Monthly Archives: April 2018

Kerala: Engineering students develop voice-controlled wheelchair

Pallakad :

Six final year B.Tech students of NSS Engineering College, Pallakad, as part of their final year project, have designed a wheelchair which is controlled by sound.

This wheelchair moves forward, backward and sideways following voice command from the person sitting on it. A bicycle iron frame forms the basis of this innovative wheelchair.
It is made in a cost-effective manner and is quite affordable.

The wheelchair with car’s viper motor costs around Rs 8,000. The same wheelchair with a better motor and other utility systems can be made within a budget of Rs 10,000.

The wheelchair can bear a maximum body mass of 75kg. The sound command is transferred via a small chip called ‘voice module’ which is attached to the wheelchair’s micro controller.

The innovation could be used for patients in hospitals and other health care centers.

source: / The Times of India / Home> News> City News> Thiruvananthapuram News / by Samayam Malayalam / TNN / April 25th, 2018

Kerala: District-level programmes to mark diamond jubilee celebrations of Kerala assembly on anvil

Kozhikode :
The district adminstration with the help of local self-government department will organise four-day district-level programmes from April 24 to 27 to mark the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Kerala state legislative assembly.

Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan will inaugurate the district-level programmes at a function to be held at Tagore centenary hall on April 24. Labour and excise minister T P Ramakrishnan will deliver keynote address on the occasion.

Former additional chief secretary to the government of Kerala Dr D Babu Paul will deliver C K Muhammed Koya commemoration speech during the C H Muhammed Koya commemoration meeting to be held on the day.

A history exhibition will be held at Town hall on April 25 and 26. C K Nanu MLA will inaugurate the exhibition on April 25. Health minister K K Shylaja will inaugurate the seminar on comprehensive health policy – challenges and apprehensions at Town hall on April 27.

Chief minister Pianarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the valedictory function to be held on April 27 evening. Dr M K Muneer MLA will preside over the function.

A proclamation rally was held from stadium premises to Kozhikode beach here on Monday evening to mark the commencement of district-level programmes of diamond jubilee celebrations of the Kerala state legislative assembly. Mayor Thottathil Raveendran, deputy mayor Meera Darshak, ADM T Jenil Kumar, Kudumbashree district coordinator Kavitha and others led by the proclamation rally.

source: / The Times of India / Home> News> City News> Kozhikode News / by Sreedevi Chitharanjan / TNN / April 27th, 2018

Naval Air Enclave opens at Kochi airport

The Naval Air Enclave at the Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery.

The Naval Air Enclave (NAE) at the Cochin International Airport was inaugurated by Vice Admiral A.R. Karve, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command, on Friday.

Large military aircraft such as the P8I which cannot be accommodated at the Naval Air Station in Kochi (INS Garuda) due to operational constraints can be accommodated at the new air enclave. It will facilitate not only enhanced surveillance capabilities in the Arabian Sea and the south Indian Ocean for security of maritime areas of interest and coastline against both conventional and asymmetric threats, but also other roles such as search and rescue, monitoring sea lanes of communication and anti-piracy missions, according to a press release.


The operational trials of naval taxi link and apron of the NAE were undertaken during the function.

Trials included independent ground movement of aircraft and helicopters between CIAL and NAE, parking of the aircraft at the apron and their sequential departure from CIAL.

The NAE has a large hangar, a spacious dispersal (apron) and a taxi link for connecting the apron to the manoeuvring area of CIAL.

The facility has been constructed in close cooperation and with the support of the government of Kerala, the Military Engineering Service, CIAL, Airports Authority of India, Kerala State Electricity Board and BSNL, the release said.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Special Correspondent / Kochi – April 28th, 2018

City engg. graduate is IAS topper in State

Sikha bags 16th rank in exams

Sikha Surendran’s house at Vadayampady in Kolenchery was buzzing with activity on Friday as relatives and well-wishers dropped in to congratulate the 24-year-old engineering graduate on clinching the 16th rank in the Civil Services Examination.

After completing her engineering course, Ms. Surendran had worked hard to realise her father’s dream of her becoming a district collector.

Failure to clear the examinations in the first attempt did not discourage her. “It taught me to face the exam better. The syllabus is really vast. We have to learn how to tackle the exam by learning the tricks of clearing it,” she said.

Ms. Surendran chose Malayalam Literature as her optional subject. Asked why a civil engineer had opted for Malayalam, Sikha said Malayalam was one of her favourite subjects in school. “The Civil Services examination gave me an opportunity to pursue my passion of learning Malayalam. I was also keen on writing essays in Malayalam on various topics,” she said.

The young topper said IAS provided one with a variety of opportunities and challenges. “I feel it is the best profession to serve society and hope that I will be able to contribute to nation building by undertaking the responsibilities of a civil service officer.”

Ms. Surendran’s mother Silo works with a private firm in Kochi, while her father Surendran, who was earlier working with the accounts department of a private firm, is confined to home owing to health-related issues.

For all those aspiring to top the civil services exam, Ms. Surendran has this piece of advice, “Stay focussed and never give up.”

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Kochi Bureau / Kochi – April 28th, 2018

Group of tribesmen sets a model in pesticide-free farming

Members of Surya Tribal Self Help Group harvesting beans from their vegetable garden at Kavadam in Wayanad district.

Five self-help groups, including three women’s groups, cultivate 16 acres of rented land

A group of tribesmen under the Kaniyampetta grama panchayat in Wayanad district of Kerala  has set a successful model in pesticide-free vegetable cultivation.

As many as 64 tribal families belong to Paniya and Mullakuruma tribal sects have grown 10 varieties of vegetables, including yard-long beans, bitter gourd, tomato, snake gourd, okra, and green chilli on 16 acres of rented land at Kavadom, Chittalur Kayakkunnu, and Nelliyambom near Nadavayal.

The vegetable promotion project was launched by the Scheduled Tribal Development Department under a special Central assistance to a tribal sub-plan in January. A sum of ₹9.64 lakh was provided for the purpose.

Five self-help groups (SHGs), including three women’s groups, have been constituted under the project and each group consists of 10 to 14 members. All expenses — including the rent of land, seeds, organic manure, pump sets for irrigation, agricultural implements, and wages — were borne by the department.

“Our produce is in good demand as our farming methods are transparent and can be viewed by anyone,” says A. Kavalan, tribal cheftain, Kavadam Paniya settlement, and president of the Surya SHG.

Lower prices

‘Though organic produce is priced at a premium, the SHGs sell vegetables at rates lower than the market price. Earlier, the members used to sell their produce to middlemen. Later, they entered into a tie-up with Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK) to avoid middlemen and to get a better income, says A. Manojkumar, a Committed Social Worker of the department.

“We sold nearly one tonne of yard-long beans through Kudumbasree at ₹22 a kg .The harvest of other vegetables will start soon,” K. Meenakshi, president of Arya SHG, said.

“While vegetable traders in nearby towns sell vegetables procured from Gundlupet in Karnataka at a higher price, we are able to sell pesticide-free produce at 20% to 25% lower than the market rate,” she said.

Profit expectations

“We expect a profit of ₹15 lakh from the project this season,” says N.J. Reji, tribal extension officer, Kaniyampetta grama panchayat.

“We were able to provide 60 working days to 64 families in the past two months. The profit from the project will be utilised as a revolving fund to expand vegetable cultivation to ensure a sustainable income to tribal members,” he said.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by E.M.Manoj / April 28th, 2018

Kerala pip Bengal in penalty shootout, win Santosh Trophy after 13 seasons

This was Kerala’s sixth Santosh Trophy title and first since 2004-05. Kerala had downed Punjab 3-2 with an extra time goal to win their last Santosh Trophy in October 2004.

Kolkata: Kerala footballers jubiliate after winning Santosh Trophy by beating Bengal at Salt Lake in Kolkata on Sunday. PTI Photo (PTI4_1_2018_000155A)

Kerala held their nerves to beat Bengal via penalty shootout as they clinched their sixth national football championships for the Santosh Trophy at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday.

Locked 2-2 after extra time, Kerala goalkeeper Mithun V put up a stellar show in the tie-breaker to help his side win 4-2.

Ankit Mukherjee and Nabi Hussain Khan missed the first two penalty kicks for Bengal as Midhun V thwarted both their attempts.

Tirthankar Sarkar and Sanchayan Samadder’s conversion did not help as Kerala scored through Rahul V Raj, Jithin Gopalan and Jestin George.

For the final kick, Jiten Murmu took on the gloves but Seesan S shot past him to deliver Kerala their first Santosh Trophy since 2004-05.

Kerala had beaten Punjab 3-2 with an extra time goal to win their earlier Santosh Trophy title in New Delhi in October 2004.

Earlier Jithin MS gave Kerala a 19th minute lead before Bengal captain Jiten Murmu restored parity in the 68th minute.

After the regulation time stalemate, Kerala once again went ahead in the extra time when Vibin Thomas found the net with his 117th minute header.

Kerala had the numerical advantage in the last eight minutes when Rajon Burman was sent off in the 112th minute.

But despite the odds, Tirthankar Sarkar scored late from a curling free kick in the 120+6th minute to take the game into the tie-breaker.

However, it was a heartbreak for Bengal as they failed to defend their crown as the Satheevan Balan coached-side kept a clean record to clinch their sixth title.

The hosts were on the attack straightaway as Sarkar had two free-kick chances from the left side of the area within the first six minutes.

While the first one was duly cleared by the Kerala wall, left-back Sreerag G pulled off a goal-line clearance from a Monotosh Chakladar’s shot after goalkeeper Midhun V parried it away.

It was Kerala who broke the deadlock against the run of play when Jithin Gopalan intercepted a ball in the centre of the park and found Seesan S close by. He then showed some great vision to release Jithin MS on the run.

Bengal’s left-back Abhishek Mukherjee was off his position and with Sourav Dasgupta failing to track the winger, Jithin MS brought up his fifth goal of the tournament by slotting home through goalkeeper Ranajit Majumder’s gates.

All attempts by Bengal forwards were thwarted by the southern side. Monotosh Chakladar attempted a header from a set-piece in the 25th minute but it was straight to Midhun.

Skipper Murmu tried his luck after the half-hour mark from long range but the ball went over the bar.

Bengal finally put their foot on the gas and scored when Chakladar headed down a long ball and substitute Rajon Barman broke through to feed the striker who found the back of the net with a delectable left-footer.

Visibly tired, both teams slowed down in the last 30 minutes.

In the 117th minute, Kerala took advantage of the extra man and Jestin George’s cross from the left was headed home by Thomas.

However, Sarkar had other plans when he converted from a free-kick from 25 yards in the sixth minute of injury time, taking the game to a shootout.

Bengal coach blames injuries

Bengal coach Ranjan Chowdhury blamed their heartbreaking loss to Kerala in the Santosh Trophy final on injuries to key players.

Trailing 1-2, Bengal were reduced to 10 players with eight minutes left in the extra time, but they managed to level through Tirthankar Sarkar’s curling freekick in the 120+6th minute and take the match into penalty shootout.

Kerala sealed the issue 4-2 in the penalty shootout as Bengal missed the duo of Bidyashagar Singh and Sourav Dasgupta sorely, Chowdhury said.

“We had to make the substitutes all because of injuries… The duo was supposed to take penalties. It was a lost battle in the penalty shootout, much before it began,” Chowdhury rued at the post-match news conference.

Bidyasagar, who had scored the solitary goal in their win over Chandigarh, sustained an injury and was replaced by Sandip Bhattacharjee in the 90+2nd minute.

At the start of extra time, Sourav Dasgupta also picked an injury to be replaced by Krishna Biswas.

Back in 1988-89, Bengal downed Kerala 4-3 on penalties after they were one-all. In 1993-94, Cuttack, the match too was decided in the penalty shootout when Bengal beat Kerala 5-3 after they were locked 2-2. This was Kerala’s sixth Santosh Trophy title and first since 2004-05. Kerala had downed Punjab 3-2 with an extra time goal to win their last Santosh Trophy in New Delhi in October 2004.

For this edition, Kerala trusted former Calicut University coach and national team scout Satheevan Balan who opted for their youngest-ever team.

Kerala defeated Chandigarh 5-1 in their tournament opener before handing out 6-0 and 3-0 thrashings to Manipur and Maharashtra to reach the semi-final.

In their final group league, Kerala defeated Bengal 1-0 as they finished the tournament winning all their matches, and doing a double on the record 32 times champions.

“It’s a fresh team and my technical staff also new so I could work freely. I could choose the players I like and they have done an excellent job. We have thirteen players without job and they are young players,” he hailed, giving credit to the boys.

“We selected a very young team that we believed can compete. They proved during the South Zone matches and we qualified. We understood this team was capable to put up a fight against any other team at an all-India level and they have showed this in the final.”

Satheevan was appointed national team scout under Stephen Constantine in 2015 and the current crop of players playing for him will be hopeful of a national call-up.

source: / The Indian Express / Home> Sports> Football / by PTI, Kolkata / April 02nd, 2018

A cultural extravaganza nonpareil

Thrissur Pooram celebrated with splendour

Percussion ensembles pounded out hypnotic rhythms. Majestic elephants roamed all over the city. The sky was lit up in a riot of colour. And the much popular and revered Thrissur Pooram was celebrated in all its grandeur on Wednesday.

Thousands converged at Thekkinkadu Maidan to soak in the festival spirit. It was fun, with roaring crowds, loud music, and plenty of eating and drinking. Unique in its festivities, rituals, and spectacle, Thrissur Pooram is a splendid assortment of ceremonies, traditional ensembles, caparisoned elephants, and fireworks.

Believed to have started in the late 18th century, the festival has evolved into a socio-religious event involving all sections of society over the years. It is a cultural experience without parallel.

The meticulously planned 36-hour celebrations kept its promise to be picture perfect. The cloud of confusion over the fireworks too got cleared by night.The festivities started with the arrival of Kanimangalam Sastha early in the morning.

It was followed by other ‘cheru poorams’ from participating temples of Karumukku Bhagavathy, Panamukkumpilly Sastha, Chembukkavu Bhagavathy, Choorakkottukavu Bhagavathy, Lalur Bhagavathy, Ayyanthole Bhagavathy, and Naithilakkavu Bhagavathy.

Madathil Varavu, in which the ‘thidambu’ (idol) of Thiruvambadi Bhagavathy is taken from the Thiruvambadi temple to Naduvil Madom at Pazhayanadakkavu, was one of the main events in the morning. The procession of Paramekkavu Bhagavathy began around 12.30 p.m.

Sultry weather, sweat, and dust notwithstanding, large masses of devotees and spectators from across the world poured in to the city from early morning. Unlike earlier years, families, especially young women, attended the festival in large numbers. There was a separate section for women at the main venue.

The pooram offered something for everyone. More than 70 elephants held sway, moving their ears vigorously in tune with drumbeats.

Percussion lovers enjoyed the choicest rhythms of chendamelam, pandimelam, and panchavadyam, led by maestros Peruvanam Kuttan Marar, Kongad Madhu, Kizhakkoot Aniyan Marar, and Paraikkad Thankappan Marar. Panchavadyam during the Madathil Varavu of Thiruvambadi and Melam under the Ilanji tree by Paramekkavu were the highlights.

The mood became hysteric with the colourful Kudamattom, in which hundreds of parasols were displayed atop elephants in a friendly competition by the Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi Devaswoms. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was present. Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar and former Speaker K. Radhakrishnan accompanied him.

The latecomers will be pampered with a recap. All that rolls from dawn to dusk will be repeated at night. Next is the wait for the early morning fireworks, fighting sleep. Fireworks fans are keeping their fingers crossed as there have been mild showers for the last few days in the city.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by Mini Muringatheri / April 25th, 2018

City’s canine detectives win medals at State-level contest

Handlers with the police dogs Robin and Juliet

Dog squad of the city police to get high-level training ahead of national competition

Robin and Juliet, the youngest members of the city police’s dog squad secured two prestigious medals at a State-level competition held recently in Thrissur as part of the duty meet of the Kerala police.

While Robin, the one-and-a-half-year-old Labrador Retriever, proved his skills in detecting hidden narcotic substances at the five-level contests, Juliet, the Doberman of the same age, bagged the medal for tracking objects.

Both Robin and Juliet were qualified for attending the upcoming national-level contest in November. Their handlers said the dogs were excellent in obedience and food refusal tests as well at the three-day meet that concluded on April 19.

“Both were trained at the National Centre for Training in Search, Rescue and Disaster Response run by the Indo-Tibetan Boarder Police in Haryana before joining the city police squad 10 months ago. Ahead of the national meet, they will get high-level training,” said additional sub inspector D. Sanilkumar, who is in charge of the dog squad.

Robin, who was trained by his handlers Prasoon and Sujil, won the attention at the State meet by tracking narcotic substances buried in the soil or hidden in different places. Objects hidden in a suitcase and on human body were spotted by him within the given time.

Midhun and Sanal, the handlers of Juliet, too had moments of joy when she came out with outstanding performance in scent discrimination, identification and tracking lost objects. She also excelled in displaying flawless retrieving skills by crossing the hurdles.

Mr. Sanilkumar said the seven-member dog squad had put up sterling performances in several other competitions held earlier in various parts of the State. “Our four-year-old Buddy, a Labrador, was one among the dogs which drew the attention of trainers in such competition venues,” he said.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kozhikode / by Staff Reporter / Kozhikode – April 23rd, 2018

Kerala Kaumudi chief editor M.S. Ravi dead

Chief Editor of Kerala Kaumudi M.S. Ravi, 68, died here on Friday. He collapsed at his house in the afternoon and was rushed to a private hospital where doctors declared him dead at 3 p.m.

Mr. Ravi was the fourth son of Kerala Kaumudi founder editor K. Sukumaran and Madhavi Sukumaran. He succeeded his elder brother M.S. Mani as chief editor. Mr. Ravi was an energetic presence in the State’s social and cultural circuit. He was also a recipient of several awards.

His wife Shailaja; his brother M.S. Mani; and sons Deepu Ravi, Editor, Kerala Kaumudi; and Darshan Ravi, director-marketing; survive him. His brothers M.S. Madhusoodhanan and M.S. Sreenivasan had passed away earlier.

Governor P. Sathasivam said the untimely demise of Mr. Ravi had saddened him deeply. He described Mr. Ravi as a socially-committed editor who had an abiding concern for the welfare of the weaker sections of society. Mr. Ravi always upheld the high standards of journalistic conduct.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan described Mr. Ravi as yet another strong link in the line of determined and forceful editors who had steered Kerala Kaumudi through the years.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala described Mr. Ravi as an editor who always faced the world with an endearing smile. Under him, Kerala Kaumudi had reached greater heights and forayed into the new media.

Cremation today

The mortal remains of Mr. Ravi will be cremated with full State honours on the newspaper’s precincts on Saturday.

A press release by Kerala Kaumudi said the cremation would take place near the resting place of the newspaper’s founder-editor M. Sukumaran at 4 p.m. Public Works Minister G. Sudhakaran on Friday laid a floral wreath on the body on behalf of the State government.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by Special Correspondent – Thiruvananthapuram / April 20th, 2018

Blown away by the biting Arctic charms

Niyog traversed the Arctic with 19 adventurers from across the globe. | Photo Credit: HAND OUT

Niyog, the first Indian to take part in Fjällräven Polar, recounts the expedition’s high points

The extreme cold was expected. Niyog had prepared himself for it by spending some days in Manali, Himachal Pradesh, in winter. But, the 26-year-old from Punalur, the first Indian to take part in Fjällräven Polar, a dream expedition of adventure travellers, found that no preparation was good enough to face the wild Arctic wind. “The wind was such that we couldn’t stand on the ground. We had to build ice walls around our tents so that they wouldn’t be blown away. Breathing was tough at some point,” Niyog recalled his journey across the Arctic with 19 selected adventurers from all over the world.

Fjällräven Polar is an annual expedition being organised by the Swedish company Fjällräven since 1997. The participants, selected through an online poll, travelled 300 km in -30° Celsius through the Arctic wilderness in Norway and Sweden on sleighs pulled by six Siberian Husky dogs.

The participants had to adopt different methods to make fire as it was an integral part of survival in the Arctic. “We were provided stoves to cook food, that worked on Super Fuel. We used magnesium coils to make fire and then brought them to compressive mode. On another day we collected fibres from the bark of a tree to make fire,” Niyog said.

Danger in sweating

Cooking using melted ice for water and sleeping in a sleeping bag inside a trench, when the snow could bury them any time, were part of the adventure.

“We had to be careful about sweating, as sweat turning into ice could be very dangerous. The ice settled anywhere in 10 seconds and the wind made the situation worse,” he said.

Niyog found controlling the dogs easier than expected as the animals were trained to follow the well defined path. But he had a hard time balancing the sleigh in the unpredictable terrain and was thrown off many a time.

The trip over, Niyog cherishes watching the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) and enjoying the hospitality of the Sami tribe that served the adventurers with reindeer meat dishes. It took several baths alternatively in steam and ice cold water besides dipping in an ice hole to acclimatise. Now, back home, the young man who is always driven by adventure finds himself unfit for more — for at least a few weeks.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by Aabha Raveendran / Kozhikode – April 20th, 2018