Monthly Archives: May 2014

Tracing a shipyard’s voyage over the years

The book is full of interesting and less-known anecdotes about the Cochin Shipyard and the city. / The Hindu
The book is full of interesting and less-known anecdotes about the Cochin Shipyard and the city. / The Hindu

‘Tale of Cochin Shipyard and of Kochi Too’ is a tiny tome that traces the origin and growth of India’s second shipbuilding yard in Kochi.

The English rendering of a book titled, ‘Cochin Shipyardinte Katha, Kochiyudeyum’ authored by Vadayar Sasi a.k.a A.M. Sasidharan, a former employee of the most successful public sector shipbuilding facility in India, the volume is an authentic account on the shipyard related in the form of emails exchanged between an engineering student to her younger cousin and is therefore simple, straightforward and readable.

The translation, however, leaves a lot to be desired. An upcoming creative writer in Malayalam, Mr. Sasi maintained notes on various developments pertaining to the yard during his 36-year-old stint with it, which helped him notch up a comprehensive account of its journey to excellence.

Mock ship launch

It has many interesting and less-known anecdotes, such as the one on the unique mock ship launch protest taken out by those evicted from their land to make way for the yard.

As the yard failed to take shape even years after it received the government nod, the evictees made a ship replica using bamboo and paper, named it ‘SS Cochin Rani’ and paraded it across the city before launching it from a site north of the Venduruthy Bridge.

Quirkier anecdotes like ‘hull shop’, a word unfamiliar to many then, being mistaken for ‘kallushop’ (toddy shop) by young engineering students add to the colour of the book, which contains rare black and white photographs from the archives.


The volume has its forward written by literary critic M.K. Sanoo, who calls it ‘attractive’ as a ‘storehouse of information’. Besides dwelling on the history of the yard, the author also takes significant detours to talk about the people who contributed to the growth of the city and the yard.

Published by the yard itself, the volume is priced at Rs. 150.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by  Special Correspondent / Kochi – May 31st, 2014

Farmer Tastes Success with Variety of Vegetables


Thiruvananthapuram :

When he followed in his father’s footsteps in farming at a tender age, K P Divakaran had not imagined that agriculture would bring him fame in future. This 63-year-old farmer, hailing from Peruvayal,  Kozhikode, is the winner of the award of excellence for his outstanding performance in the implementation of various components under the Vegetable Development Programme of the Kozhikode District Agriculture Department, this year.

The award, comprising a memento, a citation and a cash award of `10,000, is more than an encouraging factor for the middle class farmer. “I look upon the award as a recognition of my effort,” smiles the lean man while harvesting ripe bananas at his plantain farm. “With the cash award I am planning to try out new crops in my farm,” says Divakaran, who keeps farming first in his list of priorities. His cluster received the award for the best cluster in the district.

A dropout from Peruvayal UP School, Divakaran took farming as a full-time job to help his father make both ends meet. Uncertain about the satisfaction and comfort level offered by the title of a farmer, he left farming when he  was 20.

Without getting a decent job he returned back to farming in his 30s. Asked what he receives from farming, he says, everything. In his 50 cent land, he cultivates plantain, bitter gourd, pumpkin, spinach, tapioca, long beans and many more.

“I am rooted to the soil and rarely do I take my feet off from my field. For the past 33 years I have been following conventional farming methods in my farm.” When asked about experimenting with farming, he says, “I am not from a well-off family and still I am not in a position to experiment with farming. A simple mistake made during new experiments may wholly affect the entire cultivation,” he says.

Divakaran himself sells vegetables to customers without the help of a middleman. “What keeps me close to my customers is the absence of a middlemen. After finishing my works at my farm in the evening I go for door-to-door delivery of my produce. “I have never returned home with unsold vegetables,” he says.

In his words, enough water and manpower are available, but the unavailability of land is a major problem that farmers come across in Peruvayal. You can hardly find a land lying underutilised in the small panchayat. Thanking the Agriculture Department for its support, he says the department encourages farmers by providing them with new seeds and imparting knowledge on the use of bio-fertilisers. “They also give us a free hand in cultivation,” he says.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Aswatha Krishnan / May 30th, 2014

Launch of Another ‘Pattoor Model’ Today

Thiruvananthapuram  :

After popularising an organic waste convertor with the epithet ‘Pattoor model’, a mechanism to process non-biodegradable waste is making its appearance at Pattoor from Thursday onwards.

Named ‘Fire-ball Series Green Incinerator,’ the Rs five-lakh worth equipment converts materials made of leather and rubber into ashes at 500 degrees Celsius without consuming fuel or causing environmental pollution.

It is under the aegis of Pattoor Housing Accommodation Scheme Apartment Owners’ and Allottees Association that the initiative has been launched. The machinery is designed by 4 R Technologies in Thrissur.

Fumes emanating during the burning process will be passed through a water scrubber arrangement where toxic gases and particles will dissolve in water and the fumes leaving the chimney would be white in colour. The chimney is installed at a height of 100 feet not to cause atmospheric pollution. To make materials with high moisture content burn faster, an electric blower is also attached.   Getting inspired from the award-winning Malayalam movie ‘Perariyathavar’, the inauguration of the incinerator is to be performed by a Kudumbashree worker Sulochana, who has been engaged in collecting waste from the place for over a decade now. Director of the movie Dr Biju will be honoured by K Muraleedharan MLA. Biju will deliver the keynote address as well.

On the occasion, Mayor K Chandrika will honour three Kudumbashree workers, Sulochana, Mini and Ushakumari. The programme is at 5.30 pm at Pattoor EMS Nagar Apartment Complex.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Express News Service / May 29th, 2014

‘Chenda’ Teaching Takes off Online


Manoj Warrier, a non-resident Keralite living in Singapore, learning ‘chenda’ through Skype
Manoj Warrier, a non-resident Keralite living in Singapore, learning ‘chenda’ through Skype

Thiruvananthapuram :

It was a rare beginning to the learning of a traditional art. Taking the first ‘beats’ of the percussion instrument ‘chenda’ through Skype, though sounding off the track when announced, turned into a reality on Sunday.

‘Chenda’ exponent Prakasan Pazhampalacode launched the online class, his new venture to teach the instrument to non-resident Malayalis, by coaching Manoj Warrier, an army officer in Singapore.

“Everything worked well. I felt no inconvenience in teaching  online. The only difficulty was that I couldn’t punish him when he made mistakes,” said Prakasan with a smile.

Prakasan has fixed the time table for continuing the programme in the coming days. On Mondays, there will be two classes of one hour each for two students living in New York and two classes for those in Canada. On Tuesdays, there will be a class for Russia, two classes each for  Keralites living in Delhi and Mumbai. Fridays are given for Gulf countries like Dubai, Qatar, Muscat, Kuwait and Riyadh. On Saturdays, there will  be three classes for the pupils in Australia. Singapore and London find the place in the time table for Sundays. Four classes will be given for those in Singapore and two classes for those in London.

It was those Malayalis eager to learn to play the instrument who inspired Prakasan to start the online classes. The teaching is through Skype,  a freemium voice-over-IP service and instant messaging client. Prakasan will visit the countries every four months to assess the progress of the studies, the expense of which will be borne by those who learn. The students are those who were unable to learn it, though they had a deep passion, owing to circumstances.

Prakasan, a 48-year-old, is a known figure in teaching the instrument. The artiste, who has given several memorable performances, taught chenda to the inmates of Central Prisons of Viyyur and Poojappura. He also taught chenda to the girls of Sri Chitra Poor Home and the students of the Government School for Visually Impaired at Vazhuthacaud.  He is conducting the classes for the jail inmates and school students without charging any fee.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Express News Service / May 26th, 2014

Showcasing Imprints of City’s Maritime History

The museum that was opened to public at Willingdon island on Monday| express
The museum that was opened to public at Willingdon island on Monday| express

Kochi :

It was exactly 86 years ago that Kochi’s own port became a reality  with S S Padma cruising into its inner berth. In 1928, Sir Robert Bristow  made a indelible signature on Kochi’s history by shaping up a port which is  now the most sought-after one in the South West India.

As the Port Trust celebrates 86th Port Day on Monday, the Cochin Port Trust  along with Bristow Society, Chamber of Commerce and Customs and Sea Marines Association has set up a heritage museum near the Cochin Port Trust office.

Paul Antony, chairman, Cochin Port Trust, inaugurated the museum titled ‘Kochi Maritime Heritage Museum’ at Willingdon Island on Monday.

The museum will be opened to the public from 10 am to 5 pm from Monday to Saturday. The heritage museum unveils the history of the Kochi port during a period of 21 years starting from 1920 to 1941. The photographs exhibited on the walls flaunt the evolution of the port  from a water body to a congested berth of ships.

According to C Unnikrishnan, Cochin Port Trust secretary, the museum is a tribute to Sir Robert Bristow. “The museum has around 70 photos and other devices and instruments that virtually tell the history of the port. The 70 pictures tell the evolution of the port. The photos also convey the efforts made by the architects and construction workers to build a port. It was in 1928 that the ships were berthed at the inner harbour. Before that, the ships were berthed at the outer sea. The visitors can also see the various stages of the construction of the port,” he said.

“The museum will also feature rare documents, navigational instruments plans and devices which were used in the early decades of 20th century. The construction plan of the port drawn by the Robert Bristow is the highlight among the lot. Besides, the parts of the ships, signal devices, anchors and miniatures are also on display, said Unnikrishnan.

The museum will be managed by Bristow Memorial Society. Ticket rate would be `10 per person.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Kochi / by Express News Services – nie / May 27th, 2014

‘Capt Krishnan Nair Model to Younger Generation’

Thiruvananthapuram :

Capt Krishnan Nair, the founder chairman of the Leela Group of Hotels who passed away last Saturday, was remembered here on Friday as an enterprising businessman, a successful Malayali and a multi-faceted individual whose interests ranged from subjects as surprisingly diverse as gardening to international diplomacy.

‘’I see him as a amazing man who created a success story with his own labour. He is a model to the younger generation,’’ Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who inaugurated a commemoration organised by Global Kerala Initiative-Keraleeyam, said.

“He had a vision on Kerala’s development. And he was angry when it did not materliase. Age-wise he was older than many of us. But he interacted with everyone as a friend,’’ Chandy recalled.

Former Ambassador T P Sreenivasan’s first meet with the industrialist was in Fiji during his tenure there. He remembered Krishnan Nair’s avid interest in international matters. ‘’He was there for a week. He apparently had heard about the Regent Resort there and wanted his upcoming hotel in Goa to look like it. I don’t know how he had heard about the Regent,’’ Sreenivasan, who is vice-chairman of the State Higher Education Council and chairs the advisory committee of Keraleeyam, said.

‘’And his knowledge about that small nation was so extraordinary that a Fijian official asked whether he was ‘from your CIA?’’’

‘’In his book he has written how international diplomacy should be conducted. He had a global vision,’’ Sreenivasan said.  Chief Secretary E K Bharat Bhushan recalled Krishnan Nair’s tussle with the State Government over the Halcyon Castle, the industrialist’s interest in gardening and his early days promoting ‘Bleeding Madras,’ the handloom brand. ‘’He was also a keen admirer of V P Menon,’’ Bharat Bhushan said.

Journalist K P Mohanan related how Krishnan Nair, as a young school boy, surprised the then Chirackal ruler with a short verse who then promised to support his education.

E M Najeeb, chairman, Indian Association of Tour Operators, Kerala chapter, also spoke.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Kerala / by Express News Service / May 24th, 2014

Cinderella story makes govt girls school envy of Kerala


The PRISM concept was shared with Prof Saji Gopinath of IIM-Kozhikode.

A government girls school in Kerala,patronised mostly by students from poor families seeking free education,has established excellent standards and become the envy of other institutions in the state,thanks to an unlikely group of benefactors — a CPM MLA,a Dubai-based NRI businessman,IIM-Kozhikode,ISRO and Infosys.

From the days of weather-beaten buildings and less than a dozen toilets for 2,300 girls,the Government Vocational Higher Secondary School in Nadakkavu in Kozhikode has seen its student strength rise and is aiming to become one of the 10 best schools in the country while several government schools in Kerala have either closed down or been categorised unviable after students preferred private institutions.

The transformation has its roots in a programme called Promote Regional Schools to International Standards through Multiple Intervention (PRISM) launched by Kozhikode’s CPM MLA Pradeep Kumar.

“Since I became a legislator in 2006,parents in my constituency were seeking my recommendation for their children’s admission in leading private schools in the city. This forced me to think about improving facilities at government schools,which have the best teachers recruited on merit basis. If IIMs and IITs are the best in their categories,why can’t a government school excel,’’ Kumar said.

While the MLA has given the school Rs 5.5 crore from his local area development fund since 2008,Dubai-based businessman K E Faizal,through his Faizal and Shabana Foundation,has donated Rs 15 crore to modernise infrastructure.

Together,the funds helped develop state-of-the-art school buildings – including a new block built under the guidance of Scottish architect William Cooper – an indoor stadium with three basketball courts,hockey ground with astro turf,football and badminton courts,a dining hall with 2,000 seating capacity,atrium,gymnasium,heritage zone,science lab and a library with 25,000 books.

The PRISM concept was shared with Prof Saji Gopinath of IIM-Kozhikode,who roped in a social service group of the institute to prepare a project report. Subsequently,the state education department recognised PRISM as a model project for the overall development of government schools.

ISRO was approached for support when Madhavan Nair was its chairman. It constructed four science labs which are on par with any college. Infosys pitched in with 150 computers.

The academic and infrastructure developments have attracted more students,with student strength jumping to 2,300 from 1,800 from classes 5 to 12 this academic year.

“Ninety-five per cent students hail from the most backward families in the city. There are students who are subjected to torture by their drunken fathers. They do not have a peaceful atmosphere to study at home. Some don’t have basic furniture to do home work. We have even thought about constructing a dormitory so that these deprived girls can stay in school during their exams,” said principal Been Philip.

The PRISM project has boosted the confidence of teacher and students. We are looking for cent per cent result in school exams,” he added.

Although the school is expected to face a rush for admission in the next academic year,MLA Kumar said it has been decided to give preference to students from government lower primary schools over those from unaided private schools.

source: / The Indian Express / Home> News-Archive> Web / by Shaju Philip / Thiruvananthapuram / December 31st, 2014

15 years on, CIAL continues to fly high

A night view of International terminal of Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL). / Photo: Thulasi Kakkat / The Hindu
A night view of International terminal of Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL). / Photo: Thulasi Kakkat / The Hindu

The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) – the airport that introduced the path breaking concept of public-private partnership in India’s aviation sector — is all set to achieve another milestone. On May 25, CIAL will celebrate 15 years of operations.

From a project initiated in a remote village of Nedumbassery on the city outskirts, it has now grown leaps and bounds to earn a place in the global aviation map. Starting on an initial cost of Rs.283 crore, the company achieved its break within four years, and recorded a cumulative annual growth rate of 20 per cent in the initial eight years and 12 per cent thereafter.

The airport — a pioneering venture in attracting NRI investment in infrastructure development — has improved upon its infrastructure. It has now mooted a development plan that targets to achieve a turnover of Rs.3,000 crore by 2023 – with 20 per cent aero revenue, 30 per cent non-aero revenue and 50 per cent non-aviation revenue.

As part of it, the airport unveiled an ambitious expansion plan by going for a state-of-the-art modern international terminal to keep pace with its growing status and ever increasing passenger traffic. To be set up at an investment of over Rs.800 crore, the new terminal will have a built-up area of 15 lakh sq. ft with a peak hour capacity to handle 4,000 passengers, as against the present capacity of 1,200 passengers.

Similarly, it also seeks to augment its non-aviation income by offering consultancy services and is already in the race for developing a couple of airports including Kolkata, Lucknow, Ahmedabad and Jaipur, officials said.

The airport, with an average of 900 take-offs per week and annual average passenger traffic of around 4.8 million, has over 20 airlines operating from there, both domestic and international. It is still in the process of following up new airlines, especially from the Europe and the U.S.


In the last fiscal ended on March 2013, the company posted a net profit of around Rs.111 crore against the Rs.102 crore in the previous period. During the year, passenger traffic through here touched 5 million and recorded a passenger growth of 11.49 per cent and 7.8 per cent growth in the international and domestic sectors.

The airport company is also keen on expanding its footprint beyond airport development and has planned to diversify its area of operations.

source:  / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Staff Reporter / Kochi – May 23rd, 2014

Clearing all hurdles with determination


Akhila B. S
Akhila B. S

She never applied for a medical certificate qualifying her for grace marks or extra time.

“I was told several times that I should do so since I am eligible. But I wanted the examination score to reflect only my work,” said Akhila B.S., a student who scored 1,191 marks, just nine short of the perfect 1,200 score for the higher secondary examinations.

The 18-year-old seemed mildly confused by all the attention she had been getting since Tuesday, when the results were announced.

Her score, 99.25 per cent, becomes a more admirable feat considering the fact that she is physically challenged.

A student of St. Mary’s Higher Secondary School, Pattom, Akhila lost her right arm when she was in kindergarten.

But that should have no bearing on the rest of my life, she says.

“I was very young when the accident happened, so it’s not like I had to relearn how to write with my left hand. It was a long time ago and I became self-sufficient in a while,” she says, almost dismissive of what she has managed to achieve.

There is a conviction that shines through her personality and is even reflected in the choices she has made about her higher studies.

She wants to become a civil servant and to get there, she felt that the five-year long humanities course offered by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras is ideal.

It was a deliberate choice to do science courses till the end of the school, she says.

“For one, I love Physics and I enjoy studying it. But more importantly, I felt it was important to have a base in science for it will help you think more logically,” she said.

source:  http://www.thehindu / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram  / by Staff Reporter  /  Thiruvananthapuram  – May 15th, 2014

On show, cartoons that drubbed politicos

KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran enjoys the political cartoon exhibition organised by the Ernakulam Press Club at Kochi on Wednesday. /  The Hindu
KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran enjoys the political cartoon exhibition organised by the Ernakulam Press Club at Kochi on Wednesday. / The Hindu

Political cartoon exhibition at Press Club Hall

Political cartoons freeze contemporary political history for eternity with a wry smile.

Election times are considered to be windfalls for political cartoonists when netas of all political hues make their presence felt in society.

The political cartoon exhibition organised by the Ernakulam Press Club at Press Club Hall had a unique visitor, V.M. Sudheeran, the KPCC president, on Wednesday.

Mr. Sudheeran, through his distinctive political stance, had himself become a hot favourite of many political cartoonists in recent times.

The otherwise serious politician walked through the exhibition with a smile on his face enjoying the cartoons in which he too had become a subject.

Appreciating the acerbic humour in political cartoons, the KPCC president lauded the impact of cartoons, which, according to him, was even superior to news reports and news photographs.

source:  http://www.thehindu / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Special Correspondent / Kochi – May 15th, 2014