Monthly Archives: June 2014

Bringing Goshree closer to the city

The Goshree bridges are a vital link between the islands and the city at present. / File Photo / The Hindu
The Goshree bridges are a vital link between the islands and the city at present. / File Photo / The Hindu

The uncertainty over time-bound completion of the coastal road connecting the Goshree islands to Kochi is finally clearing up with the Ernakulam district administration set to begin direct purchase of land from owners in July.

According to District Collector M.G. Rajamanickam, the proposal for direct land acquisition, mooted along the lines of the Kochi metro model will be set rolling on receipt of a government order, expected by the second week of next month. “We have already started the background works in the form of negotiations with the land owners and will complete the acquisition process within two months of its initiation,” he said.

The authorities are now working on the modalities of the acquisition process including the area required, its cost, etc., and are planning to hold a combined meeting of landowners as well as revenue officials before starting the process.

The 29th general council of Goshree Islands Development Authority (GIDA), which met here on May 31with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy as chairman, entrusted the Authority to directly acquire land from private owners for speedier implementation of projects and also decided to form a special committee under the District Collector to acquire land. Following this, an official team led by the District Collector inspected the islands last week and interacted with the local residents.

Meanwhile, the GIDA has revised the estimate for the Moolampilly-Pizhala bridge from Rs. 40 crore to about Rs. 82 crore for changing its alignment so as to avoid large swathes of the eco-sensitive wetland system in the area.

The 4.5 km road, having a width of 22 meters, will provide an alternative link from the city to Paravur while also paving the way for the development of the Goshree islands. Kadamakudy panchayat will benefit the most from the bridges since it would get a link with the Vallarpadam container terminal road. The Rs.160 crore project, planned to provide an alternative link from the city to Paravur, also entails construction of three major bridges and one small bridge.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had earlier evinced interest in taking up the construction of the four bridges, but it later backed out citing difficulties in carrying out outside works. Following this, the construction work was awarded to the Kerala State Construction Corporation (KSCC).

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Hiran Unnikrishnan / Kochi – June 30th, 2014

A historian in khakhi who guards a monument

Kannur :

Policing the tourist spots, that too with some historic significance, is not a small deal, because there you have to be a historian, a tourist guide, and a scholar apart from being a tough but amiable policeman.

It is the merger of all these qualities that makes C Sathyan, the ASI with the Tourism police in Kannur, a different personality, which has also won him the best tourism police award instituted by the Department of Tourism in the state for the fifth time this year.

“Of course, it is a recognition for the police department as a whole, because I got the chance to study the history of the places around after I was posted as the tourism police at Fort St Angelo here in 2002, as a civil police officer,” says Sathyan who is the author of two books and also a communicative English instructor.

It was in the early years at the Fort, where he often doubled himself as a tourist guide, that Sathyan, who writes in the pen name Sathyan Edakkad, started studying deeply about Fort St Angelo’s history, and also wrote the book, ‘Vasco Da Gamayum Charithrathile Kanappurangalum’. It was later translated into English in the title, ‘Vasco Da Gama and the Unknown Facts of History’. Also he penned another book, ‘Kannur: Kaanaan Ariyaan’, which is probably the only book on important destinations in the district.

“When I started studying history, I realized what we have been taught is incomplete, and this prompted me to collect whatever documents were available,” says Sathyan. “Interestingly the facts I learned were totally different from what we heard till a few years back, thus making me think of writing this book,” he said.

As the name suggests, ‘Vasco Da Gama and the Unknown Facts of History’ is about the unseen facts of history. Though the popular belief is that Gama set his foot in Kappad in 1498, it is wrong, says the researcher in khakhi.

“Vasco Da Gama’s ship was merely anchored in the sea near Kappad and a slave and a messenger were sent to visit Zamorin. As guided by the messenger of Zamorin, Gama and his men landed at Panthalayani, but still we teach wrong history to our children,” says Sathyan.

Similarly, the real story behind a stone slab with a Dutch inscription at the fort was also cracked by Sathyan only. Till a few years back it was believed that the stone with a strange script was an indicator of some hidden treasure. But with the help of some Dutch travellers he read the inscription in Old Dutch language and it was found that the slab was actually the tombstone of Susanna Godefridus, the wife of Godefridus Weverman, the commandant who was in charge of the fort from 1745 to 1755. She died on March 28, 1745, at the time of delivery and she was hardly 17 years old at that time, says Sathyan, again pointing towards the child marriage prevalent among the Europeans too.

After studying a lot on the fort, and the spice trade that India had with the foreign countries, Sathyan pampers a dream that is yet to come true – a voyage through the routes that Vasco Da Gama visited India. But without any sponsorship it is difficult to realize it, he knows.

“I don’t have any racket to operate. Still I am hopeful, one day the sea routes will open for me,” he says

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Thiruvananthapuram / by P. Sudhakaran, TNN / June 22nd, 2014

Rare varieties of mangoes on display

Visitors take a look at the mangoes displayed at the Kerala Mango Festival in the city on Thursday. / Photo: K.K. Mustafah / The Hindu
Visitors take a look at the mangoes displayed at the Kerala Mango Festival in the city on Thursday. / Photo: K.K. Mustafah / The Hindu

Open to the public from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., the festival will conclude on June 29.

The event is anything but “mango-licious.” The heady aroma of ripe mangoes and the fruit slices offered to tickle the taste buds proved irresistible to Kochiites who visited the second edition of the Kerala Mango Festival held here on Thursday.

The four-day long event under way at the St. Michaels Church Hall in Chembumukku exhibits over 1, 500 varieties of the king of fruits. One can have the pick of mangoes in various shapes and sizes with colours ranging from red and peach to golden and green. Apart for the quintessential varieties in Kerala and other States, the event features mango varieties from various foreign countries including Brazil, Thailand, Australia and Pakistan. Also on display at the festival are some of the rare varieties of mangoes including Angurdhana, the smallest mango weighing just 2 grams and the 2-kilogram Mabali mango.

Organised by the Greenvalley public School in Kothamangalam, the event aims at providing the public with an opportunity to get a look and feel of the king of all fruits. ‘The objective is to give the public an idea about the different mango varieties and thereby help elevate its status from a mere seasonal produce,” said Pradeep Kuriakose, festival director.

The organisers also said mangoes displayed at the festival were farm fresh. They had taken care to ensure that no artificially ripened mangoes were brought to the festival venue.

Besides providing an opportunity to see the exotic varieties, the event also promises to be a fun package with events, including mango eating competition and other cultural programmes.

Open to the public from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., the festival will conclude on June 29.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Staff Reporter / Kochi – June 27th, 2014

Moments of magic and a solid ‘mark’

Former Indian footballers K.P. Sethumadhavan and Premnath Philip discuss the many highs, and one particular low, of the World Cup in Brazil. PHOTO: K. RAGESH / The Hindu
Former Indian footballers K.P. Sethumadhavan and Premnath Philip discuss the many highs, and one particular low, of the World Cup in Brazil. PHOTO: K. RAGESH / The Hindu

K.P. Sethumadhavan and Premnath Philip, former Indian footballers, discuss how stalwarts, and Suarez, fared in Brazil.

Could this be the greatest World Cup ever? K.P. Sethumadhavan, a former Indian goalkeeper, thinks so. “It has been an amazing World Cup already,” he says. “I do not remember any other World Cup producing so much excitement in the first stage itself.”

The Brazil World Cup has given us so many memorable moments, with the second round yet to get under way. So many great goals to relish, so many great matches to savour. And so many brilliant men playing at their best.

When was the last time we have had so many stars shining at the same time? If Lionel Messi has carried Argentina on his shoulders to the second round, Neymar has been no less impressive for Brazil, that too in front of demanding home crowds. The two geniuses are on top of the goal-scorers’ list too, with four goals apiece.

Suarez saga

The other Latin American expected to dazzle at this World Cup, Uruguayan Luis Suarez, too showcased his genius. But, a nine-match suspension slapped on him for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini has ended his, and possibly his team’s, World Cup dream.

“What Suarez did was unacceptable,” says Sethumadhavan. “And he was shaping up so well in the tournament. I thought his first goal against England was brilliant. It was also a tactical masterpiece by Uruguay, which made that goal possible so beautifully.”

That, though, does not top the chart of best goals for Sethumadhavan.

“Robin van Persie’s goal for Holland against Spain has to be the best, for its conception and execution,” he says. “The goal by van Persie’s teammate Arjen Robben was astonishing, for the sheer speed with which he controlled the ball.”

That run by Robben, clocked at 37 km per hour, will count among the most thrilling moments of this World Cup.

The best display under the bar has come in the drawn match between Brazil and Mexico.

“It was a superlative display by the Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa,” says the former Indian goalkeeper. “It is the finest goalkeeping I have seen in a World Cup match.”

Premnath Philip, who was a defender while Sethumadhavan kept the goal at Premier Tyres, too is impressed by the standard of goalkeeping in Brazil. “There are several fine goalkeepers in this World Cup,” he says. “Nigeria’s Victor Enyeama was outstanding in the match against Argentina.”

That game, though, was decided by Messi’s brilliance. “The goal he scored with that swirling free-kick, to me, is the best of this World Cup,” says Premnath. “Ordinary mortals cannot score a goal like that.”

Marquee players such as Messi and Neymar have shown that they could take their form at clubs to the World Cup.

“Portugal may have gone out, but look at the way Cristiano Ronaldo fought hard at this World Cup,” he says. “And it is refreshing to see some young players, such as Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa.”

Premnath feels a feature of this World Cup has been the performance of African teams.

“Nigeria, Algeria, Ghana, and Ivory Coast have shown that their game is not all about power. Their silken skills too were on display this time,” he says. “It is unfortunate that Ghana had to go out, despite holding Germany to a 2-2 draw in one of the best matches in this World Cup.”

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kozhikode / by P.K. Ajith Kumar / Kozhikode – June 28th, 2014

15, 000-page magazine opens to world record

Students of Ideal institutions with the Mega Mag 2014 that they released on Thursday. / The Hindu
Students of Ideal institutions with the Mega Mag 2014 that they released on Thursday. / The Hindu

Students of Ideal institutions at Kadakassery in the district took a step closer to the Guinness Book of World Records when their 15,000-page giant magazine was released at a colourful function on the campus.

Titled Mega Mag 2014, the magazine is claimed to be the largest manuscript magazine ever. The 4,000-odd students on the Ideal campus, from kindergarten to degree level, worked non-stop for a week to produce the magazine.

The students produced 3,604 poems, 2,941 stories, 2,298 sketches, and 1,719 essays, besides a large number of cartoons, travel anecdotes, and snippets. Supervised by their teachers, the children did the complete work of the magazine from designing to binding. The 500-kg magazine is more than 250 cm high. Although the school had registered 10,000 pages with the Limca Book of Records, it increased the number of pages to 15,000 during production.

Sub Collector Amit Meena released the Mega Mag 2014. E.T. Mohammed Basheer, MP; K.T. Jaleel, MLA; writer P. Surendran, and other dignitaries spoke.

Ideal academic director K.A. Majeed welcomed the gathering. Programme coordinator Ummer Punathil proposed a vote of thanks.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kozhikode  / by Staff Reporter / Mallapuram  – June 27th, 2014

Tomb of Mar Ivanios opened

The mortal remains of the first archbishop of the Malankara Catholic Church Mar Ivanios being taken out in a special casket the St. Mary’s Cathedral, Pattom, on Monday as part of the ongoing process to canonise him. / The Hindu
The mortal remains of the first archbishop of the Malankara Catholic Church Mar Ivanios being taken out in a special casket the St. Mary’s Cathedral, Pattom, on Monday as part of the ongoing process to canonise him. / The Hindu

Canonical verification to ascertain historical importance of the archbishop

A large number of the faithful thronged the St. Mary’s Cathedral at Pattom on Monday to witness the opening of the tomb of the architect of the Reunion Movement and the first Metropolitan Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram, Mar Ivanios. The tomb was opened to enable the expert committee appointed by the Vatican to carryout canonical verification to ascertain the historical importance of Mar Ivanios, which is a prerequisite for the canonisation procedure.

Offer prayers

The tomb was opened by the committee in the presence of Cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis Catholics, head of the Syro-Malankara Church, and the mortal remains covered in vestments were taken to the church for the faithful to offer prayers.

The mortal remains were taken back and entombed in the evening. The tomb opening ceremony commenced with a concelebrated mass. The ceremony was attended by all Metropolitans.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy; Assembly Speaker G. Karthikeyan; Deputy Speaker N. Sakthan; Ministers K.C. Joseph, P.J. Joseph, V.S. Sivakumar and Anoop Jacob; and MLAs K. Muraleedharan, Mons Joseph, V. Sivankutty, Palode Ravi, M.A. Wahid and R. Selvaraj visited the church and offered prayers, the church said in a release.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Staff Reporter / Thiruvananthapuram – June 24th, 2014

Pampakuda to be Declared the First Digitised Local Body

Kochi :

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will declare the Pampakuda panchayat, situated near Muvattupuzha, as the first digitised local body in the state, at a function to be held on Saturday.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob will preside over the function.

Under the ambitious project, the details of all the people residing in the panchayat will be made available at the click of a mouse button.

The project was conceived by panchayat president Eby N Elias. He has entrusted the task of develop ing a software for the purpose to IT company Nextuz.

The details of every individual, including profession, blood group, educational qualification and bank account, will be available digitally.

Data collection for the project was done by the Asha workers. Data was collected  by distributing a questionnaire prepared by the panchayat.

The questionnaire had 30 questions, with several sub-sections. The data was later uploaded to a computer server, with the support of NSS volunteers from the Holy Kings Engineering College

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Kochi / by Express News Service / June 27th, 2014

NRI Businessman Wins Abu Dhabi Chamber Elections

Prominent Indian businessman and head of Middle East’s retail major, Lulu group, MA Yusuff Ali has won the prestigious Abu Dhabi Chamber election for the third time.

Ali, 58, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi-based EMKE who had won previous two elections to elect 15 board members of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, retained his seat with 1,721 votes, highest among expatriate candidates.

The elections held yesterday during which 14,555 votes were cast also elected 13 local citizens to the board of directors for a four-year term, his office said today.

Four panels representing 70 Emiratis, including five women and eight expatriate candidates, participated in the elections.

Abu Dhabi Chamber is the only government organisation in the world where expatriates can get elected to the director board through a democratic election process, a statement said.

“I am pleased with faith reposed on me by the business community of Abu Dhabi and I thank them wholeheartedly for helping me to come out victorious once again,” Yusuff said.

“I am fully aware of the responsibilities and I will strive to further enhance the business and investment relationship between India and UAE and work closely with all stake holders for mutual benefit,” he said.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyam, UAE minister for Culture, Youth and Community Development congratulated Yusuff Ali on his hat-trick victory and asked him to continue his work and contribute to the growth of the UAE in general and Abu Dhabi in particular.

Abu Dhabi Chamber is an autonomous entity under government supervision which works towards streamlining and regulating business and industrial affairs in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

source: / Outlook / Home> News / Dubai – June 27th, 2014

Veteran communist leader passes away

Kochi :

Leader of the undivided communist party and freedom fighter Koothattukulam Mary passed away at Velloor in Kottayam on Sunday. She was 93.

Born to Elisamma and Kochuparambil Pathrose at Udumbannoor in Thodupuzha on September 24, 1921, Mary joined the freedom struggle while she was a class IX student of St John’s English Medium School, Vadakara. She joined the communist party in 1948. In 1951, she was arrested by the state police and was subjected to severe custodial torture. Later she married communist leader C S George. Litterateur, the late C J Thomas was her maternal uncle.

After her release from jail, her family moved to Malabar, where she started teaching at the Perinthalmanna government school. A former member of Kottayam and Malappuram local committees of the CPI, she had been a special invitee to the party’s Kottayam district committee.

She is survived by daughters Girija C George, Aisha C George, Shylaja C George and Sulekha C George. During her last years, she had been staying with Sulekha at Velloor.

Former minister Binoy Viswam, Kerala Administrative Tribunal chairman Justice K Balakrishnan Nair, artist Babu Paul and Kerala State Textiles Corporation managing director Rajan are her sons-in-law. She will be laid to rest on Monday.

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Kochi / TNN / June 23rd, 2014

Seaweed Extract in Pill Form to Provide Relief to Arthritis Patients

Kochi :

It’s no secret that seaweeds offer an array of therapeutic possibilities, taken internally or applied externally. Now these magic weeds have again proved their worth by effectively fighting arthritis.

Scientists at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), which comes under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), have developed a cost-effective nutraceutical product called ‘Green Algal Extract’ (GAE) for arthritic patients.

The institute claims it to be one of the best substitute to anti-inflammatory drugs, which are usually prescribed for arthritis, as it has no undesirable side-effects.

Synthetic anti-inflammatory drugs like paracetamol are usually prescribed for arthritis. But if used for a prolonged period, it could result in grave side-effects.  But this product will not have serious repercussions, said K K Vijayan, principal scientist and head of marine biotechnology division, CMFRI. GAE is made from the extract of anti-inflammatory ingredients from seaweeds. Since seaweed farming is not that rampant in the state, the required constituents are obtained from the east coast area of the country.

“Places like Mandapam and Rameswaram where its industry thrives have contributed immensely to provide the needed ingredients,” Vijayan said. The product is marketed in tablet form. One tablet will contain 500 mg and has to be taken for three months to get the desired result. Exhorting its success, the technology of the product  has already been transferred to a Hyderabad-based company. “Soon the product will be in the market at a competitive price,” the official said. The idea to develop a vegetarian product struck when the CMFRI’s another nutraceutical product ‘Cadalmine GMe’ became an instant hit.  It is made by extracting anti-inflammatory ingredients from mussels.

But prior to it, there was already a mussels-based product called ‘Seatone’, manufactured by a New Zealand-based company circulating in the market.

“But the price was huge. One tablet costs around `30. Hence we thought of producing a similar product especially because North Kerala thrives in mussel farming,” he said.

The product proved to be much more effective than ‘Seatone’. “Since it became a hit, requests poured in for a vegetarian product. Eventually our research led us to seaweeds,” he said.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Kerala / by Shalet Jimmy / Kochi – June 23rd, 2014