Saturday, April 3, 2010

Archbishop installation on April 11

KOCHI: Preparations are on for the installation of Dr. Francis Kallarakkal as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Varappuzha on April 11.A 30,000 sq. ft. temporary auditorium is being readied at St. Alberts Higher Secondary School grounds where the installation ceremonies will be led by Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo of Ranchi.The Archbishop-designate will be received at Edavanakkad on April 10, a day ahead of his installation, said a press release here.

Consumer expo opened

KOCHI: Cochin Global village, a consumer expo, was opened at the Jawaharlal Nehru international stadium on Thursday. The 18-day shopping and entertainment extravaganza will be open on weekdays from 1 p.m to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Entry to the fair is restricted through tickets

Madhavikutty ploughed a lonely furrow

KOCHI: Writer Zacharia has said that the late writer Madhavikutty, who later became Kamala Suraiya, was an � ottayal [which roughly translates into maverick] in life and writing. In totality, her personality was set apart by unflinching modernity, democratic consciousness, humanism and secularism with which she waged a lonesome battle against Keralas conservative hypocrisy, said Mr. Zacharia, while delivering the Kamala Suraiya memorial speech on her 76 {+t} {+h} birthday as part of a �Snehasamgamam organised by DC Books at the basement of the late writers apartment. Calling her a �collective personality given the multifarious

Supreme Court Bench sought

KOZHIKODE: The South India chapter of National Lawyers Forum has demanded that the Centre take steps to establish a Supreme Court Bench in South India on the basis of the recommendation of the 18th Law Commission. A meeting of the forum here on Thursday pointed out that the commission had recommended four Benches.

Work to begin after environmental clearance

KOZHIKODE: The coming weeks of April will witness significant developments at both the cyber parks coming up in the district. While the draft master plan for the development of the UL CyberPark will be presented on April 15 by the Japan-based architectural firm Nikken Sekkei, a decision on the selection of the architect for the Government Cyber Park is also expected within two weeks. The initial concept for the master plan of the UL CyberPark, coming up on a 25-acre Special Economic Zone near Nellicode, was made by the Japanese firm to the promoters, Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society (ULCCS), and the implementing architects for the project, C.R. Narayana Rao (CRN) and RAND Associates in the last week of February.

Asin to become brand ambassador of Kerala IPL

TPURAM: Actress Asin Thotumkal is set to become the brand ambassador of Kerala IPL team next year. One of the owners of the team Vivek Venugopal told Kerala Kaumudi that brand ambassador would be officially declared after fixing team�s name and jersey.

Kerala Youth Congress election schedule on April 8

NEW DELHI: Election schedule of the Kerala unit of Youth Congress will be declared on April 8 at Thiruvananthapuram, said Nyamar Karbak who is in charge of Kerala Youth Congress.

Central team to visit Munnar next week

NEW DELHI: A four member team would reach here to study the issues relating to encroachments in Munnar on 9th of this month, as per the instruction of Forest- Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.

The four member team comprising of Forest IG Balachandran Thampi, DFO Prakrithi Srivasthava, Environmental Scientist Ullas Karanth would be headed by Bangaluru Forest Chief Conservator Shubhagga Reddy.

The team would also hold discussions with Forest, Revenue officials at Munnar so as a part of verifying the related documents.

The team after their visit to the encroachments would meet the State Forest Minister and other concerned officers at Thiruvananthapuram.

Thilakan to appear before AMMA executive

TPURAM: In a new twist to the war of attrition between veteran actor Thilakan and Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA), the actor has decided to appear before the organisations executive committee meeting on Monday to apprise them of his version.

Thilakan, who had declined twice earlier to appear before the disciplinary panel set up by the AMMA executive and was placed under suspension, told reporters that he would be attending the meeting to convince them of the conspiracy by a section in the organisation to keep him out of films.

AMMA general secretary Mohanlal has given me a fresh letter and I am going to attend the meeting on Monday. I will decide on the next course of action after knowing their (AMMA) stand on the issue, he said.

Thilakan was excluded from Mohanlal starrer film Christian Brothers and a Hollywood movie Dam 999 directed by Malayali film-maker Sohan Roy after the technicians forum Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA), refused to co-operate with the projects if the actor was cast in the films.

Thilakan had infuriated FEFKA and AMMA, which he said, had turned into mafia groups serving the interests of superstars only.

India is a leading trade partner: UAE Minister

KOCHI: The UAE Saturday described India as a leading trade partner, which has contributed significantly to its economic development.

India has contributed significantly to the economic development of UAE. India is our first and leading trade partner, UAE minister of Foreign Trade, Sheikha Lubna Khalid Sultan Al Qassimi said, addressing a function to mark the launch of logo of the Rs 1500 crore Lulu Shopping Mall here.

The mall is being promoted by M A Yusuffali, Managing Director of EMKE Group and an NRK in the UAE. Bilateral trade between the two countries was 48 billion USD, the minister who was the chief guest, said.

T K A Nair, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, said a large number of Keralites are working in the UAE and other GCC countries and the state cherish this relationship, which is not confined to diplomatic channels. This relationship touches a large number of people, he said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister worships at Guruvayur temple

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and his family members offered worship at the famous Sree Krishna temple here Saturday.

After offering prayers, Chavan made a symbolic gift of an elephant to the presiding deity, Lord Guruvayurappan.

It has for long been a practice for devotees to donate elephants to the temple. These days, the offering can be done by symbolically by remitting the amount for an elephant calf to the temple coffers.

Plea to resolve anomalies in pay revision: KGMCTA

KOCHI: The Kerala Government Medical College Teachers association Saturday warned that it would be forced to launch an agitation if the government fails to resolve issues relating to anomalies in pay revision and allow partial private practice within two weeks.

Though the anomalies had been submitted to the government six months ago, nothing had been done so far, Dr Varghese Thomas, state President, told reporters after an executive meeting here.

Tecom should clarify their stand: CM

KOCHI: Dubai based Tecom Investments, promoters of Kochi SmartCity project have to clarify if they have abandoned the project or not, based on which government examines proposals submitted by other interested developers, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said Saturday.

Tecom should clarify their stand if they have withdrawn from the project or not, he told reporters here.

Only after that would the government look into proposals submitted by other developers who have evinced interest in the project, he said when specifically asked about the much delayed project.

In May 2007, the Smartcity MOU was signed. Whether Tecom has abandoned the project or not, it is up to them to clarify, he said.

Govt to invite tenders for Global Consultants within 3 months

KOCHI: The Kerala Government would invite tenders in three months to appoint global consultants for the Rs 2500 crore second phase development of Kochi Infopark, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said here Saturday.

The consultants would be appointed for taking up engineering, architecture and consulting work and to implement the second phase master plan, he said

Addressing reporters after a high-level meeting with officials at Inforpark at nearby Kakkanad, he said 1.40 lakh people would get jobs once the project was completed. The work will begin by May this year, he said.

About Rs 475 crore would be government supported funds for the project, the first phase of which is expected to be ready in three years, he said.

Savior of leprosy patients Mother Antoniata Sala dies

KANNUR: Former Mother Superior of Cherukunnu St Martin De Porous Mission Hospital Antoniata Sala, who dedicated her life for the cause of leprosy victims, died Saturday of age related ailments.

Said to be the seniormost missionary in health care service in India, she was 96, Hospital sources said.

Hailing from Milan province of Italy, Antoniata reached India as member of the Canocian Daughters of Charity and came to the nearby Cherukunnu town in November 1960 after being awarded a degree in Leprosy care by the University of Spain.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Campaigning for the cause of Pampa river

PATHANAMTHITTA: �If we fail to make the common man aware of the importance of water conservation and nature protection, it will be detrimental to the future generation and will have hazardous implications, says N.K. Sukumaran Nair, general secretary of the Kozhencherry-based Pampa Parirakshana Samiti (PPS), who has been campaigning for the cause of the Pampa for the past 17 years.

Pooram ends on a grand note

MALAPPURAM: The 11-day festival of Thirumandhamkunnu Bhagavathi Temple at Angadipuram concluded on Friday. Thousands of Bhagavathi devotees from different parts of the State visited the temple during the festival days.

A huge turnout witnessed the finale on Friday evening. A procession was taken out from the Muthuvar temple to the Tali temple at Angadipuram. The last day of the Pooram was called Janakeeya Pooram.

A double Thayambaka performance by Kalloor Ramankutty Marar and Porur Unnikrishnan and a Panchamaddalakeli performance by Kalamandalam Narayanan Nambeesan and others were held. Thousands of people lined up the route as the Bhagavathi idol was taken out of the sanctum sanctorum on a caparisoned elephant for the final holy bath (Arat) on Friday night. The final procession called Kottiyirakkam marked the 21st Arat of the Bhagavathi

Project for cyber parks on course

KOZHIKODE: The coming weeks of April will witness significant developments at both the cyber parks coming up in the district.

While the draft master plan for the development of the UL CyberPark will be presented on April 15 by the Japan-based architectural firm Nikken Sekkei, a decision on the selection of the architect for the Government Cyber Park is also expected within two weeks.

Ganja seized, one held

KOLLAM: A team from the Chathannur Excise Range seized five kg of ganja from a car on Thursday. Excise range inspector B.L. Shibu said that Prakash, 43, who was driving the car, was arrested and the vehicle taken into custody.

Six arrested on molestation charge

KOLLAM: Six men were arrested on Thursday by the Pallithottam police here on charges of molesting a woman near the Tangasseri lighthouse in the city area the previous week.

The woman was member of a research team from Thiruvananthapuram who had gone to Chavara for studying the Chamayavilakku ritual at a temple where men dress up as women to perform the ritual.

The victim was the only woman in the six member study team. While returning from Chavara they thought of visiting the colonial enclave of Tangasseri to see the vestiges of a Portuguese fort and the lighthouse built by the British.

At the fort precincts a gang accosted them. According to the police, the gang was under the influence of ganja. Seeing a lone woman with five men made the gang jump into conclusions. They demanded the woman go with them. The researchers told them the purpose of their visit and that the woman was married and a mother. But the gang was in no mood to listen to them and soon they began molesting the woman and trying to tear off her clothes. Hearing the cries for help someone from the neighbourhood informed the police who arrived at the scene immediately

College teacher gets visiting scholar fellowship

KANNUR: K. Sudha, Reader at the Department of Zoology in Sree Narayana College here, has been awarded the CAS-TIWAS (the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, Italy) Visiting Scholar Fellowship-2009 to pursue advanced research on crustacean immunology at the Institute of Oceanology of the CAS.

The fellowship is a jointly constituted programme by CAS and TIWAS.

Jana Maitri to be extended to more police stations

ALAPPUZHA : The Jana Maitri Suraksha project has turned out to be a multi-faceted boon for the police, with crime coming down, awareness being spread on traffic safety and also by helping police elicit information on illegal activities more easily, Inspector General of Police (Ernakulam Range) B. Sandhya has said.

Speaking at a district-level review of the project at the Alappuzha North Police Station here, M. Sandhya, who is also the nodal officer for the project, said the concept was at present being implemented in 41 police stations across the State.

The Government had decided to extend this to 100 police stations apart from making the system in the existing 41 stations much more effective

Mannancherry panchayat in a festive mood

ALAPPUZHA: The Mannancherry grama panchayat, which is all set to be declared a village with no fallow land on Saturday, is in a festive mood what with delegates from several other panchayats and students from the Kerala Agricultural University coming down to witness the declaration.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, addressing a press conference here along with panchayat authorities, said the occasion was being turned into a week-long festival, from Saturday till April 9, with food festivals, seminars, competitions and a variety of cultural programmes.

Union Minister of Agriculture Sharad Pawar is slated to declare Mannancherry as a panchayat with no fallow land at 4 p.m. and also to conduct the State-level launch of the �Susthira Samruthi project apart from distributing various agricultural awards.

Earlier in the day, Dr. Isaac will inaugurate a harvest festival to harvest paddy from the fields that were made cultivable as part of the drive to do away with fallow land in the panchayat.

Madhavikutty ploughed a lonely furrow: Zacharia

Kochi: Writer Zacharia has said that the late writer Madhavikutty, who later became Kamala Suraiya, was an � ottayal [which roughly translates into maverick] in life and writing.

In totality, her personality was set apart by unflinching modernity, democratic consciousness, humanism and secularism with which she waged a lonesome battle against Keralas conservative hypocrisy, said Mr. Zacharia, while delivering the Kamala Suraiya memorial speech on her 76 {+t} {+h} birthday as part of a �Snehasamgamam organised by DC Books at the basement of the late writers apartment.

Protect seniority, say teachers

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Teachers unions have requested the State government to retain the service, seniority, benefits and salary scale of high school teachers who are likely to face reversion to lower posts with the implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act under which classes from one to eight have been included under elementary education. While many States follow Centres pattern of classifying elementary education up to standard eight, in Kerala standard eight falls in high school section.

�With the implementation of the Act the State will have to follow the Central pattern. So, number of posts in the high school section will fall. The government will have to retain the teachers seniority and benefits, said Kerala School Teachers Association general secretary C. Usman.

Centre urged to give nod for Athirappilly project

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Electricity Officers Federation has asked the Centre not to stand in the way of the implementation of the Athirappilly hydel project.

General secretary of the Federation S. Vijayan said in a statement here that the Centre should persuade the international community to take up global afforestation and not to pursue the policy of globalisation in order to check the increase in atmospheric temperature.

He said the Centre was attempting to bring monopolies into the power sector. Power projects that used harmful carbon-based fuels for generation did immense harm to the environment. The need of the hour was action to protect the environment and not mere lip service. Even the preliminary work for the construction of a dam for a hydel project led to presence of water in the river and nearby places and rejuvenated nature in the area.

Compressed air as alternative fuel

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A group of final-year mechanical engineering students of Mar Baselios College, Thiruvananthapuram, has developed a pneumatic engine that runs on just air, giving hopes of using compressed air as an alternative fuel.

It took almost a year-and-a-half for Ajesk Kumar K, Jackbert Vincent, Raj Krishnan B.R, Renjith R and Thomas C. Daniel to design and fabricate the engine as part of their project work.

The team is excited as they have received a provisional patent for the mechanical air control mechanism of the three-cylinder rotary pneumatic engine from the patent office in Chennai.

A pneumatic engine works with only breathable air as its working fluid. Conventional fuels such as petrol, diesel and gas are not used in the engines.

Milma forced to import milk powder

Thiruvananthapuram: The acute shortage in milk procurement has forced the Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (Milma) to import skimmed milk powder from Ireland, which would be re-constituted to meet the requirement of liquid milk in the State.

This is the first time that Milma has had to import milk powder. The first consignment of 1,000 tonnes is expected to reach here by Monday. Milma is trying to get about 3,000 tonnes, which it hopes will help tide over the situation till June, when the internal milk procurement is expected to improve, senior officials at KCMMF said

Business Plan 2010 awards presented

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala University Vice-Chancellor A. Jayakrishnan gave away the Business Plan 2010 awards at a function held at the Mar Baselious College here recently.

The awards, instituted by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, are intended to prepare management and engineering students for opportunities in entrepreneurship.

The Entrepreneurship Development Cell under the Institute of Management in Kerala (IMK), the implementing agency for Business Plan 2010 in Kerala, received 71 business proposals from different colleges in the State. Various parameters like management capacity, quality of the ideas for change, financial health and ability to transform, physical resource base etc., were analysed. As many as 21 applications were shortlisted for the initial screening by a panel of adjudicators comprising representatives from the academic community, business and industry.

Top priority for housing, roads in Attingal budget

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Distribution of land to those below the poverty line, providing housing for those without homes and overhauling of the road network will be among the thrust areas of the Attingal municipality in the coming year.

The municipality will distribute land and provide houses under the EMS Housing Scheme, the budget presented for the year 2010-11 by chairman of the municipalitys finance standing committee C. Pradeep states.

The budget, passed on March 24, expects an income of Rs.35,82,62,221 and an expenditure of Rs.35, 28,38,730.

Ensuring security of senior citizens

The police are turning senior-citizen friendly in the wake of an increase in cases of attack on them. Based on a government directive, the city police have drawn up a new system to protect the life and property of senior citizens.

All police stations will compile a list of senior citizens residing within their jurisdiction, particularly those living alone. The list will be maintained in a register at each station. The �Register of Senior Citizens will contain the name, address, sex, date of birth, age, telephone numbers and contact number of neighbours and relatives of the senior citizens concerned.

A policeman representing the station along with a social worker or volunteer will visit the senior citizen at least once a month. They will provide help to them, if needed

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Contractors demand steps to control cement price

ALAPPUZHA: The Kerala Government Contractors Association has demanded that the State government should make effective interventions to restrain the prices of cement, which had shot up by 33 per cent in the last two months.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, association president Varghese Kannampally alleged that cement manufacturers had joined hands to control production and to increase exports in order to jack up cement prices in the domestic market.

The association also demanded that the government should establish a monopoly over sand and ensure supply of the material through an exclusive marketing network to the public.

More land to come under organic farming

KOCHI: Thousands of hectares in Ernakulam, Idukki, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Palakkad districts will be brought under organic agriculture in a nationwide initiative by National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed).

The programme, specifically aimed at horticultural produce and spices in Kerala, will come under the national food security programme initiated by the Union Agriculture Ministry, said C. V. Ananda Bose, Managing Director of Nafed.

He told The Hindu that around 3,500 hectares had been identified in the six districts in the State, chosen for the pilot programme and involving both small and medium-sized holdings. The programme is set to take off this month. Considering the peculiar situation in Kerala, where holdings are small, mixed crop will be ideal, said Mr. Bose. Once the organic agriculture programmes take root, it will be spread to other areas.

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) will be centrally involved in the project, providing seeds specifically developed for the conditions in Kerala. Mr. Bose said that BARC with which Nafed was involved in supplying quality seeds across India would develop strains suited to Kerala.

Vembanad Lake comes under ICZM project

KOCHI: The critically vulnerable shores of the Vembanad Lake will be identified and a management plan prepared for their preservation.

The programme will be implemented under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Project by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests with the support of the World Bank.

One of the focus areas of the project will be the �identification and demarcation of coastal fragile areas like mangroves, brackish water wetlands and coral reefs. A new category of critically vulnerable coastal areas, under which the lake has been included, will be designated and appropriate management plans implemented for their preservation and regeneration

Animal husbandry awards

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Robin Jose of Kumily in Idukki district and Devassy P.A. of Kundannur in Thrissur district have won the State governments award for the best dairy farmer and best multi-crop farmer respectively. The awards are for the year 2009.

The awards carry cash prize of Rs.1 lakh each, a certificate and a plaque. Minister for Animal Husbandry C. Divakaran announced the awards at a press conference here on Thursday.

Insurance for more families

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government proposes to bring 22 lakh families under the Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme during its second year of implementation this year.

Labour Minister P.K. Gurudasan said here on Thursday that all SC/ST families, fish workers families, agricultural workers, tailoring workers, cashew pensioners, handloom, khadi, beedi and reed and allied areas and small plantation workers and their families and pensioners of boards which functioned in these areas would be brought under the scheme.

Anganwadi workers and the families of workers who had worked for at least 50 days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme would also be covered by the scheme this time.

Rajiv Gandhi aviation academy plans own airstrip

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology is looking for suitable land for setting up a 4,000 ft airstrip to overcome the constraints in using the runway of the Thiruvananthapuram international airport.

�The lack of availability of the runway at the international airport due to flight operations of the airlines and the Indian Air Force has forced the academy to look for an airstrip of its own, Executive Vice-Chairman of the academy V. Thulasidas said.

Ship berths at Vizhinjam with sand from Gujarat

Thiruvananthapuram: A ship carrying a consignment of sand from Gujarat arrived at the new cargo wharf at Vizhinjam near here on Thursday morning.

The ship Nand - Ichapur was chartered by J-Sky Shipping and Aviation Services, a private firm.

The vessel, loaded with 2,200 tonnes of river sand for the construction industry in the State, started its voyage from the Kandla port in Gujarat a week back

Admission to MBA programmes

The University of Kerala has invited applications for a Common Admission Test (KU-CAT- 2010) for admission to its two-year fulltime MBA and newly-introduced MBA (Tourism) fulltime credit and semester system courses for 2010-12.

These courses are conducted at the Institute of Management in Kerala (IMK) Palayam

CBSE goes global from April 1

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the countrys largest school board, is all set to go global from April with the launching of Central Board of Secondary Education International (CBSEI).

Initially to be launched in 25 schools in Oman, Qatar, Dubai, Muscat and Singapore the new board with a syllabus at par with that of the International Baccalaureate (IB) would reach out to more than one lakh students abroad.

These schools already have affiliations with the CBSE. They would launch the new curriculum in Class I and Class IX as a pilot project and then over the next three years would cover till class XII.

However, these schools would have CBSEI along with the regular CBSE course so that students might opt for either of the two according to their preferences.

Duplicate lottery: probe going on

TPURAM: A vigilance inquiry is going on into the circumstances in which duplicate tickets of the Kerala lottery were submitted to the Lottery Department claiming prizes, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac told the Assembly yesterday. Answering a submission from V.D. Satheeshan, he said the issue should not be blown out of proportion. Over the last six months, 53 duplicate tickets reached the department claiming prizes totalling around Rs.60,000. Satheeshan said the very credibility of the State lotteries was at stake, if such things could happen. Dr. Isaac assured the House that the government was seized of the seriousness of the issue and would get to the root of the mischief.

Documentary director Sharath Chandran dies falling from train

KOCHI: Two persons including Sharat Chandran, noted documentary director and a recipient of various national awards, died after falling from a train Wednesday night at Puthukkad in Thrissur. Sharat is a native of Thripunithura.

The other person has been identified as Sebastian (42), son of Joseph of Sulthan Bathery.

He is grandson of Prof M P Manmadhan, leader of anti-liquor organization and son of Dr Chandrasekharan Nair, retd Hindi Prof of M G College.

The two bodies were found between Irinjalakuda station and Puthukkad Station near Nellayi Kopra Bridge.

The two were traveling in the Guruvayur-Chennai Egmore Train. The other passengers pulled the chain when they saw the two falling from the train. After being informed, the police reached the spot and recovered the bodies. Both the bodies were taken to St James Hospital in Chalakudy Wednesday night itself.

US University doctorate for Amritanandamayi

KOCHI: The State University of New York will confer Hindu spiritual leader Amritanandamayi Devi with an honorary doctorate degree in humane letters in recognition of her wide ranging humanitarian contributions.

The honour, the first for an Indian, would be bestowed on her at a special convocation at the university at New York on May 25, Steve Dunnet, Vice Provost for all International programmes, and Dr Bharat Jayaraman, professor and chairman of computer science department of the university, said in a video conference with reporters here.

In the universitys 164-year history, only two other world leaders, including Tibetian spiritual head Dalai Lama have been bestowed this award, the Universitys highest, he said.

The State University is one of the largest university systems in the US with 64 campuses.

High School teachers would be shifted to Upper Primary

TPURAM: Once the Right to Education Act is implemented many teachers at the government and aided high schools may have to shift to upper primary (UP). This is because the eighth standard is going to be shifted to the upper primary, says the Directorate of Public Instruction Secretary James Varghese Committee report appointed to study on this.

The report would be handed to the government next week. The shift of the high school teachers would be made according to options. The committee will recommend the government to sustain the seniority and salary of the high school teachers who are to be shifted. If teachers are uncompromising on options then juniors would be sent to the upper primary.

Death of Sampath: Cops to be quizzed

PALAKKAD: The investigating team probing the death of Sampath, the main accused in the Sheela murder case, will reach Palakkad Thursday. A team led by S P Vijayan of crime branch in Kochi, is probing the case. The team will question the official probing the murder case and other officials of the north station.

So far, no action has been taken against the cops. The team will quiz Kanakaraj and Manikandan, remanded in the case.

The mistakes occurred by the police have been pointed out in the report of the special branch. The postmortem report of Sampath will be handed over to the home minister Thursday. Sampath died in police custody on Monday night.

Hotels, shops attacked in Manacaud

TPURAM: Traders downed shutters and staged a march to the police station in protest against the attack towards hotels and shops in Manacaud.

The Rahath Hotel in Manacaud was attacked at 11 pm Wednesday night. Stones were pelted towards the adjacent shops also. The owner of the hotel Nizthar and his employee received heavy blows.

Transport Commissioner Prem Shanker shifted

TPURAM: Transport Commissioner Prem Shanker who had some differences of opinion with Transport Minister Jose Thettayil, has been shifted from the post and given the charge of Film Development Corporation. V P Joy, IAS has been given the temporary charge of the post of transport commissioner.

Differences of opinion between the two arose over the transfer list of officials in the transport department. Premshankar tried to continue in the post with the support of the chief minister.

Prof held over question paper issue

THODUPUZHA: The police Thursday arrested the Professor of Thodupuzha Newman College, responsible for incorporating a question in the question paper of an internal examination which is said to have hurt the religious sentiments of the Muslim community.

The professor identified as T J Joseph was arrested from Idukki.

A look out notice was issued by the office of the Kochi City Police Commissioner after Joseph reportedly went absconding.

Kerala Engineering, Medical colleges� fees may increase

KOCHI: According to the Self-Financing College Act, the committee has to revise the fees once in three years based on the details of income and expenditure of the colleges.

The government-appointed Fee Regulatory Committee headed by Justice P A Mohammed going for a review of fees fixed by it three years ago, the associations of self-financing college managements have come up with the demand to hike the fees by up to 30 percent.

Some of the engineering college managements have asked for an annual fees of Rs 1 lakh, while their counterparts in the medical stream have demanded up to Rs 5 lakh.

Though the annual fees fixed by the committee for engineering courses was Rs 40,000, various college managements had been charging varying fees which come up to Rs 90,000. Interestingly, the managements have failed to arrive at an agreement with the government that charged almost equal fees for both merit and management seats

Bombs from RSS worker\'s tomb seized

KANNUR: Three steel bombs were seized from a tomb at the Muzhupillangad Panchayat crematorium, near Muzhupilangad Beach, in this district of Kerala Thursday.

Police said the bombs were recovered from the tomb of M Sooraj, a RSS worker who was allegedly killed by CPI (M) activists on August seven, 2005.

The explosives were noticed by a group of CPI (M) workers, who assembled at the crematorium for paying tributes to martyr, P Chandran, Wednesday.

On information, police from Edakkad Police Station rushed to the spot and seized a steel bomb from the tomb which was defused by the the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) Wednesday night.

Two more bombs were seized by the BDDS, who conducted a thorough search in the area Thursday. The tomb, which was demolished twice by miscreants earlier, was reconstructed by RSS workers after the first death anniversary of Sooraj.

VS writes to PM, wants panel on Mullaperiyar issue sans delay

TPURAM: Kerala chief minister VS Achuthanandan Thursday made an appeal to the Centre to execute without any delay, the Supreme Courts direction to form a high-level committee examining safety aspects of century-old Mullaperiyar Dam over which the state is locked in a row with Tamil Nadu.

IIM-Kozhikode revises annual fee

Kozhikode: The prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Kozhikode has revised its annual fee for the Post- Graduate course from Rs 8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for the two-year programme beginning this academic year.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hundreds attend Uthrasreebali

PATHANAMTHITTA: The annual Uthrasreebali ritual in the Malayalam month of Meenom was held at the Sreevallabha temple in Thiruvalla on Wednesday.

Uthrasreebali is the annual festival at which the presiding deities of the nearby bhagavathy temples of Karunaattukavu, Alamthuruthy and Padappad are escorted to the Sreevallabha temple in a ceremonial procession.

Hundreds of devotees thronged the temple to witness the annual event

Karim to open industrial estate

MALAPPURAM: A Scheduled Caste Womens Industrial Estate constructed by the district panchayat at Porur will be thrown open for the beneficiaries on Thursday.

Industries Minister Elamaram Karim will inaugurate the unit aimed at economic development of the scheduled communities.

Apart from a spinning unit set up in association with the Khadi and Village Industries Board, the industrial estate will have a handloom unit, a Kudumbasree Nutrimix food processing unit and a curry powder unit.

The district panchayat had spent Rs.10 lakh and the Khadi and Village Industries Board Rs.6 lakh to set up the khadi spinning unit.

Man gets six years for rape

Kozhikode: The District Principal Sessions Court here on Wednesday awarded seven years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs.25,000 to Abdul Rashid, 29, for raping a Dalit woman at Thachompoyil in the district six years ago.

Judge M.P. Ismail found Abdul Rashid, 29, guilty of raping the woman while she was returning home from Punoorpuzha on August 12, 2004. Abdul Rashid was found guilty under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The accused will have to undergo an additional year in prison if he fails to remit the penalty.

Youth held on rape charge

KOZHIKODE: The Balussery police have arrested a youth on the charge of kidnapping and raping a girl and later uploading the video on Internet and transmitting it through the mobile phone.

A team of police officers led by Balussery Circle Inspector Jossy Cheriyan arrested S. Faizal, hailing from Punoor in the district. He was in hiding at Tanur in Malappuram district. The police have charged the accused under Section 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 366 (kidnapping) of the Indian Penal Code.

The accused was produced before the Perambra Judicial First Class Magistrate Court and remanded to 14 days.

New guidelines for firecracker units

KOZHIKODE: The district administration on Wednesday announced new regulations for sale of firecrackers in Kozhikode city. It convened a meeting of political parties, trade unions, firecracker dealers and manufacturers and citizens at the Collectorate Conference Hall to hear their views on the new regulations.

The new regulations will allow wholesale and retail firecracker dealers who comply with the stipulations of the Central explosives authority regarding public safety to open shops in the city. Simultaneously, the district administration has stopped the sale of firecrackers at the Swapna Nagari exhibition grounds following a report by the Fire and Rescue Services that it should not be held responsible for any accident there.

District Collector P.B. Salim said the decision to allow firecracker sales was made in view of the fact that hundreds of people earned a livelihood from this trade.

Music contest

KOLLAM: The mega finals of the Gandharva Sangeetham will be held at the Swaralaya open air auditoriumon May 9. In order to constitute an organising committee, a meeting will be held at the Kadappakkada Sports Club hall on April 2, Friday

Personality development programme

KANNUR: The Chinmaya Yuva Kendra here will conduct a personality enrichment programme for school students on April 5 and 6. Students in the 11-15 age group are eligible to attend the programme. For registration, call 9895267732 and 9895107732

Handloom fair begins

KANNUR: The annual handloom fair in connection with the Vishu festival has begun at the Police Maidan here under the aegis of the Handloom Development Committee.

The fair was inaugurated by district panchayat president K.K. Narayanan.

Organisers of the exhibition said handloom co-operative societies in the district and neighbouring districts were participating in the fair. A daily lucky draw coupons would be gifted to customers for every purchase totalling Rs.500.

Vilakkumthara\' restored

KANNUR: A lamp post platform here that was witness to several historical events and was found demolished seven months ago has been reconstructed.

K. Sudhakaran, MP, formally opened the newly reconstructed platform with a lamppost and paid floral tributes to the freedom movement that the structure symbolises.

The platform had been demolished on August 23 last, drawing protests from political parties and other organisations.

�Vilakkumthara had been erected in 1918 by the family of the late industrialist and freedom fighter Samuel Aaron and the place where it was located is still known as �Vilakkumthara Maidan though the maidan in the Cantonment area, which houses the barracks of the Defence Security Corps and the 122 Infantry Battalion of the Territorial Army, had been walled in years ago for the construction of Central School here

Threat of cholera looms over Kuttanad region

ALAPPUZHA: Even as shortage of drinking water is getting severe by the day in Kuttanad, the threat of a cholera outbreak has added to the water-logged regions woes.

In May 2009, there was an outbreak of cholera in the same area as the result of sewage seeping into drinking water pipelines. Sources said a recent survey by the Health Department found dangerous levels of coliform bacteria, including e.coli, in a majority of water sources in Kuttanad, following which the department is learnt to have alerted higher-ups on the possibility of a cholera outbreak. The survey, however, is yet to be made public.

Three persons arrested

KOCHI: The CBI has arrested three persons, including the manager of a nationalised bank, on charges of cheating the bank by availing loans on the basis of fake documents. Those arrested include K.K. Ramesh, the manager of Ezhikkara branch of the Bank of India, K. Jayan of Koovappady and P.A. Antu of Varappuzha. The accused were remanded to judicial custody

Maritime Day celebrated

KOCHI: A session addressed by experts on the theme �Seafaring: a career of opportunities was the highlight of the Maritime Day celebrations organised at the Merchant Navy Club here on Wednesday.

The programme began with hoisting of the flag by M. P. John, principal officer, Mercantile Marine Department, Kochi. K. A. Simon, director, KM School of Marine Engineering, CUSAT, welcomed the gathering.

Captain M. M. Saggi, Nautical Advisor to the government of India was the chief guest at the inaugural function. K. Subramaniam, director (operations) of Cochin Shipyard Limited summed up the discussions and Santhosh Kumar, president of Cochin Steamer Agents Association, proposed a vote of thanks.

Plea for temple entry dismissed

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday dismissed a writ petition seeking a direction to the Guruvayur Devaswom Board not to prohibit the entry of singer K.J. Yesudas into the Guruvayur Sreekrishna temple.

The court imposed a �symbolic order of costs of Re.1 on the petitioner as it felt that �when unnecessary litigations of this nature flood the courts, they waste space, time as also judicial and executive energy which should otherwise be available for those who wait in the queue and are part of a large sector of docket of exclusion.

The order was passed by a Division Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and P.S. Gopinathan in a petition filed by Lalitha Vasudevan of Elathur Amsom, Kozhikode.

Police crack murder case

KOCHI: The crime branch has cracked a 10-month-old case of a missing person and arrested a couple on charges of murder. Ajaz, who was into real estate business at Kothamangalam, was reported to missing after he left his home on May 17, 2009, in one of his friends car.

Kothamangalam police found that he had got down at the residence of another friend named Subhash. Even though Subhash was interrogated, no clue was obtained.

Train delays to continue for another fortnight

KOCHI: All trains in the Kottayam-Ernakulam route and back are getting delayed by 30-45 minutes thanks to the speed restrictions imposed by different wings of the Railways in the 18-km long Ernakulam-Mulanthuruthy stretch, which was opened to traffic after doubling a few days ago.

This is likely to continue for another fortnight. Trains are plying at speeds as low as 10 kmph now. While express trains can make up for the time lost through the journey, commuters in passenger and short-distance trains have been affected by the late running of trains.

Rail link to Vallarpadam opened

KOCHI: The arrival of rail connectivity to Vallarpadam International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) was announced on Wednesday to an eager crowd that had gathered along the new rail line to watch the trial run and welcome the first engine carrying officials of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, Cochin Port Trust and other dignitaries including the District Collector Dr. M. Beena

Suspension withdrawn

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The suspension of Rajmohan Unnithan from the party has been withdrawn by KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala on the basis of the report submitted by N.P. Moideen.

Duplicate lottery: probe going on

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A vigilance inquiry is going on into the circumstances in which duplicate tickets of the Kerala lottery were submitted to the Lottery Department claiming prizes, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac told the Assembly on Wednesday.

Probe on into student\'s death

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The city police are investigating the suspected suicide of a first-year civil engineering student who was found dead by hanging in his house at Kowdiar on Tuesday.

The deceased, Ajoob Ajith, was a student of the Sarabhai Institute of Science and Technology, Vellanadu. Circle Inspector, Museum, C. K. Dinil said the police found a letter tucked away in a notebook during a search of his room.

The letter, purportedly written by certain girl students of the college, was addressed to the Vice-Principal of the institution. The signatories alleged harassment and ragging by certain senior students of the engineering college.

Mr. Dinil said the police would talk to the students and faculty members to ascertain whether the letter was original or fake.

Cut in fee in cooperative professional colleges

Thiruvananthapuram: The fee for students in merit and management seats in professional colleges in the cooperative sector in Kerala would be reduced by 20 per cent from this academic year, Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran said here on Wednesday.

If students had already paid the existing fee, the excess amount would be added to the next years fee, he told reporters.

Constable selection norms revised

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The basic qualification for selection as constables in the State police is being changed from SSLC to Higher Secondary education.

Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan stated this in the Assembly on Wednesday

Fair value for land from today

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed the Registration (Kerala Amendment) Bill which seeks to check irregularities in land transactions.

Minister for Registration S. Sarma said the Bill would help to check impersonation and other irregularities in the registration of documents and alienation of public property though registration of bogus transfers.

The Minister announced that two months time would be given to file complaints about the notified fair value of land for registration purposes which comes into effect from Thursday.

Engineering students develop intelligent lighting system

Thiruvananthapuram: Streetlights that are switched on when there is strong ambient light, lights aglow in the dead of the night on rarely used stretches, faulty lights that are not replaced� the way our roads are lit leaves much to be desired. A group of students of the Electrical and Electronics course of the M.G. College of Engineering, Vandithadam, Thiruvallam, believe they may have a solution to the problems.

As part of a project, Visakh Dhar, G.G. Saran Kumar, R. Prasanth Nair, A.R. Sarath and V.G. Adarsh have designed an �Intelligent street lighting system which can provide �optimum lighting level for city streets. They were guided by faculty member Yamuna.

Mahouts booked on cruelty to animal charge

Thiruvananthapuram: The Forest Department has booked two mahouts on the charge of cruelty to animals. The mahouts have been accused of mistreating a captive elephant owned by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB).

The case came to light on March 29. According to Forest enforcers, the management of Kozhimada Temple at Murukumpuzha had hired the TDB elephant, Kalidasan, for the annual festival. Local people informed the department that mahouts Gopalakrishnan, Chandrasekharan, Venu Kuttan and one Kochapi had mistreated the animal in a drunken state. They alleged that the accused had used sharp nails and stout bamboo sticks to inflict stabs and blows on the elephant. The next day, another mahout guided the elephant to Kollambuzha. The Forest Departments flying squad reached the locality and examined the pachyderm. Divisional Forest Officer Biju Varghese, Range Officer Satheeshan and Forest Department veterinarians inspected the animal.

Mass retirement poses fresh challenges

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For the first time in the history of the State, as many as 22,400 employees retired from government service on Wednesday following the State governments decision to make March 31 the common retirement date.

Prior to this, employees retired from service on attainment of 55 years. The employees could continue in service till the end of that month if their date of birth was not the first of any month. Only those whose date of birth was the first of any month had to retire the previous day. Under the new decision, all those who attained 55 years anytime during the financial year could continue in service till March 31. Some of the employees managed to get nearly a years extension, while some others got a lesser period..

In the past also, teachers who attained 55 years anytime during the academic year were allowed to continue in service till the end of the academic year in order to avoid any dislocation in the academic sector

The long goodbye

Old customs seldom die:Signalling a return to old customs and urging children to reject new-age beverages, students who graduated from the M.M. Lower Primary School, Parappil, in Kozhikode, drinking tender coconut water donated by their teachers as they prepare to bid farewell to their alma mater.

Gujarati handicrafts expo begins today

THALASSERY: An exhibition of Gujarati handicrafts, handloom and jewellery items, organised by the Gujarat Emporium, will begin here on April 1.

Municipal chairman K.P. Raveendran would inaugurate the exhibition at the Saradha Krishna Iyer auditorium here. The exhibition with a government rebate of 20 per cent on handloom products and 10 per cent on handicrafts would wind up on April 15, emporium manager K. Arunachalam said in a press release. Apart from handicrafts products, dress materials and ornaments would also be available at the exhibition, he said.

Inland waterways get a boost

Aimed at enhancing patronage of the under-utilised Kollam-Kottapuram National Waterway III (NW III), Kerala Tourism has stated its willingness to encourage boats to ferry tourists along the stretch.

Currently, boats ferry guests on short tours through the States inland waterways, mainly in Ernakulam and also Alappuzha and Kumarakom (where houseboats dominate).

Catering to the demand from travellers interested in taking a boat ride along the scenic inland waterway, the State Water Transport Department had over a month ago re-introduced a luxury boat service operating between Kollam and Alappuzha.

Kamala Suraiya award

Recognition:Writer Sukumar Azhikode presenting the Kamala Suraiya award to Vaisakan at a function in Thrissur on Wednesday

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Probe into death of Sambath, says IG

PALAKKAD: IG Mohammed Yasin said a probe will be conducted into the death of the accused, the main suspect in the murder of Sheela Jayakrishnan at Puthur in Palakkad, in police custody.

Talking to reporters in the district, Yasin said the police are ready for any kind of investigation, but a decision on what kind of investigation should be conducted will be decided only after getting the post-mortem report.

The official said that they dont have anything to hide. Alathur DySP T S Santhosh will investigate the case. Steps will be taken if any mistakes have occurred on the side of the police, he said.

Fund for recharging of groundwater

Thrissur: A state-level technical committee has approved a Rs.2.5-crore worth project for groundwater recharging in Kodungalloor block. About 2,500 houses in Methala, Edavilangu and Eriyad grama panchayats and Kodungalloor Municipality would benefited by the project. The project would utilise rainwater collected from the roofs for recharging groundwater table.

Swaraj Round footpath to be ready soon

Thrissur: Thrissur Corporation Mayor R. Bindu has said that the Swaraj Round footpath renovation work will be completed before Thrissur Pooram.

In reply to a query by Opposition councillors at the corporation council meeting here on Tuesday, she said that the work was progressing fast.

A monitoring panel consisting Public Works Standing Committee Chairman A. M. Krishnan and city corporation engineer would monitor the work and ensure speedy completion, she added.

Welfare schemes for dairy sector

PATHANAMTHITTA: The government will launch comprehensive welfare schemes for the nearly 14 lakh people in the States dairy sector, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies C. Divakaran has said.

The Minister was speaking after inaugurating a modern dairy plant of Milma constructed at a cost of Rs.14 lakh at Mamoodu, near Adoor, on Tuesday. He said the fodder subsidy for dairy farmers would be raised. The new plant, set up by the Thiruvananthapuram Regional Co-operative Milk Producers Union (TRCMPU), can produce 60,000 litres of milk a day. Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy inaugurated the administrative block.

Murder case accused dies in custody

PALAKKAD: The first accused in the sensational Sheela Jayakrishnan murder case died while in police custody late Monday night.

Sampath, 26, was arrested along with two other accused in Coimbatore on Monday and brought to Palakkad in the evening. According to the police, Sampath developed chest pain at 11.30 p.m. and was taken to the Palakkad district hospital, where he was declared dead.

The body was sent to the Thrissur medical college on Tuesday for post-mortem

Calicut University likely to get �B\' grade in assessment

Kozhikode:Calicut University could secure �B grade in a recent assessment by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council(NAAC).

A high-level academic delegation had inspected the facilities at the university for three days from February 1.

Caution advised against rat fever

Kozhikode: District Medical Officer Betty Jose has cautioned people against leptospirosis (rat fever), as suspected cases of the infection are being reported regularly in the district.

A confirmed case was reported from Chengottukavu in the first week of March and 52 suspected cases had come from elsewhere in the district this year

Meet to discuss land acquisition for airport

Kozhikode: A meeting of peoples representatives and officials concerned in Malappuram and Kozhikode districts will be convened shortly to chalk out a plan to speed up the land acquisition for the development of the Calicut international airport at Karipur.

Pradeep Kumar, MLA, said here on Tuesday that he was informed about the meeting in reply to a submission he had made in the State Assembly.

The land needed for the airport is 137 acres.

Following stiff resistance from the people whose land has to be acquired, the Malappuram Collector, at one point of time, could not even collect the details of land ownerships.

Petition for prosecution of police officers

Kozhikode: The complainant in the mobile phone camera case filed a petition before the Kozhikode Judicial First Class Magistrates Court IV on Tuesday seeking to prosecute Nadakkavu Principal Sub-Inspector K.K. Biju and Sub-Inspector G. Sunil and three recognisable policemen for allegedly torturing him in connection with the incident. Magistrate G. Mahesh posted the petition to April 7 for further hearing.

Tourism project needs Central nod

KOTTAYAM: The proposed tourism project at Metran Kayal near Kumarakom which has turned to be an ecological issue would need environmental clearance from the Central government, according to a letter to the Industries Department from the Department of Forests and Wild Life.

The Industries Department had sent the project report of the proposed Kumarakom Tourism Resort Village at Metran Kayal to the Forests and Wild Life Department for their comments in a letter dated December 1, 2009.

Hindu Aikya Vedi State meet

KOLLAM: The fifth State conference of the Hindu Aikya Vedi will begin here on April 3.

Vedi State general secretary E.S. Biju said that more than 2,500 delegates would be attending the two-day conference. The conference flag would be hoisted by Vedi president K.N. Raveendranath.

Selected for awards

KOLLAM: Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd. (KMML) has been selected for the Best Industry (large scale) Award-2009, instituted by the Quilon Management Association.

K.P. Metals and Alloys has been selected for the Best Industry (medium and small-scale category) Award.

A. Stalin of the MSN Institute of Management has been selected for the Best Management Student Award. Hotel Beach Orchid bagged a special award for its energy conservation measures.

Association president P. Rajendraprasad said the awards would be presented by Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy at a function here on Wednesday

State\'s IT sector best in country: MP

KOLLAM: K.N. Balagopal, newly-elected Rajya Sabha member, has said Kerala is the only State which offers the best of basic facilities to the information technology (IT) sector.

Addressing a Meet-the-Press programme organised by the Kollam Press Club on Tuesday, he said in addition to Thiruvananthauram and Kochi, there was another cyber park in Kozhikode with an area of five-lakh square feet.

Mr. Balagopal, who had been serving as political secretary to Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, said the State governments IT company, Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd (KSITI), had the potential to bring about 10 times more development in the IT sector than SmartCity.

Mobile phone shop burgled

KALPETTA: Burglars struck at a newly opened mobile phone shop at Mananthavady town in the district on Monday night and made away with mobile phones estimated at Rs.7.5 lakh.

The police said the shop, located near K.T. Junction at Mananthavady town, was burgled between Monday midnight and 6 a.m. on Tuesday. The burglars entered the shop by breaking open the shutters, the police said.

The incident came to light when the owners arrived to open the shop, the police said.

Social welfare gets top priority

ALAPPUZHA: The annual budget of the Alappuzha municipality for 2010-2011 presented here on Tuesday by Municipal vice-chairman Elgin Richards lays special emphasis on social welfare.

One of the notable announcements in the budget is that houses constructed under the Valmiki Ambedkar Awas Yojana (VAMBAY), the EMS Housing Scheme and the Slum Development project among others, will be exempted from tax. Houses that are less than 35 square feet too will be exempted from tax, Mr. Richards announced.

Film on Kayyur struggle launched

KOCHI: CPI(M) State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan performed the ceremonial switch-on of the production of a film on Kayyur struggle, at a function here on Tuesday. Several film actors and political leaders graced the function.

Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Captain Raju, M.Rajiv, MP, were among those present.

The film is being produced by Rafi Mecartin. The Kayyur struggle represents a saga of opposition to imperialism in pre-independent India.

Rape of minor: one held

Thiruvananthapuram: The police have arrested one of the share-holders of a prominent diagnostic services centre in the city in connection with the kidnapping and gang rape of a minor girl belonging to a scheduled caste community.

They said the accused, Ajith, 40, will be produced before the court on Wednesday. Circle Inspector V. Suresh Kumar said the victim was a standard X student. Her mother sold rice gruel for a living in front of the Medical College Hospital.

On March 16, the woman reported to the police that her daughter had not come back from school. She subsequently informed the police that her daughter arrived home the next morning. The police said the case of abduction and gang rape came to light when Mr. Suresh Kumar and Sub-Inspector K. S. Prakash questioned the girl in the presence of women police personnel and counsellors on March 19.

Blood donation camp to mark World Health Day

Thiruvananthapuram: A blood donation camp will be the highlight of the World Health Day celebrations to be organised by the All Kerala Blood Donors Society in association with Terumo Penpol, Rotary Club of Trivandrum and the Institute of Management in Kerala at the Hassan Marikar hall here on April 7.

A release here said the main objective of the celebrations was to promote the concept of voluntary blood donation among the public.

The blood banks at Medical College Hospital, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology and the Regional Cancer Centre will collect blood from the donors.

State to set up disaster management force

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala is setting up a disaster management force along the lines of a Central force formed for the purpose.

Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran, who was inaugurating a meeting of heads of departments convened on Tuesday by the State Disaster Management Authority for finalising a State-level action plan on disaster management, said the specially trained force would be kept under the control of the authority

27 new forest stations soon, says Minister

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has decided to open 27 forest stations in the State, Forest Minister Benoy Viswom has said.

Replying to questions in the Assembly on Tuesday, Mr. Viswom said 12 stations would be opened soon, The Minister said the 613 vacancies of forest guards would be filled soon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

\'IPL team will be a great platform for players from Kerala\'

Buying the Kochi Indian Premier League [ Images ] (IPL) team was more about passion for the game than actual business, say the owners.

Rendezvous Sports World Limited won the bid for the Kochi franchise for a whooping US $333 million (Rs 1533 crores), sending the state of Kerala [ Images ] on cloud nine.

The Kochi IPL team consortium includes Rendezvous Sports, Anchor Earth, Film Waves, Parinee Developers and the Elite and Choliyal group.

It just happened over a casual meeting between friends; they decided why not buy an IPL team. The rest, as they say, will now be history.

But the purchase was just the start. The franchise is now running against time to get everything arranged. Work on an under-construction stadium in Kerala has speeded up since the takeover, while the owners are also burning the midnight oil to identify players they hope to sign up during the auction later this year.

Theft bid: Three woman held

TPURAM: Museum police yesterday arrested three Tamil woman on charges of theft attempt at St Joseph �s church , Palayam during , Palm Sundayobservance ceremonies . Lekshmi ,27 ,Vasanthi ,27 and Selvi ,37 , all of them hailing from Palani in Tamil Nadu were the arrested . The police said they were arrested following some devotees ,who spotted them and grew suspicious about the women . After being taken into custody they admitted that they have indeed come for theft.More people are suspected to be associated with the women , the police said.The women will be produced before the court today.

Sex racket busted

TPURAM: The Medical College poice busted a sex racket gang in Pettah and arrested four including two women . Based on a tip off the police on Friday raided a flat in Vrindavanam Gardns in Pettah and arrested its inmates Suma of Ulloor ,Lisie of Vizhinjam , Rajesh and Mahesh of Vttiyoorkkavu .They were later remanded to custody police said.

�No flyovers in Kochi\'

KOCHI: The city does not have a single flyover, whereas 42 flyovers were built in the past five years alone in Mumbai, senior journalist K.M. Roy said. He was speaking at a public meeting organized by the Indian Socialist Lawyers Organisation here yesterday

Two injured as CPI (M), BJP activists clash

KANNUR: Two persons were injured and six houses and five vehicles were damaged in a clash between CPI (M) and BJP activists at Thalakkara and Keezhur, near Irritty in the district Sunday night.

Police said 16 CPI (M) sympathisers were arrested and weapons and crude bombs were recovered from them.

The clashes started with the attack on two BJP workers, identified as P Vinayan (18) and P V VIjesh (29), allegedly by the CPI (M) activists Sunday evening. They were admitted to a private hospital at Irrity, police added.

In retaliation, BJP activists attacked CPI (M) Keezhoor Branch Secretary Jayakrishnan, who was later taken to a hospital at Kannur, the sources added.

Murder of woman in Palakakd: Two in custody

PALAKKAD: The police have taken two persons in connection with the murder of a housewife at Puthur in the district, into custody. Police said official confirmation will be made only in the evening.

Sheela (47), wife of Jayakrishnan was murdered and her mother identified as Karthiyani was seriously injured.

One person was taken into custody from Thrissur and the other from Coimbatore.

The police refused to divulge the details of the two. Many persons were questioned Sunday also.

No plan to hike energy tariff: Minister

TPURAM: Electricity Minister A K Balan Monday informed the state Assembly that the government has no plan to hike energy tariff in the state.

In a written reply to P K Abdurub of the IMUL, he said the government was taking various steps, including taking effective measures for increasing revenue collection and extending infrastructure facilities for new investments to improve the financial position of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).

In the current Budget, the Finance Minister had earmarked Rs 240.66 crore towards transmission and Rs 436.90 crore for distribution, he added.

Court rejects Tamil Nadu�s plea on Mullaperiyar

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday rejected Tamil Nadus plea seeking to recall the order appointing an Empowered Committee to go into the safety of the Mullaperiyar dam on the ground that it has far-reaching implications in law.

Rejecting the plea, the court ordered to constitute a five-member panel before April 30. The court severely criticized centre�s directive asking the state governments to bear the expenses of constructing a new dam.

The court denied K Parasaran�s, who appeared for Tamil Nadu, statement that the court has given the full power to the high level panel. The court said top priority is given to the safety of the people.

State to modernise Fire and Rescue Department

TPURAM: The Kerala Government plans to modernise its Fire and Rescue department by equipping it with most modern rescue apparatus at a total outlay of Rs 207 crores, State Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told the Assembly Monday.

Replying to a calling attention to the necessity to modernise the fire and rescue department in view of problems now faced at times of calamities, he said modern equipment worth Rs.50 crore would be added to the department this year.

The government also plans to have a helicopter for rescue operation, he said. With the increase in high-rise buildings in the state, equipment like sky ladders would be purchased, he said.

Kerala govt wants probe into NABARD function

TPURAM: Kerala Co-operation Minister G Sudhakaran Monday asked the Centre to order a probe into the functioning of National Agriculture Bank for Rural Development (NABARD) in the state, accusing it of being anti-farmer and anti-cooperative banks.

The attitude of NABARD in the state was anti-farmer and against the interest of co-operative banks, he said replying to a notice for an adjournment motion in the Assembly.

The Congress led UDF opposition sought to move the motion on the alleged irregularities in sanctioning of loans to the tune of Rs.127 crore to private trusts by State co-operative Bank violating NABARD guidelines.

K C Joseph (Cong) said State Co-operative Bank passed the loans for the institutions in a hurry violating rules. NABARD had raised objections to the loans sanctioned by the Bank. The co-operative sector in the state had to face NABARDS punitive action which would put it in crisis, Joseph said.

Banks to disburse loans of Rs 5,593 cr

KOTTAYAM: Banks in the district will disburse loans to the tune of Rs 5,593 crore in the coming financial year.

Priority would be given for development works, education and agriculture sector, District Collector Mini Antony said after a banking review committee meeting at the collectorate here.

He said the banks disbursed Rs 3,650 crore till December, 2009. Out of the amount priority sectors received Rs 2,547 crore.

Banks should extend loans mainly for the welfare schemes of the public, Districr Panchayat President T N Ramesan said.

The collector released the district credit plan for the year 2010-11 on the occasion.

Valsala, Mukesh to chair Akademies

TPURAM: Kerala government Monday reconstituted the state Sahitya Akademi and Sangeeta Nataka Akademi with novelist P Valsala and actor Mukesh as chairpersons respectively.

Valsala succeeds M Mukundan whose term as chairman of Sahitya Akademi expired recently. Poet and journalist Prabha Varma would be the new vice chairman of the Akademi, while Purushan Kadalundi would continue to be the secretary.

Film actor Mukesh was appointed chairman of the Sangeeta Nataka Akademi, while playwright K M Raghavan Nambiar was named the new vice chairman. Poet Ravunni would be the secretary of the Akademi, official sources said.

Kanan Devan Hill Plantation company forays to Vietnam, Ethiopia

KOCHI: Kerala based Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Company (KDHPC), the largest producer of tea in South India, would be expanding its operations to Vietnam and Ethiopia.

In Vietnan, KDHP would form a Rs 60 crore Joint Venture with Lam Dong Tea Joint Stock company (LADOTEA) and have upto 60 per cent equity participation to set up units to process and manufacture Black, Instant, Green and Flavoured teas in South Vietnam.

The MOU, signed between T V Alexander, KDHP Managing Director and Doan Trong Phuong, Managing Director LADOTEA recently, would allow KDHP to invest upto 60 per cent in the equity of the newly formed company, Alexander told a press meet here Monday.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Rs.5,000 for autorickshaw driver

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Minister for Welfare of Scheduled and Backward Communities A.K. Balan has announced a reward of Rs.5,000 to an autorickshaw driver who drove a pregnant woman more than 250 kilometres to hospital.

The driver took the ride through difficult terrain as hospital after hospital refused to treat her. An official inquiry is on into why the government doctors failed to attend to the patient.

The woman, Suseela, from Eettakkanam in Upputhura panchayat of Idukki district, had reached the Nedumkandam hospital for giving birth. As she did not get any service from the hospital, autorickshaw driver Aneesh (Nedumkandam) drove her to three other hospitals. She finally had to be taken to Government Medical College, Kottayam.

Mudra South wins award

KOCHI: Mudra South has won the agency of the year award in the fourth edition of Pepper-2010, the annual creative award competition of the Advertising Club of Cochin. The award was given on the basis of maximum points received in all categories of the competition.

Baby sees attempt to undermine peace

KOZHIKODE: Education Minister M.A. Baby has said that the instance of preparing and issuing a question paper for a second semester B.Com. examination at Newman College, Thodupuzha, allegedly with contents insulting the religious sentiment of a section of society, is the result of a conspiracy and part of a deliberate attempt to undermine the religious harmony and peaceful atmosphere of the State Baby said that stringent action would be taken against such people and the government would take similar incidents with deserving seriousness.

Man gets seven years\' jail term for rape

KOZHIKODE: The Kozhikode Principal Sub-Judge Court here, on Saturday, sentenced a man to seven years rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs.15,000 for raping and impregnating a construction worker five-and-a-half years ago.Writing the judgment, Judge K.P. John found Pannikode Parambil Prabakaran, 35, guilty of raping the 30-year-old construction worker at Kodiyattor in the district on October 3, 2004.The victim, who had become pregnant, had filed a private petition before the Thamarassery Judicial First Class Magistrate Court. The court had then directed the Mukkom police to investigate and register a case.

SOORYA enters Limca Book with twin awards

TPURAM: Soorya, the leading stage and film society of Kerala, has won twin awards of the Limca Book of World Records�one for the largest Arts Festival and the second for longest Arts Festival.

Sooryas headquarters is in Thruvananthapuram having its chapters in 22 countries, in 5 metros of India and 12 districts in Kerala. Soorya festival is carried out for 111 continuous days.

Earlier Soorya claimed the record of Asia�s Largest Art Festival.

Soorya Krishnamoorthy, founder of Soorya Stage and Film Society, was an engineer at ISRO. He had won the Man of the Year 2003 award. He had also won �KALAIMAMANI Award 2006 from Tamil Nadu Government for Stage Craft and Direction. He was the first one to receive the Award from outside Tamil Nadu.

Jet Airways starts daily flight to Dammam from T\'puram

TPURAM: Jet Airways Sunday commenced its daily flights from Thiruvananthapuram to Dammam in Saudi Arabia.

This is the airlines third daily service from India to Suadi Arabia after its flights to Riyadh and Jeddah from Mumbai.

The airline has deployed a Boeing 737-800 aircraft for the service, offering premiere and economy seats and in-flight products, a Jet Airways release said here.

Six workers killed as truck overturns

PATHANAMTHITTA: The bodies of six labourers who were killed late Saturday night when the truck they were travelling in overturned at Punnammod near Koodal in the district, have been identified.

They are Radhakrishna Pilaai (42), Thampi (30), Asokan (35), Ravindran (46), Ratheesh (27) and Manu (24).

The labourers were proceeding to an estate with material for tarring a road inside the plantation, police said.

The mishap occurred in between Koodal and Rajagiri at 11 pm on Saturday when the driver lost control of the truck and the vehicle overturned and fell into gutter with the tar barrels crashing down on the workers

Christians in state observe Palm Sunday

TPURAM: Marking the beginning of the Holy Week, Christians in state Sunday observed Palm Sunday commemorating the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem ahead of his capture and crucifixion.

The faithful gathered in large numbers in churches of major Christian denominations including the Catholic and Orthodox rite across the state, where senior prelates led special masses and prayers.

Bearing palm fronds, the congregations came out of churches and held processions in towns. Archbishop M Soosai Packyam led prayers at the St Josephs Cathedral in the state capital.

India developing winged reusable rocket: ISRO

BANGALORE: India is developing a winged reusable rocket and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has configured a Technology Demonstrator as a first step towards realising it, the space agency said in a report.

Indias space scientists have already configured a winged Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD). This is a first step towards realising a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-reusable launch vehicle, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The agency said in its latest annual report that a series of technology demonstration missions have been conceived

Ex-CISF hand held for Kingfisher bomb planting

TPURAM: Kerala Police Sunday arrested a former employee of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), currently serving in a private cargo firm here, for placing a crude bomb on a Kingfisher flight at Thiruvananthapuram March 21. They refused to reveal the motive behind the crime at this juncture.

Rajasekharan, 49, who works as a supervisor with the firm that handles cargo for all Kingfisher flights here, was present at a press conference here where Inspector General of Police A. Hemachandran announced his formal arrest in the evening.

We cannot reveal the motive of the crime at this juncture, Hemachandran said, adding that Rajasekharan, who lives in Thiruvananthapuram, has confessed to the crime.

The crude bomb device was found in the cargo section of the Kingfisher plane after it landed in Thiruvananthapuram from Bangalore last Sunday. The flight had 27 passengers and four crew members.

After the passengers and the crew deplaned, a routine security check of the aircraft led to the detection of the crude bomb wrapped in a school question paper and a Malayalam newspaper. in the cargo hold of the plane.