Rev. Dr. Abraham Mulamoottil >> News

Address: MACFAST, Tiruvalla, Kerala, India.
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The Central Travancore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CTCCI) has welcomed the State government’s initiative to establish the proposed Sabari International Greenfield Airport at Erumeli.

In a statement issued here on Saturday, CTCCI president Fr. Abraham Mulamoottil said that the video conference of the association members held on Friday extended full support to the government with regard to the proposed airport project.

Fr. Mulammottil said the CTCCI meeting further urged the government to focus on a decentralised and sustainable rural development plan establishing 20 towns in Central Travancore region as business centres.

He said the association members also offered their wholehearted support to the project and expressed interest in investing in the government project.

According to him, the proposed airport project would sure give a boost to the tourism industry that was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. It would also help revamp the State’s agriculture sector.

The Texas-based US Citrus company, owned by Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Mani Scaria, had expressed its willingness to open its branch in India near Erumeli, he said. Attending the video conference, many other CTCCI members, who owned companies in different parts of Europe, America, Gulf countries and in the Middle East, also expressed interest in extending their business to Kerala once the proposed airport project took off, he said.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Issac also attended the video meeting, Fr. Mulamoottil said.
 

Radio Macfast-90.4, State’s first campus-based community radio service (CRS), is celebrating its decennial anniversary.

It was launched on Kerala Formation Day on November 1, 2009 by the Mar Athanasios College for Advanced Studies in Thiruvalla.

Credit goes to Metropolitan Archbishop of Thiruvalla Thomas Mar Koorilos and its founder principal-cum-director Fr. Abraham Mulamoottil.

The FM radio station covers an aerial distance of 20 km. The CRS focusses on news updates on socially relevant issues, women empowerment, healthcare, agriculture, education, environment and rural development, imparting value education among children and youth. It also airs entertainment programmes.

College Principal Fr. Cherian J. Kottayil and radio station manager Fr. Thomaskutty Pathinettil said the CRS pursued a low cost and low return pattern of operation, educating and entertaining the rural community in and around Thiruvalla, using their own idioms and language.

Fr. Kottayil said Radio Macfast had gone a long way in strengthening democratic institutions and practice, giving the common people access to information.

Station director Ramesh Mathew, highlighting the relevance of the CRS, said the mainstream media were unable to cater to the true information needs of the community as they were market-driven.

Radio Macfast, under its founder-station director V.George Mathew, has carved a niche for itself in terms of localisation of content, participation and involvement of the community, narrowing down the differences between the broadcaster and the audience.

True to its punchline ‘Naattukarku koottayi’, Radio Macfast has become a partner friend of the local populace in their endeavours over the past 10 years.

Tap growing enthusiasm for ‘Nostalgia Economy’, says Fr. Abraham Mulamoottil
The Thiruvalla-based Central Travancore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CTCCI) has proposed a sustainable model of development for tier-II and tier-III towns in the Central Travncore region spread. The proposal is against the backdrop of the government decision to set up the proposed Sabari International Greenfield Airport at Erumeli in Kottayam district. Talking to The Hindu, CTCCI president Fr. Abraham Mulamoottil of Syro Malankara Catholic Church, who was instrumental in setting up the State’s first private self-financing professional college in Thiruvalla, explained the proposals for tapping the development potential of the region. According to him, there is a growing enthusiasm among the non-resident Indians (NRI) and non-resident Keralites (NRK), to invest in the economy of their country of origin. Fr. Mulamoottil has coined a new phrase for this phenomenon — ‘Nostalgia Economy’ — which has already contributed a lot for transforming Kerala as an investment destination.
Feasibility report
The Kerala government, through a Government Order on September 24, 2017, has asked the infrastructure consultants, Louis Berger Group, to prepare a detailed feasibility report on the proposed ₹2,500-crore Sabari Airport project. Fr. Mulamoottil said the proposed fifth international airport in the State would be of great help in boosting the region’s development.
20 towns
Development of 20 towns, instead of centralising projects in and around the proposed airport area, a decentralised rural development plan should be prepared by setting up different centres for diverse businesses in 20 prominent towns in the region, said Fr. Mulamoottil. Thiruvalla, Changanassery, Kottayam, Pala, Eerattupettah, Wagamon, Kuttikkanam, Mundakkayam, Kanjirappally, Pathanamthitta, Ranni, Konni, Adoor, Pandalam, Chengannur, Kumarakom, Mavelikara, Ambalappuzha, Haripad, and Alappuzha are the 20 towns proposed by CTCCI for development.
Sky Bus project
He said tier-II towns are best suited for the double-decker buses that travel on pillars and the authorities could think of introducing such a project interlinking the 20 towns. Fr. Mulamoottil also proposed a ‘sea-to-sky elevated rapid transport tram system’ linking the high lands with the coastal town of Alappuzha. Fr. Mulamoottil said the CTCCI, in association with the Kerala Start-Up Mission, will be hosting a Sabari Investors Meet-2020 next July, showcasing proposals on various sustainable development models best suited for the region.
The day-long Next Generation Data Centre Development Conference, organised by the Centre for Innovation and Development of Affordable Technologies (CIDAT) in Thiruvalla, has called upon the government to explore the possibility of developing Thiruvalla into ‘digital innovation hub’.

Mehdi Parayavi, chairman of the US-based International Data Centre Authority, urged the State to take the initiative to set up an IT Innovation Hub at Thiruvalla.
Strategic position
According to Mr Parayavi, situated in between the political capital of Thiruvananthapuram and the commercial capital of Kochi, Thiruvalla with its huge human resource and NRI population is best suited for setting up the proposed IT hub.

Inaugurating the meet, Sub Collector of Thiruvalla Dr Vinay Goel stressed the importance of opting for sustainable development models and green economy in the region.

Fr Abraham Mulamoottil, CIDAT president, said a development surge, interlinking 20 towns around Thiruvalla, could bring about a sustainable model of development. Shaji Nair, co-founder and CEO of Future of Technology Summits in the US and IDCA director, said it was high time Kerala took its IT initiatives to the villages.

Expert says e-rupee can be used for transactions of vendors, daily bills, etc
“India is moving towards a currency-less economy and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fired the first salvo in the right direction to attain this goal aimed at strengthening our economy. Every Indian should welcome the withdrawal and demonitisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes, taking it a historic initiative to fight black money, terrorism and corruption,” says Fr. Abraham Mulamoottil, author of E-rupee to reinvent India .

Fr. Mulamoottil was responding to the Union government’s decision to scrap the currencies of Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 denomination.

“In the Indian context of terrorists and usurpers who attempt to destabilise the government and society, their power based on hard cash, can be curbed to a large extent with electronic money transactions or e-rupee,” he told The Hindu.
 
Already on

Electronic money was intangible as it was not held in any physical form.

He said the transition from fiduciary and scriptural money to e-money had already begun through electronic payment systems, credit cards, debit cards, smart vouchers, and so on.

Fr. Mulamoottil said it was high time that democratically elected governments and people’s representatives rose up to the expectations of the people who had elected them. Bringing an end to corruption and strengthening the country’s economy through innovative and foolproof means in the national interests should be their prime concern, he said.

He said the role of physical currency was diminishing in most of the developed countries.

He mooted introduction of ‘e-rupee’ to promote a ‘currency-less’ society as it could be an effective tool to curb the black money menace and corruption.

Fr. Mulamoottil said that the everyday cash transactions of people such as vegetable, fish and milk vendors, daily subscription bills, and so on could be organised through e-rupee.

Safe gateways

However, the e-rupee proposed by Fr. Mulamoottil required efficient, secure, authorised and convenient gateways for foolproof fund transfers, payment of everyday utility bills, grocery bills, and so on.

Studies conducted by various national institutes had pegged the size of black money in the country at nearly 30 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, he said.

The people of Thiruvalla made it a special occasion to rejoice when Mother Teresa was canonised at the Vatican on Sunday.

The country’s first college chapel in the name of Mother Teresa happened to be in Thiruvalla. The St. Teresa Chapel constructed in 2003 at the Mar Athanasius College for Advanced Studies Thiruvalla (Macfast) at Thukalaserry near Thiruvalla is perhaps the first one of its kind in the whole world, says Fr. Abraham Mulamoottil, who set up the place of worship 13 years ago.

“The decision to name the oldest college chapel after the Blessed Saint of Kolkata was indeed a soul-filling experience,” Fr. Mulamoottil said.

A life-size stain-glass image of the Mother painted on the large windowpane facing the West is its major attraction. The image painted in vibrant colours, illustrating Mother Teresa’s convictions, was made by the stain-glass artist Moyalan from Thrissur.

Resurrection of Jesus Christ and sprouting wheat, which gives “new life and abundance”, is the background of the top portion.

“Mother used to say that ‘I do all these because of Jesus only,’’ Fr. Mulamoottil said.

Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Catholicos has released The Tent of the Pilgrim of Exile , a historical book centred around St. John’s Metropolitan Cathedral at Thiruvalla, written by Fr Abraham Mulamoottil, at a function held at Thiruvalla on Monday. Philipose Mar Chrysostum, Metropolitan Emeritus of the Mar Thoma Church, received the book.

Releasing the book, the Cardinal said Fr. Mulamoottil deserved special mention for the hard work and dedication in depicting the architectural and theological foundations of the cathedral and man’s deep-felt search for God.

Princess Aswathi Tirunal Gouri Lakshmi Bai of the Kowdiar Palace in Thiruvananthapuram had written the forward.

Fr. Mulamoottil said the cathedral was an integral part of the society, culture, and history.

Special Correspondent

The Kerala State Electricity Board has clarified that there has not been any undue delay in testing and connecting solar power plants to the grid. Responding to a report in The Hindu on March 28, alleging delay in the process and that no grid tie system had been connected to the board’s grid, a release said here on Monday that the first grid connected plant to the KSEB system came into effect on August 6 last. Four plants with total capacity of 106 KW had been connected to the grid. The 62 applications received so far were being processed.

For solar power plant connectivity, the board’s procedure was in line with the provisions laid down by the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission last year.

The plant owner should secure approval from the electrical inspector for energising the plant and inform the board. The board would test the plant in 15 days and connect it to the grid on clearing the test.

Printable version | Mar 31, 2015 10:54:28 AM | http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/no-delay-in-grid-connectivity-kseb/article7051419.ece

© The Hindu

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

There is undue delay on the part of the Kerala State Electricity Board in connecting roof-top interactive solar power plants (Grid Tie) to its grid, Fr. Abraham Mulamoottil, chairman of Peace People Planet (PPP), has alleged.

The PPP is a non-governmental organisation based in Thiruvalla campaigning for the cause of green energy.

Fr. Mulamoottil told The Hindu that no single Grid Tie system had been connected to the KSEB grid so far in the State, while it took hardly two weeks for completing the formalities in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. “KSEB experts wanted certain tests to be conducted to ascertain whether the Grid Tie inverters got the quality to connect to the grid. But, it is equally important that the engineers should also have the correct jigs for testing,” he said.

The KSEB experts should not insist on customers to provide the test set-up or ask them to borrow it from companies having the facility, incurring additional cost. A customer from Thiruvalla claimed that he had already paid rent of Rs.6,000 for a test set-up, the PPP leader said.

Plea to CM

He said the KSEB should rely on test certificates provided by manufacturers, if it faced difficulty in providing the appropriate test set-up at district headquarters. After all, inverters had been tested and approved to International Electrotechnical Commission specifications

Fr. Mulamoottil urged the Chief Minister and the Electricity Minister to take necessary steps for allowing grid connection to all solar power projects to prevent wastage of solar power.

Arun Jaitley to release book on e-rupee tomorrow

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will release a 57-page book, E -rupee to Reinvent India, at the North Block of Parliament House in New Delhi on Friday. The book is by a Catholic priest, Fr. Abraham Mulamoottil. Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, who wrote the preface, will preside over the function, to be held at 4.15 p.m. Talking to The Hindu, Fr. Mulamoottil suggests introduction of a new product, e-rupee, to promote a ‘currency-less’ society. It would be an effective tool to deal with black money and corruption. e-rupee would require that all fund transfers, bills, and payments, be channelised through efficient, secure, authorised, and convenient gateways.


FOR KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY:Philipose Mar Chrysostum Metropolitan releasing the book Vijnana Samooha Nirmiti , written by Fr Abraham Mulamoottil, at a function held at the Pushpagiri Senate Hall in Thiruvalla on Monday. 

Knowledge is a tool to learn the truth and books are the storehouse of such tools, Philipose Mar Chrysostum, senior Metropolitan of Mar Thoma Church, has said.

The Metropolitan was releasing the book, Vijnana Samooha Nirmiti (Making a knowledge society), written by Fr Abraham Mulamoottil, chairman of the Pushpagiri Group of Institutions, in Thiruvalla on Monday.

He said no individual could grow without a society, and reading had the power to mould a strong society with ethical base.

The Metropolitan also said Fr Mulamoottil’s writings were based on his experiences in life which could be a guide and interpreter to many.

In a knowledge society, the possibility of leadership was open to all and the possibility of acquiring knowledge was no longer dependent on obtaining a prescribed education at a given age.

Fr Mulamoottil’s endeavour was to create a new knowledge society in a 100 per cent literate State, Mar Chrysostum said.

Introducing the book, M.R. Gopalakrishnan Nair, general editor of Children’s literature at the Sahitya Pravarthaka Cooperative Society, said the book was an asset to the knowledge society.

Sheela Varghese, municipal chairperson, and Jose Najnjilathu, editor of Kottayam-based Chalanam Publishing House, also spoke.

Fr Mulamoottil said the knowledge society had to be a society of three sectors — public sector, private sector, and social sector. Knowledge society needed the social sector, which in turn needed volunteers. It was also becoming increasingly clear that through the social sector a modern developed society could create responsible citizens and give individuals a sphere in which they could make a difference in the society.

Mar Chrysostum released the book by handing over its first copy to director Blessie on the occasion.

A healthy lifestyle is one of the best defenses against various health-related problems as it promotes both physical and mental discipline, besides offering effective resistance to many ailments, said K. Narayana Kurup, eminent jurist and former Acting Chief Justice of Madras High Court.

Justice Kurup was inaugurating the Mental Health Promotion and Lifestyle Diseases Prevention Programme at Pushpagiri Institute of Medical Sciences in Thiruvalla on Tuesday.

According to him, health is not mere absence of disease, but, it symbolises a state of physical, social and mental well-being and nation can seldom co-exist with out healthy citizens.

“What is the purpose of engaging in a rat race to amass wealth at any cost and to become victims of anxiety, depression and a host of various other diseases ? We are not punished for our sins, but, we are punished by our sins. Many diseases like heart attack, cancer, diabetes, etc, that have become common in modern times are largely influenced by lifestyles such as poor diet, junk food, coupled with environmental pollution, use of tobacco, alcohol and so on,’’ said Justice Kurup.

He said tobacco has been identified as the main risk factor for stroke, heart attack and different kinds of cancer and the risk was considerably reduced, once you were out of the quicksand of tobacco by changing your lifestyle.

Sedentary lifestyle is also a contributing factor for diseases like diabetes and cardiac ailments. Diabetes, if left unattended, affects the whole body from head to toe. It is also a major risk factor for myocardial infarction.

Justice Kurup said alcohol was another villain that has emerged as a major health and social problem. “Alcohol injures people internally, externally and eternally and more people have been drowned in alcohol than in the oceans,’’ he added.

Lifestyle change

He said the first step one must take to enjoy good health was to change the way of living, beginning with food. We must eat what benefits the body, instead of eating only that benefits the palate.

We have to get ourselves relieved from the clutches of tobacco, alcohol and other addictive substances that play havoc with our health.

Exercise matters

Justice Kurup has also stressed the need for a positive change in modern man’s attitude towards exercise. For over several years now, walking has been regarded as the best exercise people of all ages could do unfailingly do on all days, he said.

He said it was a folly to think that exercise is associated with just muscle-building, forgetting the enormous benefits it produces for the mind. Exercise has the power to elevate the spirit creating a sense of well-being in the individual. Exercise improves mental fitness and now, there is scientific evidence that regular exercise can be more powerful than drugs to combat stress and tone-up muscles, he said.

Meditation

He said meditation has also got a positive impact on health. With the aid of meditation, even the most tenacious addiction would loose its hold over the victim. What happens in meditation is that the person gradually looses his obsessive identification with the pleasure of the body and the senses.

Justice Kurup said an optimistic mindset would go a long way in promoting mental health which was a sine-qua-non for a healthy living.

Prof Roy Abraham Kallivayalil, head of the Department of Psychiatry, presided over the function. Fr Abraham Mulamoottil, PIMS Chairman; Dr John Abraham, Pushpagiri Medical College principal, Dr Beena Bhasan, Pushpagiri Nursing College principal; Dr Fazal Mohammed, and Dr Elizabeth Kurien, also spoke.

Dr Kallivayalil said the mental health promotion programme would be held at PIMS on all Thursdays.

State’s first solar-powered campus, perhaps the first one of its kind in the whole country, is coming up in Thiruvalla.

Mar Athanasios College For Advanced Studies Thiruvalla (Macfast), the first private self-financing college in the State that had carved a special niche for becoming first on many fronts over the past one decade, is soon to add yet another feather on its cap of achievements by becoming the State’s first solar-powered campus.

Thanks to its visionary founder principal, Fr Abraham Mulamoottil and his successor, Fr Pradeep Vazhatharamalayil, for this praiseworthy achievement.

Innovation has always been hallmark of Macfast that had launched the State’s first campus-based community radio service, ‘Radio Macfast-90.4’ two years ago and the popular ‘Green and Clean City’ project a year ago.

Macfast has installed a 30 kw rooftop solar power plant envisaging an yearly production of 45,000 units (kilowatt hours) of electricity which could meet half of the annual power demand of the institution.

The design and installation of the solar power plant has been done the Hyderabad-based Radiant Solar Private Limited with approval and support from the Union Ministry for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and ANERT attached to Department of Power, Kerala.

According to Fr Vazhatharamalayil, Macfast has invested Rs 72 lakhs in the solar power project, that include Rs 22 lakhs towards capital subsidy from MNRE and Rs 37 lakhs in the form of low interest loan from State Bank of Travancore refinanced by NABARD.

“The project is significant not only in terms of its size and technical attributes, but also in terms of its demonstration to the community the ease with which solar generated power can be installed by small and medium enterprises for their financial and operational benefit, besides the wider ecological benefits to the society. This achievement by a post-graduate college producing the next generation of technocrats, community and business leaders stands as a model to the rest of the country,’’ says Fr Mulamoottil.

The system has got 27,600 Watts panels (Wp), 30 KW state of the art bi-directional charger capable of functioning as an interactive inverter with grid-tie capability, four-member charge controllers, a 19-inch rack and a central monitoring device package. The innovative campus-based solar power plant is Macfast’s answer to the demand for Green Energy.

Renewable energy that has little impact on the carbon footprint is the only viable solution to address the increasing energy needs of the country in an ecologically sustainable manner, said Fr Vazhatharamalayil.

The 25 kw plant in Thiruvananthapuram was the largest solar power plant in the State till the installation of the all new 30 kw solar power plant at Macfast.

Green Energy

The threats of global warming and climate change are being countered by a mushrooming of giant solar power plants all over the world.

Spain and Germany are in the forefront with installed capacities of 2232 mw and 1235 mw respectively. The 3 mw solar power plant in Kolar in Karnataka is the largest one of its kind in India.

The largest single photo voltaic plant with a capacity of 80 mw is in Sarina, Canada. The plant covers an area of 380 ha with 1.3 million thin film panels in an extent of 96.6 ha, says Mr Viswanath Nambiar, president of Radiant Solar Limited.

Government of India has recently launched the ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission aimed at promoting development and use of solar energy for power generation and other uses across the country. The Solar Mission will be implemented in three stages leading to power production to an installed capacity of 20,000 mw by the end of the 13th Five Year Plan in 2022, he adds.

Electricity Minister, Aryadan Mohammed, will inaugurate the solar power plant at Macfast as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the college on Saturday.

Documentary on Clean and Green City project released

Creating awareness among people of the importance of keeping the environment and surroundings clean and hygienic was vital in the effective implementation of any cleanliness drive, said Abraham Mulamoottil, chairman of the Pushpagiri Group of Institutions in Thiruvalla.

Fr. Mulamoottil was delivering the keynote address at a function held in connection with the release of a documentary on the Clean and Green City project, jointly sponsored by the Thiruvalla municipality and the Mar Athanasios College for Advanced Studies Thiruvalla (Macfast), at the college auditorium at Thukalasserry on Saturday.

He said man’s mad rush for worldly pleasures had already done irreparable damage to the nature and environment. “Excessive exploitation of natural resources and a neglectful attitude towards waste management had taken its toll on life on earth and it was high time that man realised his follies and took earnest efforts to conserve nature,” Fr. Mulamoottil said.

He said the Clean and Green City project was aimed at transforming the Central Travancore town of Thiruvalla into a clean and hygienic place, making it a role model to the rest of the State.

There should be a change in the mindset of the people to ensure effective implementation of the project. People should take management of the waste generated in their locality as a collective responsibility, he added. Disposal of the waste at its source itself was the most suitable one for a thickly populated place like Thiruvalla.

Documentary released

Fr. Pradeep Vazhatharamalayil, Macfast Principal, released a documentary on the Clean and Green City project by handing over a CD to municipal chairperson Lynda Thomas Vanchippalam on the occasion.

He called upon the people to stop littering of public places.

The idea behind the proposed ‘Clean City Green City Project’ was to ensure active cooperation and participation of the people in the waste management scheme, he said.

Addressing the meeting, K. Sudheer, municipal secretary, said ward-level screening of the documentary would be held soon as part of an intensive awareness environment campaign in the municipal limits.

Sheela Varghese, municipal standing committee (Health) chairperson; Mr Paul V.Mathew, project officer and Mr Vijith, programme convener, also spoke.

Excessive exploitation of natural resources has disturbed the rhythm of nature, leading to natural disasters and it is high time society make an effort for the conservation of nature, said Anto Antony, MP.

He was inaugurating a school-level awareness programme as part of the Green and Clean City project, jointly sponsored by Thiruvalla municipality and the Mar Athanaseos College For Advanced Studies, Thiruvalla, (Macfast) at Mar Thoma Residential School at Kutappuzha, near Thiruvalla, on Monday.

Indiscriminate dumping of waste at public places had been posing serious health risk even in rural Kerala and it was better to keep diseases away by maintaining a healthy environment, he added.

He said children should play a key role in making people aware of the importance of conservation.

Delivering the keynote address, Fr. Abraham Mulamoottil, chairman of the Pushpagiri Medical Society, said the very mission of the project was to make Thiruvalla a model, waste-free, green, clean, and healthy city by effectively implementing a viable, cost-effective and financially sustainable waste management system with active people’s participation.

“What is needed is a paradigm shift in the attitude of the community from the ‘not in my backyard’ (Nimby) syndrome to an ‘in my backyard (Imby) habit by enabling the local community to segregate and dispose of the waste at source itself,” he said

Mathew Chacko, municipal vice-chairman, presided over the function. He said the Clean and Green City project was targeted at management of waste at source itself.

M.M. Mathew, school Principal, Fr Pradeep Vazhatharamalayil, Macfast Principal, Paul V.Mathew, project co-ordinator, and George Mathew, Radio Macfast director, spoke.

Christian professional college managements federation stays away from talks

A seat-fee pact with managements of private self-financing colleges for admissions to the MBBS course this year remained tantalisingly out of reach for the State government on Tuesday as the Kerala Christian Professional College Managements Federation stayed away from talks convened here by the Cabinet subcommittee on self-financing colleges.

George Paul, spokesman of the federation, said the government did not specify the venue for the meeting even on Tuesday morning.

The Kerala Private Medical College Management Association and the Muslim Educational Society (MES) told the panel that they would sign a pact only if the government would make the federation and the Amritha Institute of Medical Sciences do so.

“There should be only one kind of social justice in Kerala,” MES president Fasal Gafoor told presspersons after the talks held at Mascot Hotel here. There should be one mode of admissions and one fee for all medical colleges. If the federation and the Amritha institute did not enter into an agreement with the government, the MES and the association would have to strike it out on their own.

Finance Minister K.M. Mani described Tuesday’s meeting as a “continued conversation” between the government and the managements. What could not be solved during the past five years could not be solved through two rounds of talks at a hotel.

“We do not have an Aladdin’s lamp with us to find a solution to this issue,” he replied to persistent questions from presspersons on the possibility of an agreement with different managements. The next round of talks would be held in a week’s time.

Sajan Prasad, secretary of the association, told presspersons that member managements had submitted two fee proposals to the government. The first proposal suggested an equal fee of Rs.3.5 lakh for all seats. Fifty percent of the seats would be for the government quota.

The second proposal drew inspiration from the Karnataka model which split the seats in minority institutions to 3:1 in favour of the managements. For non-minority institutions, the split would be 3:2 in favour of the managements.

‘Real issue’

Talking to The Hindu at Thiruvalla, Abraham Mulamoottil, chairman of the Pushpagiri Institute of Medical Sciences, said the controversy over admissions to the medical stream in self-financing colleges stemmed from a lack of understanding of the real issue. “We are ready to share with the government 50 per cent of the seats allotted for MBBS, postgraduate medical courses as well as various other professional courses, provided the State bears the additional financial burden towards the fee of students admitted in the government quota,” said Fr. Mulamoottil.

The controversy over admissions to undergraduate and postgraduate courses in self-financing medical colleges stems from a lack of understanding about the real issue, said Abraham Mulamoottil, chairman of the Pushpagiri Institute of Medical Sciences, Thiruvalla.

“We are ready to share with the government 50 per cent of the seats allotted for MBBS, postgraduate medical courses as well as various other professional courses, provided the State bears the additional financial burden towards fees of students admitted in the government quota,” said Fr Mulamoottil.

According to him, the issue was purely a financial one that deserved prime consideration as it involved heavy investment. But, the government as well as the people seemed to have taken it as a political issue, disregarding the circumstances that prompted the State to permit self-financing professional colleges on a wider scale way back in 2001, he said.

Talking to The Hindu, Fr Mulamoottil said running a medical college by strictly adhering to the norms and guidelines prescribed by the Medical Council of India required heavy financial investment. The Metropolitan Archdiocese of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church set up the medical college not to make money, but as part of its social commitment to the Church members as well as society, he added.

Though the actual cost of education for the MBBS course at our college, as submitted through an affidavit before the Fee Regulatory Committee, is Rs. 4.32 lakh for every student, the college has accepted the Kerala High Court directive to fix the annual fee for MBBS course at Rs.3.5 lakh.

Fr Mulamootil said there were 17 self-financing medical colleges in the State and sharing 50 per cent MBBS seats at these colleges with the government would mean an addition of 850 seats to the government quota. The government is getting 850 more MBBS seats solely on account of issuing a no-objection certificate and that too with out making any investment at all, he adds.

He said the self-financing medical colleges would not object to allotting 50 per cent of medical seats to the government, provided the government remitted Rs. 29.75 crore every year towards the annual tuition fee. The government would have to pay Rs.148.75 crore towards tuition fee of 850 students for five years. The State should make the payment through a voucher system, he added.

It is also a fact that the government would have to make similar remittances for various other courses too in the self-financing mode, making it a heavy financial burden on the State in the course of time, Fr Mulamoottil said.

According to him, the government can explore the possibility of helping out the students through scholarship schemes, interest-free loans or mobilising a welfare fund for higher education. What was needed is a pragmatic and realistic approach to resolve the imbroglio prevailing in the State’s self-financing medical education sector, he said.

Mar Aththanasios College For Advanced Studies in Thiruvalla (Macfast), in association with the Confederation for Ayurvedic Renaissance Kerala Limited, will be hosting a three-day international symposium and congress on `Advances in herbal science and technology’, Biospectrum-2011, at the college auditorium in Thiruvalla from November 25 to 27.

Dr C. Balagopalan, Resident Dean of Macfast Bio-campus and Dr C. Maya Subramoni, head of Phytomedical Science and Technology, said the proposed symposium is aimed at bringing together scientists, technologists, medical practitioners, non-government organisations, educationalists, traditional healers, tribals, Ayurvedic physicians and drug manufacturers to a common platform.

They said the proposed herbal science congress would provide them a common forum for presenting their work, to access the present scenario on Phytomedical Science and Technology and to check out direction for its future use.

Fr Abraham Mulamoottil, Macfast principal, said the organisers are planning to arrange free herbal treatment for patients and a Phytomedical Science Expo to be held as part of the proposed herbal science congress.

According to Fr Mulamoottil, inspite of all its long tradition in Ayurvedic and herbal medicine, India has not been successful as an effective player in the international market for want of rigorous testing and certification procedures.

Dr Balagopal said the three-day event would showcase the rich heritage, wisdom and potentials of the herbal drugs of India. India is one among the 17 mega biodiversity nations in the world holding approximately eight per cent of the global biodiversity with about 45,000 species of plants, he said.

Valiathan to open the meet

Dr M.S.Valiathan, renowned cardiac surgeon and founder director of Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, will inaugurate the proposed herbal science congress.

The symposium will begin with lectures on `Biodiversity, systematics and conservation of medicinal plants of India’ and `Ethnobotany and Ethnopharmacology’ on November 25 forenoon.

Those who wish to participate may contact the organising secretary, Bio-spectrum-2011, Macfast, Thiruvalla, Kerala-689101 (Phone: 0469-3058010, 09846011235, email: balagopal@macfast.org or mayasubramoni@macfast.org).

Macfast and municipality to implement waste management plan in Thiruvalla

In Thiruvalla, the municipality is joining hands with an educational institution to implement a waste management scheme, estimated at Rs.150 lakh. The project, ‘Green and Clean City,’ will be launched by P.J. Kurien, MP, at a function at Macfast auditorium on Sunday.

Mar Athanasios College for Advanced Studies Thiruvalla (Macfast) and the municipality will implement the project in Thiruvalla municipal limits in the next three years. “Our effort is to make Thiruvalla a model, waste-free, green, clean and healthy city through a viable, cost-effective and financially sustainable waste management system with people’s participation,” says Fr. Abraham Mulamoottil, Principal of Macfast, who is the brain behind the project.
From ‘Nimby’ to ‘Imby’

According to him, a drastic change is needed in the community’s attitude — from ‘Not In My Backyard’ (Nimby) to ‘In My Backyard’ (Imby). Then the community will segregate and dispose waste at the source itself. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse, Repair and Rethink is the principle of six ‘R’s’ constituting the basis of the project, which encourages a decentralised mechanism for waste management, generating wealth out of waste.

Fr. Mulamoottil told The Hindu that public awareness, systematic implementation, and public participation are the prerequisites for the success of the project. The mission’s message is that waste is man-made and hence the onus is on each person to properly manage it too. The responsibility does not lie solely with the civic body concerned.

Green hour

Fr. Mulamoottil has a ‘green hour’ every week in all educational institutions in the municipal limits to make the students and staff realise the importance of eco-friendly waste management. He already launched the scheme at Macfast a month ago, ensuring participation of the entire college.

The mission will use eco-friendly waste disposal techniques. The strategy calls for the barest minimum of waste generation, that needs to be disposed at the source itself, and ultimately ‘zero waste.’ The message of waste minimisation and segregation could be spread among the public, he said, and added that implementation of concepts like bio-parks, green school, eco parks, knowledge centre, etc, in a phased manner would give more thrust to the project.

K. Sudheer, municipal secretary, said that initially the focus would be on awareness building. Proper enforcement of laws too would be ensured.
Christmas, marking the historic birth of Jesus Christ was celebrated with gaiety and religious fervour in the Central Travancore district of Pathanamthitta on Saturday.

Special services were held at various churches in this part of the State on the Christmas’ eve.

Believers took part in the midnight mass as well as holy eucharist early in the morning hours at various churches in different parts of the district.

Almost every Christian household in this part of the State have decorated their courtyards with a crib, `Pulkoodu’ as they call it, made of dry grass, in which the images of Infant Jesus and cute dolls representing angels, shepherds, lambs, etc, are kept, besides an illuminated Christmas Tree.

The holy mass as part of Holy Christmas began at St John’s Cathedral in Thiruvalla at 9 pm on Friday.

Fr Abraham Mulamoottil, principal of Mar Athanasios College For Advanced Studies Thiruvalla (Macfast), was the chief celebrant. Hundreds of faithfuls attended the midnight mass followed by the ritualistic `fire-warming’ held as part of the service, later, around 12 midnight. Prayers were rented aloud, making the atmosphere surcharged with devotion. A statue of Infant Jesus was ceremoniously taken out in a procession. Priests and the faithful proceeded to the specially prepared fireplace in front of the Cathedral in devout veneration, symbolising the warming of the `baby’ immediately after the birth of Jesus.
Feast

Christian households have celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ, making it a day for an annual family get together. They feast upon different types of traditional Kerala delicacies, along with their close relatives and family friends. Churches have jointly organised Christmas rallies at Kunnamthanam, Kumbazha, Omalloor on Saturday afternoon.

Joint Christmas rally will be held at Adoor on Sunday.

Metropolitan Archbishop, Thomas Mar Coorilos, Auxilairy Bishop of Thiruvalla Archdiocese, Philipose Mar Stephanos, Metropolitan of Niranom diocese of Malankara Orthodox Church, Yuhanon Mar Chrysostomos, Dr Joseph Mar Thoma, Metropolitan of Mar Thoma Church, Dr Philipose Mar Chrysostum, senior Metropolitan of Mar Thoma Church, Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Metropolitan of the Niranom diocese of Jacobite Syrian Church, Bishop K.P.Yohannan of Believers’ Church, Swami Golokananda and Swami Samagrananda of Sri Ramakrishna Ashram in Thiruvalla, N.S.Prabhakaran Pillai, NSS director board member and Akeeramon Kalidasa Bhattathiri, Yogakshema Sabha president, were among those who have showered their Christmas greetings on the society as a whole on Sunday.
It’s anniversary time for State’s first campus-based Community Radio Station (CRS), `Radio Macfast-90.4’.

Setting itself a role model to the rest of the higher education centres in the State, Mar Athanasios College For Advanced Studies, Thiruvalla (Macfast) and its visionary principal, Fr Abraham Mulamoottil, launched a novel CRS on the previous Kerala Formation Day on November 1, 2009. The first anniversary celebrations of Radio Macfast will be held at the college auditorium at Thukalasserry near Thiruvalla on Monday.

Radio Macfast has proved its merit in transmitting the philosophy of love, brotherhood and sharing to the local social psyche of Central Travancore during the past one year. The shooting popularity graph of this community radio station in this Central Travancore belt spread across Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Kottayam district is a testimony to this bare truth.

Our mission is to exploit the potential of CRS in the socio-economic development of the region by effectively utilising the youth power with the help of modern technology, said the visionary Macfast principal, Fr Abraham Mulamoottil who is also the chairman of Radio Macfast and Fr Pradeep Vazhatharamalayil, Manager.
The CRS has made many fruitful attempts to tap the human resource potential of this highly literate region, making the radio a people’s channel of interaction and sharing.

George Mathew, station director, says the social networking programmes aired by Radio Macfast have been receiving immense public response and participation. Programmes on healthcare, environment conservation, heritage, `successline’, farming, youth power, women’s world, kids’ time, literature, moral talks, legal awareness and a series of socially relevant entertainment programmes were proved to be big hits both in the rural and urban belt, he said.

“We are very particular that every programme aired on Radio Macfast should be rooted in the spirit of sharing and our well-knit team, comprising professionals as well as students, have succeeded in making it a partner friend of the local populace,’’ says Fr Mulamoottil.

Radio Macfast focuses on low cost and low return pattern of operation, aimed at educating and entertaining the people using their own idioms and language, he adds.

Students at Macfast as well as the nearby educational institutions were getting a chance to fine tune their talents through this campus-centred radio station.

 

True to its punchline, “Naattukarku koottayi, Radio Macfast-90.4’’, the CRS has become a partner friend of the local people.

A three-day national symposium on ‘recent trends in algal biotechnology’ organised by the Mar Athanasios College For Advanced Studies Thiruvalla (Macfast) came to a close on Thursday. Fr. Abraham Mulamoottil, Principal, presided the valedictory function.


Maya Subramoni, scientist and head of the Centre for Algal Biotechnology at Macfast, said the symposium stressed the need for more research in the new branches of traditional medicine such as Ethanopharmacology, Reverse pharmacology, System biology and Metabolomics to evaluate and fully utilise the therapeutic efficacy of traditional drugs.


Medicinal properties of seaweeds like as anti-HIV effects, anti-tumour activity, potential contraceptive effects were reported at the symposium, stressing the importance of evaluating different varieties of seaweeds to identify the active components and synergetics in traditional medicine to make the formulation simple and cost effective, Dr. Subramoni said.

She said Chlorococcum, a fresh water alga, is a good source of the antioxidant â-carotene, which is found to inhibit tumour growth induced by Benzopyrene. More work was needed to identify the components responsible for anti-tumour effects. The various neutraceutical components in different algal sources should be identified and documented. In India, no agency had come forward with algal standard materials and hence this area of study should be initiated and strengthened, she added.

Dr. Subramoni said that algae play an important role in the dispersal, transformation and bio-accumulation of heavy metals and many organic xenobiotics such as Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins in marine environment. This area requires more attention to reduce the toxic effects of some of these pollutants.


She said improved technologies for farming of useful algal species like Arthrospira and Spirulina should be developed and propagated. It should be noted that some of the algae were potential sources of bio-fuel, she added.


Another outcome of the symposium was the standardisation of a methodology for continuous production of algal oil to be used as bio-fuel. A technology was developed to increase the growth rate of freshwater green algae Neochloris oleoabundans, utilised for bio-diesel production by mixotrophic growth, she said.


An Algae Museum was also opened at Macfast Bio-campus as part of the symposium on Thursday.

The Mar Athanasios College For Advanced Studies Thiruvalla (Macfast) will host a three-day national symposium on algal biotechnology from Tuesday.


In a statement here on Monday, Maya Subramoni, scientist and head of the Centre for Algal Biotechnology at Macfast, said the symposium would discuss the recent trends in algal biotechnology. It would bring together academics, scientists, scholars and researchers and provide them an opportunity to check out directions for future work in the field, Dr. Subramoni said.


The symposium would discuss algal biofuel, algal nanotechnology, algae as source of food, feed and nutraceutical, value-added products from algae, algae in ethnopharmacology, bio-prospecting of marine algae, algae as source of pigments, seaweed farming, recent trends in algal taxonomy, algae in industry and agriculture and see weed tissue culture.


Dr. P. Pushpangadan, director of the Krishnamurthy Institute of Algology, Chennai, will inaugurate the symposium on Tuesday forenoon. Cherian Ramanalil Corepiscopa of Malankara Orthodox Church will preside over the inaugural function


Fr. Abraham Mulamoottil, Macfast Principal, and C. Balagopalan, Resident Dean of Macfast Bio-Science Campus, will also address the meeting.


Prof. V. Krishnamurthy from Chennai, Dr. C.S.P. Iyer, IITMK, Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram; Dr. S. Shanmughasundaram of Madurai Kamaraj University, Prof. R. Rangasamy, director of the Centre for Advanced Studies in Botany in Chennai, Dr. N. Jeeji Bai, scientist from Chennai; Dr. G. Abraham from New Delhi and Dr. N. Anand, Vice-Chancellor of Vels University, would be among the invited speakers at the symposium.

Waste, if properly managed, is wealth, says Fr Abraham Mulamoottil, principal of Mar Athanasios College for Advanced Studies, Thiruvalla (MACFAST).


Fr Mulamoottil was addressing a seminar on environmental awareness and waste disposal, organised jointly by MACFAST and Thiruvalla municipality, at the municipal stadium in Thiruvalla on Tuesday.


He said proper management of the waste at its source itself was the best way to tackle the pollution problem in modern times.


Presiding over the seminar, Mr Cherian Polachirackal, municipal chairman, stressed the need for making the people aware of their social responsibility to desist from polluting their surroundings by dumping wastes.

He said the municipality would soon launch a public awareness campaign in association with MACFAST and various social organisations in the region in an effort to resolve the waste disposal problem in and around Thiruvalla.


Mr. Jose Philipose attached to Bodhana Social Service Society, Mr. Sasidharan Nair, environmentalist, Prof Varkey Mathew from Kottayam and Pampa Parirakshana Samiti general secretary, N.K. Sukumaran Nair, also spoke.


Mr. Anto Antony, MP, inaugurated the seminar, earlier, in the forenoon. Mr. Mathew T. Thomas, MLA and Dr. C. Balagopalan, resident dean of MACFAST Bio-campus, also addressed the inaugural function.


The two-day environmental awareness exhibition also came to a close at the municipal grounds, later, in the afternoon.

Thiruvalla Municipality and Mar Athanasios College For Advanced Studies Thiruvalla (MACFAST) has decided to jointly launch a ‘Clean City, Green City’ project in Thiruvalla.

Talking to The Hindu here on Saturday, Fr Abraham Mulamoottil, MACFAST principal, and Cherian Polachirackal, municipal chairman, said the proposed project aimed at the disposal of waste at its source.


A meeting of representatives of various socio-environmental organisations and experts in the field of waste management was held at MACFAST campus on Saturday to discuss the programme.

Addressing the meeting, the municipal chairman stressed the need for making the public properly aware of the grave need to keep their surroundings clean and hygienic by adopting their own methods of waste disposal.

Mr. Polachirackal said people should make it their responsibility to dispose the waste in their house, institution or business establishment in an eco-friendly manner.


What is needed is a change in the mindset of the people. Instead of blaming the civic body alone for the sorry state of waste management, people should make it their collective responsibility to tackle the pollution menace due to indiscriminate littering of waste at public places, he added.<

Fr Mulamoottil said the idea behind the proposed ‘Clean City Green City Project’ is to ensure active co-operation and participation of the people in the waste management scheme.


It is also a fact that the municipality has been facing hurdles of various sorts in finding a waste dumping yard and setting up a solid disposal plant in its jurisdiction owing to public protest against the same. It is also a fact that the common man is not at all willing to take the civic body into confidence as it had failed miserably to ensure the proper functioning of various existing waste disposal scheme like the one attached to the municipal slaughter house at Thukalasserry, said Fr Mulamoottil.

Many experts at the meeting felt that disposal of waste at its source was best suited for a thickly populated place like Thiruvalla.

Mr. Polachirackal said the civic body would seek co-operation of various socio-environmental groups in Thiruvalla for the effective implementation of the project through public awareness campaigns.

MACFAST and municipality would jointly organise a three-day seminar and exhibition at the municipal stadium in Thiruvalla as part of the project.

Small and medium size waste disposal units developed by various non-governmental organisations and companies that suit the needs of homes, residential apartments and business establishments would be displayed at the exhibition, Mr. Polachirackal said.

K.R. Prathapachandra Varma, BJP district president, Dr. C. Balagopalan, Resident Dean of MACFAST Bio-campus and K.P. Philipose of Bodhana Social Service Society also spoke.

In an effort to make itself a role model in the field of higher education, Mar Athanasios College For Advanced Studies Thiruvalla (MACFAST), State’s first private self-financing college, is planning to make education free for all its students from the next academic year.

“Our idea is to elevate the college from the self-financing mode to a self-sustaining one, making the otherwise expensive advance studies absolutely free for all students here,’’ says the visionary college principal, Fr Abraham Mulamoottil.

 

Fr Mulamoottil told The Hindu that MACFAST has chalked out certain innovative programmes that include the proposed `Academy-Industry Interface’, `Corporate Badging’, `Corporate Scholar’, etc, as part of the project.

He said the idea is to implement the projects in a phased manner. As a pilot project, students who are willing to work at various campus enterprises at MACFAST will be selected for the Master of Computer Applications course from next academic year, he added. The programme would be extended to various other post-graduate courses, including MBA, Food Science and Technology, Bio-technology, Bio-Informatics, etc, in the subsequent years, he added.

“Introducing the positive aspects of the Western idea of `earn while you learn’ in a different style in the typical Indian context is the very objective of the MACFAST programme,’’ says Fr Mulamoottil.

He said MACFAST was working for an innovative academy-industry interface aimed at filling the gaps in the academic curriculum with various industry requirements, focusing on the employability of the students.

The mode of studies would also be redesigned in such a manner in terms of the professional aptitude and calibre of the students and in consultation with various corporate bodies that have shown keen interest in the proposed programme.

MACFAST with accreditation from AICTE and affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University offers MCA and MBA courses as well as PG programmes in Biosciences.

Inorder to impart training for students and to take academy to industry, MACFAST is planning to launch a series of educational joint ventures in association with certain companies at Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram, Geojit BNP Paribas, Geojit Technologies and Geneseek Inc in the United States, he said.

`Corporate badging’

Fr Mulamoottil said MACFAST will also introduce a `corporate badging’ scheme which could identify talented students with the right kind of aptitude, interest and passion that suit well to the requirements of the industry.

Kerala’s first campus-based community radio service at Mar Athanasios College for Advanced Studies in Thiruvalla (MACFAST) will be on the air on Sunday.

‘Radio Macfast-90.4’ will be the first community radio service (CRS) in Central Travancore, the second in the State and the 46th in the country.

MACFAST has successfully conducted test broadcasts from its 50 watt power transmitter that almost covers an aerial distance of 20 kilometres, says Fr Abraham Mulamoottil, the college principal, who promoted the novel project. “Radio Macfast with its wide range of diverse and interesting programmes is going to be a trendsetter in the CRS segment,” said Fr Mulamoottil.

According to him, community radio focuses on low cost and low return pattern of operation, aimed at educating and entertaining the community using its own idiom and language, in contrast to the private FM Radio, which is primarily driven by entertainment and business considerations. “Ultimately it will strengthen democratic institutions and practices, giving common people access to information”.

The mainstream media is unable to cater to the information needs of the community as it is primarily market-driven and run with a profit motive, he says. The question of CRS as an alternative media becomes relevant here. It must have space in terms of localisation of content, participation and involvement of the community, narrowing the differences between the broadcaster and the audience.

The students at the college will also get a chance to fine tune their talents through Radio Macfast, says Ms Anju Jacob, MBA student who has been selected as a radio jockey.

MBA students manage the marketing aspects of the CRS and almost the entire show will be run by MACFAST students under the guidance of experts.

Tagline

True to its tagline “Naattukarku koottayi”, Radio Macfast-90.4 will be a partner and friend of the local populace in all their endeavours, says Fr Mulamoottil.

Fr Mulamootil said the main focus of Radio Macfast would be on issues relating to regional news updates of socially relevant issues, women empowerment, agriculture, education, health, environment and rural development, imparting value education among children and youth, besides entertainment programmes.

He said MACFAST would also set up a chain of rural radio clubs in Central Travancore region so as to ensure maximum public participation and involvement in the radio programmes.

Launching ceremony

Moran Mor Baselius Cleemis Catholicos, Major Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram will launch Radio Macfast at a function to be held at the college auditorium at 3 pm on Sunday. The Metropolitan Archbishop of Thiruvalla, Thomas Mar Coorilos, will preside over the launching ceremony.