Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Frost in Munnar to Hit Q4 Tea Production

KOCHI: The tea plantations in Munnar which are already in a crisis due to heavy fall in prices and higher labour costs are facing another blow with the mercury levels in Munnar falling to as low as minus two degree Celsius, affecting tea production of about 6-7 lakh kg. According to initial estimates, the sudden and unprecedented dip in temperatures which came into effect since Sunday has severely affected even tea leaves which were ready for plucking in about 400 hectares.

Chacko P. Thomas, Managing Director, Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Co (KDHP), said the negative effects of the frostbite will impact tea production for the next 3 months. "We expect the tea production to drop at least 10-15% in the January-March period, with the last quarter performance to be very poor," he said. Last year, KDHP produced 20 million kilos of tea and though the company expects it to remain the same, it fears the net profit to be much lower than last year’s figure of Rs.23.94 crores. 

The Munnar area contributes nearly half of Kerala’s total tea production of 63 million kg. It was reported that such falls in the mercury in this season are unheard of in Munnar. The situation caught the region unawares as there was no meteorological forecast on this as well. The weather at present is that of typical frosty days, with low morning temperature, cloudless and windless with very low humidity levels. Frost is expected to hit again during the course of this week.

The KDHP, which has the highest number of tea gardens in the region, is the most affected by the unexpected cold climate.

Adding to these woes, exports are much lower this year both on volume and value terms, partly due to the glut in Kenya. The industry sources point out that the future outlook also seems to be grim as there is adequate quantity of tea in the worldwide market and therefore the tea price would be lower.  Africa and other tea producing countries still continue to harvest healthy crops.  “In this situation we do not see any major upward trend in tea prices and with COP, going up tea companies find it difficult to be viable,” Mr. Chacko P. Thomas said.

Move over celebrities, it’s ‘You’ on your tabletop calendar

Kochi: For years, companies have been producing wall or tabletop calendars after calendars, and that too year after, to be precisely. Sceneries were an old trend so are the great personalities. Lately, since the topics like conserving the nature and recycling have caught up, our tabletops too have reflected them. However, celebrities, may it be from cinema or sports, have been a consistent trend. In this easy-to-predict clutter of ho-hums, how would you like to see yourself as the best inspirer of your life and creator of your future? Mir Group, a Kochi-based business house with huge investments in real estate, bio-sciences and hospitality sectors, has been consecutively launching theme-based table top calendars for the last three years and this year, the theme of their calendar is “you are the future”, with a mirror embedded on the base so as to see yourself every time you look at the calendar through the square die-cut passing through all pages, garnished with some inspirational quotes.

The unique and custom-made aphorisms include you are the future (visualize), you are the true patron of your life (delegate), set the trend for a healthy lifestyle (pursue), you contribute to a beautiful tomorrow (initiate), you represent every caste, color and creed (influence) and you are the gateway to a radical change (inspire).
It was Bose Krishanmachari Bose, President, Kochi-Muzris Biennale Foundation, who launched the calendar in a function, held in Kochi.

‘Homage to mother’, a tribute to the selfless love of all mothers in 2013 and ‘joy of giving’ without expecting anything in return in 2014 were two of the other widely-accepted themes of Mir Calendars previously. Renowned personalities including Mohanlal picked up the calendar where a separate space was provided where one could paste one’s photo with mother, to pay true a very personalized and realistic homage to one’s mother.


helloDOC, India’s first holistic family preventive clinic, opens in Kochi

  • helloDOC, a primary and preventive ecosystem, offers both allopathic and ayurvedic doctors’ care, visiting specialists, doctors on call, periodical check-up, diet clinic, counseling, medicinal garden, electronic health records, health store, organic bar and yoga studio under the same roof
  • As Kerala is being projected as the diabetic capital of India and heart disease-related deaths occur here as twice that of the USA, the promoters of helloDOC highlight a recent WHO study among the 15-65 age group that called for a strong primary and preventive healthcare in the state

Kochi, January 21, 2015: helloDOC, India’s first primary and preventive healthcare centre, was inaugurated in Panampilly Nagar, Kochi by the celebrity couple Rima Kallingal and Aashiq Abu today. A membership-based lifestyle joint to promote healthy living, helloDOC offers both allopathic and ayurvedic doctors’ care, visiting specialists, doctors on call, periodical check-up, diet clinic, counseling, electronic health records, health store, organic bar and yoga studio among others, all under one roof in a friendly atmosphere, with an amazing ambience and a royal service to match. Dr. Jase John, Director, helloDOC and an allopathic doctor said helloDOC is on a mission to revolutionize the healthcare model with patient-centric care imbibing best of both the worlds. “We are the first of its kind lifestyle ecosystem blending both the Western and Eastern medical practices keeping in mind the sagely principle of Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, that is “Treat often, comfort always”. So, what we would like to mostly prescribe are healthy meals based on our in-house dietitian’s recipes,” he said.

helloDOC is a membership based family lifestyle clinic offers three types of memberships namely Select, Essential and Essential Plus. All types of memberships come with any number of consultations with the allopathic and ayurvedic doctors, routine periodical check ups, visiting specialists consultations on referral, up to 40% discounts on medicines, digital health records, e-mail correspondence with the doctors, half yearly reviews and graphical representation for easy understanding. 

Recommended for patrons up to the age of 30, Select includes a select number of tests and services, carefully picked to ensure the best overall health and quality of life to the low-risk demographics while
Essential also includes a select number of tests and services packaged to suit the quality of life to the mid-risk demographics, aged between 30 and 45. Recommended for patrons above 45 with lifestyle diseases or who are smokers, Essential Plus offers, in addition to the tests and consultations, any number of visits for the dietician’s consultation, dental consultation and tooth cleaning and free and periodic doctor’s call on request.

Dr. Varun Nishanth, Medical Director, helloDOC said the concept is the outcome of World Health Organization’s call for a strong primary and preventive healthcare in Kerala followed by a recent study among the 15-65 age group in the state. He also highlighted a report in the Indian Journal of Medical Research in its May 2013 issue which projected Kerala as the diabetic capital of India while adding the fact that heart disease-related deaths occur here as twice that of the USA. “Our health and longevity indices are world-acclaimed but we are sitting on a time bomb. If we do not act now, it’s going to be a now or never situation,” Dr. Varun Nishanth said.

Considering these, helloDOC is positioned as a completely feel-good center with a full scale medicinal garden setup for the use of members under the guidance of the reputed herbalists; an organic health products’ store stocking from the most basics like rock salt to the most complex of ingredients; and an
Organic bar to serve healthy meals exclusively for the members.

“Once we establish soon in Kochi, we would be expanding to more locations so that we can open the helloDOC quality of primary and preventive healthcare to more people,” Dr. Jase John said.

For more details, please visit

Club Houses Go Royal; the Loom at Asset Kasavu Sets the Trend

·         The Loom, the recently-opened club house with star facilities at the Asset Kasavu, south India’s first CRISIL 7-star rated villa project, creates a new wave in club houses

Kochi: As the number of Malayalis who do not wish to confine their lives just to their homes and workplaces is growing, the waiting list and the entrance fee to join the few luxury clubs is also growing at a faster pace. The new generation Malayali will be quite disturbed if he finds his gym, swimming pool and the library are at three different corners of the city. Fortunately, the leading real estate developers have found a royal solution to this problem by presenting a totally revamped concept of club houses.

A few builders in the state have already responded to this demand from the upper crust of the fast growing luxury segment by setting up club houses with very modern and quality amenities along with their luxurious villas’ or apartments’ projects. The Loom, the recently-opened state-of-the art club house at Asset Kasavu, a 51-villa project from Asset Homes, one of the leading builders in the state, is a case in point.  What makes the Loom unique is the grandeur it adds to Kasavu, the first villa project in south India to receive CRISIL 7-Star rating.

Construction of Asset Kasavu is fast nearing completion at a picturesque West Kalamassery, on the banks of river Muttar, a tributary of Periyar. What is interesting to note is that the Loom, the club house with star facilities, has already been inaugurated. The 3-strorey 10,000-sq-ft Loom, as its name denotes, will be a loom for weaving some finest of life experiences adorned with golden lace that is Kasavu.

“The changing lifestyle is our motivation for building such a club house. Most of us wish to spend the weekends in a luxurious manner and we have arranged the star facilities considering this aspect,” says V. Sunil Kumar, Managing Director, Asset Homes.

The Loom has been built at a location closer to the river. The major attraction in the ground floor of this fully air-conditioned club house is a multipurpose auditorium. The modern seating arrangements for more than 300 persons and a stage make the auditorium more attractive. A kids’ pLay area with a slide, kids’ basketball and various computer games has also been arranged at the left side of the well-appointed reception area in the lobby. The second floor offers facilities for playing billiards and table tennis, a beautifully -designed library and two guest rooms with quality facilities and spacious balconies. A well-equipped gymnasium, resort-model swimming pools for both for kids and adults with original wooden paneling forms one side of the third floor. The steam and sauna facilities along with showers are part of the pools.

“The needs of those who buy homes by spending millions of rupees were in mind while we designed this club house. And as per the schedule, the villas in Kasavu will be handed over to the owners in 2015 itself,” points out Anil Varma, Executive Director, Asset Homes.

The Loom, undoubtedly a trail blazer among the stand-alone club houses, will thus mark the beginning of a new wave in club houses with royal facilities which can enrich the quality time spent by the new Malayali who is surging ahead with higher volumes of disposable income but hard-pressed for time and thus is always on the lookout for some very high quality relaxation and recreation facilities.

Based on the master plan of the Singapore-based renowned architecture fir, Site Concepts International, it was Bineesh Sukumar Architects and Planners who have designed Kasavu, which would emerge as a milestone among the housing projects in the state along with the Loom, club house.