Monday, 29 March 2004

Cricket betting: Hyderabadi punters have the field day

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 29: When Pakistan won the Bangalore test to level the cricket series with India, punters in Hyderabad made a big celebration. It was really an occasion for them to celebrate as the money involved in the betting game was quite high and it's all for them to take home.
Unlike their counterparts elsewhere, city punters favoured Pakistan even before the start of the third test, despite the fact that the Pakis were almost written off. City punters are "double-happy" as their earlier prediction of a India win at Kolkata test also came true.
According to a bookie, punters here loaded odds 2:1 in favour of Pakistan as India had never won a test match in the Garden City.
Points out satta bazar operator Pradeep, "Of the four test matches India played on the Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium in Bangalore against Pakistan, it lost three and drew one test. Pakistan won three matches there earlier. Moreover, Pakistan was under tremendous pressure to win the Bangalore match to level the series. We loaded the dice in favour of Pakistan and our prediction came true."
Strangely enough, city Task Force police, who conduct regular raids during cricket series, are silent during the ongoing Pak tour of India. None of the bookie hideouts was raided this time though police officials admit in private that the city's satta bazar had made a turnout of at least Rs 40 crore during the first three test matches.
Punters all over the country changed odds quite frequently as the chances of the match heading for a draw were high at least till the tea break on the final day of the Bangalore test. But the Hyderabadi bookies stuck with their favourite Pakistan even when India was at 108 for two.
"We do not know about punters outside Hyderabad. As far as we are concerned, we take a decision after working out several details including individual statistics of cricketers, ground and team. We work it out so meticulously that most of our predictions come true. Say 99.99 per cent. We bid for India at the Kolkata test and India won", observes a bookie from Begum Bazar area of the city.
Test series is over and punters have made a big money. And what about the one day internationals that begin on April 2? As bookie Mahesh reveals, the odds are "yet to be fixed".
"The lots will be thrown just a day before the first ODI at Kochi or after the toss. Right now we cannot say anything. Betting turns more serious after a couple of ODIs if India or Pakistan clinches them", he says.
Cricket satta bazar in twin cities operate in three different ways - in person, through cell phone or laptop (internet). But the cell phone type is the most preferred one for its secrecy. During the Bangalore test at one stage the odds against India changed from 2:1 to 6:1. A notable feature of bookies in the city is that they take a day off from their routine business or work to concentrate on betting. Monday was the busiest day for bookies as the odds changed quickly after lunch.

Wednesday, 17 March 2004

Geographical Indication for Kondapalli toys

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 17: After Pochampalli Ikkat, the State government is planning to push the world famous Kondapalli wooden toys for Geographical Indication (GI) protection rights to safeguard this unique craftsmanship from cheap imitation and extinction.
Once the GI office in Mumbai accepts the State government's plea on Kondapalli toys, dozens of artisans in the dusty village of Kondapalli in the outskirts of Vijayawada city will secure international rights on their art designs and craftmanship. No one else outside the geographical area of Kondapalli village will have the right to produce Kondapalli toys either by hand or machine.
A senior official in the AP Handicrafts Development Corporation told this correspondent that the GI rights would help the poor artisans earn worldwide recognition. "The artisans will also get a few bucks more for their hard work. What is needed is aggressive marketing strategy both at the national and international level", he pointed out.
Kondapalli toys are crafted from a special type of softwood, locally known as Tella Poniki, available in the adjoining reserve forests. Unlike toy-makers elsewhere in the State, the Kondapalli artisans use only natural water colours. They mostly use a paste prepared from tamarind seed powder to join various parts of the toy. Some enterprising artisans, however, use synthetic adhesives. Once the toy is chiselled, they use sawdust and tamarind seed paste to give finishing shape and attach limbs to the toy. The toy is then left for a day or two for drying. Some of the famous Kondapalli toys include the 10-headed demon king Ravana, the village gathering, snake charmer, village belle, palmyra tree. Different colours are used to symbolise the character of the image. The influence of Islamic idiom is also felt on some toys. The process being highly flexible, Kondapalli toys have found many admirers in foreign countries.
Rural Development Minister D Srinivas pointed out that the State government was also planning to obtain patent rights for Gadwal sarees (both silk and cotton), Uppada and Jamdhani fabrics and Dharmvaram silk sarees, besides the Kalamkari art designs of Pedana in Krishna district.
Earlier, he told the State Assembly that the government had successfully obtained patent rights for Pochampalli sarees. "The government wants to obtain GI rights for several products which reflect the cultural legacy of the State", he said.

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This Day In History

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Syed Akbar in an island in river Godavari with Papikonda hills in the background

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Syed Akbar at the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity