Monthly Archives: April 2015

Global marine body opens Kochi branch

Giving a push to Kochi’s aspirations of becoming a state-of-the-art maritime and shipping hub, the prestigious Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) OPENED its Kochi branch on Friday.

Chief Executive Officer of RINA Trevor Blakeley inaugurated the new branch, the second in India after Chennai, at a function at Sree Narayana Gurukulam COLLEGE of Engineering at Kolencherry.

Ship designer of international acclaim Antony Prince will be the chairman of the new branch.

RINA, according to Mr. Blakeley, is an international professional institution in existence for over 150 years whose members are involved in design, construction, repair and maintenance of marine vessels and structures in over 90 COUNTRIES across the globe.

The STUDENT community, he said, would be greatly benefited from association with the agency, which comes out with over 6,000 technical research papers and holds some 20 conferences every year.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Special Correspondent / Kochi – April 18th, 2015

T’puram, Navi Mumbai Tamil Sangams Feted

Chennai :

Tamil Sangams at Navi Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram have been chosen for the TN Government’s ‘Thamizh Thai’ award for the years 2014 and 2015 respectively. The awards carry a shield, certificate of appreciation and `5 lakh.

The announcement was made on Monday along with other awards instituted after Tamil scholars and poets as well as the Chief Minister’s Computer Tamil award.

For the year 2014, the following scholars have been chosen for the awards: A Lalithaa Sundaram (Kapilar award), Marudhu Azhagu Raja (U.Ve.Sa award), SV Shanmugam (Kambar award), Sudha Seshaiyyan (Sollin Selvar award), J Narayanasamy (GU Pope award) and SM Mohammed Ali (Umaruppulavar award).

2015 awardees : Poet Pirasoodan (Kapilar award), Kudavayil Subramanian ( U.Ve.Sa award), G Selvam (Kambar award), S Sathiyaseelan (Sollin Selvar award), Madurai Ilangavin (M Arokiasamy – GU Pope award), M Sayabu Maraikkayar (Umaruppulavar award) and Nirmala Mohan (Elangovadigal award). Prof.N Deivasundaram has been chosen for the Computer Tamil award for the year 2013 while Virubha Valartamil Nigandu T Kumaresan has bagged it for 2014. All these awardees will be presented with a GOLD medal, certificate of appreciation, a shawl and `1 lakh.

Jaya’s Greetings

AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa on Monday greeted the Tamils, living across the globe on the eve of Tamil New Year celebrations. Jayalalithaa said, “Let this New Year be a very prosperous one for the people of Tamil Nadu. Let this year bring health and wealth to you all.” She added, “In this new year, let us all vow to work unitedly to thwart all roadblocks and make Tamil Nadu a prosperous State.”

Governor K Rosaiah said “On the occasion of Tamil New Year, Vaisaki, Baisakhi and Vishu, I extend my best wishes to the people.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Chennai / by Express News Service / April 14th, 2015

Kudumbasree in the driver’s seat

The Kudumbasree Mission is set to start a new innings in Idukki, with women at the wheel of autorickshaws.

Eighteen women in Thodupuzha will soon get their driving licence.

Shine M. Cyriac, assistant district mission coordinator, told The Hindu on Monday that the beneficiaries had been selected from Thodupuzha municipality and the grama panchayats of Karinkunnam, Karimannur, Udumpannur, Vannapuram, Purapuzha, Manakkad, and Arakulam.

If successful, the other grama panchayats too would soon have autorickshaws of the Kudumbasree Mission, he said.

“The mission runs a taxi service in Thriruvanathapuram, where it is a success,” he said. But Idukki, with greater tourism potential, has so far not introduced Shetaxis.

“Hence there is scope for women autorickshaws. These will ensure safe journey, especially for single women passengers,” he said.

Mr. Cyriac said Kudumbasree would provide training in driving and arrange for loans to purchase autorickshaws. The feasibility of introducing women drivers in other areas would be looked into, he said.

Shanty Avarchan of Manakkadu, a member of the mission, said she learnt driving as it would give an additional income to her family of four.

Jaya Pramod of Edavetty said she loved driving, like any other work, and it would be an additional income to support the family.

“For a poor family, an autorickshaw is always a bread-earner.”

  • Kudumbasree to provide training in driving
  • Feasibility of scheme in other districts to be studied

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> National> Kerala / by Giji K. Raman / Kattappana – April 07th, 2015

Disciples celebrate sapthathi of violinist Kilimanoor Thyagarajan

Thiruvananthapuram :

Time and remuneration have never a subject of concern for Kilimanoor R Thyagarajan, who devoted his life to teaching violin, said health minister V S Sivakumar. He was inaugurating ‘Thyagaraja Vybhavam’, the 70th birthday celebrations of the famous violinist here on Friday.

The birthday celebration of the unsung artist was organized by the students and teachers of Sri Swathi Thirunal Music College from where he had retired 15 years ago. Thyagarajan, also an alumnus of the college, passed the Vaipattu Ganabhooshanan in 1961, followed by a graduation in violin. In 1972 he returned to the college as a lecturer and was on a dedicated mission of nurturing musical talents for the next 28 years.

Prominent violinists Attukal Balasubramaniam, Pangapara Rajendran, R K Ramadas and Kadanaad V K Haridas are prominent among his disciples.

Thyagarajan is the only one from the state to earn Akashavani’s B high grade in viola recital. Viola, slightly larger than violin in size, is used to play lower notes. Thyagarajan got attracted to the instrument after he was inspired by the sole viola artist in India, M Balamuralikrishna. He has also penned and composed more than 100 compositions which include 11 works based on Bible, two from Quran and another few on Sree Narayana Guru. ‘Thyagesha Priyam’, an audio CD consisting of a series of five classical compositions of the artist, was released at the function.

“We want to introduce collection composed by our master to the public. These are the few unseen and unheard works of our professor, which we want to publish and show our gratitude for our master. It will also serve as a reference to the present generation,” voinist Muttara B N Ravindran said.

A 26-minute documentary on R Thyagarajan titled ‘Thyagarajam’ was screened at the function followed by a live performance of ‘Thyagesha Priyam’.

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Thiruvananthapuram / TNN / April 04th, 2015

Dentists, gynaecologists to address a ‘teething’ problem

Kochi :

Dental problems during pregnancy can affect both the mother and child. Often, mothers-to-be suffer in silence or carry on with alternative medicine during pregnancy.

But dentists say that this could lead to further damage and, invariably, mothers would have to pay the price as they may end up with a long series of visits to the dentist.

To address this issue, the Kochi chapter of the Indian Dental Association (IDA) and Cochin Obstetrics and Gynaecological Society (COGS) have decided to put in place a preventive mechanism to ensure dental health, much before the first trimester of pregnancy.

“We’ve held a series of discussions with COGS. Sometimes, gynaecologists do not allow pregnant women to take antibiotics recommended by us. This complicates the dental problem,” said Dr Balu Soman, secretary, IDA.

Ideally, women planning pregnancies should check their dental health to ensure they don’t have issues during pregnancy and the lactating period, when they undergo major hormonal changes.

“We find cases of bleeding gums, teeth infection, swelling of gums, etc. These have to be managed and should not be allowed to become infectious. Not all antibiotics can be taken when a woman is carrying,” said Dr Gracy Thomas, president, COGS.

Since COGS organizes women health awareness programmes and pre-marital classes for college girls, the society is planning to include this topic also in these programmes.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed so that all dentists and gynecologists can work together. “We will formally launching the programme in April-May. Brochures, pamphlets and other information kits will be distributed in hospitals so that patients can take necessary precaution,” said Dr Soman.

It’s all in the gums

* Gum problems are common during pregnancies and they may bleed while brushing or flossing teeth

* The build-up of plaque makes gums more prone to bleeding

* Acidity of stomach can corrode teeth, and brushing makes the problem worse

* Usually, gum inflammation appears between the second and eighth month of pregnancy

* Signs of pregnancy gingivitis range from redder looking gums that bleed a little while brushing teeth to severe swelling and bleeding of gum tissue

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Kochi / TNN / April 02nd, 2015

Award Nite to Honour Artistes

Thiruvananthapuram :

Marking the 101st birth anniversary of Kathakali exponent late Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair, Padmasree Kalamandalam  Krishnan Nair Smaraka Gurukulam is organising an Award Nite on Tuesday for the artistes who have excelled in their respective fields in Kathakali.

The cash award along with a plaque would be distributed at Theerthapada Mandapam, East Fort. The award winners are film actor Jagannatha Varma for his contribution in Vesham and Chenda; He would receive a cash award of Rs 10,001 and plaque; M P Vasudevan would receive a cash prize of Rs 10,001 and a plaque for Vesham. Similarly, Kandalloor Sadasivan would receive Rs 10,001 and plaque for chenda and A Radhakrishnan would be awarded the ‘Changarapalli Aniyan award’ with a cash award of Rs 5,001.

Classical dance performances by various artistes named ‘Noopuradhwani Nritholsav’ would be held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The award ceremony and three-day cultural fete would be inaugurated by Pirappancode Murali.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Express News Service / April 06th, 2015

Endemic varieties showcased at Thekkady flower show

Views of the Thekkady Flower Show at Kallarackal grounds in Idukki on Sunday.— PHOTOS: GIJI K. RAMAN
Views of the Thekkady Flower Show at Kallarackal grounds in Idukki on Sunday.— PHOTOS: GIJI K. RAMAN

The ninth Thekkady Flower Show, which opened at the Kallarackal grounds here on Saturday, showcased endemic flowering plants like mirabilis and marigold that were once common to the house gardens of Kerala.

At least 200 varieties of flower plants, in addition to the vegetable and fruits plants, have been included in the show. The show has given maximum care to include endemic flower plants as they are best suited to the climatic and topographical conditions here, said T.T. Thomas, general convenor of the organising committee. He said the flower show has tried to renew interest in cultivation of vegetables and flowers on terraces.

The advantages of growing plants in grow bags are that they can be done even in small places.

Even a small family can maintain at least 10 vegetable bags that will ensure availability of pesticide-free vegetables, he said.

The flower show also has arts and cultural programmes in the evening with focus on folk, temple and tribal art forms. Seminars which highlight measures for waste control, energy saving, water protection and small entrepreneurial activities for housewives will be held. Mr Thomas said that on the inaugural day itself, over 3,000 people visited the show. An important feature is that a large number of tourists are visiting the venue, he said. The flower show is being organised by the Thekkady Agri Horticulture Society.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> National> Kerala / by A Correspondent / Kumili – April 06th, 2015

Students develop tiller for farmers

Kochi :

The students of the mechanical engineering department have developed a trenching machine cum tiller which can be used by farmers cultivating banana, tapioca or vegetables. The machine which looks like two hands mowing the soil can be attached to an power tiller for multi-tasking in farming operations.

The tool was developed as a prototype based on the specifications by the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) which was looking for a farm tool to improve the efficiency of the existing tillers where the farmer has to seek assistance of a manual labour to finely dig the hole for planting a sapling.

“We ran the trials last week in front of the officials at the Agricultural Research Station (ARS) at Mannuthy who suggested some modifications and fine-tuning. That will be done fast and we will be ready with a commercial product soon,” said Ashwanth M P, one of the team members of Kinetic Tillers which has been incubated at the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Cell (IEDC) of Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat).

Ashwanth and his friends, Jerish John, Aaron Tom, Lijesh Josy and Edwin Thomas who started work on the project last year developed it with feedback from farmers in Ernakulam when the final prototype was being readied.

Tilling is the most expensive and tedious work in farming and is mostly done manually using conventional tools or various machine powered technologies such as rotary tillers, cultivators, and disc harrows are used for tilling process. The manual process is very time consuming and has become too costly as well. A major limitation faced commonly in the rotary tillers is that soil becomes sticky when mixed with water, hence reducing the aeration (entering of air into the soil) which is harmful for young growing roots. Also, the inappropriate use of tillers leads to soil losing its organic matter affecting its fertility. Cultivators used for tilling at present are bulky in size, requires high power machines include, but are not limited to, tractors for pulling. Also, with the cultivators, depth of the soil to be tilled cannot be controlled, which affects its fertility and increases soil erosion.

“We are setting up a Centre of Excellence in agricultural research and farm mechanization is one of the focus areas. When such a need was discussed at the ARS, we decided to hand over the work to the Cusat students under IEDC. The concept has come out well. We are suggested some changes in blades and depth digging and asked them to get back to us with it,” said Prof U Jayakumar, Director, ARS.

The students however, want to go a step forward. Make it a cost-effective tool which even the middle-level farmer in Kerala can afford. “Right now, the price could cost about Rs 60,000 but we want to bring it further down,” said Ashwanth.

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Kochi / by Sudha Nambudri, TNN / April 01st, 2015

Vamanapuram to Harvest Rainwater

Vamanapuram block panchayat president Baby Sulekha leading members of the Vamanapuram block in a procession kicking off ‘Mazhaneermahima’, a project which aims to carry out rainwater harvesting of pre-monsoon showers
Vamanapuram block panchayat president Baby Sulekha leading members of the Vamanapuram block in a procession kicking off ‘Mazhaneermahima’, a project which aims to carry out rainwater harvesting of pre-monsoon showers

Thiruvananthapuram :

Can rainwater harvesting of mango showers solve drinking water crisis this summer? The panchayats in Vamanapuram Block are attempting to do it, with ‘Mazhaneermahima’. The slogan of the rainwater harvesting project is ‘Let’s welcome the monsoon by harvesting rainwater.’

On Sunday, the project was kicked off with a ‘Mazhaneermahima Vilambara Yatra’, a procession from Vamanapuram block. ‘Mazhaneermahima’ is implemented as part of the Integrated Watershed Management Programme. The project lasts till May 21. In the first phase of the project, notices spreading awareness on water conservation and rainwater management were distributed in the houses in Nellanadu, Manikkal, Vamanapuram, Pullambara, Pangode and Kallara panchayats.

A group of people will visit 300-odd households in each panchayat to spread awareness.

Sunday’s event was inaugurated by Vamanapuram Block Panchayat president Baby Sulekha. Block secretary Sarina A Rahman, vice-president G Purushottaman Nair and various panchayat presidents in Vamanapuram block were present at ‘Mazhaneermahima Vilambara Yatra’.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Express News Service / April 06th, 2015

Where Cricketers are Made

Santosh Kumar during a training session | t p sooraj
Santosh Kumar during a training session | t p sooraj

Thiruvananthapuram  :

It was an untiring journey that began in 1983. C Santhosh Kumar, who was a college boy then, decided to start a club, Sussex Cricket Academy, that could help young and budding cricketers in Kozhikode. All of them in his group were inexperienced players who were just 14 years old.

The journey never ceased and it went on despite all hardships, producing players in various age groups, who went on to represent the state, and the club turning out to be a team to reckon with by winning various championships.

But, behind all these, it was the effort of Santhosh that single-handedly steered the club, despite all the hardships that he faced, to give back something to the sport and those who loved it. Dedicating his life to the game, he decided to forgo a married life that he felt, would place some restrictions on his life.

Though many played and never turned back to him, he never regretted or got disappointed as his sole aim has been to produce quality players who can learn the basics of cricket and build a strong foundation upon which they can grow.

“I was just 19 years old and still studying in college when the decision to start the club was formulated. It was intense passion for the game that made me switch from football to cricket,” he says.

It was interesting in those days, as he had very little knowledge of the game or the rules. Watching television, understanding the game and listening to commentaries helped in the initial days, he recalls.

In the later years, it was sheer experience on and off the ground. Many tournaments were won and the club went on to help players who  regularly came to the club and some others who joined the tournament and went on to play for the state, he says. Santhosh, who is still going strong, feels that Kozhikode can produce world class players, provided that officials governing the District Cricket Association keep their differences aside and work towards the development of the game by supporting the clubs and developing infrastructure in the district.

It was never easy for him to operate the club. Running the club with his own funds and finding a ground to keep the net practice alive was something difficult. Despite switching to various grounds to keep the practice going, he was never disappointed. Finally, help came from the management of Malabar Christian College, which helped him by providing space to support the game and players, he says.

He laments that the district lacks even a good ground and facilities for conducting matches. “Lack of ground and good facilities in the district is quite a stumbling block for the players and if more players are to be produced, better facilities should be arranged,” he opines.

For him the sole aim is not position or recognition, but the sheer commitment to give back something to the game of cricket by producing quality players. The journey continues as he feels proud speaking about the players who contributed to the development of the club.

Rohan and Sabin Pasha, who are representing the state under-19 team, have high regards for Santhosh, who has moulded them from their young age. “We are never discouraged and are allowed to play our game. But he never hesitates to tell us where we go wrong after every game,” says Rohan.

“His approach is very cool. He insists that we  think more about the game and the technical aspects than the fancy and charm around it,” says Sabin, attributing his success in the state level to Santhosh’s support and encouragement.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / C.P. Sajit / April 06th, 2015