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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Microbiologists asked to serve society

BELLARY: The 10th annual conference of Indian Association of Medial Microbiologists was inaugurated in the city on Saturday at the Department of Microbiology in Vijayanagara Institute of Medical Sciences(VIMS).

Dr T Prabhu, retired professor of Bangalore Medical College, inaugurated the conference and delivered speech on the importance of Microbiology.

Every year the world had been witnessing hundreds of research works on Virology, Microbiology and Bio-technology. Doctors and experts should work for the betterment of society, he suggested. Dr Prabhu requested the Microbiologists to serve on AIDS, HIV, Japanese Encephalitis and other dreaded diseases.

Dr Sreenivas briefed the history of Microbiology and released a book on the conference. Including VIMS former Director Dr Lalit Mahale, many dignitaries were felicitated on the occasion.

VIMS Director Dr Khaja Nasiruddin, Dr G Pompanagowda, Dr B K B S Murthy, Dr T Ramanath, Dr Ravikumar an d others were present. Doctors, experts, lawyers, administrators of medical institutes, hundreds of delegates and dignitaries had participated in the conference.

The faculty members and students of VIMS will present scientific papers at the conference. On the occasion symposiums would be organised.

Ten-month-old child killed in mishap

KUNDAPUR: A ten-month-old baby was killed and four others were injured in a head on collision between a car and truck at Thrasi Junction on Friday.

The baby has been identified as Tanmay Kini, son of Santhosh Kini and Vinanti Kini of Hubli. Along with Santhosh and Vinanti, their daughter Tanushri (6) too sustained injuries. The entire family was on its way to Ambalpady to attend a function in Udupi from Hubli.

Santhosh, who is working as area manager in a pharmaceutical company in Hubli hails from Ambalpady.

Tanmay breathed his last on the way to the hospital. The Gangolli police have registered a case.

Make optimum use of memory power: Dr Ashok Pai

DAVANAGERE: Students should make optimum utilisation of their memory power to get success in exams, said noted psychiatrist Dr Ashok Pai here on Saturday.

Speaking at the anniversary of Athani Composite Junior College and BS Chennabasappa First Grade College, he said learning process in brain take part at three levels, registration, transfer and reuse process.

The stress, tension, anxiety, depression, confusion and fear which act like obstacles for the smooth flow of memory power.

Dr Pai gave some useful tips to students to get rid of exam fear and how to make maximum use of memory power:

Keep out of anxiety, depression, confusion, tension and stress during exam period.

Do not go to temples when exams approach, not ask what were reasons for the loss of memory. No student will suffer any loss of memory.

The people loss memory power only when they sustain hard injury to their brain and those who are aged over 70 suffer memory loss. Except these cases all others enjoy absolute memory power, learn how to make use of memory power to maximum.

Daily take part in sports activities a minimum of one hour. Sleep for seven hours. Do not think of others, give up all unnecessary things. Get a collection of resources to face and write exams. Improve your self confidence, so that success will come to you.

Do not read till you get disgusted, take part in activity which keep your mood in happiness. A student can get first class by studying for a minimum of five hours in a systematic way for four months had been proved among students, Pai stated.

College lecturers should spare more time for teaching practical to students advised Athani Veeranna, College Chairman.

Principals of Junior and First Grade Colleges Gurumurthy and Rajshekar, chairmen Umapathi and Shivkumar were present.

Community policing likely to get a new orientation

KOCHI: The Pol-Com (Police Communities Initiatives in Kochi City) needs a re-orientation among stakeholders. In the first phase, identity cards were issued to representatives of many communities. But not much activity followed after the first two meetings. This led to confusion among the stakeholders on their role in Pol-Com. "The stakeholders appear not to have understood the real import of the identity cards. Those selected were supposed to go back to their community and take up coordination activities there," said P. Vijayan, City Police Commissioner.

So far 32 identity cards have been distributed to representatives of residents' associations, merchants union, residents of unorganised residential areas such as colonies, manpower consultants, hotel and bar association, private security personnel, vital and important installations and senior citizens.

"Identity cards were issued to the president and general secretary. As there was no follow-up on the part of the police, no activities related to Pol-Com were taken up," said K. Venkitesh Pai, general secretary of Ernakulam Merchants Union. The City Police used to have interactive meetings with members of the Union, but this had become defunct of late. "As there were no major issues to be discussed, we put the meetings on hold," said Mr. Pai. At the same time, the Ernakulam District Residents Association Apex Council (EDRAAC) is demanding more representation in Pol-Com by getting more identity cards. On their part, the EDRAAC is planning to print one lakh more copies of `Police at Your Doorsteps' booklet.

The City Police had published and distributed 10,000 copies of the booklet containing tips on preventing crime and helpline numbers. "We have begun negotiations with sponsors for publishing additional copies," said P. Rangadasa Prabhu, president of the Council. To bring back the focus to Pol-Com, the City Police are planning to convene a meeting of cardholders. "The idea is to fix the agenda for action," said Mr. Vijayan. A meeting of former police officials has also been planned on January 30 at the CMFRI hall.

Konkani Award presented to Padukone

With professionalism and best performance by different sports, Federations India can produce great sports persons, opined former captain of Indian Badminton team Prakash Padukone.

He was speaking after receiving the prestigious Konkani Award, instituted by Dr T M A Pai Foundation Manipal, here on Tuesday. He hoped that a ‘Sports City’ would come up in India where in talented youths are identified, groomed and given a right break at right time.

On the occasion retired Senior Vice Chairman of City Group Vitor J Menezes, noted Harmonium player Pandit Tulsidas Borker and eminent poet Manoharrai Sardessai (posthumously) were also honoured with the Konkani Award.

President of Dr T M A Pai Foundation K K Pai, President of Manipal University Dr Ramdas M Pai, Chairman of Prasar Bharathi M V Kamath, Dr H Shantharam and others were present on the occasion.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Key Hole Surgery (Laparoscopic) for Hernia

UDUPI: The surgical team at Dr T M A Pai Hospital has successfully performed a Key Hole Surgery (Laparoscopic) for Hernia, recently.

The team comprised of Dr Srinivas Pai, Dr Achleshwar Dayal and Dr Vinayak Shenoy were performed ‘Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery’, a most modern surgery for hernia for the first time in this region.

A press release from the hospital said, surgery is the only permanent solution for hernia and this new surgery is far more beneficial than the existing surgery.

The benefits of the surgery are minimal pain, shorter hospital stay and return to normal state as faster as compared to any other procedure. It can be performed through Keyholes and both the sides at the same time, release added.

Five public sector banks to see change of guard

Five public sector banks — IDBI Ltd, Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India — will see a change of guard shortly. The chairmen and managing directors of these banks are due to retire shortly and the finance ministry has called executive directors of eight banks for an interview to fill the vacancies on Wednesday.

Ashok Kumar Jha, finance secretary, Vinod Rai, banking secretary, Reserve Bank of India deputy governor Leeladhar, management guru Pritam Singh and former State Bank of India chief Janaki Vallabh will conduct the interviews. Candidates with residual service of 2 years and more are likely to take precedence.

The panel has called K R Kamath, ED, BOI, Alok K Misra, ED, Canara Bank, Allen Pereira, ED, OBC, SA Bhatt, ED, UCO Bank, George Joseph, ED, Syndicate Bank, Subodh Kumar Goel, ED, Allahabad Bank, R S Reddy, ED Union Bank of India and MS Sundara Rajan, ED, Indian Bank .

Sources indicate apart from the eight EDs, there would be a lateral movement of smaller bank CMDs to bigger banks. K C Chakravarthy, CMD, Indian Bank, M D Mallaya, CMD, Bank of Maharashtra and T Narayanasami, CMD, Indian Overseas Bank, are names being considered for new assignments.

planetRE Launches First Web 2.0 Based On-Demand Broker Automation Platform

planetRE, a leading technology provider for online real estate, has launched planetRE 2.0TM- the real estate industry's first Web 2.0 based On-Demand Broker Back Office Platform. It comprises of planetRE ComplianceTM a rigorous rules-based engine providing transaction, document, and compliance management and planetRE MoneyTM that provides comprehensive financial management and ERP bolted with the most intelligent business analytics and reporting.

"The integration of planetRE Compliance and planetRE Money offered with enterprise wide role-based access is a killer application for real estate brokers nationwide," said Subrao Shenoy, CEO of planetRE. "The products that have existed in the market have been shrink wrapped desktop solutions stretched over outdated database technology. planetRE 2.0 is an on-demand platform, enabling brokers, agents, clients, and service providers to interact securely with rich Web collaboration. A real estate broker can now see his/her financials instantly on a Blackberry type device, rather than an accountant taking days to generate them."

planetRE Compliance has been an established product on the market since 2003, having closed thousands of transactions with many national customers. It features integrated work-flow management, electronic signatures, high performance document management, integrated file audits, and risk management for mega brokers. Included is planetRE VaultTM, that provides industry's first long term transaction and document storage/archival technology built on RSA SecurID ®. Built to suit the rigorous audit needs of regulatory bodies in different states, it provides the most superior risk management platform for brokers in multiple states.

Kolleen Kelley, broker for Liberty Realty, Las Vegas, Nevada, says, "planetRE has helped us automate our transactions, file audits, and provide superior client service over the years. Their support and technology has been exemplary".

"planetRE has been able to deliver a powerful platform to our brokers above others in the industry," says Michael Rahmn, vice president of Technology for Windermere Real Estate Services, based in Seattle, Washington.

"We looked at several transaction management platforms in the industry. We found planetRE to be the most complete and user-friendly platform available that we can offer to our agents, client base, and our vendors," says Kenneth Scala, president of CENTURY 21 Access America.

"planetRE has delivered a valuable technology to our organization for compliance, document management, and client service," says John Stone, Broker Owner of Coldwell Banker Mountain Leisure Properties in Groveland, California.

planetRE Money is the first on-demand ERP system for real estate brokers designed for enterprise wide access that integrates with Compliance. Most financial systems are geared for accountants and CFOs and have no automated connection to compliance. Since compliance has grown significantly complex in many states, many brokers may cut accurate commission checks on incomplete files; thereby increasing their risk. planetRE Money allows brokers and office managers to automate compliance, process accurate commissions, integrate G/L, provide real-time financials on their branches, run intelligent and interactive analytics across any cross section of their business. planetRE Money embeds advanced techniques of OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) with highly sophisticated database architecture with built in interface to major franchise financial reporting systems.

"Brokerage financials has always been an invisible back office function" says James Meader, broker/owner of REMAX Today, San Mateo, California. "planetRE Money promises to bring financials out of the closet and in hands of sales managers and owners so they can get real time information on financials in order to make intelligent decisions on their business."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Golden jubilee year for Udupi Law College

The Udupi Law College is celebrating its golden jubilee year during the academic year 2006-07. The college, which was founded by Dr T M A Pai and renamed as Vaikunta Baliga College of Law has produced as many as 5,650 lw graduates, many of them are now practicing as advocates in the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and other places.

Speaking to press persons Principal of the college Prof M M Nadig said to mark the occasion the college has planned a series of programmes including a national level Moot Court competition.

At the moot court, 29 teams representing different colleges, out of which 14 teams from out of states, will compete. At the finals, high court judges themselves will deliver judgement, he added.

Lokayukta N Santhosh Hegde will inaugurate the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the college. Students of the college are holding ‘Law Fest-2007’, a Mangalore University level Inter Collegiate variety entertainment competition. High Court Judge Justice Ram Mohan Reddy will inaugurate the Moot Court competition.

At the valedictory of the moot court competition, Justice Ram Mohan Reddy, Justice N Kumar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer will be the chief guest and Chairman of Dr T M A Foundation K K Pai will preside over the programme.

Alumni Re-Union and honouring of the first batch students and former principals of the college on February 10, valedictory of the golden jubilee celebrations and release of souvenir on March 3.

VWF Industries awarded silver shield

VWF Industries Pvt. Ltd., formerly known as Vijay Wires and Filaments Ltd., the flagship company of VWF Group founded by B.R. Pai, has been one of the prominent exporters from the city of Mysore. It was awarded silver shield for Star Performer (large enterprise) 2004-05 in the product group of non-ferrous metals and products by Engineering Export Promotion Council recently. G. Radhakrishnan, Vice- President, received the award on behalf of the company from Prof. K. Anbazhagan, Minister of Finance, Tamil Nadu.

VWF has been manufacturing wide range of Tungsten and Molybdenum products for Lighting and Electronic applications. It has also diversified into manufacturing diamond dies and speciality lamps and is exporting over 75 per cent of its production to 19 countries around the world.

Outstanding Konkani awards announced

The Dr T M A Pai Foundation has announced its annual Outstanding Konkani Achievers’ award of the year 2007. Victor J Menezes, retired senior vice president of New York City Group Inc., well-known badminton player Prakash Padukone, famous musician Pandith Tulasidas Borkar from Mumbai and noted Konkani poet and litterateur late Dr Manohar Roy Sardesai (posthumously) have been selected by the Foundation for the award.

The award presentation ceremony was held at “Chaitya” auditorium of Hotel Valley View in Manipal on January 23 at 5.30 pm, informed H V Kamath, Honorary Secretary of the Foundation.

City gets polluted water: Sewage flows into Devaraya canal

Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) and Dr. Ajay Drinking Water Foundation have alleged that huge quantity of sewage water is being let into Devaraya Canal, next to Kariyamma Temple (near Belagola) severely contaminating the water.

Speaking at a press conference here yesterday, Foundation Convenor Dr. A. Ramalingam and Dr. Bhamy V. Shenoy of MGP alleged that though letters were written four months ago to the City Corporation and Karnataka Pollution Control Board, the officers have not taken any action.

They said that water from Devaraya Canal is pumped from Belagola to Vani Vilas Water Works where it is processed and supplied as drinking water to Mysore City.

It is not possible to process and purify water for drinking purpose, if quantity of pollution is high in water. The people who consume water have to face many health hazards. The unprocessed water is used by many factories, villagers and residents.

Dr. Shenoy and Dr. Ramalingam attributed the recent deaths of two women, Bharathi and Shantamma in Ekalavya Nagar, to the contaminated water.

They said that the tests conducted by MGP and the Foundation have shown that the water has an extremely high bacterial content and that even processed tap water drawn from Yadavagiri tank is contamined. It is quite likely that filteration and chlorination of water are not rendering it safe for drinking.

They said that it is shocking that even four months after MGP drew the attention of authorities nothing had been done so far.

They complained that many people are using unprocessed water due to which they are suffering from throat pain, jaundice, dysentery and other diseases. Only some factories such as Wipro, J.K. Tyres and institutions like GSS Samsthe provide potable water to their people. But even they are exposed to contamination when they eat at neighbouring roadside eateries. They opined that all the factories should provide pure drinking water to their workers.

Suitable sign boards have been put up by MGP and Found-ation asking residents not to drink water from these taps.

Ignorant officers of V.V. Water Works

Dr. Bhamy Shenoy said that when he met the authorities of VVWW, they said that water is supplied not from Devaraya Canal but from Varuna Canal. If it was true, how had the authorities stated that for three months water supply would be hit during last year, Shenoy questioned.

He said, even if it is assumed that water is supplied from Varuna Canal, it is not being treated as per the tests conducted by MGP. This clearly shows the ignorance of the authorities or their callous attitude in answering civic problems.

He said it is the duty of the authorities to issue notices to factories not to use this unprocessed and polluted water.

Your grocer will sell beer & wine soon

Wine lovers and beer guzzlers can now pick up their weekend stock from a shopping mall nearby or a grocery store across the road. The state government has freed wine and light beer from the clutches of ‘liquor stores’ and bars.

A few weeks ago, the state excise ministry quietly cleared a proposal that allows retailers to sell wine and mild beer. The proposal, subsequently approved by state excise minister Ganesh Naik, has, however, created a new licensing system called SLBR 2 for non-liquor stores. The licence, to be renewed yearly, will be issued for what’s being called ‘soft’ liquor.

The district collector is the licencing authority for this category unlike the earlier system where the state excise department had the sole right to issue a liquor licence. “Any shop can now apply for a licence to the collector and store or/and sale beer and wine,” a senior state government official told ET. Along with retail shops, malls or grocery stores, eating joints can also serve wine even if they don’t possess a restaurant or hotel licence, a source said.

According to officials from the state excise ministry, this is possibly the precursor to exclusive wine bars which are prevalent in other countries. The Maharashtra government is carefully building political consensus on the tricky issue. Similar to pubs, the proposed wine bars would confine to offering locally made wine and snacks.

However, political watchers, think more than the decision, the timing is significant. It comes when the Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar’s home town Baramati is all geared up for beer baron Vijay Mallya’s first winery. As reported by ET on January 11, Mr Malya has joined hands with the Pawar family to set up what is being touted as the biggest winery in India. Prataprao Pawar, the elder brother of the Maratha strongman, is likely to be on the board of Four Season’s Winery in which Mr Mallya’s United Brewery will hold a 51% stake.

The proposed plant is being planned as a chateau winery in the midst of a 330-acre vineyard that will have a five million-litre capacity (7 million bottles) and is expected to attract investments of over Rs 70 crore. Four Seasons is hoping to hit the market with its first premium offering later this year.

“You can call it a mere coincidence,” a state excise official quipped when asked about the timing of the government’s decision. Mr Pawar, for quite some time, has been advocating freeing of wines from the restrictions that apply to hard liquor. His pro-active support last year saw the state government coming out with a wine policy that showered a slew of sops to wineries. Not to mention the fact that Pawar family produces nearly 6,000 tonnes of grapes every year.

Kamat Hotels posts net profit up 28 pc

Kamat Hotels (India) posted a net profit of Rs 8 crore up 28% and net sales of Rs 34 crore up by 43% for the quarter ended December 06.

The Indian hospitality company is understood to be looking at global markets like China and South Africa and at domestic partnerships.

Kamat brands span across all segments from a five star brand-Orchid ecotel to 4 star ecotel - Lotus Suites to budget brand - Kamfotels to heritage hotels and vegetarian restaurant chains.

TAPMI withdraws claim over land

TAPMI and T A Pai Management Institute Trust, Manipal through a memo submitted to the High Court, have withdrawn their claim over the land in dispute at End Point.

With this, one of the hurdles in the way of constructing a District Offices’ Complex- Mini Vidhan Soudha near End Point in Manipal has been cleared. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, who was here on a official visit, reiterated government’s decision to construct Mini Vidhana Soudha, at End Point and said Rs 12 crore had already been earmarked for the same.

District-in-charge Minister Dr V S Acharya said, the proposed structure would include DC’s office, administrative offices and the office of Zilla Panchayat.

The proposed ZP building under construction near the present DC’s office, would be converted in to a educational complex.

It is to be noted here that works of levelling of the land at End Point, for the proposed Mini Vidhana Soudha, had begun two years back and as the T A Pai Management Trust had approached the High Court, making the State Government, the Financial Secretary of Revenue Department, the DC of Udupi and Tahasildar as parties. As they had sought stay order on the same, the work had been suspended.

Friday, January 19, 2007

P G Kamath On His Way Out From Lexmark

P G Kamath, general manager, Lexmark India has put in his papers ending about five years association with the printing solutions vendor.

"I have resigned from Lexmark after a good and challenging stint. I now look forward for good opportunities," Kamath told ChannelTimes adding that his association with Lexmark will come to an end in March 2007.

Market sources also indicated that a Bangalore based national distributor could be roped in as the vendor's import partner and Lexmark could perhaps end up adopting the offshore business model.

However, making it clear that he is opting out from the company on extremely good terms, Kamath said that his exit will have no adverse impact on the channel front in India.

"The channel need not panic as Lexmark business will continue," said Kamath, who took over the charge of Indian operations of Lexmark when the company was passing through tough times.

The resignation has fuelled speclations among Lexmark partners as the vendor had made desperate attempts to revive its sagging business and Kamath himself had played a pivotal role in entering into regional distribution model.

"Lexmark will realign its business model," Kamath said.

Pradeep G Kamath better known amongst his peers as PG, who brought the flavour of his stint with distribution major Ingram, is also respected as a seasoned channel watcher. As vice president Marketing at Ingram Micro, Kamath is also credited for spearheading marketing initiatives.

As part of Kamath's revival plans for the printing solutions vendor, the company had roped in Champion Computers for the North, Galaxy Computech for the East, Dikibi Enterprises of Pune for Maharashtra, Madras Computech in Tamil Nadu and Netlink Infocomm in Gujarat as regional distributors giving them the mandate to cater to the respective regions exclusively.

Kamath calling it a day at Lexmark on one hand could dampen the channel in pursuing their business with Lexmark products, market sources also suggested that the vendor will enlist the services of " a master importer who will distribute Lexmark printers to Indian channel".

Following this move, another assumption that is gaining credence in the market is that possibly the entire distribution network of the company including the key distributor could also be recast.

Liver Damage and Lindsay Lohan: A Warning Signal for Young People?

Reports of possible liver damage from alcohol abuse by actress Lindsay Lohan have helped debunk the myth that liver damage and cirrhosis of the liver won't happen to someone in their 20's.

News reports that actress-singer Lindsay Lohan may have liver damage have made many people in their 20's more aware that liver damage is not something that happens to middle-aged people who have abused alcohol for years or even decades.

"Whether the reports about Ms. Lohan are true or not, people in their teens and 20's should be made aware that liver damage, even cirrhosis, can happen to them," according to Dr.Ratnakar Kini.

According to the reports, Lohan has liver damage caused by too much drinking. The ‘National Enquirer’ claims that the problems were discovered during Lohan’s recent stint in hospital to have her appendix removed. “Lindsay’s liver panel shows her drinking is taking a terrible toll on her health. Her liver enzymes are extremely elevated, and doctors warned her if she doesn't quit boozing she could die.”

Lohan, who 20 years old and not yet of legal drinking age, is famous for her excessive partying. Her representative, Lesley Sloan-Zelnik, has confirmed that Lohan has checked into a rehabilitation program following months of speculation about her overuse of alcohol.

Dr. Kini adds, "It doesn't take 20 or 30 years of alcohol abuse to cause liver damage or cirrhosis of the liver. If you drink too much and too often, it might only take a few years before long term liver damage begins to appear. So it can certainly happen to people in their 20's. It can even happen to people in their teens if they start drinking young enough."
Dr. Kini recently authored a series of articles related to the human liver and liver problems. The articles have been published on the Internet at Topics covered by the site include liver damage, cirrhosis of the liver, liver cysts, fatty liver disease, liver detoxification, liver cleansing and liver cancer.

Dr.Kini is a Gastroenterology resident at the Department of Digestive Health and Diseases, Chennai, India (formerly known as “Madras”). He is a Graduate in Pediatrics from The Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children in Chennai .

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ernakulam retains title

KOCHI: After winning its maiden men's title after a decade-long wait last year, Ernakulam has now made winning a habit. It retained the men's and boys' under-16 trophies in the K.C.M. Mather Kerala State inter-district tennis championship at Kadavanthra on Wednesday.

With its young stars Rynold Timothy, Jaisal Kohli and Aditya Bhat playing on home courts, Ernakulam held all the aces in both the finals. But, with State player Binu Mani missing from the Thiruvananthapuram line-up, the spice was missing from the men's title-clash.

The host beat Thiruvananthapuram 2-0 in both the men's and under-16 boys' finals.

Thiruvananthapuram, however, won the women's title, blanking Thrissur 2-0. The Kerala Tennis Association President, Mr. K.M. Noordin Mather, gave away the prizes.

The results: Men: Finals: Ernakulam bt Thiruvananthapuram 2-0 (Rynold Timothy bt Sharath Lal 6-0, 6-3; Sanjo T. Mathew bt N.R. Abhilash 6-2, 4-6, 6-3). Third place: Thrissur.

Boys: U-16: Ernakulam bt Thiruvananthapuram 2-0 (Jaisal Kohli bt G.L. Vivek 7-6 (7-4), 6-1; Aditya Bhat bt R.S. Advaith 6-3, 6-3). Third place: Thrissur.

First silent children's film to release in April

MUMBAI: The first full length silent film for children, My Daddy Strongest, has just been completed and awaits an April 2007 release.

The entire shooting for the film has been done in London. Producer Suresh Pai says, "My Daddy Strongest is a film for kids, who comprise more than 30 per cent of our population. We make so many films but fail to deliver good entertainment to children. Silent films can be viewed by the entire world, as there is no language barrier. A silent film is always the a very difficult form of visual communication, an art that was made popular by Charlie Chaplin. In India, southern filmmaker Singhitam Shreeniwas Rao made Pushpak with Kamal Hassan, but after that, there have been hardly any efforts in the direction."

Adds Pai, "My Daddy Strongest is about a father, played by Kumar Gaurav, a scientist, and his deaf and mute son (played by Abhijit), who mistakenly assumes his father to be the strongest man on earth. It so happens that the scientist invents a product, after consuming which, he becomes the strongest man on the planet, something like Popeye.. The story is based in the UK and we have shot extensively in London and Stratford (Shakespeare's birthplace). The film is budgeted around Rs 20 to 25 million (Rs two to 2.5 crore). Unlike Pushpak, however, we are adding special sound effects in the background.

The film is currently in the post-production stages and the makers plan to release it in April this year. Talks are on with corporates for a worldwide release, says Pai.

Directed by Rahul Kapoor, the film also features Vishwajeet Pradhan, Bhairavi Goswami, UK actor Tammy Jones and child star Loveena Tandon. It has been made under the banner of Sri Mahalsa Siddhi Creations. Kamal Seth is the presenter of this film.

Pai has earlier co-produced Ansh, starring Abbas, Ashutosh Rana, Shrabani Mukherji and others. His second film Naam Gum Jaayega starring Dia Mirza, Mandira Bedi, Aryan Vaid and Divya Dutta was a box-office disaster.

Manipal University plans global foray

Manipal University plans to set up campuses in Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Antigua. The university will start work on a medicine-based branch campus in Antigua this year which is likely to start working next year.

According to the Manipal Education and Medical Group Chairman Ramdas Pai, plans have also been firmed up for a medical college in Sri Lanka but the project was stalled due to some political uncertainties.

“The governments of the three countries have invited us to set up colleges. They will also help us acquire cheaper land and give the colleges government recognition, which is very important,” Pai said.

They had also received invitations from the US government and governments of countries in West Asia for setting up colleges.

The university plans to invest about $25 million in the college in Antigua and, if the project comes through, another $25 million in Sri Lanka.

At present, it has a college in Malaysia and a campus in Dubai. A college in Nepal has been opened in affiliation with local universities. The university said it planned to introduce new courses at their campus in Bangalore.

“So far, we have been focussing on health sciences, but now we are looking at introducing courses in humanities and other streams,” Pai said.

Earlier, the university announced it was going to introduce online entrance tests for admissions to its undergraduate courses. It had introduced online entrance exams to post graduate courses last year.

'Be aware of threats posed by globalisation'

TRIPUNITHURA, Kerala: S G Bhat, Vice-Chancellor of National University of Advanced Legal Studies, inaugurated the seminar on ˜Intellectual Property Rights and Ayurveda at the Government Ayurveda College here on Tuesday.

It was organised by the college in association with Kerala Council for Science Technology and Environment. College principal C Rathnakaran presided over the function.

In his inaugural address, Bhat urged the ayurvedic physicians to face the challenges put forward by the modified laws regarding the patent. "We should be aware of the threats posed by globalisation, but should try to exploit its positive aspects," he said.

P Pushpangadan, Director-General of Amity International Herbal Drug Development, explained the intricacies of patent laws and the need for understanding the history of ayurveda.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Authentidate sells local holdings

Authentidate Holding Corp. is severing its last ties to the Capital Region.
The Berkeley Heights, N.J., company, formerly known as Bitwise Designs Inc., is selling its local operations to a management group for $8.5 million.

Those operations include DocStar, a document management company, and Computer Systems International, a computer networking firm. Both operate from a building located at the Riverside Technology Park in Schenectady.

The buyout group is being led by Tom Franceski, who is president of DocStar and CSI, and Gregg Laird, who is director of marketing.

Reached Wednesday, Laird declined to comment about the transaction. Franceski could not be reached for comment.

Authentidate was launched as Bitwise Designs in Troy two decades ago, assembling personal computers on demand.

It later moved its operations to Schenectady, but after new management took over two years ago, the company's headquarters were moved to New Jersey. About 65 employees work locally.

Authentidate said the local group would be paying the company $7 million in cash, and the remaining $1.5 million will be financed with a 15-year note.

Authentidate CEO Suren Pai said a definitive agreement between the two parties is expected to be reached within a few weeks.

Pai said the company's security software unit, which makes an electronic postmark for the U.S. Postal Service, will continue to be run out of the New Jersey and Germany offices. He said the decision to sell the two Capital Region units was part of an effort to focus the company's business on that security software unit. The company lost $17.8 million in its last fiscal year.

He said that the Schenectady operations account for about 65 percent of Authentidate's annual revenues, which comes to about $10.4 million.

Traffic Signal in Delhi

A A Films' Anil Thadani has acquired Madhur Bhandarkar's latest venture, Traffic Signal, for an undisclosed amount.

Thadani will release the film in the Delhi circuit in association with Percept Picture Company. Shringar Films Pvt Ltd has already acquired the film for the Mumbai circuit and will release with more than 300 prints, it is learnt. The film is produced by PPC and stars Konkona Sen Sharma, Ranvir Shorey, Neetu Chandra and Kunal Khemu.

"Yes, Anil Thadani has acquired Madhur Bhandarkar's Traffic Signal," confirms A A Films' Guru Shenoy. "At present, we plan to release with 35 prints in Delhi circuit but the number of prints could go up before the release."

Traffic Signal has already been passed by the censors with a U/A certificate without a single cut, and is being readied for a 2 February release.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Alcohol industry in India - High-spirited growth

By Dr. Uday Lal Pai

In a country that still frowns on drinking, about 220 million cases of beer and branded liquor were sold last year and annual sales of alcoholic beverages are growing by about 20 percent annually.

More than half of India's 1.1 billion population is below the age of 25 years and incomes are rising, but strict government controls on advertising, manufacturing capacities, distribution, retail and pricing pose a big challenge to firms seeking growth.

An upwardly mobile young population with a propensity to spend is guzzling booze like never before. Consumption of beer has jumped 51% from 70 million cases in 2002 to 105 million cases in 2006 while consumption of Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) grew 53% to 115 million cases during the period.

The country has one of the youngest population, with around 50% citizens below 25 years. A free media and increasing exposure to western influences have lifted the stigma off liquor consumption, while rising income is stoking the shift from country liquor to more refined varieties, said a report by SSKI Research.

Wine makes up only a fraction of the $1.8-billion alcoholic drinks market, but is growing nearly three times as fast as whisky or rum, the traditional favorites. India's top three wine makers have more than two-thirds of the market of more than 5 million bottles, valued at $60 million, and they are seeing bigger demand even for pricey sparkling wine. One estimate has it that India's total wine market is around 0.9 million cases. Of this, imported wine constitutes 150,000 cases. In a global perspective, this is really minuscule. The wine market in the US is estimated at 250 million cases and in France, around 320 million cases. To the savvy marketer, this obviously translates into a huge opportunity.

Per capita consumption of beer, at 0.7 litre, is among the lowest in the Asia Pacific, and imported beer brands have less than 0.5 per cent of a market forecast to grow nearly 20 per cent annually to 1.2 million litres by 2010, or worth $22 billion.

However, India has quietly emerged as the largest international whisky market, toppling the US by volume. Industry data for '05-06 suggests that Indian whiskies, non-matured alcohols mostly made from molasses, and hence not considered whisky by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), reported depletions of about 60m cases (9-litre each). In comparison, the US recorded combined sales of Bourbon, American and Scotch whiskies at 48-50m cases, putting it one notch below India.

Indian whiskies account for 98% of domestic whisky consumption, reporting 8-10% growth annually, which makes it one among the fastest growing whisky markets anywhere in the world.

The industry's prospects are attractive, given the inherent strengths of the incumbents, the high barriers to entry for new players in terms of procuring licenses and tying up nation-wide bottling arrangements and the long gestation period involved in building brands, especially as there is a ban on direct advertising.

The fast growth in the domestic alcohol market has caught the attention of a number of domestic and international firms. That has already drawn the likes of top drinks maker Diageo, Pernod Ricard, LVMH's Moet Hennessey and SABMiller, with Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc and Danish brewer Carlsberg also firming up entry plans. Liquor major Seagram has most recently entered the locally produced wine segment, while the nascent industry has also seen an increase in private equity interest this year. In the beer business, leading names such as Anheuser-Busch and InBev, to name just two, could be potential entrants, what with several breweries under construction in the northern States. On the spirits side, Diageo, the largest drinks company in the world, has already inked a joint venture with Radico Khaitan for a new line of products. In time, choice, it seems, will be the buzzword for the Indian consumer.

United Spirits is a good play on the Indian consumption theme, more so after the consolidation has bestowed on it significant size and scale. But the stock's sharp run-up in the homestretch to the completion of the restructuring exercise warns to adopt a cautious stance. An entry into the stock on dips from the current level can be made.

The complexion of the liquor business in India changed with the UB Group finally acquiring the spirits businesses of both Shaw Wallace and Herbertsons. These two outfits, along with a few more, have been folded into McDowell's to form United Spirits, which will control about 50 per cent of the total spirits market. Apart from giving the business scale, the acquisition also provides the UB Group combine with enough headway to change it cost structure, be it in rationalizing facilities, phasing out tail-end brands or optimizing advertising expenses.

The UB Group is keen on taking a "re-look" at its manufacturing activities as part of the group's plan to become a global leader in spirit business. According to the President & Chief Financial Officer of the UB Group, Ravi Nedungadi, "We have an aggressive plan in the spirits business. In fact, $1 billion have been earmarked for overseas acquisition." He indicated that the group was considering the possibility of acquiring a scotch whisky-making unit in Scotland. Similarly, it was on the lookout for vineyards in South Africa and Australia.

Investors can consider buying into Radico Khaitan in small lots. The company has made significant strides over the past few years and has a 12 percent market share. Radico Khaitan says that in the current year (2006-07) and next year (2007-08) he expects the topline to grow by 25 percent in turnover, and the bottomline by 20-25 percent. At the moment he has no active plans for manufacturing wine in India; "the wine market is not large, it is only half-a-million cases or 5 percent of the total liquor market which is 100 million cases. In 3-5 years, Radico is to become an Indian company with a very strong global presence.

Canara to raise $100m tier-I cap

Canara Bank Chairman and Managing Director M B N Rao said today the bank plans to raise $100 million (Rs 443 crore) hybrid Tier I capital from overseas by March.

The bank raised $250 million (Rs 1,107 crore) of upper Tier II capital recently. The state-owned bank has postponed its plans of raising equity capital.

“I am able to generate enough capital funds at attractive rates without diluting shareholders’ equity,” Rao told reporters on the sidelines of a banking technology seminar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries.

The bank has enough room to raise Tier II capital that will be sufficient for at least one year, Rao said.

“But that doesn’t prevent us from raising equity as that is a strategic decision,” Rao said.

Rao does not expect the government’s borrowing programme to be high in the years to come as, “tax collection is robust and economy is doing good.”

The banks’ statutory liquidity ratio is 29 per cent.

The bank is looking at divesting a minority stake in its mutual fund arm to a global company, Rao said.

It was reported earlier that the minority partner could be the Netherland-based Rabo Bank’s asset management company, Robeco.

Rao said the bank will retain majority stake in CanBank Mutual Fund.

The final decision for induction of a strategic partner will be announced in next few weeks.

Canara Bank is planning to float a life insurance joint venture by March. The state-owned bank is likely to retain the majority stake in the planned life insurance subsidiary.

However, Rao declined to give any further details on the insurance venture.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Rare heart surgery saves a 3-year-old

Manipal Heart Foundation conducts rare RSOV surgery on a child

In a pioneering effort, the paediatric cardiac surgery team at Manipal Heart Foundation have treated three-year-old Jyothi from Tumkur who was suffering from Acute Rupture of Sinus of Valsalva (RSOV). The successful procedure was performed by a team led by Dr Joseph Xavier, Consultant and Head of Department of Cardiac Surgery, Manipal Heart Foundation.

Jyothi was referred by her paediatrician for acute breathlessness of three weeks, to Dr Anand Shenoy, Consultant Cardiologist, Manipal Heart Foundation, when he visited Manipal Tumkur Hospital. A 2D echo cardiogram was conducted by Dr Anand and he diagnosed her to be suffering from acute rupture sinus of valsalva (cardiac emergency). The baby was immediately shifted to Manipal Group's referral hospital in Bangalore.

RSOV is a rare condition where there is a weakness of cusp of the aorta - largest artery in body carrying pure blood from heart to body - and it ruptures into the other chambers of the heart called atrium. Patients develop heart failure and increased pressure in the lungs. This condition, in acute form, is usually seen in young adults and it was a rare case where a baby had this problem.

Dr Xavier informed, "In such conditions, emergency surgery or device closure at the earliest is the best option. But, for Jyothi, device closure was not possible because of her age and unusually large size of defect. We had to undertake the baby for emergency open heart surgery done as a life-saving measure."

The parents of the baby come from a poor social economic status and the hospital's Medical Social Works team raised funds for the surgery. Dr Nagendra Swamy, Group Medical Director, Manipal Health Systems said, "Manipal Heart Foundation is amongst the largest ultra modern cardiac care centres in Asia. It comprises four dedicated operation theatres with a potential to perform over 10 heart surgeries daily. It was the first in South India to deploy two ultra-modern digital catheterisation labs, and has potential to conduct 30 cardiac procedures daily."

At a remarkably high success rate of 98 per cent, much better than the international average, the Manipal Heart Foundation has conducted over 8,500 heart surgeries and over 17,000 procedures in invasive cardiology. This includes many rare surgeries and procedures, many firsts and hundreds of complex congenital problems and re-do surgeries.

Kamat Hotels sees room to grow in multi-segments, global plans

In a bid to scale up operations, Indian multi-brand hospitality company, Kamat Hotels (KHIL), is venturing into global markets and seeking domestic partnerships.

The 70-year-old domestic hotel and restaurant chain is entering China and South Africa, and has signed up with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) to operate restaurants in its retail outlets along the highways called ‘Vithal Kamats’ and budget hotels called ‘Kamfotels’. It is also setting up heritage hotels by developing old forts as hotels in Maharashtra.

“Our brands span across all segments from a five-star brand Orchid Ecotel to 4-star Lotus Suites to budget brand Kamfotels and heritage hotels and vegetarian restaurant chains. There are very few domestic hotel companies, which have entered all the segments in the country. We want to be well cushioned,” said Param Kannampilly, director, KHIL.

“While Indian Hotels, owner of the Taj brand, spans across segments, the Oberois and Leelas are primarily only in the premium end. While we want to expand business and our brands, we will focus on corporate hotels catering to business travellers in Tier 1 and Tier 2 markets and for the moment, will not cater to leisure travellers,” he added.

KHIL is launching a 5-star, environment-friendly 176-room hotel in Gold Reech City, Johannesburg, called Orchid International. In China, the group is launching a 5-star, eco-friendly 350-room hotel at Unesco’s World Heritage Site, Lijiang. The hospitality major has also shown interest in other potential destinations in the Middle East and Mongolia.

“Most of the global markets are being penetrated through the management contract route. That’s a much faster way to expand, where we give our expertise, but it does not involve investment. At a later stage, we may look into investment into these properties,” Mr Kannampilly said.

After its break-up with ONGC to open restaurants along the highways, it has now tied up with HPCL, India’s second largest integrated oil company. It will open 40 vegetarian outlets at HPCL pumps. “These restaurants will create customer pull through the differentiated travel-related offers, thereby becoming the preferred choice for fuel and non-fuel products,” said officials.

KHIL aims to have 50 budget properties operational by 2010 across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and South India under the brand name ‘Kamfotel’, with room rates of around $20-25 per night. It is also developing old forts as hotels in Maharashtra.

The Shivaji Fort in Sasvad is a 42-room hotel likely to open in November. The Murud-Harni heritage fort is also being developed into a hotel, but a launch date has not been decided. “We take these forts on lease and then develop them,” Mr Kannampilly said.

With the recent plans for expansion, the company expects a 50% growth during 2006-07. KHIL is owned 78% by promoters and currently there are no plans to dilute stake to private equity investors.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Why India's import pipelines have remained pipe dreams?

By Bhamy V. Shenoy

In less than 10 years from conceptualisation to start-up, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline of 1,760 km and the Shah Deniz Gas Pipeline of about 1,000 km have been built in the Caucasus. In India, for more than 20 years we have been talking about gas pipelines from Qatar, Iran, Turkmenistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Not one has been built. Not even one is on the drawing board.

Millions of rupees have been spent on endless number of feasibility studies. Even more important, precious time to diversify energy sources for national security has been lost. India should be able to learn from the experience of building these pipelines in the Caucasus.

As the West learnt that there was billions of oil to be exploited beneath Caspian Sea, a New Great Game started.

The old Great Game played in Central Asia was to get access and rule India. The New Great Game was to divert the black gold to Western markets avoiding Russian territory and Iran.

There were many complications in the development of an oil pipeline to transport oil from Azerbaijani section of Caspian Sea to the market. The shortest pipeline would have been to build a pipeline through Iran. Because of the US trade embargo, it was ruled out.

The second would have been to expand the existing pipeline through Russian territory and move crude oil over the Black Sea.

That would have crowded narrow Bosphorous, which was already congested. The third alternative would have been to build a pipeline from Azerbaijan to Armenia to Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.

Since Turkey and Armenia had the historical baggage of genocide of Armenians by Turkey, that was ruled out. That left the only other alternative of constructing a pipeline from Baku in Azerbaijan to Tbilisi in Georgia and Ceyhan in Turkey.

Since this pipeline had to be built over the mountains at an altitude of 2,930m and also environmentally sensitive area of Borjomi where Georgia's famous mineral water springs exist, many experts used to claim that constructing a pipeline was technically not possible.

There were also several political problems.

Russia wanted Caspian oil to move through its territory for geopolitical reasons. The US and European Union (EU) wanted to ensure that crude oil does not move through any state controlled by or friendly with Russia.

There were doubts about political stability of Georgia. Since the pipeline in Georgia is buried close to Armenia and in Turkey close to Kurdish area, there is always the potential of sabotage.

People in Georgia are very poor and there is every likelihood of oil being stolen.

In fact today, there are many instances of oil pilferage in Georgia from another smaller pipeline from Baku to Supsa on the Black Sea.

There were 11 oil companies investing in the construction of the pipeline.

Some of them like BP, Total and Statoil with deep pockets could easily finance the full amount of $3.6 billion. Still they wanted to borrow money from the World Bank, EBRD and other private banks to ensure smooth operations and avoid any political interference.

International NGOs were also involved to ensure social justice to the poor living along the pipeline route both in Georgia and Azerbaijan. Protests by environmental NGOs were fierce throughout the construction of the pipeline despite all the precautions taken by the lead company BP. As a consultant to Georgian government I was involved in some of these discussions.

Despite all the obstacles, this historical oil pipeline was completed in 2005 and started to function this year.

Parallel to the route of oil pipeline, another gas pipeline called Shah Deniz gas pipeline is being constructed and will be ready before the end of this year. This must be a record for the oil industry.

After finding gas reserves in 1999, gas production will start flowing within seven years to its market in Georgia and Turkey.

Countries like Qatar, Iran and Turkmenistan surround India with huge gas reserves on the west and Bangladesh and Myanmar on the east.

Many MOUs have been signed with each of these countries for buying gas. But no project has materialised so far. Like in the case of BTC and Shah Deniz, the US has been involved with Bangladesh pipeline, but not in an active way.

For the Caucasus pipeline, the US even created a special office to promote these pipelines.

Private companies like in the case of BTC and Shah Deniz mostly own the gas reserves to the east of India.

But what is missing is some institution like the US government to give not just the political support but also financial backing.

Though it had the need for its own gas reserves, Azerbaijan did not like to keep them for its own use unlike Bangladesh. Also, the Bangladesh politics is preventing signing any kind of contract with India to sell its own gas reserves. It is also not allowing transit routes to Myanmar gas.

Problems are of different kind on the western front.

Laying pipeline from gas rich Qatar to India is very expensive economically. Unlike the pipelines in Caucasus, protecting the pipeline under the sea from any potential sabotage is not easy.

Another factor is that the government companies involved on both sides do not have the entrepreneurial background to find solutions to several problems that will come up on a complex project like this.

In BTC and Shah Deniz, BP and other private oil companies were very keen on monetising their oil and gas reserves. It is missing in the case of Qatar, Iran and Turkmenistan. It is the national oil companies, which are involved on both the sides with bureaucrats trying to negotiate the contractual terms.

It is high time India tries to bring in the talents of private oil companies to negotiate by giving them a chance to invest in the project. Otherwise our pipelines will remain pipe dreams for years to come.

LifeCell inducts P S Pai as Chairman

LifeCell has appointed Mr. P. S. Pai as the Chairman of the Company. Mr. Pai an alumnus of IIT Madras holds a Masters Degree in Industrial Engineering and brings with him more than 4 decades of experience in senior levels of Management. With the induction of Mr. Pai, the strength of LifeCell Board goes up to six.

Welcoming Mr. P.S. Pai, to the Board of Directors of LifeCell, Mr. Abhaya Kumar, Vice Chairman, LifeCell, said, “LifeCell has always looked for professionals with proven merit and laudable vision to lead the Board. The assumption of office by Mr. P. S. Pai is an important milestone at this juncture in LifeCell’s journey. Mr. Pai will add a strategic dimension to the company’s initiatives and guide LifeCell in improving the quality of life of mankind by using potential of stem cells in therapeutic applications.

A thought leader in business and marketing strategy and also in consumer and customer related issues, Mr. Pai has worked with Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL) at Kolkata and later contributed 23 years of steadfast service at Wipro Limited. He was initially Group President of Consumer and Lighting business of WIPRO later, served the company as its Vice Chairman.

In October 2002, he took over as Executive Chairman of the highly diversified Murugappa Group and contributed significantly in growing the group turnover from Rs 4200 Crores in 2002-03 to over Rs.7300 crores in 2005-06. He retired from Murugappa Group in October 2006.

Anti-corruption is part of good governance: Lokayukta

Lokayukta is not an anti-corruption body. It is for good governance and anti-corruption is part of good governance, said Lokayukta and former Supreme Court Judge N Santhosh Hegde.

He was speaking after inaugurating the golden jubilee celebrations of Vaikunta Baliga College of Law, here recently. On the occasion Hegde called upon the advocates not to indulge in unethical practices and not to be a party for the delay in disposing cases.

“Because delayed justice prevents the development of the country”, he said. President of Dr T M A Pai Foundation, the governing body of the Law College, K K Pai presided over the programme. President of Manipal Academy of Higher Education Dr T Ramdas M Pai,member of the Bar Council of Karnataka Seetharam Shetty were the chief guests.

Lecturer M N Prabhu welcomed the gathering. Principal of the College Prof M M Nadig presented a brief history of the College. Advocate Shashikanth Shetty compared the programme.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Cultural highlights of Sahitya Sammelana

SHIMOGA: A play to be staged on the tree, presentation of Nadageethe through 73 melodious voices, show of musical play ‘Gangavatarana’, performance of Prabhat artists, Geeta Sangeeta programme and separate session for child poets are some highlights of 73rd Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelana.

For this time, Sammelana will be conducted up to four days. This will help to provide platform for 500 artists to expose their talent. Delegates can spend their time here by tasting different kind of programmes.

Artists troupe ‘Guru Jyothi Kala Sangama’ of Bangalore will perform Kannada drama ‘Nele’ on the tree in front of Dr B R Ambedkar Bhavan. It is identified in Limca Book of Records as the first experiment which aimed to convey the importance of environment. It was appreciated by various viewers in Bangalore, Mumbai, Lucknow and Delhi.

‘Nele’, directed by Nagaraj Kote, speaks about the threatens to the environment and struggle of poor for shelter simultaneously. The story intended to highlight exploitation against environment and poor condition of poverty-stricken family.

In the inaugural session of Sammelana, totally 73 artists will present Nadageete ‘Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate’, penned by Rashtrakavi Kuvempu. They will sing it under the musical direction of senior artist Vasanti Shenoy and Yuvaraj.

Musical drama ‘Gangavatarana’ based on poems of Dr Da Ra Bendre will draw the attention of number of delegates. Bendre had presented his poem titled Gangavatarana during his presidential address in 27th Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelana held in Shimoga in 1942. Drama is directed by senior theatre artist Kantesh Kadaramandalagi.

It was already staged in Bangalore and appreciated by many theatre personalities including the heads of Karnataka Nataka Academy.

Kantesh Kadaramandalagi said, “ I have selected 12 poems of Bendre to introduce the specialty of poet. Drama aimed to focus on the views of Bendre. Nagabhushan will act as young Bendre and I will play the role of old-age Bendre,”

Prabhat artists will introduce the milestones of Karnataka through their two-hour long performance titled ‘Karnataka Vaibhava’. It will give new kind of experience to the delegates.

Renowned singers Yashavanta Halibandi, Puttur Narasimha Naik, Rameshchandra, Ambaiah Nuli, Hema Prasad and other artists will sing the poems to be presented by Prof K S Nisar Ahmed, Dr G S Shivarudrappa, Dr Chennaveera Kanavi, Dr Siddhalingaiah and other 12 poets in Geeta Sangeeta programme.

Totally 27 children will present their poems in separate session.

Vrundavan Health Quiz

Shree Shantadurga Higher Secondary School, Bicholim bagged the first prize at the 6th All Goa Vrundavan Health Quiz held at Vaishya Sabhagrah at Mapusa.

Goa Vrundavan Hospital & Research Centre, in association with the PTA of PVS S M Kushe Higher Secondary School Assagao sponsored and conducted the quiz. 52 higher secondary participated in the preliminary round.
Eminent Physician and Cardiologist Dr Digambar Naik Managing Director of Vrundavan Hospital and Research Centre was the driving force behind this quiz.
Swapnil Salkar and Dattaraj Sinai Budkule were the participants of Shree Shantadurga HSS, Bicholim who bagged the first prize. The second prize went to Padmashree Vasantrao Dhempe HSS, Miramar represented by Maveen Pai & Rahul Kamat.
Individual first prize was won by Swapnil Salkar of Shree Shantadurga HSS, Bicholim. The second prize was won by Dattaraj Budkule, Shree Shantadurga HSS, Bicholim of and the third prize by Akshata Thally of Mustifund HSS, Panjim

Help is at hand for harassed borrowers

Chennai: Have you been harassed by recovery agents of a financial institution for defaulting on loan repayment? Has the creditor-institution put up your mortgaged asset for sale without following the procedures or is it being auctioned off for much less than its market value?

Borrowers who despair for want of a helping hand or knowledge of procedures in such crises can now receive professional assistance. The Borrowers' Welfare Association, which was started in Bangalore as a support forum for harassed debtors, has opened an office in Chennai.

The brainchild of former banker M.M. Kini, the association has made waves in Bangalore, successfully checking unlawful means adopted by lending institutions to recover borrowers' assets.

Mr. Kini, who was here last week to open the office, however, clarifies that there is no protection for wilful defaulters. "We have no intention of interfering with the due process of revenue recovery." The aim is to level the equation between the lender and the borrower and peacefully settle banking disputes.

Among the outfit's achievements is a public interest litigation suit that led to a Karnataka High Court ruling directing the Debt Recovery Tribunal not to insist on payment of court fee when an appeal or petition is filed under Section 17 of the Securitisation Act, 2002.

The association, whose brains trust includes former bank executives and legal advisers, has come across numerous cases of borrowers, who default on repayments due to circumstances beyond their control being subjected to arm-twisting measures and of debt pressures driving individuals to suicide.


"Such instances are bound to increase everywhere as banks and financial institutions become liberal, sometimes even reckless, with their funds," said K. Shankar, director (technical) of the association. Borrowers, on their part, are too trusting of financing institutions and seldom read the fine print before signing on the dotted line.

The association plans to open more branches across Tamil Nadu shortly.

The branch office here is at 44 PV Koil Street, Mylapore, Chennai-4 (Ph: 65853448/9884833333).

Konkani movie forays into Bollywood

A thrilling Konkani movie Mogachi Zor (Fountain of Love) shot in the United States, will be released shortly.
The producer Socorinha D’Costa, a Goan by origin based in Niagara (USA) has fully supported the venture. She selected Bonifacio Dias as director of the movie, as his credit in the Konkani film making is outstanding states the press release.

Bonifacio and his crew just returned from USA after a successful trip.
Meanwhile, the opening ceremony of The Niagara Motion Picture Line owned by Succorinha D’Costa was flagged off by the Mayor of Niagara Vincent Anello.
The picturesque locations, were very impressive like The Niagara Falls, Our Lady of Fatima shire in Young Stown, Statue of Liberty in New York, Driftwood Motels, Ramada Hotel, Sereca Casisno, Columbus Knight, Niagara Town.

Workshop on story writing

UDUPI: A workshop on short story writing in Konkani will be held between 2 pm and 5 pm in Don Bosco Hall on January 26.This workshop is organised by Konkani Language, Literature and Cultural Organisation, Udupi District in association with Konkani Writers’ Forum - Karnataka and Catholic Sabha units of Udupi District.According to a press release Dolphy Cassia and Dr Edward Nazreth will be the resource persons. Konkani-speaking people of Udupi can take part in the workshop by registering their names with Catholic Sabha units of parishes or Dr Gerald Pinto, convener of the programme ( 94484 80248).