Kerala

Veteran Malayalam actor Mala Aravindan passes away

Veteran Malayalam actor Mala Aravindan has passed away in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. He was 76.

He was best known for his work as a comedian, character artist in Malayalam films and was also noted theatre personality. He was also the president of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA).

About Mala Aravindan

  • He was born in 1941 at Vadavucode in Ernakulam, Kerala.
  • Career: He had started his career as a tabla artist with the vibrant travelling professional theatre groups.
  • He began his acting career in the plays of National Theatres, Kottayam, and later associated with theatre groups such as Natakasala and Suryasoma.
  • His made debut as actor in 1968 by acting in film Sindhooram, directed by Balakrishnan. Since then he has acted in over 400 films.
  • Awards: He has won the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi’s award for the best actor for his role in Sooryasoma’s play Nidhi.

Kerala’s Periyar tiger reserve wins NTCA biennial award

Periyar Tiger Reserve located in Kerala has won the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) biennial award for encouraging local public participation in managing the reserve.

Public participation in managing the Periyar Tiger Reserve

  • India Eco-Development project (IEDP): People’s participation started in the reserve in December 1996 by establishing India Eco-Development project (IEDP). It was a community-based eco-tourism initiative, which promoted tourism activities which helped visitors. It also promoted pepper growing in this region and marketing it.
  • Periyar Foundation: Later in 2006, reserve set up the Periyar Foundation which was a model for other reserves in biodiversity conservation and community participation in managing natural resources. It involved 75 communities living around the reserve, including tribal people.
  • There are around 19 different eco-tourism programmes apart from village eco-development programmes for public participation in managing the reserve.

Idukki district of Kerala becomes India’s first district with rural broadband network

Idukki district of Kerala has become first district in India to have high speed Rural Broadband Network i.e. National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) Internet connectivity.

Union Minister of Information Technology and Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad commissioned this Hi-speed rural broadband network under the governments flagship Digital India programme.

In Idukki, 8 block offices and 52 village panchayats out of 53 will benefit from this project.

Facts about National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN)

  • NOFN is the largest rural connectivity project of its kind in the world.
  • It aims to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
  • It seeks to link each of the 2.5 lakh village panchayats in the country spread over 6600 blocks and 631 districts through broadband optical fibre network in order to provide a minimum bandwidth of 100 Mbps.
  • On its completion, NOFN is expected to facilitate Broadband connectivity to over 600 million rural citizens of the country.
  • NOFN, is being funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), Department of Telecom, Ministry of Communications & IT.
  • It will offer people with friendly services like e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, public internet access etc. It will also enable delivery of various government services such as local planning, management, monitoring and payments of Government schemes at panchayat level.

Thus it will help to provide non-discriminatory telecom infrastructure, in order to bridge the gap of digital divide in rural internet access.

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