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    March 31st, 2013adminArts, Culture & Entertainment


    Sing your way to Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy | EPS

    As part of the fifth edition of Idea Rocks India, a popular music contest, musical trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy will perform in the city on March 31 at YMCA Grounds, Royapettah.

    Conceptualised in 2005, Idea Rocks India is now in its 5th edition and gives music aficionados across the country an opportunity to showcase their singing talent and share the platform with some of the biggest music stars in India.

    This year, the musical extravaganza comes in an all new avatar, with multiple new elements. For the first time, Idea has undertaken auditioning participants through four different media – digital, IVR, radio and in person — thereby reaching out to a much broader spectrum of audiences.

    This season will witness the hunt for budding rockstars from across over 60 cities and give them an opportunity to perform with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.

    Speaking about the initiative, Sashi Shankar, Chief Marketing Officer, Idea Cellular, said, “Music is core to Idea’s brand building and customer connect strategy. The concept, reach and brand integration of Idea Rocks India (IRI) is unparalleled in India. We are now taking it a level higher to engage a wider audience and hunt for talent from deeper pockets of the country, utilising both modern and traditional media such as digital, IVR and on-ground. With over 60 events, over a period of two months, this year IRI will reach out to millions of Indians across the country.”

    A team of four judges will filter the participants to 50 from each city, until the best five participants are chosen by a panel of local music academicians and popular music personalities.

    The final winner chosen by the celebrity judges — the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy trio and Mika — will perform with them at key locations across the country.

    Auditions for the talent-hunt has already begun and interested candidates can send their entries on

    Idea customers can also give their audition by calling 5545611 and recording their voice.

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

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    Madurai :

    Centuries-old rare sculptures belonging to early and later Pandya period are left to the mercy of weather at the Government Museum in Madurai for want of adequate infrastructure and apathy of officials to provide at least temporary shield or security to them.

    About 90 rare artifacts, inscriptions and burial  urns which were obtained by the museum after strenuous efforts are left in the open at the museum located at the Gandhi Museum campus. The relics, which were collected from various places including Madurai, Theni and Dindigul are lying unattended, exposing them to damage caused by weather. Experts say that it is rare to see such a wide collection of historic objects at one place.

    The callous attitude of the museum authorities is shocking. Maxine Delrico, from France, who visited the Government Museum, said that he was surprised to see such disregard to heritage. “I thought that the relics are modern sculptures. When I asked a local person he said they belong to 7th and 8th century. Though, they are centuries old they are displayed poorly. No one would be curious to know about the sculptures if they are not displayed well,” he said. .

    The priceless relics are now toyed with by children. “Due to lack of protection, school children who come from nearby areas play with the sculptures. They may damage the historic objects. Before something goes wrong they should be safeguarded,” said V Karupaiya of Palanganatham.

    Talking about the importance of the sculpture V Vedachalam, a senior epigraphist, said that it is hard to come across such sculptures spanning from 7th century to recent times. “A Perumal statue which was found in Vaigai river belongs to the 7th century. Several such old sculptures, including rare early and later Pandya era ones, are also lying here. Similar sculptures could only be noticed in cave temples,” he said.

    N Sulaiman, former top official in the department of art and culture, who was involved in the procuring the items have called for their protection. During his 18-year stint at the museum Sulaiman was instrumental in collecting more than 18 sculptures from Madurai and neighbouring districts. “Tremendous hard work has gone behind their collection. The relics should be safeguarded. The importance of such relics can be carried to the next generation only if they are displayed well,” he said.

    When contacted, A Periyasamy, curator of the Government Museum, Madurai, said that a proposal for the construction of a building has been sent to the higher authorities. Soon the construction work is expected to be commenced. The sculptures will be shifted inside the building once the works are completed.

    source: / Home> City> Madurai / by V. Devanathan, TNN / March 28th, 2013

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    Music Director A.R. Rahman offering a chaadhar at a mazhar in Pedda Dargah in Kadapa. / by Special Arrangement / The Hindu

    Sajjad-e-Nasheen of Ameer Peer Dargah Syed Sha Arifullah Hussaini offered sandal and performed pooja at the mazhars in the Dargah amidst drumbeats and feats by fakirs on Tuesday night.

    Oscar-winning music director A.R. Rahman and Tamil film actor Vivek visited the Pedda Dargah during the ongoing Urs and offered floral chaaddhar and prayers. The VIPs and a large number of devotees attended the ‘Gandham’ ceremony in the Dargah and took blessings of the Sajjad-e-Nasheen. A qawwali programme followed.

    source: / Home> News> National> Andhra Pradesh / by Special Correspondent / Kadapa, March 28th, 2013

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    Trichy :

    The profit-making Trichy airport should be provided all it needs, to make it truly international, G K Chaukiyal, member (operations) of Airports Authority of India, said on Wednesday. Chaukiyal said the AAI was controlling around 125 airports in the country and only 10 or 12 are making profits. However, Chaukiyal denied the Trichy airport was one of the 11 airports listed for privatisation.

    Chaukiyal was on a customary visit to the Trichy airport that was recently accorded the international status to inaugurate the new barracks for the CISF personnel that has been constructed at a cost of Rs 73 lakh and the first-of-its-kind sniffer dog kennel at a cost of Rs 39 lakh. In May, last year, another Member (Air Navigation Services) AAI, V Somasundaram inaugurated the automation system of Air Traffic Services (ATS).

    Airport director S Dharmaraj said the airport was making a profit to the tune of Rs 3 to 4 crore annually and it was increasing at a rate of five to 10 per cent. However, regional executive director, southern region D Devaraj, said that “This year the profit was touch-and-go.” Devaraj said the passenger traffic was increasing at a rate of 13% and the AAI had singled out five airports – Trichy, Coimbatore, Mangalore, Benaras, and Lucknow – for infrastructure development.

    Chaukiyal said it was remarkable that Trichy airport was making profit and hence it should not be neglected and every possible help must be extended to make it grow. The infrastructure development includes the automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADSB) considered to be the next generation surveillance technology for tracking aircraft.

    But Trichy airport has been plagued by many navigation ills on the infrastructure front and the single largest ill is the shorter runway that at present measures up to 8,136 feet and this does not enable larger aircraft to land. It serves as a great impediment to large-scale exports from this region even though there is admittedly unprecedented potential for products like banana and other textile items from the region. All efforts to expand it to at least 12,000 feet has met with a lot of hurdles including land acquisition for the project.

    When asked about the inordinate delaying in the expansion process of the airport, Devaraj told TOI, “Land is always the problem. Let the state government give us the land, we will start the expansion work at once.”

    source: / Home> City> Madurai / TNN / March 28th, 2013

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    Soon Jawadhu Hills would have an exclusive website to promote the area as a tourist spot. The website will carry interesting information and photographs of tourist spots in the area.

    With the aim of promoting the scenic Jawadhu Hills as an ecological hot spot and haven for adventure buffs, the district administration is set to launch the website to attract tourists to the humble yet exquisite area on the Eastern Ghats.

    After christening the Jawadhu Hills as the ‘Princess of Honey,’ the district administration and the newly constituted Jawadhu Hills Development and Tourism Promotion Society will launch the website in mid April. The website would have information on the gigantic Neer Maruthu tree in Melpattu(believed to be 1,000 years old), Beeman Falls and the eco-park in Jamanumarthur. “We are planning to launch the website on April 15. From the very next day, the newly identified trekking and mountaineering points will be opened for adventure sports lovers,” Collector Vijay Pingale told Express. The district administration has already designed an exclusive logo for the Princess of Honey — Jawadhu Malai. We will send the project reports to the Tourism Department, he said.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by Express News Service – Tiruvannamalai / March 29th, 2013

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    House where math whiz was born identified


    The house at Azhagiya Singar street in Erode where Srinivasa Ramanujan was born. /  Photo: M. Govarthan / The Hindu

    The Erode Corporation on Wednesday expressed its desire to convert into a mathematics museum the house where Srinivasa Ramanujan was born. The Corporation passed a resolution to this effect, moved by Mayor Mallika Paramasivam. A proposal to convert the house on Azhagiya Singar Street into a museum will be submitted to the State government.

    Though it was known that Erode was the birthplace of the maths genius, the house where he was born remained untraceable until recently. It was located following the efforts made by Susumu Sakurai, professor and head, Department of Math, Tokyo University of Science and Technology, and Professor and President of Tamil Nadu Science Forum N. Mani.

    “We had the information that Ramanujan was born in a house that was situated exactly between a Siva temple and its water tank. After extensive search, we found it and confirmed that Ramanujan was born in the house that had the door number 18 in Azhagiya Singar Street,” Mr. Mani said.

    The house will be a huge inspiration to children if it is converted into a museum. “It should not be neglected. We should celebrate the math genius by making his birthplace a museum. We already adopted a resolution demanding the State government to convert the house into a museum. It is good to know that the civic body has now come forward to convert it into museum,” Mr. Mani told The Hindu.

    source: / Home> News> National> TamilNadu / by Staff Reporter / Erode, March 28th, 2013

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    March 30th, 2013adminBusiness & Economy

    Rs 20,000-cr industry turns around in first three months of 2013, after 3 years of negative growth; labour, power issues persist


    After reporting a decline for three years, the Rs 20,000-crore textile industry at Tirupur, knitwear hub of India, has reported a growth in exports during the first three months of 2013.

    Iry has attributed the growth to new markets, explored in the past 10-12 months. Meanwhile, labour and power shortages are going to be major obstacles, say industry representatives.

    Exporters from this town, about 450 km from Chennai, said the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) expected to be signed anytime with the European Union, would help them compete with Bangladesh, which is now enjoying duty-free benefits.

    A Sakthivel, president, Tirupur Exporters Association, said: “We started seeing some sign of relief from January, from old and new customers (mainly from the non-traditional markets).”

    Exports fell 10-15 per cent in 2009-10 and 2010-11; in 2011-12, it was flat, thanks to the rupee’s appreciation against the dollar. In 2006-07, when the industry clocked around Rs 11,000 crore, it had set a target to reach $4 billion (Rs 21,800 crore) by 2012. However, it could reach only $2.75 bn (Rs 15,000 crore).

    The general global downturn, rupee appreciation, increase in costs (power, transportation, yarn, logistics, diesel) and the high court’s decision to close dyeing units had hit the industry badly after 2008.

    “We are seeing some sign of relief now. Between January and March, we have seen five per cent growth, though margins continue to be under pressure,” said Sakthivel.

    Industry representatives have said the growth was mainly due to contribution from new markets into which it had ventured in the past one or two years. These include Japan, South Africa, Israel and South America. It also saw some relief in the US markets, along with new orders.

    “The concern is the European market, which used to contribute around 50 per cent to the industry,” said Sakthivel.

    With the new order flows and opening of new markets, exports from Tirupur are expected to touch Rs 14,000 crore in 2013-14. While the order inflow is good news, exporters are struggling to convert these enquiries to orders.

    A leading exporter said lack of power and shortage of labour hurts the industry.

    “The power cut ranges from seven to eight hours during the day. In the night, every two hours, power goes for one hour,” he said. “Average delay (job orders) in delivery ranges from 10-15 days. An airlift to meet customers requirements means additional cost.”

    The recent increase in diesel prices is also hitting the industry, said Sakthivel. “Our FOB value has increased by two per cent because of the increase.”

    Exporters have asked the government for a ‘gold card’ scheme, to enable them to buy diesel at the international price from a designated  oil marketing company. And, to allow duty credit scrip at five per cent of garment exports for the performance in 2012-13, for issuance of scrip from 2013-14. The scrip will be used for offsetting customs duties on speciality fabrics.

    The Association estimates 50,000-75,000 more workers are required immediately to meet the new demand. The industry had lost a lot of workers after the downtrend, which had resulted in closure of many units.

    source: / Home> Companies> News> News / by T E Narasimhan / Chennai, March 28th, 2013

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    March 29th, 2013adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    Madurai :

    Chinnalapatti in Dindigul district is one of the few places where the ancient festival for the god love , known as Kamayasamy (cupid), is celebrated with splendour for over 140 years and this year’s festival is currently underway with people from all communities joining the celebrations.

    According to M Sivamurugesan, president of the festival committee, the festival coincides with Holi in North India. “Chinnalapatti is among the very few places where the festival is still celebrated. We have palm leaf manuscripts to prove that our forefathers have been celebrating it for 140 years,” he said.

    The twelve-day festival begins at the end of Masi and continues till the fullmoon day on Panguni. A small shrine for Kamayan exists inside the ancient Muniappasamy temple at Chinnalapatti. A zamindar family, now headed by S Muthukumar, is the traditional trustees of the temple.

    The festival commences with the temple priest, Palandi, carrying the deity’s replica made from sticks of peepal, mango and wildcane in a procession through the village streets. Then it is installed on a temporary pedestal and villagers take turns to decorate the deity with flowers of their choice, with each community vying with each other to deck up the deity the best possible way.

    Each day, the villagers make offerings of a variety of food prepared at home. It is offered as ‘prasad’ to the other villages. Kamatchi, a villager, says that the important part of the festival is the recitations about the life of Kamayasamy. “According to mythology, Lord Shiva took a long penance and refused to even look at Goddess Sakthi, following which birth came to a standstill in the world. Worried, cupid sent his son-in-law to bring him out of that state. When Shiva opened his third eye, Cupid was burnt to death, though he was later resurrected,” she said.

    This story is the base of this festival also. On the penultimate day of the festival, the deity is set on fire with people throwing salt and pepper into the fire. It is said that doing so keeps skin ailments that usually erupt in summer at bay. Dry field beans are boiled and offered to villagers. Then the most important ritual of getting a transsexual to mourn for the dead deity is held. Interestingly, the transsexual who has been performing the ritual for the villagers for the past 12 years is Xavier, a Christian from Mettupatti in Dindigul.

    The festival helps to strengthen bonds between communities as communal barriers are given a go-by by the vilagers.

    source: / Home> City> Madurai / by Padmini Sivarajah, TNN / March 23rd, 2013

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    March 29th, 2013adminEducation


    V Ramasubramanian, Judge, Madras High Court, speaking at the seminar on Tuesday | R Satish Babu / The New Indian Express

    A three-day seminar on ‘The Philosophy of Prof T M P Mahadevan’ was organised by the Department of Philosophy, University of Madras, here on Tuesday. The seminar was inaugurated Justice V Ramasubramanian, Judge, Madras High Court.

    Justice Ramasubramanian, in his address, recalled and praised the efforts and contributions of Mahadevan to the field of philosophy, religion and human values. He further said that there was a need for the University of Madras and other universities to focus on subjects like Philosophy and History. He further stated that nowadays philosophy, which teaches ethical and human values that form the basis of  a good society, is not being taken seriously.

    Vice-Chancellor of the University of Madras, Professor T Thandavan, in his speech, praised the efforts and works 0f T M P Mahadevan and recalled how Mahadevan helped in advaitha, At the same time, the VC also assured that he would extend all possible help bring the subject of philosophy on a par with other subjects.

    The other dignitaries who spoke at the seminar included Prof  S Paneerselvam, HOD, Dept of Philosophy, who  welcomed the gathering, Prof G Mishra, Dept of Philosophy, University of Madras, Prof Bhuvan Chandel, Member Secretary, CSC, New Delhi and  Prof Sebastian Velassery, Dept of Philosophy, Punjab University, Chandigarh.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Chennai / by Express News Service – Chennai / March 27th, 2013

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    Theni :

    The first wildlife census carried out in Megamalai wildlife sanctuary since its formation last year has revealed interesting aspects about the thriving wildlife in the 40,000 hectares of forest lands. The highlight of the findings is the spotting of a tigress with a cub. Signs spread across the sanctuary also point to the presence of leopards. The findings confirm that grizzled squirrels are no longer the monopoly of Srivilliputhur sanctuary, as they could be seen in good numbers in Megamalai.

    Census volunteers found the tigress in Upper Manalaru region in Chinnamanaur range. The discovery cheered the wildlife lovers who were campaigning for the creation of the sanctuary. “The thriving wildlife and tigress with a cub is a sign of a healthy forest. It kindles hope for the revival of the River Vaigai since a healthy forest can ensure water supply to the river which is the lifeline of five districts down south,” said C P Rajkumar of Vaigai Association for Nature and Mountain  Ranges (VANAM), the partnering NGO for the census.

    A large number of herbivores like sambar deer, spotted deer, mouse deer and barking deer were found across the entire sanctuary during the census. Elephants, including a single tusker, are also among the finds. Sloth bears and wild dogs were also spotted directly by the volunteers.

    Altogether, 43 transects were created in the sanctuary which is divided into six ranges like Varusanadu, Chinnamanur, Kandamanur, Megamalai, Cumbum and Kudalur. As many as 56 volunteers, along with forest officials, had combed the sanctuary to enumerate the wildlife between March 23 and 24. R Venkatasamy, wildlife warden said that they had used range finder, compass and GPS to find out the angle and spot of the sightings and to record the findings. “The census was very satisfactory and the data classification is in process and after that the exact number of animals can be ascertained,” he said.

    World Wildlife Fund (WWF) assisted the wildlife officers and volunteers to make the census operations more scientific. WWF members were involved in studying the topography of the sanctuary and mapping the transects for the census. D Boominathan, landscape coordinator of Western Ghats – Nilgiris Programme said that they used various techniques as the census was being done for the first time. “To be on the safer side, we studied carnivores’ signs like pug marks, rake and scratch marks and carcasses for kill signs. Dung count was used to study elephant distribution and one day was dedicated for beat survey to study the distribution of species and abundance of them, especially with herbivores. The modern gadgets used in census were helpful to make accurate measurements of wildlife,” he said.

    “Spotting a tiger with her cub is a very positive sign that the breeding is happening in the forest,” he added.

    source: / Home> City> Madurai / TNN / by J. Arockiaraj / March 20th, 2013

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