Friday, April 9, 2010

Former airport contractor commits suicide in Kerala

TPURAM: A former contractor, who was among those questioned by police in connection with the detection of explosive material on a Kingfisher aircraft last month allegedly committed suicide by hanging at his residence at Valiyathara near here.

The body of Sunil Lawrence (25), was found hanging at his residence Friday morning, they said.

He was employed by the same company of which a staffer, Rajasekharan Nair, was arrested and remanded on March 28 in connection with the detection of the crude bomb on Kingfisher flight. The explosive material was found in the cargo hold of the aircraft, which arrived here from Bangalore on March 21.

A suicide note purportedly written by him congratulated police for the investigation into the crude bomb issue and said he was upset over police questioning on innocent people, police said.

SC directive to return tribal land before July 31

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday ordered Kerala government to return lands to those tribals, who lost control over their lands, before July 31.

The apex court also directed the State to hand over arable lands and reminded that if the law is violated, it would be considered as contempt of court.

The courts move is to implement the law formulated by the state government in 1990. The law concerning the returning of trabals� lands was amended in 1975.

The supreme court had in 1990 gave consent to a petition of the state government asking for more time to implement the law.

As per the law of 1990 those who encroached less than two hectares of tribal land would not be ev

Man interrogated in bomb case commits suicide

TPURAM: The man who was interrogated by the police in connection with the King Fisher airlines crude bomb case Friday committed suicide.

Sunil, hailing from Valiyathura in this district was found hanging at his residence, police said. The body has been shifted to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College for Post mortem.

Sunil was employed as a cleaning staff at the Thiruvananthapuram airport. The explosive material was found in the cargo hold of the Kingfisher aircraft, which arrived here from Bangalore on March 21.

Women Communist leader Karthiayani passes away

KASARAGOD: Noted woman activist and Communist leader T C Karthiayani, who was in the forefront of the freedom struggle from Malabar region of the state died of age related ailments Friday at her residence at Pilicode in the district, family sources said.

Wife of T Subramanian Thirumumb, renowned poet and veteran freedom fighter, Karthiayani was 94 and leaves behind three sons and two daughters.

Kathiayani was the moving spirit behind her husband in spreading progressive ideologies during the freedom movement.

Known for her organisational capabilities, Kathiayani had played a lead role in hosting a womens conference at Koddakad in the district during the freedom movement.

Rajesh consigned to flames

KOCHI: The body of CRPF jawan killed in a Maoist attack in the thick Mukrana forests of Chhattisgarhs Dantewada, was cremated with full state honours.

The people of Mazhavanoor thronged to have a glimpse of the slain jawan. Minister S Sarma paid homage to the departed soul.

Hailing from a poor background, Rajesh, joined the paramilitary force in 2001 to help his family live a decent life and was the main bread winner, his relatives said

11 gets bail in Paul murder case

KOCHI: The Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate Court Friday granted conditional bail to 11 persons including the first accused Jayachandran in the Paul murder case. Those granted bail were members of the quotation gang in Changanassery.

When the CBI probing the case opposed granting bail, the court opined they should be given bail as they were in jail for quite some time.

Granting bail, the court asked them not to leave the district and also asked them to appear before the police station on all Mondays and Thursdays. The court asked them to submit their passports before the Ernakulam CJM court.

Kerala IPL gets BCCI approval

KOCHI: The Indian Premier Leagues (IPL) Kochi franchise got the approval of BCCI and the contract would be signed today.

The special advocates team of BCCI had given approval to the document submitted by the Rendezvous Sports World Ltd on the ownership of the team.

The signing of the contract was postponed to today because of the absence of BCCI President Shashank Manohar.

The documents were submitted at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai by a five member team headed by Shailendra Gaekwad, the chairman of Rendezvous consortium. The team had a one hour long talk with the BCCI officials and the officials furnished a written statement of their approval. And the Kerala IPL teams signed in the franchise deal.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mangrove forests destroyed at Ayiramthengu fish farm

KOLLAM: More than 10 acres of mangrove forests in the Ayiramthengu government fish farm complex in Alapad panchayat in Kollam district have been destroyed as part of a project to deepen ponds, taken up by the State Fisheries Resource Management Society (FIRMA). This comes at a time when the State government has announced schemes for the revival and promotion of mangrove forests both as an environment conservation programme and for countering sea erosion.

The project to deepen ponds of over six acres is estimated to cost Rs.15-lakh. The stretch of mangroves on the banks of these ponds has been rooted out while dredging the sand to deepen the ponds. A good portion of what used to be a mangrove-rich fish farm now wears a barren look.

Talking to The Hindu, environment activist M.K. Prasad said this was the biggest destruction of mangroves in such a short span of time and that too with government funds.

Travancore Devaswom Board caught napping

PATHANAMTHITTA: The Vigilance and Security wing of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has reportedly collected evidence showing large-scale fraud in the preparation of Aravana at Sabarimala temple during the last Mandalam-Makaravilakku festival season.

In his letter (No. 50/TDB/Vig/2009, dated 19-2-2010) submitted to the TDB through G. Rajagopal, Devaswom Chief Engineer who was also the chairman of the panel for regularisation of Aravana preparation method, Chief Vigilance and Security Officer P. Sugathan has pointed out �pilferage of Aravana from the mechanised plant at Sabarimala in the past few months, leading to huge loss to the Devaswom.

Murder: identification parade this week

PALAKKAD: The Special Investigation Team inquiring the Puthur Sheela murder case will conduct a test identification parade of the two accused this week.

Karthiyayani, mother of Sheela, is the only witness in the case.

The investigating team had taken her statement after she was discharged from a hospital on Wednesday.

The police claimed that she had identified the photographs of three of the accused arrested in this case. But the first accused Sampath died in police custody on March 29 and an investigation by the Crime Branch Deputy Superintendent of Police K.K. Aji was going on.

Though the Crime Branch team had received the post mortem report of Sampath, it could not be examined in detail as the Dy.SP in charge of the case was away in Kannur to take evidence from the second and third accused now lodged in a jail there.

Credibility of universities destroyed, says Chandy

MALAPPURAM: Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy has accused the Left Democratic Front government of destroying the credibility of the universities in the State.

�The government, in the last four years, destroyed the credibility of our universities. It committed injustice in university appointments and the conduct of examinations, he said.

Mr. Chandy was addressing the 16th State conference of the Federation of All-Kerala University Employees Organisations (FUEO) at the University of Calicut at Tenhipalam on Thursday.

He said serious malpractices had taken place in the appointment of assistants in the University of Kerala. �Even those who did not take the screening test were given appointments,� he said.

Mr. Chandy said 40,000 answer papers of those who took the screening test vanished from the university. The Lok Ayukta found fault with those responsible and recommended action against them. But the State government showed its true colours by moving court against the Lok Ayukta, he said.

Malabar collection project gets a gift

KANNUR: The handing over of 42 palm leaf manuscripts and a number of Sanskrit texts published in the early 20th century to the Kannur University Central Library by Kaviyur Rajagopalan recently marks the beginning of the librarys �Collection on Malabar project.

The project is aimed at preserving valuable manuscripts.

Primary documents and manuscripts will be procured and preserved for the study of the history and culture of the region.

Mr. Rajagopalans collection includes works on various topics like �kavyam (poetics), �vyakaranam (grammar) and �darshanam (philosophy).

Four get rigorous jail term

Kozhikode: The Special Additional District Sessions Court (Marad cases) here on Thursday sentenced four persons to two years of rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs.11,000 each in connection with the case of attacking a house at the village of Marad eight years ago.

Pronouncing the judgment, special court judge K.P. Prasannakumari found Thekkepurath Unni alias Ranjith, 34; Choichendakathu Sugunan, 56; Arakkathodi Shaji, 37; and Arayachendakathu Sanadanan, 29, guilty of attacking the house of Thekkethodi Jameela on September 4, 2002. The victim had claimed a damage of Rs.2.5 lakh following the attack on her house.

The incident was a sequel to the communal conflagration at the coastal village on January 3 and 4, 2002 that killed five persons, injured scores of others and destroyed property worth crores of rupees.

LDF workers lay siege to post office in Kannur

KANNUR: Left Democratic Front (LDF) workers laid siege to the RMS Post Office here on Thursday as part of a nation-wide agitation by the Left parties in protest against the policies of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre and its �failure to check price rise.

E.P. Jayarajan, central committee member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), who inaugurated the agitation here, said the UPA government had done little to offer relief to ordinary citizens struggling with the rising prices of essential commodities even as it gave a lot of concessions to the rich. He said only the Congress held the view that the country was heading towards progress, while it was being pauperised.

Similar protests were also held in Thalassery, Taliparamba and Mattannur in the district.

Team from State to visit ginger farms in Karnataka

KALPETTA: A team led by T. Bhaskaran, District Collector, Wayanad, will visit the ginger farms in Karnataka run by farmers from Kerala on Friday to ensure protection of the migrant tribal workers.

The team will evaluate the living conditions of the workers who were taken for work in the farms. Rugmini Subramanian, member of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Commission, tribal leaders, peoples representatives and police and revenue officials will be in the team.

Mr. Bhaskaran told The Hindu that the District Collector of Kodagu in Karnataka had promised assistance. A meeting of high-level officials, tribal leaders and peoples representative would be held after the visit and action would be taken, if necessary.

Four tribal migrant workers from the district have been found dead in mysterious circumstances in the work sites in Karnataka within a month.

Demand for facilities at Alappuzha medical college

ALAPPUZHA: The Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) of T.D. Medical College at Vandanam has urged the government to ensure necessary facilities and infrastructure in the college to retain the recently augmented number of seats.

In a press release here, PTA president P. Pushparajan said the government should implement the decision to appoint postgraduate doctors directly as assistant professors.

The construction of two blocks and a compound wall should be completed soon. A committee to monitor the works, with the local legislator as chairman, may be constituted for the purpose, he said.

The library should have medical publications and journals of international repute

Call to encourage cultivation of herbs

KOCHI: The government must promote the farming of Ayurvedic herbs to ensure a steady supply of plants and other raw materials used to manufacture Ayurvedic medicines, the Association of Dravya Vijnan Specialists has said.

Addressing mediapersons here on Thursday, office bearers of the body demanded the introduction of trade licence for Ayurvedic drugs. Clinical trials must be made compulsory for manufacturing licence, to restrict the entry of medicines with faulty claims. The second convention of the association will conclude in the city on Friday.

Constable\'s wife deposes before CBI court

KOCHI: Santhamma, widow of Ramachandran Nair, Central Reserve Police Force constable, on Thursday, told the CBI court trying the �Verghese encounter death case that her husband was a much-changed man after he was forced to shoot the Naxalite leader to death. Ms. Shanthamma said that after the shooting, Nair had taken to drinking and smoking. He was disturbed, gloomy, irritable and often sat in silence.

Her husband had told her a few days after the February 18, 1970 shooting that he had to kill the Naxalite leader on the orders of his superiors. He had been told that he would lose his life if he disobeyed. �I did it for you and our baby, Ms. Shanthamma recalled Mr. Nair telling her. Ms. Shanthamma was 22 and had a three-year-old child at the time. Mr. Nair had not been able to sleep at night for a long time after the shooting. Until his death in 2006, he had kept a photograph of Vergheses in his diary.

Project to conserve aquatic plants

Thiruvananthapuram: The sprawling campus of the Malabar Botanical Garden at Olavanna in Kozhikode district is set to become a magnet for nature lovers. The garden society has drawn up an ambitious project for conservation and exhibition of aquatic plants.

R. Prakash Kumar, Principal Scientific Officer, Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, who is in charge of the Malabar Botanical Garden Society, said efforts were on to set up a national-level conservatory of aquatic plants.

He said the Kozhikode City Corporation had prepared a Rs.8-crore project to establish a National Wetland Conservatory in 15 acres of paddy land within the 40 acre premises.

Applications invited for jobs

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala State Open School has invited applications for employment on contract basis to the posts of system analyst and coordinator-research and documentation. There is one vacancy each for the two posts. For more information log on to www.openschool.kerala.

Tecom makes fresh demand

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: While the government is making an earnest attempt for forging an agreement with Tecom for implementing the SmartCity project, the company has raised a fresh demand for freehold on 30 acres of land with sale rights outside the Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Minister for Fisheries and Registration S. Sarma has said.

In an article released here on Thursday, the Minister said the framework agreement signed between the government and Tecom specified that 246 acres of land was to be leased out to the company and it was to be treated as SEZ.

The SEZ norms do not permit sale of land too. It was in this context that the company had raised the fresh demand to include the right for freehold on 12 per cent of land with sale right in the lease deed.

Slain jawan\'s body arrives

Nedumbassery: The body of K. Rajesh, a CRPF jawan who was killed in the Naxal ambush in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, was brought to Kochi on Thursday.

The martyrs body, accompanied by CRPF DIG K.G. Madhusudhanan, was flown in here at the Cochin airport from Delhi by an IC flight at 8.50 p.m. and was received at the airport by the CRPF along with his two brothers, Rajeev and Ramesh.

Draped in tricolour, the coffin was given floral tributes by the Union ministers K.V. Thomas and E. Ahamed, Fisheries Minister S. Sarma, P. Rajeev MP., District Collector M. Beena among various others.

Hundreds of people from Mazhuvannor grama panchayat, the native place of the slain soldier, queued up at the airport along with Rajeshs friends and relatives to have a last glimpse of their hero. The body was kept in front of the domestic terminal for the public to pay homage for a few minutes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Union Minister to inaugurate construction of fishing habour

THRISSUR: Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar would inaugurate construction of Rs 30.24 crore fishing harbour project at nearby Chettuva on April 10.

Speaking to reporters here, T N Pratapan MLA that the Centre would bear 75 per cent of the cost, working out to Rs 22.68 crore and the balance by the state government.

He said the existing fish landing centre would be fully developed under the proposed project. With the completion of project in 2013, the sand belt at the estuary would be dredged and the canal depth would be increased, he said.

With the commissioning of the harbour, 3392 tons more fish could be netted, he said.

Drought: Kerala seeks Rs 165 crore from Centre

TPURAM: Reeling under an unusally grim summer, Kerala on Wednesday decided to seek Rs 165 crore as assistance from the Centre to tackle drought conditions.

According to Revenue Minister K P Rajendran, the state wanted central support of Rs 115.69 crore for maintaining water supply through short-term schemes in the drought-hit areas.

For other urgent measures like supply of drinking water through tankers, construction of check-dams in forest areas, deepening of ponds and tanks would require another Rs 39 crore.

A sum of Rs five crore would be needed for compensating losses suffered by farmers in different parts of the state on account of summer showers, he said.

In lightning during the summer showers five persons were killed in the last few days and 100 houses were destroyed completely and another 2600 damaged partly, he said.

Crops loss had been reported from at least 800 hecatres of land across the state, the minister said.

DYFI to stage statewide agitation on April 12

KANNUR: The state unit of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) will stage a state-wide agitation on April 12, demanding filling up of vacant posts in view of mass retirement of 21,000 government employees in the state.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, DYFI state Secretary T V Rajesh said though the government had extended the period for the existing 225 PSC Rank Lists to April 30, many department heads had not given anticipatory reports to the PSC till this date, causing damage to the goodwill of the government.

Claiming that the LDF Government in the state had given appointment to 42,000 youths in four years, he urged the chief minister to convene an emergency meeting of the departmental heads.

The DYFI would stage the agitation to protest against the failure of the government in taking concrete action for safeguarding the interest of unemployed youths in the state, he added.

Fisherman dies in accident

TPURAM: A fisherman was killed when he was struck by a transport bus. The dead has been identified as Saimon (53) of Poovar. The incident happened this morning at the Varavilathoppu Junction. He leaves behind his wife Florence Mary and three children. The body is kept at the mortuary of the medical college hospital.

One stabbed to death in drunken brawl

BALARAMAPURAM: A 49-year-old-man was stabbed to death during a drunken brawl over some minor issue. Salahudeen of Balaramapuram, who was stabbed Tuesday night, died early yesterday morning at the medical college hospital. The police have started investigation to nab the accused identified as Aboobacker, Salahudeens neighbour, who is absconding after the incident

Question paper issue: Prof gets bail

THODUPUZHA: The Thodupuzha Chief Judicial Magistrate Court on Wednesday granted bail to Prof T J Joseph of Newman College in Thodupuzha, in connection with the inflammatory references to Prophet Mohammed prepared in a question paper. He was granted bail after producing two solvent sureties and has been barred from entering Thodupuzha taluk

Resul Pookutty slams jury on film awards

TPURAM: Oscar winner Resul Pookutty on Wednesday slammed the jury in connection with the selection of state film awards. He harshly criticized them for not considering him for the award.

In an interview to a private channel, he requested the jury not to impose their ignorance over people. He said, �I don�t know why I was avoided. Jury�s statement on sound mixing is due to their lack of knowledge.

Even though Resul was there for Pazhassi Raja, N Hari Kumar bagged the award for the best sound mixing for Pathamnilayile Theevandi.

Cheque case against Muneer

PERINTHALMANNA: The Perinthalmanna First Class Court on Wednesday rejected the plea seeking to stop the further proceedings of the cheque case against Dr M K Munner, former minister and Muslim League state secretary.

Rejecting the plea, Magistrte P Sabarinath opined that a decision on it has to be taken by the Kerala High Court as per CrPC 482. Further trial in the case has been postponed to July 12.

Zayeed Abdul Hazeeb of Tirur approached the court lodging a complaint against Muneer. In the case registered, Zayeed stated that the cheque of Rs 8 lakhs of South Indian Bank, Ernakulam branch, given by Muneer bounced for insufficient funds. The cheque dated March 30, 2007 was given for the amount borrowed from Zayeed.

The case has been filed as per Negotiable Instruments Act, Section 138, on November 4, 2008 at the Tirur First Class Magistrate Court.

IConsumers upto 120 units exempted from surcharge

TPURAM: The state cabinet on Wednesday decided to exempt power consumers who use 120 units per month from 25 paise surcharge levied by the Kerala State Electricity Board from this month.

The government would pay the loss of Rs 54 crore the board would incur due to the decision, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

The Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission had recently permitted the Board to impose a 25 paise surcharge on all power consumers to realise the additional expense incurred by the Board due to critical power situation in the state.

VS said the board was doing everything to avoid load shedding in the state and was purchasing power from outside the state.

As part of modernising the Treasury in the state, it has decided to introduce ATM and Core-Banking in treasury, he said.

On other cabinet decisions, VS said a welfare scheme for Land Document Writers would be implemented in the state. A person who crossed 65 years or doing the work of document writing for the past 25 years was eligible to become member of the scheme, he said.

Cabinet also decided to pay a solatium of Rs 500,000 to the family of forest guard Devadas, who was shot dead by a poacher in forest area at Kozhikode on April 4

Interest on treasury deposits hiked by 0.50 per cent: Isaac

KOZHIKODE: The state government has decided to increase interest rate on Treasury deposits by 0.50 per cent from the prevailing eight per cent, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said here on Wednesday.

The interest rate for treasury deposit is increased to 8.5 per cent with effect from Wednesday and senior citizens would continue to enjoy additional 0.50 per cent interest on their savings in treasuries, Isaac told reporters.

The government employees, retired from service this year after attaining 55 years, would also enjoy additional 0.50 per cent interest on the deposit as being enjoyed by senior citizens, he said adding government planned to mobilise additional Rs 750 crore by way of treasury deposit.

Tenders have been invited for computerising all the treasuries and ATMs would come up by August-September this year, he said adding 60 new treasuries would be set up during the year

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rs.20 lakh for 3 schools under PRISM Project

KOZHIKODE: Three schools in the city have been sanctioned Rs.20 lakh to modernize their libraries under the PRISM (Promoting Regional Schools to International Standards through Multiple Interventions) Project of the State government. The State Budget for 2009-10 has made an allocation of Rs.30 lakh for the project. A. Pradeep Kumar, Kozhikode-I MLA, took the initiative for submitting a project report to the government and the three schools in his constituency can use the money to buy books and furniture for their libraries

Ramakrishana Pillai apologizes to RSP Secretariat

TPURAM: The RSP State Secretary V P Ramakrishana Pillai apologized to Party State Secretariat meeting on Tuesday for giving interviews to a television channel where he unleashed unpleasant matters which are strong enough to eclipse the image of the party.

He published a newsletter soon after through which he apologized publicly.

The party state secretariat has also banned him from presenting before media. It has also been decided to reveal party related matters only through newsletters.

Earlier in an interview Ramakrishana Pillai has said that the LDF would fail in the coming election.

The 11 out of the 15 members who particiapated the meeting were against Pillais stance.

Two travel agency owners arrested

KOCHI: Two travel agency owners centered at Protector of Emigrants Office in Thiruvananthapuram, who were trading in fake documents for job seekers to send them to foreign countries, were arrested by CBI on Tuesday.

Both Protector of Emigrants and Assistant Protector of Emigrants have been made accused in the case.

The arrested are identified as D Michael (owner of Skyline International, Karakonam) and R sajeev Kumar (Managing partner of Gowri Travel Management). They are send to custody till April 9 by a special court

Two found dead on railway track

THRIKKARIPUR: Two persons were found dead under suspicious circumstances near the railway gate in Thrikkaripur. They have been identified as K Manzoor (42), native of Ernakulam and residing in Thrikkaripur and C K Salim (33), son of Mayan of Kozhikode.

The bodies were identified by Manzoors wife while she was on her way to buy milk. The belongings of the bag were found scattered on the track. Some injury marks were found on Manzoor�s body. Manzoor leaves behind his wife Mehruniza and children Saddique and Azlam. Police have started investigation.

The police are collecting details of Salim.

Nazir remanded to seven days police custody

KOCHI: A local court Tuesday remanded suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba operative T Nazir to seven days police custody in connection with the murder attempt on a Muslim spiritual leader at nearby Kakkanad in January 2008.

Judicial First Class Magistrate (Aluva) V S Vidhyadharan, remanded Nazir, first accused in the case, to custody when he was produced in court Tuesday morning.

About 15 accused had brutally attacked Rahim Pukkadassery alias K M R Guru, who heads a spiritual organisation in Kottayam, and fled thinking he had died.

Three of the accused had died in an encounter with security forces in Kashmir.

Nazir is also prime accused in various other terror related cases, including the 2008 Bangalore bomb blasts, burning of a Tamil Nadu bus at Kalamassery in September 2005 and Kozhikode twin blasts case in March 2006

MT, Lal Jose, Anil bag Sadgamaya Gireesh Puthancheri Award

KOZHIKODE: Eminent film personalities like M T Vasudevan Nair, Lal Jose and Anil Panachuran have been chosen for the Sadgamaya Gireesh Puthancheri Puraskaram 2009 for their outstanding contributions to their respective fields.

Speaking to newspersons here Tuesday, Jury Chairman T A Rasaq said M T, Jose and Anil bagged the award for best script, director and lyricist for their films Neelathamara, Pazhassiraja and Swa. Le respectively.

The award, instituted by Sadgamaya, carrying cash prize of Rs 10,001, citation and plaque to each, would be presented to them at a function on May 15, he added.

Thilakan\'s exit: Fresh battle likely in Malayalam filmdom

TPURAM: Veteran actor Thilakans fight against alleged `caucus ruling Malayalam filmdom has cost him the membership in the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes, paving way for a fresh round of acrimonious war off screen.

The decision to expel the actor from AMMA was taken at an executive committee meeting of the organisation held at Kochi Monday which was attended by Thilakan.

In an attempt to resolve the issue, AMMA had asked the actor to tender an apology to the organisation for his open comments against domination of a `mafia group led by superstars in Malayalam cinema.

Thilakan, one of the most talented actors on Malayalam screen, however, was not ready to relent saying he had not done any wrong which warranted an apology. The committee members had come to the meeting with a decision to expel me and did not hear my complaints, Thilakan said.

I have been acting in films for the last 34 years, but never faced such a situation. I want justice and for that I am not prepared to surrender before anyone. They were prejudiced and did not want to hear my version, he said.

The actor said he was considering legal options to protect the `right to do his job.

Additional Rubber Production commissioner for Rubber Board

KOTTAYAM: K G Mohanan Tuesday assumed charge as Additional Rubber Production Commissioner of the Rubber Board.

He will look after the rubber development activities in northern region of the country, Rubber Board sources said.

Mohanan was working as Joint Rubber Production Commissioner in the Rubber Production department.

He is also serving as one of the director board members of State Farming Corporation and Rehabilitation Plantations Ltd and as Chairman of Kanjirappally Rubbers, a trading company promoted by Rubber Board and Rubber Producers Societies, the sources said.

HC issues notices to Ahamed, state and centre

KOCHI: Kerala High court Tuesday issued notice to Minister of state for Railways, E Ahamed, central and state governments on a public interest litigation petition seeking to abolish quota for private operators, who organise tours for Haj Pilgrims.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice J Chalemeswar and C N Ramachandran Nair, admitted the petition and issued notices to Ahamed and others.

The petitioner, Khalid Mundapally of Kochi, also wanted a direction to the state and central government to introduce the system of registration with due consideration for persons aged 65 and above.

Another plea was to constitute an independent and impartial agency for conducting an efficient investigation into the irregularity and illegality in the matter of allotment of quotas for tour operators for Haj pilgrims for the period 2004-09.

Quality of Malayalam films deteriorating: Paranjpe

TPURAM: Sai Paranjpe, noted film-maker and chairperson of the Malayalam film award Jury for 2009, Tuesday said the quality of Malayalam cinema had deteriorated over the years.

Malayalam cinema is not climbing out of the rut it has fallen in. It has to get away from repetitive storylines and verbosity, she said, after the announcement of the film awards for last year.

Of the 36 films watched by the Jury, there were only seven or eight exceedingly fresh films which was not a very happy situation, she said.

Paranjpe said `Pazhassi Raja directed by veteran Hariharan impressed the Jury immensely and it really deserved awards in eight categories it won including that of the best director. The technical excellence of the film was really breath-taking and the expertise shown by the director is commendable, she said.

Waste disposal scheme to be implemented in June

TPURAM: A decentralised scientific system for waste disposal would be introduced in Thrissur town to solve the problem of waste dumping at Laloor in the city which has triggered protest from locals.

The new scheme to be implemented at a cost of Rs. 8 to 10 crores would be initiated by the City Corporation from June, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan told reporters after a meeting to discuss Laloors problems caused by waste in one place.

Local people under a Joint Action Samithi were on war path for the past 112 days demanding a solution to the health and environment problems caused by dumping of waste at Laloor.

Agriculture University Scientist Pathiyour Gopinath presented a blue-print of the environment friendly scheme at the meeting.

State Revenue Minister K P Rajendran, Thrissur Mayor R Bindu and former speaker and Thrissur MLA Therambil Ramakrishnan were among those present at the meeting.

Mammootty, Shwetha Menon win best actor awards

TPURAM: The Mammootty-starrer �Pazhassi Raja, written by M.T. Vasudevan Nair and directed by Hariharan, has won eight awards at the State film awards for 2009 that were announced here on Tuesday.

�Paleri Manikyam Oru Pathira Kolapathakathinte Katha, directed by Renjith, has won the award for the Best Feature Film and �Raamanam, directed and produced by M.P. Sukumaran Nair, has won the award for the Second Best Feature Film.

Mammoottys role in �Paleri Manikyam won him the best male actor award and its female lead, Shwetha Menon, won the Best Female Actor award.

Jagathy Sreekumar won the special jury award for his contributions to various films. P. Sukumar, who directed �Swa Le, was adjudged the Best Debutant Director and �Ividam Swargamanu, directed by Roshan Andrews, won the award for the Best Popular Film with artistic value.

The awards won by �Pazhassi Raja are the following: Best Director-Hariharan, Best Scenarist-M.T. Vasudevan Nair, Second Best Actor-Manoj K. Jayan, Second Best Female Actor-Padmapriya, Best Film Editor-Sreekar Prasad, Art Director-Muthuraj, Costumer-Natarajan, and Dubbing Artiste-Shobby Tilakan.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Murder: victim\'s mother identifies accused

PALAKKAD: Karthiyayani, 70, mother of Sheela Jayakrishnan who was murdered in her house at Puthur here on March 22, told pressmen at her house on Monday that she could identify the first accused Sampath (who died in police custody) and the second accused Kanakaraj (now in jail). Karthiyayani, who had survived the attack, was discharged from hospital.

Recounting the incident, she said she came from her room when she heard the screams of her daughter. �I saw two persons attacking her with lethal weapons. I tried to protect her but they hit me with the weapons and smashed my head against the wall. I fell unconscious, she said. The photos of the accused were shown to her in hospital and she had identified them, Karthiyayani said.

Vocational Expo 2010 inaugurated

KOLLAM: Education Minister M.A. Baby has called for a change in attitude and approach in the State towards education. He was inaugurating the three-day State-level Vocational Expo 2010 at the Government Model Boys High School complex here on Monday.

He said there was a lack of interest on the part of youngsters to take up labour-intensive work. �It is difficult now-a-days even to get someone to repair a TV set. Youngsters prefer not to take up such work. But when it comes to an inevitable situation the youngsters are ready to go out of the State and even the country to take up any kind of work.

Mr. Baby said the vocational education sector needed to be scientifically redesigned. While attempts in this connection were being made, there were a couple of problems. The main one being lack of proper infrastructure to provide quality education. Then there was lack of proper employment opportunities for those passing out, he added.

No load-shedding, power cut: Balan

KATTAPPANA: Minister for Electricity A.K. Balan has said that the State will not impose power cut or load-shedding even if the power crisis worsens.

Talking to mediapersons in Thodupuzha on Monday, the Minister said that this could be achieved by enforcing certain controls on power consumption without changing the existing tariff.

�Efforts are on to make the State a power-surplus one within ten years by implementing micro hydro electric power projects in a time-bound manner.

The target will be achieved without causing environmental damage, Mr. Balan said.

Tribal people encroach upon 8-acre plot

KALPETTA: As many as 50 tribal families under the aegis of the Adivasi Kshema Samithi (AKS), an organisation affiliated to the CPI(M), encroached upon an 8-acre plot at Chembilode Valiyakunnu, near Mananthavady, in Edavaka grama panchayat at 9.30 on Monday.

This is the latest in a series of encroachments by the tribal people in Wayanad under the aegis of the AKS. The encroachers set up huts there and the exercise was inaugurated by CPI(M) district committee secretary C.K. Saseendran. He told The Hindu that the agitation would be intensified. AKS activists would encroach upon all revenue and surplus land, he added

Swami accorded reception

KOCHI: Swami Gauthamanandaji Maharaj, president of Chennai Sree Ramakrishna Math and senior trustee of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission was given a reception on Monday.

Addressing a gathering, Swami Gauthamanda asked the people to acquire spiritual wealth.

He said that material wealth and spiritual wealth must co-exist for the well-being of a nation.

Orissa requires more Central forces: Minister

Kochi: A day after nine anti-Maoist Special Operations Group (SOG) jawans were killed in a landmine blast triggered by Maoists in Orissas Koraput district, the States Finance and Excise Minister, Prafulla Chandra Ghadai, said here on Monday that no State could singularly fight the menace.

Mr. Ghadai, however, exuded confidence that Operation Green Hunt, jointly launched by the Central and the State forces in Orissa in April, would be effective in combating the endemic problem.

�It [Maoist insurgency] is a national issue, but the Central government was a little late in responding to it that way, Mr. Ghadai, on a brief visit to the city, told The Hindu at an interaction.

Thilakan expelled from AMMA in continuing stalemate

KOCHI: The Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) has formally severed its links with Thilakan, actor. His lifelong membership of the association was revoked after he appeared before its executive committee meeting here on Monday.

The veteran actor presented his case for nearly an hour at the meeting, attended by 14 members of the executive committee.

However, the committee expressed dissatisfaction over the reply made by Mr. Thilakan on issues of indiscipline and public statements made against the organisation.

Mr. Thilakan refused to apologise for the comments and criticism that he made about AMMA in public.

Following this, the organisation took the decision to expel him.

Foot overbridges at 15 places in city mooted

KOCHI: The Public Works Department (PWD) has come up with a proposal to build foot overbridges at 15 places in the city, including at a few highway junctions.

These would be built on an iron frame, so that they can be dismantled and put together again if any modification is required. The foot overbridges would considerably benefit pedestrians who now have to wait for many minutes at each junction/busy stretch till there is a lull in the tide of vehicles. Care would have to be taken so that the access points are not very steep, so as to benefit the elderly and the differently abled. The feasibility study would be done by DRIC Board - Design Research Investigation and Quality Control Board

Entrance exams: admit cards sent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Commissioner for Entrance Examinations (CEE) has sent admit cards to candidates eligible to appear for the engineering/medical entrance examinations scheduled to be held from April 19 to 22.

A press note issued here said those who do not receive either the admit card or the rejection memo till April 17 should contact the liaison officer between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on April 18, along with a passport-size photograph. Candidates can collect identification certificates from the liaison officer and appear for the entrance examination using this certificate.

Sand sale to begin next week

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: More than 400 people have submitted applications to the Aruvikkara grama panchayat for buying sand being mined from the reservoir of the Kerala Water Authority there.

The local body will forward these applications to the District Collector in a few days, panchayat president K. Sukumaran told The Hindu. �We expect to begin the sale of sand by the end of the second week of April.

Land for Central varsity identified

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After a protracted search and much wrangling at different levels lasting over a year, the government has zeroed in on 166.32 hectares of land mostly in Karinthalam village of Kasaragod district to establish the headquarters and campus of the prestigious Central University of Kerala.

The university, currently functioning out of a rented building, has been struggling to take off in the absence of its own premises. It has also not been able, so far, to avail itself of the massive Central funding on offer for establishing its headquarters and other infrastructure.

Plan to promote medicinal plant cultivation: Karim

Nedumbassery: In an effort to boost the export of herbal products and augment the share of the State in the global market for Ayurveda, Government of Kerala is embarking upon a plan to promote the cultivation of medicinal plants across the State, Industries Minister Elamaram Karim has said.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Check commercialisation of health sector: experts

Thrissur: Public health activist, neurosurgeon and former Vice-Chancellor of Kerala University B. Ekbal has called for strengthening public sector pharmaceutical companies to check commercialisation of health sector.

He was delivering the keynote address at a seminar on �Dirty tricks in drug sales organised by the Janata Pharmacy here on Sunday. �Doctors should stop prescribing drugs under the alleged influence of pharmaceutical companies. Patients mostly do not know whether they are prescribed the right drugs. But they have no choice but to follow the advice of doctors, he said.

Storage position safe at Sabarigiri: KSEB

PATHANAMTHITTA: When almost all reservoirs of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) are witnessing alarmingly low storage position in the scorching summer heat, Sabarigiri, States second largest hydro-electric station situated in the eastern forest tracts of Pathanamthitta, has been reportedly placed at a safer position with an effective storage of 47 per cent in its reservoirs as on Sunday morning.

Talking to The Hindu here on Sunday, Deputy Chief Engineer at Moozhiyar Power House Mohammed Ali Rawther said the twin reservoirs of Kakki and Anathode at Sabarigiri had recorded an effective storage of 222.52 million cubic metres (mcm) as on Sunday.

Steps to revive Pampa mooted

PATHANAMTHITTA: River Pampa, the lifeline of Central Kerala, and its tributaries are fast undergoing a disastrous degeneration process. Thanks to mans callous neglect of nature and excessive intervention in these water sources, ultimately leading to a series of socio-environmental issues.

A study conducted by D. Padmalal, senior scientist attached to the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS), in association with Kozhencherry-based eco group Pampa Parirakshana Samithi (PPS), has revealed that the Pampa riverbed has already gone down by five to six metres from its bed level 20 years ago.

Unscientific sand-mining had been the main causative factor for the present sad state of affairs with the once-prolific river system, said Dr. Padmalal.

Versatility to the fore

PALAKKAD: An exhibition of the works of Sudha Menon, �Artnuveau, which concluded recently at the N.J. Complex here, showcased the versatility of the artist and her medium.

The exhibits included paintings, artefacts, lamps and murals, done in stained glass or in Tanjore or decoupage style. At the exhibition, her fourth here, 170 paintings and 30 potteries were exhibited. Among the paintings were Kerala mural paintings, Ajantha murals, Tanjore paintings, oil paintings, fabric paintings, nib paintings, Worly and Madhubani paintings, pot paintings and aqua paintings. They were the result of two years continuous work, Ms. Menon said.

Personality development camp

KOZHIKODE: The Sree Narayana Education Society will hold a five-day personality development training camp for schoolchildren at the M.A. Unneerikkutty Memorial Hall on the Sree Narayana Education Society office premises, near 4 {+t} {+h}Railway gate here. The camp that begins on Monday will end on April 10. Students aged from 12 to 18 can participate in the camp. The training session will be led by G. Balachandran. For details, call 9387429309, 0495-2361927, 9447154114.

Rs.20 lakh for 3 schools under PRISM Project

Kozhikode: Three schools in the city have been sanctioned Rs.20 lakh to modernise their libraries under the PRISM (Promoting Regional Schools to International Standards through Multiple Interventions) Project of the State government.

The State Budget for 2009-10 has made an allocation of Rs.30 lakh for the project.

A. Pradeep Kumar, Kozhikode-I MLA, took the initiative for submitting a project report to the government and the three schools in his constituency can use the money to buy books and furniture for their libraries.

SDPI yatra enters Kannur

KANNUR: The �Jana Kerala Yatra launched by the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) at Hossangadi in Kasaragod began its second phase in the district on Sunday.

The procession, led by SDPI leaders M.K. Manoj Kumar, Muvattupuzha Ashraf Moulavi and P.K. Gopinathan, entered the district on Saturday. SDPI national secretary Moideenkutty Faisi inaugurated the reception to the procession at Stadium Corner in the evening.

Mangrove Theme Park opens in Kannur

KANNUR: The Mangrove Theme Park developed on the Valapattanam riverbank by a Communist Party of India (Marxist)-backed society was inaugurated by film actor Suresh Gopi on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, a group of environmentalists preparing to stage a protest against the development of the park was attacked. Four green activists were injured. They were admitted to a hospital here.

The Muslim Youth League also staged a dharna in the evening on the southern side of the Valapattanam bridge to voice its protest against the alleged encroachment in the name of the eco-tourism project.

Chembilode panchayat scores hat-trick

KANNUR: Chembilode emerged as the only grama panchayat in the district to have recorded total utilisation of plan funds for three years in succession.

The grama panchayats hat-trick achievement stands out against the average 76 per cent utilisation of the funds recorded by the grama panchayats in the district.

The overall utilisation of the funds by the grama panchayats is expected to reach last years 78 per cent when final figures are made available. Eleven grama panchayats out of the total 81 in the district have recorded fund utilisation exceeding 90 per cent.

SP\'s transfer kicks up a row

KANNUR: The transfer of District Superintendent of Police (SP) Anup Kuruvila John to Thiruvananthapuram as Assistant Inspector-General (AIG) has stirred up a controversy as it is widely seen as a violation of rules governing the transfer of police officers.

The district Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leadership is alleged to be behind Mr. Johns transfer, 10 months after he took charge here.

While the transfer is said to be politically motivated, it is alleged that the provisions of the Kerala Police (Amendment) Act 2007, which stipulates a minimum tenure of two years for police officers, including the Director-General of Police, Inspector-General of Police in charge of ranges, SPs in charge of districts, and Station House Officers, have been breached.

Seven injured in Alappuzha clash

ALAPPUZHA: A seemingly harmless argument and ensuing brawl between students in a local school has snowballed into a major clash between people living on either sides of the Mulgar Bridge in the Beach Ward here. The situation was tense and police were trying hard to bring the area under control when reports last came in.

The fight between the students, which began about two weeks ago, was first raised by their parents in the school Parent Teacher Association meeting and later, it spilled out of the school into the streets of the Beach Ward where the students lived.

Panel to decide on tree cutting

KOCHI: Trees located at public places in the State will get protection from being unnecessarily axed down.

From now onwards, it would require the approval of a panel consisting of civic representatives, forest officials and representatives of non-governmental organisation for cutting trees.

Earlier, the applications for cutting trees were to be submitted to the officials of the Social Forestry Wing of the Forest Department and decisions were taken without any public consultation.

The new scheme is expected to ensure transparency in the process and save trees, according to an official of the department

Utkal Divas\' celebrated in Kochi

Kochi: Utkalika�Cochin Oriya Association, a socio-cultural collective of Oriya diaspora comprising 150 families in and around Kochi, celebrated �Utkal Divas on Sunday to commemorate the formation of the State way back on April 1, 1956. It coincided with the fourth anniversary of the association.

Prafulla Chandra Ghadai, Orissas Minister for Finance and Culture, was the chief guest of the function that was held at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Auditorium. Mr. Ghadai said as against popular perception, Orissa was a rich State, rich in minerals and other natural resources. �The culture of Orissa is among the best in the country. Same is the case with the standard of education in the State, he emphasised. �Janani janma bhoomischa swargadapi gareeyasi,� he quoted the Ramayana to enunciate the point that wherever an �migr� be, motherland to him/her is dearer than heaven

Mangalavanam: Ministry seeks report on township

KOCHI: The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest has sought a detailed report from the State Forest Department regarding the establishment of an eco-township at near Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary.

R. Rajasekhar, secretary of the Ministry, has sought the report from the Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden regarding the project proposed by the Kerala State Housing Board.

�The board has received reliable information through animal welfare activists and media reports that the Board proposed to develop a marine drive township in Kochi.

The above said project has drawn attention of the animal lovers, animal welfare activists and environmentalists regarding the development of the project in the vicinity of the Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary vis-�-vis environmental concerns, the letter pointed out.

Corporation to launch two projects

KOCHI: With hardly five months left for the present civic administration in office, hectic preparations are on at various levels to launch new projects which were announced by the civic administrators earlier. The authorities have decided to inaugurate two projects in the city this month.

The first in the series will be the inauguration of the Refuse Derived Fuel Plant which has been set up at Brahmapuram. The Local Administration Minister Paloli Muhammad Kutty will inaugurate the project on April 16.

The plant can convert all burnable and non-degradable refuses into fuel pellets. These pellets are used by industrial units like cement factories and those which have furnaces.

The installation of the machinery of the plant will begin on Monday and will be completed within three days. The Rs. 2.5crore-plant has an installed capacity of processing 150 tonne solid waste. The rejects from the bio-degradable waste processing plant and other refuse can be used to create pellets. Presently, the civic administration is not collecting non-degradable waste from the city, official said.

Navy to augment facilities at naval air station

Kochi: Naval Air Station INS Garuda at the Southern Naval Command here is augmenting infrastructure to take on the challenges posed by asymmetric seaborne threats in the emerging security environment. Surveillance over the sea acquired a whole new dimension post-26/11 placing more emphasis on the key role played by maritime reconnaissance aircraft with deep-looking capability in thwarting attacks by the sea.

With the Navy taking strides to achieve leapfrogging capabilities in maritime recce by signing contract with Boeing for the P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft�the first of the total eight would be delivered in 2013�and scouting for fresh medium range ones (MRMR), Garuda, the alma mater of naval aviation, is gearing up to accommodate change.

New hangars are coming up at the air station for future acquisitions. A station to house the P-8I simulator, which would be delivered alongside the aircraft, is also under construction.

New Central legislation for sandalwood tree protection

KOCHI: A Central legislation vesting the right for �disintegrating sandalwood for manufacturing and selling of sandalwood oil with the government and imposing stringent punishments for sandalwood-related offences has been drawn up.

The draft has proposed to make the offences cognizable and non-bailable. It also permits any forest officer to use as much force and cause injury to persons and property to prevent the commission of offences and apprehend persons who have committed or found engaged in commission of the offence. The maximum punishment has been prescribed as imprisonment up to ten years and a fine of Rs. 1 lakh.

Gender difference beneficial to women\'

KOCHI: A study by the Kochi-based Centre for Socio-Economic and Environmental Studies (CSES) on �Health of women in Kerala has pointed out that gender difference was advantageous to women in the State.

The gender difference was negligible in Kerala in the prevalence of stunting, underweight and anaemia among children below the age of 5. Even the small differences that existed in Kerala favoured females. Wasting, stunting, underweight and anaemia were less prevalent among girls in Kerala compared to their counterparts in the rest of the country, the study by N. Ajith Kumar and D. Radha Devi of the CSES said.

Protest against land acquisition for airport

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Residents of Vallakadavu, Vayyamoola and Karali in the city took out a march here on Sunday under the aegis of the Vallakadavu- Vayyamoola- Karali Joint Action Council to protest against the move to acquire 88 acres from the area for the Thiruvananthapuram airport.

The residents also held a dharna at the Enjackal junction. Activist B.R.P. Bhaskar inaugurated the dharna.

Road works to be over before monsoon

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Road tarring work along the Kowdiar-Kuravankonam stretch of the Pattom-Kowdiar corridor would begin on Monday, officials of City Road Improvement Project (CRIP) said.

This will provide some relief to motorists and residents of the area who have been coping with unfinished road work and pipe laying work for more than a year now.

Although preliminary road work along the stretch began in January 2009, delay in shifting utilities and re-laying drinking water pipes under Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and KWA old schemes kept lagging the road works along the stretch.

Christ\'s resurrection celebrated

Thiruvananthapuram: Thousands of devotees thronged churches across the district on Sunday morning for special mass to celebrate Easter, signifying the resurrection of Jesus Christ after crucifixion on Good Friday.

Senior prelates preside over the special prayer sessions. The ceremonies were interspersed with readings from the Holy Bible and popular Easter hymns and songs. The altars in many churches were adorned with flowers.

The Easter mass came to a close before sunrise in most churches. Easter Sunday also marked the end of the Holy Week celebrations when the faithful abstain from luxury and material comforts to gain spiritual strength.

Court complex inauguration

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan will inaugurate the new district court complex at Vanchiyoor at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. High Court Justice K. Balakrishnan will preside over the function.

The complex houses 12 new 1,000-sq ft court rooms, including chambers for judges and court staff. There will be rooms for seating litigants. The complex has expansive parking facility and also wide corridors and breezy rooms

Veterans\' cricket contest

Thiruvananthapuram: The State capital will host the 12 {+t} {+h} Inter-State Veterans Cricket Tournament from April 8 to April 12.

Sports Minister M. Vijayakumar will inaugurate the tournament.

D. Chandrasekharan Nair, president of the Kerala Veterans Cricket Association, said cricketers Syed Kirmani, David Johnson, W.B. Raman and Noel David would represent their respective home teams in the tournament

Recovery of temple lands bogged down

Thiruvananthapuram: The State governments attempts to recover temple lands encroached upon by various parties appear to be moving at a very slow pace. Out of the 25,000-odd acres of identified encroached land, only 15 acres have been recovered by evicting the current occupants even though an elaborate mechanism has been appointed to deal with these cases for individual Devaswoms.

79 gelignite sticks, capable of causing huge blast, recovered

MALAPPURAM: As many as 79 gelignite sticks, capable of causing a huge explosion, were recovered from a bridge construction site near Tirurangadi in Malappuram district on Sunday. The explosives were found wrapped in a plastic bag near a pillar being built for a bridge at Karyadu Kadavu across the Kadalundipuzha