Thursday, January 28, 2010

Catch brightest view of Mars on January 29.

Avid sky watchers are getting all geared to have the brightest view of Mars for the year, as the Red Planet would be pairing with the full Moon on January 29.

One reason this is such a grand spectacle is that Mars is at opposition on the 29th, which means it lines up opposite the Sun as Earth passes by Mars in our smaller, faster orbit around the Sun.

Mars rises around sunset and remains in view all night. The planet is also closest to us around opposition, so it shines brightest for the year.

This is not a great opposition for Mars because it occurs around the time that Earth is closest to the Sun and Mars is farthest.

The gap between the two planets will be a hefty 62 million miles (99 million km).

The smallest possible distance at opposition is about 35 million miles (56 million km), which happened a few years ago, when Mars appeared more than twice as bright as it will this year.

Even so, Mars puts on quite a spectacle.

Only the Moon, the planets Venus and Jupiter, and the star Sirius shine brighter. And since Venus is out of view in the Sun glare, Mars will rank as the fourth-brightest object in the night sky.

Government is helping encroachments at Munnar - Oomman Chandy

Oomman Chandy, opposition leader alleged that the government is helping encroachments at Munnar. He was speaking to the media after visiting the encroached areas. The opposition leader alleged that the government lacks sincerity regarding actions in Munnar. The present need is action and not task forces.

The government must have the political will to keep its word. He pledged all support for the government attempts for take back all the land encroached by TATA.

He alleged that the government officials have failed to protect the government land. The encroachers have even removed the board set by the CM. This is a big shame for the government.

He took on the government for trying to make publicity stunt and refrain from any sort of action. Chandy warned that if the present condition continues then Munnar would become a glorious past.

Earlier Chandy pledged all support to the just actions to evict encroachers from Munnar. Chandy was speaking to the reporters here before proceeding to visit various places. He opined that encroachment and act of emigration should not be seen in one angle. Small scale traders should not be evicted in the name of encroachment. Such an act is equal to troubling them without reason.

Chandy assured all sort of support from the opposition for all legal and just actions from the government�s part to evict the encroachments. The opposition leader visited the encroached lands at Pallavasal, Chinnakanal and Lakshmi estate.

Paul murder: govt to move SC

The state government had decided to move the Supreme Court against the high court order handing over Paul murder case to CBI. The government would be submitting a review petition before the apex court pleading to remove the errors in the HC verdict. Home ministry and legal experts have identified 34 errors in the HC judgment.

Sources close to the ministry pointed out that even if the premier agency takes over the investigation and follows the observations made in the judgment, it is likely to garner false information.

The main errors in the HC judgment pointed out are regarding the observations on the press conference conducted by IG Vincent M Paul and on the statement made by Shibhu, the driver of Paul\'s vehicle.

The HC had expressed wonder regarding the fact that Shibu has not disclosed any names. Legal experts in home ministry point out the difficulty in identifying personalities in a crime which took place at midnight.

\'Protection day\' by Hindustan Machine Tools employees

Employees of public sector Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) Limited here, including officers, who are on agitation demanding implementation of their various demands, will observe a nation-wide \'protection day\' today.

Rally and public meetings would be convened here as part of the agitation, K Chandran Pillai, President, National Confederation of HMT Unions, along with other trade union leaders, told mediapersons here Thursday.

Pillai said a \'Save HMT\' national action committee, comprising unions and officers association from all HMT units has been formed recently.

The company which had 27,000 employees including officers a few years back, has only 8488 employees at present and it had a debt of Rs 1391 crore, he said.

Their demands included revival of HMT keeping it in public sector, wage revision and to make retirement age as 60.

As a part of the agitation, a national convention, would be held at Bangalore on February 16, he said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan had assured a delegation of the trade union leaders that he will take up the issue to Prime Minister during his visit to Delhi on February 6

HC admits PIL against rallies

Kerala High Court Thursday issued notice to the state government on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition seeking a direction to ban processions or rallies with the participation over 500 people in the city.

A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Thothathil B Radhakrishnan, admitting the petition, also issued notices to Ernakulam District Collector and Kochi Police Commissioner.

According to the petitioner, Institute of Social Welfare, the directions of the Full Bench regarding the conduct of processions are blatantly violated by different organizations and political parties.

As per the 2004 directions of the court, the organisers of the rallies and processions have to ensure that traffic was not blocked and no inconvenience is caused to commuters.

The petitioner said the recent rally organised by caste forum SNDP here had also violated the directions of the high court. Despite strict directions by the bench, the rally was conducted flouting the prescribed norms.

Munnar eviction would continue - Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan

Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan Thursday said eviction of encroachers from the Government land in the hill resort town of Munnar in Idukki would continue without any delay.

Responding to the reported comments of the opposition leader Oommen Chandy that the fresh move of eviction by the Chef Minister was a \'publicity stunt and insincere efforts, he said that it was totally baseless.

The LDF Government had dismantled several suits and posh hotels constructed on the government land encroached by private parties a Munnar, he said.

The Kerala High Court, though made certain adverse remarks on the manner in which eviction took place earlier, had not criticized the dismantling of suits and posh hotels, he said.

He said that though there was a respite in the eviction process, it would continue more vigorously son and encroached land would be vested with the government.

He said that all the officials who had played foul would be brought under the law.

KSCSTE scientists� salaries on line with 6th pay commission

Scientists working under Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment would be paid salaries and other benefits in line with sixth pay commission recommendations to try and retain them in the state and create more facilities for their research, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said here Thursday.

Speaking after inaugurating the four-day 22nd Kerala Science Congress at nearby Peechi, he said food security, disease control, climate change, energy crisis and water resources management were some of the challenges one had to face. The KSCSTE could provide effective leadership in these sectors after proper studies, he said.

Stating that people were not fully aware of the \'dangers\' of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), he alleged that many inventions by small and medium enterprises were being exploited by multinational corporations.

Hence the Government proposed to include IPR in the higher education curriculum, he said.

Notice to the State government and the City Police Commissioner

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court, on Thursday, issued notice to the State government and the City Police Commissioner, Kochi, on a writ petition seeking a directive for immediate steps to restrain demonstrations, processions, rallies and agitations with participation of more than 500 people in Kochi city.

The Bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan, ordered that the political parties registered with the Election Commission be impleaded as additional respondents in the case. The court directed the petitioner, the Kochi-based Institute of Social Welfare, to publish public notices in two leading Malayalam newspapers and an English newspaper asking those interested in opposing or supporting the plea to submit their views. The petitioner could request the High Court Legal Service Committee or the Kerala State Legal Service Authority to meet the expense.

The petitioner sought to invoke powers under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 to restrain any processions or demonstrations which are likely to violate the guidelines imposed by the Full Court on such activities.

The petitioner pointed out that a series of demonstrations and processions that were taken out in the city in the past few years had blatantly violated the directions of the court. The demonstration taken out by the SNDP Yogam on January 22 was the latest. In fact, sanction from the police was not obtained for the conduct of the demonstration. Instead of controlling the demonstration, the Commissioner had directed the operators of public transport vehicles to stop their vehicles on the outskirts of the city. Despite the direction by the court that the demonstration be conducted in accordance with the Full Court judgment, no effective steps had been taken, resulting in the violation of the freedom of movement of the common man.

KSRTC to divert 85 superfast buses

The KSRTC will divert 85 superfast buses through the Edapally-Vytilla-Aroor stretch of NH 47, to save on time, fuel and wear-and-tear of the buses.

Passengers will be able to save at least an hour that they now endure through congested routes when the buses pass through the city hub and West Kochi. The regional authorities of the agency had submitted to the head office a list of 46 south-bound and 39 north-bound buses that can be diverted through the highway. This would mean that almost half the number of superfast buses that currently pass through the Ernakulam bus stand would be diverted through the highway. This would also reduce congestion in the city hub, as many of these buses operate two or more daily trips through the city.

Since superfast buses from different RTC units operate trips through Ernakulam, the schedule of each bus would have to be reworked, said an official. Buses which ply shorter distances might even be able to ply an additional trip daily, utilising the time saved on the other trips. On its part, the KSRTC would have to ready a full-fledged station-master office and parking area at Vytilla for the superfast buses that would be diverted.

�The diversion will not seriously affect commuters to West Kochi since the RTC�s ordinary, fast passenger and rest of the superfast buses would continue to operate through there

January 29 as �Black Day� - AAI

The Airports Authority Officers Association (India) is to observe January 29 as �Black Day� in protest against what it termed the step-motherly attitude of the AAI management towards the officers who are maintaining communication, navigation and surveillance facilities

Paul Muthoot George murder case-State to move apex court

The State government is planning to go in appeal before the Supreme Court seeking review of the adverse comments made by the Kerala High Court about the investigation in the Paul Muthoot George murder case.

However, it would not be challenging the court order directing a CBI investigation into the case. The court had criticised the Inspector General of Police (Ernakulam Range) Vinson M. Paul, who oversaw the investigation into the murder, and the manner of the investigation while considering a petition filed by the father of the deceased seeking CBI investigation into the murder.

Official sources said there were more than 30 factual errors in the court order which needed to be corrected. The finding of the court that the Inspector General had held a press conference and described the weapon used for the murder within 24 hours of the murder and before receiving a post mortem report was not correct.

The police officer had seen the post mortem report and questioned the accused before holding the press conference.

It was held 66 hours after the murder.

If those observations were not corrected, that might affect the case.

The government held consultations with the Advocate General and the Director of Prosecution on the government filing the appeal on Thursday.

There is also a view that the affected officials could directly approach the court.

Police have booked a 48-year-old British national

The city police have booked a 48-year-old British national on the charge of violating the Foreigner�s Registration Act. They identified the suspect as Angela Maria Powers, holder of British Passport 106326102.

The Kovalam police have registered a case (Kovalam police station crime: 40/2010) against her under the relevant provisions of the law. The police are also inquiring whether she has violated visa conditions.

The preliminary charge of the police is that Ms. Powers, who entered the country on a tourist visa (AJ 371762), operated a home stay facility for other foreign tourists.

They said she, along with another Indian national, had registered a company in 2008. The firm purchased a house near Samudra beach and hosted foreign tourists there.

The Kovalam police have filed a report to the City Police Commissioner stating that managers of the home stay did not submit the details of foreigners staying in the facility in prescribed form (C Form) and in time-bound manner at the local station house.

The police were yet to arrest the British national.

Alfred Kastning and wife Astrid Kastning return to their second home

The capital is no more the charming, laid back city that they left 33 years back. But the friendships that they struck here only got deeper and dearer with every passing year. That is one reason why Alfred Kastning and wife Astrid Kastning keep coming back to the God�s Own Country.

Former Head of the Department (HoD) of German at the University of Kerala, Dr. Kastning, 70, has once again come visiting the city after a span of nine years. One of the last native German lecturers to teach at the department, he served as the HoD from 1974 to 1977. He was posted in Thiruvananthapuram by the German Academic Exchange Service, Berne, where he was working then.

�It was my first appointment outside Germany and it was challenging to teach German to foreign students. But you know, you people are very bright and pick up languages quickly. So it was not so difficult for us after all,� said Dr. Kastning.

Dr. Kastning and Ms. Kastning are on a five-week visit to India. On Thursday, the couple went down memory lane at a get-together with former students and colleagues. Former HoD Celine Mathew, present HoD Latha Thambi, former Department librarian Abdul Khader and former students Janardhanan Nair, Fr. Mathew Thiruthil, Mohammad Kazim and Marian Stadermann were among those present at the occasion.

�We made so many friends here. We had a great rapport with our students and colleagues, with most of whom we still have contact. It is a pleasure to meet them all after such a long time,� said Ms. Kastning , who also took classes at the department.

It was during Dr. Kastning�s tenure that the M.A. German course was introduced at the department. He also launched the Indo-German journal �German Studies in India� featuring contributions from German teachers and students from across the country.

Threat from the Google mapping party

The Home Department is enquiring whether there could be any real threat from the Google mapping party, which is proposed to be held here on February 5.

Director-General of Police (Intelligence) Siby Mathews had submitted a report to the Department saying that the high resolution maps, which the mapping party proposed to enrich with local data on roads, important places and buildings, could aid terrorists.

A top official of the Home Department said the Department would seek the opinion of the Information Technology and Revenue departments before taking a decision on the concerns expressed by its Intelligence wing.

Several officials of the Kerala Land Information Mission under the Revenue Department have registered for participation in the mapping party.

Officials of several other government agencies have also registered for participation in their individual capacities.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bodies found @ Thrissur

Bodies of a young woman and her son were found in a well near their house at Eyyal in the district on Monday. The deceased were identified as Bindu, 26, wife of Pulikkottil Raju, and her son one-and-a-half-year-old Radin. Raju, a lorry driver, was not in the house at the time of the incident.

Ignorance leads to unethical drug trials on humans

Kerala University of Health and Allied Sciences Vice-Chancellor K. Mohandas has said that ignorance of ethical guidelines among healthcare professionals is leading to unethical practices in clinical drug trials.

He was speaking after releasing a book �Guidelines for Ethical Standards in Clinical Drug Trials on Human Participants� published by Jananeethi Institute, here on Monday.

The book contains internationally-recognised guidelines and declarations on human trials in a nutshell.

Thrissur Government Medical College Principal K. Praveen Lal stressed the need for indigenous clinical trials of medicines prescribed in the country. �Most of the drugs used in the county were field tested elsewhere in the world. India has different climatic zones and people with different genetic characteristics. Only domestic trials can assure preferred results of medicines,� he said.

Dr. S. Criton highlighted lack of quality medical research works in the State. Dr. E. Divakaran, Dr. P. Bhanumathy, V. K. Sharaffuddin, Dr. K. Ajith Kumar, Dr. K. G. Radhakrishnan and Prof. N. N. Gokuldas spoke.

The book notes that India has become a global hot spot for drug trials. The large population, absence of restrictive regulations, comparatively low cost and ignorance among the public about legal and ethical issues of human trials are the major attractions.

Medical researchers and companies should strictly follow the Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research on Human Subjects issued by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and register in the Clinical trial registry, it says.

Marad case: six sentenced

The Special Additional District Sessions Court here on Monday sentenced six persons to five years rigorous imprisonment in connection with the seizure of weapons in Marad eight years ago. � Staff Reporter

Air India will re-introduce its Chennai- Kozhikode- Chennai flight with effect from January 29

Air India will re-introduce its Chennai- Kozhikode- Chennai flight with effect from January 29.

According to a press release issued from the airlines here on Monday, the flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays in a week.

Flight No. IC- 925 ( A-320) will depart from Chennai at 2 p.m. and reach Kozhikode at 3.10 p.m., the press release said. Flight no. IC-926 will depart from Kozhikode at 3.50 p.m. and reach Chennai at 5 p.m., the release said

The tariff for a one-way ticket purchased 14 days in advance is Rs.2,010; for ticket purchased seven days in advance is Rs.2,775, and for N class, it is Rs.3,000.

Criticism against Supplyco unfair : Minister C. Divakaran

The Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran has termed as unfair the criticism levelled against the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation.

Speaking at the opening of the newly-sanctioned Maveli Store under Supplyco at Vijayapuram panchayat here on Monday, the Minister said that the Civil Supplies corporation was an institution which basically works for the interests of the common man. As such it was the duty of every citizen to protect the Corporation, he said.

The Minister said that the move to denigrate the Corporation should be viewed as an affront to people�s interests. The price rise of essential articles was a nationwide phenomenon which was created and abetted by the policies of the Central government and added that the Corporation could effectively intervene in the market to hold the prices in the State as was proved by the fact that the price rise for essential articles, was less in Kerala, compared to other States.V. N. Vasavan, MLA, spoke on the occasion.

5,140 litres of spirit seized in Kollam

A total of 5,140 litres of spirit has been seized by the Excise Department in five separate incidents in Kollam district in January, 2010.

Assistant Excise Commissioner, Kollam, K. Suresh Babu said 5,140 litres were seized from various areas up to January 25. He said three persons were arrested in connection with the seizures. Four vehicles � two cars, a mini-lorry and a tempo trax van � have been taken into custody. He said these vehicles had entered the district through Tamil Nadu.

While three seizures were made at the Aryankavu check-post, one vehicle was intercepted at Thrikadavur on the outskirts of Kollam city. He said the special drive launched by the Department against spirit smuggling during Christmas-New Year was being carried forward.

The border patrol unit of the department, which operates round the clock, is maintaining special vigil on the Aryankavu-Thenmala road, Achenkovil-Alimukku Road and other forest routes. Checking and vigil in the border areas have been stepped up, Mr. Suresh Babu said.

On Monday, the Excise Enforcement Special Squad led by Circle Inspector P.K. Sanu seized 528 litres of spirit from two cars parked in the courtyard of a house at Thrikadavur. The spirit was found stored in 16 cans of 35-litre capacity each. The owner of the cars, Baiju Ratnakaran, has been arrested.

Mr. Babu said Baiju is facing an Excise case charged by the Ezhukone Excise Range under the Abkari Act for allegedly bootlegging 350 litres of spirit some time back. He has confessed to the Excise personnel that the spirit seized on Monday was brought from Coimbatore and kept for retail sales.

Earlier on January 4, in a joint operation with the Forest Department, Excise personnel seized 384 litres of spirit from a forest area near Aryankavu. About 420 litres of spirit was seized from a vehicle at the Aryankavu check-post on January 7. The Excise team was led by Circle Inspector K.S. Sivamohanan Pillai. One Babu Shanmukan from Palakkad who was driving the vehicle was arrested.

A major seizure of 3,808 litres of spirit was made on January 16 from a mini-lorry at Aryankavu. The spirit stored in 35-lite cans was concealed under a consignment of coconuts. The lorry driver Vinod was arrested.

Police to investigate the police firing in Kasaragod on November 15

A local court in Kasaragod has ordered the police to investigate the police firing in Kasaragod on November 15 which led to the death of a youth.

The First Class Magistrate Court ordered the police to conduct an inquiry into the incident on a complaint lodged by the victim�s father against the then Superintendent of Police, K. Ramdas Pothan, who admittedly opened fire from his service revolver to contain a mob. M. Shafeeque from Kaithakkad in Kasaragod had been killed in the firing after a mob of IUML workers who had gathered in the town in connection with a party function allegedly turned violent. Several people including police personnel had been injured in the incidents that day.

Magistrate P.J. Sebastian issued his order on a petition filed by Musthafa Haji, the victim�s father. Following the police firing, Mr. Pothan was shifted from the post and posted as Commandant of the KAP Battalion IV at Mangattuparamba in Kannur. The State government has ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident.

A United Democratic Front (UDF) panel headed by the Janata Dal leader M.P. Veerendrakumar had earlier alleged that the police firing was a clear case of police excess and a violation of human rights.

New prison Act soon : Minister for Home and Jail Kodiyeri Balakrishnan

Minister for Home and Jail Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said here on Monday that a new Prison Act would be enacted in the State to improve basic facilities in prisons.

Inaugurating a prison block, constructed at a cost of Rs.1.34 crore, on the premises of the Mananthavadi sub-jail, Mr. Kodiyeri said the government was planning to replace the outdated Prison Acts, introduced by the British, with a new Prison Act. It would be implemented in the State in 2010, he added.

The Minister said new district prisons and sub-prisons would be opened to solve the problem of overcrowding in jails. He said though the existing prisons in the State had capacity to house only 4,500 prisoners, nearly 7,000 prisoners were lodged in the jails.

The Minister said as per law, Central prisons were meant to house only those convicted of crimes. However, due to lack of infrastructure facilities, even remand prisoners were being imprisoned in central prisons.

He said six sub-jails had been opened after the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government came to power. The LDF government had introduced many reforms in prisons such as telephone facilities for prisoners to communicate with their family members and a raise in daily wages for prisoners.

Mr. Balakrishnan said the government was planning to introduce new job-oriented training facilities in prisons

according to the choice of the prisoners.

K.C. Kunhiraman, MLA, presided over the function.

The Minister also inaugurated a new police station building at Padinjarethara and a government offices complex at Thazheyangadi in Pulpally panchayat.

The Kerala University Youth Festival acquired a dash of international flavour

The Kerala University Youth Festival acquired a dash of international flavour on Monday with a German contestant securing the first spot in the Wind Instrument (Western) competition.

Karina Miorin, a third year student at the S.N. Ayurveda College, Puthoor, Kollam, was the cynosure of all eyes at venue as she arrived to compete along with the other students on Monday at the Bharath Murali Nagar in Cherthala.

Ms. Miorin, who arrived in Kerala in 2003, was impressed by the cultural heritage and the system of Ayurveda during her stay here. The impression grew into a desire to study Ayurveda and with her parents, Brian Hart and Isode, giving the green signal, Ms. Miorin got a seat via the German Embassy at the S.N. Ayurveda College.

Though she has performed on stage on numerous occasions back home, Monday�s attempt at a University Youth Festival was a first for Ms. Miorin, who went on to bag the first spot as well, surpassing local students.

Mar Ivanios College, Thiruvananthapuram appeared to be the contender for the top spot

Mar Ivanios College, Thiruvananthapuram appeared to be the contender for the top spot among colleges at the Kerala University Youth Festival at Cherthala here, while district-wise, Thiruvananthapuram maintained the dominance it asserted on the festival right from the beginning.

Among the students, Madhavi Chandran of the All Saints College, Thiruvananthapuram, was on the top among female contestants with 19 points as per the results table released officially by 7 p.m. on Monday. Among male contestants, Sreekuttan M.S. from the University College, Thiruvananthapuram, with 18 points was on top. Results of a

few more events were to yet to be announced on Monday, the last day for competitions at the six-day event, which will have curtains coming down on it on Tuesday.

The valedictory function, to be held from 4 p.m. on Tuesday at the main venue at the Vayalar Ramavarma Nagar is slated to have popular actor Mammootty as the chief guest while Education Minister M.A. Baby is also expected to be present. Prize distribution will be followed by a variety entertainment programme by the winners at the event.

The results that were announced till 7 p.m. on Monday are as follows:

Other forms of Classical Dance (Male): Sreekuttan M.S., University College, (First); Jishnu Sajayakumar, PMS College of Dental Science and Research, (Second); and Rag. S., SHM College of Engineering, Kadakkal (Third).

Recitation (Malayalam): Vishnu Namboodiri, SCT College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, (First); Ambili G., Peet Memorial Training College, Mavelikara (Second); Sujith Varghese Abraham, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram (Third).

Kathaprasangam: Radhika Narayanan, Mohandas College of Engineering (First); Arya M.G., Mar Ivanios College, (Second); and Anwin T., SST College of Music, Thiruvananthapuram (Third).

Sculpture: Kiran R. Varma, SST College of Music, (First); Subhash Viswan, National Institute of Speech and Hearing, Thiruvananthapuram (Second); Hareesh Babu M., Engineering College, Thiruvananthapuram (Third).

Elocution (English): Devipriya, Mar Ivanios College, (First); Deepthi Pullarkat, SST College of Music, (Second); K.M. Vishnu Namboodiri, University Department of Music, Karyavattom (Third).

Classical Music (Female): Sithara V., University Department of Music, Karyavattom (First); Sruthy C., BJM Government College, Chavara (Second); Chilanka M.D., SST College of Music, (Third).

Cartooning: Premjith Pradeep, SN College, Kollam (First); Vijin Varghese, Government Medical College, (Second); Arun Gopal, National Institute of Speech and Hearing, Thiruvananthapuram (Third).

Thiruvathira: All Saints College, (First); Government Medical College, (Second); and SN College, Kollam, (Third).

Painting: Anand Satheesh, GEC, Barton Hill, Thiruvananthapuram (First); Devasagar, TD Medical College, Alappuzha (Second); Anupama P.K., College of Engineering,(Third).

Applied Arts: Premjith Pradeep, SN College, Kollam (First); Sarath Chandran, National Institute of Speech and Hearing, TVM (Second); Robin Joseph, Government Law College, Thiruvananthapuram (Third).

Debate (English): Mar Ivanios College, (First); All Saints College, (Second); SN College for Women (Third).

Mime: Sree Ayyappa College, Alappuzha (First); Mar Ivanios College, and Govt. Medical College, (Second); University College, (Third).

Other Forms of Classical Dance (Female): Nija, All Saints College, (First); Aswathy Krishna G.K., NSS College, Karamana (Second); Karthika, SCT College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram (Third).

Oppana: All Saints College, (First); Govt. Medical College, (Second); and Mar Ivanios College, (Third).

Kathakali (Female): Meera Anil, Mar Baselios College of Engineering and Technology, (First); Radhika Narayanan, Mohandas College of Engineering (Second); Thrupthi S., TKM Engineering College, Kollam


Quiz Competition: Govt. Engineering College, TVM, and GEC, Barton Hill, (First); SCT College of Engineering, (Second); University Campus, Karyavattom (Third).

Folk Dance (Male): Sreekuttan M.S., University College, (First); Aravind P. Mohan, Government Dental College, TVM; Shailesh S., College of Engineering and Management, Alappuzha (Third).

Poetry (Malayalam): Rajeev Krishna Bhattathiripadu, Law Academy, (First); Murali Krishnan, Kerala University College of Teacher Education, TVM (Second); Robin Joseph, Government Law College, (Third).

Short Story Writing (Malayalam): Gopika Vasanth, SN College, Chempazhanthy (First); Rajeesh R., MSM College, Kayamkulam and Arun Rajan, St. Joseph College of Pharmacy, Cherthala (Second); Sajna S.H.,

FMNC, Kollam (Third).

Essay Writing (Malayalam): Ansila F. Salim, Bishop Moore College, Mavelikara (First); Simi V.S., NSS College, Niramankara (Second); Archa S. Prasannan, All Saints College, (Third).

Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) to allocate a test centre in Kerala

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday directed the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) to allocate a test centre in Kerala, especially in Kochi, for the written and skill tests for recruiting candidates to various posts in Kendriya Vidyalayas.

The Bench of Acting Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan passed the interim direction on a writ petition filed by Jiji Lanithottam, president, Sarvodaya Charitable Trust, Kottayam, and another person. The petitioner said that there were 29 Kendriya Vidyalayas in the State, and nearly 2,000 persons were recruited annually to various posts in the Vidyalayas.

The KVS recently announced 1,591 vacancies including the posts of 820 primary teachers, 160 post-graduate teachers, 30 work experience teachers, 40 upper division clerks and 95 lower division clerks and invited applications from eligible candidates. The tests were scheduled next month. The petitioners pointed out that no test centre had been allotted for the State. The nearest centre for a Keralite was Bangalore or Chennai. The petitioners said that only three States, Goa, Kerala and Manipur where three official languages, namely Konkani, Malayalam, and Manipuri, were spoken, had not been allocated any examination centre. The petitioners alleged that the KVS had chosen not to grant any test centre in these States with a view to preventing qualified candidates from writing the tests. This violated the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 15 of the Constitution (prohibition of discrimination based on religion, caste, race, sex and place of birth).

C-DIT job portal launched @ Thiruvananthapuram

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has stressed the need for a database of unemployed youth in Kerala and employers looking for fresh talent.

Speaking after inaugurating a job portal by the Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT), he said the portal would help to wipe out the menace of job rackets that take advantage of the large number of unemployed youth.

�The C-DIT portal will contain information on job opportunities in the government and private sectors as well as in other States and abroad. The service offered by the portal will be free of cost,� he said.

Mr. Achuthanandan said the government would try to work out a machinery to include details of vacancies in each department in the portal.

Referring to complaints that the diplomas awarded by C-DIT were not considered as qualification for government jobs, he promised to take up the issue with the Public Service Commission.

�The network of Akshaya Centres and Internet cafes has ensured that job seekers even in rural areas have access to the Internet. By verifying the authenticity of the employers, the C-DIT portal will win the approval of the people as a credible database,� he said.

Exclusive rules for regulating and monitoring the construction of buildings

Exclusive rules for regulating and monitoring the construction of buildings, mainly highrises in the high ranges such as Munnar and Wayanad, will come into force in the State soon. The new rules are being framed for conserving the ecologically sensitive regions which are facing threats from encroachment and construction.

Official sources told The Hindu here that the Town and Country Planning Department had already conducted a preliminary survey in Devikulam, Mangulam, Bison Valley, Chinna Canal, Pallivasal, Santhanpara, Marayur, Kanthallur and Vattavada in Idukki for drawing up the draft rules. As per a directive of the High Court, the government had entrusted the department to prepare a master plan for Munnar in 2007. An expert team headed by the Chief Town Planner is understood to have completed the spadework and prepared the draft guidelines for the master plan. Though the Tourism Department had also taken up the work for preparing its own master plan, now this has also been entrusted with the Town and Country Planning Department. The Local Self-Government Department had also launched a drive to identify unauthorised buildings in Munnar and its surrounding areas.

It has been proposed to impose strict curbs on the construction of multi-storey buildings in places such as Munnar and Wayanad. Layout plans will be cleared only on condition that the structures, be it commercial or residential, do not harm the surroundings in any manner. The buildings should suit the topography. The floor area ratio and coverage norms will be decided soon. Restrictions have been mooted on razing hills for the construction of roads and creation of other infrastructure.

The rules were initially proposed for Munnar, but it has been decided to extend them to other high-range areas considering the recent increase in applications for constructing resorts and commercial buildings in Wayanad. The department has no plans to destroy the existing buildings, but is keen on ensuring a planned development so that it will not have any ecological ramifications, sources said.

To avert rampant construction till the new rules are enforced, the civic bodies in Munnar and Wayanad have been directed to abide strictly by the Kerala Municipal Building Rules that has been introduced in the panchayats, sources said.

President�s medals announced @ Thiruvananthapuram

S. Jogesh, Superintendent of Police, Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau, has been awarded the President�s police medal for distinguished service.

He is a recipient of the President�s medal for meritorious service in 1997. In 2006, Mr. Jogesh was conferred the IPS. Mr. Jogesh was given the award in recognition of his honesty in work and investigative skills.

P. Krishnan Nair, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Special Branch Crime Investigation Department, has been awarded the President�s police medal for distinguished service.

He joined the State police as a Sub-Inspector in 1987. During his service, Mr. Nair earned 44 good service entries, two appreciations and several cash awards.

He successfully investigated several sensational cases, including the Aluva highway robbery case and the death of Swamy Sashwatheekananda. Mr. Nair is a former 400 m race national champion.

N. Raveendran Nair, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Central Bureau of Investigation, Anti-Corruption Branch, Chennai, has been awarded the President�s police medal for meritorious service. He is a resident of Chirayankeezhu.

Varghese Thomas, Deputy Superintendent of Police, NRI Cell, has been awarded the police medal for meritorious service.

As an intelligence officer on deputation to the Narcotic Control Bureau, Mr. Thomas was instrumental in seizing crores of rupees worth of drugs, including contraband heroin smuggled in from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

B. Varghese, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Traffic, Thiruvananthapuram South, has been awarded the police medal for meritorious service.

R. Janardhanan Cheittiyar, ASI, City Police Control Room has been selected for the Chief Minister�s Police Medal. The others selected include S. Ramesh Kumar also of City Police Control Room and C. Binu, City Traffic Police Station.

Man found dead @ THALASSERY

A person in police custody was found dead on Monday. The deceased was identified as K. Nasar, 38, of Muzhappilangad. The police said he was found hanging from the grille of the station bathroom at 10.30 a.m. He was taken into custody on Sunday in connection with a cheque case. He was taken to the hospital but died on the way, the police said.

Cabinet to discuss transfer of land soon

The State government is attending to certain legal formalities required to strengthen its hands in dealing with encroachments in Munnar.

Forest Minister Benoy Viswom hinted about the initiative at an �ecologue� organised by the Jaiji Peter Foundation, an organisation of environmental journalists, and his department in the Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday.

Addressing the programme, which brought together green journalists and forest officials to discuss conservation issues in the State, Mr. Viswom said he expected the long-pending issue of transferring 17,922 acres of revenue land in Munnar to his department to come before the Council of Ministers within a couple of weeks.

Last week, a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court had made an oral observation expressing its concern over the government�s inability to check encroachments in Munnar.

The court, while hearing a public interest litigation, had observed that the way encroachments were going on in the region, Munnar�s green hills would soon turn brown.

The land being transferred to the Forest Department is part of the 70,522 acres taken over by the government from the Kannan Devan Hills (KDH) Produce Company under the KDH (Resumption) Act of 1971.

Of the total area taken over, 17,922 acres of shola patches, lying interspersed with tea estates, had been remaining with the Revenue Department right from the time of the takeover.

Once this stretch comes under the Forest Department, the strong anti-encroachment provisions of various forest laws will become applicable to it. A study done at the behest of the Forest Department by the French Institute of Pondicherry to devise a �Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan for Kerala� had placed this area on a par with the Eravikulam National Park in terms of conservation value.

A major chunk of the encroachments in Munnar had happened in these shola patches. In fact, the government had issued an order in 1980 transferring these shola patches to the Forest Department following the report of an expert committee constituted to recommend the land use pattern to be adopted for the entire area taken over from the KDH Produce Company.

However, intense lobbying by vested interest groups had aborted that order of the government.