Thanks to smart card. You can now bid adieu to the nightmare of the high pitched yelling and scary stares of the bus conductors against you for not extending the correct change in city buses in Kerala. Most of the conductors hesitate to give back the change to commuters , which often lead to heated arguments and even fist fights. The smart card swipe option to travel in city buses would relieve the passengers from the hassles of always carrying change.
The success of the city on wheels project has prompted the district administration to extend the project to all private buses in future. This would make Ernakulam the first district , to issue tickets in all private buses by way of smart cards. At present 100 buses have been brought under this scheme in various routes like Vytila-vytila, Kakkanad, Aluva, Eroor, Tripunithura and Poothotta .
The inspiration for the city on wheels idea was the overwhelming success of the survey conducted by Technovia infosolutions , Kochi. The survey highlighted the problem faced by the passengers owing to the reluctance of the conductors to return the balance amount of the ticket fare. If the smart card concept becomes popular , we can hope that the city travel will become a much more enjoyable and hassle free affair for the passengers.
Kerala is all set to become the first state in India to start a Sharia-based non-banking finance company. The state government has finally got a nod from the Reserve Bank of India to set up a NBFC, which will be functioning as per the principles of Islamic banking. Kerala, which is a remittance-driven economy has been making request to the RBI to allow Islamic banking for many years now.
Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation is all set to float Cheraman Financial Services Limited, a concern of Al Baraka Financial Services, in this regard. Under the Islamic banking norms, the banks cannot charge interest from the borrowers nor can it pay interest to the depositors. As per the sharia laws, banks also cannot invest money in certain business areas like liquor, tobacco, gambling or speculation, which are strictly forbidden. Islamic banks are also prohibited from investing in bonds, treasury bills, and commercial papers, or lend to finance inventory or projects for interest.
It is estimated that over Rs 50,000 crore of interest money is lying unclaimed in Kerala banks, mostly on remittances on non resident Muslims who cannot claim interest from banks. Though the permission has been granted only for a non banking financial services and not a commercial bank, it will be a good choice for traditional Muslim investors who wish to go by the sharia banking norms.
Dr E P Krishna Menon, oncologist and cancer research scientist in the US , originally hailing from the temple town of Ambalapuzha in Alappuzha district of Kerala has developed a drug called ‘Kevitrin’, which is under clinical trial at present. This drug acts by ensuring the equilibrium of the P3 gene, which causes cancer.
P53, the tumour suppressor gene,will have to be normal in a healthy human body. However If a person inherits only one functional copy of the p53 gene from parents, he is likely to be affected by cancer in early adulthood itself. Dr Menon said that Kevtrin can prevent mutations in p53 so that it can cut down the risks of cancer apart from preventing the chances of tumour formation.
This is not Dr. Menon’s maiden achievement as he has to his credit as many as nine anti-cancer drugs including Alimta and Jevtana, which he had developed so far. A PhD holder in Pharmacology from Harward University, Dr Menon had worked as anti-cancer drug researcher in US based Bayer and Ely-Lilly.
Dr. Menon also owns two pharma-research companies Cellceutics and Kardinc Ltd, based in the US. It is a matter of pride for every Indian in general and Keralite in particular that this enterprising doctor, has won many coveted awards including Kerala Kala Kendram global excellence award winner for his pioneering research and contributions in the field of cancer therapy.
Forget about the painstakingly slow and expensive cancer detection techniques like biopsy and scan. All you need to do is to turn on this smart phone app that can tell you whether you are at risk or not! It could indeed be too good to be true for anyone who might have gone through the cumbersome cancer detection procedures.
Sanjay Sreekumar, aged just 19, from Kochi, Kerala has designed a smart phone App to detect breast cancer. A software student in Australia, he has named it YapApp. The YapApp explains in English the step by step procedure for self-detection of breast cancer. There are two versions of this app for male and females respectively as breast cancer is found in men also.It can be down loaded for free on Android and iPhone devices and will be made available on BlackbBerry phones soon.
If you suspect a growth or patch, all you need to do is to press a panic button, which will show a list of nearby hospitals in your town. In addition, the app will give monthly reminders for self-examination. It is indeed a matter of great pride for every Malayalee that this futuristic App was launched at a prestigious function attended by ambassadors of 14 countries and many other distinguished figures in the Australian Parliament House recently.
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Not long ago, the sleepy village of Thalangara in Kasargod, Kerala had been synonymous with the making of the famous Thalangara Thoppies, the beautiful embroidered skull caps. There was a time when literally every household had atleast a few expert hands in making these intricately crafted caps. But today, there is just one person in the entire area, Abubacker Musliyar of Bankode, who is engaged in the production Thalangara caps, which is on the brink of extinction.
These hand crafted skull caps were in heavy demand in gulf countries and were exported to many foreign countries including Malaysia, Burma, Singapore and the Gulf countries and became part of the glorious past of Thalangara. However, the introduction of the mechanised skull cap production sounded the death knell of this cottage industry, which is fighting for survival. Before the remittances from the gulf countries started to flow to this nondescript village, these skull caps were the major source of revenue for the villagers. Not any more! There are not many skilled hands to take up this vocation as most of them have gone in search of lucrative job options else where.
Gone are the days when men wove the skull caps and the women did the embellishments. The weavers use different designs and colours in the caps and every thread is dyed in a particular pattern, and then woven in some specific designs, which resemble the calligraphic forms that are used in Arabic and Persian mats. This makes this process time consuming and that requires a lot of patience and creativity.
During the holy month of Ramadan, there will be a heavy demand for these caps as the visitors to the historic Thalangara Malik Deenar mosque often buy these caps as souvenirs. Though he is waging a lone battle of survival in keeping this artform alive, Musliyar is committed to keep alive this tradition that had been passed down to him through generations. It is indeed a matter of grave concern that lack of promotional efforts might wipe off yet again cottage industry from Kerala. Efforts could be initiated to propagate this dying art form among the youth and to make it a lucrative vocation. Hats off to Abubacker Musliyar, a selfless artisan who has dared to put the value of these art pieces above his material gain!
It seems that Keralites will never get enough of hartals; atleast that is what the recurring hartal calls in this tiny State suggest! The dawn to dusk hartal called by CPI M led LDF to press the resignation of the chief minister over the solar scam issue disrupted normal life in Kerala. The public transport kept off the road and all the shops and hotel remained closed. There were reports of minor skirmishes at places and the long distance passengers who were caught unawares were stranded.
Malayalees as usual kept up with the tradition of celebrating hartal, this time too. Winding queues were seen in front of liquor and meat shops the day before as soon as the hartal call was made public. People were enthusiastically hoarding up all the ingredients to make their holiday enjoyable . Bakeries, provision stores and vegetable shops too witnessed record crowd. The hartal was also a blessing in disguise for those who needed an alibi to remain indoors on a rainy day. Hartals undeniably mean lots of lip smacking cuisine, a relaxing sleep and tons of music and movies to the ordinary Malayalees. No matter whether hartals solve any issues or not, the fact remains that, these will continue to be one of the most popular protest movements in Kerala.
Welcome to the Monday ‘Market Day’ of Ernakulam market, the city’s oldest centre of merchandise.It appears that nothing has virtually changed in the past 150 years in and around the Ernakulam market. The fragrance of lemongrass oil, masked often by the stench from the nearby dirty canal waft in the air as truck loads of vegetables and provisions choke the narrow pathways adding to the chaos and mayhem.
True to the past tradition, Mondays and Fridays are observed as Market Days even today, though it attracts fewer people these days. The shop owners some of whom in the business for over five decades say that there has been a marked shift in the frenzy and activity in market days these days.
Originally the Maharaja of Cochin had given the Market area to Jewish traders for business, who set up poultry and coir trade. When they left the country , they sold their shops to the local people and most of the buildings have traditional architectural influences. The market has been in existence much before MG Road, the contemporary nerve centre of the city came into being and much before the North and South overbridges were built. This lively market place had tradelinks with many far off places like Ponnani and Chavakkad in the north and Kollam, Changanassery and Kottayam in the south, which makes it an indelible link in the history of this city.
The Ernakulam Market includes the northern end of Broadway, Basin Road and Jew Street, which has over 2,000 shops that sell literally everything under the sun apart from the innumerable pavement sellers that spread out their knick knacks, clothes, electronic items and attracts buyers with their budget deals. There are also many temporary shacks that sell vegetables and fruits along the canal side.
The canal, known as the Basin Road Canal, which linked the Market to the outside world now lies in a state of disuse. Country boats used to bring in goods even until the 1990s. Then the canal had clean and pristine water and was a busy waterway linking to the Vembanad Lake. The waterway lost its relevance with the commissioning of the roadways, which led to the deterioration of these waterways in Kerala.
The market gives many nostalgic memories for the older generation whereas the younger generation remains oblivious to the rich tradition and history of the Ernakulam market.
Cochin corporation, has come up with various plans to ensure the safety of women in the city. The project named ‘Sabala’, will include various proposals to make the city women friendly. This time bound project is expected to go a long way in solving most of the problems faced by women. This is for the first time that a Corporation has come up with a separate budget outlay for the welfare of women.
Some of the projects include :-
- Extending free medical care for families with only female members. The education expenses of children of such families will also be fully covered in these schemes.
- A modern lodging facility for women will be set up in the city to ensure safe stay for those women travelers who reach the City for various purposes. Apart from an all women staff team, the lodge will also have various other facilities like online reservations, taxi and other services.
- Kudumbashree Women only Buses run by Metro Cochin Transport Corporation (MCTC) is another novel venture envisaged in the project. The buses will have an all women crew.
- To arrest instances of child abuse, a team of three counselors will be set up in each school who will try to protect the students from the modern vices like internet scams and exploitation of students through mobile phones and social network.
Once this project is fully implemented, the business capital of Kerala will have an envious repute of being a women friendly City in all aspects.
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The Kerala Police have decided to set up virtual kill houses, which will automate the commando training system in the State capital of Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur. These small arms simulators will replace the concept of traditional shoot houses in assessing the readiness of the commandos to react to real-life hostage rescue and anti-terrorist operations.
The personnel of the commando wing and Quick Reaction Teams (QRT) are to be included under this novel training programme. With this innovative training mission, Kerala will join the elite league of US, UK and Israel, which uses virtual training programmes to keep their commandos ready to meet any emergencies.
The virtual kill house, which uses the state of the art audio and visual technology will simulate real life combat conditions apart from keeping a tab on the vital parameters like the response time of commandos and the ability to react to the situations.