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Old January 28th, 2012, 08:25 PM   #81
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Backwater hideaway-Akkarakalam Memoirs

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A mere 20 ft separated the back of the house from the backwaters. The long languid rear veranda sporting traditional wooden recliners faced the waterway across a small yard. Ripening jack fruits and off-season mangoes hung from gnarled old trees, while slender coconut and areca palms swayed in the light breeze. Green was everywhere — from the lush tropical foliage and rectangular lawns to patches of moss on tiled roofs and tufts of grass poking from paved pathways and the pebble strewn yard.

I was in Akkarakalam Memoirs, a 150-year-old traditional Kerala house transformed into a homestay. Just 80 km south of Kochi past the charming coastal town of Alappuzha and a short drive into the Changanacherry Road, the homestay lies quietly by the waterfront within a 10-acre plot — a world away from urban cacophony. Life here moved at a sedate pace, totally tied to the rhythms of the earth — imbued with a simple rusticity and a soporific air.

And you get to taste that right after check-in. There's nothing flashy about the heritage rooms. Rather, it carries the peace and tranquillity of generations of its previous occupants. The furniture is the same; four poster beds, wooden tables and chairs and wardrobes, all polished and restored to their original sheen. And professional housekeeping sees to it that creature comforts are maintained — in five air-conditioned rooms and two cottages.

Contemporary comfort

The bathrooms though have been given a complete makeover — and brought to contemporary standards. But most of the original features of the house have been left intact: A wooden grain cellar called Para, aged doors and windows and flooring, wooden stairway bringing to life a forgotten era and such other venerable symbols, all restored fairly well. The front veranda has been transformed into the dining hall, but with present-day furniture and gleaming cutlery.

Food conforms to traditional Kerala cuisine, starting with puttu and appams for breakfast to rice, fish and poultry for lunch and dinner. Add an assortment of spicy vegetarian preparations and other accompaniments and you get classic Kerala food served in a fairly contemporary setting.

But it's the famed waterways of Kerala that's the USP of the place. The unique backwaters — an interlinked network of canals and lakes spanning 450 km from Thiruvananthapuram to Vadakara — create picture postcard scenes of a delightful interplay between verdant earth and winding waterways. Of this, the biggest waterbody Vembanad Lake, stretches from Kodungallur in the north to Alappuzha in the south. And when the rains arrive in early June, the backwaters cast a spell with their effusive charm, compelling even the most harried urbanite to slow down and look, to soak in its sensory riches. And that is best done by undertaking a motorboat cruise. It's a delightful experience, and is complimentary for in-house guests. But the experience is heightened to another level when you step into a houseboat for a day cruise or for an overnight stay in the Vembanad Lake. Plush air-conditioned bedrooms, elegant dining room and a cosy sitting area upfront, all add to the uniqueness of the experience. A perfect means of exploring a magical land conjured up by land and water.
http://www.thehindu.com/arts/magazin...cle2839693.ece
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Old January 28th, 2012, 08:26 PM   #82
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Kerala’s international coir festival gets African participation

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Thiruvananthapuram: The second edition of the International Coir Festival has seen registration from 35 countries, which includes many African nations for the first time, a minister said Saturday.

"Buyers from African nations are showing great interest in coir products. We have participants from countries such as South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia for the first time," said Adoor Prakash, state minister for coir.

The six-day festival will be held at Alappuzha, often referred to as the home of Kerala coir, from Feb 4.

Besides expositions by manufacturers, the event will host various seminars and panel discussions which will bring together policymakers, industry representatives and academicians to discuss the latest developments that can drive the growth of coir and natural fibres sector.

"Even within Europe, which has traditionally been a strong market for coir products, more countries such as Croatia, Ireland, Bulgaria, France and Sweden are showing interest in the trade fair. These nations are emerging as strong export markets for non-conventional coir products," said Prakash.

"South America is represented this year by participants from Columbia, while Mauritius and China are also potential new markets," added Prakash.

The first edition of the festival saw business worth over Rs.20 crore from direct sales and new orders.

"Eco-friendly and non-conventional items such as geo-textiles and coir pith are finding great demand overseas," said Department of Coir special secretary Rani George.

The department recently signed a deal with Saudi Arabia for the export of geo-textiles. Middle East nations keen to manage their scarce water resources are also showing interest in coir pith which can be used as a soil conditioner and fertilizer.

The coir industry is targeting exports worth Rs.1,000 crore and domestic revenues of nearly Rs.2,000 crore this year.

"The growing shift towards eco-friendly consumer and industrial products presents a world of opportunity for coir. With Coir Kerala 2012, we want to make sure domestic manufacturers have the opportunity to take advantage of the global green movement," said Prakash.
http://english.manoramaonline.com/cg...mId=1080132912
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Old January 29th, 2012, 07:30 AM   #83
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Old January 29th, 2012, 10:37 AM   #84
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Kerala coir expo, Coir Kerala 2012 logs on to cyber space
http://keralaitnews.com/state-scan/t...to-cyber-space
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Old January 29th, 2012, 10:37 AM   #85
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Old January 30th, 2012, 01:16 PM   #86
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Coir fest elicits keen overseas interest

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Thiruvananthapuram: Coir products from Kerala may make its way into new markets in Africa and Latin America as nearly 100 representatives from over 35 countries have confirmed participation at the international Coir festival to be held in Alappuzha from February 4-9.

Also, about 120 domestic exhibitors are expected to attend the trade event hosted by Kerala Government.

Alappuzha has for centuries been known as the prime centre of coir production, which is a strong traditional segment of Kerala’s economy.

Last year the event had generated business worth more than Rs 20 crore from direct sales and new orders.

"Buyers from African nations are showing great interest in coir products.We have participants from countries such as South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia registering for Coir Kerala for the first time," a release quoting Minister for Coir Adoor Prakash said.

Even within Europe, which had traditionally been strong market for coir products, more countries, such as Croatia, Ireland, Bulgaria, France and Sweden had shown interest in the trade fair.

These were emerging as strong export markets for non-conventional coir products. South America would be represented this year by participants from Columbia, while Mauritius and China were also potential new markets.

Eco-friendly, non-conventional items such as geo-textiles and coir pith are finding great demand overseas, said Rani George, Special Secretary, Department of Coir.

The department recently signed a deal with Saudi Arabia for export of geo-textiles.Keen to manage their scarce water resources,the Gulf countries had been showing interest in coir pith which could be used as a soil conditioner and fertilizer.

Visitors to the event would be able to see the entire range of conventional and non-conventional products as well as industrial machinery on display.

Coir industry was targeting exports worth Rs 1,000 crore and domestic revenues of nearly Rs 2,000 crore this year.
http://english.manoramaonline.com/cg...mId=1080132912
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Old February 1st, 2012, 12:39 PM   #87
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Coir Kerala 2012 attracts huge participation

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala’s ‘golden fibre’ is definitely making inroads into Africa and Latin America, going by the number of� international participants from these regions at this year’s Coir Kerala 2012.� Nearly 100 representatives from over 35 countries, and more than 120 domesticexhibitors have al ready registered for the biggest trade event of its kind, which will be on from February 4 to 9 in Alappuzha.
“The growing shift towards eco-friendly consumer and industrial products presents a world of opportunity for coir.
With Coir Kerala 2012, we want to make sure domestic manufacturers have the opportunity to take advantage of the global green movement,” said Adoor Prakash, Minister for Coir.
Although only in its second edition now, Coir Kerala has already given a huge fillip to the growth of the industry, considered a strong traditional segment of Kerala’s economy. Last year the event generated business worth more than `20 crore from direct sales and new orders.� Kerala’s Department of Coir expects revenues from this year’s event to be even higher, with buyers coming in from potentially huge and new markets.“Buyers from African nations are showing great interest in coir products. We have participants from countries such as South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia registering for Coir Kerala for the first time,” said Adoor Prakash.
With the coir industry targeting exports worth ` 1,000 crore and domestic revenues of nearly `2,000 crore this year, Coir Kerala 2012 forms an important part of the promotional strategy. In Europe, which has traditionally been a strong market for coir products, more countries, such as Croatia, Ireland, Bulgaria, France and Sweden, are showing interest in the trade fair.
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/coir-kera...29-60-116.html
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Old February 1st, 2012, 12:56 PM   #88
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Old February 1st, 2012, 12:59 PM   #89
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Old February 1st, 2012, 01:05 PM   #90
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Old February 2nd, 2012, 12:08 PM   #91
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Old February 2nd, 2012, 12:13 PM   #92
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Old February 2nd, 2012, 12:17 PM   #93
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 03:39 PM   #94
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 03:40 PM   #95
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 03:40 PM   #96
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Old February 4th, 2012, 03:34 AM   #97
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Old February 4th, 2012, 03:38 AM   #98
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Old February 4th, 2012, 12:47 PM   #99
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Sex workers to give Alappuzha town a facelift

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ALAPPUZHA: Women sex workers are all set to give Alappuzha town a facelift. They have been chosen to execute the 'Alappuzha town beautification project' of the Kerala State Aids Control Society (KSACS) in association with the municipality.

"The project is part of KSACS's Suraksha initiative that aims to reduce the rate of HIV transmission among sex workers and drug users. We have held talks with municipal authorities in this connection and they have assured us full support. It will begin next month," Suraksha project district manager Palouse Kuriakose told TOI.

As part of the project, a select group of sex workers will be employed as gardeners: they will plant saplings along roadsides, set up gardens along the banks of the canals and roadsides, as well as clean up the whole area.

"These women will be trained to do this work. They will be paid daily wages. Rs 1.5 lakh has been set aside for the first phase of the programme," Palouse said.

Around 240 sex workers in the municipal area have been identified to carry out the programme. Once Alappuzha town is cleaned up, the programme may be extended to Cherthala, Kayamkulam and Haripad municipalities.

Municipal chairperson Mercy Diana Masido told TOI that the civic body would extend all support to this initiative. "Though the municipality does not have funds for this project, we will contribute saplings for being planted along roadsides," she said.

It was Pazhaveedu municipal councillor R Ramesh who introduced the KSACS project to the municipal chairperson and other officials. "All of them were unanimous in their support for the project. Suraksha has executed many novel initiatives for the well being of sex workers. So we are ready to give our full support to any programme formulated by the KSACS," Ramesh said.

The Suraksha unit of Alappuzha, which is being run by Jawaharlal Memorial Social Welfare and Public Cooperation Centre, a Kottayam-based NGO, bagged KSACS's award for best unit in the state in 2009 and 2010.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/c...w/11750423.cms
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Old February 5th, 2012, 03:35 AM   #100
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