Friday, June 11, 2010

Apollo Tyres declares lock-out

Thrissur: Apollo Tyres factory at Perambra on Friday declared lock-out following labour unrest.

The management, two days ago, announced �no-work, no-pay in the factory following a go-slow agitation by the workers demanding long-term settlement negotiations.

The unit provides employment to 2,500 regular workers.

While the management complained a drop in production due to labour unrest, the workers alleged that lack of sufficient number of labourers was the reason for low production. The workers also protested against employing contract labourers in the factory.

The talks between the management and labour unions held on Monday in the presence of the Labour Minister failed to reach any decision.

The factory had been declaring lock-out for the ninth time.

Drinking water projects worth Rs.6,500 crore on: Minister

Thrissur: Drinking water projects to the tune of Rs.6,500 crore are under way in the State, Minister for Water Resources N.K. Premachandran has said.

He was speaking after inaugurating the supply of water under the Peechi Drinking Water Project at Pananchery, near here, on Friday.

More projects

�Drinking water projects will be set up in 30 panchayats at a cost of Rs.1,000 crore in the second phase of Jalanidhi. Many development projects have been implemented under the anti-recession package in the State, the Minister said.

Awareness programme for farmers on good agriculture practices

Thrissur: The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) conducted an awareness programme for farmers here on Friday on good agricultural practices, with an objective of promoting export of farm products.

Addressing the farmers, E. N. Sunder, Technical Director-EUREPGAP, FICCI Quality Forum, New Delhi, pointed out that though India was the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, its export share in the global market was less than one per cent, way back to small countries like Thailand and Chile.

�The developed countries do not have confidence in the quality and safety of Indian fruits and vegetables.

Unhygienic conditions in the farms, poor agricultural practices, high chemical and pesticide residues and micro-biological contamination were the main reasons for the poor export possibilities, Mr. Sunder noted.

Total sanitation drive begins tomorrow

PATHANAMTHITTA: The Kudumbasree Mission will organise a total sanitation drive in the district on Sunday.

Mission district coordinator G. Murukan said 1.24 lakh mission members would take part in the cleaning drive in the 54 panchayats and three municipalities in the district as part of a disease-prevention initiative during the monsoon.

Mr. Murukan was addressing a meeting convened by District Collector S. Lalithambika to chalk out a vector-control strategy at the Collectorate conference hall here on Friday.

He said the strategy would be to ensure maximum public participation in the cleaning drive.

The Kudumbasree members would conduct house visits to help the residents to clean their houses and surroundings.

Action plan to develop agriculture

PALAKKAD: An action plan to develop agriculture in Attappady will be taken up under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) at a cost of Rs.64 crore.

The scheme will be implemented through the �Oorukuttams (hamlet groups) of 154 tribal hamlets in the Attappady tribal block of Mannarkkad taluk.

Under the scheme, 10,393 projects will be implemented in the three panchayats, Pudur, Sholayur and Agali, of the Attappady block.

Block programme officer P.V. Radhakrishnan said an amount of Rs.22 crore would be spent for irrigation and development of tribal land.

Call to settle strike at Kanjikode unit

PALAKKAD: M.B. Rajesh, MP, has urged the management of the Central public sector unit Instrumentation Limited, Kanjikode, to settle the indefinite strike launched by its workers on June 3.

Inaugurating a protest meeting organised by the Instrumentation Workers Union affiliated to the CITU at the company gate on Friday, Mr. Rajesh said the management should hold talks with the union and settle the strike in the interest of the company and its future.

He said he would take up the issue with Union Industries Minister and Industries Secretary in New Delhi on June 15.

Meanwhile, INTUC district president K. Appu urged Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan to intervene to settle the strike.

Kozhikode-II to be declared fully electrified

Kozhikode: The Kozhikode-two Assembly constituency will be announced totally electrified by Electricity Minister A.K. Balan on Saturday. The distribution of CF lamps, as an energy- saving measure, will also be inaugurated by the Minister at the function.

Under the total electrification programme, 337 domestic connections have been given in Kozhikode-two. Of these, 164 were overhead connections and 173 weather-proof connections.

Work on �Garden of Malabar\' begins

Kozhikode: Forest Minister Benoy Viswom inaugurated the works on the garden to grow and preserve all species of plants mentioned in Hortus Malabaricus, at Chaliyam in the district on Friday. The Minister also inaugurated the works for a snake park and aquarium proposed there as part of the project, at a function got up as part of the fourth anniversary of the LDF government.

The project was conceived by the Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department to preserve all the 742 varieties of herbs and plants, mentioned in Hortus Malabaricus (Garden of Malabar) by Hendrik van Rheede, who was the Governor of the Dutch administration in Kochi during 1667-77.

The garden has been named �Hortus Malabaricus Sasya Sarvaswam by a collective of writers and cultural leaders led by M.T. Vasudevan Nair

Rubber Board to organise growers\' meet

Kottayam: The Rubber Board will be conducting a growers conference at the Rubber Research Institute of India, Kottayam, on June 25.

The conference is intended to create a platform for compiling the experience of growers, who have either successfully adopted indigenous knowledge to suit rubber cultivation or successfully conducted their own trials in farms, thereby creating new models.

This interactive conference will be attended by growers as well as scientists and extension officers of the board.

The exercise started a year ago when innovative growers were identified through nearly 3,500 group meetings spread across Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.Last December, at zonal conferences held at Kottayam, Muvattupuzha, Kottarakkara, Nilambur and Taliparamba, these growers presented their innovations before the scientists and extension officers of the board.

Nearly 25 growers selected from these conferences will present papers at the conference on June 25.

Best college teacher award declared

KOLLAM: A.V. George, head of the department of Earth Sciences and Environment Science, attached to the Irinjalakuda Christ College has, been selected for this years State-level Best College Teacher Award.

The award has been instituted by the Professor Sivaprasad Foundation.

The best college teacher award carries a cash prize of Rs.10,001 and a trophy.

Ceremony on 15th

The award will be presented to Dr. George by Additional Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar at a function to be held here on June 15 to commemorate the 16th death anniversary of Prof. Sivaprasad.

Prof. Sivaprasad was the former principal of the Kollam SN College

Plea to revise train timings

KOLLAM: Demanding revision of the train timings on the recently opened gauge-converted Kollam-Punalur line, commuters, under the banner of the Railway Passengers Association, marched to the Kollam railway station and staged a dharna on Friday. They warned of stronger agitations, such as train blockades, if the demand is not met.

Four pairs of trains have been introduced on the line reopened in May. But commuters say the timings do not enable them to reach places of work or study and return home in time.

Inaugurating the dharna, S. Ulhaskumar, president of the association, alleged that the schedule seemed to have been prepared to suit the interests of the railway employees rather than the commuters. The Madurai Railway Division was ignoring the needs of the Kollam-Punalur section and hence the line should be brought under the jurisdiction of the Thiruvananthapuram division.

The first train from Punalur reaches Kollam only at 9.45 a.m.

The main demand is for a train that does so by 8.15 a.m. Only then commuters travelling beyond Kollam in the direction of either Thiruvananthapuram or Kayamulam can get connecting trains.

Year-long platinum jubilee celebrations from June 15

KOLLAM: The platinum jubilee celebrations of the Kollam Cooperative Urban Bank will begin on June 15 with Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Mullappally Ramachandran as the chief guest. President of the bank C.V. Padmarajan said that year-long jubilee celebrations will be inaugurated at a function on June 16 by Minister for Cooperation G. Sudhakaran.

The bank began its operations 75 years ago after being registered under the Travancore Cooperative Act as the Kollam Taluk Cooperative Bank. In 1955, when district cooperative banks were established, the bank had to restrict its operations within the limits of the Kollam Municipal town. Mr. Padmarajan said that the bank today had seven branches.

At present, the bank has 34,542 members, a share capital of Rs.4.04 crore, deposits of Rs.166 crore and loan advances of Rs.93 crore. The bank, which began operations from a rented premise has its own building now. The bank is making profits and pays its members an annual dividend of 10 per cent.

Plan to set up 50 demonstration plots of paddy in Idukki

KATTAPPANA: The Agriculture Department is on a project to set up demonstration plots of paddy fields that follow scientific methods of farming to increase production per acre and to bring fallow land under cultivation.

The demonstration units of one acre each will be provided a subsidy of Rs.2,500 and the Agriculture Department plans to make 50 such units in the district.

Principal Agriculture Officer K.K. Chandran said that as per a Central government project to increase paddy cultivation, Rs.6.84 lakh has been allotted to the district. A major feature of the project will be the setting up of the demonstration units. Under the scheme, financial assistance will be provided to farmers for the purchase of organic fertilizers, pest control measures and efforts to prepare paddy fields against acidic ingredients.

Karanavar murder case: life imprisonment for accused

ALAPPUZHA: The four accused in the Bhaskara Karanavar murder case, including Karanavars daughter-in-law, Sherin, were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Mavelikara Additional Sessions Fast Track (ad-hoc) court here on Friday.

Reading out the judgment to a packed courtroom, judge N. Anil Kumar said the first accused Sherin would have to undergo life imprisonment on three counts and pay fine of Rs.85,000 and undergo concurrent rigorous imprisonment of three-and-a-half years if she failed to pay the fine.

The other three also were handed out similar sentences, with a slight change in the fine, each to pay a total of Rs.80,000 and in case of default, to undergo three-and-a-quarter years rigorous imprisonment

Meet on farmers\' problems

KOCHI: The Asian and world coordination meetings of the International Movement of Catholic Agricultural and Rural Youth will be held from July 13 to August 1 at the Pastoral Orientation Centre here.

The meet will discuss various issues being faced by small-scale farmers, participation of youth in agricultural affairs, and environment protection.

Former Chief Justice to open YMCA meet

KOCHI: K. G. Balakrishnan, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission and former Chief Justice, will inaugurate the 56 {+t} {+h} State meet of the YMCA Kerala region at YMCA, Aluva camp centre on Saturday.

Alexander Jacob, Additional DGP, will deliver the keynote address on the occasion

Applications invited from cultural troupes

KOCHI: The Song and Drama Division of the government of India has invited applications from cultural troupes in Kerala performing Villupattu, Kadhaprasangam, Chakyar Koothu, Gaanamela, composite (folk song and dance) programme, Ottamthullal, Kalaripayattu, magic, drama, street plays and any other folk formats suitable for information, education and communication activities.

Selected troupes will be registered with the division for a period of two years. The troupes should be able to communicate on various developmental issues like family welfare, universalisation of education, AIDS awareness, rain water harvesting, national integration and communal harmony through their programmes.

Aquaculture meet from January 17

KOCHI: The Asia-Pacific chapter of World Aquaculture Society is organising the 2011 Asia-Pacific conference and exposition, the Asian-Pacific Aquaculture 2011, in the city.

The mega event, being jointly hosted by the College of Fisheries, Kerala Agricultural University, Panangad and the State Fisheries Department, would be held from January 17 to 21 at the Le Meridian Convention Centre where more than 2,000 delegates, including experts from various countries abroad, are expected to participate.

Planting the seeds of ideas

KOCHI: It was a return to the roots for over 1,500 students of two schools in Vypeen, as they witnessed an exhibition of traditionally-used seeds of different plants.

In the International Year of Biodiversity and in the backdrop of debates about the pros and cons of genetically-modified crops, it was an apt time to display seed varieties that were (and in many cases still) being cultivated by farmers.

The exhibition was organised at the Infant Jesus UP School, Ochanturuth and at the I.I.V. UP School, Malipuram by Vypeen-based NGO - Thapovanam.

The students thus saw for themselves different varieties of seeds, popular among them being neem, �kanikonna and sandalwood.

NH-47 action council to go ahead with agitation

KOCHI: The collective forum of activists protesting against the move to widen national highway-47 and to develop it on BOT basis decided to launch the second phase of the agitation.

The second phase agitation is organised be to pressurise the government to stick to the all-party decision to have four-lane highways built on 30 metre stretch.

Though former Supreme Court judge and eminent jurist V.R. Krishna Iyer was to inaugurate the public convention held at Town Hall here on Friday, he could not turn up due to ill-health. Instead, his message was read out at the convention

Completion of pending road projects to ease traffic woes

KOCHI: Completing four long-pending road projects in the city hub in a timely manner would be crucial to unwinding traffic snarls that are stifling Kochi.

The first major project is the 17-km Vallarpadam-Kalamassery road (christened the NH 47C), primarily aimed at ensuring hassle-free transportation of containers from the proposed transshipment terminal to Kalamassery and from there to other areas, without affecting traffic movement in the city. Though the projects deadline expired, the National Highways Authority of India has said that work on two lanes of the proposed four-lane road would be completed by July end.

Vehicles accessing the road from the Goshree Islands and from the High Court side would be able to considerably save on time, distance and fuel if they take the road to reach Kalamassery and back.

The much-awaited development of the Padma Junction-Pullepady

-Thammanam-Chakkaraparambu (on NH bypass) Road as a 22-metre stretch got an impetus with the Pullepady overbridge being commissioned a week ago.

Mass petition

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Madya Nirodhana Samithi, on Friday, submitted to the Chief Minister a petition, signed by ten lakh women, demanding the restoration of the clause in the Panchayati Raj and Nagar Palika Acts which empowered the local administration to decide whether there should be liquor shops in a place

Oman Air to operate new routes

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Oman Air, the national airline of the Sultanate of Oman, will operate services to Al Ain and Ras al-Khaimah in the UAE and Dar es Salam in Africa from its hub in Muscat. The new destinations are in addition to the ones to Gulf locations, London, Paris, Frankfurt and Munich using Airbus 330 series aircraft. A release said here that the airline will soon operate flights to Milan, Tehran and Dammam

30 new cases of A(H1N1) in State

Thiruvananthapuram: Influenza A (H1N1) infection continues to spread rapidly across the State, with 30 new cases and one death being confirmed on Friday.

Of the new cases, 16 were reported from Thiruvananthapuram.

Seven cases were confirmed from Kollam, three from Kannur and one case each was reported from Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram.

On Friday, six persons were quarantined in hospital and 39 were advised to go on home quarantine.

Forty-seven throat swabs were sent for lab analysis on Friday

79 doctors get show-cause notices

Thiruvananthapuram: The government has issued show- cause notices to 79 doctors who reportedly did not report for duty under the Compulsory Rural Service (CRS) posting.

As per the law, students who complete MBBS course from the Government Medical Colleges in the State are liable to do one years compulsory service in rural health care centres in the State. The doctors who did not report for their CRS duty and issued show-cause notices have been directed to report for duty before the District Medical Officer (Health) of the respective district within five days of the publication of the notice.

In case the doctors do not report for duty, the government will initiate legal action as specified in the bond, to realise an amount of Rs.5 lakh from each candidate and their sureties, along with the whole amount spent by the government for their education with interest, without further notice. The government will initiate action to cancel their Medical Council Registration, a release said. The list of doctors and the show-cause notices have been published in

Cyberpark gets SEZ approval

Thiruvananthapuram: The Union government has granted formal approval for an IT/ITES Special Economic Zone on 25 acres of the Cyberpark campus coming up at Kozhikode. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Board of Approvals, Ministry of Commerce, held at New Delhi, the IT Department announced here on Thursday. The notification granting approval for the SEZ is expected to follow soon.

Cyberpark Kozhikode is the first foray of Kerala IT into the Malabar region of the State. �The master plan for Cyberpark will be finalised by June end. Work has commenced on the technical design for the first IT building of 4 lakh sq.ft. We hope to have at least 1.5 lakh sq.ft. of this building ready to be occupied by early 2011. Tenders for the construction of this building will be floated this month. The estimated cost is Rs.100 crore, said Cyberpark CEO, Binu Pazhoor.

�Cyberpark will act as a catalyst for the social and infrastructure development of the Malabar region. By 2015, when the project is completely operational, it will generate 70,000 jobs for IT professionals and over a lakh jobs indirectly,� said Ajay Kumar, Principal Secretary, IT.

Internet libraries in 2,000 rural houses

Thiruvananthapuram: As many as 2,000 houses in villages across the State will soon be key players in the knowledge economy.

They will soon assume a new role as Internet libraries under a project taken up by the government of India in association with the P.N.Panicker Foundation and the Confederation of NGOs in Rural India (CNRI).

While the Central government will provide a subsidy of Rs.4,500 to equip the houses with computers, the BSNL will provide broadband connectivity.

The loan taken for purchasing the computer can be repaid every month along with the telephone bill.

�Empowerment through knowledge is the ultimate objective of the scheme, a spokesman for the P.N.Panicker Foundation said here.

The computers will be supplied on a monthly instalment scheme under an agreement signed by the government with HCL computers and Novatium Solutions. Apart from the subsidy of Rs.4,500, the beneficiary will also get a five-year maintenance guarantee.

Fruit trees planted on Sainik School campus

Thiruvananthapuram: Minister for Local Self-Government Paloli Mohammed Kutty said here on Friday that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme could be effectively utilised for environment protection.

He was speaking after inaugurating a social forestry project to plant fruit tree saplings at the Sainik School, Kazhakoottam. Mr. Kutty said the scheme, apart from generating jobs, should be used to promote projects aimed at national development. Planting trees is a major activity that could be taken up under the scheme, he said. �It could help to minimise the impact of climate change on the environment.

The Minister stressed the need to complete the project on time and ensure proper care of the saplings. About 222 acres of the Sainik School campus will be cleared of undergrowth and used to plant fruit trees.

Registered labourers from six gram panchayats under the Kazhakoottam block will get jobs under the project.

Disruption in water supply for 2 days

Thiruvananthapuram: Large parts of the city may have to do without the regular supply of piped water from Saturday noon to 10 a.m. on Sunday due to the repair work on the main pipeline bringing water from the treatment plant at Aruvikkara to the high level reservoir at Observatory Hills.

The Kerala Water Authority has informed that Vellayambalam, Sasthamangalam, Vazhuthacaud, Thycaud, Palayam, Statue, Overbridge, Pattoor, Chakka, Gowreesapattom, Kunnukuzhy, Sanghumughom, Veli, Plamoodu, PMG, Pettah, Valiathura, Airport, Thumba, Kesavadasapuram, Pattom, Kumarapuram, Burma Road, Jawahar Nagar, Mannanthala, Kudappanakunnu and Harvipuram areas falling under the Pattoor, Palayam and Kowdiar sections will face partial disruption of water supply

Heavy rainfall likely for three days

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The southwest monsoon entered a dynamic phase over Kerala on Friday with the flow of winds from the Arabian Sea strengthening in speed and taking a direction from the west to drive the rain clouds far inland.

The State received widespread rainfall for the third day in succession, heavy in many places. The heaviest recorded during the 24 hours ending 8.30 a.m. on Friday was 7 cm at Koyilandy. Places such as Kudalur, Kannur, Kozhikode, Kochi airport, Piravam, Mancompu and Kumarakam received 5 cm of rainfall each. The catchments of the reservoirs in the high range areas of Idukki district received rainfall of varying intensity.

The numerical weather prediction models of India Meteorological Department (IMD) suggest the rains further intensifying to reach the peak of the ongoing surge by Monday.

The winds even inshore could touch a speed of 45-55 km an hour on occasions during the three days till Monday.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Judges plant saplings at court

PALAKKAD: Seven judges of the District Court planted saplings in the District Court compound here on Thursday. The tree planting was inaugurated by District and Sessions Judge P. Ubaidu. He was joined by Additional District Judge I, T.V. Mammotty; Additional District Judge II, P.K. Haneefa; Motor Accident Claims Tribunal Judge T. Ali Ahamed; Additional District Judge (Adhoc-1) K.K. Chandradas; Additional District Judge (Adhoc) II, K. Balasubramaniyan; and Additional District Judge (Adhoc) III, R. Narayana Pisharody.

Nelliampathy farm to be developed

PALAKKAD: The newly constituted Nelliampathy Development Authority is implementing schemes for Rs.70 lakh in the first phase of the development of the Nelliampathy Orange and Vegetable Farm.

Cultivation of orange, coffee, vegetables and flowers is already on in a small portion of the 1,200-acre farm.

The farm will now be developed in a big way by taking up horticulture in the entire area.

A model flori nursery is being set up by the North Eastern Agricultural Marketing Cooperative (NERMAC), a Government of India undertaking, for the promotion of horticulture.

Three poly houses and two net houses will be established here and imported flowering plants will be planted on a commercial basis.

Rs.64 crore for farm development

PALAKKAD: A special action plan for the development of agriculture in the tribal villages of Attappady will be taken up under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). The scheme is estimated to cost Rs.64 crore.

It will be implemented through the �oorukuttams (hamlet groups) of 154 tribal hamlets in Attappady tribal block in Mannarkkad taluk.

Under the scheme, 10,393 projects will be implemented in all the three panchayats � Pudur, Sholayur and Agali � in Attappady block.

Block programme officer P.V. Radhakrishnan said an additional amount of Rs.22 crore would be spent on irrigation and development of tribal land. Under the special action plan in Pudur grama panchayat, 4,709 projects costing Rs.28.6 crore will be implemented. In Agali grama panchayat, 3,629 projects will be taken up at an estimated cost of Rs.22.70 crore. In Sholayur grama panchayat, 2,055 projects estimated to cost Rs.12.29 crore will be implemented.

There are 186 tribal hamlets in Attappady consisting of 9,762 families. Ninety-seven per cent of the tribal families are registered with MGNRES, Mr. Radhakrishnan said

It is Brazil vs Argentina here

MALAPPURAM: Football fans came out in motorbikes, autorickshaws, cars and vans in a road show in Malappuram on Thursday evening, conveying the towns excitement at the start of the World Cup football tournament in South Africa from Friday. There were fans of Argentina and Brazil, wearing the team jerseys, united in the jubilation.

The fans danced to the tune of Ricky Martins Cup of Life, singing Go, go, go� ole, ole, ole � , as crowds watched in amusement. The rally disrupted the flow of traffic, but people did not mind the inconvenience.

�It is only once in four years. Lets enjoy it, said Mujeeb Rahman, an Albiceleste fan.

But some did not agree. �What kind of craze is this? What do they thing they get by this merrymaking by blocking the roads,� wondered Sayed Salid Aydeed, journalist and social worker from Munniyoor, Tirurangadi.

�Historic\' garden to come up at Chaliyam

Kozhikode: The State Forest and Wildlife Department has embarked on an ambitious project to grow and preserve all the 742 varieties of herbs and plants that find a mention in the historic work Hortus Malabaricus (Garden of Malabar) by Hendrik Van Rheede, who was the Governor of the Dutch administration in Kochi during 1667-77.

The project, �Hortus Malabaricus Sasya Sarvaswam, conceived by a collective of writers and cultural leaders in Kozhikode, will be set up in 24 acres of land adjacent to the Forest Departments timber depot at Chaliyam.

The work will be inaugurated by Forest Minister Benoy Viswom at Chaliyam at 10 a.m. on Friday.

The Minister will also inaugurate the work on a snake park and an aquarium proposed as part of the project.

The project is expected to be particularly useful to students and researchers working in the area of herbal plants in the State.

Fever: media urged not to create panic among public

ALAPPUZHA: District Medical Officer K.M. Sirabudin has said that the fear generated by media reports on the fever situation in the State could create more fever cases, since fear was known to be one of the possible causes of fever.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Mr. Sirabudin said it appeared that the media was celebrating fever cases with certain sections of the media even twisting facts.

He cited a report in a couple of vernacular newspapers, which termed the death of one Raghavan Pillai, 81, of Chunakara here, on Wednesday as one caused by fever. However, the family of the deceased and the doctors who visited his home had confirmed that he had died due to age-related ailments

AIR programme

KOCHI: All India Radio, Kochi, will broadcast �Aaveshathinte African Safari, a special programme during the World Cup Football Tournament, from June 11 to July 11.

This five-minute programme, to be broadcast at 1 p.m., will have eminent players, sports experts, coaches and football enthusiasts participating in it. Apart from this, special programmes will also be broadcast ahead of quarter and semi-finals.

Vegetable prices shoot up in State

KOCHI: After nearly a month of lull, vegetable prices are once again going through the roof in Kerala markets thanks largely to volatile weather conditions that have affected vegetable production in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Heavy winds and rains in parts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh late May destroyed large tracts of vegetable cultivation while in Kerala unprecedented heat and pest attacks reduced production significantly in the summer months.

Monsoon-related diseases on the rise

KOCHI: The number of viral fever cases reported by the District Medical Office on Thursday was 1,378 for the entire district. Although over a thousand cases are reported every day, the number of fever cases with likely symptoms of any of the notified four fever types are usually less than one percent, said R. Sudhakaran, Deputy Medical Officer.

The number of fever cases reported last week had varied from below 500 to about 1,000. About 99 cases of diarrhoea have been reported from the district.

Every panchayat and municipality would observe a weekly dry day, during which stagnant water collected in open containers, coconut shells or unused tyres would be emptied. Peoples participation in these activities is most important, said Dr. Sudhakaran.

The message is being passed on to households through school children by making announcements during the school assembly regarding monsoon diseases and the precautions that needs to be taken by each citizen.

Fire at school auditorium

Thiruvananthapuram: A minor fire broke out at the auditorium of the St. Marys School, Pattom, on Thursday. Some students reported nausea and dizziness as a portion of the hall filled with smoke. Students, teachers and some parents who were present rushed them to safety and administered first aid. The Fire and Rescue Services personnel doused the blaze.

Anti-fever measures intensified

Thiruvananthapuram: Officials of the district medical administration said here on Thursday that fever and infectious diseases control measures were augmented in the district.

Control activities in Vilavoorkal panchayat, where a dengue outbreak had been reported earlier, were reinforced by formulating special action plan. Twelve mobile fever clinics are currently operating in the district.

Meanwhile, health field staff, Kudumbasree and ASHA workers have been asked to lead vector control activities in the district by making house visits and encouraging the public to keep their homes and premises free of vector-breeding sites. In areas where there is water scarcity and where drinking water is habitually stored in vessels, care should be taken to see that these containers are closed tightly and cleaned out every week so as to prevent mosquitoes breeding in the vessel.

Cyberpark gets approval for SEZ

Thiruvananthapuram: The Union government has granted formal approval for an IT/ITES Special Economic Zone on 25 acres of the Cyberpark campus in Kozhikode.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Board of Approvals, Ministry of Commerce, held at New Delhi, the IT Department announced here on Thursday. Cyberpark Kozhikode is the first foray of Kerala IT into the Malabar region of the State. �The master plan for Cyberpark will be finalised by June end. Work has commenced on the technical design for the first IT building of 4 lakh sq.ft. We hope to have at least 1.5 lakh sq.ft. of this building ready to be occupied by early 2011. Tenders for the construction of this building will be floated this month. The estimated cost is Rs.100 crore, said Cyberpark CEO, Binu Pazhoor.

�Cyberpark will act as a catalyst for the social and infrastructure development of the Malabar region. By 2015, when the project is completely operational, it will generate 70,000 jobs for IT professionals and over a lakh jobs indirectly,� said Ajay Kumar, Principal Secretary, IT.

Cyberpark has handed over 25.11 acres to the Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society (ULCCS) to develop UL Cyberpark, the worlds first IT Park promoted by a co-operative society owned and operated by 2,000 labourers.

Gulf returnee attempts to disrupt VS\' function

Thiruvananthapuram: An apparently distressed Gulf returnee attempted to disrupt a meeting attended by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan at Co-bank Towers here on Thursday evening.

Manoharan, a native of Kollam district and currently a city resident, shouted slogans as Mr. Achuthanandan stepped on stage to inaugurate the State government-sponsored membership drive for setting up a Non-Resident Keralite Welfare Fund.

The police immediately detained Manoharan and removed him from the venue. Later, Manoharan told the police that he was incarcerated for eight months in a debtors jail in the Gulf after a relative of his �cheated him of Rs.1.2 crore. He lost his livelihood and was being plagued by litigations.

Manoharan told the police that he gave several complaints to the Non-Resident Keralite Affairs Department, but in vain. He returned to Kerala early this year and is currently living in Pettah.

New road sweeping machine for city

Thiruvananthapuram: The arterial roads in the city are set to sport a cleaner look. An automated road sweeping machine acquired by the City Corporation was launched for service on Thursday.

The machine, costing Rs.73.5 lakh, was procured with assistance from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). It would initially be deployed on the 42-km of newly laid roads in the city

15 new H1N1 cases confirmed in State

Thiruvananthapuram: Fifteen new cases of H1N1 infection have been confirmed in the State, taking the total number of cases reported during this season (since May 1) to 129.

Of the new cases, five cases are from Thiruvananthapuram, six from Kozhikode and two each from Kollam and Malappuram.

Two deaths in Kollam district, which occurred on June 7, have now been confirmed as due to H1N1 infection. Deepa (27) of Chathannoor and Sheeja (26) of Edayadi, had died at the Medical College Hospital here while undergoing treatment for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and viral pneumonia, two well-known complications of H1N1 infection.

The total death toll due to H1N1 this season has thus risen to 13.

About 15 persons are currently under hospital quarantine while 47 have been advised home quarantine. The throat swabs collected from 65 persons with acute symptoms have been sent for lab analysis.

Public health experts have pointed out that behavioural change among the public was crucial for checking the spread of H1N1 infection as it had now become a disease in the community.

Master plan for Guruvayur

Guruvayur: The Guruvayur Devaswom will prepare a master plan for its development projects, Devaswom chairman Thottathil Raveendran has said. Land acquisition for development activities had been done according to the guidelines issued by the court, he said

10 injured in boat accident

ALAPPUZHA: Ten people, including students, were injured after a boat owned by the State Water Transport Department lost control and rammed the jetty where it was supposed to stop.

The incident occurred at Chettisseri Jetty near Kainakary around 9 a.m. when the Krishnapuram- Kavalam S-18 boat was nearing the jetty.

All the injured were discharged after being administered first aid at the Alappuzha General Hospital.

FIFA World Cup in numbers

It is 80 years since the first World Cup was held

19 final rounds held so far

76 countries have figured in the World Cup

Only 7 nations have won the World Cup

708 matches, 2,063 goals � that sums up World Cup history

15 countries have hosted the World Cup

7,000 players have been part of World Cup so far

30 million fans have graced the World Cup in person

Inarguably, it is the biggest single sports event of the world

�Master plan for Kumarakom soon\'

KOTTAYAM: Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Minister for Tourism, has said that the government would soon give shape to a master plan for Kumarakom, one of the most favourite tourism destinations in the country, to ensure the sustainable development of the spot.

Speaking on the occasion of the formal inauguration of a garbage treatment plant at Kumarakom on Wednesday, Mr. Balakrishnan said the master plan, to be drawn up by architects of international repute, would be on the lines of the proposed master plan for Munnar.

According to him, the State government will invest Rs.600 crore in tourism sector during the current financial year.

The government was fully aware of the dangers of indiscriminate developmental activities in the tourism sector and as such, it has been decided to go in for planned development in the sector so that the industry could have sustainable development in the State, he said.

The development of Bakel in Kasaragode district was an example of planned development, he said and added that the three resorts that have been planned at Bakel would start functioning shortly.

Snehasparsham project launched

KALPETTA: Minister for Health and Social Welfare P.K. Sreemathy has said the government would provide all possible help for the welfare of the marginalised unwed tribal mothers and their children in the State.

Launching the �Snehasparsham project, a pension project for the unwed tribal mothers in the State, at the Panchayat Community hall in Mananthavadi on Thursday, Ms. Sreemathy said protecting the marginalised sections was the duty of modern democracy. Though many discussions had been held on the issues of the unwed tribal mothers, nobody could come up with a solution for it, she said. �The Snehasparsham project of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government is a permanent solution for the issue, Ms. Sreemathy said.

Under this Social Welfare Department project, a monthly aid of Rs.300 would be given to unwed tribal mothers in the State by electronic money order.

The Minister said the project was being implemented as per a study report of the State Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Commission.

In the first phase, 226 unwed tribal mothers in Wayanad have got the benefit of the scheme. In Thirunelli panchayat, which has the highest number of unwed tribal mothers in the State, 76 women have got the aid.

IT sector back on growth path: Infosys chief

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kris Gopalakrishnan, chief executive officer and managing director, Infosys, said here on Thursday that the information technology (IT) sector in the country was once again on the growth path and the companies were busy making fresh recruitments.

Answering a question at a press conference here, he said his company was expecting a growth of 16-18 per cent in operations this year. Mr. Gopalakrishnan, in his capacity as the southern region chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), along with the Kerala office-bearers of the CII, had a meeting with Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan earlier in the day.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

All accused in murder case convicted

ALAPPUZHA: All the four accused in the Bhaskara Karanavar murder case were convicted of the charges, including murder and conspiracy, by Mavelikara Additional Sessions (Fast Track) Court judge N. Anil Kumar on Wednesday. The sentence will be pronounced on Friday.

Karanavars daughter-in-law and first accused in the case, Sherin, 27, was convicted of charges under Indian Penal Code Sections 302 (murder); 114 (abettor present when offence is committed); 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy); 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence); and 394 (voluntarily causing hurt while committing robbery).

The other three accused, second accused Basith Ali, 25, alias Bibish Babu of Kurichi, Kottayam; third accused Nidhin, 28, alias Unni of Kalamassery; and fourth accused Shanu Rashid, 24, of Kochi; were charged with IPC Section 449 (trespassing into house to commit offence punishable with death) apart from the sections under which Sherin was charged.

The judgment, which spanned 277 pages, was based on 37 circumstantial evidences and statements of over 50 witnesses.

Toilet complex to be opened

KOCHI: M.C. Josephine, chairperson of Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA), will inaugurate the renovated community toilet complex at Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium premises, Kaloor on Thursday.

The toilet complex will have separate entrances for men and women. Besides the water storage tank at ground level, an overhead tank of 4,000 litre capacity has also been built. The renovation work is being done by Sulabh International Social Service Organisation.

Tanker driver still missing

Kochi: Despite the best of efforts by a six-member Navy diving team, Jose, 39, the driver of the water tanker that plunged into a 150-metre deep waterlogged quarry at Ambalapara, near Palachuvadu on Tuesday, continued missing on Wednesday.

The diving team, which began search operations early on Wednesday, sited the ill-fated tanker at a depth of about 10 metres, but attempts to salvage it met with failure

Revise family pension: tribunal

Kochi: The regional bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal has opined that the Defence Ministry should consider revision of family pension granted to the dependents of deceased soldiers and ex-servicemen from the present Rs.2,550 a month to �a reasonable amount appropriate to the present conditions.

�The ceiling of income for dependent parents or brothers or sisters to claim family pension was put in 1998. Since then, there has been overall increase in the income level across board throughout the country. Inflation and price rise of essential commodities have affected the common man in an adverse manner,� the Bench comprising former High Court Judge K. Padmanabhan Nair and Lieutenant General (retd.) Thomas Mathew said in a order passed on petitions filed by Cherupushpam Thomas and Seby Francis, mother and brother of a soldier who died while in service. The application for family pension had been turned down on the ground that the petitioners monthly family income was more than Rs.2,550.

Bus conductor, owner penalised

KOCHI: A freak misunderstanding led to the conductor and owner of a private service bus being fined. The incident occurred during the morning trip of a bus that was operating from Kumbalam. The conductor of the bus accused K.A. Sini, Confidential Assistant to the Additional District Magistrate, of travelling in the bus without taking ticket on Tuesday when she boarded the bus on Wednesday.

Ms. Sini said that she did not travel in the bus on Tuesday, and lodged a complaint to the Regional Transport Officer for harassing her in public. When summoned to explain their side, the bus employees admitted that it was a case of mistaken identity, and tendered public apology.

But since the conductor did not have a valid licence, a fine of Rs.1,000 was imposed on him and the owner of the bus. The action came as part of the current drive by RTO to ensure that bus employees behave properly with the public, sources said.

Strict actions are initiated against those found misbehaving with public and driving licences of 149 persons have been suspended so far, said C.G. Michael and P.V. Varghese, RTOs of Ernakulam and Muvattupuzha. Mr. Michael and Mr. Varghese were addressing the media to explain the administrative changes being brought in the Motor Vehicles Department during the last four years of LDF government

Thamannam-Pullepady stretch to be widened in a month

KOCHI: With the Thamannam-Pullepady overbridge opened for traffic, the civic authorities are planning to remove the bottlenecks along the stretch. The insufficient road connectivity to the overbridge had resulted in traffic snarls along the bridge.

According to the Kochi Mayor Mercy Williams, the corporation has initiated a few steps to address the issue. It has asked the Kerala State Electricity Board to relocate some electric posts and a transformed located on the road. The KSEB will soon submit an estimate for the work, and the Mayors fund would be used for this purpose, the Mayor said.

The roads will be widened at all available spaces. The corporation is also seeking the possibility of implementing a road development scheme without waiting for the Detailed Town Planning scheme for the area to come into effect. It will seek special permission from the government for this, Ms. Williams said.

Efforts under way to harness tuna resources

KOCHI: Projects for catching and processing tuna are being taken up by government agencies with a view to harnessing the potential of the sector.

The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), National Institute of Fisheries Post Harvest Technology and Training (NIFPHATT) and the Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training (Cifnet) are among the Kochi-based organisations involved in the exercise.

Though specially processed tuna is in demand, the resources are underexploited, a top official of the MPEDA told The Hindu.

Efforts were being undertaken to increase the catch. The MPEDA had been providing 50 per cent subsidy for converting vessels to facilitate tuna fishing.

�Expertise is required to deploy special liners used for catching tuna. The fish has to be processed immediately to produce the top-ranked �sashmi grade tuna, a delicacy in Japan and European countries.

A subsidy ranging from Rs.7.5 lakh to Rs.15 lakh is being given by the MPEDA for converting the vessels, depending on the size of the vessel.

The waters of the Lakshadweep and Andamans and Nicobar islands have tuna in abundance. It has been assessed that tuna is available in the deep sea, beyond 22 km from the Kerala coast.

Cancer-detection centre in every district

Thiruvananthapuram: The Health Department, in cooperation with public and private cancer-care centres and the medical colleges, is drawing up a major project to take cancer-control activities to the grassroots level by opening early cancer-detection centres in at least one hospital in every district.

At these centres, the services of oncologists will be available at least once a week in the initial phase. The centres will coordinate with cancer hospitals and also function as a follow-up treatment centre for cancer patients.

State- and district-level committees will be set up, with representatives of Health Services hospitals, senior health officials and doctors from public and private cancer hospitals to draw up the project.

No licence for boats till implementation of rules

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday ordered that no licence be issued to boats and crew until the implementation of the Kerala Inland Vessels Rules 2010.

The Bench comprising Justice C.N. Ramachandran Nair and Justice P.S. Gopinathan passed the interim order on a writ petition filed by S.K. Pyarilal, former head, Department of Ship Technology, Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT).

The petition sought a directive to the State government to cancel boat licences issued under the old laws and to issue licences only under the new rules.

According to the petitioner, though the Kerala Inland Vessels Rules was brought into force, the licences were being still issued as per the old rules.

The government was yet to appoint officers as contemplated under the new rules.

The Chief Inspector of Boats was still processing the applications for licences for the boats and crew under the old rules. Some vested interests were trying to cause impediments in the implementation of the new rules.

350 school students distributed sports kits

Thiruvananthapuram: As many as 350 children studying in government schools in the city will now have brand new hockey sticks, footballs, skipping ropes and spikes for their sports training sessions.

On Wednesday, the City Corporation distributed sports kits for children undergoing training under the Kalari sports training scheme for athletics, games and swimming. The Corporation bought the kits at a cost of Rs.8 lakh.

G.R. Anil, Chairman of the Corporations Standing Committee on Education, handed over the kits at a function at SMV High School.

Launched three years ago, the Kalari training scheme covers children selected from 116 schools under the jurisdiction of the Corporation.

�We have spent Rs.42 lakh on the scheme so far. As many as 600 students, boys and girls, have received training and 350, including 90 belonging to the Scheduled Castes, are undergoing training in various disciplines, Mr. Anil says.

Training sessions are held three days a week at the Central Stadium.

A 10-day special camp is also organised. The Corporation has established a bank of 20 physical education trainers for the scheme.

Steps to check fever outbreak

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Cabinet on Wednesday decided to intensify efforts to contain the outbreak of contagious fever and other diseases in the State.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan told the media after Wednesdays Cabinet meeting that the government would take strong preventive measures including mosquito control to check the outbreak.

When reporters invited his attention to the Health Ministers statement that the media were exaggerating the incidence of various contagious diseases, the Chief Minister said that with intermittent rains, the incidence of various diseases had gone up.

Mr. Achuthanandan said the local self-governments would undertake a week-long drive with public participation for mosquito-control and removal of waste materials. Meetings would be held at the panchayat and municipal levels to organise the drive.

The government was also directing health inspectors and public health nurses to concentrate on preventive measures. They would be exempted from other duties

Call to provide wireless Internet at public institutions

Thiruvananthapuram: New wireless technologies and methods to dispose of the growing mountain of electronic waste were the core subjects discussed by experts participating in a day-long seminar organised in connection with the National Technology Day celebrations here on Tuesday.

The seminar �Green Kerala, Smart Kerala was organised by the Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT), Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, and the Kerala State IT Mission.

More than 100 participants gathered at Mascot Hotel to discuss the two related issues, and how they apply to the State.

As the government moves forward to implement a broadband system across the country, WiMAX, a 4G technology, has come to the forefront.

C.S. Rao, WiMAX country head for Intel Corporation, said the new broadband technology was three times faster, had three times more productivity and was one-third of the cost of Wi-Fi, the more common wireless network used in many countries.

State to get back Dalawa\'s sword

Thiruvananthapuram: Minister for Culture M.A. Baby said here on Wednesday that the sword of Velu Thampy Dalawa would be exhibited at the Napier Museum after acquiring it from the Central government.

The sword, now kept at the National Museum, Delhi, would be formally handed over to the State on June 20, he said while addressing a function held to open the renovated Napier Museum to the public.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and Union Ministers would be present at the handing over ceremony here, he said.

The weapon that struck fear in the hearts of the British troops has been one of the prized exhibits at the National Museum ever since it was transferred from the Kilimanoor Palace in Thiruvananthapuram to the first President of India, Rajendra Prasad.

Following persistent efforts by the Department of Culture, the Central government had agreed to hand over the sword to Kerala for a year.

Mr. Baby later cut a tape to declare the renovated Napier Museum open

VS against road works on BOT basis

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Privatisation of roads is the main issue and not the width of National Highway stretches being developed in the State, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said here on Wednesday.

He was speaking after launching the widening of the congested 2.73-km Kesavadasapuram-Nalanchira stretch of Main Central Road to four lanes at the Nalanchira Kurisadi junction.

The Chief Minister said people should not suffer when development of highways was taken up. A multi-party delegation from the State had petitioned the Prime Minister to restrict the width to 30 metres and to avoid BOT (built-operate-transfer) works. The State government was awaiting a final reply.

�It is not the width of roads but their privatisation that is the main issue. The BOT concept and the collection of toll from those using the roads are against the interests of people, he said.

The Chief Minister said the State government had given thrust to infrastructure development during the past four years. The Public Works Department was now more efficient and was implementing projects in a time-bound manner. All should cooperate to complete the road projects in a time-bound manner

Two Kasaragod youths held with fake visa

Nedumbassery: Two youths from Kasaragod who attempted to fly to South Africa on fake visas to watch the football World Cup were detained by the Immigration officials at the Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery on Wednesday.

The officials said the passengers, identified as Vineeth, 22, and Mithun, 21, of Kasaragod were deported from Dubai in the morning after they were found in possession of fake South African visas. They said they had obtained the documents from one Jameez of Thrikkarippur, Kasaragod, on payment of Rs. 1 lakh. They were handed over to the local police for detailed interrogation

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rs.332-crore plan for PDS proposed

PATHANAMTHITTA: Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran has said that the public distribution system (PDS) in the State will be strengthened further. He was inaugurating a Supplyco Supermarket at Ezhamkulam, near Adoor, on Tuesday.

He said that 16,000 ration shops and 3,000 Maveli stores constituted the backbone of the States PDS. The government has submitted a Rs.332-crore project to the Centre for extending the system to more areas in a phased manner.

The Minister said the rise in prices of essential commodities was not a creation of any State; it depended on the fluctuating trends in the production sector. He said the Centre should take steps to contain the price rise. The Minister said the Centre was yet to concede the States demand for an increase in the rice quota for the above poverty line (APL) category. The Centre should step up the States share of ration items, besides giving subsidy on essential commodities

VC freezes Syndicate\'s decision

MALAPPURAM: Calicut University Vice-Chancellor Anwar Jahan Zuberi has frozen a Syndicate decision demanding the employees to give it in writing if they were not willing to contribute a days salary to the governments EMS Housing Scheme. Ms. Zuberis assurance came following protests from non-CPI(M) staff organisations.

The university, in a circular issued earlier, had given an option for the employees to contribute or not a days salary to the government. As per that circular, only those willing to contribute ought to have given their consent in writing. But the Syndicate later decided that those who were not willing to contribute should give it in writing

Thrissur Vimala college bags first three ranks

MALAPPURAM: Calicut University on Tuesday published the results of the B.Com examinations held in March-April two weeks ahead of the last years date.

The university thus became the first in the State to publish B.Com results.

The students of Vimala College, Thrissur, bagged the first three ranks. Jyothi D. won the first rank with 1,340 marks out of 1,500. Neenu A. Madhusudhan got the second rank with 1,337 marks and Malavika Sunil Menon won the third rank with 1,329 marks.

The students of Unity Womens College, Manjeri, won the first three ranks in the vocational stream with computer applications.

Hridya K. scored 1,230 marks to bag the first rank, while her classmates Rashida Farsath and Fariyal Fathima won the second and third ranks with 1,224 and 1,217 marks.

Out of the 24,531 students who appeared for the examinations, 6,291 qualified for further studies. When 3,999 students wrote the exam in regular stream, the number of private students to take the test was 19,681. As many as 851 students appeared through the School of Distance Education.

DTPC plans walkway in Malappuram

MALAPPURAM: The District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) has chalked out a comprehensive development plan for the district, including a hanging bridge across Beeyam Canal at Ponnani and a walkway along the banks of the Kadalundipuzha in Malappuram.

The hanging bridge will cost Rs.1.27 crore and is expected to give a thrust to local tourism of Ponnani. Boat races and water sports are at present being held in Beeyam Canal to attract crowd. The hanging bridge will give a boost to local tourism, said Collector M.C. Mohandas, explaining the details of the development plans

Bhopal case retrial sought

Kozhikode: Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) president P. Sreeramakrishnan has demanded that the Centre order a retrial in the Bhopal gas tragedy case of December 1984.

Mr. Sreeramakrishnan said here on Tuesday that the delayed verdict revealed the conspiracy hatched by the successive Congress governments at the Centre. The culprits were sentenced to only two years of imprisonment in an incident that killed thousands of people following the leakage of poisonous gas from Union Carbide India Limited.

The DYFI would organise a nation-wide protest on June 10 against the verdict and campaign for reopening the trial.

Website on panchayats

Kozhikode: A website that would give the cultural, social and political profile of every panchayat in the district would be launched by July 15, District Collector P.B. Salim said on Tuesday at a meeting convened here to discuss details of the �Ente Gramam website.

District Planning Officer P. Devadas presided over the meeting.

The website would also have details regarding services available, projects that have been completed and new development schemes.

Panchayat officials have been directed to make available at the Akshaya District Project Office the relevant data that had to be included in the website.

Applications for services available from panchayats could be downloaded from the website. Akshaya Project Zonal Coordinator K.V. Ravi and content editor K. Sreejith explained the features of the proposed website

Balan: power to all households in Kozhikode by December

Kozhikode: Electricity Minister A.K. Balan inaugurated the Kozhikode City Automation Scheme at a function at the Tagore Centenary Hall here on Tuesday. The scheme is expected to ensure uninterrupted power supply to areas under the Corporation.

The scheme is being implemented by the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) under the Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme (APDRP) initiated by the Centre.

On the occasion, Mr. Balan also inaugurated the work on the 110-kV Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS) substation to be set up at Gandhi Road in Kozhikode.

The GIS substation, which is also meant to improve efficiency of the power supply system in the city and suburbs, is expected to be completed in a year

DYFI plans stir against former KC(J) MLAs

Kottayam: The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) has planned wide-spread protests in the district demanding the resignation of MLAs from Poonjar and Kaduthuruthy.

Speaking at a press conference here on Tuesday, DYFI State secretary T.V. Rajesh demanded the resignation of the former Kerala Congress (J) MLAs who had left the Left Democratic Front (LDF) after having won the Assembly elections with the front support.

Mr. Rajesh elaborated on how the involvement of religious leaders in State politics would disrupt communal harmony. The Kerala Congress (J) had left the LDF not due to any political reasons, but because of pressure from a section of religious leaders, he alleged.

Dry fish complex opened

KOLLAM: Fisheries Minister S. Sarma inaugurated the States first modernised dry fish complex at Shakthikulangara here on Tuesday.

The Rs.65-lakh project has been constructed under the Tsunami Rehabilitation Programme with technical know-how from the National Research Development Corporation.

In his inaugural address, the Minister said the complex would ensure production of better quality dry fish throughout the year.

The aim was to ensure that those engaged in dry fish production earned a better price for their products and through that improved their living standards.

M.Sc. Wood Science in Kannur varsity

KANNUR: The Kannur Universitys Department of Wood Science and Technology has invited applications for admission to the M.Sc. Wood Science and Technology. Only the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun and Kannur University offer the course in India.

The first batch of students was admitted in October 2007. The course has an annual intake of 15 students. The course is structured on a credit semester system consisting of four semesters.

The curriculum is so designed that industry-related experiments and projects are carried out in actual production plants.

The unique feature of the course was the active interaction with wood technology experts at the Western India Plywoods Ltd. at Valapattanam. The curriculum allowed students to have a hands-on experience in the industry, course director S. Vinod Kumar said.

Drive against plastic in Wayanad

KALPETTA: District Collector T. Bhaskaran on Saturday launched the �Plastic-Free Wayanad project, a drive against the use of plastic at tourism destinations, being organised under the aegis of the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC). The project was inaugurated on the banks of Pookode Lake.

Plastic wastes will be collected in eco-friendly from tourism destinations and recycled by Morning Bell, a Kozhikode-based firm engaged in the recycling of used plastic.

The logo of the �Plastic-Free Wayanad project was released by N. Prasanth, Sub-Collector.

Relief for unwed tribal mothers

KALPETTA: Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy will launch the Sneha Sparsham Project at Mananthavady on Thursday.

Under this Social Welfare Department project, a monthly aid of Rs.300 will be given to unwed tribal mothers in the State. The project is being implemented as per a study report of the State Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Commission.

In the first phase, 226 unwed tribal mothers in Wayanad district will get the benefit of the scheme. In Thirunelly panchayat, which has the highest number of tribal unwed mothers in the State, 76 women will get the aid.

According to a press release, the project will be implemented through the Social Security Mission.

Bus concession

KOCHI: Students up to Standard X who are in school uniform can travel in private buses at concessional rates even if they do not carry along with them the concession card, the Ernakulam District Private Bus Operators Association has said. The cards approved by the Students Travel Facility Committee are available at the rate of Rs 5 per card.

New building for hospital

KOCHI: International recognition for Ayurveda is necessary for bringing hundreds of people into the State for Ayurveda treatment, according to Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan.

Inaugurating the new building for the District Ayurveda Hospital here, the Chief Minister said that several doors of opportunities would open up if Ayurveda hospitals are started in foreign countries.

The government encourages all streams of medical treatment and is not partial to allopathy treatment, he said adding that the government gives special thrust to Ayurveda treatment and its education.

Two injured in clash

Thiruvananthapuram: At least two persons were injured when members of two opposing factions of the Kerala Pulayar Maha Sabha fought with each other inside the organisations office near Museum on Tuesday afternoon.

The police identified the injured as Sreedharan, 38, and Thankappan, 40.

They said they were attacked with swords and machetes.

The police were searching for one Deepu Raj, Pradeep and Manmadhan in connection with the violence.

12 held for destroying rubber trees

Thiruvananthapuram: The rural police have arrested 12 persons, including a block panchayat member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), in connection with the wanton destruction of rubber trees of marginal farmers in Nedumangad taluk last year.

They identified the prime suspect as Biju Das, CPM block panchayat member from Nemom. The other accused are also CPM supporters. A few of them have a criminal background, police said.

More small traders for shopping festival

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A massive turnout is expected from small traders in the 45-day Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF) Season 4 that commences on December 1, according to a survey carried out in the 14 districts.

During the last three seasons of the festival, traders had enrolled as members mostly for gold and silver categories. Small traders did not respond positively to the festival despite several incentives announced for them. There was a misunderstanding among small traders that they will not get much benefit from the festival.

The survey carried out by Kozhikode-based Statinfo Solutions Private Limited among small traders in selected centres in the 14 districts has revealed that the perception of the traders had changed with the profit made by those who joined the festival.

The survey concentrated mainly on coastal villages, selected villages where traditional producers hail from and markets in major cities. It has been found that many purchase groceries in coastal areas on credit and clear the bills every month.

Those who purchase groceries for Rs.600, Rs.700 and Rs.800 from these shops will try to shop more from the outlets that enrol for the festival to get the coupons. This will result in an increase in business during the festival period.

Prospects bright for a rainy week

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The cross equatorial southwest monsoon flow into the Indian subcontinent is strengthening, promising a good spell of rain that could last for at least a week for Kerala, judging from the weather prediction models of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), based on Tuesdays atmospheric conditions.

The models indicate the possibility of a low pressure system developing over the Arabian Sea centred at a point some 400 km off the Karnataka coast by June 13.

The system shows the potential to strengthen into a depression and even a deep depression.

It may move parallel to the west coast northwards pulling the monsoon currents into Konkan and Goa and even Mumbai in Maharashtra by the beginning of next week, exposing the regions to the south, including Kerala, to unhindered flow of the monsoon currents.

The winds are also seen to pick up in speed during the course of the week, propelled by the evolving system in the Arabian Sea. This means substantial rain in the midlands and high ranges of the State.

PWD road repair drive reviewed

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala State Transport Project Director Sanjay Kaushik, who is holding the charge of the Secretary, Public Works Department, on Tuesday reviewed the road repair works taken up as part of a pre-monsoon maintenance drive.

Officials claimed that repair works and cleaning of drains were almost over and asked for two weeks to complete the remaining works.

Funds for the works were allocated at a meeting convened by Principal Secretary Tom Jose on May 17.

The repair works, especially filling of potholes, are carried out using shellmac mixture and bitumen that allow black topping of the road even during rain. Contract has been given to carry out immediate repair if potholes develop on the roads. The work to replace damaged slabs is continuing.

Zebra lines are drawn in front of schools using thermoplastic mixture. But, as the work cannot be done during the rainy season, zebra lines have been drawn in front of many schools using paint as the schools have reopened for the academic year. Executive Engineers have been asked to ensure that lines using thermoplastic mixture are drawn after the monsoon. Maintenance work of the National Highway stretch is also progressing. Work had been taken up without waiting for funds from the National Highway Authority of India.

�Ente Maram\' offers incentive for students

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The �Ente Maram scheme, a social forestry project jointly implemented by Forest and Education Departments in schools across the State, will now offer students new opportunities to learn more about nature and environment.

Inaugurating the scheme for the academic year 2010-11 here on Tuesday Forest Minister Benoy Viswom said that winners of literary and fine arts competitions organised as part of the �Ente Maram project will be taken on a three-day camp in an exotic wildlife spot in Kerala for nature studies.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Consensus evolving at Kinaloor, say CPI(M) leaders

KOZHIKODE: The president and vice-president of the CPI(M)-controlled Panangad panchayat, where the industrial growth centre of the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) in Kinaloor is located, released on Monday a list of persons who had agreed to give their land for the road development project and appealed to all concerned to support efforts aimed at development of the region.

K. Balakrishnan, president, and Ismail Kurumboil, vice-president of Panangad panchayat, said they were confident of evolving a consensus on the project and the list of local people who had consented to give land was proof of the growing public support for the project.

They claimed it was becoming clear to the local people that road development was crucial for the growth of the industrial centre and resisting the project would be seen as an anti-development move.

�Let us rise above narrow religious and political considerations and support efforts to develop the growth centre at Kinaloor, Mr. Balakrishnan and Mr. Ismail Kurumboil said in a statement.

They said investors who had evinced interest in the growth centre had backed out as the region lacked infrastructural facilities

Colleges get varsity nod

KOTTAYAM: The Mahatma Gandhi University Vice-Chancellor has given permission to the colleges affiliated to the university to proceed with the schedule for admission to undergraduate programmes, which is slated to begin on Wednesday, on the basis of the downloaded mark list of the Plus Two examinations.

The students should produce the original mark lists after they receive them, a press note said.

Body recovered from river

KOTTAYAM: The body of N. Subhash, who had gone missing on Sunday morning, was recovered from Meenachil River at Pandavom, near Aymanam, on Monday.

Subhash, a medical doctor, had jumped off the Nagambadom bridge in the early hours of Sunday. A few persons, who were fishing near the bridge had seen someone jumping off it and a search was launched immediately. The doctor had left his shoes and a bag on the bridge, which helped to identify him, the police said.

The Fire and Rescue Services personnel and the police had searched the area for over two hours on Sunday before calling it off as they believed the strong ground swells might have washed away the body.

The body was retrieved on Monday from Pandavom, which is a few kilometres downstream from the Nagambadom bridge

Fever cases on the rise in Kollam

KOLLAM: Thousands of people are reporting sick at hospitals in the district complaining of fever. Recent reports of influenza A (H1N1) deaths across the State have added tension among those who had contracted fever.

On Sunday about 900 outpatient tickets for fever cases were issued at the Kollam District Hospital, which crossed 1,000 on Monday. There was heavy rush of patients at the five taluk hospitals in the district.

The rush at the Karunagapally, Kottarakara and Punalur taluk hospitals were similar to the one seen in Kollam.

Even as the situation remains critical, there is a grave shortage of doctors at government hospitals which are relied upon by the majority of the patients

Land for Munnar township soon

KATTAPPANA: Steps to reclaim the land for setting up the Munnar township will start immediately, Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran has said.

Inaugurating a special revenue office and six special offices in Munnar on Monday, the Minister said that 1,026 acres would be acquired for setting up the township which would have a hospital, school, public market and other utility services. This would raise the status of Munnar as a tourist destination that would provide all quality services to its visitors. Munnar would become a model township meeting the basic needs of the people residing there, the Minister said

Education aid for jail inmates\' children

KANNUR: Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said that the State government is preparing a special assistance scheme for the education of children of jail inmates.

Inaugurating a surveillance system inside the Central Jail here on Monday, Mr. Balakrishnan said the new scheme was among the various initiatives launched by the government for the welfare of jail inmates. Video-conferencing facilities had been introduced in jails. Eight new sub-jails had established and four more were being set up.

Mr. Balakrishnan said the central jails would only house convicted prisoners. Remand prisoners would be sent to the sub-jails.

He said Rs.154 crore being released by the Finance Commission would be used to reform the jails. Works to solve drinking water scarcity in the jails would be taken up as part of the modernisation activities. The open jail at Cheemeni would be expanded. As many as 90 inmates in the Central Jail here would be transferred to the open jail, the Minister said9

Wage hike soon for coir workers

ALAPPUZHA: Coir and Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran has said that the minimum wages of coir workers will be hiked from Rs.100 to Rs.150.

Speaking after the State-level launch of the Coir Debt Relief Scheme and distribution of benefits here on Monday, Mr. Sudhakaran said the government had taken a decision to that effect. A formal announcement would follow soon. A hike in the prices of coir products would be implemented along with the wage revision. The Minister said the debt relief scheme was intended to help small-scale coir manufacturing units and coir product manufacturing units revive themselves and stop migration of skilled labour to other sectors.

He rued the fact that several managements were not paying even the current minimum wages of Rs.100.

New building of Ayurveda hospital inaugurated

KOCHI: International recognition for ayurveda is necessary for bringing hundreds of people into the State for its treatment, according to the Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan.

Inaugurating the new building for the District Ayurveda Hospital, he said that several doors of opportunities would open up if ayurveda hospitals are started in foreign countries.

The Government encourages all streams of medical treatment and is not partial to allopathy treatment, he said adding that Government gives special thrust to ayurveda treatment and its education.

Besides providing a special drugs control department for ayurveda, the Government had opened an ayurveda hospital in Malappuram, where this treatment was not available in the government sector. The Government has also taken special measures to check dubious centres that work as massage parlours under the guise of ayurveda.

Murder at waiting shed: nephew held

KOCHI: The nephew of the person found dead at a bus waiting shed at Varappuzha on June 4 was arrested by the police on charges of murder.

Thankappan, 49, Varappuzha was found murdered after his head was smashed using a boulder. His brothers son Shaji, 39, of Varappuzha, was arrested on Sunday.

The police said that the accused had a quarrel with his brother and walked out of the house they were staying on rent at Koonamavu at around midnight on the night of the murder. While he was going towards their home under construction at Chirakkakathu, he found the victim at a bus waiting shed at Varappuzha.

Shaji got infuriated after Thankappan abused him.

The accused told the police that his uncle used to abuse him in public and accused his family of snatching everything from him.

In a sudden rage, he picked up a boulder from near the worksite and killed Thankappan using it, the police said

25 lakh saplings for �Ente Maram\'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: �Ente Maram 2010, under which 25 lakh saplings are to be planted, will be launched at the Sree Narayana Gurukulam Higher Secondary School here on Tuesday.

Saplings of teak, anjili, plavu, cashew, badam, asokam, tamarind, kudampuli, neem, venga, chempakam, koovalam and mango will be distributed to students. Minister for Education and Culture M.A. Baby will inaugurate the function. Minister for Forests Benoy Viswom will distribute seedlings to students. �Ente Maram (my tree) is a joint programme of Kerala Forests and Wildlife Department and Education Department involving students from Class 5 to 9. The programme was first implemented on June 5, World Environment Day, in 2007. Students were given a seedling each which they were to plant and nurture in their compound or on public land. Authorities say that some 25 lakh seedlings were planted in 2007 and that 80 per cent of them are surviving. The programme continued in 2008 and 2009. About 5 lakh seedlings were planted each year, of which 75 per cent are surviving.

3 lakh houses built under EMS scheme

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As many as 3 lakh houses have been constructed under the EMS Housing Scheme and the remaining 2 lakh houses will be completed in a time-bound manner, Minister for Local Self-government Paloli Mohammed Kutty has said.

Mr. Kutty said in a release here on Monday that the scheme covered 999 grama panchayats and 58 municipalities. As many as 992 grama panchayats had prepared the final list of beneficiaries. This was the most arduous task.

As per the statistics compiled by the local self-government institutions, around 3,50,160 people did not have houses and 1,34,097 people had no land or houses. As many as 880 grama panchayats had submitted the applications for availing themselves of the loan for building houses to the District Planning Committees for approval. The government had given clearance for taking loans to 810 panchayats. Of them, 263 grama panchayats had availed themselves of the loan and 485 panchayats had distributed the first instalment to the beneficiaries

Milma to launch Rs. 11-crore development project

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Development activities estimated to cost Rs.11 crore will be implemented in the Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam dairies of Milma this year, Milma chairman Kallada Ramesh said at a press conference here on Monday.

Mr. Ramesh said the project would be implemented with financial assistance from the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). �We are also planning to produce value-added products and packing materials at Kandala, Pathanamthitta and Mannar where we have chilling plants, he said.

He said that the 24 {+t} {+h} annual general meeting of the Thiruvananthapuram Regional Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd (Milma) will be held on June 9.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran will inaugurate the meeting and hand over the Nanniyode Rajan Memorial Award to Milma founder chairman Prayar Gopalakrishnan at the function. The Koyivila Vijayan Award for best dairy society (sanghom) under the union, the Bhaskaran Nair Award for the best dairy farmer and awards for societies that procured best quality milk will also be distributed at the function.

The meeting will discuss and pass the union budget for the year 2010-11. ``Milma has registered a turnover of Rs.400 crore and a profit of Rs.1 crore as opposed to Rs.18 lakh profit registered last year,� Mr. Ramesh said

Changing nesting patterns

Thiruvananthapuram: Birds in the Punchakari-Vellayani wetlands here are exhibiting unnatural nesting behaviour to survive the destruction of their habitat.

Indiscriminate reclamation of wetlands and loss of trees have forced birds to adapt to new environments and seek out the most unlikely places to build nests.

Bird watchers C. Susanth and S.S. Anooj of Warblers and Waders recently came across such a nest at Punchakari. During their weekly bird studies, they saw a Black Drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis) incubating eggs inside a nest built atop an electric post.

�This is the first time the Black Drongo has been observed nesting in an unnatural habitat in the wetlands here, says Mr. Susanth.

Located about 20 ft. from the ground, the nest was cup-like and made of fibre and twigs.

The Black Drongo is a glossy, jet-black bird with long, deeply forked tail. It is locally known as �Aanaranji and builds its nest on forked tree branches with thick foliage. At Aakkulam, the study team saw the bird nesting on mango and jackfruit trees.

�The severe habitat degradation at Punchakari-Vellayani is the main reason for the unusual nesting behaviour of Black Drongos. The presence of migratory and local birds is diminishing due to habitat loss,� Mr. Susanth observes

17 new cases of H1N1 influenza in district

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Seventeen new cases of H1N1 infection were reported in district on Monday, confirming fears that the virus transmission has become rapid in the wake of monsoon and the lowering of mercury levels.

One case each was reported from Malappuram and Kollam districts also, taking the total number of H1N1 cases in the State to 1,697. About 23 persons are currently in home and hospital quarantine across the State, with four cases admitted to the intensive care units. Health officials said the test swab results of 17n cases came together as there was a backlog of two days for sample testing.

�Following the earlier guidelines of the Union Health Ministry, we are testing only category C cases now. The numbers would be much more if we started testing everyone coming to the hospitals with the symptoms of cold because H1N1 is very much a community disease now and for every case confirmed, there could be scores of mild H1N1 cases in the community, which might resolve spontaneously with proper rest, food and hot fluids, State nodal officer for H1N1 Amar Fettle said.

The cases suddenly flared up with the commencement of the rain and eight deaths were reported in the past one month, five of which were of pregnant women or women who were just delivered of the baby. Public health experts pointed out that in spite of sufficient warnings that the rain could bring alive the virus again, neither the public nor the medical fraternity seemed to have taken these warnings at face value.

City zoo gets Lion-tailed Macaque

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Playful, trusting strangers, not in the least timid or violent� Ammu may not be your average �wild Lion-tailed Macaque (LTM), but for the city zoo, she may just be what the doctor ordered for its Macaque breeding programme.

The year-and-half-old Lion-tailed Macaque was brought by road from Muthanga where it was captured by the Forest Department about a month ago.

Ammus new home has been designated by the Central Zoo Authority as a macaque breeding centre.

One thing about Ammu struck the team led by vet Joe Jacob Sebastian that went to bring her over; there was no �monkey business about this Macaque.

�As soon as we met, she scampered over to me. Throughout the tiring journey from Muthanga, she never got ill-tempered. This led us to conclude that though she is seemingly wild, the macaque may actually have been hand-reared by someone, Dr. Sebastian said.

Lion-tailed Macaques are not normally seen in Wayanad

Concern over Munnar tourism project

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A workshop to discuss the State governments tourism development plan for Munnar, held here on Monday, expressed concern that it would do irreparable damage to the ecology and climate pattern of this sensitive region in the Western Ghats.

Conservationists, media representatives, top tourism officials and representatives of the tourism industry attended the workshop organised by a foundation formed in the memory of the former chief of Kerala Forest Department N. Madhavan Pillai.

Tourism officials presented a brief outline of the draft tourism development plan the government had got up for implementing in Munnar region. According to it, tourism facilities/activities in Munnar and five adjoining panchayats are to be developed in a hub and spoke manner, part of the intention being decongestion of Munnar proper.

The Council of Ministers had last week given its consent to introduce an Ordinance for the takeover of over 1,000 acres (over 400 hectares) of land in the region for the purpose of implementing the tourism development plan and associated activities. The areas proposed to be notified for this project are spread across Munnar and five panchayats in several bits.

CPI(M) gets into election mode

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has begun taking the first tentative steps towards the 2011 Assembly elections giving preliminary hints about the political plank on which it would fight the admittedly difficult elections.

The CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) had begun its fourth year in office without much hope of making the grade two years from then, but it has since benefited somewhat from the confusion in the Opposition ranks, particularly after the Kerala Congress(J) decided to ride piggyback on the rival Kerala Congress(M) into the United Democratic Front camp and the turbulence evident within the Congress.

The exit of the KC(J) had taken the CPI(M) by surprise and it is aware of the loss in ground support that the KC(J) move has brought about. The relationship between the CPI(M) and the KC(J) had been remaining strained for quite sometime now. Therefore, the CPI(M) was not too perturbed by the sudden end to the unhappy marriage. What is better, it is currently seeing in the break up of the two-decades-old relationship the fragile chance to explore new electoral possibilities. The partys waning enthusiasm to get the P.C. Thomas faction of the Kerala Congress into the alliance could be read with this new realisation.

Bhavan\'s Royal Institute of Management

The PGDM programme offered by Bhavans Royal Institute of Management [BRIM] and approved by All India Council for Technical Education, New Delhi (AICTE) is equivalent to MBA. In fact it is appropriate to mention that MBA is equivalent to PGDM, as almost all reputed management institutes in India including the Indian Institutes of Management and other autonomous institutions are offering PGDM. If the ultimate test of a professional course is employability then PGDM is far ahead of MBA. Industries prefer PGDM as the curriculum of autonomous B-Schools are always contemporary and training in such autonomous B-Schools is more rigorous and industry oriented.

Founded in 2002, Bhavans Royal Institute of Management [BRIM] is one among the first two autonomous business schools in Kerala to offer the PGDM programme. It is one of the nine B-Schools owned by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, all over India. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan is a premier global intellectual, cultural and educational movement having its headquarters at Mumbai. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has 32 CBSE schools and a B-School in Kerala. The Kochi Kendra which sponsors BRIM has 7 CBSE schools in Kochi itself.

KWA bottling plants in all districts soon

ARUVIKKARA: The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) plans to set up packaged drinking water plants at all district headquarters in the State. Subject to technical feasibility, these plants would be set up over the next few years, said Minister for Water Resources N.K. Premachandran here on Monday.

He was speaking after laying the foundation stone for a packaged drinking water plant to come up near the 72-mld treatment plant of the KWA. When this is done, the KWA will be the leading player in the packaged drinking water market in Kerala.

The government will begin refurbishing the former �primo pipe factory at Chavara this financial year. Initially, the factory will produce PVC pipes required by the KWA. Later, the plant will manufacture high density polyethylene(HDPE) pipes and water meters too, Mr. Premachandran said.

The KWA is foraying into the packaged water business at a time when it faces a widening gap between its revenue income and expenditure. As such, the non-tariff income from packaged water will serve to bridge the Authoritys revenue gap, if only partially. This income will also help the authority pay its power bills and avoid disconnections at its facilities across the State. Moreover, the Authority can avoid hiking its water tariff.

Sri Lankan airline chief calls for fully liberalized skies with India

Sri Lanka and India should fully liberalize air services within the two countries, further strengthen links between them and set an example to South Asia, the head of the islands state-run national carrier said.

The time has come to a fully liberalize aviation in the region, which will be an example in the pursuit of true intra-regional trade, SriLankan Airlines chairman Nishanta Wickremasinghe told a business forum in Colombo.

From the airlines point of view I would unhesitatingly urge India to take that opportunity to fully liberalize air services to serve as a regional model.

He was speaking at a business forum held with the India International Film Awards in Colombo.

Wickremasinghe said Sri Lanka had an aviation policy of liberalizing on the basis of reciprocity.

Far reaching and timely decisions by Sri Lanka and India to liberalize (are needed), he said.

Sensex up 100 points from the day\'s low

The key benchmark indices extended recovery in mid-afternoon trade as index heavyweight Reliance Industries (RIL) cut losses. US index futures pared losses. Asian stocks recovered from an initial sharp slump. Reports that monsoon has revived after being stalled by a cyclone last week, also aided intraday recovery on the domestic bourses. However, all the sectoral indices on the BSE were still in the red. The BSE 30-share Sensex was down 328.45 points or 1.92%, up about 100 points from the days low. Both Mid and Small-Cap indices on BSE outperformed the Sensex

The Sensex fell below the psychological 17,000 mark at the onset of the trading session on weak global stocks. The market trimmed losses in morning trade. The market weakened once again in mid-morning trade. The key benchmark indices hovered near the intraday lows in early afternoon trade. Bank stocks led a recovery from lower level in afternoon trade. The market extended recovery in mid-afternoon trade

Southwest monsoon to advance: Met

NEW DELHI: Monsoon rains, crucial for farm output in the worlds leading consumer of sugar, grains and cooking oils, have revived after being stalled by a cyclone last week, weather officials said on Monday.

Cyclone Phet near the Oman coast in the Arabian sea had halted the southwest monsoons advance toward the north of India for four days, soon after they had hit Kerala on May 31, a day ahead of schedule.

Monsoon has revived, said a senior weather official who did not wish to be named.

The monsoon is expected to cover more areas of the southern Karnataka state, a big producer of cane and corn, from Monday.

Mangalore: Monsoon Begins in State�s Coast with a Bang

Mangalore, Jun 7: The cloudy weather and light drizzle being experienced in the coastal districts of Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Kasargod since the past couple of days turned into heavy rain on Sunday June 6. Intermittent downpour, which lashed the districts on Sunday morning, afternoon and evening, again soaked them in the night and also on the morning of Monday June 7.

Heavy rain with lightning was experienced in Bantwal taluk on Sunday morning and afternoon. It appears that Beltangady is the only taluk where overcast skies gave an indication of heavy rains, but the expectations of the people were belied as they did not get any rain. So far, no loss to lives and property due to rain has been reported from these districts.

Balakrishnan Joins NHRC As Chairperson

Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, former Chief Justice of the country has been named as the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC).

Balakrishnan is the sixth Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission.

Dancer begins longest ever performance

Thrissur: Seeking to make her way into the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest dance performance,well-known danseuse Kalamadnalam Hemalatha started a five-day-five night Mohiniyattam presentation in Thrissur on Monday.

Hemalatha, a product of Keralas premier art school Kerala Kalamandalam, will perform from 9 AM to 9 PM till she achieves the long-cherished goal.

Before beginning the show,Hemalatha, however, said personal glory was not the sole purpose, but to showcase to the world the glory of Mohiniyattam, Keralas contribution to Indian dance traditions.

My aim is not just a Guinness Record. Mohiniyattam is the traditional art form of Kerala and I would like to spread its glory all over the world. If I can set a world record by performing the art, it will surely get global attention, she said.

The current Guinness record for the longest dance performance is held by Hyderabad-based Dr Vattikkota Yaadagiri Acharya who performed continuously for 108 hours, she said, adding that she wished she could break the record.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Minister calls for proper care for planted saplings

KOLLAM: Global warming is not a fairy tale but a fearsome reality, Benoy Viswom, KOLLAM: Global warming is not a fairy tale but a fearsome reality, Benoy Viswom, Minister for Forests, has said.

He was inaugurating the ambitious �Haritha Muttam Haritha Veedhi initiative of the Kollam City Corporation here on Sunday.

Quoting scientific studies, Mr. Viswom said that if the temperature of the earth rose by another 3 degrees Celsius, man would meet the fate of the dinosaurs. Installation of air-conditioners will not save the human kind. It was high time we understood that the destruction of life-sustaining environment was suicidal, he said.

He said Copenhagen failed because countries responsible for huge emission of carbon dioxide did not want restrictions imposed on them. While development was the right of each society, it should not be carried out by crushing nature and destroying natural resources.

The Minister said the Forest Department exiled all foreign trees from its collection of saplings for social forestry initiatives. Saplings of 25 native species were being distributed ever since the LDF government came to power. He said that the �Ente Maram programme launched by the government in schools was a big success. Through the programme, school students of the State became a model for the entire country.

�More than 80 per cent of the saplings distributed under the �Ente Maram programme are growing into trees. The credit for that goes to the school children of the State.

Territorial Army ADG visits battalion

KANNUR: Additional Director General (ADG) of the Territorial Army (TA) Major General A.D.S. Grewal interacted with jawans and officers of the 122 Infantry Battalion (Territorial Army) here as part of his two-day official visit to the TA unit that concluded on Sunday.

He was visiting the TA unit here for the first time after he assumed charge as the ADG of the TA. Battalion Commanding Officer Col. Davidson Kolath received Maj.Gen. Grewal at the battalion station. The second-in-command Lt.Col. Karan Bhagat and Subedar Major H. Vijayan were also present.

Appreciating the achievements of the Kannur Terriers, as the battalion is popularly known, he also expressed gratitude to the State government, the district administration and the public for their co-operation to the battalion. Battalion authorities said that he also expressed full satisfaction over the standard of training and other activities. Maj.Gen. Grewal explained the reforms being planned in the Territorial Army units across the country as well as future programmes and welfare activities. He had also participated as a guest at the passing out parade at the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala here on June 5.

Road reopening cuts travel time to Bangalore

KANNUR: The wait is over for passengers in the Kannur-Mysore-Bangalore route. On Saturday, the Makkutta-Virajpet inter-State highway that connects the district with Kodagu (Coorg) in Karnataka was reopened, marking an end to the difficulties faced by those who go to Mysore and Bangalore by road.

Road traffic through this important inter-State highway resumed after the repaired road was reopened by Karnataka Speaker K.G. Boppayya on June 5, nearly 15 months after the road in bad shape was closed for repair works.

In seven hours

Since then vehicles to and from Kannur and Mysore/Bangalore were being diverted through Wayanad, forcing passengers to cover an additional distance of 90 km.

The reopened road offers better connectivity and saves hours of travel time.

Now, passengers from Kannur can reach Bangalore in six or seven hours. The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) resumed its daily services to Mysore/Bangalore through the Makkutta ghat road on Sunday.

Passengers from Kozhikode to Mysore/Bangalore, who are hit by the ban on night vehicular traffic through the Bandipore forest in Karnataka, will also benefit.

Two persons drown

ALAPPUZHA: Two persons drowned after the fibre boat they were rowing capsized due to heavy winds in the Vembanad Lake near Kainakary here on Sunday. The two, identified as Arjun, 38, of Kollam, and Sanoop, 25, of Thiruvalla, had come along with their friends Rajesh, Manoj and Hari to Arjuns in-laws house at Kainakary.

They went on a short trip around the lake on two fibre boatsrowing the boats themselves. However, with strong winds hitting the lake around 4 p.m., both boats capsized while the group was returning home

Send all-party team to Delhi on Autokast: meet

ALAPPUZHA: A public convention convened at Cherthala here on Sunday demanded that the State government send an all-party delegation to meet the Prime Minister and other officials concerned to mount political pressure on the Railway Ministry to speed up the proposed joint venture company (JVC) between the ministry and public sector undertaking Autokast to launch a wagon-manufacturing plant.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, inaugurating the convention, said that the adamant attitude of Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee had put the JVC under a cloud of uncertainty. Political pressure and pro-active steps from the State government to implement a package that would make Autokast a viable, profit-making PSU without Central help were the only ways out, he said.

First phase of Ayurveda hospital completed

Kochi: The new block of the Ernakulam District Ayurveda Hospital is all set for inauguration, marking the completion of the first phase of the reconstruction of the old hospital building at Kacheripady in the city.

Ernakulam District Panchayat President P.S. Shyla said that the construction of the new block on the eastern side comprising a ground floor and first floor were completed at a cost of Rs.3 crore. She said that the panchayat had planned to take up the construction of a five-storey building in three phases because of fund crunch. As many as 200 patients could be accommodated in the general ward when the whole construction is over. Besides, the new building would house 150 pay wards and the district medical office of the Indian System of Medicine (ISM). There would also have a conference hall and guest rooms on the top floor.

Ms. Shyla said that when she had visited the old hospital, most of the wooden beams were found to be broken and the hospital building was leaking. She had immediately ordered the reconstruction of the decrepit building. The hospital was shifted to the old building of the Thripunithura Ayurveda College following the demolition of the old building. The district medical office was also shifted to a building in Thammanam. The construction works were inaugurated by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan in 2006.

Mr. Achuthanandan will inaugurate the new block on Monday.