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    February 28th, 2013adminBusiness & Economy, Science & Technologies

    EA Water, India’s leading knowledge solutions provider in the field of water and wastewater management, has organised a trade show — ‘10th EverythingAboutWater Expo 2013’ — at Chennai Trade Centre, Nandambakkam, from February 28 to March 2.

    H Subramaniam, chief operating officer, EverythingAboutWaster Expo, said that 300 exhibitors will exhibit latest technologies and emerging practices of Indian water sector and waste management industry.

    The three-day expo is considered as South Asia’s largest exhibition and conference covering the water and waste water industry, allowing water professionals to penetrate the dynamic water markets of India and international regions.

    Subramaniam said Chennai is a major hub for the Indian water market standing at an estimated value of `60,000 crore and the expo would create awareness, educate and debate to find answers to the rising water issues.

    He said the expo aims to project Chennai as a model city, promoting significant water saving solutions like desalination and water recycling. IDE Technologies, which developed the Nemelli desalination plant in Chennai, would also present papers during the expo.

    Papers will be presented onthe following topics: ‘Comparison of critical success factors in mega seawater reverse osmosis build, operate and transfer projects’ by Karen Adler Katzen, special projects desk manager, IDE Technologies Ltd, Israel, and ‘Technological advancements in thermal desalination plants’ by Sanjeev Sharma, head of marketing and sales, IDE Technologies, India.

    Both the papers will highlight the important technological advancements introduced by IDE Technologies over a period of time to make desalination a cost-effective and reliable solution for today’s water needs.

    Apart from the 300 exhibitors, Subramaniam is expecting 19,000 trade visitors and 900 conference delegates from over 25 countries.

    These include officials from Ministry of Water Resource and Ministry of Urban Development, irrigation authorities, municipal water authorities, jal boards, advisors and policy makers, distributors, dealers, contractors, consultants, utility heads and engineers from various end-user industries like hospitals, hotels, power plants and agriculture.

    source: / Home> Cities> Chennai / Express News Service – Chennai / February 28th, 2013

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    An Indian man cuts coconuts from a palm tree in Varkala, Kerala. EyesWideOpen / Getty Images

    New Delhi :

    Not very long ago B Raja could find only sporadic employment in his village in the Theni district in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

    He worked odd jobs, usually herding livestock for farmers. Life was hard, especially for a family of four. Then, a month ago, his fortunes changed. He learnt to climb coconut trees and harvest their crop.

    “Now I climb 40 trees a day, and there’s so much work to be had,” he says. “For the first time in my life, I have a steady stream of cash. It’s a blessing.”

    The initiative that changed B Raja’s life began 18 months ago with a coconut crisis in Kerala. Only 10,000 tree-climbers practised the traditional craft, and at least another 40,000 were needed to harvest all the state’s coconuts.

    Production had dipped, and farmers were harvesting crops only once every three months, instead of the usual 45 to 60 days.

    “Climbers used to be of a particular caste, and their children were not willing to take up their father’s profession, because it wasn’t very remunerative,” says Sugata Ghose of the Coconut Development Board in Kochi, which works under the Indian government’s agriculture ministry. “And people from other castes were unwilling to take up these jobs.”

    The solution was a government-funded training scheme called Friends of Coconut Tree, which has grown from its Kerala roots and has been operating since late last year in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

    The board was careful to avoid the word “climbers” in its promotion of its training programme, thus steering clear of caste connotations.

    “This is why we called it ‘Friends of Coconut Tree’,” Mr Ghose said. “Now even higher-caste and educated people are coming into the programme, because there is the promise of a good income, and because they are getting trained by a government organisation.”

    The training was initially slow to take off but between August 2011 and March 2012 more than 5,600 people completed the six-day course across every district in Kerala. Since then about another 4,400 trainees in the five states have been certified.

    The Coconut Development Board ties up with NGOs and district-level agricultural research centres to hold the training programmes. Each group of about 20 trainees cost the government 68,500 rupees (Dh4,600).

    Each student is paid 150 rupees a day and receives a coconut-harvesting kit worth 2,500 rupees after completing the programme.

    Trainees are taught to work with automated tree-climbing devices, which are now becoming popular throughout south India. They are also instructed in methods of pest control and tree maintenance.

    The course includes other general but valuable lessons: first aid, the rudiments of managing savings and social security funds, and communication skills.

    The board now prescribes a minimum wage for tree climbers, said Mini Mathew, the programme’s publicity officer. “Earlier, if he was lucky, a coconut-tree climber might have been paid 10 rupees to scale a tree,” she said. “More probably, he would have been paid in coconuts.”

    India is the third-largest coconut growing country in the world, producing 15 billion nuts annually. Tamil Nadu and Kerala are India’s most productive coconut producing states.

    Today, Ms Mathew said, a climber might get up to 25 rupees a tree in rural areas, and even 50 rupees a tree in towns and cities. An experienced climber can tackle up to 40 trees a day. Monthly incomes now range from 15,000 to 30,000 rupees a month.

    The board connect climbers with tree owners, via an extensive directory on its website. “We also help them get bank loans to buy two-wheelers, so that they are more mobile,” Mr Ghose said.

    Even with all these benefits, though, it is a struggle to retain the new recruits.

    R Mathavan, a 23-year-old graduate in computer science, went through the programme in the district of Thanjavur, in Tamil Nadu, last October. He had gone, he said, “primarily because my father was in this line of work, and because a few of the other boys in my village wanted to go”.

    After Mr Mathavan completed the course, he and nine other trainees had planned to take out a bank loan and set up a coconut harvesting business, leasing their services to tree owners across the district. They had even planned a side venture in selling coconut water.

    But the coconut harvests were too sporadic for Mr Mathavan.

    “We all went back to our respective lines of work,” he said. He moved to Chennai and worked in a photographic studio for a few months before returning home.

    But Mr Mathavan insists that he found the course useful. “It’s always a worthwhile skill to have,” he said. “And if five or six of us can get together and revive our plans, I think we can still set up a good business out of it.”

    source: / The National / Home> World> South Asia / by Samanth Subramanian / February 28th, 2013

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    Chennai, India’s first hotel under Starwood Hotels’ upper-upscale Westin brand has opened.

    The 215-room Westin Channai Velachery has three restaurants and a pool as well as almost 13,000 square feet of meetings space.

    The hotel is the sixth Westin-branded hotel in India.

    Starwood now has five hotels in Chennai, which is located on the southeastern coast of India, about 225 miles east of Bangalore.

    Follow Danny King on Twitter @dktravelweekly

    source: / Home> Topics> Hotels & Resorts / by Danny King / February 26th, 2013 

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    February 26th, 2013adminBusiness & Economy, Records, All

    Coonoor , FEB. 25:

    New price records were created at Sale No: 8 of Coonoor Tea Trade Association (CTTA) auctions when about 90 per cent of the year’s lowest offer of 12.51 lakh kg was sold.

    The Broken Orange Pekoe Dust special grade of orthodox category of Highfield Estate, auctioned by Contemporary Tea Auctioneers, created a new price record when Kushal Tea Company bought it for Rs 291 a kg. This was the highest price fetched by any orthodox dust grade of any factory ever since CTTA auctions started 50 years ago.

    The oldest bought-leaf tea factory in Kotagiri region, Cross Hill Tea Factory, created a hat-trick by topping the CTC market for the third consecutive week. Homedale Tea Factory tea, auctioned by Global Tea Brokers, fetched the highest price of Rs 168 a kg in CTC dust auction. Vigneshwar Estate got Rs 161. In all, 79 marks got Rs 125 and more a kg.

    Among orthodox teas, Chamraj got Rs 260 a kg, Kodanad Rs 201, Kairbetta Rs 179, Havukal Rs 170, Glendale Rs 167 and Prammas Rs 165. In all, 79 marks got Rs 100 and more.

    source: / Home> Industry> Agri-Biz / by P. S. Sundar / Coonoor, February 25th, 2013

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    February 26th, 2013adminBusiness & Economy

    SWEET FRUIT:  The watermelons that have arrived at the Vellore market, ahead of the season | Express

    Markets in Vellore are flooded with mouth-watering watermelons that have arrived early this year. And, for a change, it is melons grown in the State that are widely available. In the past, these markets used to be monopolised by fruits transported from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. However, the increase in transport costs due to hike in the diesel price has been credited for this unusual development.

    “State-grown melons are in demand because of the increase in transport cost that has gone up by about 20 per cent this year,” noted T Basheer Ahmed, a wholesale merchant at the fruit market in Mullipalayam here. The Fort city used to receive melons from the Kadappa belt in Andhra Pradesh, known for its widespread cultivation. This year, the farmers of neighbouring districts of Kancheepuram, Villupuram and Tiruvannamalai have taken the lead to exploit a favourable market climate.

    Melons which used to hit the market in the second week of March have arrived a month early, even as Vellore gets ready to face another scorching season. “The farmers of northern districts have timed the cultivation and harvest well so that they could take advantage of the summer months ahead,” Basheer added. The price of the fruit purchased by the wholesale merchants is also very competitive this year, ranging between `7 to `9 per kg. Retail vendors on the pavement sell the fruit in the range of `12 and `15 per kg.

    Basheer said Vellore receives around 100 to 150 tonnes of the fruit every day and fruit merchants are able to sell them almost immediately. The ‘namdhari’ variety is selling like hot cakes, Basheer said. He expects the watermelon season to last up to April, after which mangoes would take over.

    Rahmathullah, a pavement vendor said the shelf life of the fruits grown by TN farmers was good as compared those transported from AP. While he procures the fruits mainly from the wholesale market here, sometimes he purchases them directly from the farmers at a lesser price. He, however, makes maximum profit by selling watermelons after they have been cut, as compared to the whole fruit that fetches him a smaller profit margin.While people enjoy the fruit in its raw form, some say they earn profits by selling novel items like watermelon payasam, soup, fruit salad, and melon juice. The fruit not only quenches thirst, it has vitamins, and minerals like potassium and magnesium. It helps cure irritability, sleep disorders, and muscular cramping, they added.

    source: / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by V. NarayanaMurthi – Vellore / February 26th, 2013

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         Jayalalithaa with her mother Sandhya.

    My scanning eyes are now penetrating beyond the political frame of Ms J. Jayalalithaa as she celebrates her 65th birthday. Seldom do we come across a personality in the terspicorion galaxy of international popularity glittering with multi-faceted talent and achievements. My father, film director K. Subrahmanyam, had featured her beautiful mother Sandhya and her aunt Vidya in his films. Our families were quite close and though I am five years older than her, there were many occasions when we enjoyed playing together in the garden outside the shooting floor of Pioneer Studios in Mysore, as the shooting went on. Her elder brother also acted in a minor role but ‘Ammu’ (as we used to call her) was like a sweet little Barbie doll whom I kept company. When she had her Bharatanatya arangetram, my father presided, and I remember she was amazing.

    She was a brilliant student in Church Park and her passion was education; but God willed that she had to soar high in the film field with no ordinary achievements. She learnt music and could memorise dialogues running to quite a few pages as she was having her make-up on — that, too, by listening to someone reading it to her. She would complete the shot in a single take without forgetting a word or fumbling. Such was her grasp even in her teens.

    She is a voracious reader even now and has an excellent library at home. She prepares her speeches by herself on any subject and delivers them with conviction in impeccable English or Tamil. She is also well-versed in other languages like Hindi, Kannada and Telugu.

    Our dance school Nrithyodaya celebrated its golden jubilee 20 years ago and diamond jubilee 10 years ago. She graced both occasions when she was in power. During the diamond jubilee, we had requested her to release my research magnum opus ‘Karanas — Common Dance Codes of India & Indonesia’ — in three volumes. She commented about the cover page carrying my photo as “stunningly divine” and asked who sponsored these costly volumes. When I said I approached none, she graciously took my permission to announce that her government would reimburse the entire cost for it was of historic importance to Tamil culture. I gratefully agreed and wondered at her unity of thought, word and quick action. The cheque for Rs 7,00,000 reached through a special messenger the very next day.

    In my speech, I mentioned about the need to protect Asian culture and its age-old connectivity with India, particularly seen through the worship of Bharatamuni, the aadi-guru of performing arts. I said it has been my dream for the past two decades to build a memorial shrine for this great sage and create a pan-Asian research centre and develop it as an Asian cultural corridor. Ms Jayalalithaa — a multi-faceted artiste and rare intellectual responded on the dais and declared that she “shares this dream and will allot the land for this project”. This was also offered without my asking for it.

    Jayalalithaa did not stop with the allotment of five acres near Mahabalipuram. Even after the government changed, she invited me to her residence and voluntarily gave Rs 27,00,000 for this project as her personal donation.

    I am ever grateful to her for these kind gestures which were done with no axe to grind. The actual Bharatamuni memorial, which will be the pivot of this research institution, will be built with her donation with due acknowledgement. She always appreciated me as an artiste with no political interests. I am no one to comment on her political acumen.

    As a childhood friend and her dear ‘Paddhukka’, I only pray to Lord Almighty to ever bless her with a long healthy life and tranquility of mind in the midst of the innumerable complex situations that she is compelled to face. May God grant her many more years of glory and grace true to her name.

    source: / Home> News> Current Affairs / DC, February 25th, 2013

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    February 24th, 2013adminArts, Culture & Entertainment, Education

    Dignitaries at the event

    International Mother Tongue Day was observed by the ‘Tamil Peravai’ of the Madras Christian College, here on Thursday.

    Every year,  February 21 is being observed as ‘International Day of Mother Tongue’ since  2000.

    The day is observed every year to promote and create awareness on linguistics, cultural diversity and multilingualism. MCC, which has students from all the 28 States of the country and 17 countries in the world, observed the day for the first time on its campus.

    The function was organised by the Department of Tamil, under its Tamil Peravai.

    Various literary personalities such as writer Lena Tamilvanan, poet Alandur Mohanarangan and Ravindranathan of Kannadasan Ilakkiya Mandram, Paris, were present as chief guest in the occasion.

    In his address, Lena Tamilvanan said, “Even Tamils in Tamil Nadu are reluctant and unable to speak in their mother tongue. But Tamils displaced and living as migrants in other countries like France, Mauritius, South Africa study Tamil and teach the Tamil language to their children through transliteration”.

    Ravindranathan said, “Since Sri Lankan Tamils were displaced in other countries like France during the ethnic war in the island nation, many of them had abandoned their mother tongue. But to save our mother tongue Tamil, we started a radio, through which we spread Tamil literature such as Thirukkural, Tholkappiyam, among others.”

    Alandur Mohanarangan recited a poem lauding Tamil language. During the event, students from other States and countries spoke about their mother tongue, in transliterated Tamil.

    Principal R W Alexander Jesudasan and Moses Michael Faraday, Head, Department of Tamil, were also present.

    source: / Home> Cities> Chennai / by Express News Services- Chennai / February 23rd, 2013

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     It was a tie between artist Sh­ihan Hussaini and transport minister Senthil Balaji. Huss­aini collected blood from 32 ar­chery students and froze it to create a bust cast of chief mini­ster J. Jayalalithaa on the eve of her birthday. Minister Balaji went the extra mile and initiated a massive blood donation dr­ive across the state, roping in 18,215 state transport employees.

    All the participants donated a minimum of 350 ml blood and the samples were sent to the nearby district GHs. The blood donation camps were held in 75 centres and most of them gave blood after finishing their duty, Mr Balaji told this news-paper.

    “Initially, we wanted to rope in 16,500 staff and create a new record beating the previous feat of students where 13,000 of them donated blood in a single day. The record has been made on the eve of Amma’s birthd­ay,” said the beaming minis-ter.

    According to AIADMK party sources, all the major blood banks in the state have been alerted about the drive seeking their coordination and the collected blood was sent to the banks for segregation into pla­telets and other components.

    Mr Hussaini, who first disclosed to DC about his feat of sculpting the CM’s burst with frozen blood, was also busy the whole day giving final touches to his work.

    While blood donation camps were organised at 65 places in the city, party legislators organised medical camps. Saidapet MLA G. Senthami­zhan announced the distribution of welfare aid to the public for 65 days and to organise poor feeding to mark the AIADMK supremo’s birthday.

    Senior party member, finance minister O.Panneerselvam and Chennai mayor Saidai Duraisamy pulled Goddess Kalikambal’s silver chariot, praying for the long life and more laurels for their leader.

    source: / Home> News> Current Affairs / DC, Chennai – by S. Thirunavukarasu / February 24th, 2013

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    February 23rd, 2013adminArts, Culture & Entertainment, Records, All

    A Rs 10 lakh arch in memory of the man instrumental in conducting the Kumbabishekham of the famous Vanducherkuzhali Seshapureeswarar temple at Thirupamburam, 26 km from here, was inaugurated here today.

    Natarasundaram wanted to build an arch for the temple, but passed away before it could be done. His wife undertook the task and sold her private property to get it constructed.

    The Executive Officer of the temple Murugaiyan presided over the inauguration.

    Special poojas were performed on the occassion. Vedic pundits recited slokas and prayers were offered after which the arch was declared open

    The arch has three stone inscriptions and is built depicting Rahu and Ketu with the icons of Raghu on one side and Ketu on the other. Both are depicted in full form on the top of the arch with Sivalingam, temple sources said.

    source: / The Indian Express / Home> PTI / Kumbakonam / Friday, February 22nd, 2013

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     In a little over a fortnight, Chennaiites will get desalinated water from the city’s second desalination plant dedicated to public use by chief minister J Jayalaithaa on Friday.

    Senior government sources told Deccan Chronicle that water from the 100mld desalination plant constructed at a cost of Rs 821.14 crore would reach residents of Tiruvanmiyur, Velachery and Pallipattu besides IT companies in another three weeks.

    By then, the pipe laid for over 60km will be flushed and kept ready for conveying water to the city from Nemmeli, sources added.

    Unlike the 100mld Minjur desalination plant constructed on DBOOT (design, build, operate and transfer) basis with private partnership, Chennai metro water has built the Nemmeli plant indigenously. The Nemmeli plant has also proved to be relatively cost effective, as it requires only Rs  21 to treat one kiloliter of seawater, while the same costs `48.66 per kiloliter in Minjur.

    The Nemmeli plant also will also have an edge over the Minjur plant in terms of technology, particularly in respect of filtering and treatment. The plant is  equipped with pressure filters comprising disc and ultra filters that will filter particles as tiny as 0.01micron ahead of the reverse osmosis system that filters chemicals, salts and particles 1/100th of the size smaller than the particles that escape the pressure filters. Breaking silence on the inadvertent delay in the project completion, government sources attributed the delay to a turbulent sea and said they only had a four-month window period from January to April and they had to bury the inlet and outlet pipes in the seabed to a length of one km and 650 meters. The designers initially considered partial burying and later settled to complete burial of the inlet and outlet pipes. The plant takes in 265mld from the sea and send 100mld of desalinated water to the city.

    source: / Home> News> Current Affairs / DC / February 23rd, 2013

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