Trichur District is all set to have a Aqua Tourism centre in the form of the Model Shrimp Farm and Training Centre in Poyya. A masterplan is being prepared that would include setting up of a fisheries museum and demo of fish culture and Pokkali farming( a crop pattern that alternates between rice and fish) in a vast area of 158 acres to add impetus to this innovative project .
The fish culture proposed in the master plan involves rearing of prawns, crabs, milkfish and pearlspot, which would be made into traditional culinary delights to lure the tourists. Benny Kuriakose, who was associated with the master plan drafting of the fabled Muziris Heritage Project, will be preparing the masterplan for this aqua tourism project as well. The farm, which is functioning under the Agency for Development for Aquaculture of Kerala can be easily clubbed with the Musiris Heritage in Kottapuram to attract more visitors . This would ensure additional revenue for the farm that would keep it away from the debt issues.
The fisheries museum that demonstrate the traditional fishing methods and gears of Kerala is expected to be a crowd puller. Those who are interested to get trained in these methods will also be given hands on training in these methods that are disappearing at an alarming pace from Kerala. Fishes, crabs and prawns that can thrive in both brackish and fresh water will be chosen for the farm cultivation. Leisure activities like pedal boating facilities are also being included in Poyya to make it a family tourist spot. In case you are planning a laid back weekend break far from the maddening pace of the urban life, Poyya would be a good choice. Aqua tourism is catching up the fancy of tourists just like farm tourism or village tourism. This interesting blog on Ezhattumugham Nutmeg Greens Farm tourism makes an interesting read on the immense potential in these segments.
Welcome aboard the only private jet charter service in Kerala , which would ensure air travel affordable to everyone without compromising on safety and luxury. Kochi, which has emerged as the business capital of Kerala and an IT gateway in South India gets its first-ever chartered flight service in Kerala. This move will surely add impetus to its business prosepcts in the days ahead.
The Joyalukkas Group acquired a five-seater business jet Embraer Phenom 100 made in Brazil, which became the first ever nonscheduled’ twin-engine jet aircraft owned by a Keralite. The Joy Alukkas Group has also immediate plans to set up an aviation company with a fleet of four light aircraft including a helicopter. These aircrafts would be put to use to cater to the needs of the tourism industry as well as medical emergencies and business needs.
The Embraer Phenom 100, costing Rs 21 crore is one of the most advanced planes in its genre and can attain a speed of 0.70 Mach with a climb rate of 4,760 ft per minute. It can travel a distance of 1,320 nautical miles and can hit a maximum altitude of 41,000 ft. The best part is that it needs only a takeoff distance of 3,400 ft, which makes it convenient for remote access and short airstrips. It was flown from Brazil to Chennai in 10 days and stopovers in 19 different countries. Embraer Phenom 100 would be using the facilities of Nedumbassery International Airport and once the chartered flight fleet gets ready, it will throw open an array of exciting options in adventure travel and tourism. So, in case you fancy a solo flight or a family flight tour, this could well your chance.
The meandering waterways in the form of lakes, backwaters and rivers in Kerala puts it in the league of countries like the Netherlands, Denmark and Greece, where coastal shipping plays an important role in easing the traffic bottlenecks. With the proposed coastal shipping route that will be completed in 2012, Kerala will be making the best use of its long coast line like these European countries. In the initial stage, this channel will be used to ferry containers from Vallarpadam Container Transshipment Terminal, which will take off a substantial part of heavy traffic from the roads leading to Kochi.
Various shipping companies and industrial representatives have evinced keen interest in this project, which will be of immense benefit to the cashew industry in Kollam, the rubber units in Kottayam and Pathanamthitta and especially the construction industry. Coastal shipping has become the need of the hour as road transport network has proved insufficient in handling the smooth slow of traffic considering the exponential growth in the goods movement in recent times.
The Great Sea Shipping Pvt Ltd based in Cochin has confirmed its plans to launch river-sea vessels on both fixed schedules and charter basis to ensure container transportation services. The company plans to start its operations with two vessels each with a cargo capacity of 52 containers connecting Kollam port and Vallarpadam terminal, by April 2012.
The coastal shipping route will infuse a fresh lease of life to the limping cashew and coir industry. It is estimated that over 10,000 containers of cashew kernels are transported from Kollam for exports and around 35,000 containers of imported raw cashew is brought back to Kollam by road and the exporters have to shell out an exorbitant sum on transportation charges. However , once the coastal route gets ready, the transportation charges can be brought down by over 40 per cent of what it currently costs by road. In the second phase of the project, the non-coastal pockets will be integrated with the minor and major ports in the state, that would make a comprehensive network of inland waterways, rivers and backwater routes, which will be of tremendous use for the rubber industry mainly centred around Kottayam and Pathanamthitta areas.
It was some years back that an actor from Kerala, M.R.Gopakumar, was chosen to play a key role in Steven Spielberg’s ‘The Lost World’. But the actor, who had proved his calibre with Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s ‘Vidheyan‘ couldn’t make it and join Spielberg’s unit in Los Angeles as the American Consulate in Chennai denied him a ‘work visa’. The reason quoted was that Gopakumar had no documents to prove that Spielberg had actually hired him. For the actor, who is definitely a real talented person (‘Vidheyan’ alone is proof enough), this was big loss indeed. (Gopakumar continues to act, but in totally unexceptional kind of roles and television soaps, thus being one of the most under-utilised actors in a star-oriented film industry).
M.R.Gopakumar is just an example of how visa rejection could cause irreparable loss to people. People from all walks of life have had to face this at all times. The world of visa rejection is indeed a lost world, wherein you suffer the losses and the authorities in question too can’t help it maybe. There are complexities, official and diplomatic ones. The reasons may sound just and you can’t blame the blatant indifference shown by authorities at an embassy or consulate. But there are instances where this could be avoided, perhaps. One such instance, where it can be and should be overcome relates to the forthcoming Formula One Indian Grand Prix, slated to take place on October 30th at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, so near our National Capital. Visa related issues are causing much trouble for drivers, journalists and others who plan to make it to Delhi for the grand event, as per recent reports.
It seems that the clichéd statement of India being a land of paradox never goes out of fashion! The exponential growth of its rapid economic development hasn’t done much in managing the contradictions.
A survey has now revealed that cities such as Gurgaon, which are the most preferred places to earn a living are not the best places to live! This interesting data surfaced during the research conducted by the economics research firm Indicus Analytics on residences, earnings and investments. Paradoxically none of the top ten cities that offer the greatest career opportunities feature in the list of top ten Indian cities to live! Six vital parameters including health, education, environment, safety, public facilities and entertainment were taken into account while preparing the index of cities that are conducive for living. Whereas the list of cities that offered the maximum earning potential was based on growth rate of employment, per capita income and listings on popular job websites.
Interestingly the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai did not fall in either of the two lists as these failed to feature in the list of ten best cities to reside, earn or invest! Nonetheless, these bustling metros were listed among the cities preferred by the deep pocketed elite class to spend their life.
The top 10 places, which offer the best employment opportunities include Gurgaon, followed by Silvaasa, Noida, Faridabad, Rupnagar, Chandigarh, Surat, Bangalore, Gandhinagar and Pune. The best cities to live are Kochi, Kozhikode, Shimla, Thiruvananthapuram, Mysore, Goa, Thrissur, Pondicherry, Kannur and Thiruvalur. The fact that five of these cities are in Kerala, should be a matter of pride for any Malayalee though it could have come as a rude shock for many considering the pathetic state of affairs.
Let’s admit it! The ground reality that exist in all these cities in Kerala are far from rosy. From pot holed roads to garbage ridden pathways and ill planned cities and the infrastructure facilities that clearly fall short of the needs of the swelling population, the city life is nothing short of a struggle for any ordinary citizen! The local administration and the public should brace up their acts atleast now to make these cities truly the most preferred cities in India and to live up to the celebrity status bestowed upon them!
Keralites love elephants and revere more than any the greatest of all elephants nicknamed Tuskers. Well, it looks like Kerala will have to do without its IPL franchise the Kochi Tuskers after their contract was rescinded after the promoters had failed to pay their revenue share to the central board; a fact I might add that is strongly contested by the Gujarati promoters who claim that it is they who are actually owed money. New BCCI chairman Srinivasan looks an extremely unsafe pair of hands all round. He has also decided to promote Sourav Ganguly to the chairmanship of the Technical committee and announced the fact even though he has not contacted him yet. Let’s just hope that Ganguly does not reject the offer which, knowing Ganguly, is perfectly possible.
Meantime Kochiites won’t be shedding many tears over the rescinding of the Tuskers contract as the promoters had already tried to move the franchise to Gujarat and showed little interest in Kerala. If anything Kerala will be experiencing some schadenfreude. In fact, Indians are increasingly turned off by IPL especially since the demise of the Indian cricket team in England this summer. What started off as harmless and exciting fun has turned into a circus of corruption and the flaunting of wealth and is now being blamed for the summer whitewash. The Tuskers franchise was originally bought for 1550 crores – an astonishing sum in this still mainly poor country and these sums combined with heightened awareness of the country’s problems with widespread corruption are beginning to worry Indians. And then there is the 54 days of solid cricket: few are looking forward to so much cricket without break.
Keralites all over the world are looking forward to celebrate the home coming of King Mahabali and the Onam festival that falls on Friday. One of the most important days in the festive calender of Kerala, Onam festivities span over 10 days starting from Atham. Keralites have left nothing to chance; elaborate floral carpets , sumptuous feasts and the folks dressed in their best, everything is in place to make Mahabali happy and to show off the prosperity and happiness of his subjects! However beyond these cosmetic grandeur there is rot of corruption, nepotism and mismanagement that would force the king to scurry back to his subterranean abode!
To cater to the needs of the Keralites who are getting ready to celebrate Onam, wagon loads of flowers from Tamilnadu have already reached the city. The vendors have camped in vantage spots all over the city to grab the attention of the Onam shoppers. Though the flowers are being sold at exorbitant rates at a rate of over 150-300 Rs per kilo for many flowers like white marigold and yellow and orange jamanthi, this has not dampened the shopping spirits of the people. Gone are the days when Malayalees used to deck up the floral carpets with traditional flowers like Thumba, mathapoo and chembarthi. The new generation kids might not even know what all these are!
The unseasonal rains and the wet weather too has played spoil sport this year and the road side vendors are the most affected by this. There are onam fairs, payasamela and handicrafts exhibitions in various venues, which are jam packed with shoppers. The onam bonus and early salary has added the much needed impetus in driving up the shopping frenzy of the salaried class .
We have lost the classic charm of home made meals and the warmth of family get togethers somewhere down the time line. In the onslaught of the modern life styles where nobody has time for anything , the ready to eat onam kits and ready made payasams come as handy aids to enjoy an Onam feast before dashing off to any movie theatre or to some exotic locale for a family holiday. It is indeed sad that we have long lost the essence and virtues associated with this festival. These days, the lure for money and power has pushed back the virtues into oblivion that were held so dear by our legendary king . However, let us all get together to welcome the king who had dreamed of a virtuous and truthful society as a tribute to him and his land of Kerala!
A mighty underground river that is flowing 13,000 feet beneath the Amazon river in Brazil has been named Hamza after the lead researcher, Valiya Mannathal Hamza of the team, which discovered it. The researchers at Brazil’s National Observatory believe the subterranean river is of the same length as that of River Amazon and is about 6,000 km long. This startling discovery was made while studying the temperature variations at 241 inactive oil wells drilled in the 1970s by Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras.
The team led by Hamza, a Malayali who studied in Kozhikode, could detect the movement of water around 13000 feet below the Amazon from the information provided by Petrobras. The subterranean river follows a similar flow pattern as that of the Amazon at over 3,000 cubic meters per second. This underground river is thought to originate from the region of Acre and plunge into the sea at Foz do Amazonas after traversing the basins of Solimoes, Amazona and Marajo. This amazing discovery has made indeed the tiny state of Kerala proud of its immense contributions in science and technology. Read more on the exciting Amazon Voyage in this blog,Ropes and Limits which has some spectacular snap shots of the pristine beauty of the Amazon as well.