Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Siruthuli to train kids in eco-activities

COIMBATORE: Vanitha Mohan, managing trustee of Siruthuli, a city-based green NGO, inaugurated Sittukaludan Siruthuli, a project to involve schools in environment preservation activities, at Kikani School in the city.

A Balasubramaniyan, an associate professor at the department of tree breeding of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University ( TNAU), said pollution and global warming are increasing at an enormous rate. "Increasing pollution will not only raise the water levels subduing land, but will also create many new diseases. We must try hard to correct the situation," he said

Vanitha said the project is aimed at inculcating an awareness of nature among children. "Every Saturday, we will train 30 students from six different schools on environmental preservation. They will be taught how to take care of nature and how to pass on this knowledge to their schoolmates," she said. "From planting trees to avoiding plastic, students will be encouraged to participate in many simple activities," she said.

A model of the earth made with waste materials as a symbol of the polluted earth was handed over to the children. "This was to show them that they were inheriting a polluted earth, and have a huge responsibility to make it clean," said Anu Valenteena, a member of Siruthuli.

Ferocious cocks, feverish wagers

S Anantha Kumar, 27, from Chemmedu, 35km from here, is making his way to an event of near mythical proportions. He has come with the requisite baggage - a cock belonging to the 'kahavallur' tribe that is larger than his torso. As he takes a turn on the winding road, the large field suddenly become visible. On the field are parked over 2,000 bikes and 100 cars. On the field are over 200 others like him-- with cocks, many of them fed on a rich diet over the last few months in anticipation of this event.

Welcome to the first legal cockfight staged in Nathegoundanputhur near Coimbatore in over a decade. Sources confided privately that many illegal fights have happened in the meantime, each one followed by a police crackdown. "Lakhs of rupees are involved in these fights," said an anonymous caller over phone. He refused to divulge his identity, but even as the TOI team watched the contest, wagers for thousands of rupees were being made over each fight.

The whole machinery rests on a simple, seemingly fickle instinct between two cocks to find out which is the best one.

The fights at Nathegoundanputhur date back to the Chera-Chola-Pandya era when such cockfights were royal events. Says V V Palanisamy, "The cocks are fed a rich diet of ragi, cumbum and kondakadalai. After six months of this diet, they are also given grains and coconuts." Palanisamy, who is from nearby Vellakinaru, is 68 and owns 20 cocks. He should know. "Events such as these happened even in the time of Agasthiyar according to the Panchapakshi Sashtram," he said.

In the modern era, especially in recent times, the cockfights were banned as they were deemed to hurt the birds. But V M Kathirvel got the Madras high court to permit the cockfight on the grounds that it is a tradition that should not be abandoned. Putting several checks and balances in place, the HC then permitted the cockfight under the watchful eyes of the police. Over 20 police personnel were at the event to keep peace. "Nothing untoward has happened so far," said A K Thangapandian, inspector of police, Alanthurai. He ruled out the possibility of blades being attached to the legs of the birds to give the event a dangerous edge.

Sunday is the last day of the four-day event. 200 cocks are fielded every day. The health of the birds is determined by a doctor, who is present at the venue as directed by the Madras HC.

N M Shanmuga Sundaram, who is holding the event in the field belonging to his nephew. "There is no entrance fee. I am just doing this for fun. We are glad to have a tremendous response," he said.

He was right. All roads led to Nathegoundanputhur on Saturday.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fifth edition of the Kovai Flower Show!

The fifth edition of the Kovai Flower Show will be held at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) from January 6-8, 2012. The show has been organized again following the overwhelming response the varsity received to previous shows.

The theme of the show has been decided as 'Say it with flowers'. The entry fee will be Rs 10 for adults and Rs 5 for children. Preparations are now on in full swing for the flower show.

TNAU vice-chancellor P Murugesa Bhoopathi said that the show was being held "without any commercial intent". The first edition of the flower show was held in 2005 to celebrate the university's centenary year. The show has been scheduled from 9am-6pm.

The proceeds from the flower show will go towards the eradication of polio campaign by the Rotary. Over 200 students of the university will be involved in making arrangements.

As many as 250 species of flowers, including cut and traditional ones, will be brought from Hosur, Bengaluru, Yercaud, Ooty, Kodaikanal, Kashmir and Pune. Apart from this, orchids will also be imported from Thailand. A few species will also be brought in from The Netherlands and South America. Up to 2 lakh flowers will be on display across various stalls. The TNAU is expecting 2 lakh people to attend the show.

Big score for Coimbatore Sports persons

Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday announced a new programme for providing daily training for skillful boys and girls interested in taking up sports at the competitive level. The training will be imparted by the coaches attached of the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu.

Twenty boys and girls in the age group of 10 and14 would be picked based on their skills in various sports and would be admitted to training centres for moulding them as achievers for the future. They would be given training in morning and evening at the centres for 25 days in a month and provided with tiffin, travel allowance, uniform and sports equipment, an official release here said.

The scheme would be implemented on an experimental basis in Kanyakumari, Virudhunagar, Coimbatore and Perambalur and 10 coaches would be appointed. The CM has allotted `18 lakh as recurring expense towards this scheme.

At present, nine sports hostels and three sports schools with hostels were functioning in Tamil Nadu providing training to 860 sportspersons. The number of students in these institutions would be increased to 1,100. In modern sports hostels, the number of sportspersons to be trained would go up from 50 to 80. The government would incur a recurring expenditure of `83 lakhs and a non-recurring expenditure of `1 crore per annum. The CM has already doubled the cash award for sportpersons winning medals in Olympics, besides enhancing incentives for those winning shields and medals in national and international events. Players from the State who win gold medals in Olympics would now on get `2 crore instead of `1 crore disbursed hitherto. Similarly, the winners of silver and bronze medals would receive `1 crore and `50 lakh respectively against `50 lakh and `25 lakh.

Further, the gold medal winners of Commonwealth Games and Asian Games would get `50 lakh and winners of silver and bronze medals would get `30 lakh and 20 lakh respectively. Earlier, the awards stood at `20 lakh, `15 lakh and `10 lakh for gold, silver and bronze medals respectively.

Besides, the prize money for gold medal winners of South Asian Federation Games and National Games has also been increased by `5 lakh, against `1 lakh disbursed hitherto, and silver and bronze medel winners would receive `3 lakh and `2 lakh against `50,000 and `10,000 earlier.