Monthly Archives: December 2014

Phase-II of Mission Kochi Project

Kochi :

The Kochi Corporation will launch the second phase of the ‘Mission Kochi’ project and the ‘City Beautification’ project on Tuesday.

As part of the project, a new campaign titled ‘One Kochi, One Colour’ will be rolled out.

The programme will be inaugurated by actor Mammootty at a function to be held at Njalipparambu, Fort Kochi.

“As part of the project, the Corporation authorities will enforce stringent restrictions on advertisements and flex boards in the city. A meeting will be held with representatives of the political, religious, cultural and film fields soon,” said Mayor Tony Chammany here on Monday. “The primary aim of the One Kochi One Colour project is to paint the important buildings in the Corporation limits and public spaces in the city in ‘blue’, as Kochi is described as the Queen of Arabian Sea. The paint required for the beautification project is supplied by Berger Paints, and the project will be titled Berger Paints One Kochi One Colour,” Chammany said.

He said that the official colour of Kochi will be blue, and that the public places in the city, especially the walls, will be painted blue.

We have identified Fort Kochi, which is already in a colourful mood owing to the Biennale and the Carnival, as the most suitable venue for launching the project, Chammany added.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Kochi / by Express News Service  / December 30th, 2014

Award for Book on Mannam

Geethalayam Geethakrishnan
Geethalayam Geethakrishnan

Kochi :

‘Mahanaya Mannathu Padmanabhan – Kaalathinu Munpe Nadanna Karmakaran’, a book written by Geethalayam Geethakrishnan, has been selected for the award constituted by the Nair Service Society (NSS) on the occasion of its centenary.

The book was selected for the award by a jury comprising Kumbalath Santhakumari, K J Thomas and P A S Suresh. The award, which carries a cash prize of Rs 10,001 and plaque, will be presented to Geethakrishnan at a function to be held at the MCD Community Centre in New Delhi on January 11.

The function is being organised as part of the 138th Mannam Jayanthi and the annual day of Mahilasamajam and Balasamajam.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Kochi / by Express News Service  / December 30th, 2014

Cochin Airport Reaping Profits Year After Year


Aluva :

Armed with its new brand identity and a slew of development projects, CIAL will be aiming for the stars in 2015 as one of the most successful PPP ventures in the state. The profit for the first half of the financial year 2014-2015 clocked at `69 crore, as compared to `63 crore for the same period the previous year. The new international terminal is all set to be completed by December 2015. However, the construction of 8 Small Hydro Electric Power Plants (SHEP) is proceeding ahead of schedule and will enable the airport to become power neutral, officials noted.

Passenger safety was a slogan of paramount importance in 2014-2015, with the introduction of almost `12 crore worth of Canadian robotic equipments such as Threat Containment vessels and Remote Mobile Investigator (RMI-9WT) robots. Commonly used in the West and American Police force, the robots are capable of remotely handling the Improvised Explosive Devices(IED), hazardous chemicals, radioactive materials, fire fighting, hostage and other  situations. Apart from these, the airport has also adapted bomb inhibitors, real time X-ray viewing systems, deep search metal detectors and non-linear junction detectors which are able to discover and disarm an entire spectrum of explosive devices, into its safety repertoire. “Rather than merely purchasing the new security devices, we were able to integrate it with the existing safety measures flawlessly. In the few instances of hoax threats in the year, the airport security ran flawlessly without causing discomfort to the passengers in any way,” airport officials noted.

Gold smuggling

With the sheen of the yellow metal increasing manifold, the customs officials at CIAL were kept busy throughout the year confiscating gold from hordes of smugglers, who baffled officials with their ingenuity. Going by  official records, almost 82 cases were recorded until November 2015 and almost 55.71 kg gold worth `14.04 crore was confiscated. Customs officials noted that the number of smuggling cases have gone down.

According to officials, the smugglers have become imaginative. They are resorting to tricks such as smuggling gold by hiding them in the toilet near the immigration wing. As international flights are subjected to through checks, some of the smugglers have resorted to the new modus operandi of disembarking international flights at other airports and using a connecting domestic flight to reach their destination. Customs officials said that the smugglers even embarked from countries like Malaysia and Singapore to throw the officials off the track. “The smugglers usually come in via the gulf route,” officials noted.

CSR activity

As a part of its CSR activities, CIAL is actively involved in the proposed Jalanidhi scheme in Nedumbassery, Kanjoor and Sreemoolanagaram panchayats. Under this facility drinking water facilities will be provided to all the families in the three panchayats. CIAL MD V J Kurien had announced that he was prepared to meet the cost of water connections to all BPL families.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Kochi / by Vaisakh E Hari / December 30th, 2014

Towards total organic farming

Lalitha of Panancode, who won the first prize in organic farming contest, being presented with a goat at the farmers’ meet held in Thiruvananthapuram. Special arrangement
Lalitha of Panancode, who won the first prize in organic farming contest, being presented with a goat at the farmers’ meet held in Thiruvananthapuram. Special arrangement

As part of an initiative to promote total organic farming among 1,000 families living in six wards in Venganoor panchayat, more than 800 families who have switched over to zero-poison farming met at Muttakkad near here on Sunday. This was the eighth such farmers’ meet, a press note issued here said.

The meet gave the finishing touches to a plan to enable more families to switch to organic farming in a year’s time. The organic farmers’ group, set up under the organic farming popularisation programme of the Kerala Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi, is being promoted with assistance from Venganoor grama panchayat, the Krishi Bhavan, the State Horticulture Mission and NABARD.

At the meet, prizes were distributed to the winners of the organic farming contests. Lalitha, a resident of Panancode who secured the first prize, was given a goat as the prize. Other winners were given farming equipment. All participants were given organic fertilizers, seeds, a pamphlet on organic farming and certificate, , the press note said.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Special Correspondent / Thiruvananthapuram – December 29th, 2014

7 Keralites on Hurun Philanthropy List

Kris Gopalakrishnan,Ravi Pillai
Kris Gopalakrishnan,Ravi Pillai

Kochi :

Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan has been named the most generous person from Kerala according to the Hurun India Philanthropy list 2014.

The IT behemoth’s executive vice chairman who is ranked 8th in the list donated Rs 255 crore mainly in healthcare charities.

The list prepared by Hurun Report, a media group based out of Shanghai, states that region-wise, South Indians were the most generous, donating Rs 13,300 crore, five-times that of the amount given in charity by North Indians.

Ravi Pillai of RP Group is ranked nine in the list with a contribution of Rs 145 crore, mainly in healthcare. As many as seven persons from Kerala have found a place in the list of 49. They together donated Rs 609 crore for charity. Keralites in the list include Azad Moopen (Rs 100 cr), S D Shibulal (Rs 48 cr), P N C Menon (Rs 26 cr), M A Yusuf Ali (Rs 18 cr) and Sunny Varkey (Rs 17 cr).

“It is heartening to see that Indian businessmen are contributing more to philanthropy. This will create a more equitable society. Business is necessary for economic progress and with philanthropy business is also good for overall development of society. I feel proud to see this,” Kris Gopalakrishnan told Express.

The list has Wipro Chairman Azim Premji who gave away Rs 12,316 crore on top.

In September Hurun Report had published a Kerala Rich List topped by Emke Group Chairman M A Yusuf Ali who has a net worth of Rs 11,400 crore. RP Group’s Ravi Pillai came second with Rs 9,600 crore followed by Sunny Varkey, founder and executive chairman of Dubai-centered Gems Education with Rs 9,000 crore.

The India Philanthropy List, which highlights charity contributions made by India’s most generous measured by the value of their cash or cash equivalent donations, debuted in 2013. Donations made by a corporation in which an individual has more than 50 pc holding were recognised as being part of that individual’s personal donation. The period of calculation was from April 1, 2013, to October 31, 2014.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Kerala / by Express News Service / December 30th, 2014

Earth’s rotation at real-time speed visualised at Kochi Biennale


Four years ago, Christian Waldvogel boarded a plane and flew westward at supersonic speed to shoot a video that succeeded in showing that the earth “turned for a while without me”.

Today, that unique four-minute aerial visual by the Swiss artist is wooing visitors at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB).

It was on March 17, 2010 that Zurich resident Waldvogel succeeded in his efforts to get into a Swiss Air Force (SAF) plane and move at a speed faster than the speed of sound at exactly 1,158 km per hour — the rotational velocity of the earth in his native country. He thus got to film the earth’s rotation while standing still with respect to the sun, said a press release.

Waldvogel’s ‘The Earth Turns Without Me’ is a four-part installation tuning into the core curatorial theme ‘Whorled Explorations’ of KMB in which artistic director Jitish Kallat has assembled works that allude to cosmology often referencing Kochi.

Kallat says he finds Waldvogel’s works “contemplative and sometimes even humorous”.  They look at humanity from a distance and are “often grounded in intricate scientific calculations”, he adds.

To achieve his aim of remaining stationary vis-a-vis the sun, the artist converted the SAF plane’s rear cockpit into a pinhole camera that he would use to shoot the solar system’s central star. The project was triggered by two light-box images—Earthstill and Starstill, which Waldvogel shot and are also being exhibited at KMB’14. The first reveals stars as streaks because they are blurred by the earth’s motion, while the latter is a clear image of the stars using an astronomer’s camera that cancels the planet’s motion. Then, there is also the sun’s image displayed as a concentrated point.

The artist, who was born in Austin (USA), has a second work at KMB’14. Titled ‘Recently, the non-flat-earth paradigm’ is based on his “rediscovery” that for a person in Kochi, India’s northernmost point lies 125 km underneath the horizon — a fall that is equal to 15 times the height of the country’s tallest mountain range: the Himalayas.

Meanwhile, the organisers of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale informed in a communication that the exhibition would stay open from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. “The organisers have decided to extend the time due to popular demand. Nearly 55,000 people have visited the Biennale since December 12,” said the press release.

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

Prakritheeyam, a Woman’s Effort to Protect Nature

Thiruvananthapuram  :

As rampant destruction of nature has become the order of the day and even the government remains a mute witness, a woman’s efforts to build up resistance against the mighty quarry mafia for protecting a rock and its surroundings has been catching the fancy of the people at this remote village of  Myladumpara near Nedumangadu in the district here.

Anandi Ramachandran, a writer herself and a friend of the late O V Vijayan, is tirelessly engaged in preserving the nature surrounding her ancestral home at Silk Farm Estate at Myladumpara.

Till recently, the land here fetched only Rs 5000 to Rs 10,000 per cent.

But with the entry of the quarry mafia, land prices have skyrocketed by ten times. But she could not  imagine her house without the shadow of the rock nearby.

‘’The rock and the surrounding locale had always been there in my memory. I cannot even imagine this surrounding without the rock.

“Seeing the rock basking in the orange glow of the evening sky, the trees on the foothills  dripping in the rains, the reverberating  noise of the winds that hit the rock. …Money cannot be a compensation for such a distinct  ecstasy,’’ says Anandi. Unlike the others, Anandi did not want simply to be cowed down by the quarry mafia.

As a first step to protect the rock, she donated one acre of land adjacent to the rock to United Library, Irinchiyam – to  develop it as a mangrove.

Recently, poetess Sugathakumari launched the ‘’kavu nadal’’ project here by planting saplings.

She set up a charitable society ‘Prakritheeyam’ Centre for Conscious Living and Natural Wisdom and, under the aegis of it,  a reception was accorded to the Western Ghat Protection Council’s tour at Myladumpara.

Anandi, who is the president of Prakritheeyam, also spent a good amount of her fortune to set up a headquarters building for Prakritheeyam, an open auditorium with a capacity to seat 500 people and a decorative gateway.

Constructed in traditional Kerala architectural style within 50 metres of the rock, the headquarters and its premises will function as a centre for children from the locality to sensitise them about nature and its rare bounties.

“Prakritheeyam’ will help the children   realise the importance of protecting nature as it is essential for the survival of the entire humanity. We also have plans to set up a writers’ village, facilitating writers to  unwind themselves and write,’’ says O V Usha  who is the vice-president of ‘Prakritheeyam.’

The quarry mafia had approached Anandi by offering Rs 2 crore for two acres of barren land near the rock. But, for her, money cannot be a compensation for ‘’wiping out images lingering deep in one’s memory’’, Anandi says with conviction.

Green activist Kallen Pokkudan will formally inaugurate the activities on December 28.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Kerala / by N V Ravindranath Nair / December 27th, 2014

18,112 Santa Clauses Set Guinness Record in Kerala

People in huge numbers dressed as Santa Claus in Thrissur in Kerala
People in huge numbers dressed as Santa Claus in Thrissur in Kerala

Thrissur,  Kerala :   

The archdiocese of Thrissur in Kerala on Saturday created a new Guinness World Record, when it assembled 18,112 Santa Clauses on the streets and broke the existing record set by Derry in Northern Ireland with 13,000.

The event, named “Boun Natale 2014”, was the brainchild of Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, who had last year managed to parade 5,000 Santas.

Guinness officials were Saturday present to oversee the record-breaking event, and each and every Santa was bar-coded before they assembled, to make a scientific evaluation on the exact number.

Luciya, a Guinness representative from Britain, told the gathering that Saturday’s event will be registered in the Guinness World Records as the largest assembly of Santas.

The announcement was greeted with a huge applause by the Santas.

Even though the official figure was registered as 18,112, the organisers said there were more, but could not be documented.

The procession of Santas began at 1 pm and the announcement came after 4:30 pm.

“The Guinness team with the help of new technology did the counting and it was for that barcodes was used for each of the Santas. There was an application process that each Santa had to go through and it came from the various parishes attached to the archdiocese,” said Simon Joseph, an official of the Thrissur archdiocese.

Thrissur is often referred to as Kerala’s cultural capital, and through this award winning effort, yet another feather has been added to its cap.

source: / NDTV / Home> South / by Indo-Asian News Service / December 27th, 2014

A Useful Guide to Tackle Waste


Thiruvananthapuram  :

A city-based firm, which specialises in manufacturing biogas plants, has introduced incinerators for the slow biodegradable waste. The incinerators are among the items on display at ‘Green Expo’, an exhibition conducted by the firm Biotech Renewable Energy Private Limited.

The incinerators, being fairly new, are yet to find favour with the people here. The product that is turning out to be very popular is the water jacket model of biogas plants. “In this model, the water gets separated from the slurry and can be used as fertiliser. Most users bought the plants at the exhibition for domestic purposes,” according to Simon D Joseph, supply officer, Biotech Renewable Energy Private Limited.

A biogas plant, which avoids the growth of mosquitoes, is among the exhibits. In ordinary plants, to avoid mosquito menace, one needs to pour kerosene or grow guppies, which are time-consuming affairs. The anti-mosquito model, however, has a membrane which prevents mosquitoes from laying eggs in the water.  The exhibition has biogas plants for domestic purposes as well as institutional use. There are also peripheral devices like bone crushers which would be of use at hotels, restaurants and other institutions which have high volumes of food waste.

The exhibition, which started on December 21 at Biotech Towers, Vazhuthacaud, will conclude on January 22.

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

EMS Cooperative Library bags award

EMS Cooperative Library, Kakkanad, promoted by the Ernakulam District Cooperative Bank, has been selected for the award for the best library in the cooperative sector.

A statement issued by the library here on Tuesday said this was the first time that such an award was being given away.

The award was presented to the District Cooperative Bank directors P.P. Joy and Benny Paul and the bank’s general manager M.K. Radhakrishnan by former Minister for Cooperation G. Sudhakaran at a function in Thrissur. The library was opened in October 1999 with a view to inculcating the habit of reading among the young people and it was the first such venture under the cooperative sector, said the press statement.

The library is spread over 13,500 sq.ft. area in three storeys. The library is home to 86,000 books and it has a total of 11,400 members.

One of the key features of the library is a garden and walkway filled with trees and plants attached to the library and the library was launched as a place for reading in the garden.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Special Correspondent / Kochi – December 24th, 2014