Thiruvananthapuram Metro: Less Land to be Acquired

The state government has revised its order pertaining to land acquisition for construction of flyover and junction improvement in Sreekaryam as part of the metro project in Thiruvananthapuram. It has been decided to reduce the extent of land to be acquired.

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Image Courtesy: KRTL

The decision was taken after the technical committee approved the proposal to reduce the length of flyover at Sreekaryam. This is expected to bring an amicable solution to the issue of land acquisition at Sreekaryam which was facing protest from the locals.

The order has said that land needed to be acquired for the flyover has been reduced from 4.91 acres to 3.28 acres. After technical committee approved the design, which suggested an 85-metre reduction in the total length of 535 metres, the Kerala Rapid Transit Corporation Limited has requested modification in its earlier proposal.

Local traders and members of Sreekaryam jam-a-at had formed an action council to protest against the land acquisition at Sreekaryam, which they alleged was unjust. They had stated that they would allow only equi-distance policy. As per the original design, the Sreekaryam jam-a-at would loss a major part of its property, as per drawings for construction of the flyover. As per the preliminary plan, around 200 shops had to be displaced for the work. The local traders had demanded KRTL to speed up the land acquisition process to put an end to the uncertainty.

The KRTL is planning to construct a four-lane flyover. Marking of land for acquisition is almost complete at Sreekaryam. After initiating land acquisition works at Sreekaryam, the KRTL has started land marking works for construction of flyover at Ulloor. In addition to Sreekaryam and Ulloor, KRTL will construct flyovers at Pattom and Thampanoor. Of this, design for Thampanoor has not received administration sanction so far.  A total of 5.22 acres is required for Sreekaryam, Ulloor and Pattom flyovers. The government has given consent for direct purchase of 4.8 acres for metro stations and 5.22 acres for construction of flyovers as part of the project.

News Source: “Times of India”

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Ponmudi and Veli to Get a Facelift

Tourists can look forward to better recreational and infrastructure facilities at Ponmudi and Veli in Thiruvananthapuram with the government giving nod for works to the tune of ₹4.54 crore.

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The lower sanatorium, the first stopover of those reaching the Ponmudi hill resort, is to be spruced up at a cost of ₹2.07 crore without altering its natural beauty and terrain. Bamboo huts, tree houses, landscaped garden, and sculptures will greet visitors once the beautification is completed. Adventure park, treetop viewing point, water fountain, bus shelter, parking slots, and signage will also be set up.

New facilities would be created in the park that was presently out of bounds for visitors, said District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) secretary T.V. Prashanth.

Work on revamping the tourist amenity centre at the lower sanatorium, near the government guest house, is in the final phase. A tourism information centre, snack bar and rest rooms would function from the centre once it was opened, he said.

Permission sought

The Tourism Department has sought permission from the Forest Department to commence adventure activities, including trekking on the Kallar-Ponmudi stretch; renovate the park and watch tower in the upper sanatorium; and to install signage.

The decision to take up the work was taken during a visit by Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran and Forest Minister K. Raju to the hill resort on March 10.

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Development work on the swimming pool and park at Veli under the DTPC is being taken up at ₹2.47 crore. The 1.15-acre tourist village has a natural pond too. A water treatment plant, ticket counter, snack bar, and parking slots will be set up.

Once completed, the visitors will be able to enter the swimming pool from the main entrance. Pool parties could be organised in the night, the DTPC secretary said.

With a meeting of the State-level working group on Tourism on June 2 clearing the proposals, the government has given administrative nod for the two projects. The work is to be executed by Kerala Tourism in 18 months and M/s GITPAC is the architect. A decision on the executing agency is yet to be taken.

News Source: “The Hindu”

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Outer Area Growth Corridor, Thiruvananthapuram

Government of Kerala in order to meet future growth requirements of Thiruvananthapuram has initiated the Capital Region Development Project (CRDP). Thus CRDP proposes to develop an  approximately 45km long 6 lane highway Outer Area Growth Corridor project.  The Outer Area Growth Corridor is conceived as the flagship project under CRDP-II aimed to achieve systematic, accelerated, integrated and environmentally responsible development of peripheral areas of Thiruvananthapuram City which will lead to improved quality of life along the economic growth in the peripheral regions while reduce the congestion and overloading of core city infrastructure.

This corridor connects all National Highways,State Highways and Arterial Roads leading to Thiruvananthapuram City from adjoining districts/states. Thiruvananthapuram City is designed to have major economic growth hubs on either side of the core city viz, Technopark/Technocity and Vizhinjam International Seaport on the northern and southern sides respectively. The main feeder roads to Thiruvananthapuram City, which are on the eastern side, viz State Highway-1, State Highway-2, State Highway-45, Neyyar Dam Road. The proposed project road will interconnect all these feeder routes and the two major economic growth centres on the north & south side of the city.

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The ORR is proposed to be a NH class 6 lane signal free highway having a total Right of Way of 60m with 2 lane service roads on either side which will run across Greenfield areas in the outer area. Two Link roads are also proposed as 4 lane road having a total Right of Way of 30m to connect the ORR from Kaniyapuram (Brownfield Road) and Neyyattinkara (Greenfield Road).

The estimated total project cost is ₹1284.5 crores excluding the cost of land acquisition.

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“G-Ride”: Ride-sharing App Launched for Techies in Thiruvananthapuram

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The Group of Technology Companies (GTech), a collective of IT companies, have introduced a digital ride-sharing platform, G-Ride, for Carpooling, Bike pooling and Ride sharing for employees of G-Tech member  companies who are working at Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram. The app, available on Android and iOS platforms, can be accessed by employees of GTech’s member companies.

G-Ride is a platform to find options in real-time for ride sharing, car sharing and bike sharing. G-Ride is the only end-to-end automated solution for car pooling, bike pooling and ride sharing available today.

G-Ride helps to identify matches, connect instantly, communicate and share costs (cashless). With G-Ride you can ‘Offer ride’ to others in your vehicle, or ‘Find ride’ offered by others, instantly.

You have a car or bike and driving alone? If you like to share the empty seats with your colleagues, you can enjoy the following :

1) Share up to 100% of your car maintenance
2) Great company to share all your stories, jokes and scores
3) Increase your network within the organization and get to know more people
4) You do not have to take any diversions to pick up anyone – they come and join you on your route!
5) You retain control about whom you want to share the ride with.
Last but not least, you can do your bit, to contribute for reduction of road congestion and save our planet.

If you usually travel by Taxi/Auto/Bus or you would like to leave your vehicle behind, you can be a ride taker and enjoy the following:

1) Get comfortable and faster car rides at bus fare
2) Share costs through the app fully cashless
3) Get to know your colleagues better. Enjoy the commute to work, sharing interesting stuff.
4) You retain control about whom you want to join with.
5) Get your first ride free with verified profiles.

Here are the key features that put G-Ride in a league of its own – and ahead other solutions.

Ride sharing on G-Ride is secured with its 5 layers of security features:
I. Company where user is working and contact details gets verified
II. You can restrict to share rides with verified employees of your own company or with same gender.
III. Aggregated rating from previous ride partners is available
IV. Integration with social media profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter)– for additional information about user.
V. User can share ride path with others to monitor. In emergency user can initiate SOS call to notify the location to the chosen contact

Flexibility of timings: G-Ride helps to connect with ride matches instantly and completes the transaction at each ride. It is possible to share ride with one user for the onward journey and with another user for the return. There are no obligations to start and leave at the same time.

Coordination challenges: Features like live ride view on map, and in-app(group) chat makes ride coordination seamless.
Partial route matches: Intelligent route matching algorithm supports partial route matching.

Customizable routes and pick-up/drop-off points: Default route and matching pickup or drop points can be customized as per user choice.

Regular rides: For daily commute, user can create regular ride once and G-Ride automatically create ride daily. Varied timings on different days are allowed.

Rewards and incentives: The payments are cashless and completely automated. Ride partners can share costs seamlessly, without even discussing about payments. The rider will be incentivised for rides shared as per his/her choice of fare. Rider can encash accumulated points in the app, and use it to pay for fuel directly at petrol pumps.
There are a host of other advanced features .

Be it your daily office commute or airport travel or weekend outing – G-Ride brings you shared options instantly.

Install G-Ride app to car pool, bike pool and ride share with your colleagues. Wish you many happy shared miles ahead! I

You can reach for any support at gride@gtechindia.org

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“Shikaras” for Lake Cruise in Thiruvananthapuram

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Circuit links Kadinamkulam, Anchuthengu, Akathumuri lakes

Kerala Tourism is to launch three-hour cruises for tourists from Kadinamkulam to Akathumuri by developing a backwater tourism circuit linking Kadinamkulam, Anchuthengu, and Akathumuri lakes.

Starting from Perumathura, 29 km north of the capital city, Thiruvananthapuram, the cruise will cover Anchuthengu, Kayikkara, Ponnumthuruthu (Golden Island — a privately owned island in Akathumuri lake), and Panayilkadavu, before winding up at Akathumuri. The iconic shikaras of Dal Lake in Srinagar will mostly be used for the cruises that will take three hours to cover the Kadinamkulam-Akathumuri stretch, Minister for Tourism Kadakampally Surendran said. The boat can accommodate 20 tourists.

A boat terminal will be set up at Kadinamkulam and it will be able to accommodate even houseboats. Toilets and a snacks corner will be set up at the terminal. The resting place will be built at Panayil Kadavu. Floating jetties will be set up at Perumathura, Anchuthengu, Kayikkara, Ponnumthuruthu, Panayilkadavu, and Akathumuri. The project will be executed under the Thiruvananthapuram District Tourism Promotion Council, the Minister said.

Private investors will be roped in for operating house boat cruises. Strict regulations will be in force to check pollution of the waterbodies and the boats will have bio-toilets. A sewerage treatment plant will also be set up.

Kerala Tourism hopes to attract foreign tourists also to the backwater tourism circuit. The project would be extended up to Kappil later, the Minister said.

~News & Image Courtesy: “The Hindu”

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Panavila Bake House: Sugar, Spice and More

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Anyone who has had a bite of a flattened round patty or what we call the cutlet knows exactly how it ought to be – crispy and warm. For those who reminisce the time when India Coffee House had the best cutlets in town, worry not. There’s Panavila Bake House, which at first glance, save for a catchy signage, looks like your average bakery with the regular assortment of puffs, rolls, vada and the like.

But since its opening in September last year, the small store has managed to win hearts for its cutlets and cakes. Those who frequent the store ought to know by now that they’d have to be in luck to see anything but crumbs left on the racks by tea time. That being the speed at which they disappear.

Run by friends Williams J.C. and Ganesh Kumar K.C. the cutlets were initially procured from elsewhere but they were unimpressive. Williams’s wife, Sindhu, decided to fill in with her recipe and they were sold out in no time. The chicken and vegetable cutlets, priced at Rs. 18 and Rs. 12 a piece, are unfailingly crunchy and warm every time. This is so because Sindhu lives close by, allowing her a window to time to fry fresh, small batches. “The mix is not stored away in a freezer and fried when there is a demand. It is made from scratch and brought over a few times every day,” she says.

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The bakery’s red velvet cake is another item which, thanks to Williams’s niece Hema Edwin, an amateur baker, has ecstatic customer reviews. She began sales at the bakery with Christmas cakes, following her mother-in-law’s recipe. When Hema gave into pressure from a friend to try baking a batch red velvet cakes, demand grew to the point where orders rose to at least 13 kg a day.

“The option of cake slices came later. I was not baking more than 4 kg a day at the time. But it was a sight where groups of people were buying half-kilo boxes and digging into them at the bakery itself. It was both heart-warming and surprising at the same time.”

The dense and rich texture of Hema’s red velvet cake was bringing in more curious buyers and she upped her supply to 10 kg a day. An architect by profession, Hema learnt to bake from her mother-in-law Prasanna Peter and soon started experimenting with recipes.

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Hema knows what sets her recipe apart. “I use only cream cheese for topping the Red Velvet cakes. I have had customers advising me to use cheaper options like butter cream or whipping cream to keep my costs low but I refuse to compromise. The cream cheese on Red Velvet combination is to die for. I wouldn’t want my customers to have it any other way,” she says. A slice is priced at Rs. 60. Increased demand led to making different quantities available to customers.

A family of four need only buy our economy pack of 300gm available for Rs.195 which will give them six slices. A kilo of the same is priced at Rs. 700.

Adding more flavours

Hema now bakes with help from her mother, Selma, and has since introduced more flavours – chocolate cheese, white chocolate truffle – demand for which has taken Hema by surprise, coffee cashew, Death By Chocolate and another family addition, Dates Delight.

The cakes are made available for sale only after they have been tasted and approved by Hema’s family. She assures that the cakes are free of preservatives and enhancers. Hema admits her cake decorations could do with some improvement, adding that it is her model-making classes in architecture that have held her in good stead so far.

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The bakery also has a fresh juice counter and limited seating for those popping in for a quick bite. Kesari and carrot halwa, also made in-house, are the other popular buys. Homemade fish, chicken and prawn pickles have also been added to the range recently. But for those who love their cutlet the way it used to be, if you are passing by Panavila Bake House, a perfect bite of nostalgia awaits every single time.

Contact: 9496105572

~Content & Images Courtesy: “The Hindu”

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Salsa: Moving to the Rhythm of the beat

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Dancers sway to the beat of a Latin tune as Praveen Kumar moves around the room correcting postures and footwork. “Listen to the music; let the rhythm take your feet,” says Praveen, encouraging a new member.

A dance form that originated in the Caribbean, Salsa seems to be the ‘in’ thing, judging by the crowd at the dance studio at Talwalkers, Kurvankonam. And it is not just popular with the young and happening, those in their golden fifties are hitting the dance floor too.

Says Praveen: “Till, say about a decade ago, if you were to ask anyone about “Salsa”, they would wonder if you were talking about the Spanish tomato-based chutney. Although the dance form is popular in metro cities, Salsa is only gradually making its presence felt in cities such as Thiruvananthapuram. ”

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A techie, Praveen says it was serendipity that led him to a Salsa workshop while he was working in Chennai. The rest, to borrow a cliché, is history. A couple of Salsa workshops, and courses later, he quit his job and started focussing on the Latin dance form.

Praveen, who hails from Coimbatore, holds Salsa classes in Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and in his hometown. While the classes in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram are held once a week, it is twice a week in Coimbatore.

So, why Thiruvananthapuram? “I had worked briefly in Thiruvananthapuram and feel the people of the city would take to the dance form.” Praveen tested the waters by holding a few day-long workshops near Technopark. Although the first workshop saw only two attending the event, he now has 25 regular students in his class.

While some troop in to his class out of curiosity, many have either seen the dance on television or have attended workshops elsewhere.

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Dentist Shantala Keni recalls being fascinated by the dance right from her teen years. She would imitate the moves of the dancers on screen. “Those days Salsa wasn’t popular and it wasn’t the age of YouTube videos.” When a Facebook alert popped up on screen one day announcing a Salsa workshop in the city, she decided to attend it.

“While I was aware of Salsa, and its different forms, I did not know the techniques,” says Dr. Shantala, who is currently a level two Salsa dancer. This doctor who loves to dance, says she finds the dance form a great stress buster.

Techie Leenu Peter decided to check out the Salsa workshop as it was held close to her office. Although she had attended a few Salsa workshops elsewhere, none held her attention.

“I, however, like the class here; it’s fun. Although I was apprehensive about being able to follow Praveen’s lead in class, the steps were surprisingly easy. We occasionally have themed evenings where one has to wear an outfit of a particular colour. We have had two Salsa Socials which is open to all. At the Social, students demonstrate what they have learnt so far and the public can join in the fun.”

According to business consultant Deen Edgar, Salsa is an effective workout, mood lifter and social activity. “People from all walks of life attend the class. It is a great place to network and the dance form is an excellent stress buster.”

Salsa, says Praveen, comes under a category called ‘social dances’, that is, dances that take place with a partner. “However, unlike traditional Salsa, where one holds the partner close, here we maintain an arm’s length distance while dancing as we don’t want anyone feeling uncomfortable,” he says.

Partners change at every song to break the monotony of dancing with the same person. Level two students like Shantala help tutor the newcomers. “It helps them polish their skills,” says the 28-year-old Praveen.

Although he hopes to build a community that is into charitable work further down the line, right now Praveen is focussed on promoting Salsa. “I want more and more people to learn and enjoy the dance form.” And with that we leave the instructor to his class.

~Content & Image Courtesy: “The Hindu”

 

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