Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kutty - A clean entertainer

You will love Kutty, an orphan, a goody-goody guy, a boy-next-door who is the brightest spot and life of the film. This film is about the importance of basic goodness and it is Dhanush who carries the entire film on his shoulders.

It is a college campus caper. Kutty (Dhanush) falls in love with Geeta (Shriya) at first sight. Arjun (Sameer Dattani) is a spoilt brat and son of a local bigwig (Radha Ravi). He too likes Geeta and takes a challenge with his friends that he will woo and propose to her, but when she refuses, he threatens that he would jump off from the terrace of the college.

Being a very sensitive, meek girl, Geeta accepts him reluctantly and tries to fall in love with him. Kutty, at the same time continues with his one-sided love and devotion for Geetha.

Meanwhile Arjun�s father does not approve of his son�s relationship with Geeta and now Kutty helps the lovers to elope and he becomes their protector and saviour as he keeps his deep love for Geeta at heart. And when Ajay leaves Geeta with Kutty to meet his dad, it gives her a chance to understand his deep feelings and true love for her. And in a clich�d climax at the wedding �mandap� Geeta runs into the arms of Kutty leaving a helpless Arjun behind. All�s well that ends well!

Remarkable casting has resulted in some fine performances by key players. Dhanush has scored full marks with an excellent performance, amazing dancing and convincing stunt scenes. His dress sense and body language is also worth mentioning. Shriya is a revelation as the soft-spoken �touch-me and I�ll wither� character of Geeta. Sameer is handsome and promising but his lip sync could have been better.

Another highlight of the film is the brilliant camera work and music and background score of Devi Sri Prasad.

Mitran.R.Jawahar the director has done a perfect job. The film isn�t without hiccups, though. It lacks comedy and could have been trimmed a bit in the second half to make it crisper.

In the end, Kutty works as it is a clean, honest, romantic musical that�s worth a matinee for the family audiences.

Munnar encroachments: HC to take up pleas today

The Kerala High Court would consider petitions demanding investigations into Munnar land encroachments today. The government would inform Court on the steps taken to evict encroachers.

The district administration had found that, resorts thriving in thousands of acres of land in the Kannan Devan village were given bogus title deeds.

According to a writ petition filed by One Earth One Life, Revenue Principal Secretary Nivedita P. Haran had recommended moratorium on land transactions in those areas. However, no steps had been taken to implement the recommendations.

The then Additional DGP Rajan Madhekar who had inquired into the issue of bogus title deeds had found that as many as 3,000 persons possessed fabricated title deeds.

But no follow-up action had been taken by the government, the petitioners demanded the Court to direct the State government to constitute a special investigation team consisting of officers of proven integrity to probe the allegations of bogus title deeds possessed by persons in places such as Pallivasal, Devikulam and Udumbanchola in Munnar.

�Panchabhoothas � the five eternal elements�, a choreography

�Panchabhoothas � the five eternal elements�, a choreography by Thrissur-based Mohiniyattom danseuse Pallavi Krishnan, will be premiered at the Nishagandhi Dance Festival in Thiruvananthapuram on January 21.

The dancer was giving the final touches to her new production at the Jawahar Balbhavan here on Monday and Tuesday.

�Choreographing the production has been challenging. The biggest challenge has been to find a visual language for esoteric concepts. I could achieve this with the help of Natyasastra scholar C. P. Unnikrishnan and Sanskrit scholar N. K. Sundareswaran of Calicut University,� says Ms. Krishnan, an alumna of Santiniketan and the Thrissur-based Kerala Kalamandalam.

The choreography is based on the Taittiriya Upanishad, Sankaracharya�s �Soundaryalahari�, and Lakshmidhara Vyakhana.

It concludes by highlighting the principle propounded by the verses, �Pradeepajwaalabir Divasakara Neeraanjanavidhi� from �Soundaryalahari�.

The choreography says that all truths have emerged from Mother Nature.

Haritha Sena dharna tomorrow

The district committee of the Haritha Sena will organise a dharna in front of the Kozhikode Collectorate on Thursday in protest against the continued negligence of the government towards farmers� demands.

At a press conference here on Tuesday, Sena State chairman V.T. Pradeep Kumar said the demands of the organisation included sanction to farmers to extract and process �Neera� from coconut palm, provision of a monthly salary of Rs.5,000 to farmers and a CBI inquiry into the allegations of embezzlement of agricultural debt relief by bank officials.

The Sena criticised the government for turning a blind eye to the report by an expert committee recommending the extraction and sale of Neera in 2003, besides the High Court order asking the government to take a decision on this count. Mr. Kumar said a decision on Neera sale had become inevitable with the living conditions of farmers worsening due to falling coconut prices.

�The Kerala Agricultural University has the technology to convert Neera into a beverage. Neera can fetch a farmer Rs.50 daily from a tree,� said Mr. Kumar. He alleged that the Excise Department was sabotaging the move to allow tapping of Neera.

Mr. Kumar said the Sena was leading a crusade against bank officials who were allegedly stealing funds meant for agricultural debt relief by filing RTI petitions. Terming debt relief as only part of the solution, the Sena chairman said that the return of farmers to agriculture could be ensured only by a comprehensive rehabilitation package. District president K. Balan and secretary K. Muraleedharan participated in the press conference.

M.G. University plans a revamp

In a major initiative to revamp the affairs of the self-financing institutions, the Syndicate of Mahatma Gandhi University has decided to approve the recommendations of the five-member adalat committee appointed to look into the financial viability and service and remuneration conditions of such institutions affiliated to the university.

The special framework of rules formulated for the administration of self-financing institutions has also been accepted by the Syndicate, which met here on Tuesday.

As per the recommendations, the current mode of appointment of faculty will be revamped.

The committee had suggested that faculty should be appointed either on temporary basis or on contract basis with the remuneration being dictated as per the scale of pay.

Guest lecturers can be appointed only by the School of Medical Education, that too, for nursing and pharmacy courses.

The committee has also fixed the financial powers of directors, regional directors and principals of the self -financing institutions. All academic issues will depend on the university statutes and regulations, as per the committee report.

The committee has called for deputing non-teaching staff on work arrangement from the university departments to the self-financing institutions.

Kinfra textile centre allotment begins

The Textile Centre at Nadukani here promoted by the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra) has started allotment of land to entrepreneurs for setting up textile industry units.

Kinfra announced here that the Textile Centre, spread over nearly 50 hectares has the required infrastructure such as roads, power and water supply and a water treatment plant.

In addition, there are a common effluent treatment plant, weaving centre, standard design factory, integrated infrastructure development centre, facilities for container movement, quality power, dyeing and winding plant as also a creche, ambulance and warehouse facilities, says a press release.

A Central government-sponsored project, the Kinfra Textile Centre would offer the entrepreneurs incentives and training and management support.

It is also equipped with conference and exhibition facilities and a unit for wet-processing of yarn and a standard design factory for final processing of fabric.

A hazardous waste disposal plant has also been installed at the centre.

A total of 38.36 ha would be allotted for setting up the textile units. The Textile Centre has been envisaged as a comprehensive textile industries park under the Kinfra International Apparel Park, a fully owned subsidiary of Kinfra.

The centre is being developed with the financial assistance under the Textile Centre Infrastructure Development Scheme of the Union government.

The metal idols found at Mathamangalam in Wayanad

Two metal idols, suspected to be made of panchaloha, were found by women workers while they were shovelling in a private coffee plantation under the Kenichira police station limits at Mathamangalam near Irulam in the district on Monday.

The idols measured around 20 cm in height.

T.K. Sreevalsan, Sub Inspector, Kenichira said that the idols were kept at the Kenichira police station and would be handed over to the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) on Thursday.

Abdul Halim\'s remand extended

A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here on Monday extended to February 2 the remand period of Abdul Halim, one of the accused in the Kozhikode twin blast case. Halim was produced before the court by NIA after his remand period expired on Monday. Halim is the third accused in the case. According to the FIR, Halim had stated that the bombs were manufactured with the help of T. Nazir, another accused. Halim is also an accused in the Kalamassery bus burning case.

Two labourers were killed while unloading a stack of large marble slabs

Two labourers were killed while unloading a stack of large marble slabs from a lorry at Vattappara on Tuesday morning. The police identified the deceased as Vikraman Nair, 40, and Ramachandran Nair, 45. They said the pile of marble fell on the workers while the unloading process was on. Both owed allegiance to the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC). The police registered a case of unnatural death and investigations were on to find out the cause of the accident and whether there was any negligence involved. The bodies were handed over to relatives after a post-mortem examination at the medical college hospital here.

CADD Centre scholarship test

The CADD Centre will conduct the Kerala Region CADD Quest scholarship eligibility test for 2010 on January 30, 31 and February 6 and 7. The test will be conducted at all CADD Centre locations in the State, a statement on Tuesday said. The test is open to all students and professionals pursuing careers in engineering, project management, architecture, interior design, animation and multimedia. The test will cover topics in English, Mathematics and general knowledge. Some of the courses offered are Pro-Engineer, CATIA, Solid Works, ANSYS, Staad Pro, PC Schematic, El Automation, OrCAD, ArchiCAD, Revit, 3Ds max and Maya.

Candidates can register for CADD Quest 2010 at any of the CADD Centre locations in the State. Phone numbers are 0471-255 3121 and 2332 121.

Delay in land acquisition hampers rail projects

Delay on the part of the government in acquiring land and the reluctance of the local people to part with their land is delaying the commissioning of railway projects in the State. The government is yet to hand over land to the railways for the doubling of the highly congested Ernakulam-Kayamkulam stretch, via Kottayam and Alappuzha.

A review meeting chaired by Union Minister of State for Railways E. Ahamed here recently had expressed concern over the delay in land acquisition. The Fast Track mechanism introduced to expedite the process has also not worked out. The only solace is that doubling of the 18-km Ernakulam-Mulanthurthi and 8-km Mavelikara-Kayamkulam stretches has been completed. The two stretches are awaiting the nod of the Commissioner for Railway Safety (CRS) for commissioning.

Railway officials said the State was yet to acquire land for doubling of the 90-km Chengannur-Mulanthurthi stretch. Land had been made available for doubling of the 16 km Kayamkulam-Haripad stretch. Notification for acquiring land for doubling the Haripad-Alappuzha stretch was yet to be issued.

Sixty-three hectares land is needed for doubling of the 73-km stretch between Kurupanthara and Chengannur. Though notification for acquiring land for the Mulanthuruthy-Kurupanthara stretch has been issued, railway sources said many hurdles have to be overcome before the project goes on stream. Only 7.83 hectares of the 517 hectares needed for the Sabari railway line have been handed over to the railways. The railways had deposited Rs. 50 crore for acquiring land against the Rs. 400 crore needed.

In the case of the Rs.131.71-crore Tirunavaya-Guruvayur new line, the opposition against the new alignment is posing hurdles to the railways. A sum of Rs. 26.74 crore had been sanctioned in the 2009-10 budget and Rs.8.69 crore had been spent by the railways for the project till March last. Railway sources said Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan had not yet convened a meeting to sort out the issues. Funds for the project would lapse if the State government does not settle the issue.

Sabarimala season comes to a close with Guruti ritual

SABARIMALA: The two-month-long annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrim season at the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala came to a close with the customary Guruti ritual held at Malikappuram to propitiate the Bhoothagana of the Lord on Tuesday evening.

The five-day Vilakkinezhunnellippu too concluded with a procession from the Malikappuram Devi temple to Saramkuthi on Monday midnight, marking the culmination of all major rituals in connection with the annual Makaravilakku festival.

Hundreds of devotees from different parts of South India attended the ceremony.

Hartal total in Kunnamkulam

A hartal observed by the Bharatiya Janata Party in Kunnamkulam yesterday following the death of Valiapurackal Mohan, 57, was total. He collapsed and died on Sunday after he witnessed CPI(M)-BJP clashes at Kizhur in the Kunnamkulam police station limits. The BJP claimed that he was a party sympathiser and that he collapsed after being hit by a stone. Shops and business establishments remained closed. Vehicles were seen on streets. Suspected BJP activists forcibly closed schools in the area. The police said that a postmortem examination revealed that Mohan died of heart attack.

Ex-servicemen to block train in Kollam

Ex-servicemen, under the banner of the Kerala State Ex-Services League, will block the Lokmanya Tilak Nagar-bound Netravathi Express at the Kollam railway station on January 21, demanding the implementation of the �one rank one pension� scheme for them. League president N. Padmanabha Pillai said yesterday that the other demands of his organisation included immediate implementation of the hike in pension declared in the 2009 Union Budget and free travel by train once a year for all ex-servicemen.

Action sought against constable

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has demanded strong action against the policeman who reportedly assaulted news photographer Rajesh Menon while he was covering the protests of spectators when the floodlights failed during the Viva Kerala tournament at Corporation Stadium on Saturday. The police had filed separate cases against the policeman and the photographer concerned.

Kottappally clashes: five persons in custody

The police arrested five persons in connection with the clashes between the Communist Party of India(Marxist) (CPI-M) and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) activists at Kottappally in the limits of Vadakara police station in the district on Sunday. The arrested persons, Babeesh, 24; Ranjith, 23; Sajeevan, 24; Suhail, 22 and Mustafa, 22, were charged with Section 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with weapons), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. Three of them belonged to the CPI(M) and the remaining, IUML.

Road safety measures yet to yield

The absence of mandatory road markings and sign boards, haphazard parking, slack rule enforcement, overspeeding and poor coordination between Government departments in enhancing road infrastructure, have made driving in the city a difficult proposition.The recent observance of two road safety awareness campaigns sponsored by the Central and State Governments has brought about little improvement in the situation. �Even important decisions taken at District Road Safety Council meetings held over a year ago have not been implemented, because of inadequate follow-up action and insufficient funds,� said a senior official in the Motor Vehicles� Department. An example is the delay in relocating the transformer at Jos Junction that obstructs the free-left turn towards the DH Ground.

Order to reinstate CESS Director

The Kerala High Court on Monday stayed the government order directing the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS) to relieve M. Baba from the post of its Director and ordered his reinstatement in service. The interim directive came on a writ petition filed by Dr. Baba challenging the government order. The government had issued the order on December 31 after allegations about his qualifications had surfaced in the media. He said that a committee appointed by CESS had cleared doubt about his qualifications.

Vivekananda Jayanthi celebrated

The Kuzhuppally unit of Sri Vivekananda Dharma Pracharana Sangham celebrated Vivekananda Jayanthi festival at Pallathamkulangara Bhagavathyvilasam LP school on Sunday at 4 p.m.

Keralite tops CA exam

Kishen K. Warrier from Thoppumpady here has topped the Chartered Accountants final examination. He won the first rank in the country with a score of 567.His father, K.A. Kishore Kumar, was a practising chartered accountant till he died in 2003 and mother, K.K. Usha Devi, is an LIC agent. Kishen had won the second rank in the SSLC exam, and followed it up with the first rank in Plus Two (Commerce) and third rank in B.Com. from MG University. He won the first rank in the inter-examination of CA.

Three-day cultural festival

Film-maker Kamal will inaugurate the three-day annual arts and cultural festival �Kalamritam-2010,� at Amrita School of Arts and Sciences here on January 27. Sreekumari Chandran will preside at the inaugural function, said U. Krishnakumar, director, at a press conference.�Vidyamritam-2010,� the sixth annual lecture series will commence on January 29. V. N. Rajshekharan Pillai, Vice-Chancellor of IGNOU will inaugurate the lecture series. Pratapan Nair, Principal, Amrita School of Medicine, will preside at the inaugural function. A panel of 40 experts from various fields will share their experiences.

Protest against new medical course

The Indian Medical Association and various service organisations of doctors have protested against the Union government�s decision to launch the Bachelor of Rural Medicine and Surgery, a rural MBBS course of three-and-a-half years� duration, claiming it will create two classes of medical graduates. A joint action council of doctors and doctors� service organisations have decided to observe Friday as �black day� in protest against the move.

Fire at sub-treasury office

A fire broke out in the sub-treasury office at Vellayambalam yesterday afternoon causing damage. The fire force which rushed to the spot put out the fire. The Museum police have registered a case and started investigation. According to police forsenic experts and electrical inspector have started investigation to find out the reasons behind the fire. However the police has ruled out any conspiracy behind the incident . Treasury authorities said that the fire did not affect the routine work at the office. But some records are damaged in the fire, they said.

Three hurt in fire

Three persons suffered burns after a fire broke out in their house at Puthentheruvu near Sreevaraham yesterday. The injured were identified as Venkateswaran, 76, Subhalakshmi, 75 and Sunder, 42. They were admitted to the Medical College Hospital. Police said that the fire broke out due to a leakage in the domestic gas cylinder.

Woman techie commits suicide

A woman software engineer employed with IT major Wipro Technologies in Bangalore allegedly commited suicide at her residence yesterday police said. Lakshmi Nair, 23 who hailed from Thiruvanthapuram was reportedly depressed unknown reasons, police said. Lakshmi , who did not report for work yesterday took the extreme step when her brother Anish with whom she was staying had gone out, they said. She was found hanging from ceiling by Anish who rushed home after getting no reasons to repeated telephone calls. The police said there was no sucicide note and have begun an investigation.

Police steps up security in sensitive areas near Panur

Additional police forces have been deployed at Panur and nearby areas in the wake of attack on a BJP worker as sporadic incidents of violence were reported in the politically sensitive localities in the district yesterday.

BJP worker Jitesh was seriously injured as a group of suspected CPI-M activists attacked him at Panur Monday night.

The condition of the victim, who is being treated at a hospital in Kozhikode, was stated to be \\\"normal\\\", police said.

Meanwhile, houses of two CPI-M workers were attacked and household goods vandalised by a group of alleged BJP workers, they said.

No further untoward incidents had been reported from the area, which had been a hot bed of a series of clashes involving the rival CPI-M and BJP-RSS members.

Four hurt as Cong, CPI-M workers clash at Iritty

Police made a lathicharge to disperse a group of Congress and CPI-M workers after they clashed at Iritty yesterday leading to tension in the area, police said.

The trouble began after an altercation involving pro-Congress Kerala Students Union and Students Federation of India at a nearby college yesterday morning spilled over to Iritty town and members of rival political parties clashed.

The Youth Congress workers called for a hartal in the town to protest the alleged attack by pro-CPI-M outfits after they barged into local party office.

As the Youth Congress men enforced closure of shops, the rival partymen resisted the move leading to clashes in which four Congress workers were injured.

The police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the warring groups, police said, adding, the situation has been brought under control.

Kerala Rajdhani makes its maiden run from Thiruvananthapuram

\'Chalo Kerala\'-\'Go Kerala\', the tourism promotion campaign on wheels by Kerala Tourism Department using the rake of Thiruvananthapuram-Hazrat Nizamuddin Rajdhani Express began its maiden run from here yesterday.

The first such branding and promotional exercise by Kerala Tourism on the Rajdhani Express was officially flagged off at Delhi by Union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja in the presence of Kerala Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Jan 17.

Speaking to reporters on the train\'s maiden run from here, Kerala Tourism Director M Sivasankar said the latest campaign was the part of the \'innovative promotion strategy\' to enhance more visibility for the destination and unique tourism products of the state.

\'To widen the scope of this initiative, we have also launched a \'Shoot and Tweet Contest\' for Twitter users in India, wherein they can take pictures of the train, upload it on the internet and win exciting prizes\", he said.

With all its 17 coaches swathed in myriad hues and encapsulating the best of Kerala- its serene beaches, emerald backwaters, lush hill stations, exotic wildlife, houseboats and also art forms- the train showcases the state across the length and breadth of the country.

Divisional Railway Manager Rajiv Dutt Sharam wanted tourism department to take up more trains for tourism promotion of the state.

Bus fares: Case deferred to next week

Kerala high court yesterday deferred to next week taking up PILs regarding the revision of bus fares.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice S R Bannurmath and Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan, said taking into account that the Cabinet Sub-Committee met yesterday to look into the report submitted by National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) on revision of bus fares, the case need not be considered yesterday.

Government Pleader produced the copy of the NATPAC report in a sealed cover.

Three PILs had been filed challenging the proposed revision of bus fares in the wake of a recent strike by private bus operators demanding hike in fares.

Laha Gopalan arrested in cheating case

Laha Gopalan, who led one of Kerala\'s prolonged land rights struggles by Dalits and depressed sections at Chengara near here, was yesterday arrested and remanded in a cheating case.

Gopalan, president of \'Sadhujana Vimochana Samyuktha Vedi\', allegedly cheated a person from whom he had received money on promise of arranging some land for him, police said.

The arrest triggered protests by the Vedi workers in front of the police station here demanding his release.

He was produced in the First Class Judicial Magistrate Court and remanded to judicial custody.

Gopalan and his supporters had led a land rights agitation by encroaching an estate at Chengara which lasted about two years. The agitation was settled a few months back with the state government promising to take steps to provide land for Dalits and other depressed sections.

Appoint a \'clean\' Chief Justice to Kerala HC: Iyer tells PM

Former Supreme Court judge Justice V R Krishna Iyer yesterday appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure that the vacancy of Chief Justice of Kerala High Court is filled by a \"fine robed brother\" and \"never by one who is under a shadow\".

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, copies of which were released to the media, he also criticised the Collegium system of appointment of judges saying it was exercising the power of transfer of Chief Justices from other states to Kerala.

\"To my mind this is usurpation without authority but the Executive is not setting up a code of conduct by constitutional amendment against judicial delinquency,\" Justice Iyer said.

Justice Iyer said certain names as successor (to the present Chief Justice) are rumoured and there are also allegations against them.

\"We want a clean Chief Justice and never a suspect one.

As Prime Minister you have a paramount duty to the country to investigate into the character and social philosophy, the integrity and ability of any proposed chief justices. Already the judicature in India is on its dark days although there are good judges,\" Justice Iyer said.

Golf Club: Court accepts plea against govt decision

T�PURAM: The Thiruvananthapuram Principal Sub Court yesterday accepted the plea filed by the Golf Club authorities against government�s decision of taking over the club. Further proceedings will be assembled at the Thiruvananthapuram second additional sub court.

The same court had earlier denied permission to the club authorities to file a plea against the government without an anticipatory notice. They later approached the Kerala High Court and obtained order for submitting the plea.

Actor Jayaram in an art film

Actor Jayaram, who is mostly known for his hilarious family entertainers, has signed up to do an art film. He will be seen in director T V Chandran�s Purathekkulla Vazhi. The parts featuring Jayaram will be shot in June and the remaining portions of the film have already commenced shooting.

The film is based on writer Kakkanadan�s stories and also features the writer himself. Purathekkulla Vazhi is a tribute to the writer, will have its portions shot at Delhi and Kuttanad by Madhu Ambat.

HP may topple Kerala to gain first position in literacy

With literacy rate increasing at a fast pace, Himachal Pradesh is tipped to surpass Kerala to gain top position in literacy in the country by 2011.

According to the 2001 census, Himachal Pradesh had registered a literacy rate of 77 per cent, which showed enormous growth and presently is at 84 per cent, an increase of 7 per cent, Economic Advisor, State Economics and Statistics department, Pradeep Chauhan told PTI today.

If the state continues with its present growth, it would topple Kerala to bag first position in the country, Chauhan said.

Kerala had a literacy rate of 91 per cent according to 2001 census in comparison to 90 per cent in 1991, an increase of mere one per cent, he said.

Federal Bank denies acquisition by IDBI Bank

Kerala-based Federal Bank today denied reports on a takeover move on the bank by IDBI Bank which appeared in a section of the local print media. In a statement issued, the bank clarified that the reports are factually incorrect. It further said that the Federal Bank has not been approached in this regard by IDBI Bank nor has any due diligence been carried out.

Reports in a section of the media indicated that IDBI Bank has �zeroed in� on Federal Bank and that the due diligence process in this regard had been completed.

HC grants 6 weeks to Karnataka police to probe love jihad

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday granted another six weeks time to the state police to submit its final report on the \"love jihad\" movement allegedly involving luring of girls from other communities by Muslim youths and converting them to Islam.

A special cell formed to probe the so called \"love jihad\" movement, headed by DIG Central Investigation Department (CID) Malini Krishnamurthy, was granted time by a Division Bench following a plea by the state government.

The Bench, comprising Justices K Sreedhara Rao and Ravi B Mallimath, also took note of the Kerala High Court judgement of December 9 last on love jihad which was placed on record

The judgement observed that there were indications of \"forceful\" religious conversions under the guise of \"love\" in Kerala and suggested the government consider enacting a law to prohibit such \"deceptive acts\".

On November 13, when the case came up for hearing, the police informed the court in their interim report that there seemed to be no prima facie evidence of love jihad in a case involving marriage of a Hindu girl with a Muslim boy.

Siljaraj of Chamarajnagar district in Karnataka had married Asghar of Kerala\'s Kannur district and police had stated that she had done it out of her own volition.

Karnataka CID on November 13 had sought two months time from the Court, stating that there was need to investigate reports of \'Love Jihad\' in parts of coastal Karnataka and Kerala.

Kodiyeri Balakrishnan recovers from illness in Kolkata

Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who suddenly fell ill Tuesday morning, while waiting to pay his last respects to Jyoti Basu at the West Bengal Assembly here, is now fine according to his cabinet colleague Education Minister M.A. Baby.

He felt dizzy while waiting in the assembly complex and soon he was rushed to a hospital and doctors who examined him said that it might have been a stomach upset, Baby told Inditop.

He has since returned to his room and is resting. He is fine and will return to Kerala tomorrow (Wednesday), Baby added.

Balakrishnan, a CPI-M politburo member, reached Kolkata Monday from Delhi to pay his last respects to the veteran leader.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hunting of wetland birds on the rise

Hunting of wetland birds, including migratory species, is rampant in many parts of the State. The �kole� wetlands in Thrissur and Vembanad Lake, extending up to Kottayam, Alappuzha and Ernakulam districts, are known to be a favourite hunting spot of poachers. The birds often killed are egrets, herons and spoonbills.

Four painted storks, a near-threatened species, were recently found killed in the area between Mannar and Haripad, said B. Sreekumar, president of the Kottayam Nature Society.

Bird hunting has been reported from areas around Haripad, Vechoor, Kallara and Perumthuruthu. Until recently, Vechoor was one of the centres of organised poaching. Some poachers have shifted out of the area following increased public vigil, Dr. Sreekumar said.

In Alappuzha district, which has large tracts of wetlands, including paddy fields, 540 persons hold licensed guns. Of this, 178 own long-barrelled guns. Besides, there are a large number of people who own air guns for which licence is not required. It is mostly air guns and the long-barrelled ones that are used for hunting, the officials said.

Hunting of birds is an offence under the Indian Wildlife Act. It entails imprisonment up to seven years. The Act has accorded protection to 474 species, including nearly 100 wetland varieties found in Kerala. Birds such as eagle, Great Indian hornbill, vultures, osprey, peafowl and hill mainah are included in Schedule 1 of the Act along with tigers and elephants. Yet, most incidents go unreported and the law enforcement agencies, including the police, rarely act against such offences, said conservationists.

The Forest Department has registered only a few cases of hunting of birds during the last five years. The samples collected in wildlife cases from the State are sent to the wildlife forensic unit of Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) for DNA analysis. �The Forest Department has sent four samples of birds killed since 2005,� said P.O. Nameer, Head of the wildlife division of KAU.

Officials of the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB) of Kerala Police confirmed that no cases for hunting of birds were reported from the State. �If any case is registered, the Bureau would get the information. The police have not registered any case of poaching of birds,� V.K. Girijanathan Nair, Superintendent of Police, SCRB said.

The Social Forestry wing of the Forest Department, Alappuzha, held a seminar on the issue on January 15 at its office. The attempt is to create awareness on the conservation and the legal aspects of the issue, said Raju Francis, assistant conservator of forests.

Rs.20 crore for Ayurveda sector by the NRHM

Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy has said the State will use Rs.20 crore from the Rs. 40 crore being granted by the NRHM for the Ayurveda sector.

Rs.20 crore for Ayurveda sector by the NRHM

Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy has said the State will use Rs.20 crore from the Rs. 40 crore being granted by the NRHM for the Ayurveda sector.

First export-oriented ornamental fish park is slated to come up near Kochi

The country�s first export-oriented ornamental fish park is slated to come up near Kochi shortly. Close to 10 acres of land besides the Kochi International Airport has been identified for the project by the Kerala State Fisheries Department.

A study conducted by the Department has found that the water quality at the site is ideal for setting up the aqua park.

The concept known as Aqua Technology Park will have several fish breeding units within the precinct of a larger production and marketing complex. In addition to this central unit, the proposed model park will also encompass a number of smaller units, each having an area of 0.5 hectares.

While the main units will have common facilities such as water, electricity, laboratory and quarantine facilities, the satellite farms will be the major production centres, where much of the ornamental fish will be reared and propagated.

While providing aquaculture entrepreneurs with ready-to-use site to establish rearing, nurturing and procurement facilities, the park will serve as a platform to explore international markets, invite business delegates and market ornamental fish to the global market.

The Park itself is expected to function as a hub for export of ornamental fish, while the actual breeding, propagation and rearing of ornamental fish will take place in satellite farms and homesteads.

A joint venture involving the Department of Fisheries, the Fisheries Resources Management Society (FIRMA), the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation, the IDBI and the Small Industries Development Bank of India is planned, to carry forward the venture. KSIDC will be the bid manager for the implementation of the entire project.

Ornamental fish business is among of the fastest growing business in the world with a global annual turnover of $4.5 billion. While India�s role in this market is very limited, China is a very dominant player.

There is fast growing demand for ornamental fishes from Europe, the Gulf countries and South-East Asian countries, which the country is ideally positioned to exploit.

Trade fair centre to be set up by the Cochin International Airport

Chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan will lay the foundation stone for the trade fair centre to be set up by the Cochin International Airport Limited at Nedumbassery on Monday.

CIAL has allotted 3 acres near the CIAL golf course to set up the centre with an operational area of 35,000 square metres. It will also embrace a number of facilities including a conference hall, a meeting hall apart from 100 exhibition booths and space for car parking.

With the new initiative, the airport company aims at tapping the market of business traffic to and from Kochi and envisages converting an ordinary passenger in to a travelling customer by constituting a world class shopping area . The project also constitutes an important part of CIAL�s land utilisation plans for expanding its non-aeronautical revenue.

Kozhikode as city of many hills

Kozhikode is a city of many hills, according to a post on calicutheritage.blogspot.com, hosted by Calicut Heritage Forum convener and former civil servant C.K. Ramachandran.

Kozhikode has been variously described. During the Zamorin�s reign it used to be �the city of truth.� Mariners and historians have described it as a port city.

The hills are noticed only when one gets either an aerial view or a view from the Arabian Sea, in an approaching ship or boat, the blog says.

He points out that many mariners who reached Kozhikode in the past had described the landscape as one dotted with hills.

�They would first sight the Nilgiri hills at a distance and the Wayanad hills further to the north. As one gets closer, the undulating hillocks in and around Calicut come into focus. This is the impression of Calicut port as portrayed in contemporary paintings and engravings of the 15th-18th centuries. The accompanying engraving which figures in the Oriental Memoirs by Forbes (1810) is an instance,� the blog says.