler chicken farms of Kudumbasree in the next one year and they would support even retail stalls in other parts of the State.

“The chicken from our farms may be smaller in size because of our adherence to indigenous style of rearing,” she said.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by K. A. Shaji / Palakkad – December 12th, 2017

Kochi-Muziris Biennale art to adorn Cochin International Airport wall

Sadanandan’s work depict origin of clans.

P.K. Sadanandan next to his mural painting.

Kochi :

One of the biggest attractions of the third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, a massive natural colour mural by artist P.K. Sadanandan depicting a popular story from Kerala folklore, has now been installed at the new international terminal (T3) building of Cochin International Airport. Telling the well-known tale of the origins of the clans in Kerala “Parayi Petta Panthirukulam” was painstakingly created by Sadanandan and three of his colleagues over the 108 days of the Biennale from December 2016 to March this year using natural dyes extracted from stones, leaves, oil, sand and tree sap. No synthetic colours were used.

Top officials from the government and CIAL who visited the Biennale at the time had expressed the desire to find the 15mx3m mural a home at the newly constructed Terminal 3 at the airport. Among the champions of the idea were Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, former minister M.A. Baby and Ernakulam MP Prof K.V. Thomas who saw the artwork as a great symbol of Kerala to greet visitors to the state. “After the Biennale, we had meetings with V.J. Kurian, the MD of CIAL and other officials to complete the formalities to install the mural in the new Terminal 3. We facilitated their talks with the artist and offered logistical support for the installation,” said Bose Krishnamachari, the president of the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF).

“CIAL is the fourth busiest airport in the country and a masterpiece such as this deserves to be installed here, as it conveys the idea of secularism and speaks strongly against caste-based discrimination,” he added. Sadanandan himself was thrilled at the idea that the work would be viewed by thousands of people passing through the airport every day. “I am happy that the painting will draw international attention from a world which may not always focus on art. The methods used in drawing this may have been ancient and traditional, but the message it conveys has much relevance in the present time,” he added.

“I hope that this relationship will give a fillip to the efforts made by KBF to place Kerala on the world cultural map.  The last three editions of the biennale have produced many masterpieces. I believe, ‘Parayi Petta Panthirukulam’ is certainly one of them,” said V.J. Kurian IAS, Managing Director, CIAL. The work requires careful maintenance and preserving under certain temperature conditions and it might have placed a huge financial burden on the host. CIAL was a great alternative,” said KBF Secretary Riyas Komu.

source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com / Deccan Chronicle / Home> Lifestyle> Books & Art / Deccan Chronicle / December 05th, 2017

Mulanthuruthy’s women ‘stars’ making waves

Vanitha Vedhi members making Christmas stars that feature LED lighting systems assembled by them.

The women’s forum received a lot of public attention with its initiative. The price of the stars being sold ahead of the festival this season ranges between IRs 130 and IRs 230.

These women in Mulanthuruthy are the ‘stars’ ahead of Christmas as they have launched a programme to make and sell LED stars for the 2017 season. The Vanitha Vedhi women’s group under Mulanthuruthy Public Library hopes to sell around 300 of the stars which feature LED lighting systems assembled by them.

The ‘stars’ initiative is the continuation of a project to locally assemble and repair LED lighting systems launched in August this year. The women’s forum received a lot of public attention with its initiative. The price of the stars being sold ahead of the festival this season ranges between ₹130 and ₹230.

The women are confident that the products are priced competitively. The group of women is already well-known in the area with their brand of LED lighting systems under the name ‘Sooryakanthi’. They have been selling LED bulbs and tube lights under the brand name.

Ajitha Ramachandran, who is among the group of women, said on Saturday that they expected good response from the public as the people were aware of the novelty of their initiative. Besides selling stars during the Christmas-New Year season, the group of women also hopes to popularise LED lighting systems to save energy.

Early this year, Ms. Ramachandran along with Benny Lalan decided to get trained in making LED lighting systems. They were part of a group of around a hundred women in three batches who were given training in LED assembling and repairing. The initiative has helped substantially in increasing the reach of LED lighting systems in the neighbourhoods of the Vanitha Vedhi.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Special Correspondent / Kochi – December 04th, 2017

Prizes given for Water Metro designs

Sweet success: KMRL Managing Director A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish presenting prizes to the winners of the design competition for the Kochi Water Metro terminals at Fort Kochi and Vyttila .

City firm, team from Chalakudy win honours

The prizes for the architectural design competition conducted by Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) for the proposed ferry terminals of the Kochi Water Metro Project at Fort Kochi and Vyttila were presented by KMRL Managing Director Mohammed Hanish.

The design by Studio Homosapiens, an architectural firm from Panampilly Nagar in the city comprising V. Vinaya Das (team leader), T.S. Dhanesh V.S., Roopa Mathew, and Abhilash, was awarded the first prize for the design for Fort Kochi while Rajiv Babu and Ameena Hamza from Chalakudy received the prize for the best design for the Vyttila terminal. Dayal Paul Sebastien, Kakkanad, and Ajay Sethi of PSP Design, Chennai, got the second prizes for Fort Kochi and Vyttila terminals respectively.

The first prize winners received a prize money of ₹50,000 each whereas the runners-up got ₹25,000 each.

All shortlisted designs got consolation prizes of ₹5,000 each.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Special Correspondent / Kochi – November 30th, 2017