Kochi: Kerala has grabbed the headlines in the recent past by a spate of infamous deeds of fake swamis and “godmen” who took devotees for a ride. Swindling money, illicit land deals and raping minor girls –the list of offences seems endless. The grapevine doing the rounds is that even wearing saffron is considered a curse and a cause of despise these days. Even genuine spiritual leaders find the going tough as they face the wrath and humiliation of the general public who are fed up with these gimmicks of the saffron brigade.
Even our team at Karma Kerala had an interesting brush with this wild topic a few weeks back. We had set out to capture some of the unexplored destinations in North Kerala and had just covered a jungle resort well within the reserve forest. It was already dark and the team was returning to the town. Interestingly, our photographer looked like a carbon copy of a fake swamy who created a buzz in the media for his wrong doings. His long beard and the saffron kurta and lucky charms on the right hand made him a replica of that elusive god man.
The police was frantically in search of this missing swami and wireless messages were conveyed to all police stations. Patrolling was tightened on all the important roads of the State. Blissfully unaware of all the happenings we were enjoying our ride at a leisurely pace. It was then a group of people spotted our car and way laid us. On seeing our photographer, who resembled the missing god man, they became all the more charged up and straightaway informed the police station.
Soon a police jeep screeched into halt and the police officers started questioning us. Though our identity cards proved our innocence, the police let us off only after verifying the facts by contacting our office in Kochi. The photographer still continues to wear the saffron kurta, quite oblivious and unmindful of the hullabaloo it had triggered that day. We all burst out into guffaws even today when we recollect this episode.
Thiruvananthapuram: Non resident Keralites who drive the economy of this small state can keep their chins up as a bevy of welfare programmes are being worked out for their benefit. These measures would be implemented by Roots Norka, a state-owned organisation that looks after the welfare of non-resident Keralites (NRKs).
To set the ball rolling, all non residents in Malappuram district would be issued an identity card, which would also double up as an insurance as well as discount card. The scheme will be extended to all other districts in Kerala in a phased manner. The distribution of identity cards in Mankada was completed July 19.
This card will act as an insurance card, where in the case of accident or death of an NRK, the dependent would be entitled for Rs.100,000. NRKs can also use this card as a discount card at selected shops in the state.
As per the available figures, over two million Malayalis are settled abroad, with 90% working in various Middle East countries. Once the distribution of identity cards is completed the exact number of NRKs would come to light.
Thiruvananthapuram: While the whole world is in the grip of Euro 2008 soccer fever, an IT company in Kerala has come up with an innovative online version of this popular football match.
The game, ‘Penalty Game Euro 2008′ has duration of 10-minutes and is created by Invision Technologies (Pvt) Ltd. It features all the 16 participating teams in the ongoing Euro 2008 championship.
Developed for a Dutch travel company, this virtual football game has become a huge hit that the client has already placed the order for a second game, which would have more interesting features than the first part of the game.
In the first series of interactive penalty shoot-out game, only the Dutch team takes the penalty kick against the other teams. This online version would satiate the football mania of many of the die hard fans of this game who could not make it to the live game venues.
Kozhikode: Here’s a strange story of an eagle playing guardian to chickens, which form part of its staple diet! In a mysterious twist, an eagle known to be one of the most ferocious predators in the avian kingdom is nurturing two chicks as its own, proving that love and affection exist in the birds’ world too.
Madhavan, the owner of this bird got it from a coconut vendor with its limb broken after a nasty fall from a coconut tree some months back. With constant caring, the eagle got cured completely and started living with this family. It alerts the owners when strangers try to enter the house and scares away stranger. The eagle loves the children of the house and makes it a point to follow them to the cricket field and return with them after an exciting game.
Though the bird has not been trained by anyone, it has a natural instinct to protect the chicken under its feather and to feed them with its own beak. It shares a unique relationship with these chicks and does not hesitate to scare away the mother hen too at times to grab the custodian rights of these two week old birds. This unique example firms up the fact that even birds have feelings and emotions just like or even better than the supposedly civilized clan of humans!
It’s high time that humans, who do not mind going to any heinous extent for his personal benefits, draw a cue or two from the selfless love of these mute creatures!
Thiruvananthapuram: Though, the South West monsoon is yet to set in vigorously in Kerala, the annual 45 day trawling ban was imposed in Kerala coasts. With the rain clouds playing hide and seek even after 3 weeks since the normal monsoon onset date, things are not in Kerala’s favour this season.
During the trawling ban over 5,000 trawlers will be kept out of a 12-nautical mile zone from the coast. The ban is not applicable for traditional fishermen. The 45-day annual ban has been in force since 1988, to ensure the replenishment of fish population. Monsoon is the spawning season for many varieties of fish, including shrimp.
The overexploitation of marine wealth is an issue of serious concern. These days there are trawlers, which can even stir up the ocean bed causing widespread damage to the fragile marine ecosystem. The trawling ban is found to be effective in restoring the balance at least to some extent before the trawlers would zoom in once again in the quest of nature’s bounties.
Fish is a popular item in Kerala menu and it is a cheaper source of protein compared to meat. The catch from traditional fishermen would not be sufficient to meet the burgeoning demand for fish, so for the next 45 days, fish would be dearer for Malayalees.
Alappuzha: Once again the festive calendar of Kerala would be festooned with an array of snake boat races, the first of which will begin on Thursday. Known as the Champakulam snake boat race, it will be held in the Pampa River at Champakulam, 25km from Alappuzha. An interesting feature is the presence of three thekkanodi boats with women rowers. Conducted on the malayalam star of Moolam, this Moolam Boat Race. which was started much before the formation of the State is deep rooted in the history of Kerala.
A colourful cultural procession is organized on the previous day followed by the customary rituals performed by the Travancore Devaswom Board at the Champakulam Mutt temple and the Mappilassery ancestral home, from where the boat race is thought to have evolved are the other star attractions of the event.
This is the first boat race after the State Government accorded sports status to boat races. As per the new rules and regulations, oarsmen would be accepted as sportsmen. Uniforms are provided for the participants and separate tracks have been allocated for racing boat. However, the Boat Owners Association has decided to keep away from the race, demanding bonus prize money and maintenance grants for their boats, which would rob off much of its gloss due to the absence of ‘churulan’, ‘odi’ and ‘iruttukuthy’ boats, which were stellar attractions of this race for long.
However, the presence of the fabled Aranmula ‘palliyodam’ category of snake-boats is expected to make up for this flaw as ‘Palliyodam’ boats would be contesting in the event for the first time in its 400-year-old history. Nine ‘chundan’ boats, three ‘thekkanodi’ boats and three ‘palliyodam’ boats from some of the prestigious boat clubs of Alappuzha, Kottayam and Kollam districts are participating in the race.
Kochi, June 18
Ramesh a farmer looks up daily to the dark clouds hovering over his fields in the hope that they will pour quite heavily today, but for his surprise his dreams gets washed away daily. He say’s if rain does not occurs in the couple of weeks, then he may have to look for some other source for water to irrigate this fields. Its almost seventeen days after the monsoon has set in over Kerala, but the rain gods seems not yet pleased with the ‘God’s own country’.
The state is still desperately waiting for the normal rain which has been the important factor for the seasonal crops and also the main source for the power generation in Kerala. If we look back, we can find that last year by this time rains were on its full, but like previous year this time rain gods does not seems so pleased with this tourist paradise (Kerala).
So far the state has experienced a scantly rainfall which is well below the normal rains in the state. The major concern apart from water for irrigating the seasonal crops is the big factor, power generation. If we put across all the reservoirs together, the capacity of the water as of now is sufficient to generate only 666.83 million units of power. The current level of water is still not adequate to overcome the demand for power for the state.
The State Electricity Department has started half-an-hour power cuts for the state. To so how reduce the daily demand of power and conserve some units of power to make sure if rains continuous in the same way then the electricity department could handle the situation well.
With such a poor start of the monsoon, apart from the meteorological department even the people of Kerala are a bit surprised. Though monsoon had broken all records this year, first with an unexpected pre-monsoon in rest part of India, leaving Kerala behind with a substantially late monsoon. But still people and met departments are hoping for a normal monsoon in the state this year too.
Kochi, June 17
The Red Ribbon Express will make its appearance at Thiruvanathapuram on June 28, spreading the awareness about HIV/AIDS. The train which is touring the country creating awareness about the causes and preventions for HIV/AIDS will be in the State for 12 days.
During its halt in the state it will make its appearance in few other places giving people the opportunity to known more about this dreadful disease of HIV/AIDS. It also educates how to prevent one with this dreadful disease. In connection to this the Kerala zone of Nehru Yuva Kendra will be organising a media workshop on June 20.
Thrissur: This simple Christian wedding, which took place the other day in Valappad in Thrissur District is startlingly different from any ordinary church wedding. The Christian priest was solemnizing the wedding of his own father when sixty-four-year-old groom, Antony, a widower, got married to Brajitha (50) at the St Sebastian Church.
This was indeed a marriage with a difference where the groom was accompanied by his grandsons to the church and the wedding solemnized by his priest son, Antree, serving as the principal of the Selesian Don Bosco Technical Institute in Sulthan Bathery in Wayanad district who told that he was only doing his duty as a priest.
The wedding was supervised by his son Fr. Andry Kannanpuzha, who has two siblings living abroad. Antony’s first wife for 29 years, Rita passed away in 2001 after which he was leading a secluded life. After a lot of cajoling and pressure from his family, Antony made up his mind to walk down the aisle with Brijitha, for whom it was the first marriage.
This wedding has once gain proved that marriages are indeed made in heaven.
Kochi: Kerala based Milgram group is launching an ambitious dairy village project with a budget outlay of Rs.500 crore, which would usher in a white revolution in Kerala. The project coming up at Mlamala in Idukki district is aimed at increasing the milk production in Kerala and would be a small step in making Kerala self sufficient in milk.
The complex, spread across 600 acres comprising of 150 dairy farms, would have 50,000 highly productive cattle. The project would employ the latest dairying techniques that comply with international standards and well equipped farm houses. Each farmhouse would have at least 2.5 acres of land, a farm shed, farm equipment, ten high breed cows and a vermicompost unit at an investment of Rs 22.95 lakh.
To start with, the project would have 5,000 cows with an expected milk production of 50,000 litres, which would be later increased to five lakh litres by adding 50,000 cattle heads. Funded mainly through NRI investments and public participation apart from funds from banks and the parent company, this project is sure to revolutionize the diary sector of the state. The project would include 25,000 farmers and 250 milk collection centres, which would ensure the effective distribution of premium quality milk all over Kerala.
At present, Kerala procures around 45% of its total milk requirement from neighboring states as its domestic milk supply falls short of its ever increasing demand. Projects similar to the Milgram diary village project would go a long way in making Kerala self sufficient in milk.
Till the very recent past, every Kerala home had a milking cow, which ensured the supply of pure milk to its family members. With increased urbanization, pressure for land and manpower increased, which in turn spell doom on these healthy habits of Keralites. Time has come for us to return to our roots and this project, which was formally inaugurated on Sunday, strongly drives home this message.