- New Delhi to become India’s First No Kerosene City
- Aishwarya Rai makes her first post pregnancy appearance at Kochi
- Kerala bats for Kochi National Investment and Manufacturing Zone
- Will Pakistan act against its Online Conspirators ?
- Akshay kumar absent from Joker Promotions. Is everything OK ?
- Kosi Flood Victims still waiting for Rahabilitation
- Dedicated Testing Center setup at Technopark Kerala
- Assam Violence should not be termed as Hindu Muslim Clash
- Muslims and Hindus celebrate EID Jointly in Orissa
- Sikkim to become India’s First Organic State by 2015
Posted: 20 Aug 2012 06:30 PM PDT
Delhi is set to become India’s first kerosene-free city with the government launching a scheme Tuesday under which 350,000 families using kerosene oil will get a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder and a cooking stove for free.
The ‘Kerosene-free Delhi’ scheme was announced by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in her budget speech, as subsidised kerosene was not reaching the intended beneficiaries and often ended up in the black market.
Dikshit announced a cash subsidy of Rs.2,000 to the beneficiary families to buy the cylinder, regulator and gas stove. Earlier in June, it was decided that a cylinder, regulator and gas stove will be provided directly to the families.
Under the scheme, the Delhi government will provide each of the 3,56,395 families, which are getting subsidised kerosene, a filled LPG cylinder, regulator, an ISI-marked gas stove with two burners and a rubber tube.
“There are in all 3,56,395 families using kerosene oil for cooking. The shift from kerosene to LPG will eliminate ongoing black marketing,” a Delhi government official said.
Dikshit will launch the scheme Tuesday will distribute the cylinders and stoves to some of the beneficiaries.
All the families covered under Below Poverty Line (BPL), Antyodaya Anna Yojna (AAY) and Jhuggi Ration Card (JRC) schemes will benefit from the move.
At present, all the BPL and AAY families get 12.5 litres of kerosene every month at Rs.14.83 per litre against the market rate of Rs.27 to Rs.30.
Posted: 20 Aug 2012 05:30 PM PDT
Former Miss World was in Kochi for the launch of the first Kalyan Jewellers store, and several fans had lined up along the roads leading to the store.
Aishwarya, who shot her first post-pregnancy ad for the brand, addressed the fans from atop a special stage, before she went ahead with the formalities of the launch of the store.
The 38-year-old looked traditional in an off-white ensemble by designer duo Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla. She inaugurated the store alongside Malayalam star Dileep.
She was accompanied by her mother Vrinda Rai and daughter Aaradhya on the trip.
Posted: 20 Aug 2012 04:30 PM PDT
Kerala has sought the central government’s approval for the Kochi-Palakkad National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ), a Rs.53,825 crore mega industrial infrastructure project, according to State Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty.
“The centre has sought more details from the state government for giving clearance to the project. This is being submitted to the centre,” Kunhalikutty said Monday.
NIMZ would include six industrial zones, two food and agro processing zones, three engineering and electronics zones, one chemical and petrochemical zone and a facility for power generation.
The total extent of land proposed for the NIMZ is 5,200 hectares between Kochi and Palakkad.
The scheme will generate direct employment to five lakh people over five years, and indirect employment to 25 lakh people in 10 years.
The state government will also place this project at the Emerging Kerala Global Connect event to be held at Kochi next month and is planned to be executed under the PPP model.
Alkesh Sharma, secretary, industries and managing director, KSIDC (Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation), said the gross state domestic product (GSDP) of the state comprises 66 percent contribution from the service sector and 22 percent from the manufacturing sector.
“The growth of the manufacturing sector will open up huge opportunities for industrial units and give a major fillip to employment generation in Kerala. Our vision is the holistic and sustainable development of an industrial NIMZ along the Kochi-Palakkad region, leveraging local resources and infrastructure facilities, without destabilising the environment,” said Sharma.
While the capital outlay for NIMZ has been pegged at Rs.53,825 crore, the expected investment inflow is around Rs.1,00,000 crore over 10 years.
KSIDC executive director T.P. Thomas Kutty said the NIMZ would be a combination of production units, public utilities, logistics, environmental protection schemes and ancillary facilities.
“For meeting the power requirement, gas-based power plants with an installed capacity of 2,500 MW would be set up in the NIMZ,” said Thomas Kutty.
Posted: 20 Aug 2012 03:30 PM PDT
India is planning to provide Pakistan with oncrete proof of the fear instigated by various Pakistani websites leading to riots in Mumbai and various parts of South India and subsequent exodus of over 10000 people of North East.
Government claims that they have sufficient evidence to suggests that various websites in Pakistan created this furore by uploading the morphed images and videos of calamities across world and relating them to violence in Assam.
In fact it has already, blocked over 250 websites for orchestrating the online campaign of hatred.
It was decided that the external affairs ministry will await inputs from the home ministry before deciding on how to take up the issue with Pakistan, said the sources.
A final decision on presenting the evidence to Pakistan will be taken after inter-ministerial consultations, said the sources.
The government has ordered an investigation into the fake messages on social networking sites.
Krishna goes to Islamabad on a three-day visit Sep 7 for talks with Pakistani Foreign Miister Hina Rabbani Khar that will focus on reviewing the second round of dialogue that was revived early last year following a hiatus after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
The talks are expected to encompass all bilateral issues, including terrorism and Kashmir, and the recent issue of the morphed images is set to figure in the discussions.
Krishna is likely to take up the issue of morphed pictures as such incidents show that elements engaged in anti-India propaganda continue to be active in Pakistan, sources said.
During the talks, India is also set to highlight the activities of Hafiz Saeed, the alleged 26/11 mastermind, who continues to spout anti-India venom with impunity.
Such anti-India campaigns were not conducive to creating a healthy atmosphere for improved relations, said the sources.
Thousands of people from the northeast fled the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu last week after hate messages were spread through mobile phones and on Facebook, threatening retaliation for the ethnic violence in Assam last month.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said elements based in Pakistan used social networking websites to circulate morphed pictures to whip up communal tension in India. This was conveyed by Shinde to Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik during a telephonic conversation Sunday.
Islamabad rejected the charges and demanded evidence to prove it.
“The Indian minister has said that rumours were generated from Pakistan through cellular services,” Malik told reporters in Islamabad while referring to his phone conversation with Shinde.
“I had requested him (Shinde) to provide evidence in this regard to us and we will take care of it,” he added.
Against this backdrop, Indian authorities were compiling technical evidence with a view to presenting it to Pakistan, said the sources.
The consultations on presenting the evidence were still going on, said the sources, adding that the external affairs and home ministries are in touch on the issue.
Meanwhile, the government Monday blocked over 250 websites and blogs for uploading doctored videos and pictures. By Tuesday, around 275 such websites could be forced offline.
The Monday crackdown on websites follows a similar blocking of around 80 internet pages and user accounts spreading hate messages on a slew of social networking sites, including Facebook, Google and Twitter.
The sites were found to be containing hostile propaganda and rumours that sought to incite violence targeting the people from northeast and to whip up panic among them, the government sources said.
The government Saturday had ordered to block 76 internet sites, with Shinde saying that these sites were fed by elements in Pakistan to spark panic among people of northeastern states in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
Posted: 20 Aug 2012 02:30 PM PDT
Producer Farah Khan clears the stir and calls it a part of strategy. ”It’s a strategy, please don’t go by what you are reading in the papers, it’s somebody trying to do mischief. It’s a strategy we have adopted,” the 47-year-old said here in an interview.
Farah adds that the recent release of Akshay-Sonakshi Sinha-starrer “Rowdy Rathore” is the primary reason behind Akshay’s no-show.
“We have just seen a lot of them doing ‘Rowdy Rathore’ promotion, we didn’t want our film to look the same. It’s a very different film, it’s a kids-friendly film. Our USP are the aliens and we want to play upon that,” Farah said.
Meanwhile, Farah is happy to have produced a film like “Joker” and said: “It’s for kids. After a very long time you’ll see a film where parents can take their kids and they don’t have to worry that something will come now, a kiss or sex or violence. It’s very clean and entertaining film,” Farah said.
Joker is the story of Agastya (Akshay Kumar), a researcher probing the existence of aliens in the universe, who returns to his small little native village with his wife Diva(Sonakshi Sinha).
The out of luck Agastya takes it upon himself to put his crazy village on the global map and continues with his alien exploration from there. While his plan gets the village attention from across the world, it also comes with a great deal of risk.
The soundtrack of the film is composed by G. V. Prakash Kumar, nephew of noted composer, A. R. Rahman
Shreshit Poddar of Score Magazine, gave its Music a rating of 2 out of 5 stars & said,”You know something is wrong with an album when the instrumental tracks immensely outshine the vocal tracks. I must mention that each of the songs has a strong underlying melody but gross injustice is done to them by Shirish Kunder's lyrics.”.
Music Aloud’s review said “He may or may not have composed the tunes for the controversy-ridden soundtrack of Jaanemann, but when GV Prakash Kumar actually got to do a credited debut in Bollywood, it turned out to be a rather uninventive one” and rated it 5/10
Posted: 20 Aug 2012 01:30 PM PDT
Kosi Flood Victims could not be properly rehabilited in past four years despite massive claims made by Government. Many ambitious programs were abnounced to shape a new look to the devasted Kosi region of Bihar but the results are not overwhelming. Thousand of victims are still batting for survival. Thousands of acres of cultivable land destroyed in 2008 in the Kosi region are still covered with sand.
The nature’s fury hit hard hundreds of thousands. Many thousands of houses which were washed away or damaged are yet to be built, the activists say.
Much of this was revealed Saturday at a Jan Sunwai (public hearing) here organised by two voluntary organisations.
Information acquired through the Right to Information by activist Mahendra Yadav has revealed that about 14,129.70 acres of cultivable land in Basantpur in Supaul district are still covered by sand.
The sand was brought in by the overflowing Kosi four years ago.
“This is enough to estimate how much cultivable land is still covered by sand in Madhepura, Saharsa and Supaul districts,” Yadav of the Kosi Nav Nirman Manch said.
Another activist, Ranjeev, complained that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s programme to rebuild a new-look Kosi region remained on paper.
“Four years have passed but hundreds of thousands of people are still fighting for their survival in the Kosi region. Their demand to remove deposit of sand from cultivable land and to construct houses have been ignored.”
Ranjeev told IANS here that not more than five percent of the houses were reconstructed in four years.
“As per official records, 236,632 houses were washed away and damaged in the floods. The government pledged to construct 100,000 houses with a World Bank loan. But not more than 5,000 houses have come up,” said Ranjeev, who regularly visits Kosi.
“Four years is a long time as sand-filled cultivable land is causing hardship to farmers,” he said.
An official of the state disaster management department said the government was working on formulating a special scheme for removing sand. He said farmers will be trained on farming ways in sand-filled land.
In May, Nitish Kumar admitted that sand deposits in cultivable land was a major problem for farmers.
On Aug 18, 2008, the eastern Kosi embankment was breached, flooding five districts of northern Bihar.
Over three million people were rendered homeless when the Kosi breached its bank upstream in Nepal and changed course. It was said to be the worst flood in the state in 50 years.
Ironically, a one-man commission headed by Justice Rajesh Walia, set up Sep 10, 2008, to probe the cause of the breach in Kusaha in Nepal, is yet to submit its report.
Posted: 20 Aug 2012 12:30 PM PDT
kA dedicated Testing Center has been setup at Technopark Tridandrum in Kerala which would test software products, projects, packages and issue certification on usability, reliability and performance.
Named as Technopark Software Testing Lab and Certification Centre (TSECC) it is a joint venture with SE Mentor Solutions (Pvt.) Ltd. at Park Centre, Technopark, with funding from the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The Centre was inaugurated by K.C. Chandrasekharan Nair, managing director, T-TBI.
Nair said the TSECC software quality certification centre offers an integrated suite of products and services that provide a complete solution.
“It will offer services in key quality activities, including requirements, test and defects management, functional testing and business process testing. It will also help create value for companies experiencing difficulty in bringing in the required credibility to their software product/service,” said Nair.
It will also have high-end servers which will focus on performance, load and volume testing. The facility will offer the TSECC software testing lab, which has a resource pool of various software testing tools used globally by testing professionals.
Girish Babu, CEO of Technopark, said this centre is the only one of its kind in the world’s will be a major boost to companies especially start-ups, planning to come up with their own software products in the market.
“This is truly a great leap for the incubation activities in Kerala and also an achievement by itself,” said Babu.
Posted: 20 Aug 2012 11:20 AM PDT
Assam Violence and subsequent clashes in different part of country was not a Hindu Muslim Clash but a trust deficit among residents says Paban Singh Ghatowar, a union minister from the state.
“The ethnic violence in Kokrajhar is not a clash between Hindus and Muslims but (showed) a trust deficit among the people,” the minister told IANS in an interview.
Over 400,000 people were uprooted and over 75 killed in the terrible violence between tribal Bodos and Bengali-speaking Muslims which broke out in Kokrajhar in July and spread to other areas.
The clashes led to the most unexpected exodus of northeastern people from Bangalore, Pune and Chennai after anonymous messages vowed to avenge the killing of Muslims in Assam.
Ghatowar agreed the recent clashes were related to disputes over land rights. “Land is an issue there,” he said.
He clarified that no outsider can buy land in the areas under the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) area, but those who already have land rights can do so.
The Bodos, the largest of 34 tribal groups in Assam, have been fighting for autonomy since the 1960s.
A militant Bodo movement peaked in the 1980s and 1990s. Peace was established after the BTC was formed in 2003, covering the four districts of Kokrajhar, Baska, Udalguri and Chirang.
According to Ghatowar, out of the over 400,000 uprooted people, as many as 170,000 have gone back to their homes.
But more than 200,000 still remained in the shelter homes, apprehensive about their security.
“We hope their confidence will return,” Ghatowar told IANS.
The minister said the Assam government had taken steps to inject a sense of security in the violence-hit areas including Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri.
Besides, the army remained on standby to meet any eventuality, he said.
Terming the violence as a human tragedy, the minister urged all political parties to come together to restore normalcy.
“The prime minister has announced Rs.300 crore for the development of the region. More money will be given if needed,” said Ghatowar, a Congress member of the Lok Sabha from Dibrugarh in Assam.
Posted: 20 Aug 2012 10:30 AM PDT
Muslims and Hindus jointly celebrated EID in some parts of Orissa and presented a milestone of peace and brotherhood.
Hindu families visited the houses of their Muslim friends and greeted them on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr. Large congregations of Muslims were seen at Cuttack, Bhadrak, Balasore and Sambalpur towns with the devout packing into mosques, Eidgahs and open grounds to offer prayers.
“It was an occasion to pray to Allah for communal peace, universal brotherhood and removal of human suffering,” a Muslim cleric here told IANS.
In several places, Muslim families invited their Hindu neighbours to join the community feast.
Elaborate security arrangements were made at different places, a police official said.
Eid, celebrated on the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal, marks the end of the period of fasting during the holy month of Ramzan. Eid is an Arabic word meaning festivity, while Fitr means charity.
Posted: 20 Aug 2012 09:30 AM PDT
Sikkim, which started eco-friendly farming from a small area of land about a decade ago, is set to become a fully organic state by 2015, a senior state official has said.
“The entire state will be converted into a certified organic state by 2015. Our schemes and policies are well tuned to realise that goal,” Sikkim Agriculture Secretary Vishal Chauhan told IANS here.
According to him, structured organic farming started in the state in 2003 when the government set up the dedicated Sikkim State Organic Board to promote farm techniques that prohibit the use of manufactured synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
“Our Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling, had also introduced a resolution in the assembly seeking to convert entire farming in the state to organic. Now, our farming relies on techniques such as green manure, compost, biological pest control and crop rotation.”
Over 8,000 hectares of land was covered under organic farming between 2003 to 2009. In a bid to make the state fully organic, various state government agencies have been working in coordination.
The state government has completely stopped lifting of quota of chemical fertilizers extended by the Government of India since 2006-07 and all sales points for chemical fertilizers in public and private sector have been shut.
Sikkim government has also promoted large-scale use of bio-fertilisers and provides certified manufactured organic manure to farmers as an alternative to their chemical substitures, Chauhan said.
In order to provide alternatives to farmers, 24,536 rural compost units and 14,487 vermi-compost units were constructed in farmers’ fields till 2009.
The bio-village programme was also adopted in 2003 and around 400 villages were adopted by the state government till 2009 to benefit some 14,000 farmers and 14,000 acres of land in four districts of the state.
“We have also launched the comprehensive ‘Sikkim Organic Mission’ as a nodal agency to implement and monitor the programme in time-bound manner. A state-level apex body with the chief minister as its chair oversees the implementation,” the official said.
“Under the new initiative, the government has set a target to implement fully-organic farming technique by 2015. Organic products sell at a premium, which will benefit over 50,000 families in the state and promote organic agro-tourism.”
According to latest data, Sikkim produces some 80,000 million tonnes of farm products, including 45,890 million tonnes of ginger, 3,510 million tonnes of large cardamom, 2,790 million tonnes of turmeric, 4,100 million tonnes of buckwheat, 3,210 million tonnes of urad daal and 20,110 million tonnes of mandarin oranges.
“Significant portion of these products are already organic.”
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