The Kerala state capital of Thiruvananathapuram is all set to be one of the most prestigious addresses in Indian defense sector in the days ahead, when it becomes the home for India’s supersonic-stealth cruise missile, BrahMos. The BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (BATL) in Chakkai, near Thiruvananthapuram International Airport will roll out BrahMos, one of the fastest cruise missiles in the world, which can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land. The name BrahMos is derived from the names of two rivers in India and Russia – the Brahmaputra and the Moskva respectively. The missile that travels at speeds of Mach 2.8 to 3.0 is three times faster than the USA’s subsonic Harpoon cruise missile and Tomahawk missile. An Air launched missile is also expected to come out in 2012, which will make India the only country with supersonic missiles in all the defence forces.
BATL is a joint venture between Republic of India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia. This much anticipated project will give an impetus in the space research programmes in Kerala and will make it a focus for many defense projects in the near future.
A low key bhoomi puja was conducted last week, which was attended by many key officials of BATL including the BrahMos Aerospace CEO, A Sivathanu Pillai. BATL has acquired the Air Force Complex land for this massive project and Vishal Infrastructure Ltd that has carried out many mega projects including Thiruvananthapuram airport will be carrying out the work. The basic infrastructure of the Missile Integration Complex (MIC) will be ready in one year and the project, which will have a total outlay of 20,000 sq ft area, will be completed in BATL Phase-II expansion plans.
Image source: MSN News
The Kochi International Airport is going to be one of the four airports in India that would have the Visa-on-Arrival facility working in a year’s time.
The decision to extend the Visa-on-Arrival facility, provided to tourists from some countries, like Japan, Singapore, Finland, Luxemburg, New Zealand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines etc, to four airports has been taken by the Government of India. That the Kochi airport is one among these is a matter of happiness for the people of Kerala, especially since people not just from European countries, but from places like Japan and Singapore too visit India, especially Kerala. This could prove a boost for the tourism sector and do good to Kerala.
The poojapura central jail in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, which houses some of the hard core criminals convicted in various criminal offenses is grabbing headlines for all the good reasons these days. The commercial chappathi making unit in the jail premises, which started functioning recently has already become a huge hit and a profitable venture.
The prison inmates of Poojapural jail are engaged in making soft and tasty chappathis in hygienic conditions, which are sold through the outlets at the Poojappura central jail premises and Attakulangara jail premises. Priced only at Rs. 2 per piece Poojappura Chappathi is sold out in no time as there is a huge demand for these tasty chappathis that are delivered fresh off the pan at unbeatable prices. At present over hundred inmates are involved in chappathi making and they are overwhelmed by the positive response from the customers.
Chappathi making is turning out to be a profitable venture like its gardening and horticulture activities, which had been tried out successfully in the jail premises earlier. Everyday about 16,000 chappathis are made daily and they have already made a profit of three lakh in a span of only a few months.Encouraged by the tremendous response for the chappathis, the prison authorities are planning to launch vegetable curries too in the market. By directing the prisoner’s time and effort in a constructive manner, the jail has become a trend setter in tapping the tremendous man power potential.
Everyone is born good; villains emerge due to the environmental influences and their upbringing and it is never too late for them to come back to goodness as this success story of Poojapura jail inmates would prove!
The name of Hamsa koya and Indian football go hand in hand. He is not an yesteryear player nor a referee but he holds the rare distinction of being the maker of goal post nets for over 20 years! Hailing from Malapuram, in North Kerala where football continues to be the passion of the local populace even today, Koya has been making high quality nets to the envy of many international brands.
His goal post nets have been used in many international football tournaments including the SAF cup and the Nehru Cup apart from countless league matches that are held every year in the country including the I-League championships, which are currently on. The special twines made from nylon and rope, traditionally used for making the fishing nets make the nets sturdy and he claims that these last for over a decade.
Koya keeps on his pursuit for excellence though the same level of enthusiasm seems to be to lacking for the Indian football team that has been in the news for its appalling levels of performance!
Meet this avid traveller fromKerala , Vijayan who has already travelled to seven countries, ,made pilgrimage trips to most of the destinations in India and who has plans to visit all the seven continents by 2015! If you thought he is a well heeled businessman or someone born with a sliver spoon in his mouth you would be in for a surprise. He runs a small, ramshackle tea shop in Kochi for a living and lives with his wife and two daughters.
In the 61 years of his life, he has lived his life to follow the passion of travelling and often he chooses places that he comes across in novels and travelogues. He makes sure to enjoy every moment of his life and feels that gold or wads of currency notes cannot give him the happiness that he derives from touring some of the most beautiful places on earth. This year he and his wife are planning a European tour and a tour company is even making arrangements to take them to Vatican to meet Pope Benedict XVI! They will set out on a 12-day tour to Europe on April 23 at a cost of Rs 2.90 lakh.
A wanderlust in the making, he has visited the hill shrine of Tirupathi over 100 times; and travelled to Chennai just to have a feel of the new AC bus ! A man of different tastes, he also makes sure to catch up all the films on the first day itself. Often people ask him why a small time tea stall owner would dream big to travel all over the world for which he replies with a smile that the money he make by breaking his back from dawn to dusk including Sundays in his tea shop is best spent to pursue his dreams. He has a debt of over 5 lakhs already and is trying to take another Rs 1 lakh as a bank loan, to fund his foreign trips and every month he pays over Rs 10,000 for repaying the loans taken from the KSFE, Cooperative Bank and Society.
When he is not busy globe trotting, Vijayan, reads novels and travelogues . He also plans to write a travelogue on his travel experiences that he has gained through these world tours, which will be published by one of the leading Malayalam news dailies. Don’t worry ; be happy seems to be the motto of this happy go lucky man , who tries to keep aside his worries and look at the brighter side of life!
Gone are the days when people used to stand in serpentine lines to remit the payments of their phone or electricity bills. Many a time, customers find it difficult to reach their work places on time after these errands as the staff in the counters fail to turn up at the dot of time! Now the users can pay their bills, get the bill details and payment date details through their mobile phones as the M-governance is being extended to more services like Kerala Water Authority, Kerala State Electricity Board and Kerala State Financial Corporation. Already, the motor vehicles department is using this mobile alert based information service where the users can access the details of the vehicle if the registration number is known.
However, the role of M-governance will not replace the existing system but will act as a supplement to e-governance to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban areas. In addition, a range of facilities including the complaint registration system at Kerala Women’s Commission, helpline and information system for Sabarimala pilgrims bus timings of KSRTC, mobile ticket reservation at Kerala State Film Development Corporation theatres and timber auction alerts at Forest Department have also been introduced. As Kerala moves a step closer to paperless transactions with these smart services, booking your movie ticket or paying the electricity bills have become as simple as a few clicks! Well, that is what we all call smart living!
The biggest bane of Kerala is the appalling conditions of its roads that remain in a non motorable state all round the year. Pot holes appear as soon as the tarring is completed leaving the users badly grounded. However, there seems to be some hope for this nagging problem in the form of cotton nets that can be used for reinforcing the roads. The water logged areas of Kuttanad have already made use of this product in strengthening its roads and bunds. The project, successfully implemented in association with the Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation in different wards of Edathua last year is primarily aimed at preventing soil erosion.
Soil erosion is rampant in Kuttanad region where floods occur twice a year, which wash off the roads and bunds. The new techniques is expected to strengthen the roads by keeping the soil on both sides of the road tightly wrapped. Recently a stretch of road from Edathua to Puvakkad was constructed using the technique and it is expected to stay in good condition for a minimum of four years.
The cotton nets are first spread on the embankments of the road , which are vulnerable to soil erosion. The nets are then fixed to the soil using bamboo and grass and tree saplings are planted, which keep the net tightly fixed. The need of the hour is to ensure high quality roads, which has a vital role in the economic development of Kerala. These indigenous methods would indeed go a long way in offering cost effective solutions for making the roads stable and long lasting.
New Year celebrations in Kerala often boil down into ostentatious show of pomp and money power. New Year revelry is all about fast music, wild dance, DJs and drinks for many. However behind the glitter and the glamour of the New year revelry there were some dark moments that would leave us all ashamed.
The merry making males went overboard after downing a few hard drinks when they tried to molest the North Indian bar girls in the New Year parties in a three star hotel in Cochin. The staff and managers of several hotels had a difficult time shielding the girls from the straying hands of the spirited revelers.
In the city of Cochin alone, 878 cases were registered of which 568 were for drunk driving, wrong parking etc while 200 cases were booked for public boozing and a few related to clashes among party revelers. The city malls were jam packed with young revelers who shouted and sang all night that kept the families off.
The tourist hub of Fort Kochi also bore the brunt of the great carnival. Heaps of plastic containers of take away food parcels , decorative stuff, and loads of empty liquor bottles that remain mute testimonies of the drinking habits of Malayalees were all strewn around carelessly. It is paradoxical that as we become more educated we turn insensitive to everything around us including the less fortunate souls. It is high time that we pick up the art of celebrating special events without causing nuisance to others and littering public places !