As 2013 ended and 2014 loomed large, one of the important topics talked about in national and international level, is the development of the state of Kerala. Since Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, was selected to lead the Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign in the upcoming general election for the 16th Lok Sabha in India, the debate on whether Kerala or Gujarat model of development was best for India heated up…
While Indian media celebrated and supported Gujarat model development, Amartya Sen, Indian economist and a Nobel laureate who conducted research on the Kerala development model, publicly opposed it. He said,”Gujarat is still behind Kerala for the Human Development Index”. Ever since Amartya Sen’s involved in the subject, many other world economists injected themselves into the matter and supported Modi and Gujarat.
Kerala leaves other states behind and is way ahead in health rates, lowest child mortality, population growth rates, high savings, expenditure rates, high individual net income rates and economic growth rates. The people who support the Gujarat model development had to agree to the view that Kerala is much ahead of other Indian states. The credit, they conclude for the Kerala’s development, is not of the Government’s but that of individuals, institutions and systems present in the state.
The research conducted by the Indian division of “Standard and Poor” (an American International rating agency of US) CRISIL also found Kerala as the number one state for development in different sectors. Malayalis can be proud to belong to the developed state of Kerala. However, dynamic Malayalis are showing a growing tendency to return to agriculture as people here worry about remaining a consumer state. One thing is true; Malayalis earn and spend a lot and are well aware of dying traditions and zooming progress and its pros and cons.
As we step into the New Year, here’s wishing more accolades to Kerala in socio-economic development in the year 2014!
The Monsoon in Kerala has ceased and, it is the time to celebrate your holidays and special occasions on Kerala Beaches and backwaters. At present there are two beach festivals happening in Kerala. One is at Cherai Beach in Ernakulam and another is at Munakkal beach, Thrissur.
Cherai Beach Tourism Fest 2013
The Cherai Beach Tourism Fest is celebrating its 13th anniversary this year. Every year the beach fest is a celebration of the local temple arts, folklores and the extinguishing traditional classical art form – Chavittunadakam.
The Cherai beach fest falls on the last week of December every year and this incorporates Christmas and New Year celebration. The fest started on 22 December and ends by 31 with the New Year. Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan inaugurated the tourism mela on 22 December. The ten days Cultural celebration exhibits a variety of activities by local and national artists.
Muzris Beach Fest 2013
It is said that Muzris, a coastal village in Thrissur district of Kerala was once the “Gateway of India”! The Muzris Beach Fest that happens now is yet another chance to rewind the memories of that great past. Muzris town was once a shining abode for world tourists and businesses until the disastrous 1341 flood washed away even the footprints of this great town.
The Muzris Beach fest is held on the famous Azhikode-Munakkal Beach from 27 to 31 December 2013. This is 8th beach fest held on the Munakkal Beach. It is held in association with Kerala Tourism Department, Eriyad Panchayath and Azhikode-Munakkal Muzris Destination Management Council. During the fest, there will be an array of colourful events like Helicopter Ride, Kite flying, adventure tourism programmes, Cultural activities by International artists, sea cruises, a rain of colours, beach race, food fest, carnivals and processions. The five day fest will have a day full of activities that lasts until midnight. One of the major attractions of the fest is that one can enjoy a ride on a horse or Camel.
The nearest towns of Azhikode are Kodungallur and Paravoor. The Munakkal beach in Azhikode has got the vast shore stretch around 3 km along the main beach side. It is the main attraction of this village. The main activity of the villagers here is fishing.
Both these beach festivals are sure to add more merry and excitement to the holidays of the tourists and the local people here.
The Sivagiri Pilgrimage will also include various other programmes including the centenary celebrations of ‘Daiva Dasakam’, a prayer penned by Sree Narayana Guru, the 150th birth anniversary of social reformer Dr. Palpu and conference on women among others.
The pilgrimage, which will have 10 conferences on different subjects will be attended by various political leaders and eminent personalities from all walks of lives including Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi, Goa Transport Minister Ramkrishna Sudin Dhavalikar and writer M K Sanu among many others. Another highlight of the function will be a health and de-addiction conference, which will be inaugurated by Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson P J Kurien.
A ‘Narayana Global Meet’ will be held on the third day on January 1, which will be inaugurated by Mizoram Governor Vakkom Purushothaman. Some of the other star attractions of the event include Sri Narayana Divya Satsang from December 25 to 29 and various cultural programmes. Live webcast of the events will be made available on www.sivagirimutt.org.
International Agency for Research on Cancer of World Health Organization has cited air pollution as one of the major causes for cancer. Air pollution has been categorized in group I Carcinogenic category under which tobacco, UV radiation and plutonium are also included.
Though air pollution was was considered as a risk factor for heart and lung diseases, recent studies show that it is being carcinogenic, which can cause lung and bladder cancer.
Air pollution causes 1.3 million deaths every year globally and quarter of these deaths are due to lung cancer.
It is estimated that in every minute, 3 Indians suffer a stroke and in a day around 3000-4000 Indian become stroke victims. Survey findings suggest that around 1.5 million Indians suffer stroke every year and it is a matter of concern that younger people are more at risk.
Even in metro cities, more than half of the population is not aware of the risks of strokes and how it affects brain. Unlike the common notion, stroke is not related to the heart. It occurs when a blood vessel that carries blood and oxygen to the brain gets blocked or ruptured, thereby starving the brain cells of blood.
All over the world, 20 million people suffer from stroke each year out of which five million die and five million become disabled. Studies show that strokes kill more than those caused by TB, HIV and Malaria put together.
A 1-litre bottle of mineral water that will be processed from the Department’s water plant at open prison at Nettulkaltheri from 2014 will cost only Rs. 10. The plant will make use of the water from the two dams of Nettukaltheri and Thevancode, inside the open prison compound. The dams together have a capacity of 4 crore litres of water.
The department is also planning to set up at Central Prison in Viyyur and market medicinal water also at Rs. 10 a litre, with effect from January 2014. Medicinal water will be made from the plants at the medicinal garden in Viyyur prison spreading over 10 acres. Oushadi, government-owned Ayurvedic medicine manufacturing company, and Small Industries Development Corporation (Sidco) are offering technical support for the medicinal and mineral water projects respectively.
In most cities in Kerala there is a dearth of potable water and a huge demand for safe drinking water in the bottled form. Considering the fact that a litre of milk costs Rs. 25 while it costs Rs. 30 for water, the bottled water will be a boon to the city folks. The medicinal water will also contain various ingredients that are effective in preventing various life style diseases as well.
It is a matter of pride for every Keralite that the laudable act of the jail authorities in channelizing the energy of the prison inmates into creative activities will be a model for other states as well.
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.
Water bus, the new boat service in the Vyttila-Kakkanad sector was inaugurated a couple of days back by the Union Minister K V Thomas. Water Bus, operated by the Kerala State Water Transport Department, set off on its maiden trip from the newly built jetty near the Vytilla Mobility Hub. The boat has the capacity to carry 8 bikes and 50 passengers.
The service will be a boon for those who work in Kakkanad /Infopark as the timings are fixed in such a way that it suits the office goers. The boat will reach the jetty, near InfoPark, in 30 minutes whereas the buses take around 45 minutes.The fare from Vyttila-Kakkanad trip is fixed at Rs. 8 and there will be seven daily services, the first in the morning being at 9.30 am.
The boat service is expected to take off a considerable load from the choked roads leading to Kakkanad. Boat service is way cheaper and faster alternative to the crowded buses that ply in this route. “Proper boat jetties with ample parking space must be built on the way to Kakkanad. SWTD must also recruit 15 crew members to man the sister vessel that is ready to operate in hub-Kakkanad sector,” said Benny Behanan, MLA.
“Our aim is to introduce catamaran-type fibre-reinforced-plastic boats, which are delivered within a few months of the order being placed. Being lighter and faster than steel boats, they can cover the Vyttila-Kakkanad distance in 12 minutes,” Elias George, MD of KMRL and Chairman of Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA). said.
Inland navigation, which can make travelling within Kerala a lot more faster and congestion free holds a tremendous potential and Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) has drawn up a Rs 40-crore project for the purpose. There are many viable water routes that can be explored and developed like for instance the Kollam-Kottapuram National Waterway III can make a potential cargo transportation route whereas a boat service from Poothotta to Cochin city will go a long way in decongesting the city during peak morning hours as buses take around 90 minutes to cover a distance of just 22 Km due to the pitiable condition of the roads and traffic bottle necks!
Photo Courtesy: RouteCochin.com
Better known as papanasam beach,Varkala beach is the only one of its type in southern Kerala that has rocky cliffs jutting right into the sea, which makes it dramatically beautiful. The bright hued sand and the ancient Janardanaswamy temple nearby adds up to the charm of this quiet and isolated sandy beach .
The online travel meta search engine of Trivago says that Varkala is one among the five affordable Indian tourist destinations and is in the 28th position in the world list of tourist destinations that can visited on a budget. Munnar is the other destination in Kerala that occupies the 60th position in the chart. The other Indian destinations include Nashik at the 21st position, Jaisalmer in Rajasthan at 41st and Alibaug in Maharashtra at the 56th position.
The ‘Best Value Index’ is calculated based on various factors including the yearly average overnight price of a standard double room and overall hotel reputation from over 82 million traveller reviews. The spots thus chosen will be world’s best in terms of delivering the best value for your money.
Nashik, which tops the list of affordable Indian destinations this year offers a night’s stay at Rs 5,665.
Morocco’s Ait Benhaddou was voted as the first among the top 100 ‘Best Value Index’ destinations in the world where an overnight stay in a standard double room in the city can cost a visitor an average Rs 3,551.
The price-comparison website of Trivago has a monthly user base of 18 million people over its 30 international platforms. The index has been compiled according to the reviews and preferences of the users of the search engine.
Varkala beach, located between Alappuzha and Kovalam in a photographer’s delight as it offers the most spectacular sunsets at the backtrop of the towering rocky cliffs and swaying palm trees.
So in case you are planning a memorable holiday experience that wont leave a hole in your wallet, then head straight to Varkala. Apart from a beach holiday it will also offer you the best of ayurveda and spiritual experience.