Monthly Archives: June 2015

Mysterious end to Vithal Rao’s musical journey in Hyderabad

Hyderabad :

A musical journey drew to a mysterious close on Friday, as news of legendary ghazal singer Vithal Rao’s demise broke out in the afternoon evoking shock and despair in the city. Rao, 86, not just wowed Hyderabadis for over seven decades – right from the time of the last Nizam – but also won accolades all over the world for his melodious renditions. The ghazal singer suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

But even as family members and well-wishers grieved the sudden death of the Ustad, what seemed to befuddle them more was other, predictably more pertinent, questions. How did ‘Guruji’ land up in Hyderabad after going missing from Shirdi, almost a month ago? Who brought him back? Where had he been all these days? Will we ever find answers to these questions? Perhaps not.

The ghazal exponent’s last journey, believed to have rather surprisingly ended at the city’s Gandhi Hospital on June 24, began exactly a month ago — on May 24 — when he had gone on a pilgrimage to Maharashtra with 14 members of his family. After brief stopovers at Buldhana and Tuljapur, the group reached Shirdi, the last destination on their itinerary. From there, ‘Guruji’ lost his way.

On May 29, moments after he and his daughter Sandhya Rao finished their prayers at the Sai Baba temple, Rao disappeared into thin air — almost literally — and remained untraceable till his last day.

While family members, disciples and even admirers moved heaven and earth thereafter — scanning railway stations, hotels and hospitals across cities in Maharashtra — trying to secure any possible clue that could lead them to the musical genius, they failed miserably. Even the efforts of the police, both from Shirdi and Hyderabad, yielded no result.

Cut to June 24, and a 108 ambulance found ‘Guruji’ lying unconscious outside Country Club in Begumpet. Incidentally, at the same time the family was searching for Rao in and around Charminar bus station, after a tip-off from a stranger.

“We got a call saying that my father was seen boarding a bus to Old City from Secunderabad station. So we all rushed there,” said Santosh Rao, the youngest son of the Nizam-era singer. That search too ended in disappointment and within the next 48 hours, the family received the bad news from the Crime Branch of Hyderabad Police.

“We were informed that the ambulance took my father to Gandhi Hospital. When doctors there asked him his name he replied: Vithal Rao. Those were his last words,” Santosh added. Not surprisingly then, the family is now trying to put the pieces together to recreate the story that finished so abruptly.

“We are still struggling to come to terms with what happened with our father. We have no clue how he got here, how he survived all through the last few weeks and who called the ambulance,” Santosh said, battling back his tears. He, along with a few other members of the family, identified the body on Friday.

Family apart, even the city police seem to be stumped by Vithal Rao’s bizarre death. They claim that they had reached out to almost every railway station in the country in their search for the acclaimed artist. “We had gone to Shirdi to assist the local team there. When we got a lead that Guruji might be in Hyderabad, we returned and continued our search from here. Sadly, it ended with his death,” said CCS inspector Shyam Babu. Vithal Rao’s funeral will be held in Old City on Saturday.

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Hyderabad / by Sudipta Sengupta, TNN / June 27th, 2015

Stanford Trio Launch Code Camp to Empower Girls through ICT

Stanford University students Aashna Shroff, Akhila Moturu and John Kamalu at the launch of Girl Code Camp at Chirec International School in Madhapur on Saturday | RVK Rao
Stanford University students Aashna Shroff, Akhila Moturu and John Kamalu at the launch of Girl Code Camp at Chirec International School in Madhapur on Saturday | RVK Rao

Hyderabad :

An alumnus of city-based CHIREC International School, along with two of her undergraduate batch mates from Stanford University, has launched a concept named Girls Code Camp (GCC) which is aimed at creating a network of young women who are confident in their abilities to computer code and use technology to foster change. The Girls Code pilot boot camp at CHIREC is scheduled to be held from June 29 to July 4, 2015.

The trio – Aashna Shroff, Akhila Moturu and John Kamalu – is conducting GCC as a 6-day workshop in partnership with select schools in Hyderabad. Aashna Shroff is a sophomore at Stanford pursuing Computer Science and Economics; Akhila Moturu is a freshman majoring in Computer Science at Stanford University, seeking a minor in Education; and John Kamalu is a freshman interested in Computer Science and Linguistics at Stanford University.

Each workshop is being planned around an innovative theme that allows girls to align their interests with what they are learning. Workshops will be on Mobile App development, web development and hands-on tinkering for 8th to 10th grade girls.

Speaking at the launch of the pilot boot camp at CHIREC, on Saturday, BVR Mohan Reddy, founder and executive chairman, CYIENT and chairman, NASSCOM, told young girls to be fearless and compete with men in every field. He urged the students to make full use of technology around in creating social equity. “Technology today is all pervasive and accessible. It is constant though the velocity of change is increasing. Predictability of technology has come down and ICT is at the pinnacle of the change,” he said. Further, he opined that use of technology can bring about a social transformation in sectors like education, health, hygiene, and agriculture.

“The idea is to bridge the gender disparity in technological fields in India. With better exposure to computer science skills, girls can take charge of their lives and their communities,” said Aashna. According to her, there exists better awareness abroad for bridging gender disparity apart from combat mechanisms in the form of special scholarships for girls, and student groups.

Iffat Ibrahim, principal, explained about the efforts being taken by the school in empowering students. The GCC will be conducted at NASR girls school, Meridian International School, Sreenidhi International School, and Oakridge International School in the city.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Hyderabad / by Express News Service / June 28th, 2015

Celkon opens phones manufacturing unit in Hyderabad

Phones manufacturing unit opened at Medchal in Hyderabad on Friday. Photo: N. Ravi Kumar / The Hindu
Phones manufacturing unit opened at Medchal in Hyderabad on Friday. Photo: N. Ravi Kumar / The Hindu

Celkon’s unit is in Medchal and equipped with four assembly lines and has a capacity of two lakh units a month.

A number of mobile phone manufacturers are considering setting up units in Telangana, the State’s IT Minister K.T. Rama Rao said on Friday. Inaugurating a facility of smartphone maker Celkon, which has been outsourcing from China, the Minister declared: “This is just the beginning. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao is keen on a having a mobile manufacturing hub in Telangana.

“Micromax has decided to set up a plant near Hyderabad on 50 acres,” the Minister said, adding he would be visiting South Korea and Japan soon to hardsell the State to electronic hardware manufacturers. Noting that both the Centre and the Telangana Government were on the same page with their ‘make locally’ approach, Mr. Rama Rao said that there were plans to develop hardware cluster in Maheswaram, Medchal and Ghatkesar, all near Hyderabad.

Celkon’s unit is in Medchal and equipped with four assembly lines and has a capacity of two lakh units a month. It is to be expanded to 12 lines and a total of five lakh units capacity per month. Reiterating the focus of the Government on facilitating industrial growth to create jobs for youths, Mr. Rama Rao said that mobile phone units can provide large number of low-end employment opportunities to those from ITIs and diploma holders.

Telangana IT Minister K.T. Rama Rao listening to the manufacturing process of Celkon phones at its unit in Medchal in Hyderabad on Friday after formally opening it. / Photo: N. Ravi Kumar / The Hindu
Telangana IT Minister K.T. Rama Rao listening to the manufacturing process of Celkon phones at its unit in Medchal in Hyderabad on Friday after formally opening it. / Photo: N. Ravi Kumar / The Hindu

The State, he added, was keen on creating an eco-system that eventually will help host an analog Fab manufacturing unit. Celkon Chairman and Managing Director Y. Guru expressed satisfaction at becoming the first mobile phone manufacturer in south India. “This comes at a time when India is poised to become the largest consumer base for mobile phones and we are set to bring in a new phase of growth at Celkon,” he said.

Executive Director Murali Retineni said that by next quarter the investment on the new facility will be around Rs.225 crore. Lion’s share of Celkon monthly sales of 6-7 lakh units will be made in India.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by N. Ravi Kumar / Hyderabad – June 26th, 2015

Star Hospitals Conducts Advanced Neurosurgery

Hyderabad :

A two-day Neurology conference was inaugurated at STAR hospitals on Saturday. The conference aims to discuss advances in the field of Neurology, Neuroradiology and high end Endoscopic Neurosurgery.

Star HospitalsTELAN28jun2015

Many eminent neurologists and neurosurgeons from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are attending the conference.

A pre-conference workshop was held at Star Hospitals on Friday. Dr GVS Chowdhary, Dr Venkata Swamy (Neurologists), Dr Sukumar Sura, Dr Sai Sudarsan and Dr Bala Rajasekhar (Neurosurgeons) attended the workshop.

A neurosurgery workshop was conducted at Star Hospitals in which endoscopic surgery for disc disease was demonstrated live. A patient was operated upon under local anaesthesia. He walked on his own soon after the surgery and interacted with the delegates who attended the workshop.

This unique stitchless and painless surgery, can be done while the patient is awake. This surgery is done only at Star Institute of neurosciences. Various developments in neuroradiology were also discussed in the conference.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Hyderabad / by Express News Service / June 28th, 2015

Man Singh savours memories of a victory

P.R. Man Singh says June 25, 1983, will always remain the most memorable day of his lifetime.– File Photo
P.R. Man Singh says June 25, 1983, will always remain the most memorable day of his lifetime.– File Photo

June 25, 1983 is still an unforgettable day in Indian cricket for on this day, 32 years ago, India won the World Cup cricket championship for the first time.

And, P.R. Man Singh, the articulate administrator, has every reason to look back with a sense of pride for he was the manager of the victorious team. What exactly did he do today? “Nothing special. In my prayers, I thanked God for making me part of what is now the cricketing history because of which people still remember me,” says 76-year-old Man Singh in an exclusive chat.

Not surprisingly, the seasoned administrator and former HCA Secretary did speak to some of the members of that World Cup winning team, including Sunil Valson, Syed Kirmani, but could not reach the then captain Kapil Dev. “I am glad that people still remember me for that epoch-making win. It will remain special. Like it is said that people always remember Tenzing Norgay as the first one to climb Mt. Everest and not all those who emulated him, likewise Kapil’s Devils are now part of cricketing folklore,” Man Singh remarked.

“It’s revival of old and fond memories, clearly loving every moment. No special celebrations, but this day will always remain as the most memorable of my lifetime. All those spectacular moments when we beat the Clive Lloyd-led mighty West Indians will be etched in memory,” he says, with a beaming face.

“I am glad that Dhoni and his team won the World Cup for the second time. It is by no means an ordinary achievement given the tremendous pressure of playing at home,” he explains. And, Man Singh takes pride in re-asserting that India won the World Cup without a coach and a single support-staff member.

“Those were the days when the manager donned multiple roles. I am glad that I lived up to the expectations despite the odd teething problems. I must give full credit to the players who responded in great style to the needs of the situation on the given day. It was a collective effort and the way the players rallied around captain Kapil was a treat to watch,” recalls the widely acknowledged cricket administrator with the backdrop of World Cup winning team pictures hanging on the wall in his office chambers in Secunderabad.

The seasoned administrator, who was manager of the Indian team when it won the World Cup, looks back on the historic win with a sense of pride

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities / by V.V. Subrahmanyam / Hyderabad – June 26th, 2015

Environment expert Rajamani passes away

Hyderabad :

Well-known environmentalist and former bureaucrat, R Rajamani, passed away in Hyderabad on Thursday, after a brief illness. He was 78.

Best remembered for his uprightness, passion and humility, the 1959 batch IAS officer from Andhra Pradesh cadre, served as the collector of both Adilabad and Medak during his tenure. He also held the principal secretary post in the finance and forest departments of erstwhile AP.

Apart from his home ground, the distinguished officer worked in various departments at the Centre during the term of three Prime Ministers – Morarji Desai, Charan Singh and Indira Gandhi. He then went on to serve in the cabinet secretariat under Rajiv Gandhi. Rajamani eventually retired from office as secretary, forest and environment, Government of India.

As an expert on environmental issues, his association with the field, however, did not end there. Post the completion of his tenure, Rajamani took on the role of an advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme and also played a critical part in protecting the city’s environment and rich heritage.

In fact, post a PIL filed before the Supreme Court pertaining to ‘destruction’ of the Hussainsagar, the SC appointed a three-member committee (was called the Rajamani Committee), with him at the helm of affairs, which eventually went on to save the iconic water body from falling prey to widespread encroachment.

“There was a high court order of 2000 that had laid down certain restrictions on construction activity around the lake. However, that was flouted by certain parties. When this three-member committee submitted its first report in 2005, the SC directed the authorities to honour the HC order,” shared environmental engineer, Sagar Dhara, who was part of this body along with R C Reddy and Rajamani. “While his level of involvement with his work was unimaginable, what struck me most about him was how humane he was. Also, despite being a former bureaucrat, he never shied away from raising his voice each time he thought that the government was doing something wrong. He was a great friend and mentor,” Dhara said.

For ‘green’ campaigner M Mandal too, Rajamani’s death has meant losing an advisor who environmental activists from the city flocked to, each time there was a crisis. “Until a few years ago, he also chaired the Heritage Conservation Committee and went all out to preserve Hyderabad’s ancient structures. He will be missed,” Mandal said.

Members of Forum for a Better Hyderabad (FBH) also expressed their condolences through a release issued on Thursday. “His knowledge, experience and wisdom concerning issues of nature and environmental protection and preservation had been of immense value during his association with FBH during the last one and half decades,” the release stated. The funeral will be held in the city on Friday.

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Hyderabad / TNN / June 26th, 2015

Scholar Pullela Sriramachandrudu passes away

An Indian scholar and eminent writer in Sanskrit and Telugu literature Pullela Sriramachandrudu passed away here on Wednesday evening. He was 87 years of age. Born in Amalapuram on October 24, 1927, he started his academic journey as an ardent student of ‘Vyakarana Sastra’ and went on to acquire three masters degrees in Sanskrit, Hindi and English from Banaras Hindu University.

Among his best-known accomplishments are translation of the Valmiki Ramayana with a word-to-word meaning and commentary in Telugu that runs into over 10,000 pages. Credited with writing several books in the two languages, he received the Padma Shri, among other honours. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao expressed his condolences and recalled his achievements.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – June 25th, 2015

Honour for RPO official

Hyderabad :

A senior official at the Regional Passport Office, Hyderabad, will be honoured by Union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj with the Best Granting Officer Award at Passport Diwas to be held in Delhi on June 25.

The MEA has recently announced the awards for 2014-15. “P Udaya Lakshmi, superintendent at RPO, Hyderabad, was chosen for the Best Granting Officer Award for her outstanding performance in processing 78,781 passport applications, granting 76,857 passports and 1,924 police clearance certificates (PCCs) in 2014-15.

The official, who worked at Vijayawada and Begumpet passport seva kendras (PSKs) in 2014, set a new record in the country,” regional passport officer Ashwini Sattaru said in a release.

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Hyderabad / TNN / June 21st, 2015

Eve from Adam’s maker will be a ‘mother-drone’ robot

Rohan Shravan, Notion Ink founder. / Special Arrangement / The Hindu
Rohan Shravan, Notion Ink founder. / Special Arrangement / The Hindu

Eve can be used for everything from asteroid mining to scanning the depth of the oceans for exotic creatures.

Rohan Shravan, whose company Notion Ink is making Eve, a personal computing robot that understands the needs of its users and can fly like a drone, says this will be the first time artificial intelligence will itself be an operating system, rather than just being part of it, as was the case with Siri or Google Now.

Siri is a personal assistant that works on Apple’s mobile operating system iOS and Google Now works on Google’s Android platform.

Spending on robots worldwide is expected to more than quadruple from just over $15 billion four years ago to about $67 billion by 2025 — a 10.4 per cent compound annual growth rate since 2010, says a study by the Boston Consulting Group. The personal segment, which includes robots used for entertainment, cleaning, education, security, and household applications, is projected to grow the fastest, at a compound annual rate of 15.8 per cent, rising from $1 billion to $9 billion during that period.

Eve will be able to communicate with other smart devices, record every second of what it sees, and store humungous amounts of data. Mr. Shravan says Eve can be used for everything from asteroid mining to scanning the depth of the oceans for exotic creatures.

He bootstrapped Notion Ink with personal savings of about Rs. 6 lakh and used the facilities of B.V. Raju Institute of Technology (BVRIT) in Hyderabad, where his firm got incubated. Most of his initial employees were final year students, who, he says, were later poached by multinational companies. When he told venture capitalists that his product Adam would be a challenger to Samsung and Apple, they laughed at him, he says.

“They told me that ‘you are not going to survive even for six months’,” says Mr. Shravan, who quit his job at Schlumberger, the world’s biggest oil-services company, to launch Notion Ink in 2009.

For a while, their scepticism seemed well founded. Notion Ink ran into huge problems. Google came up with its own operating system, Honeycomb, but restricted access to players such as Motorola. Notion Ink’s other partner Nvidia Corp, a maker of chips for computer graphics cards, which used Honeycomb, also discontinued support. This had a drastic impact on Notion Ink, whose tablet was based on Google’s Android platform.

Mr. Shravan then tied up with U.S. chip-maker Texas Instruments for hardware support. In 2012, Texas Instruments announced it was winding down operations in smartphone- and tablet-oriented chips. Notion Ink had to start all over again.

Then, last year, things started looking up for his firm. Two of the world’s largest tech companies, Microsoft and Intel, formed a partnership with the firm to provide their chips and software, respectively, to Notion Ink’s touch-enabled computing devices.

Mr. Shravan now sells the devices directly to 30 large enterprises, competing alongside Dell and Toshiba.

Notion Ink is now re-entering Apple’s home turf, by selling its Cain tablet in the U.S. market.

Former Infosys Director and Chairman of Manipal Global Education Services T.V. Mohandas Pai says, “People in India need to learn how to market their products.” Also, he says, “India produces good engineers, but it is important for them to make hardware products intuitive and attractive in terms of design.”

source: / The Hindu / Home> S&T> Technology / by Peerzada Abrar / Bengaluru – June 21st, 2015

Hyderabad girl Pranjala is World No. 19 in ITF juniors’ circuit

Yadlapalli Pranjala wants to realise her dream by playing in a Grand Slam.–Photo: By arrangement
Yadlapalli Pranjala wants to realise her dream by playing in a Grand Slam.–Photo: By arrangement

City girl Yadlapalli Pranjala achieved the best-ever ranking by any girl from India in the contemporary ITF juniors’ circuit when she reached World No. 19, according to the latest rankings.

“It’s a great feeling to be the best in the ITF juniors’ circuit from India. But, I know there is still a long way to go and I am grateful to my coach Ilyas Sir (Ilyas Ghouse at the GVK Tennis Academy, Jubilee Hills) for all the support,” says an excited Pranjala.

Ilyas mentions that Sania Mirza was ranked No. 20, but that she played very briefly in the ITF circuit before stepping in the big league and everyone knows she belongs to a different class altogether. This young talent, who for long has been tipped as the next bet in women’s tennis from the city after Sania Mirza, achieved this ranking by virtue of her consistency in the big league.

The most notable being winning the 2014 Grade IV ITF juniors title here, runner-up in Thailand ITF juniors, winner in the ITF Junior Grade I in Chandigarh, making it to the second round in the Junior Australian Open this January, winning the singles in the ITF Juniors Grade I in Thailand in March this year and a ‘double’ in the Asian Closed junior championship in Delhi.

The 12th standard student of Chinmaya Vidyalaya (Begumpet) says her dream is to “play in a Grand Slam” and is grateful to GVK Group for its support. “It means a lot to me as I chase bigger goals,” says India No. 1 in under-16 & 18 categories.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by V.V. Subrahmanyam / Hyderabad – June 19th, 2015