‘Panchayats should act as local government’
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In order to achieve grama swaraj, grama panchayats must be given powers which enable them to act as local government, P Gopinathan Nair, all-India chairman of the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, has said.
“People think that the function of the grama sabha is to provide incentives, but the people must realise that Parliament is a grama sabha,” he opined.
Gopinathan Nair was inaugurating a training programme for people’s representatives from Poovar, Vizhinjam and Venganoor areas the other day. The training programme, meant to strengthen the Panchayati Raj system, was held at Chappath Santhigram. Anto Marcelin, president, Poovar panchayat, presided over the function. Classes were led by G Shankar (chairman, Habitat Technology Group), Ammukutty George (president, Kazhakkumkara Mahila Samajam) and R K Sundaram (chairman, Santhigram).
In the coming days, Prof T S N Pillai (chairman, Board of Social Work, University of Kerala), Dr Aby George (assistant professor, KILA) and P K Kunjiraman (member, Juvenile Justice Board), among others, will lead the classes.
Dial the Jackfruit Van
Somewhere along the way jackfruit became unglamorous. Smelly, sticky, shapeless and prickly, it was rather easily cast aside. As demure, exotic fruits rolled into our fruit basket, it was a freefall for jackfruit down the fruit ladder.
The Jackfruit Fest to be held in Kozhikode later this month is meant to be the summer fruit’s redemption. The festival will promote the infinite goodness of jackfruit, especially as the fruit is free of pesticides. The event, jointly organised by environmental groups, the Wayanad-based Uravu, residents’ associations and others, aims to introduce buyers to the possibilities of jackfruit.
“We know only to steam and fry it,” says Babu Parambath, convener of the organising committee. The festival will introduce the discerning to the infinite ways in between. Chakka ada, chakka cutlet, chakka squash, chakka vada, chakka appam, chakka papadam — Babu lists out the options. No part of the jackfruit, beginning with the seeds, needs to go waste, the fest aims to assert. And in case a householder has jackfruits but is clueless what to do with it, the fest organisers have a solution at hand.
A Jackfruit Van is set to travel to different pockets to teach residents a variety of jackfruit dishes which they can learn and display at the fest. The van will be equipped with cooking gas, stove, jackfruits, utensils and other essentials. “Trained people will be travelling in the van to teach the residents,” says Babu. The organisers expect the residents’ associations across the district to get in touch with them so that the Jackfruit Van can reach those areas.
Once a list of interested areas is chalked out, the van will begin its journey. “We plan to spend an hour at each residents’ association teaching people different jackfruit dishes. The Jackfruit Van will start out by May 12,” he says.
Enthusiasts armed with new jackfruit recipes are expected to make a hearty presence at the fest. “We expect to have about 100 stalls at the fest, out of which 20 will be from Wayanad. A significant number of stalls will be set aside for residents’ associations,” says Babu.
At the three-day festival, which will open on May 24, jackfruits will rule. “We plan to receive the fruit from all the four directions,” says Babu. “We will receive the fruits coming from Sri Lanka at the airport, the ones from Tanur at the railway station and those coming from Kannur and Wayanad will be brought in a bus and lorry.”
For more information about the Jackfruit Van contact 9447276177.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Environment Study Centre, Santhigram, has urged the State Government to withdraw from the move to set up a garbage treatment plant at Nettukaltheri.
The Centre office-bearers said that the proposal to shift the controversial garbage treatment plant from Vilappilsala to Nettukaltheri would lead to the large-scale pollution of an ecologically sensitive region.
They said that the plant would contaminate the waters of the Neyyar river and dam, the main source of drinking water and irrigation needs of the people living in the downstream areas.
The move to set up a garbage plant at Nettukaltheri or any other location in the catchment area of the Neyyar river would also affect the Kalippara drinking water project scheduled to be commissioned soon. As the Neyyar river also feeds the Vellayani lake, it will also lead to the pollution of the fresh water lake, thereby affecting thousands of families at Vellayani.
The authorities should think of safer options for effective waste management, they said.
A meeting of the ‘Watchdog committee on climate change’ held at Santhigram Chappath also urged the Government to withdraw from the move, which, it said, would have a devastating effect on thousands of families living on the southern areas extending from Kattakkada to Vellayani.
The committee and the Environment Study Centre have demanded that the Government should devise methods for source-level treatment of waste.
The Corporation should also set up ward-level or regional-level treatment plants and withdraw
from the move to set up a big treatment plant, they said.
Jackfruit Promotion Council formed
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Leading voluntary organisations and local self-governm ent institutions (LSGIs), in association with the State Horticulture Mission and NABARD, have formed a Jackfruit Promotion Council (JPC) for the promotion of jackfruit in the context of food security and production of value-added products for wider consumption.
�A statement here said that the formation of the JPC is a follow-up to the Jackfruit Festival-2011 held in the city. A 25-member governing council with Rufus Daniel, vice- president, District Panchayat, Thiruvananthapuram, as the chairperson has been elected. The other members include K Prathapan, Director, State Horticulture Mission (SHM); Dr Mary Ukru, Professor, Department of Home Science, College of Agriculture, Vellayani (vice-chairpersons); L Pankajakshan, director, Santhigram (general secretary); V Manilal, (secretary-administration) and� R Saralakumari (secretary-finance).
�The statement said that NABARD has lauded the efforts of the JPC and offered assistance for the state-level training of trainers’ programme (ToT) and support for innovation in development of the sector, in association with the State Horticulture Mission.
�Faculty from Agriculture University, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, NGOs and activists engaged in jackfruit promotion will be the resource persons. The participants in the training will also be provided relevant skills in entrepreneurship.
�The JPC is aimed at working with government institutions, LSGIs, non-governmental organisations, farmer groups, SHGs and residents’ associations for the cause of jackfruit, which is wasted to a large extent.Membership is open to institutions and individuals interested in the promotion of jackfruit.
Vechur cow gets a lifeline
Calf born to Vechur cow at Chappath near Vizhinjam
hiruvananthapuram: A calf born to a Vechur cow, the smallest cow in the world and a breed listed under the category of ‘Critical Breeds’ by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, has created a lot of excitement at Chappath village near Vizhinjam here.
Not just the locals, people are coming from afar too to gaze in wonder at this beautiful white-coloured calf named Devaki and her diminutive mother, Gayathri, both of which are under the care of Santhigram, a voluntary organisation at Chappath.
Vechur cow, a hardy breed of dwarf cattle indigenous to Kerala, which grows only about a maximum of 100 cm in height, has been generating a lot of interest in recent times following a study report from College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at Thrissur that the milk of Vechur cow is rich in beta caseine A2, a milk protein which is protective against diabetes and heart diseases.
There are only about 200 of Vechur cows in the State, almost half of which are being bred by the veterinary college.
The breed would have gone extinct had it not been for a conservation programme that the college launched in 1989.
With all the international attention and recognition it has been receiving, owning a Vechur cow has now become a matter of pride. According to reports, there are only about five Vechur cows in the district.
Vechur cow yields only about three litres of milk daily and the milk has a much higher fat percentage than the milk produced by its cross-bred counterparts.
The breed had gone down in popularity as the government went ahead with its extensive cross-breeding programmes with an eye on improving milk production during the seventies.
With the renewed demand for Vechur cows, the veterinary college at Thrissur now gives out Vechur calves bred under its conservation programme to those who submits an application to the college.
Tvm: The Trivandrum based voluntary organisation Santhigram will coordinate the India Development Gateway (InDG) activities in Kerala. This was decided at the capacity building workshop for the new translators and validators of InDG for Malayalam language activities conducted recently at C-DAC Trivandrum.
India Development Gateway (InDG) is an initiative of the Department of Information Technology, Government of India which targets specific needs in the domain of rural and social development. The Gateway is the National portal of India being developed as a single-window access to information and services, with specific objective of reaching the ‘un-reached’ rural communities of India, especially women and poor. It catalyses the use of ICT tools for knowledge sharing, leading to development. InDG is being implemented by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Hyderabad.
The interactive sessions at the workshop were facilitated by Dr. C. Kathiresan, Project Manager-InDG and Jagadish Babu, Program Manager-InDG of C-DAC, Hyderabad on various aspects of translation and validation of material to be presented on the InDG portal.
C-DAC, Hyderabad is on the look out for freelance ‘English to Malayalam’ Translators and Validators for this project. Applicants should have the expertise in any of these domains, preferably one or two subjects – Agriculture, Health, Primary Education, Social Welfare, Rural Energy, e-Governance. Translators will be paid Rs. 125 per English page and the Validators will be paid Rs.25 per translated Malayalam page. The translated Malayalam material should be in Unicode Karthika.
Interested persons or NGOs can get in touch with Santhigram to join this programme. Santhigram is also looking for an IT Manager and a Language Technology Consultant to coordinate this project. Check out the Santhigram / InDG / C-DAC Hyderabad websites for more details.
Kerala IT News