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    A exotic car show to coincide with the first program of the newly formed Madras Exotic Car Club(MECC) will be held on 1st April 2012. 30 Exotic Cars like  Ferraris’,Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces, Bentleys, Porches, BMWs, Audis and the likes will be making a statement, with the owners seen racing  on the Irrungatukotai race track  from 11 am to 1 pm. The show, sponsored by Golden Homes, is open to public to enjoy and experience the thrill of all the exotic  cars present in one place. The entry is free.

    Talking to the media about the show and the club Mr. Manoj Lulla, Chairman, says,” The number of Exotic  cars is increasing in the South, so there is a need to form a club, where owners can come and share their experiences, problems faced and take help form the club authorities.  Madras Exotic Car Club will reach out to all those owners who are passionate about their expensive  cars. The club will organise events on the track, get drivers from Europe to train the drivers on optimal use of sports /super cars and also give advice on which car to buy next while providing technical expertise on performance upgrades. The club will also facilitate visits to important factories and  tie up with other clubs.”

    He further added that plans are afoot to tie up with leading automotive brands to offer special experiences and prices to this elite club, which will be free to members initially.”We plan to do three of four events in this year and then increase as we see better participation “.

    Mr. Bal Singh George, MD, Golden Homes, an avid car enthusiast himself, said, “There are hundreds of super car clubs in Europe and other cities spread across the world. Surprisingly, even though South is supposed to be conservative, there has been a silent craze for super cars especially in the 3 C’s – Chennai, Coimbatore and Cochin”.

    When asked about what is the standard definition of a super car, Mr. Bal Singh  George  said that it varies from country to country and for me a super or exotic  car is one which is capable of touching 300 kms an hour with at least 8 cylinders and a minimum of 4000 cc engine. Recent advances have made powerful luxury cars perform better but focus is still on comfort, luxury and exclusivity.

    source: / Friday, March 27th, 2012

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     Sachin Tendulkar / DNA

    Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has left many in awe of his game, but guess who had the master blaster bowled over? Well, it was none other than South singer and son-in-law of actor Rajnikanth, Dhanush.

    The Kolaveri Di hitmaker had made a special video anthem for Sachin recently. The cricketer made a special note of the video at a recent event, where he expressed gratitude to Dhanush.

    “I saw the video,” admitted Sachin, adding it was really flattering to have an anthem made for him.“All I can say is that I’m really thankful you know. He (Dhanush) has put in so much effort and time to go that extra mile and dedicate this song to me,” he said.
    Though Dhanush’s new video could not match up to the craze generated with his song Kolaveri Di, it has grabbed many eyeballs.

    The cricketer, too, could not resist checking out the video when he learned about it.“I would once again say a big thank you to him (Dhanush)… I saw it and I liked it,” said Sachin, at the event that was meant to commemorate his 100th 100s, his latest feat.

    He continued, “It has been done with so much of dedication. I really appreciate that… the efforts taken and all the hard work that went into making the video. He has truly put his heart into it.”

    source: Daily News & Analysis / Home> Sport> Report / by Shreya Badola / Place:Mumbai, Agency:DNA / Friday, March 30th, 2012

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    KALAMKARI CRAFTSPERSONS: E. Rhajhmohan and his father R. Emberumal. Photo: Special Arrangement

    Like Shilpguru R. Emberumal and his son, E. Rhajhmohan, paint stories on fabrics with a purpose. They want to save kalamkari from dying

    Kalamkari artist E. Rjajhmohan was a trifle upset the day I met him. He had missed the chance to showcase his exquisite products at the Madurai Vizha organized by the CII’s local chapter last month.

    He said, “The sales are not so good these days. I am trying to customize my products and was hoping to create awareness in Madurai market.”

    As the son of traditional master craftsman Dr. R. Emberumal, he was struck by the beauty of kalamkari from childhood but was not so keen to join the same profession. Theirs had come to be the only family left in Sickkalnayakenpet in Thanjavur district struggling to live off this art. Younger family members were lured by more lucrative jobs. The buyers, too, were dwindling. “That was a decade ago when I started working with my father and other craftsmen,” he says.

    Karupur Kalamkari

    Kalamkari, the art of hand-painting and printing on fabric, is native to Andhra Pradesh as temple art, and there are two main centres for it today — Machilipatnam and Srikalahasti. But there is a third style, called the Karupur Kalamkari, which originated in Thanjavur during the Maratha rule. Essentially using vegetable dyes and depicting scenes from Hindu mythology on cotton, this kalamkari was further embellished with gold brocade work in hand-woven fabric mostly worn as saris and dhotis by the royal family during the period of Raja Serfoji and later Raja Shivaji.

    In Sickkalnayakenpet, there were 300 families involved in these complex but exquisite creations. Now only Emberumal is left with his 38-year-old son, a late entrant with a natural flair for the art and full of innovative ideas. Father and son have now hired and trained half-a-dozen individuals to carry on the art.

    Craft and commerce

    Emberumal, the National Award winner for Karupur Kalamkari, retains his passion for traditional panels bursting with mythological figures, and the typical “tree of life” depicting peace, prosperity and vibrancy, but he is not always able to sell his works. They cost anywhere from Rs.1,000 to Rs.100,000 depending on the size. Rhajhmohan has gone commercial.

    “We have to survive,” he says, “practically selling our products door to door and occasionally getting noticed at some exhibitions.” He has now ventured into customized clothing like saris, stoles, salwar-kurtas, shirts, and home décor items like tablecloths and mats, bed spreads, cushion and pillow covers, curtains and wall hangings.

    “I also need to ensure that my artisans have a roof to live under.”

    Kalamkari is an elaborate process and each item takes days to finish. The artists prepare the ink from fermented rusted iron, jaggery and fruit powder, then treat the fabric in varying temperatures of water before and after filling in the colours with vegetable dyes. The work needs ample time and concentration. “Our work is rich and pucca and no buyer will ever complain,” he says, displaying one of his paintings.

    Painting outside the box

    Considering the time and effort that goes into making a large wall panel, says Rhajhmohan, it has to be priced accordingly. “But ordinary people find our items costly and we lose out to the modern-day processes of block-printing, machine-printing and even digital printing.”

    KALAMKARI CRAFTSPERSON: E.Rhajhmohan. Photo: S. James

    “However,” he is quick to add, “the charm of our hand-painted craft appeals to connoisseurs of art. The love, hard work and passion we put into it shows in the fabric and that is what makes it attractive. We may be selling less today but our work is worth the cost, labour and appreciation.”

    Emberumal’s work is displayed in museums and art galleries throughout the world and his work is not entirely constrained to the classical motifs. His reproduction of the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games mascot is displayed at the Olympic Memorabilia Museum in Seoul and he has created the emblem for a couple of American universities. He also experiments freely with tantric and geometrical designs.

    At 71, Emberumal continues to celebrate tradition. He has not abandoned hope for his art. “The canvas of our lives may be tattered, but we believe our skills hold the promise of a better tomorrow.”

    (Making a difference is a fortnightly column about ordinary people and events that leave an extraordinary impact on us. Email to to tell about someone you know who is making a difference)

    source: / Arts> Crafts / by Soma Basu / March 28th, 2012

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    Former Tamil Nadu chief secretary S Malathi died in a private hospital on Sunday morning after a prolonged battle with cancer. She was 57.

    An IAS officer from the 1977 batch, Malathi opted for voluntary retirement in August 2011. She was known as an honest and forthright government servant who expected the best from those who worked with her.

    “Her work ethic was inspiring. She was meticulous, organised and straightforward. Every government order, every bit of information was at her fingertips,” said additional chief secretary Sheela Chunkath, who knew Malathi since 1980 when they were posted together in Trichy.

    Malathi started her career as a sub-collector in Trichy in 1979 and held various positions including collector of North Arcot district (1987-89) and secretary of the municipal administration and water supply department (1996-2001).

    “She was someone who young officers could look up to. She guided us, was supportive, planned her work and meetings carefully, and never wasted her time or ours,” said J Radhakrishnan, who worked under her for close to four years. Malathi was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2003 when she headed the statistics department. She underwent treatment while continuing to work, and in seven months her condition improved. She continued to rise in the ranks and became home secretary in 2006. A scarf to cover hair thinned by chemotherapy and a swollen left hand due to lymphedema were the only signs of her illness.

    In May 2010, as home secretary, she was diagnosed with recurrent breast cancer in the liver. Malathi was expected to take over from K S Sripathi as chief secretary but she was moved to the vigilance department to give her time to recuperate.

    In August 2010, Malathi wrote a series of moving pieces on her experience for The Times of India. “I want people to understand that you can fight cancer. Taken with the right mindset, coming to terms with this illness is not that difficult. The trick is to be positive but prepared for the worst,” she told TOI during a meeting to edit the pieces.

    She wrote: “After seven years you do get a feeling of having been cured… [so hearing the diagnosis] was truly shattering… From the totally despondent thought that I would die in a few days to the dread of therapy to how it will affect my daughter to how expensive the treatment will be, my mind was travelling in several directions but getting nowhere… The immediate desire was to sit in a corner and cry, but then the need to look dignified gets the better of you and stone-faced I left the hospital.”

    Malathi became chief secretary in September 2010 in the DMK regime, only the second woman to hold the top bureaucrat’s post. In May 2011 when the AIADMK took over, she was transferred to the statistics department. Though she had three more years of service, she resigned in August.

    At her farewell party when colleagues wished her health and happiness, Malathi told them that she didn’t have much time left. “It was hard to hear that from someone who was always a fighter,” said Chunkath. “But she said it with such strength and grace,” she said.

    Malathi wrote for TOI: “I am not sure what the future holds for me: Will I get over this instalment of cancer and if so, for how long? In the time I have left, I shall live every day to the full, and be a good human being, treasuring relationships. Cancer has reinforced my effort to realize myself. If you are unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with cancer, things are not that bleak, there is hope. But cancer or no cancer, eat healthy, do not abuse the body and learn to treasure every day.”

    source: / Home> City> Chennai> Collections / by Shalini Umachandran / TNN / March 26th, 2012

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    Nrityagram Dance and Other Indian Troupes in New York

    Briana Blasko for The New York Times / The Gotipua Dance Ensemble, a troupe of boy dancers, in the eastern state of Orissa, India

    When an illustrious Indian dance company performs in New York, as the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble did at the Joyce Theater last week, we can take both pleasure and instruction from it. Music and dance operate in thrilling proximity; the visual sensuousness is in many ways exceptional; the levels of technical achievement and stylistic polish are high. Best of all we’re given a window into a culture far from our own.

    • The Kalamandalam Calcutta Dance Ensemble performing in a temple in Tamil Nadu in February. The great temples, still in daily use, are studded with imagery of bodies in motion.

    New York hosts several first-rate Indian companies or dance soloists each year. From April 9 to 15, when the Indo-American Arts Council presents its annual Erasing Borders festival of Indian dance, the opening dancer will be Sujata Mohapatra. Like the Nrityagram dancers, she is a leading exemplar of the Odissi style of the eastern state of Orissa. In June Shantala Shivalingappa comes to the Joyce for a week; internationally celebrated for her work with Pina Bausch, she is an exponent of the Kuchipudi style from the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh.

    In  visiting India last month my main aim was not to see dance performances but the setting from which Indian dance derives. The great temples of the southern state of Tamil Nadu and in Orissa were all I had hoped: temples as singular but multifaceted worlds, most of them still in intense daily use and studded with imagery of bodies in motion. Dance forms all over Southeast Asia stem from the Natya Shastra, the treatise on the performing arts written between 200 B.C. and A.D. 200; more than 100 of its dance positions are illustrated in a centuries-old bas relief at the temple at Chidambaram, a number of which are precisely the same as those we see in some Indian classical forms today.

    When I watched the Nrityagram performance last week, many of these positions fell into place in my mind in a way they had not early in my visit to India, when I saw the same choreography in rehearsal. Henceforth it will be interesting to recognize them with other Indian dancers.

    In Orissa, while the devadasis (female temple artists, both musicians and dancers) used to perform within the temples, a version of their art was also practiced outside the precincts by the gotipuas, boys who were trained to dance female Odissi roles before puberty. Most of us would assume that theirs too has become a bygone art; but no. I saw two gotipua troupes rehearse on successive days.

    They grow their hair long (pulled back in ponytails when I saw them); their training brings with it board, lodging and nondance education. (A number of them stay with the Odissi art in adult life, as musicians, dancers and teachers.) Their applause-winning specialty (not evidently feminine) consists of acrobatic feats and tableaus.

    What impressed me more, however, was the boys’ youthful mastery of the basics of Odissi style. Hardly had they made their processional entrance, in single file, than in unison they demonstrated a tribhanga — a celebrated Odissi S-bend position in which dancers create a series of upward curves at knee, torso and shoulder — and contrasted it with the sculpturally square position called chowk, all amid a swaying dance of ritual invocation.

    These and other features make it tempting to declare that the traditions of Indian dance are in good health. When I got off the plane in Bhubaneswar, Orissa’s capital city, I was gratified to see that the main poster image for the state featured Odissi dancing. Dance and religion are still vitally connected. While in Tamil Nadu I attended the celebration of Shivaratri, the night when Shiva, god and dancer, is honored with open-air dance festivals at the temples of both Chidambaram and Thanjavur, each running for five nights. Watching the marathon of dance I felt honored to attend and in awe of a culture where dance and worship fluently interlock.

    But there are ways in which it seems obvious that the virtues of Indian classical dance are threatened. Though I saw much beautiful work in rehearsal, much of it is vitiated by the practices that surround live performance, especially at the festivals. I attended four programs at three different dance festivals: many of their features were too dismaying to pass without comment.

    When Indian dancers use taped music in the West, I’ve always assumed it is only because the economics of global travel made live music prohibitive. But at Thanjavur and at Bhubaneswar taped music was the norm. Worse, at those and at Chidambaram the music was carelessly overamplified. You don’t need to know much about Indian dance to recognize that you should sometimes hear the slap of the soles of the dancers’ feet on the floor and the jingling of their ankle bells. And yet it was impossible to hear any such thing.

    More frustratingly, you frequently couldn’t even see the feet. Why? Because it is the norm for a dozen or more photographers to be lined along the footlights, barring the general audience’s view. Meanwhile it’s standard for members of the audience to use cellphones during performances. Even members of the press took calls and sometimes texted while there was dancing onstage.

    More problematic, there was a sense that classical dance is being adapted for tourism. Too many of the dances I saw in performances seemed to have been packaged like son-et-lumière entertainments. Some Indian dancers later told me that they now prefer to perform abroad because the local conditions are so irksome.

    Within a culture changing as drastically as that of India today, how will the Indian classical dance forms adapt? I hope to return to find out. In Chennai I visited the celebrated dance school of  Kalakshetra, which specializes in Bharata Natyam, Tamil Nadu’s own classical dance idiom. Five minutes of watching a second-year group class practice pure dance demonstrated to me how taxing but exhilarating it can be; a fourth-year class showed how absorbing the more expressional form, Abhinaya, can be.

    A young man in the first class and a young woman in the second struck me as outstanding. Their stylistic assurance gave me the impression that Bharata Natyam was their inheritance, but I was mistaken. The man was from a Tamil Nadu folk-dancing family of a completely different idiom; the woman was American, of a family of Sri Lankan extraction. Yet here they were, dancing the style they had recently acquired as if it were in their DNA. This new generation’s commitment to the classical genres of India gives hope that they are well set to endure.

    The Erasing Borders festival of Indian dance runs from April 9 to 15 at locations in New York City;

    source: / The New York Times> Dance / by Alastair MaCaulay / March 25th, 2012

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    March 25th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    It sure looks like Coimbatore is the first stop for those with dreams of making it in Tinseltown lately. While many established directors have their roots in their city, budding actors, directors and filmmakers confess to getting the much needed launch for their careers from the city.

    “I did my schooling and college in Coimbatore, and moved to Chennai, where I started working as an assistant director a few years ago. My ambition had always been to get into the film industry, and the colleges here, with their screening of international films and interaction with some cinema stars, give us the initial exposure and the scope to think big in terms of making a foray into Kollywood,” says Kandesh Raj, actor, who has a Tamil and Malayalam film, which are soon expected to release.

    Not just actors, many directors are emerging from the city with a limited budget, but very unique ideas. “I have always been fascinated by the process of filmmaking, and pursuing my undergraduation and postgraduation in visual communication from a city college gave me the confidence to make several short films, and a feature film was only a natural progression,” says S Kamalakannan, whose debut feature, Madhubaana Kadai (MBK) will be out in theatres next month.

    The director admits that the technical crew, who racked up five years of industry experience in Chennai before assisting him in this film, made things that much easier.

    “The city gives us a lot of scope to bring out creativity in our stories, and the advent of malls and multiplexes ensures that even off-beat themes are screened and well accepted here,” he reasons.

    Another director admits to feeling a sense of gratitude with the city, which he has a strong connection with. “The most crucial years of my life have been spent in Coimbatore, and I have often watched three or four films over the weekend during my college years. Gauging the audience’s reaction to the films that were being screened gave me an insight into their thinking as well. My upcoming film is my way of paying tribute to the city that gave the confidence to become a director,” says Narayana Nagendra Rao, director of the soon-to-be released Maalai Pozhuthin Mayakathile.

    While some local directors experiment with slice-of-life stories, others from the city tap into the industries that made it famous. “My film focuses on the evolution of the textile mill industry, tracing it’s history from the 50s to the current day. I have fit in a love story in those times of transition, as mills dominated Coimbatore, Pollachi and Udumalpet, and working in a textile mill was looked at as a status symbol in itself,” says Dhanapal Padmanabhan, director of the film Krishnaveni Panjali.

    Dhanapal is impressed with the encouragement given by city colleges towards short films as well. “Colleges encourage a lot of creativity in short films, and that is a phenomenon restricted to this city. If the technical industry was based here, Coimbatore could well be on par with Chennai,” the director says, highly impressed by the city.

    source: / Home> Entertainment> Regional> Tamil / by Vaibhav Shastry/ TamilNadu, March 26th, 2012

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    March 24th, 2012adminBusiness & Economy, Education


    Last February, about 50 students from the Bharathidasan Institute of Management (BIM), Trichy, along with some 70 corporate executives sat through a conference in New Delhi on management challenges faced by political parties. Union minister Salman Khurshid, CPI National Secretary D Raja and BJP National Secretary Bhupendra Yadav discussed the deep, internal processes of their respective parties in the session titled ‘Left, Right & Centre’.

    This summer, Sandeep Pavan Kumar and Sujoy Biswas, two first-year BIM students signed up for internships with BJP. Sandeep and Sujoy’s choice for internship mirrors the curiosity and enthusiasm among B-school students to explore politics as a classroom to learn management skills. This is hardly a mainstream trend yet, but for a fair sprinkling of students from IIMs in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, and Calcutta, political parties are the new cool internship destination.

    Many professors are encouraging the choice. “This is a promising possibility. It is in mutual interest. Parties will get an honest feedback from young students, who on the other hand can understand the political system better,” says Anil Gupta, professor, IIM-A.


    Adds A Nagarajan, director, BIM-Trichy: “Political internship will help students in learning to speak in a language that will have a greater connect with the common man.”

    Politicians also seem to fancy the idea. “This will change the traditional culture of Indian politics and streamline and civilise the political culture with involvement of professionals and managers,” says Mukesh Shukla, secretary, New Delhi district, BJP. “Also, it will help students get in touch with ground realities and assist them in future analysis and decision making.”

    Sandeep and Sujoy will explore the saffron party’s organisational structure, campaign strategy, parliamentary affairs and party activities, in their 6-8 week internship.

    Recognising politics as a source of learning management concepts and processes, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, the country’s top-ranking B-school, had four years ago placed one student for political internship with the CPM. It followed this up with six students in the next batch. They worked with a few members of parliament to look at constituency management.

    This year again, a doctoral student conducted a case study on the work of an MP elected seven times from the same constituency in Ahmedabad. Two students of IIM-Calcutta had taken part in the 2011 assembly election campaign of  Trinamool Congress in West Bengal and a few had earlier worked with BJP as interns.

    “Winning an election is like competing in a market place and students can apply this learning to their future role as managers,” says Anindya Sen, dean-academic, IIM-C. Professors, students, parties and even companies see this as a winwin partnership.

    “Managerial training is about decision making. By interning in political organisations, students learn about society, consensus building, decision making and various other dynamics of organisation management,” says Pankaj Chandra, director, IIM-B. Students from the institute regularly intern with political parties. “As execution ability becomes critical to the functioning of political parties, a market-driven pull will be created leading to more management professionals contributing to politics,” says Abhishek Kumar, assistant professor at BIM-Trichy.

    And companies too see value in this. A study conducted by BIM shows that companies encourage students to do their internship in political parties. “Students can learn about various leadership styles, team building, decision making and communication styles from political parties,” says Sasi Kumar, vice-president-HR, Ashok Leyland John Deere Construction Equipment.

    “I won’t call it (political internships) a trend. It depends on interest of students and the kind of project they look out for,” says Gupta of IIM-A. “Students interested in public policy are keen on political internship.” Some public-policy students at the institute have been exploring the LAMP Fellowship. The programme places one legislative assistant to work with one MP for a period of 11 months and exposes fellows to the Parliament and legislative process.

    “Working in public policy or with MPs is not just about gaining policy-making experience before working in corporations; this (political parties) is a perfectly good career path in its own right,” argues Mathur Navdeep, assistant professor, public systems group, IIM-A. That’s a fair argument, but neither Sandeep nor Sujoy are buying it just yet. A political career is not what they have in mind. They just want to use the learning from the internship with BJP to become better managers.

    source: / Home> Business> India Business / by Rica Bhattacharyya, ET Bureau /  March 23rd, 2012

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    March 22nd, 2012adminScience & Technologies

    Over 200 researchers and students from various universities  across the country had an opportunity to interact with eminent scientists on the subjects of nanomaterials during a national seminar on ‘Indigenous Nanomaterials Development for Industrial Applications (INDIA)’ organised by and held at the Centre for Nanoscience and Technology, Anna University, on February 27 and 28. The meet was inaugurated by Dr A B Mandal, director, Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai, was presided over by Dr P Mannar Jawahar, vice-chancellor, Anna University and felicitated by Dr P Kaliraj, dean, A C Tech Campus, Anna University. Dr R Jayavel, director, Centre for Nanoscience and Technology, Anna University, welcomed the gathering.

    The University has been actively engaged in conducting diverse projects and research initiatives in the field of nanoscience for the last 10 years with financial assistance of about      `20 crore from various institutions. This meeting was a part of its nanoscience initiative that proved to be a platform for       students to showcase their research ideas.

    Scientists from the industrial  sector and research institutions, including IIT, IISC, IIBAT, University of Madras and Dublin City University, Ireland, spoke at the meet. The morning session had lectures by scientists from industries such Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) and Resil Chemicals, on the industrial applications of nanosciences and technology.

    Separate sessions were allotted for oral and poster presentations by students and researchers. S Weslen Vedakumari, junior research fellow, Bioproducts Lab, Central Leather Research Institute, bagged the first prize in oral presentation while Vijaya Prakash, scientist, Frontier Lifeline Pvt Ltd, Dr K M Cherian Heart Foundation, won the second prize.

    In the poster presentation D Durgalakshmi, PhD, National Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, University of Madras, was the winner while the second place was shared by Shravan Kumar and Balaji Vengatesh, final year students of Rajalakshmi Institute of Technology. The conference came to a conclusion with a lively interactive session.

    source: / Home> School / Expess News Service / by Aparna Ghosh / March 21st, 2012

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    In a bid to generate awareness about biogas in rural areas, a documentary film, ‘Energy Independence’ was released here on Wednesday.

    The initiative, undertaken by department of nongovernmental organisation (NGO) management, Madras School of Social Work (MSSW) and NSS Empanelled Training Institute, was to promote awareness on sustainable energy in rural areas.

    The 18-minute documentary, which was screened after an inaugural ceremony by Dr S Krishnaswamy, founder and managing director of Krishnaswamy Associates, was aimed at promoting biogas in villages, said D K Harish, a student of MSSW who directed the documentary.

    The film was shot at Alathur village in Tiruvanmiyur and Marakanam village.

    He said biogas in the villages had created energy independence.

    “Earlier, the villages used steel-based system to generate gas, which was a costlier experience. Now, with emerging technology, they are using a fibre reinforced plant, which doesn’t require maintenance, said director of corporate social responsibility of Orchid Chemicals, C Mani.

    Mani added that biogas was not successful previously because the government’s focus was on liquefied petroleum gas, which was not sustainable in the long run. He said demand for biogas is increasing now as it is cheaper. “Even many buildings in Chennai are opting for biogas in their complexes,” he said.

    Fatima Vasanth, principal and secretary of Madras School of Social Work, said that biogas is an alternative energy and students in collaboration with NSS will spread awareness in villages by holding special camps.

    source: / South> Chennai / The New Indian Express, Express News Service / March 22nd, 2012

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    They were once seen flitting around old tiled houses and sometimes even flew in through the windows to perch on shelves and walls inside them. But with the urban landscape changing, the number of house sparrows is dwindling.

    While most seem unconcerned, a 11-year-old student of the Kendriya Vidyala here is doing much more than talk about their conservation.

    M. Akshaya has a nest box in her house in Indu Nagar which she uses to feeds the sparrows, hoping this will help their numbers grow.

    The youngest member of the Nilgiri Wildlife and Environment Association(NWEA), the little girl developed a special bond with the sparrows after her father, M.Moorthy, a co-op bank employee and member of the NWEA, brought the nest box home a year ago.

    “It is great fun to feed them in the mornings, place water out for them in the nest and see them visit it regularly. My sister Indusha, 14, too helps me feed them.

    I once spotted a few eggs in the nest box and a hatchling. I simply love the sparrows, ” says Akshaya whose interest in her feathered friends grew during her bird watching trips to the Government Botanical Garden with her father.

    K.Vijay, hon. secretary of NWEA, who applauds Akshaya’s interest in the sparrows, feels every school should encourage children to similarly look out for them and take part in their conservation.

    source: / Home> Channels> Cities> Others / by B. Ravichandran / DC, Ooty / March 20th, 2012

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