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Kochi

Mukherjee says tragic to see universities caught in vortex of violence, disquiet

Declaring that there should be no room in India for the intolerant Indian, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Thursday that the country's premier institutions of higher education must resound with creativity and free thinking.

President Pranab Mukherjee delivering the 6th K.S. Rajamony Memorial Lecture on the topic ‘India@70’ at Kochi in Kerala on March 2, 2017.
President Pranab Mukherjee delivering the 6th K.S. Rajamony Memorial Lecture on the topic ‘India@70’ at Kochi in Kerala on March 2, 2017.
Declaring that there should be no room in India for the intolerant Indian, President Pranab Mukherjee today said the country's premier institutions of higher education must resound with creativity and free thinking.
 
"Those in Universities must engage in reasoned discussion and debate rather than propagate a culture of unrest. It is tragic to see them caught in the vortex of violence and disquiet," he said while delivering the 6th K.S. Rajamony Memorial Lecture on the topic ‘India@70’ in Kochi.
 
"India was a world leader in the field of education when our Universities like Nalanda and Takshshila were at the height of their glory. Nalanda and Takshshila are not mere geographical expressions but representations of the idea for free thought which flourished in these great Universities of the past.  Our premier institutions of higher education are the vehicles on which India has to propel itself into a knowledge society.  These temples of learning must resound with creativity and free thinking," he said.
 
"There should be no room in India for the intolerant Indian.  India has been since ancient times a bastion of free thought, speech and expression.  Our society has always been characterized by the open contestation of diverse schools of thought and debate as well as discussion.   Freedom of speech and expression is one of the most important fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution. There must be space for legitimate criticism and dissent," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee began by speaking about Kerala, which has been the gateway to India for traders and religious missionaries from different parts of the globe. He said the people of Kerala were known for their progressive thinking and the State's impressive achievements in the field of literacy, education, health, gender equality, tourism and culture had brought it global acclaim.
 
Turning to the topic of the lecture, India@70, he said that for 50 years before independence in 1947 the economic growth rate of India was 0% to 1%. "In the fifties, our growth rate rose to 1 – 2%, the sixties 3 – 4% and in the 90s, with economic reforms, to 6 to 7%.  In the last decade, our growth rate has averaged around 8%, making us the fastest growing large economy of the world," he said.
 
"India’s population in 1950 was 360 million. Today, we are a 1.3 billion strong nation.  Our annual per capita income has gone up from Rs. 7,500 at the time of independence to over Rs. 77,000. GDP growth rate has risen from 2.3 percent to 7.9 percent in 2015-16.  Poverty ratio has declined from over 60 percent to less than 25 percent.  Average life expectancy has gone up from 31.4 to 68.4 years. Literacy rate has gone up from 18 to 74 percent. Food grains production has gone up from 45 million to an estimated 272 million tonnes in 2016-17," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee spoke about the progress achieved by the country in the field of food and industrial production, as well as in areas such as space, information technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. He said that, in the last 70 years, India had transformed itself from a poor, under-developed nation into the third largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity.
 
He said equally important was India's success in consolidating the unity of its nation and democracy in the midst of extraordinary challenges and tremendous diversity.  
 
"We have firmly established within our country the rule of law, an independent judiciary and vibrant media as well as civil society.  We have also created strong institutions like the Election Commission and the CAG who stand as pillars of our political system.  Every known religion in the world, over hundred different languages used in everyday life, 1600 dialects and multiple cultures are united under one flag and one Constitution. Around 553 million people voted in the 2014 General Elections, an exercise matched in scale and scope by none else in the world," he said.
 
The President said the most important legacy bequeathed to the nation by its founding fathers was its Constitution.
 
"A Constitution is a charter for the governance of a nation. The notion of what is good governance must be defined by the need of the times and enriched by the experience of the decades. Yet, the Constitution enshrines certain timeless values that should never be compromised. It is against the touchstone of these values that we must constantly measure our performance," he said.
 
"The Preamble records the resolve of the people of India to secure to all citizens justice - social, economic and political as well as liberty, equality and fraternity.  It also establishes the principle of secularism. Justice - social, economic and political - is in the life of any nation a journey more than a destination. To achieve social justice requires not mere governance but a recasting of mindsets and the transformation of social ethos.  That is the job not just of the legislature, the executive or the courts, but of each one of us.
 
"The ultimate goal of any democracy is the empowerment of the individual, irrespective of his economic, religious or social standing. This may appear to be a utopian dream for many, but the strength of a system lies in its capacity to ceaselessly work for its accomplishment.  The goal of political justice requires the continuous empowerment of marginalised sections of our society. We owe ourselves to create a system in which access to politics is not limited to a privileged few but an average Indian also feels empowered enough to contribute," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said economic development was vital to good governance but stressed that this must be imbued with the principle of equality on which there could be no compromise.
 
"An egalitarian society can only be created when growth is inclusive. It is important to ensure that there is justice and equality of opportunity and the state does not create conditions in which the privileged few gain at the cost of the multitudes who suffer endemic poverty. A sustainable society can only be based on the principles of equity and justice," he said.
 
He said democracy required constant nurturing and at no cost should the exploitation of fault lines be allowed. In this context, he underlined the importance of protection and safety of women and children.
 
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Mr. Mukherjee said the country's leaders and political activists must listen to the people, engage with them, learn from them and respond to their needs and concerns. "Our law makers must never take the people for granted. They must focus on the fundamental task of law making and raising of issues of concern to the people as well as finding solutions to their problems," he said.
 
"Legislation is the first and foremost responsibility of a Parliamentarian. It is most unfortunate that time devoted towards legislation has been gradually declining in our Parliament," he said, citing figures for time lost due to interruptions and adjournments.
 
"No one who holds any elected office has been invited by the voters to occupy that office.  Each one has gone to the voters and pleaded for their votes and support.  The trust placed by the people in the political system and those elected should not be betrayed. Our Legislatures and Parliament must not turn into arenas for combat.  Floor tests are not meant to be muscle tests.  The opportunity to represent the people is not a right or entitlement but a moral obligation and duty.  Our elected representatives owe it to the people of our country to act as models of exemplary conduct," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies were central pillars on which the edifice of democracy   rested. 
 
"They are the supreme institutions comprising of members directly elected by our people.  It is through them that governments are held accountable by the people.  If they become dysfunctional, it results in not just paralysis of those institutions but creates an adverse impact across the system.  The debate and discussions which ought to take place in the open in the House of Parliament and Assemblies cannot be replicated elsewhere.  When they cease to function effectively, issues spill out onto the streets.  The very basis of our democracy gets undermined," he said.
 
The President said the time had come for collective efforts to re-discover the sense of national purpose and patriotism that alone can lift the nation on to the road of sustained progress and prosperity.
 
"The nation and the people must always come first.  Let us strive to arrest the moral decline in our society and ensure that our core civilisational values find firm root.  Let us exert ourselves to strengthen India’s pluralism and diversity.  Let us be uncompromising in rooting out violence, prejudice and hatred.  
 
"Let us strive for rapid progress but even as we do so, ensure that the benefits of economic progress percolate down to the poorest of the poor and those living in the furthest corners of our country.  Let us make the poorest in our land part of the story of a rising India.  Let us embrace education, skill development and innovation which will enable us catapult India into the future and build a knowledge economy, riding the technological wave of the 21st century.
 
"I see a very bright future for India. Our Constitutional values, young population and entrepreneurial abilities as well as capacity for hard work provide us the fundamentals required for rapid progress as well as the building of a caring and compassionate society. India has changed dramatically in the last 70 years.  I am confident that in the next ten years, we will see even greater progress as we steer our nation, focused on further strengthening our open, democratic and inclusive society," he added.
 
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Kerala: Court orders probe against CM Oommen Chandy, Minister Aryadan Mohammad

A Vigilance Court in Thrissur on Thursday ordered registering of an FIR and initiating a probe against Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his cabinet colleague Aryadan Mohammad on the bribery allegations raised against them by Saritha S Nair, main accused in the "solar scam".

 
Kerala solar scam: FIR ordered against CM; protestors lathicharged
 
A Vigilance Court here today ordered registering of a first information report (FIR) and initiating a probe against Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his cabinet colleague, Electricity and Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammad, on the bribery allegations raised against them by Saritha S Nair, main accused in the "solar scam".
 
Saritha and her associate Biju Radhakrishnan are accused of having cheated several businessmen and non-resident Indians (NRIs) of large sums of money promising them partnership in a company floated by them, Team Solar Renewable Energy Solutions Pvt Limited, which offered solar energy solutions to institutions and households. 
 
They had also boasted of close connections with Mr Chandy and other ministers and even produced letters on official letterheads to support their claims. The scam came into light when an NRI, Sajad, filed a police complaint accusing them of having defrauded him of Rs 40 lakh. Subsequently, 33 cases were registered against them on various complaints.
 
Saritha, while deposing before the Justice Sivarajan Commission in Kochi yesterday, had alleged that she had paid a bribe totalling Rs 1.90 crore to an aide of the Chief Minister and Rs 40 lakh to Mr Mohammad. Both have denied the charges.
 
However, Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge S S Vasan, taking cognisance of a private complaint, asked the Vigilance Director to file an FIR and complete the probe as early as possible. The court rejected the contention of the government counsel seeking a quick probe into the allegations before initiating proceedings against the Chief Minister. Justice should be equal for all, for the common man as well as Chief Minister, the court observed.
 
The judge said he was not looking into the merits of the complaint against the Chief Minister which is to be considered by the investigating officer. The report is to be submitted to the court on April 14. The court also rejected the submission of the state counsel regarding jurisdiction of the court since the alleged bribery took place in Thiruvananthapuram. However, the court upheld the contention of the complainant P D Joseph, a social activist, that it had also occurred in Kochi, which fell within the purview of the court.
 
Reacting to the court order, Mr Chandy told reporters in Kozhikode that he was prepared to face any inquiry and rejected the opposition demand for his resignation. “My conscience is clear and both of us have done nothing wrong,” he said, speaking on behalf of his ministerial colleague, too.
 
In a related development the Kerala High Court stayed the Thrissur Vigilance Court order of registering an FIR against Mr K Babu, who had resigned his post as Minister following the court order. 
 
Passing the order, High Court Judge P Ubaid observed that the vigilance court had acted in unnecessary haste without waiting for the order of the division bench of the High Court. The stay will be applicable for two months. In the meantime, the court directed the Vigilance Director to conduct a quick probe and submit a report within ten days.
 
Earlier, on January 25, Mr Chandy had deposed before the judicial commission. The deposition, that went on into the night, was completed only in the early hours the next day. He reportedly told the commission that he had met Saritha only three times and came to know about the financial dealings only after her arrest. He had acknowledged receipt of a contribution of Rs 2 lakh to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund in a letter drafted by his office under his letterhead. The letterhead was later found to be misused. He also denied that he had met Saritha in his office along with Sreedharan Nair, a quarry owner and one of the complainants in the scam, as stated by Intelligence ADGP A Hemachandran.
 
The Chief Minister later told reporters that he had refused to undergo a lie-detector test as he had not lied or acted against his conscience. Neither has the state exchequer incurred any loss nor the accused obtained any monetary advantage, he added. 
 
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10 dead, 50 hurt as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails near Hosur

At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed on Friday morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.

 
10 dead, 50 injured as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails
At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed this morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.
 
The mishap occurred at around 7.45 am between Anekal Road and Hosur stations on the Bangalore-Salem section of South-Western Railway, they said.
 
Prima facie, the derailment occurred after the train hit a boulder that had rolled down onto the tracks in the ghat section, the sources said.
 
The train had left Bangalore at 6.15 am for Ernakulam in Kerala. Nine coaches and the engine of the train went off the rails, and one coach in particular, D8, a second class chair car, was badly affected, they said.
 
The derailed coaches included two air-conditioned chair cars and six second class chair cars, but they did not suffer much damage.
 
A pantry car and four second class chair cars were not affected by the derailment, the sources said.
 
South-Western Railway spokesperson Chandrasekhar Gupta told NetIndian over the telephone that ten bodies had been extricated from the mangled coaches.
 
He said 18 of the injured passengers had suffered severe injuries and were undergoing treatment in the Narayan Hridalaya, Sparsh and Anekal General hospitals nearby.
 
Police and emergency personnel, including railway officials and staff, from nearby areas in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka rushed to the spot with ambulances and medical equipment. The Railways rushed medical vans and accident relief vans to the spot.
 
Efforts were being made to restore rail traffic on the section at the earliest, the sources said.
 
In Delhi, Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said he was rushing to the scene of the accident and that he had directed the Chairman of the Railway Board, the General Manager of South-Western Railway and other senior officials to reach the spot.
 
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He said all possible help would be rendered to the affected passengers and families. He also announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 200,000 for the next-of-kin of each of those killed in the accident, Rs 50,000 for the grievously injured passengers and Rs 20,000 for those with minor injuries.
  
Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, a former Minister for Railways and former Karnataka Chief Minister, was among those who reached the scene of the accident. 
 
"I am personally monitoring it and in touch with State and local administration. All Sr rail officials are directed by me to be on job," Mr Prabhu said.
 
"Condolences to all the  unfortunate members of the families who lost lives. Directed to provide best possible medical care to the injured," he said.
 
"Ordered enquiry to fix responsibility and for corrective action to prevent such unfortunate accidents. Monitoring action regularly," he added.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines to provide information and assistance to victims and their relatives: 0948090599,  08022371166, 09731666751.
 
Besides, the Railways have set up the following helpline numbers in Kerala:
 
Trivandrum: 0471-2321205, 2321237, 09746769960
Ernakulam Jn.: 0484-2100317, 0813699773
Ernakulam Town: 0484-2398200
Trichur: 04877-2424148, 2430060
Aluva: 0484-2624143
 
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Malayalam actor Kalashala Babu passes away, aged 68

Kalashala Babu
Kalashala Babu
Veteran stage, TV and Malayalam film artiste Kalashala Babu passed away here in Kerala early on Monday at a private hospital, family sources said. He was 68.
 
Apart from donning the grease paint in close to 150 films, mostly in small character roles, the multifaceted Babu was also a hugely popular stage artiste, who began his own drama group in the mid 1970s.
 
Babu was not keeping well since the beginning of the year. He breathed his last just past midnight.
 
Born to Kathakali maestro Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair and Mohiniyattam exponent Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma, Babu was a naturally gifted artiste.
 
He started his acting career soon after his graduation in the early 1970s and since then had ensured that he was a presence in the cultural milieu of the state be it through, stage, TV and films .
 
What surprised many was that despite his parents prominence in classical arts, Babu did not take it up.
 
He is survived by his wife and a son and a daughter who are both abroad.
 
IANS
 
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Father dies of heart attack as son writes medical entrance exam in Kochi

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The father of a Tamil Nadu youth who was writing the medical entrance examination in Kerala's Ernakulam district died of a heart attack on Sunday, said an employee of the hotel where the two had checked in a day earlier.
 
Hailing from Tiruvarur district in Tamil Nadu, around 340 km from here, Krishnaswamy and his son Kasturi Mahalingam checked into the Airlines Hotel on Saturday morning.
 
"Our staff got an auto-rickshaw for the boy to reach the exam centre in the morning. Later, the father called the reception complaining of ill health and was taken to a hospital," a hotel staffer told IANS over phone from Ernakulam.
 
An official of City Hospital told IANS: "Krishnaswamy came to the hospital around 8.20 a.m. and his sugar levels were high. He was conscious and oriented. Unfortunately, he collapsed soon after that. We could not revive him."
 
The official said police were informed and later the body was handed over to the relatives.
 
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said a solatium of Rs 300,000 would be paid to the family of Krishnaswamy.
 
In Kochi, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said police will make arrangements to send back the body.
 
Calling it a sad incident, he said the Kerala authorities will accompany the body till the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border.
 
MDMK leader Vaiko said around 5,600 students were made to write the medical entrance exam in states like Kerala and Rajasthan.
 
IANS
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Collegium's recommendation should not have been rejected: SC Judge

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The Central government should not have rejected the recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium on the appointment of a judge as this has never happened before, an apex court judge said on Sunday.
 
Justice Kurian Joseph, a member of the apex court collegium which recommended the elevation of Uttarakhand Chief Justice K.M. Joseph to the Supreme Court, told mediapersons that it should be ensured that such a thing does not happen in the future.
 
"Since this happened, there were lots of discussions... Such a thing should never happen again," he said.
 
The Central government returned Justice K.M. Joseph's name to the collegium for reconsideration. The collegium, which has met since, has deferred a decision on the matter.
 
IANS
 
 
 
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Vice President Naidu rides on Kochi Metro

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Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday took a ride in the Kochi Metro.
 
Passengers were surprised at the Maharajah station when Naidu boarded a train to the Edapally station. During the ride, he spoke to some passengers and Kochi Metro officials. 
 
The Vice-President arrived here on Sunday.
 
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Malayalam actor Kollam Ajith passes away

Kollam Ajith
Kollam Ajith
Malayalam film star Kollam Ajith, known for portraying negative roles, died on Thursday at a private hospital here, family sources said.
 
Ajith, 56, was admitted to the hospital ten days ago following health issues.
 
Ajith, in a career spread over three decades, had acted in around 500 films, mostly in Malayalam besides a few in Tamil and Hindi. 
 
He started his career with the 1984 hit "Paranu Paranu Paranu" by ace Malayali director Padmarajan.
 
Ajith was often referred to as Malayalam film industry's permanent villain on account of his role in the hugely successful "Irupathaam Noottaandu" (1987) starring Mohanlal. Since then he was the first choice for villain roles.
 
Ajith's body will be taken to Kollam, where the last rites would be performed later in the day.
 
IANS
 
 
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Blast on ONGC rig Sagar Bhushan occurred near AC plant, above ballast tank: preliminary assessment

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A preliminary assessment of the blast that caused the death of five workers on Sagar Bhushan, a drill ship of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) while undergoing repairs at the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) yesterday, has indicated that the accident was caused by a "momentary explosion of high impact" that occurred near the air-conditioning (AC) plant, which was situated above the ballast tank.
 
A press release from CSL said the Director, Factories and Boilers, had visited the scene of the mishap and recorded his observations today.
 
"The probable location of the explosion was identified based on the nature of the deflections on the bulkheads (steel walls) and the damage extant observed during the inspection," it said.
 
The release said the site of the accident had been cordoned off and is being investigated by the forensic department of the Police Department.
 
CSL clarified that the source of gas leakage and the reason for the explosion is yet to be confirmed and the same would be clarified only after the inquiry ordered by the company is completed.
 
"The accident is observed to have happened near the AC plant, when the area was being inspected by CSL Fire and Safety personnel prior to issuing work permit for starting of the work," it said.
 
Mr. Pon Radhakrishnan, Union Minister of State for Finance and Shipping, visited the scene of the accident today and also had an interaction with the CSL management, site team, employees, trade union leaders, the Fire and Safety team and the medical team.
 
Later, the Minister visited the injured workers at the Medical Trust Hospital here and also interacted with members of their families. 
 
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CSL had declared a financial assistance of Rs. 10 lakh to the next-of-kin of the deceased in addition to other statutory benefits as applicable. It had disbursed Rs. 25,000 as immediate incidental expenses to the family of the deceased. It also said it would provide the best medical care to the injured and meet all their hospital and treatment expenses.
 
Mr. Radhakrishnan directed CSL to extend additional assistance to the affected, incuding an amount equivalent to two months wages to be disbursed immediately; employment as appropriate based on qualification to one immediate dependent family member of each deceased worker.
 
He said appropriate education assistance should be given for children of deceased up to completion of degree level education. In addition to the statutory compensation relief, the company should disburse wages to the injured till they return for work, the Minister added.
 
Meanwhile, the hospital authorities said Sreerup, 35, who suffered 45% burns as well as inhalational injuries, is presently on ventilator in the ICU and is being treated by a team of specialsits. "His condition continues to be critical and prognosis is guarded," they said.
 
Four other affected persons are undergoing treatment in hospital, they added.
 
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Five dead, seven injured in blast on ONGC's rig Sagar Bhushan at Cochin Shipyard

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Five workers died and seven others suffered injuries in an explosion on board Sagar Bhushan, a drill ship of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), which was docked at the Cochin Shipyard here for repairs.
 
The injured were rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment, where the condition of one of them was stated to be critical.
 
Doctors at the Ernakulam Medical Trust Hospital told journalists that one of the injured had sufferd 45 percent chemical burns and was in a critical condition in the intensive care unit of the hospital. 
 
While he and two others were undergoing treatment at the hospital, four workers were discharged after receiving first aid, sources said.
 
The mishap occurred around 9.15 am while repairs were being carried out in the forward section of the ship, sources said.
 
A press release from Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) said a telephone call was received at CSL informing that there was a gas leakage near AC compartment area of the ship, which was undergoing repair in drydock No. 1.
 
"Immediate instruction was passed on to stop all the hot works. By this time, explosion had occurred in the forward area of ship, near to the AC plant. Immediately, fire tender rushed to the ship along with ambulance. Fireman onboard the ship immediately started firefighting and the fire tender joined with them for the fire fighting from the Aft area. Two firemen with BA (breathing apparatus) sets immediately rushed into the smoke filled area and started fire fighting and rescue operations. Others continued firefighting from the forward hatch and reached to the incident spot," the release said.
 
"All necessary assistance and actions are being taken and the entire senior leadership of the company is involved. Senior civil and police officials are on the ground and appropriate actions are being taken," it said.
 
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The Chairman and Managing Director of Cochin Shipyard had personally visited the deceased in the hospital and had said that the family of deceased would be adequately compensated in line with the policy of the company. An immediate ex-gratia payment of Rs 10 lakh for the next-of-kin of the deceased has been promised by the company.
 
He also said all expenses for the treatment of the injured would be borne by the company as per the existing policies.
 
The ship had arrived at Cochin Shipyard on December 7, 2017 for drydock repairs. It was drydocked on January 12 and was to be undocked on February 28. The work completion was scheduled for April 7.
 
"The drillship was undergoing mandatory Special Survey (Hull & Machinery) repairs in Cochin Shipyard as per class requirement. The cause of the incident is being ascertained," a brief statement from ONGC said.
 
The five deceased men, all from Kerala, were identified as Unnikrishnan S, Senior fireman), from Tripunithara, Ernakulam; Gevin Reji (on contract), Safety Assistant, from  Pathanamthitta; Jayan K B from Mammanumukku, Kochi; Kannan M. V. from Eroor; and Ramshad M. M. Maalippuram, Ernakuluam -- all employed on external contract as general workers.
 
The three hospitalised persons were identified as Sreeroop P T,  Abhilash T and Jaison Varghese.
 
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Five dead in blast on board ONGC's drill ship Sagar Bhushan at Cochin Shipyard

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At least five workers died and four others suffered injuries in a blast on board Sagar Bhushan, a drill ship of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), which was docked at the Cochin Shipyard here for repairs.
 
The injured were rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment, where the condition of one of them was stated to be critical.
 
Doctors at the Ernakulam Medical Trust Hospital told journalists that one of the injured had sufferd 45 percent chemical burns and was in a critical condition in the intensive care unit of the hospital.
 
Of the three others, one had problems with his eyes, while the other two had minor injuries and were under treatment.
 
The mishap occurred around 9.15 am while repairs were being carried out in the water ballast tank in the forward section of the ship, sources said.
 
Fire brigade and other emergency services personnel, police and ambulances rushed to the scene to carry out rescue operations, the sources said.
 
Kochi Police Commissioner M P Dinesh confirmed to journalists outside the shipyard that  five workers had died.
 
He said the number of workers affected by the explosion and fire was being ascertained. He said the fire had been doused and all the workers had been evacuated from the ship.
 
He said the cause of the blast could be established only after a proper enquiry.
 
Later, a brief press release from ONGC said the ship had been dry docking at Cochin Shipyard since December 7, 2017.
 
"The drillship was undergoing mandatory Special Survey (Hull & Machinery) repairs in Cochin Shipyard as per class requirement. The cause of the incident is being ascertained," it added.
 
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Integrated Automatic Aviation Meteorological Systems inaugurated at INS Garuda in Kochi

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Rear Admiral R. J. Nadkarni, Chief of Staff, Headquarters, Southern Naval Command inaugurated the Integrated Automatic Aviation Meteorological System (IAAMS) at INS Garuda here today.
 
INS Garuda is the fourth air station to have been installed with this integrated system. IAAMS is an ambitious project of the Indian Navy to modernise the meteorological infrastructure of the nine Naval Air Stations. The IAAMS project at INS Garuda will give a major fillip to aviation safety through automation of weather monitoring process, an official press release said.
 
Equipped with state-of-the-art Meteorological Sensors, Radar Vertical Wind Profiler, Transmissometer, Ceilometer and Automatic Weather Observation System, IAAMS undertakes automatic and continuous recording of relevant weather parameters that are vital for accurate weather forecasting.  
 
It has a special alarm feature that alerts the duty staff about any abnormal change of weather parameters that may affect safe flying operations.  The system can also provide automatic dissemination of routine weather reports of the air station as per World Meteorological Organization (WMO) standards to other Air Stations and to ATC tower without human intervention, the release added.
 
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Malayalam actor and director Sreenivasan hospitalised in Kochi

Sreenivasan
Sreenivasan
Well-known Malayalam actor and director Sreenivasan was hospitalized here late on Tuesday night.
 
The 61-year-old actor was admitted to the Aster Medcity here, where doctors treating him said he was in a stable condition. Hospital sources told NetIndian over the telephone that he would be shifted to a private room from the intensive care unit (ICU) in a couple of days.
 
Sreenivasan's son and actor Vineeth Srinivasan said on his Facebook page that his father had been taken to hospital due to variations in his blood sugar level.
 
"The doctor has recommended staying in the hospital tonight and discharging him tomorrow. I request everyone not to spread baseless news. Thanks everyone,” Vineeth said in his post.
 
Sreenivasan is also an acclaimed scriptwriter in Malayalam cinema and has also produced movies.
 
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Sahapedia to document cross-cultural exchanges inherited from India’s ancient sea trade

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The flourishing ancient maritime trade in peninsular India and resulting cross-cultural exchanges that had a phenomenal impact on the tangible and intangible heritage of the region will be extensively researched and documented under a pioneering new project by Sahapedia, India’s first online interactive encyclopaedic resource on the country’s art and culture.
 
The documentation, which will be held at places ranging from Fort Kochi, Mattancherry Muziris/Kodungalloor, Kollam and Kozhikode in Kerala to Tamil Nadu and other parts, aims to unearth all knowledge, layer by layer, a press release from Sahapedia said.
 
It will be a resource created by a team of researchers in collaboration with experts and institutions, and a platform for registered users from all over the world to contribute content on areas pertaining to their interests, the release said.
 
"We work with scholars and collaborate with institutions, both in India and abroad, for material in the form of articles, images, video interviews and documentaries. Sahapedia has also culturally mapped Fort Kochi and Mattancherry, and is now in the process of doing the same with Muziris, an ancient seaport and flourishing urban centre on the Malabar Coast that was the fulcrum of India’s sea trade with the West in ancient times,” said Sahapedia Executive Director Sudha Gopalakrishnan.
 
The mapping project in Kochi will delve deeper involving communities of ancient beginnings. Both tangible and intangible heritage are recorded, and interviews with eminent scholars like Dr Scaria Zacharia, Kesavan Veluthat and Ramachandra Pulavar as well as community members, she pointed out.
 
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As a part of the objective to encourage engagement with Indian heritage and culture and to foster knowledge, Sahapedia started organising Abhimukham evenings, comprising a series of talks by scholars as well as artists on their respective areas of research and interest at Kochi once a month. The idea is to create a space for an informal, yet informed, discussion between the speaker and the audience.
 
‘Heritage Walks’ are being held every month at various heritage sites such as Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, Tripunithura and Muziris. Heritage Walks for less privileged schools are conducted in collaboration with the NGO, The Art Outreach Society (TAOS). 
 
Sahapedia, which provides a treasure trove on the arts, heritage and culture of India, has started off with multiple modules on the history and culture of Syrian Christians in Kerala, including the documentation of musical practices like Rambanpattu. It is part of a larger project on the cross-cultural relations of different communities in Kerala.
 
Kudukkaveena, a temple musical instrument which disappeared in the first half of the 20th century, is being recovered and brought into practice again by Sahapedia.
 
The portal’s work on the architecture and social significance of the ‘Mahals’ of Malabar is the first–of- its-kind. 
 
Sahapedia, a strong initiative towards digitisation and research on the traditional art forms of India, has also documented Pakkanarpattu and Mudiyattampattu, the music traditions of Dalit communities in the southern districts of Kerala.
 
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IndiGo announces new flights on Ahmedabad-Kochi sector

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Low-cost carrier IndiGo today said it would launch new flights on the Ahmedabad-Kochi sector with effect from March 12.
 
A press release from the airline said it would also introduce additional flights on the Kochi-Hyderabad and Hyderabad-Ahmedabad sectors from that date, underscoring the tourism potential of Tier-II markets.
 
"Commencing on March 12, 2018, these new services will further consolidate IndiGo’s position as the fastest growing airline in India, with over 1000 daily flights connecting 48 destinations," it said.
 
IndiGo had recently announced its ATR operations and inaugural flights from Tirupati and Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh.
 
In March 2018, the carrier will also commence Vijayawada operations to Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, the airline said.
 
Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We are delighted to introduce new connections between Kochi, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. IndiGo has established itself as the fastest growing carrier with its extensive domestic network and we are hopeful that the introduction of the new service will further cement our place in the Indian skies.”
 
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Reluctance to use technology a challenge to disaster management: UNEP expert

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The impact of recent cyclone Ockhi that claimed several lives and caused widespread damage to properties in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep Islands could have been minimised by using non-profitable technologies as instruments for disaster management, an expert of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said here today.
 
“There is a reluctance to use technologies which is a great challenge to mitigation of disaster management,” said Mr. Muralee Thummarukudy, chief of Disaster Risk Reduction in UNEP.  
 
Speaking at the Startup Charcha organised by Maker Village at Kerala Technology Information Zone, Kinfra Hi-Tech Park, he pointed out that technologies which give more profit become popular in the market soon. He also recalled that during the late 1990s when mobile phones became more popular, it was the fishermen from Kerala who made use of the technology in a productive manner.
 
"The fishermen were able to know the price of the fish at each market and they would sell it at the place which gave them the maximum price. A study was also conducted at the international level to find out how the technology was used by the fishermen in Kerala to increase their profit,” he said.
 
When some young entrepreneurs pointed out that there are  technologies of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) available for Rs. 2,000 for fishing boats, he stated that the people are not seriously considering to leverage technologies to mitigate disaster. “We are still not able to find out how many fishermen were at sea when Ockhi struck," he said.
 
"Electronics is changing drastically with humans being replaced by computers and robots. Studies have pointed out that there will be 47 per cent employment loss by 2040, but this also brings hope for the startup companies to come up with new technologies,” Mr. Thummarukudy said.
 
The future for startups is in health care, entertainment and mobility as the population of those retired from service will increase in India, he said, adding: “Startups should come up with good ideas which can change the society and keeping a track of future requirements.”
 
During the visit, Mr. Thummarukudy also had a detailed interactive session with selected start-ups of Maker Village.
 
Film producer and actor Prakash Bare and Maker Village CEO Prasad Balakrishnan Nair also spoke on the occasion.
 
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NCB seizes nearly 5 kg cocaine worth Rs. 10 crore at Cochin Airport

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The Narcotics Control Bureau’s (NCB) Kochi Unit seized 4.8 kg cocaine at Cochin International Airport here yesterday.
 
Based on specific inputs, NCB apprehended Ms Jhonna, a Filipina, aged 36 years  when she was travelling from Addis Ababa to Kochi via Muscat. The cocaine was found hidden in a wrapped trolley bag carried by her. 
 
This was the biggest cocaine seizure by the NCB so far in Kerala, an official press release said.
 
Earlier, Kochi Unit of NCB had arrested a Venezuelan national with 1.013 kg cocaine last month and a Paraguayan national was arrested with 3.5 kg Cocaine in November, 2017. Both drug traffickers were intercepted by NCB officers when they landed at Cochin International Airport.
 
The estimated value of the cocaine seized yesterday is nearly Rs 10 crore in the current international market, the release said.
 
During the last six months, NCB has seized 42.815 kg of cocaine in 16 cases and arrested 22 persons, including 21 foreign nationals, the release added.
 
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India’s spices exports rise 24% during April-Sept 2017

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Buoyed by surging demand in international markets, India exported 5,57,525 tonnes of spices and spice products valued at Rs. 8,850.53 crore  during April-September 2017 as against 4,50,700 tonnes worth Rs. 8700.15 crores during the corresponding period a year earlier, registering an increase of 24% in volume and 2% in rupee terms.
 
In dollar terms, India’s exports of spices and spice products during the first half of the current fiscal were pegged at $1.374 billion as against $ 1.300 billion during the same period in 2016, notching an increase of 6%, a press release from Spices Board said here today.
 
 Spices Board Chairman A. Jayathilak said chilli, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, garlic and mint products have been amongst the most demanded Indian spices, meeting the increasing demand for quality spices in global markets. “Moreover, the Board’s efforts to promote these spices have resulted in an appreciable increase in their exports,” he added.
 
“What is satisfying is that India’s exports of spices and spice products have been consistently moving up in the face of volatility in international markets and stringent food safety regulations imposed by countries across the globe,” he said.
 
The release said chilli retained its position as the most demanded spice with exports of 235,000 tonnes amounting to Rs 2,125.90 crore in value, as against 165,022 tonnes in the previous fiscal, registering an increase of 42% in volume.
 
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Chilli was followed by cumin with a total volume of 79,460 tonnes worth Rs. 1,324.58 crore as against 68,596 tonnes valued at Rs. 1,104.32 crore during the corresponding period last year, registering an increase of 16% in volume and 20% in value.
 
Next in line was turmeric with an export volume of 59,000 tonnes having a value of Rs. 547.63 crore. 
 
However, the export of mint products, though 11,280 tonnes in volume, was worth Rs. 1317.40 crore in value as against 10,850 tonnes and Rs. 1157.45 crore, respectively during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, registering an increase of 4% in volume and 14% in value.
 
The export of small cardamom, cumin, garlic, asafetida, tamarind and seeds like ajwain, mustard, dill and poppy registered an increase both in volume and value as compared to April-September 2016. The export of value-added products like curry powder, mint products and spice oils and oleoresins also increased in volume and value during the period.
 
The export of large cardamom, chilli, ginger, fennel and coriander also showed an increase in terms of volume.
 
During April-September 2017, a total volume of 2,230 tonnes of small cardamom, valued at Rs. 248.71crore, was exported as against 1,624 tonnes worth Rs. 138.96 crore during this period last year, registering an increase of 37% in volume and 79% in value.
 
During April–Sept 2017, a total volume of 27,040 tonnes of garlic was exported, fetching Rs.188.54 crore as against 15,337 tonnes valued at Rs.127.62 crores last year, registering an increase of 76% in volume and 48% in value.
 
In the case of value-added products, the export of curry powder/paste was 17,030 tonnes worth Rs. 348.88 crore as against 14,016 tonnes (Rs. 278.40 crores) last year, registering an increase of 22% in volume and 25% in value.
 
During the period, a total volume of 8,800 tonnes of spice oils and oleoresins valued at Rs. 1332.22 crore was shipped as against 6,617 tonnes worth Rs. 1237.06 crore last year -- an increase of 33% in volume and 8% in value.
 
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Veraz wins blockchain hackathon at Maker Village

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A blockchain-based solution allowing direct engagement between employers and their employees has won the top prize at a first-of-its-kind hackathon in India to address the challenges faced by migrant labourers.
 
Team 'Veraz', a technology company, represented by Nikhil V Chandran and Anoop V S, won the first prize at the maiden "BlockathonForChange', hosted by Maker Village. The team received a cash prize of Rs 1,00,000, and has been given an opportunity to incubate their venture at the Kerala Startup Mission.
 
Infillcube bagged second prize and received a cash award of Rs 50,000. Iridescent won Rs 25,000 as the third prize. A six-member expert panel made the final evaluations and selected the winners.
 
P Vijayan, IG, Ernakulam range inaugurated the valedictory function and distributed prizes to the winners. Alexis Wolff, Information Officer at the U.S. Consulate General, Chennai, D Dhanuraj, Chairman, CPPR and Prasad Balakrishnan Nair, CEO, Maker Village spoke.
 
The hackathon was organised in partnership with the US Consulate General, Chennai; Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) and Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM).
 
The two-day hackathon saw inventors, software developers, programmers, designers, engineers, entrepreneurs and start-ups from various parts of the country present their solutions to the issues of migrant labourers.
 
The hackathon was organised as the migrant labourers are often a disadvantaged and vulnerable group because of social, economic and cultural issues associated with migration. The hackathon was aimed at finding solutions to the challenges of migration of labourers which warrants immediate attention both at the ground level and the policy level.
 
Twenty teams were selected from the applications received. All solutions developed during the hackathon remain the intellectual property of the developers, who are free to build on these.
 
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Blockchain technology to be tapped to address issues of migrant labourers

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In a first-of-its-kind hackathon in India, developers will use Blockchain technology to try and find solutions to the many challenges faced by migrant labourers across the country.
 
Maker Village Kochi will host the "BlockthonForChange", organised in partnership with the US Consulate General, Chennai, Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) and Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), on December 21 and 22.
 
Around 40 inventors, software developers, programmers, designers, engineers, entrepreneurs and start-ups from various parts of the country are participating in the hackathon, a press release from Maker Village said.
 
Migrant labourers are often a disadvantaged and vulnerable group because of social, economic and cultural issues associated with migration. In India, massive interstate migration of labourers warrants immediate attention both at the ground level and the policy level, said Prasad Balakrishnan Nair, CEO, Maker Village.
 
"We have selected 20 teams from the applications received. These teams will be making a presentation on their projects at the 'BlockathonForChange'. We are giving them awareness programmes to help them develop comprehensive solutions to mitigate the problems related to migrant labour,” he said.
 
The participants will compete for cash prizes worth Rs 1,75,000. All solutions developed during the hackathon will remain the intellectual property of the developers, who will be free to build on these after the hackathon.
 
Ernakulam district collector K. Mohammed Y. Safirulla will inaugurate the function   on December 21. IBM representative Dr Dileep Krishnaswami will deliver the keynote address. Alexis Wolff, Information Officer, US Consulate Chennai, Dr Martin Patrik, Chief Economist, CPPR and Rajesh Nair, Executive Director, Markets, Ernst & Young are among the others slated to address the participants.
 
P Vijayan, Inspector General of Police, Ernakulam Range, will be the chief guest at the valedictory function on December 22. 
 
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MPEDA hosts the Governing Council Meeting of INFOFISH

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The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) hosted the 32nd Governing Council Meeting of INFOFISH, an Inter Governmental Organization under the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, here from December 11-14.
 
The meeting, held at MPEDA headquarters, was attended by 19 delegates from various countries, including India. It was chaired by Dr. A. Jayathilak IAS, Chairman, MPEDA who is also the Chairman of INFOFISH. 
 
India was represented in the meeting by Mr. P. V. Harikrishna, Director, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, New Delhi and Mr. B. Sreekumar, Secretary, MPEDA.  Delegates from countries such as Cambodia, Fiji, Malaysia, Maldives, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Thailand attended the meeting.  There was an observer from FAO also.  
 
The meeting had presentations on review of major markets, technological developments, and so on by INFOFISH officers and FAO. 
 
 The meeting had deliberations on the market aspects, interventions required for the trade and the role of INFOFISH in assisting member countries and collaborating with the similar organizations under the FAO umbrella in augmenting trade from the region to different countries, besides following the administrative agenda points including the work programme for 2018. 
 
 As a part of the meeting, a day’s field visit was arranged for the delegates to the aqua farms and seafood processing units in and around Kochi and neighboring districts such as Thrissur and Alappuzha to help them understand the seafood production and processing systems here.
 
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Indian Navy continues search and rescue efforts for Ockhi

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The Indian Navy's Southern Naval Command continued its search and rescue (SAR) efforts for the tenth day over southeast Arabian Sea and near Lakshadweep and Minicoy (L&M) Islands to look for victims of cyclone Ockhi which hit the region.
 
An official press release said ten ships and several aircraft were involved in the operations.
 
In the past 72 hours, the search area was increased up to the coast of Maldives. However, no stranded boats, fishermen or floating bodies have been found in this duration, it said.
 
The release said INS Kalpeni returned to Kochi after completing 96 hours of assisted search by six local fishermen it embarked on December 6. The ship carried out an exhaustive search in areas extending up to 150 miles northwest of L&M Islands to the coast of Calicut and therafter Kochi. The search effort did not find any distressed fishing vessels or floating bodies. 
 
"It was observed that normal fishing activity has resumed in substantial strength especially between Kochi to Calicut," the release said.
 
INS Kabra, INS Sagardhwani and maritime reconnaissance aircraft P8I were deployed off the coast of Allepey and south of Thiruvananthapuram, based on inputs received from Kerala State administration of floating bodies in the area. 
 
INS Sujata equipped with Portable Mobile Morgue boxes, sailed out from Kochi today for enabling it to bring bodies if found during the search operations. Thiruvananthapuram sub-collector Divya S. Iyer along with four local fishermen would be embarking the ship at sunrise tomorrow off Vizhinjam port for joining the deep sea search operations, while Indian Coast Guard Ship Abhinav which arrived off Vizhinjam in the evening today embarked 10 fishermen from Pozhiyoor for co-ordinated search. The search is expected to continue up to 72 hours.  
 
A total of 3,25,000 square miles have been searched  and sanitised by Indian Naval assets for providing SAR since the calamity ‘Ockhi’ struck the L & M islands and southeast Arabian Sea.
 
INS Jamuna continued replenishment of fresh water in excess of 14,000 litres today at Kavaratti. The humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) materials and medicines carried by INS Sharda were distributed in the Minicoy Islands. 
 
"Life is slowly becoming normal at the L& M Islands with the schools reopening.  No further help other than the provisioning of daily fresh water at Kavaratti Island is being sought by the civil administration from the Navy," the release added.
 
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Technical Cooperation Non-Cash Grant for Coimbatore, Bhubaneswar and Kochi for urban transport

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Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, Bhubaneswar in  Odisha and Kochi in Kerala will receive Technical Cooperation Non-Cash Grant for Urban Transport Activities.
 
An Implementation Agreement on Sustainable Urban Transport project between Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and the German development agency GIZ was signed here yesterday in the presence of Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri and German Ambassador Dr Martin Ney.
 
The agreement was signed by Mr. Mukund Kumar Sinha, OSD & ex officio Joint Secretary, Housing & Urban Affairs and GIZ Country Director Wolfgang Hanning.
 
Under the agreement, an amount of euro four million (approximately Rs. 29 crore) will be given to the three cities for urban transport activities through GIZ over a period of three years. The main objective is to improve planning and implementation of sustainable urban transport, an official press release said.
 
The Annual Negotiations and Consultations between India and Germany in 2015, had listed Technical Cooperation by Germany for Urban Mobility in India as one of measures to be taken. It was later formalised with a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
 
The project will give the desired impetus in three major interventions proposed under Smart City Mission of the Ministry -- ITS based transport solutions, Non-motorised vehicles and Last mile connectivity, the release added.
 
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Malayalam actress Lissy resumes acting career after 25 years

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Lissy
Lissy, a popular Malayalam actress of yesteryears, has announced her return to an acting career after a gap of 25 years, saying that she regretted quitting movies at the age of 22.
 
"Many of my friends and well wishers have been asking me for quite some time whether I will come back to movies. Well!!! I can now confirm that after over 25 years of absence I am acting in a Telugu movie. 
 
"The movie, yet to be titled, is produced by Telugu star Pavan Kalyan, ace director Thrivikram Srinivas and Sudhakar Reddy, directed by Krishna Chaitanya and has Nithiin and Megha in the lead," Lissy said on her Facebook page. She said she was playing a significant character in the movie.
 
She said that, after so many years of absence, she had faced the camera for the first time in New York.
 
"It was a nervous yet thrilling moment. I must say I had missed it!!! We just finished the first schedule in America and second in Conoor. The movie is scheduled to be released early next year. 
 
"Before I quit acting I had a short but very successful tenure in Telugu. I did 8 movies in Telugu and out of that 6 went on to be super hits which included Magaadu and 20va Satabdham, the remakes of Malayalam movies Moonnam Mura and Irupatham Noottandu, respectively. To be honest I was sad to leave Telugu industry at that time but I had no choice. So when it came to acting I always felt kind of an 'unfinished business' with Telugu cinema," she said.
 
Lissy said she had, in the last three years, heard several subjects in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu and finally chose this as her comeback movie.
 
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"I had a wonderful experience during both the schedules. The entire crew was very supportive and shooting was lots of fun! The entire crew welcomed me back with both arms and made me feel like I was never away. Most of the offers I had was from Malayalam and I certainly hope to do a Malayalam movie soon. Likewise, having lived more than half of my life in Chennai I consider myself as half Tamilian and it will be an honour to do a Tamil movie at some point. In fact Gautham Menon has mentioned a subject, which we will discuss once he finishes his current projects.
 
"Managing my studios and preview theaters remains my priority but I may do one or two movies per year if the roles are interesting. Quitting acting at the age of 22 when I had my bag full of movies was a decision I always regretted. Obviously I cannot get back my lost years or the roles I may have had but I certainly hope to do my best in this second innings. Thanks for all your support," she added.
 
Lissy had quit acting after her marriage to well-known film director Priyadarshan in December 1990 and adopted the name Lakshmi. The couple divorced in September 2016.
 
She had made her debut in films in the  early 1980s and very soon became on of the top young actresses of that time. Some of her popular films include Chithram, Thalavattom, Odaruthammava Alariyam, Muthaaramkunnu P.O and Boeing Boeing. 
 
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328 cadets pass out from Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala

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As many as 328 cadets of Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard and two International cadets one each from Tanzania and Maldives yesterday passed out of the hallowed portals of the Indian Naval Academy (INA) at Ezhimala in Kannur district of Kerala on successful completion of their training. 
 
The passing out parade was reviewed by Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) and Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS).    
 
The passing out midshipmen and cadets belonged to four different courses of Autumn Term 2017, comprising 93 Indian Naval Academy Course (BTech), 93 Indian Naval Academy Course (MSc), 24 Naval Orientation Course (Extended) and 25 Naval Orientation Course (Regular).  Also graduating and marching shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts were 20 female cadets from the Indian Navy.
 
The Admiral, after the ceremonial review, awarded medals to nine meritorious midshipmen and cadets. The reviewing officer in his address congratulated the passing out courses and advised all of them to imbibe and follow the core values of Navy “Duty, Honour and Courage”.
 
Vice Admiral SV Bhokare, Commandant, senior officers of the station and others witnessed the momentous occasion.  The passing out parade was also witnessed by the proud parents and guardians of all successful midshipmen and cadets, as well as by a large number of local and outstation dignitaries, trainee recruits and staff from Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Peringome, cadets of Sainik School Satara, Maharashtra, Sainik School Bhubaneshwar, Odisha National Cadets Corps (NCC) cadets, and students and teachers of local schools and colleges.
 
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The ‘President’s Gold Medal’ for the Indian Naval Academy BTech course was awarded to Midshipman Rishav Saha. The ‘Chief of the Naval Staff Gold Medal’ for the Naval Orientation (Extended) Course was awarded to Cadet Anil Choudhary. The ‘Chief of the Naval Staff Gold Medal’ for the Naval Orientation (Regular) Course was awarded to Cadet Gaurav Tyagi. The ‘Flag Officer Commanding in Chief (South) Medal’ for the best women cadet was awarded to Cadet Anjani Pandey.
 
The ceremony culminated with the successful midshipmen and cadets forming up in two columns and marching with their gleaming swords and rifles held in salute, past the Academy’s Saluting Dias known as the Quarterdeck, in Slow March, to the traditional notes of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, the poignant farewell tune played by all Armed Forces around the world when bidding adieu to colleagues and comrades. Passing out courses were bid farewell by cadets of the junior term who manned the mast as the successful cadets streamed past the sacred quarterdeck.
 
On completion of the parade, the ‘Shipping of Stripes’ ceremony was conducted.  The proud parents and guardians of the Passing Out courses shipped the Naval and Coast Guard epaulettes, popularly known as ‘Stripes’ on the shoulders of their wards, thus symbolising their transformation from ‘cadets’ into full-fledged Navy and Coast Guard Officers. 
 
The Reviewing Officer and other dignitaries shipped the stripes of the medal winners and congratulated all the trainees for their successful completion of the rigorous training.  On completion of the training at the Indian Naval Academy, these officers will proceed to various Naval and Coast Guard ships/establishments, to further consolidate their training in specialized fields.
 
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