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Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala CM Oommen Chandy discharged from hospital, advised rest

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Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who suffered minor injuries on his forehead and chest in stone-pelting by suspected activists of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kannur on Sunday evening, was discharged from a hospital here and advised rest for two days.
 
Sources close to Mr Chandym 70, said doctors treating him had reviewed his health and discharged him this evening. They advised him to rest at home for the next two days.
 
Accordingly, the Chief Minister is expected to resume his official engagements on Thursday. There may be some restrictions on visitors to his Cliff House residence here, they said.
 
Mr Chandy had been flown in a special aircraft to the state capital late on Sunday night and admitted to the Medical College Hospital here for a detailed examination.
 
Doctors treating Mr Chandy, 70, said his condition was satisfactory. A scan and other diagnostic tests had indicated nothing abnormal and he was given antibiotics and painkillers.
 
"I have been asked to take rest for two days. Except the Cabinet meeting, I have not planned any other activity for myself. I have decided to stick to the doctor's advice to take rest," Mr Chandy told journalists.
 
He said it was not fair to blame the police for the attack on him because he himself had told police officials to take any action against CPI (M) activists who had blocked three gates to the venue of his meeting at Kannur.
 
The police in Kannur have arrested 22 people in connection with the incident and filed a case against some Left leaders such as P Jayarajan, M V Jayarajan and P K Srimathi as well as about a thousand unidentified people.
 
The stone-pelting incident occurred during a protest by Left Front wokers against the alleged solar panel scam in the state.
 
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Mr Chandy had gone to Kannur to attend the concluding ceremony of the 43rd Kerala Police Annual Athletic Meet as well as for a public meeting organised by the Congress, the main constituent of the ruling United Democratic Front. He went ahead with both engagements, unruffled by the attack.
 
CPI (M) leader Pinarayi Vijayan has said Left front workers had no role in the attack and called for a probe into the incident.
 
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Kerala CM Oommen Chandy hospitalised after stone-pelting attack in Kannur


 
Oommen Chandy hospitalised after stone pelting
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who suffered minor injuries on his forehead and chest in stone-throwing by suspected activists of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kannur yesterday evening, has been admitted to the Medical College Hospital here for a detailed examination.
 
Doctors treating Mr Chandy, 70, said his condition was satisfactory. A scan and other diagnostic tests had indicated nothing abnormal and he was being given antibiotics and painkillers, they said.
 
Other sources indicated that the Chief Minister could be discharged from the hospital by this evening.
 
Meanwhile, the police in Kannur have arrested 22 people in connection with the incident and filed a case against some Left leaders such as P Jayarajan, M V Jayarajan and P K Srimathi as well as about a thousand unidentified people.
 
Mr Chandy was brought here by a special aircraft from Kannur around midnight last night after he decided to go ahead with his engagements there even after the attack.
 
The stone-pelting incident occurred during a protest by Left Front wokers against the alleged solar panel scam in the state.
 
Mr Chandy had gone to Kannur to attend the concluding ceremony of the 43rd Kerala Police Annual Athletic Meet as well as for a public meeting organised by the Congress, the main constituent of the ruling United Democratic Front.
 
According to reports reaching here, the protesters blocked Mr Chandy's convoy and hurled stones at his vehicle.
 
The incident occurred around 5.40 pm yesterday near the Police Club and the Town Police Station in the town.
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The reports said the crowd surrounded the car and shouted slogans and pelted stones. The stones broke the window panes and Mr Chandy was hurt in the forehead by a glass splinter, sources said.
 
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and other parties had called for black flag protests in the town yesterda and the police had, accordingly, stepped up security.
 
CPI (M) leader Pinarayi Vijayan said Left front workers had no role in the attack and called for a probe into the incident.
 
Mr Chandy was unruffled by the incident and attended the athletic meet as scheduled as well as the Congress function. He was later examined by a team of doctors in a Kannur hospital who said the injury was not serious.
 
Mr Chandy later told newspersons that the Left Front were mistaken if they thought the Congress could be silenced or defeated by such attacks.
 
State Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala called for a statewide protest against the attack, which he said was pre-planned.
 
On his arrival at the airport here, Mr Chandy said the attack on him was a challenge to democracy. He said that there was a place for differences of opinion, protests and strikes in a democracy, but what happened in Kannur went beyond all these.
 
All engagements of the Chief Minister for the day were cancelled today in view of his hospitalisation.
 
There was a steady stream of visitors to the hospital to enquire about Mr Chandy's health, including Kerala Legislative Assembly Speaker G Karthikeyan and several state Ministers.
 
Congess and UDF workers took to the streets in several towns across Kerala last night to protest against the attack on Mr Chandy.
 
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M S Valiathan chosen for Kerala Sasthra Puraskaram

M S Valiathan
M S Valiathan
Well-known cardiac surgeon M S Valiathan has been chosen for this year's prestigous Kerala Sashtra Puraskaram, given by the State Government to honour outstanding Keralite scientists.
 
The seven-member jury headed by Dr R Chidambaram, former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and currently chairman of Scientific Advisory Committee to the Prime Minister, unanimously selected Dr Valiathan for the award in recognition of his outstanding lifetime contributions in the field of medical science.
 
The award carries a cash prize of Rs 100,000 and a sculpture designed by ace sculptor Kanai Kunhiraman, besides a citation.
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The prize will be presented to him by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in January 2014, Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) executive vice-president Prof V N Rajasekharan Pillai said here today.
 
Dr Valiathan, a highly respected medical scientist, is credited for his contributions to medical technology, especially the implantation of heart valves in patients. An internationally-acclaimed academician in the field of health sciences, he has been promoting research in basic science, based on cues from Ayurveda concepts and procedures.
 
Born at Mavelikkara in 1934, he got extensive training in the field of heart surgery at John Hopkins and George Town University Hospitals in the United States, before moving to Kerala to head Sree Chitra Institute of Medical Sciences which he raised to the level of a premier institution of national importance. After 20 years with Sree Chitra since 1974, he became the vice-chancellor of Manipal University.
 
A winner of several national and international awards, Dr Valiathan was honoured by the Government of India with Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian honour, in 2005.
 
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Dr E C G Sudharsan and Dr M Vijayan are the earlier recipients of the award, jointly instituted by the Kerala Department for Science and Technology and the KSCSTE.
 
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Kerala to form SPV for suburban rail service from Thiruvananthapuram to Chengannur, Harippad

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The Kerala Government has decided to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the proposed suburban rail service connecting Thiruvananthapuram with Chengannur and Harippad.
 
This was decided at a meeting of senior railway officials chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy here yesterday, an official press release said.
 
The government plans to start the service close on the heels of the completion of the doubling of railway lines on these two routes, it said.
 
Mr Chandy said Kerala should also get the benefit of the Railways' Suburban Corridor project and adequate measures should be taken for the purpose.
 
The suburban rail service will be implemented jointly by the Centre and the State. 
 
The SPV formed will undertake works pertaining to setting up of automatic signaling system and modernization of stations. 
 
The project would incur an expenditure of Rs 3500 crores, which will be funded by the Word Bank. The per kilometer work rate has been estimated at an average of Rs 20 crores.
 
Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation would be asked to prepare the Detailed Project Report, which is expected by the end of December this year, the release added.
 
Briefing reporters after a meeting of the State Cabinet today, Mr Chandy said Rs 10.99 crore had been sanctioned for the Detailed Project Report.
 
He said a five-member Joint Steering Committee has been formed with Chief Secretary Bharat Bhushan as chairman and S Anantharaman, Chief Safety Officer, Southern Railway, Rajesh Agarwal, Divisional Railway Manager, Southern Railway and Ravi Agarwal, Executive Director, Planning at Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation as members. Mr Biju Prabhakaran will be nodal officer and convener of the committee.   
 
Mr Chandy said the Kerala Government and the Central Government would have 50:50 stakes in the SPV.
 
As part of the project, an automatic signaling system will come into place and about 25 stations will undergo modernization. No land acquisition is involved.
 
As part of the operations, 10 MEMU trains, each having seven coaches, will be used.
 
In the suburban rail service, trains can approach and leave stations at 60 km/hr and thus save time on stoppage, he said.
 
The government has also suggested to the Southern Railway to commence high-speed train service in the Malabar region, where the doubling works of railway line would be over in a month’s time.  
 
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Ansari releases K N Pannikar's book "History as a Site of Struggle"

 
Vice-President M Hamid Ansari released well-known historian K N Pannikar's book "History as a Site of Struggle" at a function in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala today.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Ansari said historians were relevant because they have, down the ages, sought to analyse and understand the dynamics of social interaction in different societies.
 
"In this noble fraternity, Professor Panikkar stands tall. He, like any others before him, has sought to explain to the reader, as Ibn Khaldun put it, ‘how and why things are as they are’ and ‘to wash his hands of any blind trust in tradition’," he said.
 
Mr Ansari said Prof Pannikar's preferred area of work is intellectual history which he locates at the intersection of social and cultural history and his focus has been on importance of culture in the transformation of consciousness. 
 
"In our world of today, Professor Panikkar’s emphasis on ‘intellectual decolonisation’ is often found to be inconvenient. Yet, it cannot be ignored," he said
 
"His 2004 Kappen Memorial Lecture of 2004 on ‘Cultural Past and National Identity’ (included in this volume) and his assertion that the dynamism of Indian culture lies in the integrative-disintegrative tendencies of Indian polity and the resulting cultural diversity and plurality that has moulded the cultural practices of the people and is embedded in national identity. Since the logic of this continues to be contested in our society, the debate necessarily shifts to the understanding of our own history. Thus history and writing of history does become the site of this critical struggle, on the intellectual as well as the practical plane. The contestation takes place in the realm of historiography, culture, education and contemporary politics," he said.
 
The book is a collection of papers and articles that Prof Pannikar has written over the years.
 
"Together, they sustain and reinforce his position as an outstanding public intellectual of our times. This tome of over 650 pages does not have to be read at one go; instead, it has to be taken piece by piece, essay by essay, each morsel relished and carefully digested," he added.
 
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Ansari regrets time lost in disruptions in Parliament

Vice President  M Hamid Ansari addressing the special sitting of the Kerala Legislative Assembly on the occasion of its 125th anniversary celebrations in Thiruvananthapuram on September 11, 2013. Kerala Governor Nikhil Kumar and Kerala Legislative Assembly Speaker G. Karthikeyan are also seen.
Vice President M Hamid Ansari addressing the special sitting of the Kerala Legislative Assembly on the occasion of its 125th anniversary celebrations in Thiruvananthapuram on September 11, 2013. Kerala Governor Nikhil Kumar and Kerala Legislative Assembly Speaker G. Karthikeyan are also seen.
 
Vice-President M Hamid Ansari today regretted that, notwithstanding solemn commitments by political parties, time continued to be lost in Parliament in disruptions and at the expense of listed business, both of accountability and of legislation.
 
"These disruptions take place with the knowledge, and at the instance, of political parties and their leaderships and are undertaken to attract public attention, force the executive to undertake the course of action proposed by them and demonstrate their ability to logjam the functioning of the legislature," he said in his address at a special sitting of the Kerala Legislative Assembly to commemorate its 125th anniversary.
 
"Ours is an open society in which the Constitution guarantees the freedom of expression. This includes the right to argue, to debate, and to agitate. The unstated major premise is that the exercise of this right cannot be arbitrary, cannot be at the expense of the same right by fellow citizens," he said.
 
"The boundaries of freedom do get transgressed when agitation takes the place of debate, when their respective venues get transposed, when another member of the legislature is prevented from enjoying the right that the agitating members claim for themselves. It is for this reason that all legislatures make rules of procedure for their functioning," he said.
 
Mr Ansari said the unfortunate reality today was that these rules of procedure were being violated brazenly and with impunity. 
 
"Forgotten is the simple truth, applicable to all citizens including legislators,  that rules are to be observed, not discarded or subverted. A corrective, in the shape of disciplinary action by the Presiding Officers, is hampered if not made dysfunctional by the refusal of the legislative body or a good segment of it to support the Chair and ensure civility and compliance by the defaulting member. The alternative, of physical eviction, is possible with individuals, less so with groups; it does not enhance the dignity of the legislative body and is undesirable to contemplate," he said.
 
He said there was a case for legislative bodies in the country to be dignified assemblies conducting themselves with decorum and restraint. 
 
"Such a requirement is not far fetched since it only requires going back in living memory to the initiators of our system. It would be in step with the practice in other parliamentary democracies and would not single us out as an aberration," he said.
 
Mr Ansari said there was an imperative need for correctives in other areas of work, too, including implementation of the decision of November 2001 to increase the number of working days to 110, 90 and 50 for Parliament, larger and smaller states, respectively.
 
He said this would make available sufficient time for scrutiny of legislative proposals, discussion on issues of public concern raised by members, and overall accountability of the executive.
 
He said the rules for observance of parliamentary etiquette and norms of civility need to be made stricter and enforced more stringently. 
 
"An effort needs to be made to appreciate that excitability, decibel intensity and verbosity does not add to the strength of the argument or the dignity of the legislature. A legislator’s oath of office, ‘to faithfully discharge the duty upon which I am about to enter’ could perhaps be amplified to include observance of rules of procedure of the legislative body concerned," he said.
 
"The compelling urge to articulate views on matters of recent happening by seeking the suspension of the Question Hour can be channelled into procedures either by shifting the Question Hour or by dispensing with it altogether since only a few, not exceeding five or six are actually taken up and written answers are in any case given even if the question hour does not function," he said.
 
The Vice-President, who is also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, said more time should be allocated for discussion of matters of public interest. This would only be possible when more time is made available by increasing the number of working days.  
 
He said the committee system could be strengthened by having a higher attendance requirement and by the induction of experts in an advisory capacity. 
 
"The present practice of exempting ministers from appearance before the committees should be reviewed. As in other parliamentary democracies, the examination of witnesses (but not the finalisation of reports) should be open to the public. This would make the public better aware of this important aspect of the work of legislatures," he said.
 
Mr Ansari said that, while legislators do make required disclosures of their assets and liabilities, this should be supplemented by more stringent "conflict of interest" procedures as are practiced in other parliamentary democracies.
 
"These, and other procedural correctives, are within the realm of the possible, capable of being agreed upon and implemented provided there is a commitment in word and deed on the part of all concerned to reiterate their faith in the proper functioning of the legislature as an essential ingredient of parliamentary democracy," he said.
 
Mr Ansari also referred to the procedural deficiencies noticed in the country's electoral system.
 
In the legislatures, he pointed out that the time made available notionally for parliament or assembly sessions has contracted.
 
"Record of many decades also shows that the notional time allocation is different from the time actually utilised for conduct of business. The reason for this is that uniquely Indian contribution to parliamentary practice known as disruption. It has been a source of concern for many years now and is inviting public ire," he said.
 
"Conferences of Presiding Officers in May and September 1992 addressed the problem as did the Golden Jubilee Session of the Lok Sabha in 1997. Solemn commitments were made unanimously on each occasion; passage of time was to show that neither the solemnity nor the unanimity had the slightest impact on actual behaviour in legislative chambers," he said.
 
Another effort, on a wider scale, was made in November 2001, which sought to diagnose the ailment in all its manifestations and identified what it called ‘major contributory factors behind this trend of disorderly conduct by members in legislature’.
 
These were identified as:
 
1.  non-availability of adequate time and consequent frustration of members over perceived inadequacy of opportunities to raise matters to their grievances on the floor of the House;
2.  misgivings created at times by seemingly unresponsive attitude adopted by government and retaliatory posture by treasury benches;
3.  disinclination, at times, on the part of the leadership of legislature parties to adhere to parliamentary norms and to discipline their members;
4.  absence of prompt and proper action against erring members under Rules of Procedure; and
5.  lack of sufficient training and orientation, especially of new members, in parliamentary procedures and etiquette.
 
"The conference resolved, apart from pious rededication to principles, that ‘immediate steps be taken to ensure a minimum of 110 days of sittings of Parliament and 90 and 50 days of sittings of the Legislatures of big and small states respectively, if necessary, through appropriate constitutional amendments’. It also recommended ‘automatic suspension’ for specified periods of Members guilty of grave misconduct. None of this was acted upon except for the incorporation in 2001 of automatic suspension in Lok Sabha (but not Rajya Sabha) rules. It has been used for the first time only in recent weeks," he said.
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The function marked the end of the 125th anniversary celebrations of the legislative tradition in Kerala, initiated in 1888 by the then Travancore State. It was continued when Travancore and Cochin were merged and was put on a qualitatively different footing when elections to the state Assembly were held in December 1951 under the Constitution of India and further strengthened when the Malabar region was added to the Kerala pursuant to the States Reorganisation Act of 1956.
 
Mr Ansari said the purpose of a legislative body is to deliberate, legislate, and seek accountability from the executive. 
 
"The records of the sessions of the Kerala Legislative Assembly indicate that this has been done in adequate measure. This is a tribute to the commitment of generations of legislators, to the political awareness of the electorate and to their adherence to the principles of parliamentary democracy.
 
"Another characteristic of Kerala’s political scene is its adherence to the classic pattern of two political combinations. This is at variance with the fragmentation in evidence in many other states as also in the Centre.
 
"And, of course, mention must be made of Kerala’s record of progressive legislation and its impressive, very impressive, achievements in the fields of education and health. Located in the south-western corner of the country, Kerala can be looked up to as a model in many areas of national activity," he said.
 
Mr Ansari noted that a survey done last year gave India a rating of 9.58 on electoral process and pluralism, 9.41 for civil liberties, 7.50 for functioning government, 6.11 for political participation and 5.0 for political culture. The survey gave Indian democracy an overall score of 7.52 and a global ranking of 38.
 
"Clearly, the scope for improvement beckons us even as we celebrate our successes," he added.
 
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Ansari says fault lines based on religion, caste seem to have deepened

Vice President  M. Hamid Ansari presenting the “First Sree Narayan Guru Global Secular & Peace Award 2013” to Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor, at a function, at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on September 10, 2013.
Vice President M. Hamid Ansari presenting the “First Sree Narayan Guru Global Secular & Peace Award 2013” to Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor, at a function, at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on September 10, 2013.
 
Vice-President M Hamid Ansari today said that, in recent times, the fault lines in society based on religion, caste, language, region, ethnicity and even economic status, seemed to have deepened, creating tensions that had the potential to threaten the country's unity and retard its progress.
 
Speaking after presenting the first Sree Narayan Guru Global Secular & Peace Award 2013 to Union Minister Shashi Tharoor at Thiruvananthpuram in Kerala, he also said that while much had been done in the past six and a half decades to achieve social justice, economic development and political empowerment, more remained to be done to make India a modern, progressive and harmonious society.
 
"In this context, the teachings of Sree Narayana Guru attains greater importance and shows us a path to follow in order to overcome these myriad challenges and build a peaceful, developed and harmonious society," he said.
 
Mr Ansari said secularism and democracy are the fundamental principles on which the republic is founded. 

Kerala Tourism launches new gesture-controlled website

A view of Kerala Tourism's new gesture-controlled website
A view of Kerala Tourism's new gesture-controlled website
 
Kerala Tourism has launched a new website with gesture-controlled features to help its users and give them a peep into the state's pristine destinations.
 
The website, the first of its kind by a state tourism board in the country, introduces internet users to the rain-washed plains, misty hills and the majestic backwaters of Kerala through a gesture-based interface.
 
Launched as a part of the monsoon campaign by Kerala Tourism, the new website is one of the few tourism websites in the world to use the gesture-controlled technology.
 
Images of the monsoon shot by Facebook fans of Kerala Tourism are used in the new website, which tracks movements and gestures made by a user in front of a webcam and responds to them.
 
"We are proud to present an innovative new website to people around the world who can now sit in front of a computer or with a smart phone and enjoy the multifarious experiences of the monsoon in Kerala even before they arrive in the state," said Kerala Tourism Secretary Suman Billa.
 
"The new technology available today like the gesture-controlled feature on our new website plays an important role in linking destinations with the people," he added.
 
Kerala Tourism Director Hari Kishore described the new website as yet another step in extending to the world the many experiences that Kerala can offer to a visitor. Interestingly, the new website is a combination of innovative technology and the fascinating experiences of the fans of Kerala around the world, he added.
 
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Kerala Tourism advises against travel to Munnar, other parts of Idukki for next few days

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The Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala, today advised visitors to the state to avoid travel to Munnar and other destinations in the hills of Idukki district for the next few days in view of the potential risk of roadblocks and landslides because of heavy rains in the region.
 
"The department is continuously monitoring the weather and travel conditions in the area and will issue regular updates. Tourists are advised to contact the nearest tourism information centre before embarking on any essential travel to hill stations in Idukki district," the advisory said.
 
For any assistance and information, tourists can call the 24-hour emergency response number: 1800-425-4747, the release added.
 
The advisory was issued after at least 14 persons were killed in several landslides in Idukki since yesterday.
 
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Ministries of Tourism, Railways to jointly develop amenities at Amritsar, Thiruvananthapuram, Agra

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The Ministry of Tourism has undertaken joint development of tourist amenities at Amritsar, Thiruvananthapuram, Rai Bareili, Gaya and Agra Cantonent railway stations in association with the Ministry of Railways.
 
An official press release said Central Government assistance of Rs 10.28 crores, Rs 5.98 crore, Rs 5.18 crore and Rs 5.05 crore had been provided by the Ministry of Tourism for the developent of Amritsar, Rai Bareili, Thiruvananthapuram, Gaya and Agra Cantonment stations, respectively.
 
This financial support is being provided as part of an initiative of Dr. K.Chiranjeevi, Minister of Tourism to provide assistance to Central agencies for tourism infrastructure development, it said.
 
As part of the joint initiative, the Ministry of Railways shall make land for the project available free of cost and render all possible assistance for completion of the project on time. 
 
The Ministry of Railways shall set up a monitoring committee with a member from the Ministry of Tourism to monitor physical and financial progress of these projects, it added.
 
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Technology great enabler for small tourism businesses: Oommen Chandy

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy speaking at the inauguration of India's first International Conference on Travel Technology (ICTT) at Kovalam, near Thiruvananthapuram, on June 7, 2013.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy speaking at the inauguration of India's first International Conference on Travel Technology (ICTT) at Kovalam, near Thiruvananthapuram, on June 7, 2013.
 
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has urged young entrepreneurs with small, start-up businesses in the travel and tourism sector to take advantage of digital technology which is opening up vast global markets that were once unreachable through traditional marketing tools.
 
Inaugurating the country’s first International Conference on Travel Technology (ICTT) at Kovalam near here yesterday, Mr Chandy said Chandy said India, which is ranked 41st in terms of international tourist arrivals, had a long way to go to realise its full potential, given its natural and cultural attractions. 
 
However, a key step forward is the arrival of a large number of educated youth and qualified professionals in the industry which is driving innovation and growth,  he said. And technology is fuelling this surge of entrepreneurship by providing platforms to market their products and services.
 
“Another significant aspect is that it has enabled micro-enterprises and individuals to reach out to their markets across the seas. A homestay in Kerala can now market itself just like one of the big hotel chains to its target audience in London or Sydney. In Kerala, we have a lot of entrepreneurs in the tourism sector and I’m sure technology will give them wings,” Mr Chandy said.
 
ICTT India is being organised by the Association of Tourism Trade Organizations, India (ATTOI) at The Leela in Kovalam, with the support of Kerala Tourism.
 
Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor, who delivered the keynote address, said one of the most important uses of the web for tourism business is review and response to customer feedback which is increasingly influencing travellers’ decisions.
 
“The real danger from the web is that it is an unmediated platform. Opinions can easily be doctored or manufactured. The best way to counter fake reviews is to put out correct information; alert hoteliers and destination managers must come up with quick responses,” he said.
 
Dr Tharoor, a well-known Twitter user with over 1.8m followers, is also the quizmaster of an innovative daily online quiz organised by Kerala Tourism that offers generous prizes. He described the project as an example of “the creative use of the web to stimulate interest in a destination”.
 
Kerala Minister for Tourism A P Anil Kumar, who was the guest of honour at the function, said the state government was among the pioneers in marketing tourism through the web and has had a long standing policy of utilising the internet for tourism promotion.
 
“Our marketing strategy based on the internet is headed the right way. IT has not just complemented our promotional activities, but has helped reduce expenditure and significantly lowered our consumption of print products,” he said.
 
Tourism Secretary Suman Billa made a presentation on Kerala Tourism’s initiatives in IT over the past few years. 
 
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ATTOI President V. Sreekumara Menon said India is today one of the best markets for players in the tourism industry as the numbers of both inbound and outbound tourists are on 
 
“ATTOI, which is committed to eco-friendly tourism and ethical practices has achieved yet another of its stated objectives with ICTT, that of skills development,” he said. 
 
The conference will discuss the latest trends in travel technology, social media and how digital platforms can be leveraged by the industry.
 
ICTT features 17 eminent speakers from countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India with expertise in the travel industry and digital entrepreneurship. Over the next two days the conference will cover around 23 topics including social media, online marketing, mobile applications, pricing and distribution strategies, managing reviews and handling competition, revenue management, business intelligence and the future of technology.
 
More than 250 delegates, including tour operators, travel professionals and bloggers, from around the country and abroad are attending the event.
 
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Kerala Government invites nominations for science award

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The Government of Kerala has invited nominations for its prestigious Kerala Sasthrapuraskaram – an annual award given to outstanding scientists of Kerala-origin working in our outside the state.

The award was instituted in 2011 by the state’s Department of Science and Technology and is administered by the Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment (KSCSTE). 
 
Kerala Sasthrapuraskaram, which consists of cash prize of Rs 100,000, a citation and a memento, honours scientists of Kerala origin for a lifetime of research, scientific contributions and achievements. 
 
The first recipient of the award was physicist E. C. G. Sudarshan, a professor at the University of Texas, renowned for his work in the field of quantum optics. 
 
Prof M. Vijayan, DAE Homi Bhabha Professor at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, received the award for 2012 for his contributions to structural biology. 
 
Scientists can be nominated by Fellows of the National Academies of Sciences, Vice-Chancellors/Directors of scientific institutes and establishments and by eminent scientists of national/international repute.  Applications or self-nominations are not accepted. 
 
The nomination proforma can be downloaded from the KSCSTE official website and completed forms should be sent to: The Executive Vice President, KSCSTE, Sasthra Bhavan, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram – 695004 
 
The last date of submission of entries is June 10, 2013, a press release from KSCSTE added.
 
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Kerala to woo tourists from Middle East, Russia through monsoon, Ayurveda

Buoyed by the growing popularity of its Age Halt programme that provides Ayurveda treatment on the go, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) is planning to woo tourists in a big way, especially from the Middle East and Russia, during the monsoon season.

“Our Age Halt programme, launched last year, has sparked huge interest among the tourists both in India and abroad. It is a unique product that seamlessly combines Ayurvedic treatment and travel,” said KTDC Managing Director Mr. N Prasanth.
 
He said the Age Halt programme provides exclusive Ayurveda packages through KTDC's premium properties such as Samudra (Kovalam), Bolgatty Palace, Bolgatty Island Resort and Marina House (Kochi),Tea County (Munnar), Lake Palace and Aranya Nivas (Thekkady) and Periyar House, inside the Periyar Sanctuary.

Tamil Nadu surfers steal limelight at National Competition

A surfer in action on the final day of the National Surfing and Stand Up Paddle (SUP) competition at Kovalam in Kerala on May 5, 2013. Read story.

A surfer in action on the final day of the National Surfing and Stand Up Paddle (SUP) competition at Kovalam in Kerala on May 5, 2013.
Read story.A surfer in action on the final day of the National Surfing and Stand Up Paddle (SUP) competition at Kovalam in Kerala on May 5, 2013.

First national surfing competition concludes at Kovalam

A surfer in action on the final day of the National Surfing and Stand Up Paddle (SUP) competition at Kovalam in Kerala on May 5, 2013.
A surfer in action on the final day of the National Surfing and Stand Up Paddle (SUP) competition at Kovalam in Kerala on May 5, 2013.

Surfers from Tamil Nadu stole the limelight at India’s first national Surfing and Stand Up Paddle (SUP) competition which concluded yesterday at Kovalam near here in Kerala.

Participants from the state took the podium in a number of categories in the finals of the competitions held over three days. Surfers from Karnataka and Kerala were among the winners. More than 100 athletes from around the country and abroad took part in the competition.
 
The fine weather and the waves provided ideal surfing conditions and the Sunday turnout of spectators was big. Winners in various categories were presented trophies, cash awards and certificates.
 
Spice Coast Open is India’s first official national competitive event for the sport. It was organized by the Surfing Federation of India (SFI), a body recognized by the International Surfing Association (ISA), with the support of the state Department of Tourism.
 
Kishore Kumar, president of SFI thanked Kerala’s Tourism Minister Anil Kumar, Tourism Secretary Suman Billa  and Director Rani George  for their support in conducting the event.
 
“One of the things this competition has done is making more people aware of surfing and watersports opportunities in India,” he said. “Since the start of the event we have had a number of enquiries about surfing and about the competition. People who came to watch, particularly youngsters, showed a keen interest in the sport.”
 
The competition was inaugurated in Kovalam by former South African cricketer and surfing enthusiast Jonty Rhodes.
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“Kovalam has been a fantastic venue for this event,” said Deepti Jha, media & marketing head of the federation. “The crowd is great and the local people, including hotels and vendors, have been very supportive.”
 
She said the federation is already in talks to bring back the event to Kerala next year and try and make this an annual fixture here.
 
The following is the list of winners in various categories:
 
OPEN MASTER
 
1 – Samai Reboul, Puducherry
2 – Jelle R. – Kovalam, Kerala
3 -  Murthy – CoveAlong Point, Tamil Nadu
 
OPEN 25 UNDER
 
1 – D. Manikandan -  CoveAlong Point, Tamil Nadu
2 – V. Vignesh - CoveAlong Point, Tamil Nadu
3 – Dharani - CoveAlong Point, Tamil Nadu
 
OPEN WOMEN FINAL
 
1 – Kate – South Africa
2 – Jyothi – Mulki, Karnataka
2 – Chetana – Mulki, Karnataka
 
LOCAL WOMEN
 
1 – Jyothi – Mulki, Karnataka
2 – Chetana - Mulki, Karnataka
3 – Atita – Bangalore
 
LOCAL MASTER
 
1  -Shankar V – Tamil Nadu
2 - Murthy – Cove Along Point, Tamil Nadu
3 – Velu Murugan – Tamil Nadu
 
LOCAL SENIOR
 
1 – D. Manikandan -  Cove Along Point, Tamil Nadu
2 – Santosh – Mahabalipuram, Chennai
3 – V. Vignesh – Cove Along Point, Tamil Nadu
 
LOCAL JUNIOR
 
1 – Nissam – Kovalam, Kerala
2 – Deekshith – Mulki, Karnataka
3 – Dharani – Cove Along Point, Tamil Nadu
 
LOCAL GROMS
 
1 – G. Ragul – Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
2 – Krishna – Kovalam, Kerala
3 – Remesh – Kovalam, Kerala
 
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Oommen Chandy cheers up Jagathy Sreekumar

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy visiting convalescing Malayalam film actor Jagathy Sreekumar in Thiruvananthapuram on April 26, 2013. Read story.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy visiting convalescing Malayalam film actor Jagathy Sreekumar in Thiruvananthapuram on April 26, 2013.
Read story.Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy visiting convalescing Malayalam film actor Jagathy Sreekumar in Thiruvananthapuram on April 26, 2013.

Oommen Chandy visits convalescing Malayalam actor Jagathy Sreekumar

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy visiting convalescing Malayalam film actor Jagathy Sreekumar in Thiruvananthapuram on April 26, 2013.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy visiting convalescing Malayalam film actor Jagathy Sreekumar in Thiruvananthapuram on April 26, 2013.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy visited well-known Malayalam actor Jagathy Sreekumar at his son's residence here today to inquire about the progress in his recovery after he had been seriously injured in a road accident on March 10 last year.
 
The actor, 63, who is popularly known as Jagathy, is currently convalescing at his son's residence and Mr Chandy's visit cheered him up, sources said.
 
Mr Chandy was accompanied by his wife Mariamma Oommen and son Chandy Oommen.
 
The chief minister enquired about the latest on Jagathi's health condition with his family members and assured them of the state government's readiness to provide further treatment assistance, if necessary.
 
Jagathy, who was treated immediately after the accident at the Malabar Institute of Medical Sciences (MIMS) in Kozhikode and later taken to the Christian Medical College at Vellore in Tamil Nadu, was discharged from there on February 28 and brought home here in the early hours of March 1.
 
He made a brief appearance before mediapersons on March 4 but did not say anything at that time.
 
His family had said at that time that he had regained much of his mental and physical health, but it would take quite a while before he would be able to walk and talk normally and regain full movement of his hands and legs.
 
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Jagathy had suffered extremely serious injuries at Thenhipalam in Malappuram district when he was travelling in his car to Coorg in Karnataka for the shooting of a film by director Lenin Rajendran.
 
At the MIMS in Kozhikode, he had undergone a series of surgeries, first to stop internal bleeding and then to treat the bone fractures he had suffered in his hip, a knee and his right forearm. Jagathy had suffered multiple fractures and injuries in the neck, abdomen and chest in the mishap. His lungs had also been impacted. He was airlifted to Vellore on April 12.
 
Sources said the Toyota Innova car, in which he was travelling, crashed into the median on National Highway 17 while negotiating a sharp curve. The driver of the car, Anil Kumar, also suffered minor injuries and underwent treatment at MIMS.
 
Jagathy, who has performed an amazing variety of roles in more than 1100 films, has particularly excelled in comedy and has won the State Government's award in different categories four times.
 
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Sharma to review industry-related issues of Southern states at Kovalam on Friday

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Union Minister for Commerce, Industry & Textiles Anand Sharma will review issues pertaining to commerce, industry and textiles in the Southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh at a meeting in Kovalam, near Thiruvananthapuram, tomorrow.

The meeting will be attended by the Industry Ministers and senior officials of these states, an official press release said.
 
During the meeting, Mr Sharma is also likely to discuss issues related to plantation, textiles and manufacturing as well as the progress of various relevant schemes in these states. 
 
Later in the day tomorrow, Mr Sharma will meet Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to review the situation of industries and textiles sector of the state. 
 
The Minister will also present the Spice Export Awards for 2010-11 and 2011-12 at Kovalam later in the evening tomorrow, the release added.
 
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We have to improve our death bowling: Dhoni

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni stressed the importance of death bowling after Chennai Super Kings stole a thriller against Royal Challengers in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here tonight.

"The performance was great, we need to improve our death bowling drastically. We didn't get off to a good start, the pressure was there on the middle order. You can't really afford to play too many dot balls, you have to be there till the 15th or 16th over to cash in," said Dhoni.
 
Man of the Match Ravindra Jadeja, who nowadays is ridiculed as Sir Jadeja on the social media, said he was not trying to play silly shots.
 
"(With reference to Sir) they are just making fun in a lighter way, not a serious way. I was confident about my batting, I scored two triple-hundreds this season. I was not trying to play any silly shots, it was a good wicket," he said.
 
Royal Challengers skipper Virat Kohli said his team lost the match in the last six over.
 
"It was our game to lose in the last six overs. We are relying on big partnership as of now, a few small partnerships will do good for us. RP, T20 is a game like that, I'm still proud of him," he said.
 
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SAIL to set up titanium project in Kerala as JV with KSIDC, KMML

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Industry Minister P K Kunhalikutty at the ceremony where SAIL, KSIDC and KMML signed an MoU to set up a titanium project in the state, in Thiruvananthapuram on April 4, 2013.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Industry Minister P K Kunhalikutty at the ceremony where SAIL, KSIDC and KMML signed an MoU to set up a titanium project in the state, in Thiruvananthapuram on April 4, 2013.

The public sector Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) and Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML) in Thiruvananthapuram yesterday for setting up a joint venture titanium project in the state.

The MoU was signed in the presence of Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, State Industries and IT Minister P K Kunhalikutty, Mr E K Bharat Bhushan, Special Secretary, Ministry of Steel, and SAIL Chairman C S Verma.
 
An official press release said the three companies would explore the possibilities of setting up the titanium project as a joint venture in Kerala.
 
To begin with in Phase 1, setting up of a Titanium Sponge and Metal Plant based on supply of Titanium Tetrachloride by KMML will be considered. In subsequent phases, backward and forward integration will be explored for ensuring long term viability of the project, the release said.
 
Mr Chandy said the Rs 2500 crore project would lead to overall development of the region and also contribute to faster economic growth of Kerala. He urged the state government and SAIL officials to take steps for early commencement of project activities. 
 
This will be the second major titanium project Kerala, after the nation’s first titanium sponge plant was put up at KMML’s Chavara complex in Kerala by KMML, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory in 2011.
 
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Kerala Minister Ganesh Kumar quits over allegations by his wife of domestic violence

Kerala Forests Minister Ganesh Kumar resigned from the state cabinet late on Monday night at the end of a day of high drama in which he filed a petition in court for divorce from his wife, Yamini Thankachi, and both traded allegations of domestic violence against each other.

Kerala forest minister quits over domestic violence allegations

Kerala Forests Minister Ganesh Kumar resigned from the state cabinet late last night at the end of a day of high drama in which he filed a petition in court for divorce from his wife, Yamini Thankachi, and both traded allegations of domestic violence against each other.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told newspersons at his residence around midnight last night that Ganesh Kumar, 46, a well-known Malayalam film actor who represents the Kerala Congress (B) in the government, had submitted his resignation to him and that he would forward it to the Governor for acceptance today.
 
Mr Ganesh Kumar said he was the victim of a conspiracy because of his efforts to weed out corruption in his ministry and that he had no regrets whatsoever in resigning from his position.
 
He said his resignation was necessary for a fair inquiry into the allegations against him. He said he would establish that the allegations against him were false and motivated and also that he would continue his fight against corruption.
 
Yesterday's developments were the latest chapter in a long and unseemly saga of  differences between the actor-turned-politician and his wife, which has played out in the public domain. The two had, in fact, parted ways some years ago before getting together again. The couple have two young sons.
 
The day started yesterday with Mr Ganesh Kumar, son of former Kerala Minister R Balakrishna Pillai, filed for divorce, claiming in his petition that his wife had physically attacked him. He also submitted in court photographs which purported to show bruises and injuries on his face which he said he had suffered in that incident some weeks ago.
 
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A little later, Dr Thankachi, a medical doctor by profession, held a press conference at which she alleged that her husband had physically abused her for the last 14 years. She cited a recent incident in which he allegedly held her by her hair and beat her. The couple has been married for 18 years.
 
Even as speculation mounted that Mr Ganesh Kumar was left with no option but to resign, he appeared before mediapersons to give his side of the story. He said vested interests had hatched a conspiracy to force him out of the Cabinet because of his stand against corruption.
 
He also claimed that he had suffered harassment at the hands of his wife for the past many years and that all the allegations levelled by her against him were completely false. 
 
Shortly thereafter, Dr Thankachi went to the Museum Police Station here and filed a complaint against her husband.
 
Around 11 pm, several UDF leaders gathered at Mr Chandy's Cliff House residence here. Shortly before midnight, Mr Ganesh Kumar also reached there and met Mr Chandy to hand in his papers.
 
Mr Ganesh Kumar is the only legislator from his party in the Kerala Assembly. The Kerala Congress-B is a constituent of the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in the state and its support is crucial to the Chandy government, which has a very slim majority of just five in the 140-member House.
 
The controversy also threatened to engulf Mr Chandy himself, with Dr Thankachi alleging at her press conference that she had complained to him about her husband, but he had not acted in the matter. She said Mr Chandy had asked her to wait and to give him a chance to help them sort out the differences. She said he had refused to accept a petition from her.
 
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Dr Thankachi alleged that her husband was involved in an extra-marital relationship.
 
The opposition Left Front is now demanding the resignation of Mr Chandy for failing to act on her complaint.
 
Mr Ganesh Kumar had countered this by saying that the Chief Minister knew the complete truth and was only trying to help out in what was essentially a family dispute. He also alleged that he had, as part of a proposed settlement, agreed to transfer most of his wealth to his two sons, but his wife wanted everything in her name.
 
The battle between the couple became a major public spectacle when, on February 21, a Malayalam newspaper reported that a Minister in the government had been assaulted by a person whose wife was having an adulterous affair with him.
 
The newspaper did not name the Minister but government whip P C George alleged at a press conference on March 3 that the person in question was Mr Ganesh Kumar. He went on to call for the Minister's resignation.
 
Mr Ganesh Kumar said this was part of the conspiracy against him. He said that there was no way anybody from outside could have entered his house, which was guarded by the police, and assaulted him. He said that the person who attacked him was none other than his wife.
 
The dispute with his wife has come at a time when Mr Ganesh Kumar has also been caught in major political differences with his father, the founder of Kerala Congress-B, who had reportedly asked Mr Chandy to remove his son from the Cabinet.
 
Mr Ganesh Kumar, who was elected from the Pathanapuram Assembly constituency for the third time in the last elections, also held the portfolios of Wildlife Protection, Sports, Kerala State Film Development Corporation, Kerala Chalachithra Academy and Kerala Cultural Workers' Welfare Fund Board.
 
He had earlier served as Minister of Transport in the A K Antony government during 2001-03. He was the first cinema artiste to be elected to the state legislative assembly. With his father, he was part of the first father-son duo in the Kerala Assembly.
 
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Shashi Tharoor to host Kerala Tourism's online quiz show

Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor

Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development Shashi Tharoor will host an online quiz show as part of the efforts to promote tourism in his home state, Kerala.

The quiz, to be hosted by Dr Tharoor for Kerala Tourism on its website, will kick off in early May and go on for two months.
 
Dr Tharoor, who represents Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala in the Lok Sabha, is also a well-known writer and former career diplomat who served as Under Secretary-General at the United Nations before resigning from the world body to plunge into politics in India.
 
This will be the first time that a state tourism board will conduct an online quiz show, a press release from Kerala Tourism said.
 
People can participate in the quiz from anywhere in the world by registering themselves on the Kerala Tourism website. Registration will begin on April 20.
 
Dr. Tharoor will ask one question every day for 60 days. The participants will get 24 hours to answer the questions online. There will be daily, weekly and monthly gifts during the show, the release said.
 
"We are delighted to present Dr. Shashi Tharoor as the quiz master of our first online video quiz show," said Kerala Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar. "The quiz show will be a treat to take part in with the honourable Minister conducting it."
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Kerala Tourism Secretary Suman Billa said: "A multi-faceted personality, Dr Tharoor is a globally acclaimed writer, an erudite speaker and, above all, a Malayalee. We are sure Dr Tharoor, the quiz master, will be an instant hit with the global audience."
 
The quiz master will be aided by visual clips for his questions. "Kerala Tourism is a pioneer in using information technology for destination promotion," said Kerala Tourism Director Rani George. "We assure an exciting quiz show for two months for the participants worldwide."
 
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Malayalam poet Sugathakumar chosen for Saraswati Samman for Manalezhuthu

Sugathakumari
Sugathakumari

Well-known Malayalam poet Sugathakumari has been chosen for the prestigious 22nd Saraswati Samman for 2012 for her Malayalam poetry collection, Manalezhuthu (The Writing on the Sands), published in 2006.

The Saraswati Samman was instituted by the K K Birla Foundation in 1991 and is one of the highest literary honours in the country. It is given every year for an outstanding literary work written in any Indian language mentioned in Schedule VIII to the Constitution of India by an Indian citizen and published during the last 10 years.
 
The award carries a purse of Rs 10 lakhs, a citation and a plaque. The selection for the award is made by a high-level committee presided over by former Chief Justice of India R C Lahoti.
 
Other members of the selection committee are Prof. Krishna Datt Paliwal, Dr. Damodar Mauzo, Dr. E.V. Ramakrishnan, Prof. Indira Parthasarathy, Dr. Jayanti Chattopadhyay, Prof. N.D. Mirajkar, Mr Manoj Das, Dr. Ratanlal Shant, Mr S. Muhammad Ashraf, Mr Rupchand Hansda Mr Priyavrat Bhartia and Mr N.K. Bhattacharjee, Director, K K Birla Foundation.
 
Born in 1934 to an enlightened family, Sugathakumar's mother was a professor of Sanskrit and father a Gandhian freedom fighter whose Kerala Gaanam was a marching song for all those who fought for the unification of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar. 
 
After her schooling in Thiruvanthapuram, Sugathakumari did her graduation and Masters in Philosophy and Ph.D. in Comparative Philsophy on the ‘Concept of Moksha’. She worked as the Principal of Jawahar Balabhavan and edited a magazine called Thaliru.
 
"With over 15 volumes of poetry and six collections of prose published during the last five 
decades, Sugathakumari has established herself as a major poet of Malayalam with a unique
voice of her own characterized by emotional empathy, humanist sensitivity and moral alertness," the selection committee said.
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"She began as a poet of subjective sentiments and personal quests, but progressively widened her thematic range, assimilating into her poetry, contemporary social concerns such as ecological crisis, oppression of women and failures of ideals that inspired the very idea of Indian nation.
 
"She commands readership across all sections of society for her inclusive vision and compassion that emphasize human values," it said.
 
Some of her better known works are Mutthuchippi (Pearl and Oyster, 1961), Pathirappookkal (Midnight Flowers, 1967), Irul Chirakukal (The Wings of Darkness, 1969), Raathrimazha (Night Rain, 1977), Ambalamani (Temple Bell, 1981) and Radhayevide (Where is Radha?, 1995).
 
The committee said Manalezhuthu, the book of 27 poems published in 2006 which has won the award, represents the best of contemporary Malayalam poetry. 
 
"Poems in this anthology are marked by the variety of lyrical mode, complexity of metaphorical imagination, temporal impingement of the past and future on the present and moral indignation over the fate of the nature and the marginalised. The contemporaneity of the themes, especially those dealing with women, children and environment makes this anthology dearer to the hearts of the socially sensitive readers. The best example in Manalezhuthu of how Sugathakumari writes with a passion and a mission is the poem titled ‘The Women’s Commission’. 
 
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"Her everyday experience as Chairperson of the Women’s Commission translates as a poem. Composed in an emotional style, it connects the reader to the hard hitting realities of women’s life," it said.
 
Among other things, Sugathakumari founded "Abhaya", an organization for the welfare of the mentally ill, in 1985. Over the last two decades, Abhaya has enlarged its scope of activities to rehabilitation of the mentally ill, women and children in distress, legal aid for poor women, treatment centers for the mentally ill and addicts, homes for girl children from high risk groups and so on.
 
"Fortunately, all this work did not dry up the springs of poetry in Sugathakumari. On the 
contrary, they reinforced each other and augmented their resources reciprocally," the committee said in a press release.
 
Previous recipients of the award include Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Shamsur Rahman Faruqi,  Manubhai Pancholi ‘Darshak’, Indira Parthasarathy, Dalip Kaur Tiwana, Mahesh Elkunchwar, . Govind Chandra Pande, Sunil Gangopadhyay, K.Ayyappa Paniker, Jagannath Prasad Das, Naiyer Masud, Lakshminandan Bora, Surjit Patar, S.L. Bhyrappa and A A Manavalan.
 
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Malayalam actor Jagathy appears before media one year after accident

Jagathy Sreekumar
Jagathy Sreekumar

Well-known Malayalam film actor Jagathy Sreekumar, who was seriously injured in a road accident in the Malappuram district of Kerala on March 10 last year, appeared before mediapersons for the first time since that fateful day at his son's residence here today.

Known popularly as Jagathy, the 63-year-old actor was brought in a wheelchair before waiting journalists and camerapersons, but did not say anything to him.
 
The actor, who was treated immediately after the accident at the Malabar Institute of Medical Sciences (MIMS) in Kozhikode and later taken to the Christian Medical College at Vellore in Tamil Nadu, was discharged from there on February 28 and brought home here in the early hours of March 1.
 
Dressed in a white shirt and trousers and with a "tilak" on his forehead, Jagathy appeared to be in good health. He was surrounded by several of his family members, relatives and friends.
 
His family said he had regained much of his mental and physical health, but it would take quite a while before he would be able to walk and talk normally and regain full movement of his hands and legs.
 
They thanked the thousands of his fans who have been praying for his full recovery and early return to acting.
 
The actor continues to have regular physiotherapy sessions and is responding well to treatment, they said, adding that the family was confident of nursing him back to his normal self.
 
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They said he enjoyed watching his old movies on television and could be seen laughing at the funny moments in them.
 
Jagathy had suffered extremely serious injuries at Thenhipalam in Malappura district when he was travelling in his car to Coorg in Karnataka for the shooting of a film by director Lenin Rajendran.
 
At the MIMS in Kozhikode, he had undergone a series of surgeries, first to stop internal bleeding and then to treat the bone fractures he had suffered in his hip, a knee and his right forearm. Jagathy had suffered multiple fractures and injuries in the neck, abdomen and chest in the mishap. His lungs had also been impacted. He was airlifted to Vellore on April 12.
 
Sources said the Toyota Innova car, in which he was travelling, crashed into the median on National Highway 17 while negotiating a sharp curve. The driver of the car, Anil Kumar, also suffered minor injuries and underwent treatment at MIMS.
 
Jagathy, who has performed an amazing variety of roles in more than 1100 films, has particularly excelled in comedy and has won the State Government's award in different categories four times.
 
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Malayalam actor Jagathy discharged from Vellore hospital, reaches home

Jagathy Sreekumar
Jagathy Sreekumar

Well-known Malayalam film actor Jagathy Sreekumar, who was seriously injured in a road accident in the Malappuram district of Kerala on March 10 last year, was discharged from the Christian Medical College Hospital at Vellore in Tamil Nadu yesterday morning and brought home here in the early hours of today.

The 63-year-old actor had been initially treated at the Malabar Institute of Sciences (MIMS) at Kozhikode and later airlifted to the Vellore hospital on April 12 for further treatment, especially neuro-rehabilitation.
 
The van carrying the actor and members of his family reached his residence here around 4 am today, after a road journey of about 17 hours.
 
Members of his family said the doctors felt that it would help the actor if he was shifted from hospital and stayed at home, close to his family, relatives and friend.
 
"He is very tired now. Doctors have advised him complete rest for two days. After that, we will arrange for you to see him," they told mediapersons.
 
The family said the actor would continue to have physiotherapy sessions here and that he is responding well to the treatment. "He is recognising people and responding to them. But he has difficulties in talking and walking," they said.
 
The actor, popularly known as Jagathy, had suffered extremely serious injuries at Thenhipalam in Malappura district when he was travelling in his car to Coorg in Karnataka for the shooting of a film by director Lenin Rajendran.
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At the MIMS in Kozhikode, Jagathy had undergone a series of surgeries, first to stop internal bleeding and then to treat the bone fractures he had suffered in his hip, a knee and his right forearm. Jagathy had suffered multiple fractures and injuries in the neck, abdomen and chest in the mishap. His lungs had also been impacted.
 
Sources said the Toyota Innova car, in which he was travelling, crashed into the median on National Highway 17 while negotiating a sharp curve. The driver of the car, Anil Kumar, also suffered minor injuries and underwent treatment at MIMS.
 
Jagathy, who has performed an amazing variety of roles in more than 1100 films, has particularly excelled in comedy and has won the State Government's award in different categories four times.
 
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