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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

CBOA elects President.

S V Prabhu Dessai is elected President of the ‘Central Bank Officers Assosciation’ at the 7th General Body conference of the Goa unit was held recently at Nanuel Hotel Margao. The conference was attended by a large number of officers from all the branches of Goa Region.

The Senior vice President is Y L P Desai and the vice president is O H Soares. N R Kamat, General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary, R M Pai. Joint Secretaries, R R Naik. Organizing Secretary, P C Costa. Treasurer, R Lemos. Other elected committee members are: S R Ghate, Devidas Mangaonkar, A V Chanekar, Shyam Kadam, Joy Dsilva, Shraddha Azgaonkar, Rajeev Kumar, M Raman, Manish Kulkarni and R L Banke. The conference was inaugurated by Shri J N Mahant, Regional Manager Central Bank of India, Goa region. R C Agarwal, general secretary of All India Central Bank Officers’ Federation and President of AIBOC was the chief guest for the conference.
N. R. Kamat, General Secretary of Central Bank Officers Association Goa unit, welcomed the guests while Y L P Desai, President of CBOA proposed the vote of thanks.

Kamats, Uppals and IRCON to form new hotel company for railway projects

Kamat Hotels India (KHIL), Uppals Hotels, Delhi (real estate developers) and Indian Railway Construction Company (IRCON) have joined hands in a three-way joint venture, to form a hotel company with a clear mandate of developing railway hotel projects all over the country. This new hotel company, currently going under the name of 'Uppal Kamat Hotels Consortium' has already bagged the first two properties in the tender process of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). These two properties which are located at the Vijayawada and Madurai railway stations will be developed in the three/four star hotel category, as will all the other properties to be developed under this joint venture company. Confirming this exclusively to Express Hospitality, Rumneek Bawa, group CEO, Uppal Hotels revealed, "We are also fairly confident of winning the bids for the next two IRCTC projects at Chandigarh and Secunderabad, for which the tenders are to be opened shortly". The newly formed company will be floated as a legal entity, immediately after the acquisition of these properties. Param Kannampilly, technical director, KHIL, said, "We are yet to finalise the management modalities and the branding for all the properties to be developed under this consortium. However all three parties in this consortium will have an equity stake in the new company and will jointly raise finance for the development of these projects."

Dr PK Goel, MD, IRCTC said, "While IRCTC will have control over the land and will act as a regulatory body, the consortium will build and run the properties. The idea is to leverage the expertise of each party involved." While refusing to give details on the projects, Goel mentioned, "all I can say at this point of time is that these are going to be value for money hotels and as far as the partners are concerned it will be a revenue sharing model." According to IRCTC sources, IRCTC is also looking at private partners to operate and refurbish its existing properties. It has also issued a notice inviting tender bids for franchising of Integrated Train Enquiry System (ITES) of Indian Railways.

Maya Kini's Jewelry Design

Maya Kini's jewelry joins organic matter with modern design and materials. Beginning in Mexico nine years ago, she has continued her exploration of the medium both independently and through formal schooling in Florence, Italy and Portland, Oregon. She now lives and works in San Francisco. In her organix collection, Maya fabricates framing devices through which the viewer glimpses an abstraction of a particular fruit or vegetable. The materials used in this process are resin, sterling silver, and pressed and dehydrated fruits and vegetables (to see samples of these dried materials, click the link above, "view available shapes and sizes"). Many of these specimens are gathered at local farmer's markets throughout the Bay Area. The structure of each fruit and vegetable becomes clearer as the water is expelled from it during a week long process of pressing and drying. The technique creates a unique organic composition for every piece. There are a myriad of factors that ensure that each piece of jewlery will be distinctive: some relating to how, when, and where the vegetable was grown, some to the drying process, and some to the eye of the artist and what she chooses to accent. Like a cell on a glass slide, Maya uses the frames and resin to magnify the organic matter and, in doing so, adds an element of preciousness to material often viewed simply as sustenance.

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Rs. 1 lakh fake notes found in Bank

Fake notes worth Rs. one lakh in Rs. 1,000 denomination were found in the Chamundipuram branch of Syndicate Bank on JLB Road here yesterday.

The Bank's Manager In-charge Prabhu, in a complaint lodged with K.R. Police, said that the bundle was found to be one among the four deposited by their customer M.K. Shivakumar.

M.K. Shivakumar, son of Chennappa, resident of Yadahalli village in Jayapura taluk, had deposited Rs. 4 lakh, the amount he received for selling his land, at the bank at 10.30 am and got his pass book entry updated.

"The cashier, after counting the four bundles in the electronic machine and checking them, gave me receipt. The transaction was also entered in the Bank's computer records and in the pass book," said Shivakumar and added, "after 45 minutes of leaving the Bank, the Bank Manager telephoned me and without revealing anything, asked me to return to the Bank immediately. When I went there, he made an allegation that the notes in one of the bundles was fake."

Shivakumar further alleged that the Manager snatched away the receipt issued earlier for Rs. 4 lakh and issued a new one for Rs. 3 lakh. Even the passbook entry was corrected, Shivakumar said and complained to the Police that he was being cheated by the Bank staff as the cashier had earlier checked the currency notes for more than five minutes and barely 45 minutes later, accused him of depositing the counterfeit notes.

However, the Bank Manager told the Police, "the currency notes were counted meticulously but due to heavy workload, their authenticity could not be checked immediately. When another staff checked the notes later, they were found to be fake."

K.R. Police Inspector Shanthamallappa, after registering a case, booked Shivakumar.

Sub-Inspector Ashok today said that Shivakumar was quizzed till late night to find out the source of the fake notes. He was later released. "We will call him again for further interrogation to find out who gave him the notes," he added.

Manager clarifies

Bank Manager U.V. Kini today said that when summoned to the Bank yesterday, Shivakumar requested us to burn the fake notes.

"He wanted us to issue receipt for only Rs. 3 lakh. We have mentioned this in our complaint lodged with the Police," he added.

Tejari to empower online procurement for 100 cities through the Glocal eCities network

The Glocal Forum is an international non-profit organization dedicated to improving inter-city relations by means of 'glocalization', a merger of global opportunities and local interests, aimed at creating a socio-economically balanced world. The Glocal Forum brings together major international institutions like the World Bank and several specialized UN agencies, private sector partners and other global actors to work at the local level. One of the major initiatives of the forum is the Glocal eCities Network Program to enable cities to modernize their governance processes with the use of information and communication technology (ICT).

Under this new initiative, Tejari as the region's largest business-to-business marketplace will build and manage a dedicated eCities portal and offer online procurement services to Glocal eCities Network members. Through this Tejari-based network, Glocal members can trade and conduct business, promote their products and services, attract new vendors and negotiate business deals. In addition to these features, Glocal members will also have access to all regional trading partners registered on Tejari. This municipal driven marketplace will allow both developing and developed cities to migrate their local vendors and their procurement processes online in an attempt to create fiscal savings for developing cities creating a new concept in decentralized aid and cooperation called 'virtual aid'.

'This is truly a momentous occasion for the Glocal Forum. Alongside Tejari, we look forward to advancing the interconnectivity between cities for the good of citizens.',

said Vasant-madhav Shenoy, Director of Technology Projects at the Glocal Forum

Speaking at the recently-concluded Glocalization conference, Tejari CEO Omar Hijazi stated that, 'E-commerce is a demonstrated catalyst for growth and development across the region. It is already transforming the ways that governments and the private sector conduct business.'

Explaining the role of e-commerce in empowering governments he added 'The Glocal eCities marketplace program can influence and impact three significant areas of development in a country -- promoting good governance through transparency and efficiency; creating economic growth and encouraging cross-border trade; and lastly and most importantly, making information technology affordable and accessible to organizations of all sizes.'

An e-procurement marketplace promotes open and competitive economy and expands economic boundaries for the small to medium size businesses (SMB). Hijazi highlighted the role of SMBs in the economic growth and development of a nation. The eCities Marketplace will enable member cities to foster online procurement in the SMB segment. Municipalities can benefit from regional SMB vendors, and seek cheaper prices due to larger volumes and discounts, creating greater savings for the municipality and enabling transparent and accountable use of public funds.

'This is a milestone in inter-city relationship building,' said Shenoy. 'The projects conceived when city leaders meet, as at the Glocalization Conference, can now be taken forward every day of the year.'

The eCities marketplace is one of the elements in the Glocal eCities Network program which includes a portal for city to city collaboration and cooperation, and Network of Cities which assists cities in upgrading their financial management and governance systems. The alliance of stakeholders who support the various elements of the program include the World Bank, UN HABITAT, Cities Alliance, Oracle, ANCI, The US Conference of Mayors and United Cities and Local Government.

The eCities marketplace estimates that it will result in significant fiscal savings for developing and developed cities, improved resource management that will allow developing cities to strengthen their social agenda and divert these savings to development. It projects that the adhesion of a city to the marketplace will open access to its local vendors to a global playing field helping create a vibrant local economy.

In a proof of concept for aggregated procurement conducted in 2004 between the cities of Rome and Kigali it was seen that there was a direct savings of over 16% on the estimated value of a tender when two cities aggregated their procurement needs.

The Glocal eCities marketplace program aims to bring about a positive change in the political and economic situation of the developing countries. Amsterdam, Addis Ababa Barcelona, Berlin, Colombo, Delhi, Hong Kong, Moscow, Seoul, Toronto, and Venice are among the cities on the Glocal eCities Network. Through the new Tejari e-procurement program, local municipalities and private sector companies in a country will be aggregated into a larger marketplace to maximize business opportunities and savings.

The Rs 5 crore Ganpati

This is Mumbai's costliest Ganpati.

The Gowda Saraswat Brahmin Seva Mandal's Ganpati at King's Circle in central Mumbai is adorned with a 175 kg silver throne. The head-rest and ornaments of the idol is made up of 60 kgs of gold.

The jewellery comes from voluntary donations from devotees.

No wonder then that the idol is insured for Rs 5 crore.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

GSB Mandal Ganesh idol insured for Rs 5 crore

A Ganesh Mandal in Mumbai has insured the lord for a whopping Rs five crore.

The idol of GSB Mandal in King's Circle is said to be the richest. This statue of the Lord is adorned with 60 kilos of gold and 175 kilos of sliver. His crown is also made of gold, and so are all his ornaments. And that's why the management has insured it.

Dinesh Pai, President, GSB Seva Mandal says, “We insure it every year according to its valuations, and we've been doing it for the last 15 years. Gold prices have risen this year. We have devoted two new ornaments to the deity this year.”

The insurance amount is a whopping five crore rupees, and it's insured by Iffco Tokyo General Insurance. GSB Mandal has to pay an annual premium of Rs 2.5 lakh. This Ganesha is undoubtedly one of the richest in town.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

DD to telecast Konkani mega serial from Oct 14

'Kani Aashi Mogachi,' a Konkani mega serial produced by Mangalore Telefilms will be telecasted in Doordarshan Chandana channel from October 14.

Addressing a press meet in the city on Tuesday, Mr Geo D'Silva, the Programme and Marketing Director for Mangalore Telefilms informed that 'Kani Aashi Mogachi' is the first mega serial in Konkani language and will be telecasted every Saturday and Sunday between 10.30 pm and 11 pm.

The serial is directed by Melvin Mathais and Phelix Pinto. Geo D'Silva and Mic Max have written the dialogues while title song is sung by Lloyd Rego. Veeru, Neelkanth and I V Menezes have scored music. Dolphy Saldanha, Jerry Rasquinha, Geo D'Silva, Rixon Aranha, Meghana Bajal, Gretta Rodrigues, Esther Noronha and Dr Edward Nazreth are in the main cast.

The telefilm is based on 'Paap Aani Shirap,' a novel by renowned Konkani writer Victor Rodrigues Anjelor. The serial is shot at picturesque locations in Mangalore, Bangalore, Mumbai, Goa and Chikmagalur, he informed. In 'Kani Mogachi,' all 18 forms of Konkani language have been used. For the benefit of non-Konkanis, dialogues will be presented in Kannada as flowing sub-titles, he added.

Monster names Dhruv Shenoy as Country Manager

Monster, the leading global online careers and recruitment resource and flagship brand of Monster Worldwide, Inc., today announced the appointment of Dhruv Shenoy as Country Manager for its Middle East business. In his new role, Dhruv will be responsible for all of Monster Middle East’s business activities including sales, marketing and customer service. A buoyant economic environment and the openness of the Gulf economies to welcome talent from across the world, backed by over 6.2 million Internet users presents a unique business opportunity for Monster to expand its global footprint.

Talking of Dhruv’s new role, Arun Tadanki, President and Managing Director, Monster India, Singapore, Hong Kong and Middle East said, “To tap the potential of the Middle East, we have decided to expand and invest in the region. Given the significant opportunity, it is important that we provide this region a special focus from a management perspective. Over the last six years, Dhruv has made a large contribution to the growth of our business in this region. He has a solid understanding of all the operations of our business and I have no doubt that he will make Middle East a bigger success.”

Commented Dhruv Shenoy, “Monster India has been home for six years and I have seen it grow from scratch to what it is today. In this eventful journey, new opportunities have provided us the defining moments for our growth. The Middle East region is one such opportunity and I am absolutely delighted to be assigned this responsibility.”

Friday, August 25, 2006

India reigns supreme in South Asian Games

Indian swimmers once again displayed their might by garnering an amazing tally of 32 gold, 18 silver and 3 bronze medals in the 10th edition of South Asian Games (formerly known as South Asian Federation Games). The swimming competitions of the Games have been held at Sugathadasa Indoor Swimming Pool in Colombo from August 19 to 23, 2006. Sri Lanka claimed for titles while Bangladesh's Shajahan Ali gave his nation the lone gold in 50m breaststroke. Andrew Abeysinghe pockets the 100 and 200 backstroke golds while Mayumi Raheem made a clean sweep in the women's breaststroke for the home crowd to cheer.
India's 15 year old mermaid Lekha Kamath had won a record six gold medals, four of which came through her individual efforts and the rest in relays. Among the men, Virdhaval Khade and Rehan Poncha stood on top of the podium three times each. Overall it was a memorable outing for the Indians.

50m Freestyle (19)
1. Lekha Kamath (IND) 27.70
2. Mayumi Raheem (SRI) 28.87
3. Rubab Raza (PAK) 29.18

100m Freestyle (21)
1. Lekha Kamath (IND) 1:00.76
2. B. Neeraja (IND) 1:02.17
3. Mayumi Raheem (SRI) 1:02.85

50m Butterfly (23)
1. Lekha Kamath (IND) 29.71
2. Sana Wahid (PAK) 32.87
3. Miniruwani Samarakoon (SRI) 33.06

100m Butterfly (21)
1. Lekha Kamath (IND) 1:04.51*
2. Miniruwami Samarakoon (SRI) 1:11.85
3. Eesha Khan (PAK) 1:16.29

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Indian swimmers finish with 32 gold at SAF Games

Lekha Kamath scooped up two more yellow metals to finish with six golds, as India drowned all opposition in the pool winning seven of the nine races held on the last day of the event at the tenth south Asian Games on Wednesday.

The 15-year-old Maharashtra girl, who had bagged four gold medals till Tuesday, secured top honours in 50m butterfly besides being a part of the victorious 4x100m Medley Relay team as Indian swimmers drowned two Games marks to bolster their gold haul to 32.

The other teams could manage only six gold meals as the curtains came down on the five-day swimming event.

In men's 400m individual medley, Rehan Poncha set a new Games record en route to the 400m Individual Medley gold with a time of 4:37/04 seconds, reminding his rivals in the pool of his form and fitness ahead of the Doha Asian Games in December.

The bespectacled youngster erased the mark of compatriot J Abhijith who had clocked 4:42.57 in 1995.

The silver went to India's Arjun Jayaprakash who clocked 4:48.84 while the bronze was won by Pakistan's Nisar Ahmed with a timing of 4:52.25.

In women's 200m freestyle, Pooja Alva showed her class by racing her way to the gold with a timing of 2:14.65.

Finishing second best was India's Neeraja Balakrishna with a time of 2:15.96 while Pakistan's Kiran Khan bagged the bronze clocking 2:18.67.

In men's 200m freestyle, Virdhawal Khade emulated Poncha, bagging the gold with a new SA Games record. Khade clocked 1:59.07 seconds to erase the mark of 1:59.08 set by compatriot S H Abdullah in the 1999 edition.

India made it a 1-2 finish for themselves with Amar Muralidharan picking the silver with an effort of 1:59.23. The bronze went to Heshan Unamboowe (2:02.74) of Sri Lanka.

In women's 50m butterfly, Kamath added to her impressive kitty by winning gold with a time of 29.71 seconds. Pakistan's veteran swimmer and team captain Sana Wahid bagged the silver clocking 32.87 while local girl Miniruwani Samarakoon had to be content with the bronze with an effort of 33.06.

The men's 50m breaststroke saw Bangladesh's Shahjahan Ali upset India's Sandeep Sejwal and bag the gold with a time of 30.43 seconds. Sejwal was three seconds adrfit at 30.46. The bronze was won by Md Niaz Ali, also of Bangladesh, with 31.52.

In women's 50m breaststroke, 14-year-old Sri Lankan swimming prodigy Mayumi Raheem made it a hat-trick of golds, clinching top honour with a new national record time of 34.97.

Doli Akhter of Bangladesh finished runner up with 36.14 while her compatriot Mahfuza Kahtun bagged the bronze (36.87).

Arjun Muralidharan finished on the top of the podium in 50m backstroke clocking 28.28. Rubel Rana of Bangladesh, who had a good day in the pool, picked the silver with 28.40 seconds while Heshan Unamboowe claimed the bronze with 28.86.

In women's 4x100m Medley Relay, the Indian quartet of Fariha Zaman, V Tejaswini, Kamath and Paritha Parekh won the gold, clocking 4: 40.42 sec. Pakistan finished second with 4:57.97, and the hosts came third in 4:49.12.

The Indian men also ensured a top podium finish in 4x100m Medley race, covering the distance in 4:00.42. The silver went to Pakistan (4:11.64) and Nepal bagged the bronze (4:06.90).

PepsiCo's Nooyi Defies India's Education Odds

It was three decades ago when it first struck M.A. Pai, then dean of research at the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur, that his engineering college, one of India's finest, wasn't producing enough graduates.

A visitor from the Soviet Union, who had dropped in for tea at Pai's campus home, was shocked to learn that only 1,900 students made use of the sprawling 1,200-acre facility.

``He stood up, looked at the vast expanse and said that the same space in Moscow would hold 10,000 students,'' Pai recalls. ``I looked at our space usage and he was right -- labs were empty in the mornings and classrooms vacant in the afternoons.''

PepsiCo Inc.'s announcement last week that it was promoting Indian-born Indra Nooyi as its next chief executive officer is being reported in the media as, among other things, proof of the strength of the higher education system India has built over the past 50 years. The success is doubly remarkable because in the same period most other government projects, including a plan to achieve universal primary education, have gone nowhere.

No doubt, the seven Indian Institutes of Technology, one Indian Institute of Science and the six Indian Institutes of Management have given a big boost to India's growing cachet among investors. Nooyi graduated from one of the IIMs in 1976.

Peter Drucker, the father of modern management theory, told this columnist in January 2004 that India's edge in higher education would catapult the country to the center of the global economy of the future. India's ``knowledge infrastructure is probably its most important asset,'' Drucker said.

While that may indeed be true, a growing worry within India is the exclusivity of its globally reputed colleges and the resultant opportunity loss for the nation.

Demand/Supply Mismatch

All told, only 5,200 students graduate from these premier institutions each year.

It's too narrow a base for a country of 1 billion people to create its techno-managerial elite and realize its ambition of becoming a knowledge society.

The successes of famous alumni, including Vinod Khosla, a cofounder of Sun Microsystems Inc.; Narendra Karmarkar, the mathematician who wrote a linear-programming algorithm that bears his name; or more recently, Krishna Bharat, the computer scientist who created Google News, are drawing an ever-increasing number of hopefuls to the IITs and IIMs.

It is, therefore, disappointing that not more than 5,000 students in any cohort of young Indians have a chance to obtain a world-class professional education at one of these institutions.

An ocean of mediocrity awaits bright, hardworking students who are neither lucky enough to be perched on one of the few islands of excellence at home, or wealthy enough to pursue education overseas.

The Ignored Majority

The federal government spends a total of 12.5 billion rupees ($269 million) each year on 50,000 students at the IITs, IIMs and other national-level institutions, or 250,000 rupees per capita.

By contrast, for the 6.6 million students enrolled in minor colleges funded by state governments, per-capita federal support works out to just 602 rupees a year, according to recent estimates by researcher Pawan Agarwal at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations in New Delhi.

Restricting the best educational opportunities to an extremely narrow base also reduces the potential talent pool for world-class teachers.

Standards at India's premier educational institutions are sustained by the more academically inclined alumni coming back as professors. This is what enables the IITs to draw Ph.D. holders from the University of California, Berkeley, as assistant professors at a starting base salary of 12,000 rupees a month. By producing less, the IITs and IIMs are limiting their own future expansion.

And boosting the capacity of India's top educational institutions is a big challenge for policy makers right now.

Surviving Quotas

With the government deciding this week to seek lawmakers' approval for reserving more seats in federal-funded higher- educational institutions for people near the bottom of the social pyramid, a scarce public good threatens to become a truly rare commodity.

The hundreds of thousands of aspirants who vie for a seat at an IIT are wary that the expanded quota system -- there's already 22 percent reservation -- will seal their fate. To allay their concerns, the government has vowed to raise the number of opportunities proportionately.

This capacity enhancement should have taken place years -- if not decades -- ago. Spread over time, it would have been less of a financial burden on the government than it is now.

It would also have been much less disruptive.

So why didn't it happen? Technocrats themselves are to blame. Pai had moved a resolution in the IIT Kanpur Senate -- the policy-making body comprising professors and students -- to double the annual intake and also admit freshmen in spring.

Colossal Waste

``The Senate rejected it outright, saying IITs are the Caltechs of India,'' Pai says, referring to the popular acronym for California Institute of Technology, which was part of the U.S. university consortium that helped establish the academic program at IIT Kanpur in the 1960s.

An issue that was so summarily dismissed in 1976 has come back to haunt India as a burning political and economic question three decades later.

For every Indra Nooyi that it is helping create, the top end of the Indian education system is turning away several who must be equally talented. And that is a colossal waste, a much bigger injustice than the one the government is trying to fix with its ill-conceived quota policy.


Dr Hrishikesh Pai (left) and Dr Nandita Palshetkar with the liquid nitrogen containers used to freeze the ova .

The country’s first egg or ova bank was set up in Lilavati Hospital last month, bringing a huge ray of hope to countless women struggling with reproductive problems. Santosh Andhale finds out just how it works

For scores of women with reproductive difficulties, a bank at Lilavati Hospital comes as a bright ray of hope. The country’s first-ever human egg bank was set up at the hospital last month.

Doctors say women with busy lives and successful careers may not have time to catch up with their ticking biological clock, and fertility may be the price they pay. “The biological clock keeps ticking irrespective of external factors and stress and stops by the late 30s or early 40s,” said Dr Nandita Palashetkar, IVF Center, Lilavati Hospital. The bank will be a boon for these women if they decide to conceive at a later date, she said. Also, women suffering from severe endometriosis, premature ovarian failure or early menopause will benefit greatly from the bank.

How it works

“Fresh eggs or ova are retrieved from the donor and then frozen and stored in the egg bank. Four months later the donor is tested for HIV. If the test is negative then these quarantined eggs are thawed and used after ensuring that the eggs are totally free from the possibility of transmitting HIV,” said Dr Hrishikesh Pai.

What is egg donation?

There are many women who are unable to get pregnant with their own eggs due to various reasons. In these cases, eggs are borrowed from younger recipients who are less than 33 years of age. These eggs are fertilised with the recipient’s husband’s sperm and the resultant embryo is places back into the woman’s womb. This procedure is called egg donation.

Who will this benefit

• Women with premature ovarian failure, which can happen due to genetic reasons.
• After ovarian surgery, where the ovaries are ineffective
• Post chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer
• For women who have premature menopause, before they reach 40.
• Women with repeated failures with IVF.
• Menopausal women between the age group of 40 to 55 years, who find it hard to adopt.
• Menopausal patients who have lost a child and want to have another one.

Who can donate

Voluntary Donors: Donors need to be in the age group 21 to 33 years, preferably married and having finished their childbearing functions. The woman will have to be prepared to undergo 11 days of injections, ultrasound monitoring, anaesthesia, surgical transvaginal ultrasound egg retrieval and a short four hours in the hospital.

Shared donors: These are young patients who are also trying to get pregnant through IVF (in vitro fertilisation) /ICSI (Intra Cytoplasmic sperm injection), but cannot afford the cycle. These patients are known to produce many eggs, while undergoing ovarian stimulation. Half these eggs are kept for the patient herself and the other half is donated to a recipient. The recipient in return spends for half the cost of the donor.

How it is done

• The patient is given hormone injections to produce eggs.
• The eggs are then retrieved with the help of an ultrasound machine. This procedure takes around 20 minutes and is performed under general anaesthesia. The patient is discharged after 3 hours.
• These eggs are then dissected by the embryologist in the IVF laboratory. The mature eggs are identified and prepared for freezing.

How does the ova bank function

The dissected eggs are frozen in a straw after a special procedure; the temperatures are gradually dropped down to -80 degrees centigrade with the help of an automated freezer. Following this, rapid freezing is done to -196 degrees centigrade in liquid nitrogen containers.

These eggs can be stored in the containers for 10-15 years.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lekha aims for a golden six and more

She's just fifteen but is swimming like a mermaid in this ocean world of Sri Lanka at the ongoing South Asian Federation (SAF) Games. Blushing like any other teen would, this girl from Navi Mumbai, is however, well aware of the challenges and the goals she aims to achieve.

Having already splashed four golds at the SAF games, she now wants two more. "I came here expecting to win all six and I'm hopeful of doing so," said Lekha Kamath, the std. X student of Father Agnel High School (Vashi).

Lekha has so far won the 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 50m butterfly and the 4x100m team relay golds besides setting a new Games mark in the 50m freestyle.

"It's been a very nice and enriching experience. There has been a lot of encouragement from our coach (Gokul Kamath)." said Lekha. Kamath, also from Vashi, has been coaching Lekha since she was nine years old. Tuesday was an off day for Lekha before she hits the pool again on Wednesday in the hope of scooping two more medals.

Konkani-speaking people should shed differences on script, says MLA

UNITED STAND: N. Yogish Bhat, MLA, with the Konkani flag handed to him to mark the inauguration of `Konkani Bhavishya Din' in Mangalore on Sunday. Seen are (from left) entrepreneur Ronald Colaco; psychiatrist K.A. Ashok Pai; president of Karnataka Ko nkani Sahitya Academy Eric Ozario; president of Mangaluru Konkans, Dubai, James Mendonca and registrar of Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy H.S. Shivarudrappa are seen.

There is a need for all Konkani speaking communities to set aside their differences on script and language to facilitate its inclusion as an optional language in schools, N. Yogish Bhat, MLA has said. The dominant Konkani speaking communities must adopt a policy of give and take to make their dream of the language's inclusion in the official academic set-up a reality, he said.

Inaugurating the `Konkani Future Day' programme organised by the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy here on Sunday, Mr. Bhat said presently there were two streams of thought on how to achieve this dream. "It will be my endeavour to try and unify these streams to project a united stand before the Government for including the language as an optional subject."

One has to take a rationale view to make the best use of either the Konkani or Devanagari script based on ground realities. Besides, every effort must be made to further promote the language through its use in cultural programmes such as Yakshagana, drama and other literary events. The language would grow only when it was in circulation among the people, he said.

K.A. Ashok Pai, psychiatrist, who was the chief guest, regretted that as "human beings we are able to talk but not communicate, hear but not understand. Language comes last in the stage of development of a child and is also the last faculty that an adult forgets with advancing age."

It was, therefore, important that the positive aspect of any language was promoted and there were no fights over trivial issues that stunted its growth, he said.

James Mendonca, president, Mangaluru Konkans, Dubai, and Ronal Colaco, entrepreneur spoke. Eric Ozario, president of the academy welcomed the gathering. H.S. Shivarudrappa, registrar, proposed a vote of thanks. Cultural programmes were organised on the occasion. Those learning/teaching Konkani outside the formal academic set-up under an initiative of the academy were honoured.

Call to further the cause of Konkani

Konkani-speaking communities must continue with activities chalked out to promote the cause of the language and not rest merely because Konkani has received official recognition, K.K. Pai, president of the Konkani Language and Culture Foundation, has said.
It is the duty of Konkani-speaking communities to continue to work for the glorious future of the language, he has said. Presiding over the prize distribution programme here on Saturday as part of the World Konkani Day celebrations organised to commemorate Konkani receiving the official language status, Mr. Pai said the role of every Konkani-speaking community was vital in preserving and protecting the language. Lauding the Catholic Christian community for its efforts in this regard, he appealed for greater unity among the communities in this regard.

Subsidy and corruption in the Indian petroleum industry

By Bhamy V. Shenoy

It is well known that there is a lot of corruption in India's petroleum industry. What is not known is the quantum of money involved, as also how the country's political class is using this industry as a cash cow.

The government-owned oil companies are bleeding and the private companies find it difficult to survive. The government is not allowing the oil companies to pass through the increasing cost of high crude oil prices. There is no urgency on the part of the government or opposition parties to reform energy pricing policy.
What is the quantum of loss to the government as a result of irrational pricing of petroleum products and misused subsidies and why is such a critical issue like petroleum pricing reform not on the national agenda?
Let us begin with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Today the middle class consumers are enjoying a subsidy of about $3.25 (Rs.150) per cylinder. The market for LPG in the commercial and automobile sectors is rapidly growing because of the flexibility of LPG as a fuel. In these markets, LPG is able to command considerably higher prices. As a result, at least 30 percent of LPG classified as domestic is diverted to commercial and automobile markets. This results in the government losing about $3.5 billion per year.
Despite selling LPG in differently sized cylinders and greater monitoring by officials, the government has not been able to stop the illegal practice of diverting domestic LPG to more lucrative markets. Instead of solving the basic problem of selling the same product at three different prices, there is a proposal to define another category of poor that will get the subsidised LPG.
The situation is different in the case of gasoline. For a market where there are more than 42 million two wheelers, 2.5 million three wheelers and eight million cars, the official consumption figure for gasoline is just 7.6 million tonnes based on data for 2004. This is a gross underestimation.
The actual consumption is much higher and it may be as high as 11.8 million tonnes or more. At least five percent of reported naphtha consumption, 10 percent of reported diesel consumption and 15 percent of kerosene distributed through the public distribution system (PDS) may be diverted to adulterate petrol. This gives rise to the government losing at least $2.8 billion of revenues per year.
Naphtha is a precursor to petrol in that by reforming it, petrol is produced. It may not be possible to detect the adulteration of diesel and kerosene even if they are mixed to the extent of 10 percent. To detect quality impairment we need costly instruments. Adulteration of petrol with these three components (there are others as well) will no doubt reduce its quality and gives rise to environmental problem. But petrol pump owners stand to make enormous profit through such blending.
The reason for the adulteration of gasoline is the big price difference between naphtha, diesel and PDS kerosene. When PDS kerosene is sold as low as $0.20 per litre and gasoline at $1.20 per litre and pump owner is given a small margin of $0.014 per litre, temptation is just too much not to adulterate.
Even blending with diesel, though not as profitable as with kerosene, is still profitable since there is a difference of about $0.37 per litre between these two products. Though international price for diesel is higher than gasoline, it is not so in India where diesel is cheaper than gasoline. This is because of higher tax rate on gasoline than on diesel.

On one hand, diesel is diverted to blend it with gasoline. On the other hand lower-priced kerosene - both for PDS and unregulated - is diverted to blend with diesel. It is possible that even some naphtha may also be diverted to blend with diesel - since the after-tax cost of naphtha is less than that of diesel. This blending of kerosene with diesel results in the government losing at least $1.1 billion per year.
The reasons for blending kerosene with petrol and diesel are explained above. Since kerosene is highly subsidized to the extent of $0.26 per litre or $304 per tonne, the pump owners, besides saving on taxes, stand to gain from the subsidies intended for the poor. PDS shop-owners are also beneficiaries. The misuse of subsidy amounts to $1.30 billion per year.
When we add the total tax revenues lost to the government and the subsidies cornered by pump owners, PDS shop owners, rickshaw owners and LPG dealers, they amount to $8.7 billion per year. By any standard this is a staggering amount. This corruption pie is not just shared by dealers of petroleum; it goes into the pockets of bureaucrats and politicians. As a result there is no constituency to stop this siphoning of tax revenues.
The staggering loss because of the irrational pricing policies and misused subsidies is several times the loan and aid India receives from multilateral agencies. By instituting creative ways of helping those below the poverty line, it should be possible to bring down the difference in prices between petrol, diesel and kerosene.
By decreasing the tax on petrol and increasing the taxes on diesel and kerosene, the government can get the same amount of tax as before and also reduce the adulteration and corruption. By issuing stamps for kerosene supply, the poor can continue to be supplied at lower price. Such a scheme was successfully implemented in some district of Karnataka few years ago. But thanks to the pressure by the political class, it was dropped.
Now the Planning Commission has suggested another innovative scheme of using smart card. In fact, one of the strategic recommendations of the recently completed study by the Planning Commission - titled Integrated Energy Study - was to rationalise the energy pricing.
In fact, by reducing tax rates the government may be able to even earn higher revenues by reducing adulteration. What is needed is a strong political will which we do not have today.

On a silent mission to serve God

67-year-old Damodar Shenoy has spent most of his life making idols of Lord Ganesha. But, for this idol maker, life has remained the same over the years. With Ganesha Chaturti just a week ahead, the "God maker" is in full swing moulding clay and shaping them into beautiful Ganesha statues.

This is the only season for them during the year when every house will have a Ganesha idol installed.

Preparing idols of Ganesha is a religious commitment for Shenoy. In the dingy small room near the crowded Gujrathi restaurant near Ramakanti theatre, this sexagenarian gets down to idol making in fulfilment of his commitment to Lord Ganesha.

Shenoy has been carrying on this "Vrata" since 1960 and has made statues of 32 types of Lord Ganeshas.

From an idol as small as 6 inches to a huge 4 feet Ganesha, advancing age has not hindered the dedication of this sculptor, who took to idol making at a very young age.

My children are well placed and have nothing lacking in my life. But I become a worker and get down to the field to get clay during Ganesha Chaturti. I have always loved this work and do it not for money but as a service to the Lord,รข€ tells Shenoy.

During this time of the year, Shenoy becomes a vegetarian and follows a strict diet and leads a life with no impurities in action and thought. Shenoy does not use a mould to prepare the idols, but shapes each statue with his fingers.

What is unique about Shenoy's Ganeshas is that he paints intricate designs on the idols. The Ganesha with a shawl is his speciality.

The idol maker left school when he was in class six and has been into idol making since then. Surely a silent service to God that deserves appreciation.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

India's gold conquest on in South Asian Games

It was all too familiar a tale of Indian gold conquest at the South Asian Games today, as the nation's swimmers, rowers and shooters picked up a bounty of medals on the fourth day of the competition here.

Consolidating their position on the leaderboard, the Indians boosted their overall tally to 39 gold, 14 (rpt 14) silver and six (rpt six) bronze, leaving hosts Sri Lanka a poor second.

The athletes from the emerald island have culled six gold, 15 silver and 23 bronze, while Pakistan occupied the third place with a collection of 4-13-14.

The Indians won 15 gold medals during the day, nine of which came from the water -- swimming contributing six and rowing three.

Indian shooters maintained their clean sweep over gold in shooting, raking in four more from the ranges while squash and table tennis provided one each.

In swimming, 15-year-old Lekha Kamat scooped up her fourth gold medal on her international debut, adding the 100m butterly title with a new Games record and then clinching honours in the 100m freestyle.

Arjun Muralidharan brought further cheers to the Indian camp picking up a gold in men's 100 mt back stroke besides helping his nation garner another in the 4x100 mt freestyle relay. The team, comprising Arjun Muralidharan, Rohit Havaldar, Sandeep Na and Verdhaval, clocked 3:37.41 for a top podium finish.

In women's 50 mt back stroke, Fariha Zaman added another yellow metal to the medal count, while V Tejaswani and compatriot Madhavi Giri ensured a 1-2 finish in women's 400 mt individual medley.

The Indians' bid for a clean sweep of gold was thwarted by the gutsy Sri Lankan Andrew Abeysinghe, who scaled the top podium in men's 100 m back stroke. He had won one gold yesterday also.

The rowers did what their brethren in swimming could not. They captured all the seven gold at stake in the competition, winning the three races in lightweight boats scheduled for the day.

Anil Kumar annexed the men's singles scull title, while the l double scull gold was claimed by Manu Mathew and Bijender Singh.

Narayan Singh, Haridev Kadyan, Saji Thomas and Manjit Singh then combined to row away to glory in coxless fours,

The Indian shooters were on track to emulate the rowers.

Winning four gold medals during the day, the Indians have so far swept all the six yellow medals that have been disposed of till late.

In women's 10m air rifle, Radhika Barale shot to glory to take the individual honours, besides ensuring the team gold for the nation along with Raj Kumari and Navdeep Kaur Dhillon.

The Indians also claimed the team gold in men's 25 mfree pistol, with Amanpreet Singh emerging champion in the individual contest in the same event.

In squash, top-ranked Joshna Chinappa took the gold with a straight 9-6, 9-6, 9-1 annihilation of Deepika Pallikal.

The paddlers completed the golden saga, by winning the men's team championship defeating Sri Lanka 3-1.

Prizes distributed

MANGALORE: Bookmark Colours 2006, drawing competition was organised by Bookmark Stationery shoppe recently. The prizes were given away on Saturday. About 200 students from various schools participated in the competition.

Corporation bank managing director B Sambamurthy gave away the prizes to the winners. Bharath beedi Works president B Ganapathy Pai, directors Nagendra D Pai, Subraya M Pai, Venkatesh M Pai and others were present.

Seven-year-old boy undergoes rare heart and kidney surgery

A NEW LEASE OF LIFE: Cardiac surgeon P.S. Seetharama Bhat and cardiologist C.N. Manjunath with Ravi.

BANGALORE: Doctors at the Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology, the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health here have conducted a rare heart and kidney surgery successfully on a seven-year-old poor boy.

Director of the Jayadeva institute C.N. Manjunath told on Saturday that it was for the first time in the State that a heart and kidney surgery was performed together.

The boy had a malignant tumour in the kidney, which had spread to the heart. The tumour was removed after five hours of surgery.

Ravi, son of Padma of Hoskote in Bangalore Rural district, was first diagnosed at the Kidwai Institute of Oncology as having a Wilm's tumour in the left kidney.

Investigations at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health revealed that the cancer had spread to the heart as well. It was at this stage that the boy was brought to the Jayadeva institute, he said.

While cardiac surgeon P.S. Seetharama Bhat and cardiologist Manjunath conducted the open-heart surgery, paediatric surgeon S. Ramesh removed the left kidney, he said. Dr. Manjunath said that the surgery was done free of cost, thanks to Rs. 35,000 donated by the Badalchand Chordia Trust, and Rs. 65,000 borne by the Jayadeva institute.

QuEST Appoints Ramesh Kamath as CFO

QuEST, a leader in global product development and delivery solutions, today announced the appointment of Ramesh Kamath as the Chief Financial Officer at QuEST. Ramesh Kamath will be responsible for Finance, Legal and Compliance, Risk Management and Investor Relations. Ramesh brings with him 23 years of rich industry experience in Indian and Multinational companies. He has handled diverse work areas like Strategic Planning, Budgetary Control, Risk Management and Internal Audit and Controls for several years and he will be an asset to our Company.

“Ramesh’s financial expertise and demonstrated ability to lead will serve us well as we pursue new initiatives and continue to grow. He brings a depth of knowledge with his experience which will be an asset to our organization and we look forward to the contributions he will make to QuEST’s future”, says Ajit Prabhu, Founder & CEO, QuEST.

On his decision to join QuEST, Ramesh Kamath said,”I am delighted to join QuEST’s senior leadership team led by Ajit Prabhu. QuEST is a proven leader in the engineering services space and is fully geared to cater to the several billion dollar opportunity that the world is bringing to Indian shores. I'm excited to join a company which not only defined this space, but owns the leadership position.”

Prior to joining QuEST, he served as CFO at Progeon, of Infosys for three years. He was responsible for Financial, Legal & Compliance, Risk-Management Commercial & Administrative functions. Additionally, he led initiatives to establish company-wide fiscal and process discipline to build SoX compliance and a strong platform for corporate governance.

He holds Bachelors degrees in Commerce and Law and is a qualified Chartered and Cost Accountant.

About QuEST

Established in 1997, QuEST is a leading end-to-end engineering services firm providing product development and engineering solutions to major global companies. It has established Global Product Development (GPD) Centers, which support product development activities for its customers' product lines. QuEST's expertise ranges from concept designing to drafting and modeling, to analysis to product realization solutions in the following domains: aerospace, civil structures, energy, industrial products, oil & gas and transportation. Using Six Sigma and ISO processes, QuEST partners with a host of Fortune 500 companies to provide better, faster and more cost-optimised solutions to its customers. Over 850 engineers across US, UK, Italy, Germany, Japan and India make our team technically competent and truly global. For more information, visit

Lekha picks up two more golds

India picked up six more gold medals in the swimming event of the South Asian Games on Monday. It has so far won 18 gold of the 21 that were at stake in the last three days.

The cynosure of all eyes was the petite 15-year old Mumbai schoolgirl Lekha Kamath, who added two more gold medals to her kitty. There are two more events for her and maybe Lekha has more to offer.

Lekha started the good tidings with her pet event, the 100 m butterfly, by posting a new Games record. Her 1:04.51s effort bettered existing mark of 1:05.82 set by Richa Mishra in Islamabad two years ago.

Her next gold was in the 100m freestyle where her immediate rival was team-mate Neeraja Balakrishna.

Neeraja actually did a better first 50m but Lekha caught on and surged ahead to touch the pad first at the end.

Though Arjun Muralidharan bagged the 100m butterfly gold, he could not make it a double as Sri Lanka's Andrew Abeysinghe edged him out in the100m backstroke with a record effort.

Joshna Chinappa defeated Dipika Pallikal 9-6, 9-6, 9-1 in the all-India final for the women's singles squash gold.

Tehani and Nirasha of Sri Lanka got the bronze.

In the men's section, Mansoor Zaman defeated Aamir Atlas Khan 9-6, 5-9, 7-9, 9-4, 9-0.

India's Harinderpal Singh and Gaurav Nandrajog got the bronze.

Women shooters excel

On the second day of the shooting events, India bagged the individual and team golds in the women's 10m air rifle competition. Radhika Barale did herself proud with her second international success.

Though her effort of 394 was below her personal best of 397, it helped Radhika win the team gold along with Navdeep Kaur Dhillon and Raj Kumari. Actually Radhika and Navdeep had accumulated 394, the latter slipped in the final shots.

The outcome of the day's second event, the 50m pistol for men, was held over pending disposal of a technical protest by India.

Beginning well

The hockey event, revived after the 1995 Chennai edition, started off well for the reigning champion India, which beat archrival Pakistan 2-0 in the four-team competition (Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are the other two) at distant Matale.

Dominating from the start, India earned the first goal through a 33rd minute penalty with Raghunath being the scorer. The second goal came in the 64th minute through Gurbaj Singh.

Clean sweep

By winning the remaining three gold medals at stake, India bagged all the seven in the two-day rowing competition. The streak started with BEG Rourkee's army man Anil Kumar's effort in the lightweight men's single scull (07:24.99s). This is the first international gold for this 21-year old who is in the Asiad camp being held in Hyderabad.

B. Manu Mathew and S. Bijender Singh emerged the winner in the lightweight men's double scull (06:46.88).

The final gold came in the men's coxless four where B. Narajan Singh Rathore, Haridev Kadyan, Saji Thomas and S. Manjeet Singh clocked 06:12.64s.

The results:

Swimming: Men: 100m butterfly: 1. Arjun Muralidharan (Ind) 56.67s, 2. Ahmed Jewel (Ban) 58.89, 3. Nasir Ali (Pak) 59.37; 100m backstroke: 1. Andrew Abeysinghe (SL) 1:00.11 (NR, Old: 1:01.26, Banu Sachdeva 1995), 2. Arjun Muralidharan (Ind) 1:00.50, 3. Sandeep (Ind) 1:00.76; 4x 100m freestyle: 1. India (Amar Muralidharan, Rohi Havaldar, Sandeep and Khade) 3:37.41, 2. Bangladesh 3:44.64, 3. Sri Lanka 3:44.92.

Women: 100m butterfly: 1. Lekha Kamath (Ind) 1:04.51 (NR, OR: 1:05.82, Richa Mishra (Ind) 2004), 2. Miniruwami Samarakoon (SL) 1:11.85, 3.Eesha Khan (Pak) 1:16.29; 100m freestyle: 1. Lekha Kamath (Ind) 1:00.76, 2. Neeraja (Ind) 1:02.17, 3. Mayumi Raheem (SL) 1:02.85; 50m backstroke: 1. Fariha Zaman (Ind) 31.70, 2. Kiran Khan (Pak) 32.25, 3. Rubab Raza (Pak) 33.41; 400m IM: 1.Tejaswini (Ind) 5:16.21, 2. Madhavi (Ind) 5:21.72, 3. Mayumi Rahee (SL) 5:26.21.

Shooting: Women's 10m air rifle: 1. Radhika Barale (Ind) 498.1 (394 +104.1), 2. Sharin Akhter (Ban) 493.4, 3. Navdeep Kaur Dhillon (Ind) 490.2; Team: 1. India 1175 (Navdeep 394, Radhika 394, Raj Kumari 387), 2. Bangladesh 1154, 3. Pakistan 1147.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Civil rights triumph over attempt to weaken anti-corruption law

Civil rights activists across India were celebrating a government climb-down yesterday, after controversial proposals to dilute the country’s freedom of information law were dropped.

The legislation, introduced last year, gives public access to all government papers with a few limited exceptions.

Thousands took to the streets in cities across India over the past two weeks to protest against what has been seen as an attempt to kill off a law that empowers the poor and tackles corruption.

Leaked copies of a government bill, which was withdrawn late last week, revealed plans to remove crucial details of government work, including file notes, from public view.

Private companies, community groups and individuals have been using India’s Right to Information Act extensively to root out corrupt practices, particularly bribery, in India’s public sector.

“The poorest of the poor are entitled to food subsidies but unless they grease a few palms they can’t get them,” said Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, explaining that minority groups and lower castes are the worst affected .

Nayak trains people in poor communities across India to use the freedom of information law to challenge corrupt officials, known derogatively as “babus” – a name originally given to Indian clerks in the colonial era. When government is more transparent, he said, it is harder to extort money .

In the month of July alone almost 20,000 right-to-information applications were made across India on issues as diverse as ration cards, passports, road repairs, water and electricity connections, embezzlement of social security funds and public sector pay.

More than 1500 volunteers manned information centres outside government offices as part of an anti- corruption drive sparked by outrage over media reports, including sting operations in which officials and police were filmed taking bribes.

“There has been a 180-degree shift in approach,” said Shri Wajahat Habibullah, head of India’s Central Information Commission, an independent complaints body. “We inherited our bureaucracy from the colonial administration and our imperial past – it’s attuned to keeping things secret. But now officials are expected to give out information unless they are told not to.”

There have been close to 3000 complaints of obstruction in providing public information in central government alone up to the end of July. The figures for India’s federal states are unavailable but are thought to be far higher.

In cases where officials conceal or falsify public information, fines can reach 25,000 rupees (£350), the equivalent of a senior official’s monthly salary.

The first contempt-of-court case, involving a Delhi official who failed to pay a fine, took place last week and “people are baying for more”, said Habibullah.

“Until now, officials had no interest in ordinary people but they are being forced to change,” explained Shailash Gandhi, convenor of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI).

The NCPRI claimed to have uncovered widespread corruption in the ruling Congress Party’s flagship employment scheme, which guarantees 100 days’ paid work per year to every rural family living below the poverty line.

“We got the lists of people who were meant to have benefited and found fictional names. Many entitled to work were not included,” he said, adding that people are slowly learning to demand their rights. “The right-to-information law is empowering them. It could transform the way this country is run over the next few years.”

All of which is proving too much for the country’s public sector elite.

“We’ve got a classic ‘Empire Strikes Back’ situation,” said Venkatesh Nayak. “T hey are worried and are trying to backtrack.”

The government withdrew its unpopular proposals following opposition from left-wing parties and reports that the Congress Party chairwoman, Sonia Gandhi, had “reservations”.

“It’s a limited victory,” said Shailesh Gandhi, as protesters held lively demonstrations and street “referendums” in cities across the country yesterday.

“We are still waiting for independence in India – from the brown-skinned rulers who took over when the British left. It will still take some time until we get a real democracy.”

Sunday, August 20, 2006

World Konkani Day on August 19

Konkani Bhasha Mandala Karnataka will organise ‘World Konkani Day’ on Saturday at Loyola Hall St Aloysius Pre-University College at 9.30 am in collaboration with the Akhila Bharatiya Konkani Parishat and Dr T M A Pai Foundation.

MLC Blasius M D’Souza will inaugurate the function. Bahrain Konkani Kutum correspondent Richard Moras, Konkani Education Institution (Linguistic Minority) president Dr U Mohandas Nayak, Saraswat Education Society president Dinesh Gollarakeri, Vishwa Konkani Kendra Nirmana Samithi president Raghunatha M Shet, Besant Education Institutions president Kudpi Jagadeesha Shenoy and Amgele group president P Vitoba Bandarkar will be the chief guests.

Sisilia Govius, a social worker will inaugurate the Folk Dance Competition. G S B Mahila Mandal president Nirmala Kamath and Konkani Cultural Sangh president Raghava Kamath will be the chief guest. The Valedictory function will be held at 4 pm, which will be presided over by Dr T M A Pai Foundation president K K Pai.

Bangalore based entrepreneur P Dayananda Pai, Corporation Bank executive director K L Gopalakrishna, Canara Bank deputy general manager T D Pai, Syndicate Bank deputy general manager K U Shanbogue, Former MLA Octavia Albuquerque, Rakno Konkani Magazine editor Fr Francis Rodrigues and Konkani Bhas Ani Samskriti Foundation president Basti Vamana Shenoy will be the chief guest.

Udupi Co-operative Bank on path of innovation

Udupi Co-operative Town Bank has plans to introduce ATM facility to its customers.

For the purpose the Bank will soon initiate talks with any of the public sector banks for having tie ups with them, said Town Bank president K Krishnaraj Saralaya.

Speaking at a press conference Saralaya announced introduction of on line service to its customers in the main branch, Doddanagudde and Kinnimulky branches. They have plans to introduce the 8 am to 8 pm working hours at its branches, he said.

Udupi Co-operative Town Bank, Ltd, having a working capital of more than Rs 37 crore at the end of March 31, 2006, has gained a net profit of Rs 42.71 lakh. The bank has declared a dividend of 14 per cent.

Founded in 1912 as a co-operative society by Haji Abdulla Saheb it was converted into a bank in the year 1941 and later brought under the control of the Reserve Bank of India in the year 1981.

Krishnaraja Saralaya said that the bank has 6350 members with a share capital of Rs 104.89 lakh. The bank has mobilised deposits to the tune of Rs 28.67 crore.

During the year 2005-06, the bank has advanced Rs 31.16 crore as loans. Out of this Rs 30.16 crore has been recovered.

The bank has kept Rs 2.87 crore as its Reserve Fund and invested Rs 11.02 crore. The bank has maintained its NPA at 6.40 per cent and aims to reduce the NPA to 5 per cent in the coming year.

By considering the stablity, profitablility and punctual maintenance of cash reserve and liquid assets and prompt submission of RBI returns, the Reserve Bank of India has awarded ‘Grade One Bank’ among the four grades.

After considering its profitability and consistency the Co-operative department of Government of Karnataka has appointed an Assistant Director of Audit for its audit and they have awarded ‘A’ grade in the audit classification.

Vice President of the Bank U K Raghavendra Rao, directors K P Madhyastha, P Raghavendra Bhat, H N Ramakrishna Rao, P V Shenoy and chief manager of the bank B V Lakshminarayana were present at the press conference.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

indian daily aacharas and the science...

Indian (daily) achaaras and the science. It is advised to wake up early morning by 5.30 ( In India, Indian time) . This is the ideal time for keeping the brain active for the common man . For saadhakaas , it can be any time after 3.30 am as the brain is fresh to get imprinted with the saadhana message. Sit on the bed and pray for 30 seconds . An advise given by Rishies 3000 years ago and 10 years ago by the experts of WHO.
This aachara gives the time gap for balancing the blood pressure and heart function when the body changes its position from horizontal to vertical level. Touching the earth ( bhoo vandana) aimed at releasing the bio static electricity through your finger, for preventing the arthritis etc affecting your leg.

Avoid bed coffee to prevent the intake of the obnoxious materials from the mouth to the stomach. After preliminary morning routine, take bath for cleansing the external body. Do not walk inside your home before bath as the body odor spread in the air. After bath give a tharpanam saying maathru devo bhava for mother and pitru devo bhava for your father, if your parents are no more. Prayer in the pooja room/ prayer room for atelast 10 minutes for cleansing the mind. 10 times deep pranayaama for cleansing lungs and blood , 5 suryanamaskaras
(which is now knaon as the king of the exercises) for smoothening movable skeletal joints, ( It has 7 yoga asanaas ! 5 suryanamaskara means 35 yogaasanaas). Drink two glass of tulasi water for cleansing the blood by ‘washing’ it. Take coffee/ tea only after 10 minutes.

Do not read the newspaper early morning, it gives a variety of negative news which affect your mind. The psychologists advice to read something else/ do some garden work/office work and then only read the news paper. Help your children to go to school and bless them before they leave home. Go upto the gate for sending them off. Keep punctuality for doing anything. Note down the work to be done in a piece of paper. ‘X’ mark after completing that work. This method saves time and energy. Before food spend few seconds for silent or group prayer, it activates the salivary gland and also the digestive glands. Keep a smiling face. It reduces BP, cholesterol and adrenalin in the blood .

Never think that the life is always positive, it gives strength for facing any incidents. Know that the ‘Positives’ and ‘Negatives’ are temporary. Go to the office/ school/ work place with positive mind and happy mood. Return home if possible at correct time, with a smiling face. Fresh up. Sit with your family and children at least 30 minutes discussing their problems and motivate them. Do, if possible a group prayer or spend ten minutes for prayer after an evening bath. Take atleast one meal a day with all family members. It strengthen family relations give and take love and affection. Appreciate the achievements of your children when they sit for studies in the late evening. Try to go to bed in correct time, which gives the body a biopunctuality. Never keep your head towards north on the bed because the hemoglobin is a magnetic material, which gets blocked in the brain capillary when you sleep lying parallel to the magnetic meridian or earth. It creates headache, irritation, headache etc. Try to avoid south also, if you have enough space to keep your head towards east or west. Before going to
bed spend few seconds for prayer on the bed. All prayer/ reading/working should be by keeping the face towards east, for improving the capacity of the brain functioning. This again helps to maintain the heart functioning smooth as the body changes its position from vertical to horizontal.

Use your ears, eyes, tongue, mind and functional organs for good purposes. Hear good words and make others hear good words. See good things and make others see the good things. Talk good and make other talk good. Think good and make others think good. Do good for others and others also do good for everyone. Make every day a happy day for you, your family members and all those who are associating with you