Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mudranamikavu awards announced

KOTTAYAM: The Mudranamikavu 2009 awards for excellence in book production, instituted by the Department of Printing and Publishing of Mahatma Gandhi University, have been announced. Separate awards have been instituted for excellence in printing, book design, cover design and reference.

A statement said DC Books, Kottayam, bagged the award for printing and production for �Pravasam, a novel by M. Mukundan. The Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad, Thrissur, won the award for the best book design for �Pusthaka Poomazha, a kit of 20 childrens books.

The State Institute of Encyclopaedic Publication, Thiruvananthapuram, bagged the award for the best reference book for �Sarvavijnanakosham 14th volume. Zainul Abid of Kannur won the best cover design award for the book �Ormachaya by photographer Punalur Rajan.

Special jury awards were bagged by SPCS, Kottayam (M.P. Paul: �Kalapathinte Thiru Seshippukal) and Mathrubhumi Books, Kozhikode (�Veekshana Vishesham) in the general category and Islamic Publishing House, Kozhikode (�Islamic Encyclopaedia Vol.9) in the reference category.

Pre-monsoon campaign against seasonal contagious diseases

KOTTAYAM: With the south-west monsoon round the corner, the Public Health Department has launched a pre-monsoon campaign against the seasonal contagious diseases, which had been plaguing the district for the past many years.

Three KV teachers killed in accident

KOLLAM: Three persons were killed on the spot when a Maruti car in which they were travelling collided with a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) superfast bus on M.C. Road near Kottarakara in Kollam district on Saturday morning.

The accident occurred at Edakkad Junction at 7.30 a.m. when the bus was overtaking another KSRTC bus.

Those killed were teachers attached to the Pangode Kendriya Vidayalaya (KV) in Thiruvananthapuram. They were identified as N.C. Krishnan residing at Poojapura, Parameshwaran Chettiyar residing at Thirumala, and former Principal of the school K.C. Mathew residing at Muttada.

A fourth person in the car, identified as Harikrishnan residing at Kowdiar, also a teacher at the same school, was critically injured and admitted to a private medical college hospital at Venjarumoodu. All the four were on their way to Ettumannur to attend a funeral. Krishnan was at the wheel at the time of the accident.

Eyewitnesses said the car got badly mangled in the impact of the accident. The bus crashed into a closed bunk before coming to a halt. None of those in the bus was injured. The bus was going to Kanyakumari. The Kottarakara police had registered a case and took the bus driver into custody.

Kudumbasree to observe �Bhoumotsav\'

KATTAPPANA: Kudumbasree Mission Idukki district unit will observe this year as �Bhoumotsav 2010 with the aim of spreading the message of biodiversity conservation among the young generation.

The celebration is part of the International Year of Biodiversity.

Kudumbasree Mission Assistant Co-ordinator K.P. Venugopal said that the message of the observance was �to know, love and preserve the Nature.

Two doctors arrested on medical negligence charge

ALAPPUZHA: Two doctors were arrested here on Saturday on the charge of medical negligence in connection with the death of a woman six days after being delivered of a baby boy in 2008.

An expert committee appointed by the Health Department found Vasantha, 75, and Phenoljenma, 65, guilty of negligence. K.M. Tomy, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Cherthala, arrested the doctors. They were let off on bail. The two attended on Jessy, 31, wife of Shaji of Kadakarapally, during labour at a private hospital at Thanki Junction, near Cherthala, on August 8, 2008. It was a normal delivery and she was discharged on August 11. In the morning of August 14, she showed signs of severe fatigue and shivers and was rushed to the hospital.

Her condition worsened and she died while being shifted to the Government Medical College Hospital, Alappuzha. Mr. Shaji filed a complaint with the police, alleging medical negligence.

The expert committee found that the two doctors had not followed the mandatory post-delivery procedures and left the foetal remains in the uterus. Jessy had died of septicaemia (life-threatening infection).

Chamber opposes State stand on NHs

KOCHI: The Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said the right of way for the proposed development of four-lane national highway should not be less than 45 metres considering the rapidly growing traffic population and deaths in road accidents in the State.

Kerala, with its one vehicle per person ratio, daily witnesses 11 deaths in road accidents and 120 grievous injuries on an average. This was argument enough for having wider and better roads, said Anand Menon, president of the chamber in a press statement here on Saturday.

The statement said the chamber was appalled at an all-party decision recently to demand restriction of National Highway development in the State to 30 metres from the previous 45 metres against the national standard of 60 metres.

Protest against milk price hike

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Federation of Residents Association Thiruvananthapuram (FRAT) will organise a dharna in front of Milma headquarters in the city on May 26 to protest against the frequent hike in milk price. In a statement here, FRAT general secretary Punjakkari G. Raveendran Nair said that Milma was trying the monopolise sales and distribution of milk

Monsoon packages for tourists

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) has announced three special packages for tourists who come to the State to see and experience the monsoon.

KTDC chairman Cheriyan Philip said here on Friday that the packages, of five to eight days duration, would cover Kochi Bolgatty, Munnar Tea County, Thekkady Aranya Nivas, Kumarakam Waterscapes and Kovalam Samudra with lodging, boarding and transport. The packages also include a days stay in a houseboat. Bookings can be done at the central reservation office of KTDC, Thiruvananthapuram

NH forum hails move to allot funds

Thiruvananthapuram: The Karamana-Kaliyikkavila National Highway Action Council has hailed the government decision to allocate Rs.100 crore for road development.

A meeting of the action council held here recently urged the government to widen the highway stretch immediately in view of the heavy traffic congestion and increasing number of accidents. The amount was sanctioned for land acquisition along a 10-km stretch on both sides of the road from the Karamana bridge. The Department of Public Works had submitted a Rs.650-crore project to widen the highway into a 30.2-metre wide four-lane road. The Rs.100 crore sanctioned by the government is the first instalment to be spent on the project.

Action council president A.S. Mohankumar presided.

Heavy rainfall forecast

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Shifting clouds enveloped Kerala on Saturday, with rainfall occurring scattered with different intensity, as the southwest monsoon continued to stay around 500 km south of its southern end.

The erstwhile intense cyclonic storm Laila on Saturday lay docile as a low pressure area over north coastal Andhra Pradesh, releasing far-flung Kerala from its spell. A high pressure system in the middle of the Arabian Sea was pushing the southwesterlies flowing from the Madagascar region in the Indian Ocean outward, forcing them to swerve round the tip of the peninsula into the Bay of Bengal. Weather models of the Chennai regional meteorology centre on Saturday showed the possibility of widespread rainfall with heavy rainfall in some locations in north and central Kerala on Sunday. They showed the trend spreading by degrees to south Kerala over the next three days.

Suspect held in case of assault on woman at club



Thiruvananthapuram: The city police have arrested P.J. Paul, alias Paulson, in connection with the alleged assault on a woman inside the precincts of the Trivandrum Club in April.

J.K. Dinil, Circle Inspector, Museum, said beat policemen from the Cantonment police station had spotted Paul near his house at Statue early on Saturday.

He said Paul tried to run away on seeing the officers, but the men chased and arrested him near University College. The police have charged him with outraging the modesty of a woman under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code.

The museum police had registered a case against Paul on the basis of a first information statement given by the club management.

A woman\'s fight for survival

Kadha Thudarunnu

Director Sathyan Anthikkad, in his latest film �Kadha Thudarunnu, uses the stale formula of melodrama and clich�d dialogues to tell the story of a hapless young woman. Scripted by the director, the movie, which portrays a womans battle against all odds, seems contrived.

Shanavas (Asif Ali), a keyboard player, and Vidyalakshmi (Mamta Mohandas) marry against the wishes of their families. They have a daughter (Baby Anikha) and live in a rented house. Tragedy strikes when some goons inadvertently hack Shanavas to death. Vidya is left to fend for herself. Nowhere to go and penniless, she finds shelter at railway stations. One day, Vidya boards an autorickshaw and travels in it throughout the day. She absconds without paying the fare. The driver, Preman (Jayaram), thinks he has been cheated. He spots her a few days later and comes to know all about her. He takes her to his colony, only to be confronted by Shanavas family which wants to take possession of the child.

Jayaram is his usual self. Mamta Mohandas does not seem comfortable in the role. KPAC Lalitha, Mamukoya, Innocent, Chembil Asokan, Sreejith Ravi and Lekshmi Priya enliven the movie. Venu cranks the camera. Vayalar Sarathchandra Varmas lyrics are scored by Ilayaraja. Hariharan, Chitra, Karthik, Vijay Yesudas and Swetha have rendered the songs.

Northern Malabar in grief

KOZHIKODE/KANNUR: At least 50 of those killed in the Mangalore air crash on Saturday are believed to be Keralites, most of them from the northernmost districts of Kasaragod and Kannur. And most of them appeared to belong to the Muslim community. All day, the tragedy sent waves of shock, anxiety and grief through the area, which has several �Gulf pockets where the family breadwinners work in West Asia.

Kasaragod Collector Anand Singh told The Hindu from Mangalore on the phone that by evening as many as 38 of the bodies had been identified as those from Kerala. He indicated that 34 of them could be from Kasaragod district.

Going by the passenger manifest and information that was locally available, it could be surmised that the number could be upwards of 50, other official sources in Kerala said.

Through the day, large numbers of relatives of passengers were seen rushing to Mangalore. The stretch of National Highway 17 between Kasaragod and Mangalore saw an unusually high volume.

The region seemed to be bracing itself for receiving by Sunday the bodies of those killed.

As many as five of the seven persons who miraculously survived the accident were also identified as Keralites.

Kasaragod in mourning

KASARAGOD: Benur village at Perumbala near here is in deep distress, for two youths from there were among the passengers on board the Air India Express that crashed near the Mangalore airport on Saturday morning.

The sorrow of the village is representative of the mood in the entire district. A pall of grief hangs over the district as, according to unofficial reports, nearly 25 of the passengers in the crashed airplane are believed to be from Kasaragod.

The tragedy occurred at a most inopportune time for K. Abdulla and his wife, Ayisha, as they were making last-minute preparations for the wedding of their daughter, Raihana, on Sunday.

The household was in grief when the news of the plane crash reached Benur. Their son, Anwar Sadique, was among those who died in the crash.

He was to reach here along with his friend, Abdul Hakeem, to attend his sisters wedding. Working in Dubai for the past three years, he had come to his house on leave for two weeks last month. He was a bachelor.

�His body has been identified and will be brought to Benur around 8 p.m., informed his cousin M. Anwar Sadique. He said that the burial would take place in the local �khabarstan on Saturday night itself.

The nearby house of Abdul Hakeem wore a gloomy ambience. Father of two young children, Hafeeza and Haveeda, Hakeem had also been working in Dubai. His body, identified earlier, was brought to the village in the afternoon and was buried at around 6 p.m.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Air India crash: No distress signal from pilot before crash, say sources

The pilot-in-command of the Air India Express aircraft from Dubai that overshot the runway and crashed while landing at the Mangalore airport was reportedly Z Glucia, a Serbian national. He was assisted by first officer Capt S S Ahluwalia.

Mangalore airport has a table-top runway which means that it is located on a hill top, which demands accuracy with no room for error while landing. According to sources, the pilot did not report any malfunction to the Airport Traffic Control (ATC), before landing.

According to reports, Z Glucia was an experienced pilot and familiar with Mangalore terrain and had been on this route several times before. It was only after landing that things went horribly wrong. Thereafter, the plane overshot the runway and went straight into the valley and caught fire.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that there may have been a tyre burst, which made it difficult for the pilot to bring the aircraft to a halt.

Conserve environment, youth told

MALAPPURAM: Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Friday called upon the youth to take up protection of environment. �Environmental degradation is a major threat that would devastate the land. You should come forward to protect the environment, he told the youth while inaugurating the Kerala Youth Forum 2010 at the MSP grounds here.

�The youth should uphold environmental protection as a key agenda,� said Mr. Balakrishnan.

Actor Lakshmi Gopalaswami inaugurated the event. M. Ummer, MLA, presided. Minister for Sports and Youth Welfare M. Vijayakumar delivered the keynote address.

P. Sreeramakrishnan, vice-chairman of the Kerala State Youth Welfare Board, introduced the theme of Kerala Youth Forum 2010. Veekshanam Mohammed, Malappuram municipal vice-chairman, spoke. K.P. Anil, convener of Kerala Youth Forum 2010, proposed a vote of thanks.

No deal to re-enter party: Murali

Kozhikode: The former Congress leader K. Muraleedharan has denied reports that a deal has been struck to re-admit him to the Congress as AICC secretary.

He said he was for re-entering the party as an ordinary Congress worker and had no other demands to make to the Congress leadership.

Mr. Muraleedharan was addressing supporters from six north Kerala districts who came to participate in a meeting organised in connection with the 19th death anniversary of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He said the people had rejected the political alliances he had forg ed in the past and it was on their advice that he was now returning to the Congress

Government to write off loans

KOTTAYAM: The State government, as part of its fourth anniversary celebrations, would write off outstanding loans worth Rs.295 lakh availed from the Kerala State Development Corporation for Christian Converts from the Scheduled Castes and Recommended Communities Ltd.

The inauguration of the loan waiver will be held here on Saturday.

According to authorities, the entire amount for those who have availed of loans to the tune of Rs.25,000 and whose repayment date was closed on March 31, 2006, will be written off.

For those who have availed of loans more than Rs.25,000, the government will write off the loan amount, interest and penal interest to the tune of Rs.25,000 and the balance will be settled by the bank. This will provide the beneficiary a chance to close the account on a one-time settlement basis, the authorities said.

According to the Corporation authorities, nearly 1,000 families at the bottom of the social ladder will benefit from the loan waiver scheme.

Panchayat ward to grow paddy for Onam

KOLLAM: Minister for Food and Civil Supplies C. Divakaran will inaugurate the upland paddy cultivation scheme �A measure of rice for Onam in Ward number 16 of the Kulashekarapuram panchayat in Karunagapally taluk in the district on Saturday.

The scheme is being implemented by the Kulashekarapuram Krishi Bhavan and the panchayat.

Agricultural officer V.R. Binesh said the scheme was being implemented in 101.17 hectares and more than 10,000 kg of the Uma variety of paddy seed was being distributed for the purpose.

He said every family in the ward had a stake in the scheme. Apart from the traditional paddy fields in the area, fields lying fallow and land belonging to various schools and places of worship were being brought under the scheme. Kudumbasree members would lead the scheme. The ward had been divided into 10 clusters.

Mr. Binesh said the harvest would enable all families in the ward to enjoy their Onam meal with the rice cultivated under the scheme.

The primary aim of the scheme was to get the ward declared a total paddy cultivation ward

New chairman for NMGB

KANNUR: V.K. Saigal has taken charge as chairman of North Malabar Gramin Bank (NMGB) here.

Mr. Saigal had been working as Deputy General Manager of the recovery department at the Syndicate Bank corporate office before he took charge as chairman of NMGB here on May 20. A press release issued by NMGB here said his tenure as chairman would be two years.

Having joined the bank in 1977, Mr. Saigal had worked in various capacities in Port Blair, Kolkata, New Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai and Bangalore

Implement wage revision deal: Gramin bank staff

KANNUR: The All Kerala Gramin Bank Staff Federation (AKGBSF) has demanded immediate implementation of the ninth bipartite wage settlement signed between nine unions of staff in commercial banks and their managements.

AKGBSF general secretary C.C. Premaraj said in a statement here that the ninth bipartite wage revision agreement signed on April 27 last should be implemented in Gramin banks without any delay.

As per the National Industrial Tribunal award and Supreme Court directions, Gramin banks staff were also governed by the bipartite settlements in commercial banks, he said, adding that the entire wage revision under the bipartite agreement should be implemented in Gramin banks.

He also said it was the right time to settle the long-pending issue of parity in pension with that of commercial banks. The Gamin bank staff should be given the option to choose the pension facility as in the commercial banks by expediting the calculations by the Pension Actuary already appointed by the Central government.

Website on the works of Sree Narayana Guru

KOCHI: A website (www.gurudarsanam.com), a unique initiative conceived by the Edappally-based Guru Smarana Samithi with the support of Varkala Narayana Gurukulam and the Thrissur-based T.R. Raghavan Educational and Charitable Trust, was launched here by literary critic M.K. Sanoo on Friday.

From June, online classes on the works of Narayana Guru would be given through the website on the first Friday of every month

Animation seminar

KOCHI: A seminar on the forthcoming animation movie �Lava Kusa � The Warrior Twins adapted from the epic Ramayana will be held at Kaloor on Saturday from 10 a.m.

Experts from Rayudu Vision Media Limited (RVML), who have worked behind the movie, will attend the seminar throwing light on the techniques employed in the making of the film.

The seminar will be accompanied by a job fair where students and artists could showcase their animation prowess and skills before RVMLs recruitment team

Tributes paid to Bharat Gopi

KOCHI: It is not every day that retrospectives are organised for actors, as the role of an actor in a film is not properly analysed here, said actor Nedumudi Venu here on Friday.

He was delivering the commemorative lecture on Bharat Gopi, at the valedictory session of Mayfest � Bharat Gopi retrospective film festival. The five-day festival was organised by Traya in association with C-Hed of Kochi Corporation and Kerala Chalachitra Academy at Town Hall here.

Gopi was one of the rare actors who could employ stylisation in film acting, where realistic acting is demanded almost always and excelled in such situations as in the film Panchavadippalam. Ahead of the valedictory session, the short film Kelkunnundo? (Are you listening?), directed by Geetu Mohandas was screened, followed by an interaction with the filmmaker

Eight held on charge of gambling

KOCHI: The City Police arrested an eight-member group involved in gambling, one person for selling ganja and one for illegal transaction of money in different incidents from the city on Friday.

The gambling group was arrested from a bar hotel at Kadavanathra, where they had rented a room for nearly a month. The police confiscated Rs. 18,890 from the room.

Sajan, 38, Chanayil, Elamkulam; Ajayan, 48, Kottapurath, Chilavannur; Robert Jose, 38, Manappurath Thundiyil, Vrundavan Nagar, Vytilla; Vinod, 28, Chiramel, Chilavannur, Kadavanathra; Biju Thomas, 32, Madathil, Vandanmedu, Idukki; Mani, 49, K.K.F. Colony, Plot Number 220, Elamkulam; Sabu, 44, Poykkalanparambu, Panampilly Nagar, and Shaji, 39, Kuruvinanikkal, Elanji, Piravom, were arrested from the hotel room.

Centre\'s help sought for developing roads Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Minister for Transport Jose Thettayil said here on Friday that a practical solution had to be found to accommodate the increasing number of vehicles on roads in view of the State governments stance limiting the width of highways to about 30 metres.

He said the crisis can be overcome by seeking the Centres help to develop other prominent roads in the State. The National Highways passing through the State together constituted less than 1,000 km, whereas there were many other busy stretches that needed widening and upgrading, Mr. Thettayil said while addressing mediapersons at the Ernakulam Press Club on Friday.

Work on drinking water plant to begin soon

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Work on Kerala Water Authoritys first packaged drinking water plant will begin at Aruvikkara in Thiruvananthapuram district next month.

Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran said here on Friday that the project was being taken up in view of rising demand for bottled water.

The purpose is to provide quality water at fair price, he said. The project would not cause any environmental damage as it would use only surface water.

There was no move to exploit groundwater, he said adding that it would utilise surplus water after supply to the capital city.

Monsoon advances further

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The southwest monsoon is virtually at Keralas doorstep, with the development of a convective system over the southeast Arabian Sea and nearby Comorin area on Friday.

The India Meteorology Department (IMD), in its bulletin for the day, announced the further advancement of the monsoon from the southern tip of Sri Lanka to the Comorin area. The northern limit of the monsoon, arcing from southwest to northeast below the peninsula, was on Friday lying about 500 km to the south of Thiruvananthapuram.

The State continued to receive good rainfall on Friday under the distant spell of the cyclonic storm �Laila over the Bay of Bengal flank of the subcontinent. This system has weakened by degrees from the status of a �severe cyclonic storm to a �cyclone and then to a �deep depression and to �depression over the 24-hour period from Thursday noon. The depression lay centred at a point some 100 km inside the Andhra Pradesh coastline around noon on Friday.

Kudumbasree lending touches Rs.3,800 crore

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kudumbasree State Poverty Eradication Missions internal lending for its members and micro enterprises has reached a whopping Rs.3,800 crore over the last 12 years on a thrift fund base of Rs.1,300 crore.

The Kudumbasree Mission, which has turned 12 years, has also succeeded in channelising bank loans to the tune of Rs.995 crore for micro-enterprises under its umbrella.

As many as 1.40 lakh out of the 2 lakh Neighbourhood Groups under the mission have benefited from the credit facilities extended by it. The missions experience with loan repayment was also impressive with individual members, micro-enterprises and Neighbourhood Groups registering 90 to 100 per cent repayment rate, Local Self-Government Minister Paloli Mohammed Kutty and Kudumbasree Mission director Sarada Muraleedharan told a news conference here on Friday.

The Minister said the mission had spent Rs.121.88 crore on poverty eradication during 2009-10, more than double the amount spent during the previous year. Under the �Ashraya scheme, the mission was able to ensure rehabilitation of as many as 68,385 abjectly poor persons at a total expenditure of Rs.75.66 crore

Gang leader denied bail

Thiruvananthapuram: District judge K. Ramakrishnan has denied bail to gang leader Om Prakash who is facing trial in at least two murder cases and is at present under detention at the Central Prison, Poojappura, as per the provisions of the Kerala Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act (KAPA).

Om Prakash is facing trial primarily on the charge of plotting the gangland murder of the Kazhakkuttom-based gangster Aprani Krishnakumar in 2007. He is also wanted on the charge of destroying evidence in the Paul Muthoot George murder case in 2009.

Om Prakashs counsel argued that the accused was implicated in the murder case on the basis of some alleged mobile calls and all the other accused in the case, except his client, had been released on bail. Om Prakashs custody was not required as the investigation in the case was over.

Public prosecutor Kulathoor S.V. Premkumaran Nair opposed the plea stating that the trial in the case was yet to commence and Om Prakash would threaten witnesses if released on bail.

Pre-monsoon cleaning drive from next week

Thiruvananthapuram: The City Corporation is preparing to launch a pre-monsoon cleaning drive and a mass campaign to create public awareness of vector control and prevention of epidemics.

Mayor C. Jayan Babu told a press conference here on Friday that the campaign, organised in association with the Department of Health, would focus on the Four Plus strategy to prevent dengue fever, chikungunya, malaria and leptospirosis. He said the thrust of the programme would be on ensuring public participation.

Vehicle rallies would be taken out in all the wards to drive home the message of sanitation and prevention of epidemics. Brochures would be distributed to all households and commercial establishments and slides will be exhibited at all cinema theatres.

Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran will inaugurate the vehicle rallies and awareness drive on May 27.

Vigilance probe against DIG

Thrissur: Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge (Vigilance) N. Rajagopalan has ordered an investigation into an allegation of cheating against S. Sreejith, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Crime Branch, by a former friend.

The judge on Friday directed the Director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau, Thiruvananthapuram, to investigate a complaint filed by Mr. Sreejiths friend Ramesh Nambiar that the DIG had withdrawn Rs.40 lakh from his bank account when he was City Police Commissioner in Kozhikode.

The complainant pointed out that the money withdrawn by the DIG was his retirement benefits and insurance money.

The judge, while considering the petition, directed that a copy of the complaint be forwarded to the Director, Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) for investigation under Section 156 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Custody death: Dy.SP, CI suspended

PALAKKAD: Deputy Superintendent of Police of Palakkad C.K. Ramachandran and Town North police station Circle Inspector A. Vipindas were suspended from service on Thursday by Director-General of Police Jacob Punnoose as their names were included in the list of accused by the Crime Branch investigating the custodial death of Sampath, first accused in the Puthur Sheela murder case.

Kumbhabhishekam at Kalady tomorrow

Nedumbassery: Jagadguru Sankaracharya Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji, chief of the Sringeri Math, on Sunday will perform the Kumbhabhishekam ceremonies of Goddess Sharadamba and Sri Adi Sankara temples in Kalady, the birth place of Adi Sankara.

Arrangements are in full swing for the ceremony on Sunday and the area has been spruced up to accommodate the large number of devotees expected to take part in the event.

The construction of a temple tower (gopuram) on the western side of the Sree Adi Sankara Janmabhoomi temple has also been completed.

On Friday, a group of 20 Vedic scholars led by Seetharama Bhatta Sashthri, in the presence of the Jagadguru, launched the preparatory ceremonies for the mega event - held every 12 years.

The proceedings began at 7.30 a.m. with the rites of Sthalashudhi, Dravyashudhi and Atmashudhi.

World Cup set to send television sales through the roof

With less than three weeks left for one of the biggest sporting events in the world to get under way in the far away Africa, footballs fans in the city are gearing up to spend a month-long of sleepless nights glued to television sets even though their own country will not be anywhere near the scene.

Gauging the mood, companies dealing in television are busy giving final touches to their tantalising offers and building up stock levels to transform that excitement into windfall sales.

�Football World Cup records the biggest sales next only to Onam. The sale is expected to go up by two to three times during the World Cup, said V.A. Ajmal, managing director of an outlet selling electronic appliances in the city.

Already, some popular brands have come out with attractive World Cup offers like scratch cards with assured gifts, while others are in the process of finalising their offers. �We are yet to decide on our offers like whether it should be an exchange offer to replace old television sets with new ones or scratch cards or something else. A clear picture should evolve within a couple of days,� said Vinod Kumar, zonal head of a popular company. He, however, has no doubt that whatever be the nature of the offers, sales during the World Cup would go up by three to four times.

Indian foreign exchange reserves will not be hit: RBI

Euro was only a small component in forex, RBI deputy governor KC Chakrabarty said today.

We are not much concerned. Dollar is strengthening against all currencies, including Rupee. So there is no concern at the moment, Chakrabarty told reporters on the sidelines of a function here when asked if the Greek debt crisis affecting markets world wide would impact India.

In rupee terms, our reserves are going up. Our major reserves are always in dollar. How we are going to manage the currency, it is not an issue of public debate, he said.

On lendings to MSME sector in Kerala, Chakrabarty said he was not happy.

Reminiscences of MDR

�MDR was a musician among musicians of the last century. My association with MDR began in June 1966 when I joined Kalakshetra for music training at the age of 15. That is, soon after my schooling at Alathur in Palakkad district, remembers P.P. Ramakrishnan, former Principal of Chembai Memorial Government Music College. Memories of his illustrious teacher overwhelm the vocalist, violinist and musicologist who now lives in Thiruvananthapuram. Excerpts from an interview�

Wipro to give priority to BPO ventures in Kerala

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA: Wipro chairman Azim Premji said that Wipro would expand its campus in Kochi and give priority to BPO ventures related to the law and finance in the state.

Premji made this promise in a meeting with Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan here on Thursday.

The Wipro chairman, who was in Thiruvananthapuram for the RBI Central Board meeting, also led a small delegation to meet the Chief Minister, who handles the IT portfolio in the state.

In response to the Wipro chairmans suggestion that the government should make sure that police aid post and police patrolling are implemented in Kochi Infopark so that the customers in the West would have more confidence in the facility, the Chief Minister promised that he would take necessary actions in this regard.

Wipro has completed the construction of a million square feel building in the 25-acre Kochi campus and 1900 people are already working there, said Premji.

�CyberMedia News

Kerala to get Veluthampi\'s sword for a year

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The National Museum has accepted Keralas long-pending demand to get for one year the sword of 19th century patriot Veluthampi Dalava, who laid down his life resisting the British hegemony in the princely state of Travancore in the early 19th century. State Education and Culture Minister M A Baby said he had recently received a formal communication in this regard from Prime Ministers Principal Secretary T K A Nair.

A detailed plan on exhibiting the sword in various places across the state would be worked out soon, a spokesperson for the minister told PTI. Veluthampi(1756-1809) rose from lower ranks of administration to become the Dalava (Chief Minister) of the royal state in 1801.Right from the start, he had fearlessly fought corruption in high places and was known for his pro-people position.

Turmeric up on bargain buying; jeera on

MUMBAI: Indias turmeric futures rose over 3 percent on Friday on bargain buying triggered by a decline in arrivals and spot demand, analysts said. Trend is firm. Arrivals have come down. June contract may jump to 14,900 rupees per 100 kg in short term, said Sudha R. Acharya, analyst at Kotak Commodities Services Ltd.

The most active June turmeric was up 3.53 percent at 14,485 rupees per 100 kg. In Nizamabad, a major spot market in Andhra Pradesh, turmeric traded steady at 14,718 rupees per 100 kg. Turmeric exports in February 2010 stood at 2,500 tonnes, down 19 percent from a year ago, according to data from the Spices Board.

Sandhya goes back to Malayalam?

By Moviebuzz | Friday, 21 May , 2010, 11:59

When the going is tough the tough gets going!

Sandhya, better known as Kadhal Sandhya is plainly unlucky in terms of big films, heroes and banners in Kollywood. In spite of being a fine actress with grasp over the language, film makers are avoiding her and going for glamour girls from Mumbai and neighbouring states.

Sandhya tried her luck in Kannada with Aaptha Rakshaka but inspite of the film turning out to be a blockbuster, she did not get the credit for it. Director P.Vasu who was singing hosannas about her performance did not repeat her in the Telugu version of the film and instead took another actress to do the same role.

Now Sandhya has no films on hand in all the three languages and she has gone to Malayalam where she has started work on a new film titled College Days with Indrajeet as hero.

Seafood exports rise in Kerala

Kochi, May 21 (ANI): Seafood exports from Kerala have crossed the two billion dollar mark.

Buzz up!

We are happy to say that we have crossed the two billion US dollar mark, said Leena Nair, Chairperson of Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) Frozen shrimp accounted for 41.74 per cent of earnings.

Fish, has retained its position as the principal export item in quantity terms and the second largest export item in value terms. It accounted for a share of about 38.37 per cent in quantity and 20.09 per cent in US dollar earnings.

Exports aggregated to 663603 tonnes valued at Rs. 9921.46 crore and 2105.60 million dollars.

Two more cops suspended in custodial death case in Kerala

Palakkad(Ker): Two more cops, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police, have been placed under suspension in connection with alleged custodial death of a person in March.

DYSP CK Ramachandran and Town Circle Inspector Vipindas, were suspended after their names were included in the list of accused in the case investigated by Crime Branch, official sources said today.

Twelve policemen, two of them sub-inspectors and an assistant sub-inspector, who figured as accused in the case , were suspended earlier this week.

Laila may delay monsoon onset over Kerala, says IMD chief

Cyclone Laila, which is currently just off the coast of Andhra Pradesh, could delay the onset of the southwest monsoon over Kerala, Ajit Tyagi, Director General of the India Meteorological Department, said today.

�It (Laila) may have some bearing on the onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala, but we will check moisture content in air, wind speed and sub surface sea temperature over Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal before we can spell out the exact impact, said Tyagi.

He said the storm is likely to fizzle out by May 24-25, after which the Met would check weather parameters to reassess the status of southwest monsoon.

The Met department had announced onset of southwest monsoon rains over Kerala around May 30 and expects monsoon rains to be �normal� at 98 per cent of the long period average.

Met department officials said the cyclone may delay onset of monsoon rains as �Laila seems to be heading north.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sarma seeks consensus

KALPETTA: Fisheries and Registration Minister S. Sarma has called for consensus among political parties to carry forward development activities in the State.

He was addressing the public after laying the foundation stone for a bus bay-cum shopping complex of the Muttil grama panchayat at Muttil in the district on Thursday.

�Criticism against the government is quite natural but those who are raising criticism should show the willingness to accept the development projects of the government too, Mr. Sarma said. The public should assess the government on the basis of their own experience instead following the opinion of political leaders, he said.

M.V. Sreyamskumar, MLA, presided

Bid to destroy secular fabric: Kodiyeri

ALAPPUZHA: Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said that a new political equation, where religious leaders would have the upper-hand, was being given shape in the State. Inaugurating the district-level celebrations of the Left Democratic Front governments fourth anniversary at Thiruvambady near here, Mr. Balakrishnan said the merger of the K.M. Mani-P.J. Joseph factions of the Kerala Congress was proof for this.

A particular section of Christian religious leaders was behind this newly-forged friendship, which was being done with the sole intention of giving these religious leaders a say in the political affairs of the State, he said.

Music workshop

KOCHI: A music workshop, conducted by veteran music director, Jerry Amaldev, will be held at Gokulam Park on May 22 from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Participants will be classified on the basis of their quality of voice. They will be guided on how to appreciate and listen to music.

The workshop is an attempt to spread awareness about the importance of �live music as opposed to electronic music. For more details, contact Joe - 94473 02642/Elzaba - 94463 58688

Boys shine in Cusat CAT

KOCHI: Rohan K. Baby (Chennai) and Jacob Mathew (Ernakulam) came first and second in the Common Admission Test (CAT) conducted by the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) for admission to its B.Tech programmes.

Kavya Sudhir (Kozhikode) won the third rank while P.V.K. Kiran (Kannur) and Ashok Pancily Poothiyot (Pathanamthitta) bagged the fourth and fifth rank respectively.

A total of 36,657 candidates had appeared for the test held at 79 centres

Get paid to keep your mangroves

KOCHI: How about earning a little money for not destroying the mangrove in your backyard?

Well, the Forest Department is willing to pay you for conserving your mangroves � which help to fight off tsunamis and provide breeding grounds for fish.

The department, in its attempts to conserve biological diversity outside forests, has thought up a scheme to compensate the owners of mangroves for taking care of them � at the rate of Rs.4,000 an acre a year. Even if you have only a small stretch of mangrove forest, say 10 or 20 cents, you will still get paid depending on its extent.

B.S. Corrie, Chief Conservator of Forests (Biodiversity cell), told The Hindu that the scheme would be launched in a month and he hoped that it would help check the mindless destruction of mangroves along the States coastal and brackish-water regions. The department would help with planting of seedlings. Because of the uniqueness of mangrove ecosystems, such incentive schemes have been in place in countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil.

Elathalam artiste honoured

KOCHI: A refined and mathematically choreographed symphony dominated by percussion instruments is the hallmark of Kerala music. �Elathalam, though considered as playing the second fiddle to other instruments, emphatically gives life and vigour to the Kerala art.

This idiophone instrument helps in ornamentation and orchestration, whether it is used during a ritualistic occasion or while performing melam, says K. Narayanan of the Kshethra Kalaaswadaka Samithi of Kalady.

One of the leading performers of this instrument, Maniyamparambil Mani turned 60 on May 11. Born at Cherpu, Thrissur district, he was initiated into the world of percussion at a very early age and made his debut at the age of 13. His performance is characterised by the clarity of the beats during three or four hours of the melam. The good rapport he has with the pramani (helmsman) adds flavour to the orchestra. His commitment to the art form and the confident and simple style make him dear to performers and rasikas.

Child-friendly wards soon

Thiruvananthapuram: Special child-friendly wards would be set up in district/general hospitals and the medical college hospitals for the treatment of children below 18 years of age, Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy has said.

She was inaugurating a new building of the Child Development Centre (CDC) on the Medical College campus here on Thursday.

She said that the government had in the past three months spent over Rs.2 crore for providing free treatment to children with diseases like cancer, under the schemes �Thaalolam and �Asha Kiranam

Industrial resource centre opened

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has held preliminary discussions with Tamil Nadu for developing the Kochi-Coimbatore industrial corridor, Industries Minister Elamaram Karim has said.

Inaugurating a National Resource Centre for Industrial Development to facilitate dissemination of information regarding the industries sector to stakeholders here on Thursday, Mr. Karim said the discussions were held to set up a combined agency for developing the proposed corridor.

On completion, this would trigger development in Coimbatore, Kanjiikode and around Thrissur and Kochi

Kuttiyadi project to be commissioned on May 23

Thiruvananthapuram : Minister for Power and Welfare of Scheduled and Backward Communities A.K. Balan on Thursday announced a slew of anniversary projects, including the commissioning of the 100-MW Kuttiyadi additional extension project on May 23.

Addressing the media here to brief his departments achievements on the fourth anniversary of the Left Democratic Front government, Mr. Balan said with the launch of the Kuttiyadi scheme, the State would have 196 MW ad

ded to its installed capacity . By the end of the current financial year, another 8 MW would be added, bringing the total to 204 MW.

The Minister said work on 20 hydroelectric schemes with a total capacity of 200 MW would be launched this year

Painting a world record

Thiruvananthapuram: Marthandam Rajasekharan is equally at ease working with a film crew or wielding the brush. The art director-cum-painter now has a new reason to feel proud. He has just made it to the Limca Book of Records for creating the worlds largest easel painting.

Located at Neyyatinkara on the side of the Thiruvananthapuram- Kanyakumary National Highway, the easel is 56.5 feet tall and 31 feet wide and features a portrait of former Chief Minister E.M.S.Namboodiripad. The portrait itself is 25 feet high and 50 feet wide. Though the painting was completed in five days in April 2008, the easel was erected in about two months

Kudumbasree spending more than doubles

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kudumbasree State Poverty Eradication Mission has more than doubled its spending on poverty-eradication initiatives, disbursing Rs.121.88 crore during the financial year 2009-10 against Rs.50.48 crore spent during the previous year, a Kudumbasree release said here on Tuesday.

The mission, which turned 12 on Tuesday, supported 7,649 micro enterprises with subsidy support totalling Rs.26.02 crore during the year, setting another record, it said.

Ernakulam topped the districts in poverty-eradication initiatives distributing Rs.15.57 crore among various enterprises. Kudumbasree brought into the market over 130 products.

Islamic banking not feasible now: RBI

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor D. Subbarao has said the current banking regulations in the country do not allow the setting up of a bank in consonance with the Shariat.

He stated this at a brief interface he had with the media here on Thursday after a central board meeting of the bank, which reviewed key economic, monetary and financial developments in the country and outside.

Confining his address mainly to the Kerala-specific issues he had discussed with the Chief Minister and the Finance Minister the previous day, Dr. Subbarao said Kerala wanted a further improvement in the flow of bank credit to small and medium enterprises. A special meeting of the State Level Bankers Committee would be called in Thiruvananthapuram to discuss what should be done to achieve this. The Chief Minister had agreed to chair that meeting, he said.

Referring to the concept of a bank under the Shariat principles (which, among other things, meant the disbursement of no-interest loans), he said the interest of the depositors had to be protected under the current banking regulations. The setting up of a bank on these principles would require the support of new legislation

Lifeline for Ashoka

KOLLAM: The Forest Department has launched a programme to protect, conserve and propagate the Ashoka tree ( Saraca asoca) that faces the threat of extinction.

The programme has been launched taking into consideration the environmental and medicinal importance of the tree. The department will request people having an Ashoka tree in their garden/ compound to inform the department if the tree has started producing seeds. The tree usually flowers from February to April and starts producing seeds in May. The seeds usually go waste. The attempt of the department is to collect the seeds from individual houses and propagate them. The saplings will be distributed to the people and propagated under the social forestry programme and inside forests

�Steps on for mining sand in three Idukki reservoirs

KATTAPPANA: A survey has been conducted for mining sand from the Lower Periyar, the Kallarkutty and the Idukki reservoirs as part of the State governments plan to restore much of the capacity of the reservoirs lost to silt-up and to release scarce sand to the construction sector. The sand from the three dams is expected to fetch the government about Rs.300 crore.

Travancore Cements has been assigned the mining work and technologically advanced methods will have to be used to dredge up silt. Earlier, officials of the Mining and Geology Department had surveyed the dam areas to collect details of the accumulated sand.

Sources said four agencies had approached Travancore Cements for sanction to conduct mining and the work would be allotted on getting the final sanction from the government. At present, a Gujarat-based company was conducting trial mining in the Lower Periyar dam area. The sand-mining possibilities in the Kallarkutty and the Lower Periyar dams were explored by a team, led by Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, on April 2. This was followed by a study by officials of Travancore Cements with the help of those of the Revenue Department and the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).

�Laila\' brings rain ahead of monsoon

The skies opened up over the State ahead of schedule. Its �Laila, a severe cyclonic storm, which was formed over the west-central and adjoining southwest of the Bay of Bengal, that has brought rain in advance to the State. Kerala still has to wait for nearly 10 more days for the onset of the Southwest monsoon, according to weathermen.

Kochi too had its share of rain during the past few days. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) data, Kochi received 20.8 mm rain during the past 24 hours. The rainfall figures for the week ending May 19 was 17 mm.

The IMD has predicted that �the date of onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala is likely to be on 30th May with a model error of four days. It means that on any day from May 26, the �Edavapathy rain can set in. As per the Malayalam calendar, �Edavapathy (mid-Edavam) falls on May 29 this year.

Talks on width of NHs inconclusive

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The development of National Highway 47 and 17 in Kerala is likely to be delayed as no agreement could be reached between the State and the Centre on the width of the highways.

During a discussion, Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways R.P.N. Singh and Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan had here on Thursday, the latter stuck to the stand that the width should not exceed 30.5 metres because of difficulties in land acquisition in the State. The Union Minister maintained that a minimum of 45 metres was required for safety aspects. Mr. Singh and officials from the National Highways Authority of India had arrived here for talks following a representation made by an all-party delegation from the State to the Prime Minister seeking reduction of width for the highways.

Though the Central team raised the issue of developing 45-metre-wide highways on stretches where land had already been acquired, the State government did not agree to the proposal. It maintained that the State could not waver from the decision of an all-party meeting that the width should not exceed 30.5 metres. So, Mr. Singh proposed further discussions.

Mr. Singh told the media after the meeting that the Central team had put up a proposal for the State to consider. Its response to the proposal would be awaited. He said the Central norm for development of highways was 60 metres. However, considering the population density near highways in Kerala, the width was allowed to be reduced to 45 metres. It was necessary for the highways to have medians and service roads for safety.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Probe on into train food poisoning incident

Kozhikode: The Railway police here have started investigation into the food poisoning case aboard the Hazrat Nizamuddin-Ernakulam Duronto Express.

Cases have been registered under Section 273 (sale of noxious food or drink) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 153 (endangering safety of person travelling by railway by wilful act) of the Indian Railway Act against the contractor and workers of the pantry car of the train and officials of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Ltd.

The samples of the food served to passengers on the train have been sent for chemical examination. The results are awaited, the police said.

Nineteen passengers, including eight children, were admitted to Government General Hospital here on Monday after they complained of nausea and stomach ache.

At least 30 passengers developed symptoms of food poisoning. They had taken non-vegetarian food for breakfast, including bread, butter and omelette

Plea for Oil Palm India headquarters in Kollam

KOLLAM: Bharatheepuram Sasi, Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) leader and former chairman of the public sector Oil Palm India Limited (OPIL), has registered his protest against the decision to construct the headquarters for OPIL in Kottayam.

In a statement here on Wednesday, Mr. Sasi said that Kottayam was too far from where the OPIL estates and factories were located in Kollam. The foundation stone for the headquarters will be laid in Kottayam on May 24. Mr. Sasi, who is also president of pro-INTUC workers and staff unions in OPIL, said his unions would boycott the stone-laying function. The INTUC will organise a mass movement against the move. He alleged that the Communist Party of India had vested interests in the decision. Over 10,000 acres of OPILs estates are in the eastern sectors of Kollam district. The majority of the workers and staff want the headquarters either at Punalur or in Kollam city

VS highlights feats of LDF

KOLLAM: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has said the numerous welfare measures taken by the Left Democratic Front government during the past four years to mitigate the problems of all sections of people pose a major challenge not only to the United Democratic Front but also to the United Progressive Alliance.

Mr. Achuthanandan was inaugurating a public meeting organised here on Wednesday by the district unit of the LDF to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the LDF government.

One of the first steps taken by the government was to save the farmers from debts and through that turn them away from the path of suicides. When the LDF government came to power, 1,500 farmers had committed suicide during the previous UDF rule. The LDF government not only gave Rs.50,000 as relief to the dependants of those farmers who committed suicide but also took steps to write off the loans taken by all farmers. A Farmers Debt Relief Commission was constituted for the purpose.

The government soon announced interest free-loans to the farmers for all farming activities. This was because interest was the biggest problem faced by farmers who had availed loans, the Chief Minister said.

Kottiyur fete

KANNUR: All arrangements have been made at Kottiyur here for this years �Vaishakha Maholsavam at the Kottiyur temple, beginning on May 26.

Kottiyur Devaswom chairman T. Balan Nair and executive officer O.V. Rajan said here that steps were under way for ensuring more facilities this time for devotees visiting the temple during the festival. They said arrangements had been made at the Sree Kunden Vaikundam Vishnu temple at Manathana for the devotees to take rest and park their vehicles.

They also said construction of a Rs.58-lakh building for providing facilities for the devotees to take rest during their visit to the temple during the festival was under way. A new open well had been dug to ensure that the devotees were not hit by drinking water shortage

AKS to resist eviction of Adivasis

KALPETTA: Attempts by the district administration and the police to evict the tribal people from encroached land in different parts of Wayanad district will be resisted under the aegis of the Adivasi Kshema Samithi (AKS) with public support, K.C. Kunchiraman, AKS State secretary, and C.K. Saseendran, Bhoosamara Sahaya Samithi convener and Communist Party of India (Marxist) district secretary, told presspersons here on Wednesday.

They said the court that directed officials to evict those landless tribal people should say where to accommodate them.

They said the tribal people had encroached upon only illegally possessed land of big planters.

Central team assesses losses in Mavelikara

ALAPPUZHA: A Central team on Wednesday visited the Mavelikara region, where rains had caused widespread agriculture and property loss in February and March, to assess the damage.

The two-member team, comprising Agriculture and Cooperative Department Joint Secretary Atanu Purkayastha and Under-Secretary S. Janaki Raman, visited agriculture areas in Thazhakara, Thannimukku and Peruvelichal in Mavelikara to evaluate the damage.

They held meetings with district officials at the Collectorate later in the day.

Vembanad fish count on May 31

ALAPPUZHA: The third annual fish count in the Vembanad Lake, a participatory fishery resource inventory and monitoring process initiated by the Bangalore-based Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), will be held on May 31.

According to a press release, the Vembanad wetlands, which fosters high biodiversity and substantially supports rural livelihoods, has its environmental conditions in steady decline due to various human activities, which in turn has led to a crisis in livelihoods for dependent communities.

Depletion of fishery resources has changed this �inland fish basket into an �inland waste basket, driving the fishing community, the primary stakeholder of the lake to a livelihood crisis.

The fish count is being conducted with the intention of regaining the participatory methods in lake management and to enhance cooperation between various stakeholders, Government departments, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions and to create awareness about the state of fishery resources of the lake, the release said.

Women\'s Science Congress

KOCHI: Mayor Mercy Williams has said that scientific knowledge should help contribute to overcome the problems of day-to-day life.

Delivering the inaugural address at a function organised as a curtain raiser to the first Kerala Womens Science Congress to be held at St. Teresas College from August 10 to 12 here on Wednesday, Ms. Williams said that women scientists can orient the women in society to contribute to reduce todays burning problems of climate change and global warming.

Fishing boat rescued

Kochi: INS Bangaram, keeping vigil off the Kerala coast, responded to a distress call from a stranded fishing boat and towed it to safety off the Kochi harbour early Wednesday morning.

The boat, Infant Jesus, operating from Mattancherry, had been drifting in high seas since Sunday after it lost propulsion due to a defective gearbox. The naval ship located the boat about 65 km off the Alappuzha coast, with seven personnel onboard, at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Naval personnel embarked the boat and engaged the tow. The crew was administered medical care and provided with nourishment.

Temple aid for the poor and ill

KOCHI: As part of extending its charitable services, the temple trust committee of the Thiruvairanikulam Mahadeva Temple at Aluva has decided to grant a monthly financial assistance of not less than Rs. 300 to the destitute afflicted with serious diseases and those from the lowest strata of society without the means to manage their day-to-day life within the limits of the Sreemoolanagaram panchayat. Besides, 5 kg of rice would be distributed free every month to poor families residing adjacent to the temple, P.K. Venugopal, president of the temple trust, and M.K. Das, secretary, told a press conference here on Wednesday.

Call to women scientists

KOCHI: Mayor Mercy Williams has said that scientific knowledge should help to overcome the problems of day-to-day life.

Delivering the inaugural address at a function organised here on Wednesday as a curtain raiser to the first Kerala Womens Science Congress to be held at St. Teresas College from August 10 to 12, Ms. Williams said that women scientists can orient the women in society to contribute to reduce todays burning problems of climate change and global warming.

Delivering the keynote address M. Leelavathy, noted literary critic, said that determination and confidence would lead women to great scientific achievements. Sister Christabelle, Principal of St. Teresas College, presided. C.P. Tara, Founder President of Shakti, a movement of women, spoke about the aim of the conference and the initiatives of the organisation in women empowerment

Seaview employees visit Abhayagramam

Thiruvananthapuram: It was not a beach resort or a hill station that the employees of Seaview, a Technopark-based BPO company, chose for their weekend outing. On Sunday, they visited the sprawling premises of the Abhayagramam in Thachottukavu, Peyad on the outskirts of the city and interacted with the mentally challenged inmates, alcohol addicts undergoing rehabilitation and the girl children of socially rejected women.

The visit was organised as part of a corporate social responsibility programme undertaken by the employees.

SeaViews social welfare committee �Reach donated uniforms, bags, geometry boxes, books and pens to about 60 girl students housed at Abhayagramam.

Cultural programmes were presented by the inmates of Abhayabala.

City waits for KSRTC services

KOCHI: �It should have come long back, was how Kochiites received Transport Minister Jose Thettayils assurance on Tuesday to launch bus services in the city shortly.

Simi, a law college student, has no doubt that she would prefer KSRTC service over private bus for her daily trip to attend classes. Her preference was rooted on the sense of insecurity girls feel while travelling in congested private buses.

�Apart from the eve teasers who try to take advantage of the crowded atmosphere, sometimes we have also look out for the bus employees themselves who are no different in their intentions,� she said. She was confident that whatever complaints that might be raised against KSRTC service, unacceptable behaviour by its employees would not be among them.

One other reason the public in general and commuters in specific cited while welcoming the entry of KSRTC into city roads was the perceived arrogance of the private bus operators and the dangerous manner in which they manoeuvre buses through the city roads.

Good show by CBSE schools in Ernakulam

KOCHI: Schools in Ernakulam district posted good results in the Class XII examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the results of which were declared on Wednesday. Majority of the schools registered 100 per cent pass in the examination. Rajagiri Public School at Kalamassery won 107 distinctions. Sarab John topped the science stream in the school-level with 96.8 per cent marks. Ashka P. Kumar emerged first in commerce stream with 95.6 per cent marks.

Assisi Vidyaniketan Public School at Chembumukku won 66 distinctions. Johns Rippon topped science stream with 95 per cent marks. Geethanjali Elizabeth topped commerce stream with 93 per cent marks.

Toc H Public School won 86 distinctions. Maria Mathew topped science stream with 96 per cent marks. Jennie Jan Mervin topped commerce stream with 96.2 per cent marks.

Nava Nirman Public School at Vazhakkala won 30 distinctions. Harishankar M. Menon topped with 95 per cent marks.

Greets Public School won 36 distinctions. Christina Jacob topped science stream with 94 per cent marks. Babina K Baburajan topped commerce stream with 86.2 per cent marks.

Delta Study at Fort Kochi won 32 distinctions. Shruthi Bhat topped science stream with 94.2 per cent marks. Varsha Pramod topped commerce stream with 95.6 marks.

Applications invited

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Applications have been invited for admission to the M.Phil course in Bioinformatics at the Centre for Bioinformatics of Kerala University.

The one-year programme is open to those who have completed masters degree in computer science, life sciences, mathematics, engineering, bioinformatics and in allied subjects such as M.Sc, M.Tech, MCA, M.Sc Agriculture, M.Pharm and MD.

Details can be had from the website ww.cbi.keralauniversity.edu or by sending an email to admission.cbi@gmail.com.

Accentia to enter LPO domain

Thiruvananthapuram: Accentia Technologies, a Technopark-based company specialising in Healthcare Receivables Cycle Management (HRCM), has announced its decision to enter the legal process outsourcing (LPO) domain.

A release here on Tuesday said the company had plans to acquire firms with operations in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada.

Accentia would generate 3,500 more employment opportunities over the next 18 months, said Pradeep Viswambharan, CEO, Accentia. This would include around 500 law school graduates for its LPO division, Mr. Viswambharan said.

Ambulance service for all districts soon

Thiruvananthapuram: Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said here on Wednesday that the government would introduce advanced life-saving ambulances in all districts to handle medical emergency and ensure speedy assistance for road accident victims.

He was delivering the inaugural address at the Central Stadium to flag off a fleet of 25 ambulances under the Kerala Emergency Medical Services Project (KEMP).

The Minister said the vehicles would be manned by trained medical staff and equipped with emergency medical care facilities and life support systems.

�The delay in reaching accident site and providing medical care often erupts into a law and order problem. The ambulance service is designed to ensure speedy medical assistance and thereby avoid such incidents, Mr. Balakrishnan said,

�Laila\' to bring in more rain

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The cyclonic storm �Laila in the Bay of Bengal gained in strength overnight and spun closer to the eastern coast of the country to lie centred around a point some 150 km northeast of Chennai on Wednesday afternoon, sucking into its vortex the rainclouds of the entire seas around.

Satellite picture on Wednesday showed the outer bands of the cyclone circling from north to south tangential to the Kerala coast and not the ideal southwesterly or westerly direction that could send the clouds thudding into the Western Ghats to bring heavy rainfall in the State.

The pressure charts of the India Meteorology Department on Wednesday, however, showed an atmospheric trough looping from the near offshore regions into the hinterlands of the State and this is as ideal condition for precipitation.

Centre may pressure Kerala on 45-metre width for two NHs

Thiruvananthapuram: The Centre is likely to put pressure on the Kerala government to agree to retain the stipulated 45-metre width for the development of the two national highways.

Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways R.P.N. Singh and a delegation of officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) are slated to hold discussion with the Chief Minister and State officials here on Thursday as a follow-up of the recent visit to Delhi of an all-party delegation, led by the Chief Minister.

According to information available here, the NHAI has taken the position that the width of the national highway cannot be reduced to 30 metres owing to technical problems related to road construction.

The State had witnessed agitations against the widening of the national highway, following which the Chief Minister convened an all-party meeting.

VSSC scientist couple killed in road accident

Thiruvananthapuram: A husband and wife, both senior scientists of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) here, were killed when the car in which they were travelling collided with a mini-lorry on the National Highway near the Asan Memorial at Thonnakkal here on Wednesday afternoon.

The police identified the deceased as Dr. V.R. Ravindran, Head, Non Destructive Testing and Analytical division of the Rocket Propellant Plant, and his wife, Dr. Sudha, scientist in the ITM (Ionosphere, Thermosphere, Magnetosphere) branch of the Space Physics Laboratory.

The couple were driving down from Kozhikode after attending the funeral rites of Dr. Sudhas mother. Dr. Ravindran, a reputed scientist in his field of work, is a resident of Cherai in Ernakulam.

The police said the Hyundai Santro car collided head on with a mini lorry bearing Tamil Nadu registration number at around 2.45 p.m.

The lorry driver, Veerabhadran, a native of Tamil Nadu, has been admitted to the Medical College Hospital with minor injuries. The police have booked him on the charge of rash and negligent driving and man slaughter.

An official said as it was raining in the afternoon, visibility was bad and the road was slippery near the accident site. The police were also investigating whether driver fatigue had caused the accident. The couple showed signs of life when the police and local people extricated them out of their mangled car. The police said the couple died while being taken to the Medical College Hospital. The couple were living in Nikunjam apartments near Kannanmoola. Their daughter Reshmi survives them. She recently completed her bachelors degree in architectural engineering from the Regional Engineering College, Thrissur.

The bodies will be handed over to relatives after post-mortem examination on Thursday.

Dial 108 for emergency medical help

Thiruvananthapuram: The 25 ambulance vehicles that were pressed into service here under the Kerala Emergency Medical Services Project (KEMP) feature advanced life support systems and facilities to handle a range of medical emergencies.

Launched as a public private partnership scheme, the project uses state- of- the- art technology to monitor and control the fleet. A computerised emergency response centre has been set up on the Technopark campus. It utilises Voice Logger System, Geographic Information System (GIS) maps, Geographic Positioning System (GPS), automatic vehicle tracking and mobile communication system. A citizen can make use of the emergency service by dialling the toll free number 108. The ambulances will be parked at 25 hospitals across the district to provide round-the-clock pre-hospital service.

They are equipped with refrigerated medicines and sophisticated equipment like defibrillator, patient monitor, ventilator, foetal monitor, syringe pump, pulse oxymeter, battery-operated suction apparatus, nebulizer and oxygen cylinders to handle trauma, cardiac and labour emergencies. They also have rescue tools to cut open debris and extricate victims involved in a crash or fire.

The trauma equipment available in the ambulances

State for Kanjikode coach factory in public sector

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Cabinet decided on Wednesday to urge Railways to have the proposed coach factory at Kanjikode in Palakkad in the public sector. If it is to be taken up in the joint sector, the value of land acquired by the State government for the project should be treated as the States equity in the project.

The Cabinet also decided to call upon the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation to review the decision to introduce user fee for flights departing from the newly constructed international terminal in the Thiruvananthapuram airport.

The Indian Army will be given 35 cents at Mulavana village in Kollam district on lease to set up a polyclinic for ex-servicemen. The lease will be for 30 years. About two acres at Koyipady village in Kasaragod district will be given to the State Dairy Development Department for setting up a milk chilling-cum-packing unit.

One or two Ministers will directly oversee the implementation of plans in each district during the fifth year of the Left Democratic Front government. The government has drawn up detailed plans for each department and identified flagship programmes to be implemented at various places.

Good show by Thiruvananthapuram schools

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CBSE and ICSE schools in Thiruvananthapuram have performed creditably in the Class X and XII examinations, the results for which were announced on Wednesday. In the AISSCE examinations, St. Thomas Central School bagged 100 per cent result in science, commerce and humanities streams. A total of 277 students appeared for the exam, out of which 168 secured distinction. Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pattom, secured all pass in the humanities stream. In the commerce and science streams, the school bagged 99 per cent and 98 per cent pass respectively. Loyola School bagged a pass percentage of 98.

Out of the 74 students who appeared for the examination from Sainik School, 29 secured distinction and 37, first class. In Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, 21 got distinction and 19, first class. As many as 15 students of GR Public School secured distinction and 16, first class.

Steps to promote beach tourism

KOVALAM: The government will give priority to develop beach destinations as part of promoting beach tourism, Minister for Tourism Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said.

Inaugurating an artificial submerged reef and a walkway constructed under the tsunami rehabilitation project at the beach resort on Wednesday, the Minister said the State had not understood the importance of beach tourism and had not given priority for developing it.

He said tourism industry had great potential to generate employment and revenue. The government had sanctioned several tourism projects as part of efforts to attract tourists to the State.

The reef was installed at a cost of Rs.7.87 crore and the walkway, Rs. 2.65 crore.

Mr. Balakrishnan said the beach resort was facing lot of problems as it was not a planned destination like Bekal. �The government will soon convene a meeting to address the lack of infrastructure and solve the problems being faced at Kovalam.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Crop museum inaugurated

KOZHIKODE: Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran inaugurated a crop museum at the Urban Wholesale Agricultural Market at Vengeri here on Monday.

He inaugurated the project by planting a sapling on the wholesale market campus. Nearly 500 saplings of different varieties of trees were also planted on 3.5 acres of land on the wholesale market on the occasion.

Saplings of mango, guava, jackfruit, passion fruit, sapota, mangostein, West Indian cherry, butter fruit, lime, jamun and Malayan apple were brought from research institutes of the Kerala Agricultural University and government farms for cultivation, officials of the Department of Agriculture said.

Harrowing experience for Duronto passengers

Kozhikode: At least 19 passengers, including children, of the Hazarat Nizamuddin- Ernakulam Duronto Express were admitted to the Government General Hospital here on Monday after complaining of food poisoning.

The non-stop train had to be stopped at the Kozhikode station at 11.30 a.m. after activists of the Democratic Youth Federation for India (DYFI), led by district president P.A. Mohammed Riyaz, blocked its journey.

The passengers who had taken non-vegetarian food for breakfast, including bread, butter and omelette, developed stomach ache. Those found serious were rushed to the hospital. All of them are fine now, a hospital spokesman said.

Many of the passengers started vomiting and some had diarrhoea after consuming the food served at around at 9 a.m. They were travelling in a second class sleeper coach.

Subsidised surgery for senior citizens planned

KOTTAYAM: Taking a cue from the success of the �Thalolam Scheme wherein free open heart surgeries were performed on those below 18 years of age, the government was seriously thinking of bringing in a new scheme for performing subsidised free surgery for senior citizens, said the Health Minister P. K. Sreemathy.

She said the scheme envisages to extend up to Rs.70,000 for surgery. She was commissioning the Hindlabs MRI Scan Centre at Kottayam Government Medical College here on Monday.

58 NCC cadets hospitalised

KOLLAM: Fifty-eight cadets of the National Cadet Corps were admitted to the Kottaraara taluk hospital after they showed symptoms of food poisoning. They belong to a group of 600 NCC cadets who are attending a camp at the Thrikannamangalam SK VHS school grounds. The camp began on May 11.

On Sunday night, 20 cadets were admitted to the hospital after they showed symptoms of food poisoning. By early Monday, 38 more who showed similar symptoms were hospitalised. Doctors attending on them said they were out of danger.

Studies find a salty past for Sasthamcotta Lake

KOLLAM: The freshwater Sasthamcotta Lake had a salty origin, according to a series of studies sponsored by the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS), the Union Department of Science and Technology and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

The studies, which began in 1998, are being led by former CESS director K.M. Nair, CESS scientist D. Padmalal and senior scientist of the Agarkar Research Institute, Pune, K.P.N. Kumaran. The findings were published in the Journal of Asian Earth Sciences recently.

Sasthamcotta Lake is Keralas largest natural freshwater lake and has been listed as a Ramsar site. According to the findings, the lake is a cut-off creek of Ashtamudi Lake, which is also listed as a Ramsar site. The creek is believed to have been part of Ashtamudi Lake about 10,000 years ago and got cut off about 7,000 years ago.

Campaign to save the tiger

KATTAPPANA: A three-day tourist sensitisation programme and a signature campaign organised by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature as part of its �Save Our Tiger campaign at the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady concluded on Monday.

The programme witnessed participation by the general public and tourists who visited the reserve and were given information on conservation efforts going on and the need for tiger protection, which is facing a threat due to changes in the reserve areas and dwindling habitat.

Joseph Karoor, former deputy director, wildlife education, Kerala Forests and Wildlife Department; Renjan Mathew Varghese, State director, WWF-India and A.K. Sivakumar, education officer, WWF-India; led the campaign for sensitising the visitors to need for protecting the big cats. A large number of volunteers, including students and employees, took part in the campaign

Farm debt relief

KOCHI: Dominic Presentation, MLA, inaugurated the distribution of assistance under the agriculture debt relief in the district at a function here on Monday. K. Babu, MLA, presided. V.P. Sasindharan, president Ernakulam District Cooperative Bank, and M.E. Hassainar, district panchayat member, were among those present.

Blood donation advisory panel

KOCHI: The District Health, Regional Blood Transfusion Centre, Aluva, Kerala State AIDS Control Society and HLFPPT would be jointly forming an advisory committee of the district Blood Donation Committee on Tuesday.

A training workshop would be held on the day for voluntary blood donation forums at the Aluva Taluk Hospital, Regional Blood Transfusion Centre at 11 a.m.

Private bus strike in city called off

KOCHI: The Private Bus Thozhilali Federation, affilaited to the AITUC has called off the two-day strike that it had called tfrom Tuesday in the city, following talks held with police officials and the district administration here on Monday.

Managements for own process of admission

KOCHI : The Self-financing Engineering College Managements Association has decided to go ahead with its own admission process irked at the government delay in finalising this years fee and seat-sharing pattern.

G.P.C. Nayar, president, said here on Monday that the association representatives were still open for discussions, if the government took the initiative immediately.

�But there will be no compromise on the demand for fixing the annual fee at Rs.1.25 lakh for all the seats available in self-financing engineering colleges. The association has demanded that this fee will be applicable for the students being admitted under the government quota in self-financing colleges, he said.

Stating that the inordinate delay in finalising the admission and fee pattern would only result in seats remaining vacant in self-financing colleges, Mr. Nayar said that over 3,000 seats had remained vacant in self-financing colleges in the State last year following the delay in completing the admission procedure.

High Court directs CAT to pass final orders soon

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday directed the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Ernakulam Bench, to hold the final hearing on an application filed by Inspector-General of Police Tomin J. Thachankary against his suspension on May 28 and pass the final orders at the earliest.

The Bench of Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice S.S. Satheesachandran ordered that the undertaking given by counsel for Mr. Thachankary that the police officer would not insist on his reinstatement as directed in the impugned CAT order nor would he file a contempt of court petition for not complying with the directions in the order would remain in force until the tribunal passed the final orders.

The Bench issued the directions while disposing of a writ petition filed by the State government against an interim order of CAT staying the suspension order and directing the government to reinstate him in service forthwith.

Golf club: order upheld

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday upheld the government order terminating the licence agreement of the Trivandrum Golf Club.

The Bench of Justice Pius C. Kuriakose and Justice S.S. Satheesachandran upheld the order while dismissing an appeal filed by the secretary of the golf club against a sub-court order rejecting its plea for an interim injunction restraining the government from taking over the property and buildings of the club and evicting its members from the premises.

The court said that it was prima facie satisfied that the order of termination was based on justifiable grounds.

Toppers await IIT entrance results

KOCHI: Anu Vivek wants to take up Civil Engineering at a time when majority of other toppers opt for branches like Electronics and Communication and Mechanical Engineering these days.

Winner of the first rank in the Scheduled Caste category in the engineering entrance results published on Monday, this youngster feels that �civil engineering holds tremendous scope compared to other branches.

A resident of Snehanjali at Pandavath Road in Maradu, Mr. Vivek could not hide his excitement when news broke out in the morning that he had topped the SC category in the engineering entrance examination. His father, C. K. Venu, Deputy Tahsildar at Kanayannur Taluk Office, mother N. Vinodhini, Assistant Development Commissioner at the District Collectorate office in Kakanad, and sister Anjali joined the celebrations at their residence.

Exam postponed

Thiruvananthapuram: The third semester B.Tech (2003) degree examination and the fourth semester B.Tech (2008) degree examinations of the University of Kerala, scheduled to be held on May 18, Tuesday, has been postponed. The revised date for the conduct of the exams will be announced later, KU has said.

New poultry complex

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan will inaugurate a poultry complex of the Kerala Poultry Development Corporation at Pettah here on Thursday.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran said here on Monday that complex had an air-conditioned restaurant, a fair price shop for veterinary medicines, a help centre for farmers and a training centre. The help centre would offer assistance to small farmers and those who planned to set up large poultry farms

Rs.157.82 crore for road repairs

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has sanctioned Rs.157.82 crore to the Public Works Department (PWD) for completing urgent road repairs before the monsoon.

A sum of Rs.3 crore has been sanctioned for carrying out the urgent repair works of the National Highway stretches passing through the State.

The Thiruvananthapuram division had been sanctioned Rs.11.14 crore, Kollam Rs.13.32 crore, Alappuzha Rs.8.92 crore, Pathanamthitta Rs.9.32 crore, Kottayam Rs.21.11 crore, Idukki Rs.16.11 crore, Muvattupuzha Rs.8.56 crore, Ernakulam Rs.5.31 crore, Thrissur Rs.11.22 crore, Palakkad Rs.10.30 crore, Malappuram Rs.11.67 crore, Kozhikode Rs.8.41 crore, Vadakara Rs.0.49 crore, Wayanad Rs.4.99 crore, Kannur Rs.11. 04 crore and Kasargod Rs.5.95 crore.

A meeting, chaired by Principal Secretary

Monsoon round the corner in State

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The upper level cyclonic circulation that hovered over southeast Bay of Bengal on Sunday morning intensified into a low pressure system by the same day evening and thence by degrees strengthened into a depression by Monday noon, causing heavy rainfall in the territory.

The system also floated closer to the countrys east coast, moving in a northwest direction during the one-day period and lay centred on noon on Monday about 930 km east-south-east of Chennai, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) says in its bulletin.

It is likely to intensify further into a cyclonic storm and move initially to northwest and hit the Andhra Pradesh coast in a couple of days.

Boys hog the limelight in entrance exams

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Boys have cornered most of the top ranks in the State engineering and medical entrance examinations this year.

Of the top 100 ranks in the engineering stream, 91 have been won by boys. In the medicine stream, they number 58. All the top five rank-holders in the engineering stream are boys. All the top four rank-holders from among the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the engineering stream are boys. In the medicine stream, all but the second rank have been won by boys. So also the top two medicine stream ranks from among the SC/ST candidates. While boys and girls have fared almost equally in the rankings for the engineering stream with 39,710 boys and 37,743 girls making the grade, in the medicine stream, girls have far outshone boys with 40,972 of them getting into the rank list as against 20,068 boys. Among the districts, Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode have shared most of the top 100 ranks in the engineering stream almost equally, bagging 20, 18 and 17 ranks respectively. In the medicine stream, most of the top 100 ranks have been shared almost similarly by Kozhikode (14), Kollam (13) and Thrissur (12).

Sri Sankara Jayanthi celebrations today

Nedumbassery: Jagadguru Sankaracharya Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji, chief of the Sringeri Math, will lead the Sri Sankara Jayanthi celebrations on Tuesday at Sree Adi Sankara Janmabhoomi Temple on the banks of the Periyar in Kalady, the birthplace of Adi Sankara.

A large number of devotees are expected to visit the temple on �Vishaka Shukla Panchami day to take part in the event. The State government will observe the occasion as �Philosophers Day. In his message on Sree Sankara Jayanthi, the Swami described the contributions of Adi Sankara to the world as incomparable. He said the most important advice of Adi Sankara was the need to uphold universal brotherhood to lead a peaceful life.

Kerala\'s only golf club ordered to shut shop

Kochi, May 17 : The Kerala High Court Monday asked Thiruvananthapurams golf club - the only one in the state - to vacate its premises within four weeks.

A division bench headed by Justice Pious Kuriakose upheld the verdict of the Trivandrum sub-court ruling that the state government can take over the premises of the club, which had violated rules and hence the notice from the principal secretary, revenue, to the club to vacate its premises was justified.

IA flight returns due to snag

A Dubai-bound Indian Airlines flight with 90 passengers onboard was on Sunday brought back to parking bay shortly before it was to take-off following a snag in its hydraulic lift at Karipur International Airport in the southern Indian state Kerala.

The IC-538 flight, with seven crew members, was scheduled to take off at 10.15 am.

The aircraft was taxied to the parking bay from runway after the error was detected, airport sources said.

The passengers had been deplaned and the snag was being rectified by technicians of the airline, they said.

We hope there will not be any inordinate delay in departure of the flight, the sources added.

Queen\'s Baton Relay to arrive in Kerala on August 26

he Queens Baton Relay (QBR) will arrive in Kerala on August 26 as part of the 19th edition of Commonwealth Games (CWG) which is to be held in New Delhi on October 3-14.

Antony warns of cyber warfare threat

Defence Minister A. K. Antony on Monday asked the armed forces top brass to work in unison and make cyber systems �as secure and as non-porous as possible�.

�Cyber warfare is becoming a serious threat to security. The paradigm of security in the age of information technology are seldom constant. The evolving security matrix is complex and calls for cooperation and coordination of the highest level, Mr. Antony said inaugurating the biannual Army Commanders� Conference here.

�Today, no single service can work in isolation. Cyber warfare and threats to cyber security are fast becoming the next generation of threats. We need to make our cyber systems as secure and as non-porous as possible,� he said.

Rain occurred at isolated places in Kerala

Rain occurred at isolated places in Kerala and Lakshadweep. The chief amounts of rainfall reports in cms are: Perunthalmanna 5, Piravam 3, Vaikkom and Munnar 2 each, Thodupuzha, Mavelikkara and Minicoy 1 cm each. The highest maximum teperature is appreciably normal in Kozhikode district. Kannur reported the maximum temperature of 35 degree celsius.

Forecast valid until the morning of May 19: Rain or thunder showers will occur at a few places in Kerala and Lakshadweep, outlook no significant change, the met sources said.

20 Ernakulam Duronto express passengers suffer food poisoning

Kozhikode, May 17 (IANS) Twenty passengers, including five children, on the non-stop Hazrat Nizamuddin (Delhi)-Ernakulam Duronto Express were Monday admitted to a hospital here after suffering from food poisoning.

One of the passengers, admitted to Kozhikode Beach Hospital here, said that they fell ill after eating breakfast, served around 10 a.m.

�We had bread, butter and omelette. After an hour, we developed nausea and started vomiting and some had loose motions. The train arrived at the Kozhikode railway station around 11.40 a.m and many passengers who felt uncomfortable were taken to the hospital, said the passenger, who did not wish to be identified.

Kozhikode MP M.K. Raghavan told IANS that initial indications were that it was a case of food poisoning.

�I visited all the people in the hospital and barring one passenger, all others are okay now. We have decided to provide all facilities to the co-passengers travelling along with the hospitalised. After those hospitalised are fit, arrangements to send them to their destination would also be taken care of,� he said.

AP approaches power ministry

Hyderabad, May 16: The AP Transco has requested the ministry of power to allot electricity from the power plants at Kayamkulam in Kerala and Nyveli and Vellore in Tamil Nadu.

In a letter to the union power minister, Mr Susheel Kumar Shinde, Transco has requested for provision of at least 100 MW power from the Nyveli plant, as the state is reeling under severe power shortage.

It has appealed to the minister to allow it to review its earlier decision not to take power from the Kayamkulam power project in Kerala. The state refused to draw power from both these plants though the NTPC had offered some share from the Kayamkulam plant.

The 1000 MW Nyveli plant also offered power to the AP Transco when it started production in 2004, but the State has refused the offer. �Now with more than 20 million units shortage everyday, it has become a Herculean task to maintain supply during peak time. Any additional supply from southern grid would be of great help, said a senior official in the energy department.

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