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Friday, October 26, 2007

Dr. Vijay Mallya on CNBC Devil's Advocate

Part 1

Part 2

Konkani flavour in other languages too

Basti Vaman Shenoy

BANGALORE: In a move to popularise Konkani literature in languages such as Hindi, English and Malayalam, the Konkani Bhas Ani Samskriti Prathistan, an apex body of Konkani literature, will take up a series of translation as well as transliteration works of Konkani masters.

Sharing the information , the prathistan convener Basti Vaman Shenoy told that there was a rich treasure of literature in Konkani written in Devanagari, Kannada, Roman and Malayalam scripts.

Mr. Shenoy was in the city to formalise the translation work with some of the well-known scholars of Konkani, Hindi and English here.

He said initially the prathistan would take up nine books for translation, and three books and 15 short-story collections of young authors for transliteration.

Mr. Shenoy said a committee that was formed to suggest the books had identified nine books, including those of “Rashtrakavi” Manjeshwar Govinda Pai that had been published in Konkani, Malayalam and Kannada, which would be translated into Hindi by Sunithi Bai from Kochi.


“Dinakarana Kavanagalu”, which is in Kannada, will be translated into Konkani by S.M. Krishna Rao of Bangalore. Mr. Rao will also be translating a Konkani biography of T.M.A. Pai into English and Kannada.

Jawaharlal Nehru’s “Discovery of India” will be translated into Konkani by Kiran Budkulay of Goa.

Special works

Two special works on Konkani “Shabdakosh” (dictionary) and Konkani “Parichay Kosh” (a bio-register) had also been taken up by the prathistan.

Well-known Konkani and English scholars such as Tanaji Halarnkar of Goa and M. Madhav Pai of Shimoga were working on these two programmes, Mr. Shenoy said.

A book on Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya which is in Konkani will be translated into English and Kannada by Jyotsna Kamath of Bangalore. A collection of essays in Konkani written by Ravindra Kelekar and also a novel by him “Velevayleo Ghulo” would be translated from Konkani to English and Kannada, he said.

Three major books written by well-known novelists in Konkani — A.T. Lobo (“Tum Baro Za”), J.S. Alvares (“Angel”) and V.J.P. Saldanha (“Moga Maka Shikay”) — will be taken up for transliteration.

In another project the prathistan will take up transliteration of 15 short-story collections of authors who have recently started writing Konkani literature.

Mr. Shenoy said the Vishwa Konkani Sahitya Akademi would publish all these books in phases.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Rewarding excellent talent

The ET Awards jury 2007 chose to reward excellence in management. Business leaders face an environment that has become exceedingly complex. They face the challenge of talent management, dealing with risk and execution. The winners of the ET Awards for Corporate Excellence 2007 exemplify these attributes. Business Leader KV Kamath has transformed what was a development bank into India’s second largest bank. Mr Kamath won the jury’s vote for successful execution and building a great management team. Company of the Year, Bharti Airtel, has been a world leader in introducing new management practices to the telecom industry.

This includes outsourcing its network, leaving the management free to concentrate on the core telecom business of acquiring subscribers profitably. GM Rao, Entrepreneur of the Year, has shown the ability to execute vast projects ahead of schedule, earning the admiration of his peers. He has seamlessly moved from roads and power to more complex airport projects. Businesswoman of the Year Shobhana Bhartia has presided over an expansion into new markets and new business segments. The jury’s pick for Emerging Company of the Year, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, combines a focus on the generic segment, a commonplace among Indian companies, with a forward-looking emphasis on research.

Some of the awards need little explanation. Jury co-chairman N R Narayana Murthy was chosen for the Lifetime Achievement Award for leading two revolutions. One is, of course, the creation of Infosys and the Indian IT revolution. The second is in corporate governance. Rajat Gupta, managing director worldwide for McKinsey & Co between 1994 and 2003, is ET’s Global Indian.

Mr Gupta was chosen because of his untiring promotion of India at various international fora and for building world-class institutions in India. Praful Patel’s role in opening up the civil aviation sector won the jury’s admiration and the Business Reformer award. Sebi chairman M Damodaran presides over capital markets which are globally acknowledged as well regulated, earning him the Change Agent Award. Sankara Nethralaya, Corporate Citizen, performs thousands of eye surgeries every year, a significant proportion of them free.

Sahitya Akademi fellowship for Kelekar

The president of the Sahitya Akademi, Mr Gopi Chand Narang today said that honouring the celebrated Konkani litterateur, Ravindra Kelekar by conferring on him the prestigious fellowship of the Academy is nothing less than honouring a living legend, and a multi-dimensional culture in itself.

Mr Narang, earlier conferred the fellowship of the Sahitya Akademi on the octogenarian litterateur at a special function held at the Kala Academy.

Speaking further, Mr Narang said that whenever a person selflessly dedicates his entire life to any cause, he rises above the rest of the mortals.

“Mr Kelekar, who rose to great heights through his literary works, has contributed richly for making Konkani a prosperous language,” he added.

Mr Narang also observed that Mr Kelekar has done yeoman service to Konkani literature which has resulted in according a place of pride to the Konkani language.

The octogenarian litterateur, while replying to his honour said that few people had pooh-poohed Konkani language as a dialect of Marathi language, inspite of Konkani being their mother tongue. “Such people who oppose the Konkani language still exist,” Mr Kelekar lamented.

He also said that the honour bestowed upon him was an honour to Konkani language. Mr Kelekar also bemoaned that the literary works published in Konkani language as well as those in Hindi language have no buyers.

Mr Kelekar further observed that the country today has some ‘Bonsai intellectuals’ and the countrymen can very well do without them.

The president of the Goa Konkani Akademi, Mr Pundalik Naik, as well as noted writers, Dr Maria Aurora Couto and Datta Naik also spoke on the occasion.

The convenor of the Konkani Advisory Board, Mr Damodar Mauzo welcomed the gathering, while the secretary of the Sahitya Akademi, Mr A Krishna Murthy read out the citation.

Rise of a tissue culture

You reach out to it when you sneeze or sweat in your car, when you wipe your kitchen counter, while drying your hands in the office washroom or when you want to take off the excess oil from your evening samosa. A tissue paper.

"My father began this business in 1977 and the Indian market was practically stagnant till 1997. Business began taking on a new dimension after that, but the biggest spurt has happened since 2004," says Rakesh Gupta, director of Delhi-based S R Group, the company that manufactures tissue papers under the Mystique brand.

Evidently the pristine white absorbent paper has eased out the handkerchief, created a niche for itself in shiny dispensers in washrooms and is now looking hard at the kitchen. With increased travel kindling exposure to international habits and greater awareness of hygiene, the tissue paper has created a strong market, making itself an almost indispensable item in India today.

'The need for tissues has been driven by the advent of large MNC offices, where tissues are essential in washroom hygiene. Also, tissues are being seen as an ideal replacement for wiping hands in restaurants and commercial spaces, since water is becoming scarce," says Manoj Pachisia, CMD of Origami Tissues. International brands like Kimberly-Clark and Kleenex too are fairly visible in the Indian market, though primarily in the institutional space.

However, compared to the international market, consumption levels in India are low. 'If in the US, the per capita consumption per annum is 6.5 kg, in India, it is a mere 7 grams. We're still trying to create awareness in this market," says G G Shenoy, MD of Premier Tissues, one of the largest players in the tissue paper industry.

Tissue papers are still considered an expense—an upmarket one at that. Tissue paper manufacturers are working at bringing costs down to drive greater volumes of usage. "Since the market is still largely trader-driven, margins are high. Once usage increases and more players step into the market, prices will drop," says Gupta.

The increase in organised retail has been one of the main drivers of the sales in the home market. 'That has also given room for innovation," says Shenoy, who's now pushing rolls of kitchen wipes in markets.

Most players in this market are regional, since freight and transportation charges are huge for this high volume, low value product. Some, like Origami, combat this challenge by setting up conversion units (that package tissues from jumbo rolls in individual packets) across cities. There are only four or five national companies like Premier and a total of over 25 organised players in the market.

Institutional purchases form around 50%-60% of the domestic purchases from tissue manufacturers. These include hospitality chains like Taj and Oberoi, hospitals like Apollo and Manipal, F&B retailers like Cafe Coffee Day and Pizza Hut, private labels for retailers like the Future Group and Metro or even in banks like Canara and Syndicate Bank and shops.

Premier is looking to innovate in this space and design disposable capes for customers at hairstyling salons. Origami is innovating with designs for kitchen and party usage. It's early days to be able to peg a figure to this market and estimates from insiders vary from Rs 200 crore to Rs 450 crore. The market is said to be growing at a breakneck pace of 85% annually. Most of the large players in the market rely on exports and the international market is much larger than the Indian market. But more companies are looking at diversifying into this business primarily for the domestic market.

Margins currently vary from 15% to as high as 40%. But in the coming years, experts expect to see margins across board slump to under 12%. 'Tissue paper will become like the mobile phone, which everyone will have and no one will think twice about using," says Shenoy.

6,000 Ganeshas, and counting

For hotelier Vithal Kamat, every day is a Ganesh Chaturthi.

With 6,000 Ganesh idols in his Churchgate apartment, it’s Ganpati festival every day of the year.

A big sculpted elephant god greets you as you enter the house. It was a gift about 37 years ago. “This ensures me that the Lord is guarding my house from dangers,” said Kamat, managing director of Hotel Orchid at Vile Parle.

His penchant for collecting Ganesh idols started 40 years ago. Initially, his collection was a sparse one and gradually he continued adding Ganesh idols in all shapes and sizes.

Once his friends and associates came to know about his liking, they started gifting him Ganesh idols.

“Even my wife and children started looking for unique idols to add to my collection,” said Kamat.

Every nook and corner of his apartment adorns Ganesh idols. His cupboards are filled with idols and there is not a single space in his house that doesn’t have a Ganesh idol.

“And every idol holds a memory that is close to my heart,” said Kamat.

Among the array of idols, one of his favorites is made of scrap iron. “The idol was made by my employee during the construction of Orchid hotel,” Kamat recollects.

Another idol which has a special place in his house and heart is made by Kamat’s employee, who is mentally challenged.

“I try to keep it in front of my eyes all the time,” he said.

His collection of idols are made of 90 materials — including beatles, stones, clay, iron, brass, paper, scrap, wood, marble and paper pulp.

His collection includes a Ganesh idol made of marble by sculptor B Vithal and ‘Ganpatichi Shala’ showing the god teaching his mice disciples.

Kamat considers his collection of Ganesh idols to be the guiding factor for his successful hotel business. “When I return home to see idols of all shapes and sizes waiting to bless me, it gives me a sense of responsibility and instills in me the creativity and depth required to manage my business,” he said.

For the hotielier, Ganesh is just not a symbol of prosperity. It is also the channel to connect with people.

“People who know me talk to me about my collection first and then we get on to the point. For me, it is a easy way to start a conversation with anyone,” Kamat said. And the massive Ganesh collection will not stop here.

“I will continue looking for more rare Ganesh idols everywhere I go,” Kamat said.

Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy Awards 2006 Presented

Honour: Konkani artiste Anuradha Dhareshwar presenting the ‘Pustak Puraskar’ to Shirtadi William Pinto in Hubli.

Konkani artiste Anuradha Dhareshwar has said that it is difficult to protect a language unless people take interest.

She was speaking after presenting the State-level “Konkani Pustak Puraskar” for the year 2006 to writers at a function organised jointly by the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy and GSB Samaj in Hubli on Sunday.

She said that Government’s support alone would not help in preserving a language. Any language would grow only if people took the initiative, she said.

Ms. Dhareshwar lauded the initiatives taken by the academy in promoting art and culture, and also some of the initiatives taken by other organisations in bringing together Konkani-speaking people on a single platform.

Earlier, she presented the “Pustak Puraskar” to Shirtadi William Pinto and a special award to Aruna Shanbhag. The “Pustak Puraskar” awards for Stain Augueira and Valli Quadras and special awards to Judit Pinto and Olivera Flavia were received on their behalf by their family friends.

Speaking on the occasion, retired official of the All India Radio, Dharwad, Nagesh Shanbhag said that the role of Catholic Christians in the growth of Konkani language was significant.

After years of struggle, Konkani had gained a good position and it was the responsibility of every Konkani-speaking person to make efforts to retain it, he said.

Mr. Shanbhag also requested the academy to publish a Konkani-Konkani dictionary as the usage of the language differed from place to place.

Earlier, making introductory remarks, president of the academy Eric Ozario informed that the State Government had agreed to include Konkani as the third language in the high school curriculum.

Criticising the alleged attempts to include the areas dominated by Konkani-speaking people in the coastal regions of Karnataka to Goa, he said that he opposed any attempt to divide the Konkani-speaking people for the sake of gaining political mileage.

Mr. Ozario listed out various programmes that the academy has planned.

Konkani textbook released in M'lore

The Konkani textbook in Devanagari (as well as Kannada) script is the result of the State government's approval to teach Konkani as a third optional language either in Kannada or Devanagari script in the 6th standard.

The Konkani textbook in Devanagari script prepared by the DSERT with the help of Karnataka State Konkani Linguistic Minority Educational Institutions’ Association, was released by MLA N Yogish Bhat at Nalanda English Medium School here on Saturday.

The Konkani textbook in Devanagari (as well as Kannada) script is the result of the State government’s approval to teach Konkani as a third optional language either in Kannada or Devanagari script in the 6th standard.

The programme will be implemented in 36 schools with over 2,200 students. Mr Bhat also hoped that the government will also give its nod to introduce Tulu in schools.

On the occasion, Karnataka State Konkani Linguistic Minority Educational Institutions’ Association Treasurer Indira Jodumutt and Textbook Review Committee Member Suchithra Shenoy were felicitated for their role in bringing out the textbook.

Konkani Basha Mandal President Rev Fr Eric Crasta said that there is a need to continue the efforts of those who had worked to introduce Konkani in schools. Konkani Samskrithika Sangha President Raghava R Kamath, Canara Institutions Honourary Secretary M Annappa Pai and Association President Dr U S Mohandas Nayak among others were present.


Later, Association Honourary Secretary Dr K Mohan Pai presented a memorandum to State government through MLA N Yogish Bhat which stressed the need to grant ‘Linguistic Minorities’ status to all member institutions;

make budgetary allocation for designing and printing Konkani text books; to cover all the institutions run by the members of minimum 20 years standing, under the grant-in-aid scheme; and to avoid any administrative decisions which would hamper the constitutional rights of the Linguistic Minorities under Section 29 and 30 of the Constitution.

Speaking after releasing the book, Mr Bhat said that the government nod and the release of the textbook was a long pending dream of the Konkani speaking people. However, the Karnataka Konkani Sahithya Academy had already taken initiative to teach Konkani in schools for the past many months.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Shree Matha Amrutanandamayi birthday celebration

When there is faith in god, its easy to swim with the life,the Editor of Taranga weekly magazine,Sandhya S Pai said.

She spoke at Ammanni Ramanna Shetty memorial hall after participating in the function of 54th birthday of Matha Amritanandamayi, newly inauguration of executive room and Amrutha student scholarship distribution.

The problems in our life give us a sort of experience. And we should not be depressed but have faith in god. She explained the word ‘Amrutha’ as life giving and said that Matha Amratanandamayi was a reflection of it.

Mathadipathy of Sri Matha Amrutanandamayi mutt of Mangalore, Sri Mangalamrutha Chaithanya blessed the gathering.Former MP Vinay kumar Sorake presided over the occasion.The Trustee of Ambalapady Shree Janardhan Mahakali temple Dr N B Vijay Ballal, General Manager of Badagabettu Credit Co-Operative Society, B Jaykar Shetty were present.

President of the committee Shridhar Kinimulky welcomed the gathering while Sadanand Pai concluded the programme with vote of thanks. Shivprasad was the host of the ceremony.

Another attempt to discover life on Mars

“Is there life on Mars? The answer to this question still eludes the scientific fraternity. Space scientists now plan to look for presence of water on the planet with the help of Mossbauer Effect.”

G K Shenoy of Argonne National Laboratory, USA, said this at the International Conference on the Applications of Mossbauer Effect (ICAME-2007) held at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) today.

In Mossbauer Effect, a material that is to be analysed is passed through gamma rays. The material either absorbs or emits the gamma rays, thus showing its property.

Shenoy said with the help of Mossbauer Effect, researchers can analyse the properties of minerals present on Mars.

“The spacecraft, which would be sent to Mars, would examine the rocks on the planet,” he added.

Chairman of ICAME-2007, N S Gajbhiye said that the conference focused on several applications of Mossbauer Effect, including biological and medical applications, chemical applications, earth sciences and archaeology.

About 150 delegates from 33 countries and about 100 researchers from India participated in the conference.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tiatr legend Prem Kumar passes away

Legendary tiatr writer-director-actor Prem Kumar expired in Mumbai Friday evening (Oct 12).

Prem Kumar who was is his 70s, suffered from diabetes and blood pressure problems.

He was known for his creative sets and innovations on stage. Ordhi Bakhri, a hit of yesteryears, was being re-released in Goa.

Born in Chandor, Peter D’Costa, who shot into prominence with his stellar performances, went on to acquire the name of Prem Kumar. He has around 50 dramas to his credit with hits like Upkar Naslolo, Vauravadi, besides a Konkani movie Boglantt where he played the main character.

He was recently honoured by Dalgado Academy for his contribution to the Konkani stage.
Noted actor Anil Kumar said that his death is a huge loss to the Konkani stage. “He has left a vacuum that will be hard to fill,” he disclosed.

President of Dalgado Konknni Akademy Tomazinho Cardozo while mourning the death of Prem Kumar said, “In almost 55 years of active association with the tiatr stage, he produced about 50 tiatrs that created a lasting impression in the minds of the audience. He was an actor and director par excellence.”

Another prominent Konkani stage artist Prince Jacob said, “We have lost a great pillar of the Konkani stage who did immense amount of service. He set a benchmark by introducing the revolving stage…one of his many innovations.”

Tiatrist Wilmix Wilson Mazarello while highlighting Prem Kumar’s contribution said that the latter was one of the leading playwright/directors who dedicated his entire life to the Konkani stage. “He is also one of the few Konkani tiatrists who produced a 35 mm celluloid Konkani film ‘Boglantt’ without Government assistance,” Mazarello said.

Stress on Research: Ramdas Pai

Chancellor of Manipal University, Dr Ramdas M Pai said that Manipal University is stressing on basic and clinical research, which reaches people of all classes in the society.

He was speaking after inaugurating the 6th annual convention of Indian Arthoscopy Society (IASCON-2007) conducted under the aegis of KMC, Manipal. He said that the University is conducting research in the new fields of medical sciences.

He said that KMC is one of the top 10 colleges in India. About 40 national level and 10 international level doctors are participating in this convention and he advised the local doctors to take advantage of this convention by sharing their knowledge for the benefit of human resources.
Pro-Chancellor of Manipal University, Dr H S Ballal inaugurated the technological research centre and said that the convention was organised to let the doctors to study about the developments in medical sciences.

Vice-Chancellor of Manipal University, Dr Rajashekaran Warrier inaugurated the commercial exhibition. Secretary of the organization, Dr I P S Oberoi was present on this occasion. Registrar of Manipal University Dr Vinod Bhat presented the mementos to the guests. KMC Dean, Dr R S P Rao welcomed the gathering. Vice-president of the organization, Dr P Shripathi Rao gave the introductory speech. Secretary, Dr Sharath K Rao, proposed the vote of thanks. Dr Aswini Avadhani was the host on this occasion.

Yoga should be regularly practiced:K K Pai

Registrar of Manipal Academy, K K Pai said that people should practice Yogasanas regularly after learning.

He was speaking on the occasion of the valedictory function the “Simple Yoga treatment camp” held at MGM Yakshagana centre by Yogacharya Raghavendra Guruji from Davangere on August 10th. He distributed the participation certificates to the participants and said that all of them should practice what they have learnt regularly.

K K Pai also said that people say that Yoga is a very good form of exercise but no one comes forward to implement it in the education system. The officers should take steps to implement Yoga into the education system.

Raghavendra Guruji, who conducted the camp said that Yoga has become a money making business now. The number of people who teach it for free has come down.

On this occasion Gundme Krishna Nayak inaugurated the fans donated to the Yakshagana centre. Raghavendra Guruji was honoured. Arun Kumar, who came from Sagar to learn Yakshagana presented a Mixer. Ganesh H welcomed everyone, Kalashri was the host on this occasion and Prof Krishna Bhat proposed the vote of thanks.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

‘Synd Sona’ scheme launched

Panaji: Syndicate Bank, Kavlem branch has launched a scheme for the sale of gold coins under the brand name ‘Synd Sona”, gold coins of 24 carat purity imported directly from Switzerland are made available for sale. Gold coins of 8 grams and 10 grams are available in tamper proof laminated packing.

The gold sales scheme was recently inaugurated by the assistant general manager Syndicate Bank regional office, Panaji, Mr J S Shenoy at bank’s premises.

Arch on a buying spree

Mumbai-based Arch Pharmalabs has announced the acquisition of Hyderabad-based Watsol Organics, a manufacturer of pharmaceuticals and agro-chemical intermediaries, for an enterprise value of Rs 30 crore. The acquisition is completely funded through internal accruals. Only this April, Arch Pharmalabs had acquired Sibra Pharmaceuticals, another Hyderabad-based SME, for about Rs 40 crore. Incidentally, this is the third acquisition by the company in Hyderabad, of which two were acquired this year alone. The company has chalked out plans of investing Rs 120 crore for expanding the capacities of its existing and newly acquired bulk drug and intermediaries manufacturing facilities. The three facilities put together in Hyderabad is expected to contribute around Rs 500 crore by the end of the financial year 2010.

Ajit Kamath, Chairman and Managing Director, Arch Pharmalabs said, "Inorganic growth is a strong component of our growth strategy. After acquiring the company we immediately lay emphasis on the organic growth. Both companies we acquired are profitable and have tremendous scope for expansion of capacities and also are in strict compliance with environmental standards." He added, "The acquisition of Watsol Organics will strengthen our position as leader in the Isoxazole side chains business, thus meeting the growing demand in the industry. The Sibra facility will enhance API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) business and open new avenues for us."

Arch also has plans to increase its product offering in anti-retroviral drugs (ARV) segment from this acquisition. "The ARV segment has huge potential to cater to various programmes under the aegis of WHO, UN PEPFAR and other relief programmes. Arch hopes to capitalize on this market. Further, the facility will be used to cater to the demand in the CRAMS sector for API's and intermediates," said Kamath. Watsol's facility is located 60 kms from Hyderabad spans over 40 acres of which 12 acres are currently being utilised. The plant has 21 reactors with a capacity of 44KL. Watsol also helps Arch in its backward integration plans, since it manufactures a key raw material, which is used in the manufacture of the isoxazole side chains.

The Sibra facility manufactures a variety of APIs. The company has three private equity investors like ICICI Ventures, IL&FS and Swiss Technology Venture Capital Fund (SwissTec) holding 58 percent stakes in Arch Pharmalabs. Of this, ICICI Ventures holds 33 percent while IL&FS and SwissTec have 12.5 percent each. Besides the internal accruals of over Rs 30 crore and further possible funding from private equity firms, the company has got a commitment from German financial institution DEG to meet the requirements of the fresh acquisition and expansion, Apart from Hyderabad facilities, Arch is planning of investing Rs 65 crore in the Gurgaon facility, besides revamping the corporate R&D facilities to attract contract outsourcing in R&D from European and American companies.

Apollo Hospitals to spend 7 bln rupees on expansion

Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd plans to spend around 7 billion rupees on its expansion plans in the next one year, Chairman Prathap C. Reddy said at a health insurance summit on Friday. The expansion would be undertaken through setting up of greenfield hospitals and acquisitions, he said.

It plans to add 2,000 beds in the country by the end of 2008, to the existing 8,000.

It also plans to enter Mumbai in the next quarter. The group is scouting for land in Mumbai to set up its own hospitals, while also looking for acquisitions.

In Mumbai, acquisitions would mean taking over the management control of trust-run hospitals, Chief Executive Officer, V.P.Kamath, in-charge of the western region, said.

It would be looking to take over medium-sized hospitals with100-150 beds, Kamath said.