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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reports of financial turmoil in MSCB lead to panic among co-operative housing societies

Some co-operative housing societies are worried over reports about the financial mess in Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank Ltd (MSCB), and they have started to withdraw they money from the bank or are considering doing so soon.
Yesterday, Moneylife had reported that MSCB, the nodal bank for all co-operative banks in the state, is in deep financial trouble due to its suspicious loan distribution to some of its favoured co-operative banks and some loss-making sugar co-operative factories.

Nagesh N Kini, chartered accountant and secretary of Mahim Co-operative Housing Society, told Moneylife, "We have moved our money from the bank, because if something happens to this bank, at the most, you'll get Rs 1 lakh deposit insurance cover and that too doesn't come easily. It's advisable for people to move the money from there to stronger co-operative banks or public sector banks."

The apex co-operative bank has been found to have misreported facts and has been given a 'D' grade for the financial year 2009-10 by its auditors, Joshi Nair and Associates. The bank has shown deposits of Rs21,500 crore and a net profit of Rs2.83 crore. However, according to the audit report, the bank has suffered a loss of Rs1,070 crore, mainly due to non-performing assets (NPA). As per the provisional figures for FY10 provided on the bank's website, NPAs are 20.9%. While converting the same into net NPAs, the bank has shown the figure at 7.7%. A majority of the directors of MSCB belong to Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party and many of the others belong to some of the other mainstream parties.

Vinod Sampat, advocate and founder, Vinod C Sampat and Co, said that the profit claimed by MSCB was nothing but "window dressing." He said, "Co-operative banks are not following proper laws and it is not run on a professional basis. There is lack of accountability and they are surviving because of monopoly and patronage of the co-operative department. No one likes to invest in a co-operative bank, but they are forced to do so under the statutory rules. There is a lot of political interference also. It is full of double-standards."
Mr Sampat was critical of the NPAs reported by the bank. "Anything becoming an NPA is a clear example of the casual approach of the bankers. In one day, the account will not become an NPA. There has to be continuous defaults for an account to become an NPA," he said. "When an amount is not being paid, why should there be political patronage? One of the basic reasons for NPAs is inefficiency and political patronage."
Mr Kini's Mahim Co-operative Housing Society is among the oldest in central Mumbai, and as MSCB was the only bank available to them when the society was set up, they opened an account with the bank. According to Mr Kini there are thousands of housing societies in Maharashtra that have their money locked up in MSCB. "Earlier, according to co-operative laws, you had to put your money in a co-operative bank only. But, now one has the choice of banking with a stronger co-operative bank, such as Saraswat Bank, or with any of the public sector banks."
SS Pai, advocate, S.S. Pai & Co., however, called for a "middle path" approach to resolve the crisis. "We have to go to the root cause of the problem and see whether we can have a middle path, so that there will be no political revenge. In future, if they are diverting funds to sugar co-operatives, we should stop them. Now, we should see that the bank survives after taking strong action. Maybe the Reserve Bank of India should call them and tell them to improve, and take stern action as the last resort."

Mr Pai pointed out that the sugarcane industry should be modernised. "If the bank survives, then also the industry survives. Otherwise, what will happen is that if the bank goes into trouble, small depositors will lose their money. So let there be no political revenge and let us have the best possible solution," he said.
On the NPAs reported by the bank, Mr Pai said that the focus should be on development and not entirely on NPAs. "Admitted, NPAs are high. But we are a developing country. Money in a stock exchange and money in the corpus of a bank are like lockers. They don't lose anything unless someone is using that money in an improper way. More than NPAs, we should think of development and look forward. Chinese banks have so much NPAs but they have moved forward. We should take precautions and move forward."
Mumbai-based consumer activist, Achintya Mukherjee, has called for awareness regarding the crisis in the Maharashtra apex co-operative bank. "Many consumers are not aware of this as many leading newspapers have not even carried the news," he said.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sixty is the new forty

When people hit 60, most plonk themselves on their favourite couch and watch the remaining days of their life pass by quietly. What about the rest? They begin to enjoy life. Like Malini Kini who isn’t demure about her age or her newfound zest for life.

Before she reached the ‘age of retirement’, she was busy taking care of her husband and their children. Before she knew it came the day when ‘our two daughters flew the nest and I found myself at a loose end’.
Left with a lot of time on her hands, Malini began exploring her options. What stood out was that both her daughters are marathoners. “Among others, they have participated in the San Francisco and New York marathons. But they would never have gotten that trait from my husband. It must be from me,” she realised.

Despite being an indoors person all through her life, Malini decided to start running at 55. “Initially, I was scared to run even for five minutes. I feared that something would happen to me. But now, I can run 10 km  easily.” The confidence in her voice is unmistakable when she says, “I participate in the annual Sunfeast Marathon and, this year, ran the entire 12.5 km.”
By climbing. One year before she turned 60, Malini and husband Naveen undertook the toughest Indian pilgrimage — trek to Mount Kailash, the mythical abode of Lord Shiva in the Himalayas.

“Nothing can beat Mount Kailash,” she says grandiloquently. “It’s so tough, most people don't even attempt it. Normally, people start off with less strenuous pilgrimages to Badrinath and Kedarnath in Uttarakhand before embarking on Mount Kailash. But we started off with the toughest.”

Firstly, it’s not merely about climbing the peak. “You have to do a pradakshina (circumambulate the mountain), which took us two-and-a-half days,” she informs.

At 6,714 metres, the couple were introduced to altitude sickness (feeling of dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath due to insufficient oxygen). Plus, the couple and fellow travellers had to make do with minimum amenities. “No toilets, no running water,” she says before adding, “You really get in touch with nature there.”

These problems seemed minor when it came to the perils of the route. “The paths are so narrow that one misstep means certain death. We hired a pony for the last 54 km. At that height, the 54 km seemed like a 1,000 km. To help you tread the treacherous path, you hire one person to hold your hand and another to hold the pony,” she says. “When we finally reached the peak, we cried and called our families.”

As Malini relives the two-week-long journey, it becomes apparent that the experience has left an indelible impression. “It makes you realise there is more to life than just enjoying,” she says philosophically.

Stirred by the adventure, Malini undertook another challenging two-week trip to the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand. For Malini, an expert in Ikebana or the Japanese art of arranging  flowers, the choice of destination was a no-brainer.

That was a month ago. Right now, she’s planning her next trip.

Some 60-year-olds, it is difficult to keep up with.
“You are as old as you feel. I am into positive thinking. I never let any problem bog me down. I don’t crib about aches or pains. If someone talks about depressing issues, I immediately change the topic.

“I eat right and engage in physical activities every day, including yoga, swimming and walking.

“It is easy to look younger. For younger looking skin, do facercises where you pout, grin, frown etc,” Malini says.

Global Goans convention to be held in Kuwait from Nov 16

The annual Global Goans Convention will be held in Kuwait from November 16 and 17 this year, a senior functionary said.Goa's NRI Commissioner Eduardo Faleiro said that India's Ambassador in Kuwait, senior officials of Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, leaders of Goan community across the world as well as leaders of Indian community in the Gulf countries will participate in the convention.The convention is organised by the Goan cultural centre, Kuwait.Faleiro said that during the convention, there will be open house for the benefit of Goan domestic and industrial workers in Kuwait."Concerned officials of the union and of the Goa governments will address their grievances and the suggestions made at the meeting," the NRI commissioner told reporters in Panaji.He said that Vishwa Konkani Sammelan will be organised on the second day in which Konkani speaking people from Goa, Mangalore and Kerala will take part.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kaav to rock the city

KOCHI: Three friends ­— a graphic designer, a website content writer and a dog trainer. When they got together, they rocked, literally. And that was how ‘Kaav’ was born. The music of the three-piece band with Shyam Pai on the lead guitar,
Shabeer Ali on the bass and Arun Kumar on the drums is a heady mix of Indian classical music, folk, rock, metal and more. “It’s up to the listener to describe our music. At the most you can call it psychedelic,” say the trio, who are self-taught musicians based in Vypeen.The three-song debut album (Extended Play or EP) they released recently was a low budget maiden attempt and they were dumbstruck when they found their video ‘Daya’ featured in the website of none other than Coldplay! “At first we didn’t know what was happening. The Youtube hits for our album suddenly rose by hundreds within hours,” says Shyam. “Then we learnt that Coldplay had featured it in their ‘Exhibits’ section. I had sent it to them months back and forgotten all about it.” ‘Daya’ can still be found in Coldplay’s site. Interestingly, ‘Kaav’ doesn’t have a vocalist. But they are happy without one as of now because “the equation we share with each other is more important to us.” Moreover,  being purely instrumental has now become their signature. Produced by Baiju Dharmarajan of MotherJane, it was a long cherished dream come true for the trio. “For a long while, we had no exposure to western music, no support from family and no money for the right instruments.” ‘Daya’ has been shot and edited by Shyam on his handycam. It has been shot entirely in and around coastal Kochi but Shyam’s artistic skills have given it a surreal quality.It was destiny which brought the three together. Shyam and Shabeer were classmates at school and later, they used to have jam sessions together. After college, Shyam left for Delhi while Shabeer turned to dog training. But the dream of forming a band stayed in their minds and the two got together again and looked out for a drummer. last year a common friend introduced them to Arun, who had earlier played in a deathmetal band. Arun had let go of all his musical ambitions to work at Chennai. The trio soon found that they had a lot more in common than their birthdays which fall in October 1981, and felt that it was time to realise their dream.“Forming a band is easy. Continuing to stay together is difficult,” they say. Their next aim is to make themselves heard in music festivals and other shows. They have not yet decided what they will compose next. “Our music is influenced by everything we have listened to,” they say. That ranges from Indian classical music and old Hindi film songs to the music of Coldplay, Opeth and Porcupine Tree. “Even the music of a wayside beggar inspires us. It has sweet melancholy.” With a set of talented musicians and a lot of enthusiasm, ‘Kaav’ is set to go places. “What matters more is the emotion that our music evokes, not the genre of music,” they say.Their songs can be downloaded at They are going to perform on September 26 at the ‘Gathering Storm’ rock festival at the K T Poulose Hall near the public library. 

Kini, Bolisetti consolidate in JK Tyre racing

Ajay Kini of Wallace Sports and Sailesh Bolisetti of RAD Racing consolidated their positions at the top of the Formula LGB and Super Saloons class at the end of the fourth round of the JK Tyre National Racing Championship Sunday.
Kini, who finished second in the first race Saturday, came third today behind the experienced Amerya Walavalkar (TVS Girling) and Ravikumar Deepak (Mars Racing) in the second Formula Swift race that was stopped due to rain after six laps.
Bolisetti from Vizag extended his dominance with a double in the Super Saloon class despite handling issues, especially in the second outing this morning in wet conditions.
His car, prepared by veteran and former champion Radha Selvarajan had a set up for wet going, but the race was eventually run on a drying track. Yet, Bolisetti had enough pace to keep his challengers at an arm's length to win comfortably.
The Formula Rolon races witnessed close battles with Saran Vikram (Mars Racing) winning the first time out, but falling away in the next due to mechanical problems.
His nearest competitor, Sarosh Hataria (Meco Racing) had a miserable outing in the first race when he spun after the gear fell into neutral at Turn-4 and he finished down the order. But in the second run, he passed the stricken Vikram's car to win.
With two more rounds to be run, Vikram heads the championship with 33 points followed by Hataria and Vishnu Prasad (Amaron Pro Racing) at 29 points each.
The wet track resulted in pile-up of cars in several races leading to delays in the schedule, but fortunately, none of the drivers involved suffered any injury.
The results:
Formula LGB Swift (Race 2, 6 laps): Ameya Walavalkar (TVS Girling) 1 (13mins, 07.748secs); Ravikumar Deepak (Mars Racing) 2 (13:17.720); Ajay Kini (Wallace Sports) 3 (13:27.203).
Formula Rolon (Race 1, 10 laps): Saran Vikram (Mars Racing) 1 (19:00.479); Nikhil Kashyap (Amaron Pro Racing) 2 (19:18.575); Vishnu Prasad (Amaron Pro Racing) 3 (19:23.072). Race 2 (10 laps): Sarosh Hataria (Meco Racing) 1 (19:09.658); Chittesh Mandody (Mohite's Racing) 2 (19:14.287); Vishnu Prasad (Amaron Racing) 3 (19:51.671).
Polo Cup (Race 1, 12 laps): Sailesh Bolisetti 1 (25:25.172); Vikash Anand (RAD Racing) 2 (25:35.536); Parth Ghorpade (Meco Motorsports) 3 (25:36.609). Race 2 (12 laps): Parth Ghorpade (Meco Motorsports) 1 (25:13.862); Mohd Fahad Kutty (Game Over) 2 (25:18.214); Imran Majid (Game Over) 3 (25:26.826).
Touring Cars - Super Saloons (Race 2, 7 laps): Sailesh Bolisetti (RAD Racing) 1 (15:03.557); Raj Virudhan (Prime Racing) 2 (15:10.440); Mohammad Fahad Kutty (Game Over) 3 (15:20.296).
Touring Cars - Junior Cup: (Race 1, 9 laps): B Balavijay (Moto Rev India) 1 (20:26.907); Dilijit Singh (Meco Motorsports) 2 (20:27.411); Mhir Dharkar (Game Over) 3 (18:41.300, +1 lap). Race 2 (7 laps): B Balavijay 1 (16:47.597); Diljith Singh 2 (16:49.929); Vignesh Devarajan (Pvt) 3 (16:53.427).

Artist interprets verses of saints through his paintings

“Famous verses by saints from all over India have been my inspiration to come up with a series of paintings,” says Vasudeo Kamath, an internationally acclaimed artist whose exhibition Mogara Fulala: blissful fragrance will be inaugurated on Tuesday at 5pm in Jehangir Art Gallery. The exhibition
that will be inaugurated by Shankaracharya HH Shri Vidya Nursinh Bharati (Karveer Peeth Kolhapur), will be on till October 4.
The exhibition displays 27 paintings based on famous verses written by Indian saints such as Dyaneshwar, Tukaram, Surdas, Namdev, Kanhopatra, Janabai, Chokhamela, Savtamali and Thiruvalluvar.
“While reading the verses of these saints, some images formed in my mind. I have been listening to them since my childhood. The impact resulted in the series of paintings.” While 17 paintings in the exhibition use oil on canvas, the rest are in watercolour.
Conducting his sixth exhibition at Jehangir, Kamath has exhibited his work across India and abroad. Before this exhibition, the 54-year-old realist artist has done many series of paintings based on Guru-Shishya and Krishna.
“I love the medium of portrait and landscapes. Displaying reality is my forte. For this exhibition I had made a list of almost 500 Indian saints but every exhibition has its limitation!” adds Kamath.
Senior artist and president of Bombay Art Society, Prafulla Dahanukar said: “Kamath is a perfect realist painter. His skills are flawless when it comes to imagination, anatomy and ideas. His thoughts become his paintings.”
Kamath is the only Indian artist to have won the Draper Grand Award by portrait society of America for his portrait titled My Wife in 2006. Last year, he painted a live portrait of President, Pratibha Patil.

Honour for screenplay writer Gopalkrishna Pai

Mangalore: Members of the Konkani community felicitated national award winner for the best screenplay writer Gopalkrishna Pai at a function here on Wednesday. Konkani fortnightly “Kodial Khabar” had organised the felicitation ceremony.
Mr. Pai and director Girish Kasaravalli jointly won the national award for their film “Kanassemba Kudureyanneri”.
Humble background
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Pai, who spent his childhood in Perla village in Kasargod taluk of Kerala state, said that films were not screened in his village very often. Coming from such a village, winning the national award is a great honour for him. Describing the script, which brought him the award, he said “it was an experiment” and that it was “uniquely presented in the film”. According to him the speciality of the script was that it engaged the audience and there was a lot of scope for their participation.
On the scope for audience participation, Mr. Pai told The Hindu that “There is scope for mental participation. The script gives some clues and the audience have to create a story based on it,” he said.
Mr. Pai shared the information with the gathering that once he had written and submitted the script to Mr. Kasaravalli, he had told the latter that he would like to be present when the film was shot, instead he would prefer to be there when it was edited. However, “When the editing began, I greatly regretted having missed the shooting”, he said.
One of the filmmaker's he admires most is Norman McLaren, he said.
‘Swapna Saraswat'
Mr. Pai is author of the Konkani novel “Swapna Saraswat”, which was published last year. Introducing the writer, secretary of the Konkani Bhasha Vidyarthi Mandal Venkatesh Nayak said that the Mr. Pai had referred to 4,000 books and collected 15,000 photographs for the novel which is about the Goud Saraswat Brahmin community.
He began researching for the book in 1990, and the first draft contained 620 pages, which was then reduced to 475 pages. The book was translated into English, Marathi, Malayalam, Hindi, Bengali, and Tamil.