Monthly Archives: April 2016

Jeb app bags NPCI award

Jeb, a mobile app developed by Hyderabad’s VSoft Technologies to facilitate easy, instant transfer of money as an alternative to cash payment, emerged the winner at a hackathon organised by National Payments Corporation of India (MPCI).

The programme, in which 3,819 teams participated, was held to commemorate the launch of NPCI’s payments infrastructure platform – Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

For a host of daily as well as regular payments, be it to purchase groceries, vegetables, paying auto-rickshaw fare, school fees and utility bills or depositing money in another account, the app can perform multiple tasks for which cash is used, says VSoft Technologies COO Dronamraju Srinivas.

Jeb, he says, is not a mobile wallet but a payment channel. It enables users to send and receive money as well as banks to compete with the wallets. The money remains in the customers’ account, earning daily interest until used, unlike the wallets where it is transferred to a third party. Users can add any bank account while interactions can be driven by voice or in their preferred regional language.

VSoft is in talks with a few banks – public, private and in the cooperative fold. The NPCI is yet to finalise the user charges. They are expected to be less than that for NEFT and RTGS, he adds.

City’s VSoft Technologies, the app developer, in talks with a few banks

source: / The Hindu / Home> Cities> Hyderabad / by N. Ravi Kumar / Hyderabad – April 29th, 2016

Yudhvir Award to Sanskrit Scholar

Hyderabad :

The 25th Yudhvir Foundation Memorial Award will be presented to Dr Vijayveer Vidyalankar, one of India’s leading Sanskrit scholars, for his work on the Rasa Siddhant and the Vedas.

The award will be presented by Rajya Sabha MP, K Keshav Rao on April 30 at 6.30 pm at KLN Prasad Auditorium, FATAPCCI Bhavan, Red Hills, Lakdikapul.

The award consists of a citation and a cash prize of `1 lakh. Vidyalankar has supervised the translation of 12 Telugu books into Hindi.

He was earlier honoured for outstanding contribution to Vedic literature in 2009.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Hyderabad / by Express News Service / April 27th, 2016

Child prodigy hogs limelight

Reels out facts related to Telangana statehood movement and other developments that took place during that period

The town-based child prodigy, Lakshmi Srija, hogged the limelight by showcasing her memory power and grasp of Telangana statehood movement at the TRS plenary held here on Wednesday.

Srija, a class IV student of a private school in Khammam, had arrived at the plenary to meet TRS president and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who had earlier presented a cash award of Rs. 10 lakh to her for meeting expenses on her education and pursuing her goal of becoming an IAS officer.

Srija narrated a sequence of events, including the formation of TRS party by Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao on April 27, 2001.

Her spontaneity in giving a vivid account of the statehood movement evoked wide applause from participants as well as the Chief Minister, his Cabinet colleagues and others on the dais.

source: / The Hindu / Home> National> Telangana / by Staff Reporter / Khammam – April 28th, 2016

Ace of the Adrenaline Rush

Five years ago when Kiranmai Kondaveeti turned 40, she started thinking about doing something adventurous. She had always wanted to scale a peak, so she packed her bags, trained for two months and climbed the Everest Base Camp.

“I didn’t have to go through any special physical training, just the two-month preparation for the trek. I realised that if I climb the Everest Base Camp, I can do more,” says the Computer Science teacher. The following year in 2012, she summited Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.

As Kondaveeti turned 45 this year, she wanted to continue her fitness regime. That was when she started to run long distance.

“Trekking requires one to be consistently fit. I scaled the two peaks, but if I had to keep myself going, I had to take up something to help me maintain my fitness levels. A friend recommended running. I took it as my calling and started training,” she says.

She joined the Hyderabad Runners Club, which has 3,000 member. “Running is not just about persistence. One needs to develop base strength and fitness. It needs to be pursued along with other sports such as cycling, swimming, yoga and going to the gym,” says Kondaveeti.

In August 2012, she completed her first half marathon (21 km) in Hyderabad in two hours and 58 minutes without any special training. “I wanted to test my body’s ability to run a half marathon. The Hyderabad marathon is the toughest in the country because of its altitude. Once you start, it only goes up and up. It starts at Necklace Road and ends at Gachibowli Stadium. It just drains us out,” she says. “We train for 16 weeks to participate in a marathon.”

Kiranmai Kondaveeti | Vinay Madapu
Kiranmai Kondaveeti | Vinay Madapu

The half marathon’s adrenaline rush spurred Kondaveeti to want more. She finished her first full marathon (42 km) in 2013 at Leh in six hours and 30 minutes. An average runner of her age can complete the same in four-and-a-half hours. “It was the toughest of all the marathons I have run. I thought I would cross the finish line strong and happy, but my body couldn’t completely acclimatise to the weather conditions, though I have trekked in the Himalayas. I finished, but not in the time I thought I would,” she recalls.

Kondaveeti went on to run the Coimbatore, Auroville and Kaveri Trail marathons. She came second in the August 2015 Hyderabad Marathon in the 40-plus category, beating her previous best of five hours and three minutes. She participates in Ultra runs every year.

“It is not enough if we start running. We need to understand how much our body can take and work accordingly. We need to ensure that we don’t get injured, because one injury means you have to lay low for at least a year. The club provides support and experienced runners help newcomers. I train newcomers every Saturday at KBR Park,” she says.

Kondaveeti is also particular about her diet. “It is a balanced diet. I don’t starve myself. I ensure that I have all the right nutrients,” she says.

She was one of the organisers of Pinkathon Hyderabad 2016, an all-women marathon that encourages women to take up fitness. “The idea of Pinkathon is if the woman of the family is fit, the family follows,” says Kondaveeti, whose husband and two daughters are also fitness enthusiasts.

She teaches Computer Science at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Atmakuri Rama Rao School, whose principal allows her to take days off to run marathons in other cities. She is also the race director of her school run.

Kondaveeti, who won the Runner of the Year award by Hyderabad Runners Club this year, is training for the August 26 Hyderabad Marathon.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Magazine / by Rajitha S / April 23rd, 2016

The Agrihub, Online Agri Marketing Platform Launched

Hyderabad :

The Agrihub, the first agriculture-specific online discovery platform, was launched here on Monday. The platform, launched at the Agri Horti Tech International Exhibition, provides authentic product information on the best brands in conventional and hi-tech agriculture and connects companies or brands, distributors and retailers to cater to the needs of farmers in India.

Sidharth Kumar, co-founder of TheAgrihub, said: “One of the leading causes of inefficiency in farming is the lack of proper knowledge and access to correct resources. We, as urban customer, have option to select things we need from five various platforms but farmers, who feed the world, do not have a single website from where they can get authentic information. With this platform, TheAgrihub has a vision to expose its users to the best of global technologies enabling the growth of farmer as well as agriculture as a whole.”

“The objective of TheAgrihub is to bring agricultural products sourcing for B2B and B2C on fingertips, help them track innovations or products and also find suppliers next door to facilitate educated decisions on purchase. ‘If you are in the field of agriculture, you have to be on TheAgrihub platform’ is what our team wishes to promote.”

The platform has already signed up with over 3,600 hi-tech agricultural farmers and many prominent brands. Seeds and plants of fruits, flowers and vegetables, irrigation products, fertilisers and plant protection products, farm tools and equipment, polyhouse are some of the products listed on the platform.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Telangana / by Express News Service / April 26th, 2016

Hopped up on Seeds, Crops and Hope


When Narayan Murthy came to India from the United States, he didn’t know that he would end up retracing his roots, in a journey that would last forever.

A management consultant by profession, he is the founder of GoodSeeds, an organisation that sells organic food and home products. And it doesn’t end there.

Narayan works closely with farmers across the region to help them find a platform where they can find buyers and connect with other farmers for better reach and productivity.

Says Narayan, “I left India in 1992 and went to the US for higher studies and a job. I completed an MBA from Booth School of Business, Chicago, after which I started working as a management consultant. I was earning quite a decent package and monetarily I was very sound. But there was a voice in my head which kept on telling me that this is not what I wanted to do. But I didn’t know what it was that I was looking for.” That’s when he decided to come back to India and spend a few years here, “I came back and after a year or so, I realised that it was my roots that I had been missing.”

Narayan Murthy, founder of GoodSeeds, which sells organic food and home products
Narayan Murthy, founder of GoodSeeds, which sells organic food and home products

Originally from Chennai, Hyderabad is now his home. But how did he land up here? He answers with a chuckle, “I got a job here in Microsoft as a strategic planner in 2008. Now this city is my home.”

It so happened that one day his friend complained about how good organic food is not available in Hyderabad. Since Narayan was already wondering what to do with himself, the idea appealed to him. Thus was born GoodSeeds in the year 2012. “The name came about because it was about sowing good ideas about what we eat, drink, who we live with and where we live,” adds Narayan. Sort of an eco-friendly contribution to society.

While the company sells a variety of organic items ranging from organic baby food and organic fruits to organic personal care products, farmers often come to them to gain market connections, “Many farmers get in touch with me. I connect them to the market and customers who choose to buy organic products. This way they are able to connect to other farmers as well. We also help them get access to seed banks, so that they can expand their crop portfolios,” informs Narayan.


He goes with farmers to different areas like Yadagirigutta, Anantapur, outskirts of Mysuru and Tiruchirappalli (Tamil Nadu) for advise and to network. As a result of his efforts, farmers are coming closer and becoming part of co-operatives. Narayan adds further, “It’s beneficial that small farmers become part of small co-operatives. For example at Timbaktu, Anantapur there’s a small co-operative of 40 farmers. A farmer can’t do everything alone. If he tries everything and it goes wrong then unfortunately it will be him who will starve. These days people give their lands to farmers on lease to grow crops. In return, the farmers are paid on a monthly basis. So, even if there’s a drought, farmers will get their money and manage to keep their respect intact, as well.”

They also encourage things like the Sunday organic bazaar held at Saptaparni, Lamakaan, Our Sacred Space and Goethe Zentrum, where farmers sell everything from organic fruit to staples like rice. It’s probably not as fancy as the farmers’ markets in the US, but hey, with people like him around — it may become a reality sooner than you think!

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Education> Edex / by Saima Afreen / April 25th, 2016

A showcase of biodiversity of vegetation

Steeped in history:The entrance of Gandhari Vanam in Adilabad district – Photos: S. Harpal Singh
Steeped in history:The entrance of Gandhari Vanam in Adilabad district – Photos: S. Harpal Singh

Gandhari Vanam in Mancherial town will soon have a museum showcasing millions of years of biodiversity of Adilabad.

Gandhari Vanam, a nature park near Mancherial town in Adilabad, is where you can go millions of years back in time. The 174-million-year-old tree fossils to be exhibited in a section of the soon to come up facility will help you visualise what the district must have looked like back then.

Steeped in history:  Mancherial Divisional Forest Officer B. Prabhakar observing a Jurassic-era tree fossil at the nature park.– Photos: S. Harpal Singh
Steeped in history: Mancherial Divisional Forest Officer B. Prabhakar observing a Jurassic-era tree fossil at the nature park.– Photos: S. Harpal Singh

“That was the time when the giant dinosaurs roamed here, thriving on these coniferous trees. The Pranahita-Godavari valley of upper Gondwana is unique as it has preserved many of nature’s components from the era in its 3,000-metre thick sediments deposited over a period of 200 million years,” said Mancherial Divisional Forest Officer B. Prabhakar, pointing out the uniqueness of the nature park being developed by the Telangana Forest Department at a cost of Rs. 3.6 crore.

The park, located on the Mancherial-Mandamarri main road on the fringes of the coal town, is named Gandhari Vanam as the Gandhari fort is located close to it. It is a 350-acre facility divided into three parts.

“A 20-acre plot on the left side of the road (coming from Mancherial) has been developed as a picnic spot with ornamental plants, apart from a host of things. At least 500 visitors come here on weekends,” the DFO said.

The second 50-acre enclosure will become a good forest, and the department has plans to make it a deer park and an aviary in the near future. The third section, and the most important one, is the 280-acre facility on the other side of the road. It is like a repository and museum of the huge local biodiversity in terms of vegetation.

“Adilabad forests at one time had boasted of at least 500 types of trees, and we are planting many of these, which, for the sake of awareness and convenience, have been segregated into a few sections. For instance, we will have a medicinal plant section with 250 species, and others which will have trees linked with horoscope and nine planets,” Mr. Prabhakar disclosed.

For nature enthusiasts, Gandhari Vanam also has a walking track, while a boating facility and a couple of check dams are coming up. The authorities have also put up boards with information regarding the given sections, trees and fossils for the benefit of people. “We have designed the park to be educative too. People should know about nature, what it was and what it should be,” the DFO said.

The 280-acre facility is like a repository and museum of the biodiversity in terms of vegetation

source: / The Hindu / Home> National> Telangana / by S. Harpal Singh / Mancherial (Adilabad District) / April 25th, 2016

A tale of two cities

Narendra Luther. Photo: K. Ramesh Babu
Narendra Luther. Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

Hyderabad, TELANGANA :

Narendra Luther talks about weaving in amusing legends and fact-filled anecdotes in his new book ‘Legendotes of Hyderabad’

‘Don’t google the meaning of ‘legendotes’ for there is no such word,’ historian Narendra Luther says in the introduction to his new book ‘Legendotes of Hyderabad’ (Niyogi Books; Rs. 995). A combination of legend and anecdotes, ‘legendotes’ is also an encapsulation of nuggets of history, backed by research, presented in the style of a coffee table book illustrated with photographs of people and buildings that provide a window to the past. “To my surprise, the publishers were eager to have more photographs,” he says with a smile, speaking to us ahead of the launch of his book on Thursday in the presence of historian Aloka Parasher Sen.

“During the course of my research on Hyderabad over the years, I came across both legends and anecdotes. Legends are generally considered gossips of history, but some of those are also stuff that makes up history. Former historians, I believe, walked on the highway of history whereas I feel many pieces of history lie scattered in the lanes and by lanes of the city. I collected a few of these and applied tests of historicity and veracity before documenting them,” explains Luther. Narendra Luther focuses both on stories that are now popular knowledge and lesser-known facts that give readers fresh insights into the history of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. “These are not mere ‘he said, she said’ facts put together,” he emphasises.

Luther also prefers to gather information from people than just documents from the archives: “I believe in interviewing people to know about history than merely going through archives; they have given me a wealth of information,” he says, referring to how he got the late Zahid Ali Kamil to share the story of Kazim Razvi, who led the Razakars movement. The author draws our attention to rocks of Hyderabad that are 2500 million years old and as he points out, ‘older than the Himalayas’ and traces the origin of Hyderabad, including the much-debated tale of romance that gave birth to Bhagnagar. “The historicity of Bhagmati has been established beyond doubt,” says Luther, and states his earlier research while penning a biography of Mohd. Quli Qutb Shah that led him to a document mentioning an old seal of ‘qazi of Bhagnagar’. “And in the court of Jehangir, there was a reference to the city of Bhagnagar in the South, established by Quli Qutb Shah in memory of his beloved,” he adds.

The book contains quirky stories of a dog made to sit on a throne by Sultan Tana Shah in recognition of it raising an alarm spotting an intruder, Aurangzeb’s visit to Bhagnagar and Stalin’s orders on the red revolt. There’s also a perceivable effort to make history relevant to the times we live in, in the chapters that detail how the King Kothi got its name, the story of Lal Bazaar in the then Lashkar that later came to be called Secunderabad. “I’ve given historical citations even for amusing stories,” smiles Luther, citing the story of seven kulchas and how the kulcha was represented on the Nizam’s flag. “This was contradicted by the man himself, the first Nizam, who said the ‘circle’ was a moon that denoted his name Kamaruddin (‘Kamar’ in Persian means moon). But later when the sixth Nizam was approving the design of the flag in 1899, issued a written mentioning the big white circle as a kulcha.” Like his previous works, this book too is an ode to Hyderabad.

Hyderabad connection to ‘Jai Hind!’

Did you know that it was a Hyderabadi who coined the slogan Jai Hind? Zain-ul Abideen Hasan was pursuing engineering in Germany at the time when Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose visited Germany and urged Indian students to join his movement to liberate India. Abid Hasan gave up his studies and became Netaji’s secretary and interpreter. ‘Legendotes of Hyderabad’ discloses why Abid came to be called ‘Safrani’ in later years and how he coined the term ‘Jai Hind’ as the greeting for his army and for independent India.

source: / The Hindu / Home> Features> MetroPlus / by Sangeetha Devi Dundoo / Hyderabad – January 30th, 2014

The Deccan’s ‘precious nine’ shine on like the Kohinoor

File photo of the 45.52-carat Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington. / Reuters
File photo of the 45.52-carat Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington.
/ Reuters

Legendary diamonds mined by the Qutub Shahis are on display in Washington, Paris and Moscow.

It is not just Kohinoor; nine other famous diamonds left the shores of India and these are now displayed in museums in Washington, Moscow, Paris and Istanbul, besides forming a part of the Iranian crown jewels.

The precious nine, all categorised as legendary diamonds and mined by the Qutub Shahis of the Deccan, are the Hope Diamond, Hortensia, Darya-i-Noor, Noor-ul-Ain, Orlov (also called Orlof), Regent, Sancy, Shah Diamond and Spoonmaker’s, says V. Madhavan, who worked as a Professor of Geology in the Kakatiya University.

While the 45.5 carat Hope diamond is currently on display at the Smithsonian in Washington DC, the 190 carat Orlov diamond, a bluish-green gem, is now part of Moscow’s Diamond Treasury.

On the other hand, the 140.6 carat Regent, 55.2 carat Sancy and 20 carat Hortensia are now at the Louvre museum in Paris.

Two pink diamonds, the 182 carat Darya-i-Noor and 60 carat Noor-ul-Ain are part of the Iranian crown jewels while the 88.7 carat Shah Diamond and 86 carat Spoonmaker’s are housed in the Diamond Fund of the Kremlin and Topkapi Palace in Istanbul respectively.

Origins a mystery

Prof. Madhavan, who has studied diamond mining for nearly six decades, says that by all historical accounts, the Kohinoor was mined by the Kakatiyas when Rani Rudrama Devi headed the kingdom, its headquarters in present day Warangal.

Kohinoor’s exact vintage, right from its discovery, continues to be a mystery. However, “There is a general consensus among historians that it was found at Kolluru in the late 13th century in present day Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh,” he said adding that Kolluru was part of the Kakatiya kingdom.

Former Professor of History at the University of Hyderabad, V. Ramakrishna, said the Manual of “Kistna District in the Presidency of Madras”, written by Gordon Mackenzie and published in 1883, also indicated that the Kohinoor was found in Kolluru, then part of Krishna district.

Pages 244-247 refer to diamond mining in the district in general and the Kohinoor in particular. The manual however, says that the gem was mined by Qutub Shahis and not the Kakatiyas.

Another book, A Study of the History and Culture of Andhras, by noted historian K. Satyanarayana and published in 1982, also speaks of the Kohinoor being found in Kolluru.

According to Prof. Madhavan, India was the only producer of diamonds in the world till 1725 AD when they were mined in Brazil. Later in 1870, diamonds were explored in South Africa. Marco Polo, who visited India in the 13th century, talks in his travelogue of an inland kingdom ruled by a queen (Rudrama Devi)… “which produced all the diamonds in the world”.

At the time of its discovery, the Kohinoor was the largest diamond in the world. But no longer. In 1905, workmen at the Premier Mines in South Africa unearthed the 3106 carats (621 grams) Cullinan diamond, which remains the largest so far. It was named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the founder of Premier Mines.

The original weight of Kohinoor was stated to be 793 carats (158.6 gm). In the 17th Century, emperor Aurangazeb wanted to reduce its size to add to its lustre.

He tasked Horenso Borgia, a Venetian lapidary with the job, but he cut the diamond down to just 186 carats and invited a heavy fine.

At present, the weight of Kohinoor, meaning mountain of light, is 105.6 carats.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / Prashanth Chintala / Hyderabad – April 23rd, 2016

Pioneering Cardiac Surgery Saves 80-year-old Man

Dr PC Rath of Apollo Hospitals with Yerra Veeraiah, who underwent a pioneering cardiac procedure, in Hyderabad on Thursday. | EXPRESS PhOTO
Dr PC Rath of Apollo Hospitals with Yerra Veeraiah, who underwent a pioneering cardiac procedure, in Hyderabad on Thursday. | EXPRESS PhOTO

Hyderabad :

A pioneering cardiac procedure, percutaneous transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), has been performed on an 80-year-old man with critical calcific aortic stenosis by a team of doctors led by Dr PC Rath at Apollo Hospitals in Jubilee Hills here.

The procedure was performed for the first time in this part of the country including Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

“TAVI was performed on the elderly patient in the cath lab from the groin region as in angioplasty. After the patient was administered short general anaesthesia, the valve was put to the heart through the femoral artery and was implanted accurately under the guidance of fluoroscopy and trans-esophageal echo. The valve implanted was the latest second-generation valve from Medtronic USA called Evolute-R. The procedure lasted about one and a half hours.

Immediately after the procedure, the patient was extubated, he became conscious and was shifted to ICU. He was monitored in the ICU for two days, for three more days in the ward and was then discharged,” Dr PC Rath explained.

Dr Rath was assisted by Dr Manoj Agarwal, Dr B.Dikshit and Dr Sundar.

Dr Rath said TAVI is being routinely performed in Europe and of late in the USA for patients who are at high risk for an open heart surgery.

“The procedure got FDA approval in 2015 and since then has been being routinely performed in the USA.

In India the procedure is not yet approved by DCGI and needs permission on case-to-case basis and then the device is imported. Very few cases have been performed in India and the ones performed were mostly in Delhi and Bangalore,” he said.

Though the device is expensive, the procedure is a boon for such patients to be able to save their lives and continue to live through a relatively safe non-surgical procedure. “Now we can offer this life-saving procedure to many of our sick patients with calcified aortic stenosis,” Dr Rath added.

Aortic Stenosis

Narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart is called aortic stenosis. Such blockage in the valve leads to gradual petering of blood flow and consequently an increased effort from the heart is required to pump blood. This condition can lead to heart failure. In normal circumstances, an open heart surgery is performed on such patients to replace the valve. However, in the case of this patient, due to his advanced age and renal failure, an open heart surgery was considered to be a high risk and, therefore, the minimally-invasive TAVI was preferred.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Hyderabad / by Express News Service / April 22nd, 2016