Saturday, July 17, 2010

Jordan welcomes Indian tourists

KOCHI: The Jordan Tourism Board organised a road show here on Friday, as part of a 10-day marketing drive in India to encourage travellers to visit Jordan.

Jordan expects to host almost double the number of tourists from India this year, as compared to 2009, said Maher Salman, marketing manager (ASEAN region) of the Board. �The easing of visa procedures has helped travellers to visit Jordan. The land offers a mix of leisure and pilgrimage destinations, shopping and also MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions).

The country has a rich mix of history and culture, being located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe. It is also home to some of mankinds earliest settlements and also many Biblical sites. Jordan is also a country with rich biodiversity � pine-clad mountains, valleys, wetlands, deserts and also the famed Dead Sea. Submarine tours too are organised.

�The citizens are also very hospitable. Many excavations are on and this is another attraction. The country attracted 3.5 million tourists in 2009, of which 29,000 were from India,� said the Boards Indian representative Asish Sharma.

Though there are no direct flights to South India, there is a weekly flight from New Delhi and Mumbai.

Hunt on for �wild cat\'

KOCHI: Panic gripped Manjummal, near here, on Saturday after a headless goat carcass was spotted near the Subramaniam Swamy temple around 8.30 a.m.

Rumour spread that a leopard had killed the goat. A pugmark-like formation on the ground added to the speculation. Soon, a police team from the Eloor station reached the spot. Shortly thereafter, a hunt was launched by the police and the people in the locality for the wild cat.

By this time, an Assistant Conservator from the Social Forestry department had also reached the spot. After inspecting the injury on the carcass and the marks on the ground, he could not be sure about a leopards involvement.

The search continued till afternoon. The Forest department was about to set up a cage at the spot where the carcass was found to trap the leopard, if any, late in the evening, the police said.

Cusat to crack down on ragging on campuses

KOCHI: Surprise checks in hostels and awareness camps for students will form part of the new steps being taken by the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) against the menace of ragging.

Stringent action will be taken against students involved in ragging based on the recommendations made by the Supreme Court against such barbarism on campuses. Monitoring will be strengthened at hostels and classrooms to check incidents of ragging. The anti-ragging squad will make surprise raids on hostels and other hot spots on the campus. It will also inspect places of �potential ragging to nab the culprits.

Elaborating on the steps taken against ragging, N. Chandramohanakumar, Registrar, told The Hindu on Saturday that the university has asked the Principals of affiliated colleges to launch anti-ragging squads on the campus. Similar squads will also be set up at the postgraduate departments and School of Engineering at the Thrikkakara campus of Cusat soon.

Dr. Chandramohankumar said that the anti-ragging squads on the campus would keep a strict vigil on students involved in ragging. He said that the university has taken a serious view of the directions given by the apex court against ragging.

All the heads of departments have been asked to submit an action taken report every two weeks during the first three months of the academic year. They should later submit a monthly report to the university explaining the steps taken against the menace. The department heads and faculty members will educate newcomers about their rights against harassment of any kind including ragging.

Renovated Hill Palace Museum opened

KOCHI: The second phase of conservation and restoration efforts at the Hill Palace Museum, Thripunithura would be taken up at a cost of Rs 3.50 crore, the Minister for Education and Culture M. A. Baby has said.

This apart, the departments of tourism and culture would work together to begin a light-and-sound show at the museum complex, he said, after inaugurating the initial phase of renovation works at the museum done at a cost of Rs. 4.50 crore, here on Saturday. �Historical buildings that are renovated to their past glory are an asset to humanity. Apart from showcasing our culture, they also attract tourists, he said.

Responding to memoranda submitted by individuals and groups to extend the hours during which people can take their morning walk in the 52-acre museum campus, Mr. Baby said that this would be considered.

Taking into account the need to ensure the safety of valuable exhibits kept at the museum, identity cards would be issued to regular walkers. Tourism Secretary V. Venu said that many of the restored buildings were in a dilapidated condition when work began.

Apart from repairing the buildings and restoring the doors, windows etc., roofs were added to a few which did not have them.

A two-metre wide walkway too has been redone around the periphery of the compound, since many people frequent the premises for their regular walk. Two hundred lamp posts have been installed to light up the locale during early morning and at night.

Thirukochi buses begin service

KOCHI: It was a wish come true for many a passenger as they boarded the Kerala State Road Transport Corporations �Thirukochi city buses which began service along 18 routes on Saturday.

The 50 white buses with blue stripes were a pleasant break for many commuters. However, some passengers did not board the new buses, mistaking that the fares would be higher.

No difference in fare

�The fare for Thirukochi buses is the same as that for private buses, with Rs.4 being the minimum fare. Contrary to the belief of a few passengers, the Thirukochi buses halt at all regular stops on each route, said RTCs Zonal Officer G. Jayaraj.

Unlike most private buses that have tarpaulin or cloth as shutters, the RTC services have rexin shutters that effectively cut off rain water. The income per km has to be Rs.23, for the services to break-even.

NABARD plans kisan knowledge centres

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Nabard proposes to set up Kisan knowledge centres in Kerala. CGM of Nabard K.C. Sadidhar, said the centres would work for encouraging organic farming and strengthening the existing organic farms. He was inaugurating a conference of organic farmers in Gandhi Bhavan here on Saturday.

He added that the Nabard was also planning to set up an agricultural museum and organise clubs of women farmers with the help of the Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi.

City permit sought for more autos

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The AITUC-affiliated Motor Thozhilali Union has sought city permit for 10,000 autorickshaws more in view of the merger of five panchayats with the City Corporation and expansion of the city limits. The union will stage a dharna in front of the Secretariat on June 27, union president Peroorkada Sreekumar and general secretary Pattom Sasidharan said in a statement here.

The Union alleged that the police and the Motor Vehicles Department were harassing autorickshaw drivers in the capital on the pretext of checking permits. It said the report given by the Circle Inspector, Traffic, that permits had been given only to 4,501 autorickhaws was aimed at misleading the court.

They said the majority of autorickshaws that were given the permit way back in 1996 were not plying now in the capital. The traffic implementation committee had taken a decision to sanction 10,000 permits more and the decision was conveyed to the District Collector who is also the chairman of the Regional Transport Authority.

Coast Guard averts oil spill off Kerala coast

Kochi: Timely action by the Coast Guard has averted a major environmental disaster as a result of possible oil spill from a damaged merchant vessel off the coast of Kochi.

Coast Guards Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel (AOPV) Samar on Saturday morning fixed a crack through which seawater was flooding the tanks of the rusty Panama-flagged cargo carrier Andrian-III, which was anchored eight nautical miles off Kochi while on voyage from Indonesia to Iran with a cargo of 110 kilo litres of oil. The force has now asked the Cochin Port Trust and the Mercantile Marine Department to carry out �port state control inspection of the vessel to rule out any possibility of it sinking within the port limits as also to see if it can be safely brought to the harbour here for repairs.

B.K. Loshali, Deputy Inspector-General of Coast Guard District Headquarters No.4, said the Cochin Port Control on Friday evening informed the Coast Guard of a 50 metre-long vessel at anchorage 11 nautical miles off Kochi as its Captain � Iranian national Mohammed Kalabi Zadeh � and a seven-member Indonesian crew had been without food and water for four days.

�We immediately launched an interceptor boat, C-134, for investigation but turbulent seas forced it to return. Our AOPV Samar, which was on patrol in Lakshadweep, about 120 nautical miles away, was also diverted to render assistance to the vessel, Mr. Loshali said.

Uphold secularism, says Pinarayi

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has called upon secularists in all communities to resist the bid to use religion as a fa�ade for terror activities.

Inaugurating the V.G. Govindan Nair Memorial Institute of Legal Studies and Research instituted by the All India Lawyers Union and addressing a seminar on the influence of religion in politics here on Saturday, Mr.Vijayan said certain organisations were using religion as a cover for their terror pursuits and establishing a theocratic State.

The resentment among the minority communities against the systemic delay in initiating action against the perpetrators of violence by those in the majority community was being misused to woo them to terrorism. �Minority terrorism is encouraging the terrorist elements in the majority community too. Both minority and majority communalism and terrorism were two sides of the same coin and the Left is opposed to it.

Life skill training

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Russian Cultural Centre and Pan Sight are to jointly organise a �life skill training programme for success in the capital city from August 1. The duration for the programme is eight weeks.

The classes, to be held on Sunday morning and evening, will be led by international life skill expert V.G. Reddy. The training programme will cover developing verbal skills, non-verbal skills, leadership skills, memorising skills, time management skills and stress management skills. The programme would be for two different age groups�15 to 20 years and 20 to 30 years. Details can be had on 9497758595.

Uphold secularism, says Pinarayi

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has called upon secularists in all communities to resist the bid to use religion as a fa�ade for terror activities.

Inaugurating the V.G. Govindan Nair Memorial Institute of Legal Studies and Research instituted by the All India Lawyers Union and addressing a seminar on the influence of religion in politics here on Saturday, Mr.Vijayan said certain organisations were using religion as a cover for their terror pursuits and establishing a theocratic State.

The resentment among the minority communities against the systemic delay in initiating action against the perpetrators of violence by those in the majority community was being misused to woo them to terrorism. �Minority terrorism is encouraging the terrorist elements in the majority community too. Both minority and majority communalism and terrorism were two sides of the same coin and the Left is opposed to it.

Girls fare better in B.Tech. exams

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Girl students cornered the majority of the first ranks in the eighth semester B.Tech. examinations of the University of Kerala, the results of which were published here on Saturday.

Of the 12 first ranks in various branches of engineering, seven were bagged by girls. Applications for revaluation and scrutiny can be submitted till August 7. The results can be accessed on the university web site www.keralauniversity.ac.in.

The first rank for civil engineering went to A.Ajeena of the Marian College of Engineering and Technology, Kazhakkuttom. The first rank in mechanical engineering went to Vaisag Raghavan of the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram.

The top rank in Mechanical-production engineering was bagged by P. Vishnu Kumar of SCT College of Engineering, Pappanamcode while the top rank in Mechanical-Automobile engineering went to S.L. Arunkumar, also of SCT College. In Mechanical-Industrial engineering, the first rank went to G.V. Sreenath of the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram. The first rank in Chemical engineering went to S. Sujeesh of TKM College of Engineering, Kollam.

The top rank in Biotechnology and Bio-chemical Engineering went to S. Siddhi of SCT College, while the first rank in Electrical and Electronics Engineering went to L. Parvathy of the TKM College of Engineering, Kollam.

Girls fare better in B.Tech. exams

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Girl students cornered the majority of the first ranks in the eighth semester B.Tech. examinations of the University of Kerala, the results of which were published here on Saturday.

Of the 12 first ranks in various branches of engineering, seven were bagged by girls. Applications for revaluation and scrutiny can be submitted till August 7. The results can be accessed on the university web site www.keralauniversity.ac.in.

The first rank for civil engineering went to A.Ajeena of the Marian College of Engineering and Technology, Kazhakkuttom. The first rank in mechanical engineering went to Vaisag Raghavan of the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram.

The top rank in Mechanical-production engineering was bagged by P. Vishnu Kumar of SCT College of Engineering, Pappanamcode while the top rank in Mechanical-Automobile engineering went to S.L. Arunkumar, also of SCT College. In Mechanical-Industrial engineering, the first rank went to G.V. Sreenath of the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram. The first rank in Chemical engineering went to S. Sujeesh of TKM College of Engineering, Kollam.

The top rank in Biotechnology and Bio-chemical Engineering went to S. Siddhi of SCT College, while the first rank in Electrical and Electronics Engineering went to L. Parvathy of the TKM College of Engineering, Kollam.

Right to information under challenge

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Right to information is under challenge in the State owing to reluctance of officials to part with information and the failure of the State Information Commission to decide and enforce its orders in many cases. Cases have been piling up before Commission.

Now, it is facing the prospect of politicisation also.

The Committee for selection of State Information Commissioners recently recommended politician Sony B. Thengamom and former IAS Officer M.N. Gunavardhanan to the Governor for appointment as members of the Commission. Mr. Thengamom is the Kollam district secretary of the CPI and member of its State Council. (The Selection Committee comprised Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan, Opposition Leader Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. The matter is pending before the Governor.)

The Right to Information Act specifies that the State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.

It also mandates that they shall not be a Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislature of any State or Union territory, as the case may be, or hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession

Right to information under challenge

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Right to information is under challenge in the State owing to reluctance of officials to part with information and the failure of the State Information Commission to decide and enforce its orders in many cases. Cases have been piling up before Commission.

Now, it is facing the prospect of politicisation also.

The Committee for selection of State Information Commissioners recently recommended politician Sony B. Thengamom and former IAS Officer M.N. Gunavardhanan to the Governor for appointment as members of the Commission. Mr. Thengamom is the Kollam district secretary of the CPI and member of its State Council. (The Selection Committee comprised Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan, Opposition Leader Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. The matter is pending before the Governor.)

The Right to Information Act specifies that the State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.

It also mandates that they shall not be a Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislature of any State or Union territory, as the case may be, or hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession

Workshops to be monitored

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The police have directed workshop owners in the district to record the make, type and ownership particulars of vehicles brought to their facilities for repair.

They said the move was aimed at preventing law breakers, including motorists involved in hit-and-run accidents, from covering their tracks after committing crimes, inadvertently or otherwise, using vehicles.

The police have also directed private medical practitioners and those running clinics and hospitals to promptly inform law enforcers the details of the persons treated for injuries, including the nature of their wounds, by filing the mandatory �medico-legal intimation form at the local police station.

Investigators said persons involved in hit-and-run accidents and those who sustained injuries while committing crimes often got their wounds tended at �single doctor clinics or infirmaries in remote areas.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Over-politicisation hampering development: Sudhakaran

ALAPPUZHA: There is an overdose of politics in Alappuzha, which, though cannot be termed the districts curse, was posing obstacles for development, Coir and Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran has said.

Speaking after declaring the renovated Municipal Town Hall open, now named after former Minister and political stalwart, the late T.V. Thomas, here on Friday, Mr. Sudhakaran said the over politicisation of even trivial issues was distinctly visible in Alappuzha compared to other districts in the State.

This anti- developmental approach in turn was hampering the districts chances of moving forward, the Minister said.

Developmental schemes, whether they were sponsored by the Centre or the State, had to be implemented in a time-bound manner, which was not happening in Alappuzha. Whether it was the LDF or the UDF in power, schemes should be implemented without any delay for the benefit of the public. However, several schemes, despite receiving adequate funds, were in a limbo in the district, the Minister said, adding that the sluggish approach of officials was partly to be blamed for this.

Workshop on environmental studies held

KOCHI: Charles Diaz, MP, has exhorted citizens to prevent the destruction of trees and mangroves, which he said were the lungs of the nature, at any cost.

He was delivering the inaugural address at a workshop on environmental studies conducted jointly by the forest department, Marthoma Syrian Churchs Development Department and Environment Commission at Mangalavanam near here on Friday.

K.V. Simon, vice-president of the Marthoma Syrian Church Development Department presided. Environment activists Jiyo Jose, C.M. Joy, S. Seetharaman, Fr, Augustine Vattoli, Purushan Eloor, and Rajendra Prasad made the presentations.

A heronry faces twin threats

KALPETTA: Large-scale destruction of bamboo groves and unbridled sand-mining pose a threat to a heronry on the Kabani river at Panamaram, the largest breeding ground of different species of herons in the Malabar region.

Bamboo groves on the banks of rivulets, big and small, in the region have been a haven for different species of birds.

The heronry, on a small islet on the Kabani, is an elevated sand bank covered with vegetation, predominantly bamboo groves.

However, the gregarious blooming of bamboo on the islet this year and illegal sand-mining will destroy the heronry, ornithologists say. Competition for breeding sites will be tough next season and the birds will have to find other sites owing to the destruction of the bamboo groves.

Many heronries in the district face a similar fate owing to the massive destruction of bamboo groves since the blooming began in 2006, C.K. Vishnudas, an ornithologist, says.

One held on charge of hoarding LPG cylinders

KOCHI: The City Police arrested one person on charges of hoarding cooking gas cylinders. Sreedharan, 47, of Udayameperoor, was under surveillance after the police received complaints about black marketing of cooking gas.

The police also confiscated 20 full domestic gas cylinders and 29 empty ones from the residence of the accused.

The police said that the accused used to reserve gas cylinders using registrations of people in the neighbourhood and sell the cylinder at a higher price to those in need.

Held for gambling

The police arrested five persons on charges of gambling. Rajan, 37, and Sasi, 44, of Eroor, Purushan, 60, and Sankar, 45 of Thrikkakara and Mohammed, 63, of Thripunithura, were arrested from a gambling centre at Thripunithura.

St. Paul\'s College alumni meet

KOCHI: Former students of St. Pauls College at Kalamassery are organising an old students meet, �Ormakoot, on the college premises on Sunday at 10 a.m.

The meet is open to all those who have ever studied any course at St. Pauls College.

St. Pauls College has, among its alumni, many prominent personalities who have shone in various fields, not least of them the Minister for Forests Benoy Viswom, who is also one of the patrons of the alumni association.

Those interested in participating in the meeting may contact the following numbers 94470-33684, 98460-13199, 99950-60670.

Hill Palace Museum restored to old glory

KOCHI: Forty-nine historic buildings spread over the sprawling Hill Palace Museum complex in Thripunithura have been renovated to their past glory by the State Department of Archaeology.

The renovated buildings and the premises would be opened to visitors on Saturday by the Minister for Education and Culture M.A. Baby. The work on doing up the sprawling gardens is under way.

Apart from repairing the buildings and restoring the doors and windows, roofs were added to a few which did not have them.

A two-metre-wide walkway too has been redone around the periphery of the compound, since many people frequent the premises for their regular walk.

Two hundred lamp posts have been installed to light up the locale during early morning and night. Twelve closed-circuit cameras have been installed at vantage locations in the museum that treasures the crown and many other items used by the erstwhile Kochi royal family.

�Orders have been placed with Keltron for another 24 cameras. The hand-held metal detectors would soon be replaced with door-frame metal detectors which scan the full body as people pass by. These apart, the height of the compound wall has been raised to eight feet, while taking care to retain the original design, said Sylendranath K.R., the Registrar of Centre for Heritage Studies and the officer-in-charge of the museum.

PFI\'s �freedom parade\' banned

KOCHI: Additional District Magistrate K.N. Raje, who is also District Collector-in-charge, has banned the �freedom parade proposed to be held by the Popular Front of India (PFI) on August 15.

Based on a report given by T. Vikram, Superintendent of Police, Ernakulam Rural, the District Collector invoked Section 21 A of the Police Act banning �the conduct of parades or mass drill that could breach public peace and tranquillity.

The training by the PFI were already being monitored after many PFI activists were included in the case related to assault made on T.J. Joseph, professor, Newman College, Thodupuzha.

Younus of Kothamangalam, for whom the police have issued a look-out notice in this case, was the convener of the parade in the district. Many other members of the organising committee were also wanted in the case.

According to the order issued by the District Collector, the ban will be in force till August 17.

KSRTC launches fifty �Thirukochi\' city buses

KOCHI: Fifty �Thirukochi series city buses of the KSRTC were flagged off in the city on Friday by Transport Minister Jose Thettayil.

They would begin service from Saturday. While 32 of them would operate from the RTCs Ernakulam depot, 18 would be based at the Aluva depot. Thus, there would be a Thirukochi bus in the Ernakulam-Aluva route every 10 minutes and every 30 minutes in select other routes.

Mr Thettayil said that the RTC city buses are being introduced following public outcry over frequent private bus strikes and complaints of high-handedness by private-bus crew. �The media too has for many years been demanding the introduction of RTC services in Kochi. Referring to the RTC being unable to operate 20 buses from the city to the Goshree islands and back, he said that this is because of the delay caused by a section of private-bus owners challenging the introduction of these services before the High Court.

Mayor Mercy Williams called upon members of the public to utilize the new city buses, so that there is less number of two-wheelers and cars on the roads. �These services would boost public transport in Kochi since the private buses in service are overcrowded.�

Voters list enrolment date extended

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The last date for enrolling names in the voters list for the local body elections has been further extended to July 20.

The State Election Commission said in a release here on Friday that the applications for deleting and including names in the list could be submitted till July 20. The process of enrolment should be completed by August 4. The final list would be published on August 12.

The commission has directed the civic body offices to function on July 18, 25 and August 1 to help the people enrol their names. The commission recommended that the government suspend Adoor municipal secretary Sam G. David and municipal engineer P.T. Babu from service for their lapse in preparing the voters list.

NSS award for Higher Secondary directorate

Thiruvananthapuram: The Directorate of Higher Secondary Education has been selected for the 2009- 2010 award instituted by the National Service Scheme (NSS) for the institution with outstanding NSS activities in Kerala.

The award comprises a cash prize of Rs.15,000, a trophy and citation.

The awards for the best NSS units have gone to the Devaswom Board College, Thalayolaparambu; Vocational Higher Secondary School, Velliman, Kollam; Government College, Kasaragod; and Government Womens Polytechnic College, Kaimanam, Thiruvananthapuram.

The award comprises a trophy and citation.

Minister for Education M.A. Baby announced the awards here on Friday

New Devaswom Board office-bearers sworn in

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The new president and members of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) were sworn in at a function held at the office headquarters here on Friday afternoon.

M. Rajagopalan Nair was sworn-in president and K. Cicily and V. Sasi members. Secretary P.R. Anita delivered the oath of office to the new office-bearers. The government notification constituting the board was issued on Thursday.

Later, Mr. Nair told presspersons that the board would take a collective decision on the future course of action at Sabarimala.

Asked about the High Court suggestion to widen the steps to the sanctum sanctorum, he said a decision would be made only after studying the courts observations.

The new office-bearers would work to recover the reputation of the board.

State plans to grow 3.25-lakh tonnes of vegetables

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has set a vegetable output target of 3.25 lakh tonnes for the current year, Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran told the Assembly on Friday.

Responding to a calling attention motion from Raju Abraham (Communist Party of India-Marxist), Mr. Ratnakaran said the government was promoting vegetable cultivation in 12,000 hectares of land and had pumped in Rs.11.25 crore for the purpose.

The Agriculture Department had distributed 10,000 vegetable seed packets and saplings through the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council, Keralam (VFPCK). Nearly 150 panchayats were actively involved in vegetable cultivation, he said.

The State was able to increase its vegetable production by roughly 40,000 tonnes last year, Mr. Ratnakaran said.

NSS award for Higher Secondary directorate

Thiruvananthapuram: The Directorate of Higher Secondary Education has been selected for the 2009- 2010 award instituted by the National Service Scheme (NSS) for the institution with outstanding NSS activities in Kerala.

The award comprises a cash prize of Rs.15,000, a trophy and citation.

The awards for the best NSS units have gone to the Devaswom Board College, Thalayolaparambu; Vocational Higher Secondary School, Velliman, Kollam; Government College, Kasaragod; and Government Womens Polytechnic College, Kaimanam, Thiruvananthapuram.

The award comprises a trophy and citation.

Minister for Education M.A. Baby announced the awards here on Friday

Chartered flights from Russia and Ukraine

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chartered flights from Russia and Ukraine will start arriving in the State capital from October ending the one-year drought of such flights to the State.

The first flight with 185 tourists will land at the Thiruvananthapuram airport on October 23 and the operations will continue till May 2011. The chartered flight operations are being taken up by Destination Indus with the support of Kerala Tourism.

The arrival of chartered flights is expected to cheer up the travel trade and hospitality industry. International operators did not operate any chartered flight to the State last tourist season. This was a big setback to the industry and was cited as one of the reasons for the dip in foreign tourist arrivals.

Call to utilise e-filing system

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Income Tax (IT) Commissioner for Thiruvananthapuram S. Ravi has urged individual tax payers to take maximum benefit of the e-filing system the department is offering to them for filing their income tax returns.

At a press conference here on Friday, he said the facility offered on the departments link www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in would enable faster refunds.

There was also the convenience of doing the filing without coming to the Income Tax office and standing in the queue.

The last day prescribed for filing of individual income tax returns is July 31.

He said special counters would be open at the office of the department in the city at Kowdiar from July 28 to 31 during working hours to deal with the usual last minute rush in filing returns.

He requested tax payers to file the returns as early as possible to avoid the final rush.

He said his office had made special arrangements to bulk collect returns from the employees of major institutions such as Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and the Indian Railways.

Call to utilise e-filing system

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Income Tax (IT) Commissioner for Thiruvananthapuram S. Ravi has urged individual tax payers to take maximum benefit of the e-filing system the department is offering to them for filing their income tax returns.

At a press conference here on Friday, he said the facility offered on the departments link www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in would enable faster refunds.

There was also the convenience of doing the filing without coming to the Income Tax office and standing in the queue.

The last day prescribed for filing of individual income tax returns is July 31.

He said special counters would be open at the office of the department in the city at Kowdiar from July 28 to 31 during working hours to deal with the usual last minute rush in filing returns.

He requested tax payers to file the returns as early as possible to avoid the final rush.

He said his office had made special arrangements to bulk collect returns from the employees of major institutions such as Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and the Indian Railways.

Bakel to have airstrip soon



THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has decided to construct an airstrip that can receive 50-seater aircraft at Bekal as part of efforts to develop the area into a planned tourist destination, Home and Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told the Assembly on Friday.

33,148 cases of women harassment filed

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As many as 33,148 women harassment cases were registered since the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government assumed office, Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said.

In reply to questions in the Assembly on Friday, the Home Minister said that 273 women victims died in such incidents.

About 1,439 cases of miscreants waylaying women and snatching their gold ornaments have been reported during this period.

About 40,317 theft cases were registered. The loss of gold in these cases has been pegged at Rs.138 crore. Other articles worth Rs.149 crore were stolen.

Delay in treatment hampers A(H1N1) control

Thiruvananthapuram: Delay in the treatment of flu-like illnesses and a strange reluctance on the part of doctors to prescribe the anti-viral drug, Oseltamivir, to all suspected flu cases is affecting measures to control A(H1N1) infection in the State.

Senior Health officials said that though the department had issued many communications to doctors that Oseltamivir should be prescribed for suspected flu cases without waiting for lab tests to confirm diagnosis, many doctors in the periphery and the private sector were not following these guidelines.

Bekal to have airstrip for 50-seater craft: Kodiyeri

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala government has decided to construct an airstrip that can receive 50-seater aircraft at Bekal as part of efforts to develop the area into a planned tourist destination, Home and Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told the Assembly on Friday.

Replying to a submission by K. V. Kunhiraman (CPI-M), he said the proposed airstrip would be located at Kariyamkundu in Periya village of Kasaragod district. The Revenue authorities had surveyed the land and steps for land acquisition would be initiated after the Cabinet takes a final decision in the matter.

Mr. Balakrishnan said the government had convened a meeting of all stakeholders on May 25 to discuss the issue in view of the difficulty in ferrying tourists to Bakel, which was fast developing into an international tourist destination. The meeting had decided to construct the airstrip so that larger aircraft could land near Bekal. The project was proposed to be implemented with the support of the State-run Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology. The Minister said several hotel projects were in advanced stages of implementation.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Call to retain talent in State

KOCHI: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandans declaration to create one lakh job opportunities in the second phase expansion of Infopark has gained momentum with Board of Approval of the Union Commerce Ministry granting Special Economic Zone status to a portion of the land identified for the expansion

In a recent interview to the Hindu, Infopark CEO Siddhartha Bhattacharya said that there was no doubting the States potential to achieve that goal.

Quoting industry projections, he said that the increment in the non-tier 1ocations in the coming years was about 1.6 million jobs. �If we are to maintain the leadership position among the non-tier 1 locations we have the potential to grow from the existing 40,000 jobs to 3 million jobs, he said.

He said that the State needs to look outside software exports to maintain the growth rate. Higher end services like knowledge processes, legal processes, clever computing, engineering services, training, data centres should be relevant.

He cited small and medium enterprises as another potential avenue for growth since Kerala was inherently very strong in the area.

�We have to cultivate a lot of them and really make sure that they organically grow. They need to be provided the right environment and branding to ensure that they grow to their potential,� he said. He said that the State had been able to retain only one per cent of its native IT talent while the very same talent accounted for seven to eight per cent of the knowledge works all over the country.

Call to retain talent in State

KOCHI: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandans declaration to create one lakh job opportunities in the second phase expansion of Infopark has gained momentum with Board of Approval of the Union Commerce Ministry granting Special Economic Zone status to a portion of the land identified for the expansion

In a recent interview to the Hindu, Infopark CEO Siddhartha Bhattacharya said that there was no doubting the States potential to achieve that goal.

Quoting industry projections, he said that the increment in the non-tier 1ocations in the coming years was about 1.6 million jobs. �If we are to maintain the leadership position among the non-tier 1 locations we have the potential to grow from the existing 40,000 jobs to 3 million jobs, he said.

He said that the State needs to look outside software exports to maintain the growth rate. Higher end services like knowledge processes, legal processes, clever computing, engineering services, training, data centres should be relevant.

He cited small and medium enterprises as another potential avenue for growth since Kerala was inherently very strong in the area.

�We have to cultivate a lot of them and really make sure that they organically grow. They need to be provided the right environment and branding to ensure that they grow to their potential,� he said. He said that the State had been able to retain only one per cent of its native IT talent while the very same talent accounted for seven to eight per cent of the knowledge works all over the country.

Boost to ornamental fish farming

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: One lakh ornamental fish farming units will be set up in the State within two years, Fisheries Minister S. Sarma has said.

Inaugurating a national training programme on ornamental fish farming in the sea, organised jointly by the National Fish Development Board and the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) at Kovalam on Thursday, the Minister said the government was planning a project envisaging an ornamental fish farming unit for every family.

An average monthly income of Rs.7,000 could be earned from such a unit.

Mr. Sarma said the world ornamental fish market was worth Rs.55,000 crore and the countrys contribution to it was less than one per cent, he added.

Fire at market causes huge loss to traders

KOCHI: The fire that completely gutted ten vegetable stalls at the Ernakulam Market on Wednesday night has inflicted damage to the tune of Rs. 15 lakh on account of loss of vegetables alone, the affected stall owners have said.

�One of the stalls had 10 tonnes of big onions and this alone has caused a loss of about Rs. 1.20 lakh, said N.H. Shameed, general secretary of the Ernakulam Market Stalls Association, whose stall was among those destroyed in the fire.

According to a rough estimate, the total loss, including the damage to the buildings, stood at about Rs. 40 lakh. Stalls numbered from 82 to 91 to the southern side of the market were the ones destroyed in a fire that broke out around 10.30 p.m. reportedly owing to a short circuit.

Among the ten stalls gutted, three were retail stalls and the remaining were wholesale ones. Each stall was of about 300 sq.ft. Deputy Mayor C.K. Manisankar, and councillors Lino Jacob, Winny Abraham, and David Parampithara visited the site on Thursday.

The building in which the stalls were operating belonged to the Kochi Corporation.

Mr. Manisankar assured the traders that steps for the maintenance of the building would be done on a war footing and procedures like floating tenders would be done away with to avoid any delay. Fort Kochi Revenue Divisional Officer Mohandas Pillai has been entrusted with assessing the loss sustained by the traders.

Main cranes for Vallarpadam transhipment terminal arrive

KOCHI: Cochin Port Trust Chairman N. Ramachandran on Thursday said the arrival of four Post-Panamax quay cranes at the International Container Transhipment Terminal at Vallarpadam was a milestone for the project. The arrival of the cranes at the terminal, after being stranded in the outer channel for over a fortnight, marks the beginning of the countdown to the inauguration of the project later this year.

Senior vice-president and managing director of DP World, Subcontinent, Anil Singh, said this was a �milestone in the development of our terminal at Cochin.

Mr. Ramachandran said that Zhen Hua 10, the vessel that brought the ship-to-shore cranes, was the biggest so far to call at the Vallarpadam terminal, work on which is fast nearing conclusion.

The ship carrying the cranes, however, could not be berthed at the Vallarpadam terminal because of a persisting hard patch under the sea, which need to be dredged. Consequently, the vessel was shifted to Ernakulam wharf of the Cochin port. The vessel is likely to be berthed at Vallarpadam on Friday.

Mr. Ramachandran said that dredging operations at the basin would take another month for completion and that it would take place in tandem with the installation of the cranes. There was no delay in the dredging operations, he said, pointing out that the port trust had begun this phase of the dredging works in May

IT@School learning resources CD launched

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Each teacher should be able to develop learning resources based on the teaching-learning situation in a school, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has said.

He was speaking after releasing the ICT learning resources CD put together by the IT@School here on Thursday.

The IT@School should take the initiative in reaching such learning resources developed by teachers to every institution, he said.

Education Minister M.A. Baby was present on the occasion.

The 8 GB-CD packs information that is normally contained in eight CDs. The CD contains, among other things, resources for training in drawing and painting, for preparing a newspaper in class, an introduction to the Internet and resources for using the spreadsheet software.

According to a pressnote, the CD contains all the resources necessary for an effective use of the new ICT-based textbooks for standard eight.

The CD will be distributed to 60,000 teachers in the State. More than 12,500 teachers had been trained to use these resources, the press note added.

Two steel boats to join SWTD fleet in Kochi

KOCHI: Two of the five boats delivered by the Steel Industries Limited-Kerala (SILK) to the State Water Transport Department (SWTD) would join the departments passenger-ferry fleet in Kochi by month end.

The new vessels are expected to reduce the travelling woes of boat commuters who are at present encountering much hardship because the SWTD has withdrawn over half-a-dozen wooden, steel and fibre boats from service in the West Kochi and Vypeen routes. While many of them were withdrawn from service for repair works, a few fibre boats have been keeping off service as part of safety measures during the monsoon.

The five new steel vessels would undergo stability and other safety tests specified in the Kerala Inland Vessel Rules - 2010, once they arrive here from Kannur. The former head of Cusats Ship Technology Department, S. K. Pyarilal, who was also a member of the B. R. Menon Committee on Boat Safety said that though the new boats have a passenger capacity of 100, they can carry up to 215 people.

Grant scheme for SC/ST students

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Minister for Welfare of Scheduled and Backward Communities and Electricity A.K. Balan said in the Assembly on Thursday that the government would draw up a scheme for giving a grant of Rs.5 lakh to students belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST), studying in foreign educational institutions. Besides, the State Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Development Corporation would sanction soft loans of up to Rs.10 lakh carrying six per cent interest.

The Minister was replying to the demands for grants for welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes and Power. Mr. Balan said the assistance to poor Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe girls for marriage would be increased from Rs.20,000 Rs.25,000. The honorarium of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe promoters would be increased from Rs.2,500 to Rs.3,000. In areas with pre-metric hostels, the honorarium would be Rs.3,500 a month. Monthly stipend of Rs.90 a month would be granted to students belonging to Other Backward Classes.

VS calls for reforms in PSC

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has underscored the need for implementing timely reforms in the PSC for overcoming the delay in the recruitment process.

Inaugurating the 37 {+t} {+h} State conference of the Kerala PSC Employees Union here on Thursday, he said that 101 new posts were created in the PSC taking into consideration the additional work load. He felt that the appointment of more staff would not solve the problem.

The Chief Minister asked the PSC to show the resolve to prepare the final list within one year of inviting applications even though the increase in work load was responsible for the delay in the recruitment process.

VS calls for reforms in PSC

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has underscored the need for implementing timely reforms in the PSC for overcoming the delay in the recruitment process.

Inaugurating the 37 {+t} {+h} State conference of the Kerala PSC Employees Union here on Thursday, he said that 101 new posts were created in the PSC taking into consideration the additional work load. He felt that the appointment of more staff would not solve the problem.

The Chief Minister asked the PSC to show the resolve to prepare the final list within one year of inviting applications even though the increase in work load was responsible for the delay in the recruitment process.

Mosquito repellent based on defence technology launched

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A mosquito repellent for outdoor use in tissue (�wipes) and sachet format, based on a molecule � diethyl phenyl acetamide (DEPA) � developed by the Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE), under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), was launched in the country here on Thursday.

DEPA formulations are in regular use by the Indian Army over the past five years and the technology has been transferred on an exclusive basis to Jyothy Laboratories.

The company will bring out DEPA multi-insect repellent in its varied formulations for the masses for protection from painful insect bites and vector-borne diseases as a defence technology spin-off for civil society.

Addressing a press conference here after Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy dedicating the technology to the nation, Chairman and Managing Director of Jyothy Laboratories M.P. Ramachandran said the new product was under the umbrella brand of �Maxo mosquito repellents and will offer six-and-a-half hours to eight hours protection.

He said DEPA was an effective molecule against all blood-sucking insects such as mosquitoes, sand flies, biting midges, rat fleas and mites. Extensive studies had been carried out on the toxicology, safety and efficiency of DEPA. It had been included in the Indian Pharmacopoeia and was approved by the WHO

Rural LPG distribution agencies soon

Tirupur: Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) will soon introduce small sized rural LPG distribution agencies in the Western districts of Tamil Nadu under Rajiv Gandhi Gramin LPG Vitrak (RGGLV) scheme to increase penetration in remote areas, according to BPCL Territory Manager S. Thangavel.

�We have plans to open seven such agencies in the first phase, he said.

He was speaking to The Hindu at a seminar jointly organized by BPCL and its distributor Sri Gouri Durga Gas Service for LPG users, here on Tuesday.

Mr. Thangavel said that the agencies coming up under RGGLV scheme would require very less finance/capital and infrastructure when compared to the ones in urban and semi-urban areas because of its smaller size.

These rural agencies would penetrate deeper into areas where regular distributorships become unviable owing to scale of operation and investment. A novel feature of the scheme was that the agencies would be issued in the joint name of husband and wife as a step towards empowerment of rural womenfolk.

35 water projects to be commissioned

: Thirty-five major drinking-water projects, which will benefit 35 lakh people, will be commissioned this year, Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran has said.

Mr. Premachandran, while replying to questions in the Assembly on Thursday, said 43 lift irrigation projects would be revamped at a cost of Rs.108 crore this year.

He said about 80 per cent of the wells in the State were polluted. Steps had been taken to frame legislation for protecting river basins and forming an authority for conserving wetlands. A permanent mechanism has been envisaged preventing pollution of the 44 rivers in the State.

He said a water card system would be introduced and mobile laboratories launched for testing and maintaining the quality of drinking water. The cards would have details of the quality of drinking water in each locality. The pilot project would be launched in Kozhikode.

Formalities for setting up a State river basin authority and six river basin boards with statutory powers under the authority were in the final stage. Health and Social Welfare Minister P.K. Sreemathy said that considering the job opportunities in the paramedical sector, the government had decided to give permission for setting up colleges which had infrastructure and meet the norms.

Industries Minister Elamaram Karim said the Kerala State Industries Development Corporation and Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd. would enter into a joint venture for setting up a trade and convention centre on 12 hectares of land owned by the latter. The corporation was preparing a feasibility report for the project.

VS urges Kudumbasree Mission to promote farming

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has urged the Kudumbasree Mission to take up initiatives to promote farming.

Addressing a large gathering of members of Kudumbasree units in the city corporation area on Thursday evening, he said a major intervention on the part of the Mission would help to reverse the decline in agricultural productivity. �For many reasons, the younger generation is reluctant to take to farming. Large tracts of farmland are left fallow on grounds of declining income. This trend can be reversed if Kudumbasree units take to farming in a big way.

Mr. Achuthanandan said many of the farming schemes taken up by Kudumbasree units had yielded success. �Tens of thousands of acres have been restored as paddy fields and vegetable farms. This has helped bring down poverty in rural areas,� he said.

Thousands of women from all parts of the city turned up at the Chandrasekharan Nair stadium for the get-together organised in connection with the 12 {+t} {+h} anniversary celebrations of the Kudumbasree Mission in the capital city.

The Chief Minister called on Kudumbasree members to be vigilant against attempts to create similar outfits based on political, religious and communal considerations. The mission, he said, could play a key role in the campaign against casteism, religious fundamentalism, superstition and social evils.

He praised the Kudumbasree Cleanwell units for their role in keeping the city clean.

Panchayats to have Plus Two courses: Baby

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: All the panchayats in Kerala would have Plus Two courses by next year, Minister for Education and Cultural Affairs M.A. Baby told the Assembly on Thursday.

Replying to a submission by M.V. Shreyamskumar (Socialist Janata-Democratic-SJD), the Education Minister said the State had around 230 panchayats that did not have any institution running Plus Two courses.

The government was taking steps to sanction the courses to half of them this year.

The remaining panchayats would be covered in the next stage so that all panchayats would have Plus Two classes by next year, he added.

The government, he said, had already taken steps to raise Plus Two seats by 10 to 20 per cent in all the higher secondary schools in the State.

On the SJD members plea for more Plus Two seats in Wayanad, Mr. Baby said that while the demand was quite justified, there was also the reality of majority of the 980 Kerala Government Certificate Course in Engineering (KGCE) seats remaining vacant in the district.

Only about 350 students had joined for these courses, which were equivalent to the ITI courses, he pointed out.

Automatic machines for water bill payment soon

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran said here on Thursday that the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) would introduce automatic cash payment machines for consumers to remit their water bills.

Speaking after inaugurating the new e-payment and e-tendering systems of the KWA, he said the automatic payment machines would accept cash and issue a receipt for the payment. Modelled on the lines of automatic teller machines (ATMs), the machines would enable any time payment of bills. They would obviate the need for a credit card or a net banking account required for the e-payment system. The new facility would be introduced within three months, he said.

The Minister said the improved e-tendering system would help to eliminate corruption and speed up drinking water projects taken up by the KWA. �Contractors indulge in unhealthy practices, leading to corruption in the tendering process. The e-tendering system has an online payment facility for earnest money deposit. This will ensure confidentiality of the tender process. It is expected to help bona fide

contractors succeed in a bid and weed out unhealthy practices. The tender process can be limited to days instead of months, he said.

Mr. Premachandran said the government had decided to extend the e-tendering system to the Irrigation Department also. The computerisation of the KWA would be completed in a year, he said.

The Minister inaugurated the revised website of KWA. He also handed over the keys of four new vehicles acquired by the KWA for the Blue Brigade emergency response team.

State to clamp down on irregularities in Wakf Board

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has decided to come down heavily on corruption, mismanagement and administrative irregularities in the Kerala State Wakf Board (KSWB) as revealed in the report of the M.A. Nissar Commission.

In the Action Taken Report (ATR) on the recommendations of the Commission, tabled by Wakf Minister Paloli Mohammed Kutty in the Assembly on Thursday, the government made it clear that it had decided to initiate several steps to clean up the functioning of the Wakf Board and bring about greater transparency and accountability in the functioning of the Wakf Board and the institutions under it.

The Commission had found serious lapses on the part of the Wakf Boards chief executive officer and sought his removal from service, particularly for the irregularities in the construction of the Wakf Board headquarters and appointment of staff in violation of the Kerala State Wakf Board Act and Regulations.

The Commission, which had taken serious exception to the inordinate delay or total failure in the auditing of accounts of Wakf institutions, mainly on account of the non-cooperation of the institution authorities, had asked the government to initiate action against the erring �muthavallies (local custodian of Wakf property) under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.

Alleged blast at place of worship

Thiruvananthapuram: The police have launched a quiet inquiry into allegations that the �sound of an explosion was heard from the precincts of a religious place of worship in the city recently.

Some local people, who claimed to have heard the blast, informed the police. They alleged that some radical elements had tested a crude bomb at the site. No casualty or damage to property was reported. The police have received no complaint from the custodians of the place. They were likely to forensically examine the spot for bomb residue if more evidence emerged.

Law enforcers were concerned that explosives acquired legitimately for quarrying and fabrication of fireworks were diverted for illegal purposes.

Bursting crackers at places of worship was a means of livelihood for scores of people. Some of them stocked low-grade gunpowder without licence or even after their licence period expired.

There was a pressing need to audit their stocks and, if necessary, review their licences, officials feel.

The police detected 31 instances of violation of the Explosives Act in 2009. The number this year till May is 10.

State study points to an unfit future

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The results of the tests conducted in schools across the State, as part of the Total Physical Fitness Programme (TPFP) during the last academic year, have helped only in reconfirming the worst fears of planners, educationists, sports and health officials and social activists.

The results, made available to The Hindu on Thursday, say that only 14 per cent of the State school population possess the minimum recommended standard of physical fitness.

A total of 23.35 lakh students enrolled in classes five to 10 were tested under the ambitious project last year.

Overall, boys have fared better in the tests with 16.56 per cent of them meeting the recommended standard compared with only 11.46 per cent of girls.

High Court issues notice on Maudany\'s plea

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court, on Thursday, ordered issue of notice to Karnataka State and others on a criminal petition by Peoples Democratic Party leader Abdul Nasir Maudany, one of the accused in the 2008 Bangalore serial blasts case.

Mr. Maudany had filed an anticipatory bail application before the Karnataka High Court on Monday.

In his petition, Mr. Maudany said the Fifth Fast Track Court, Bangalore, had dismissed his plea for anticipatory bail, saying there was �no prima facie case to grant him anticipatory bail.

Mr. Maudany urged the High Court to quash that order, alleging that the lower court had relied on �lies and unfounded arguments� of the prosecution against him.

He alleged that the prosecution had misled the lower court by claiming that the police had obtained sanction from the Centre before filing a charge sheet against him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Theme park to face fresh salvo from greens, UDF

KANNUR: The Mangrove Theme Park set up by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-controlled Pappinissery Eco-Tourism Society (PETS) on the mangrove-rich northern bank of the Valapattanam river here is set to draw fresh demands from environmental activists and the United Democratic Front (UDF) for its closure in the wake of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) finding that the park has violated the Coastal Regulation Zone norms.

While the MoEFs finding as well as direction that all activities in the theme park be stopped immediately is seen as a vindication of the allegation of local environmental groups and some parties of the UDF that the park has been developed in violation of the rules regulating activities in the ecologically fragile mangrove areas, the society officials has taken refuge on the excuse that they have not received any message or information from the MoEF.

�We will react and devise a strategy when we get official information from the MoEF, PETS vice-president A.V. Ajayakumar said at a press conference convened here on Thursday to announce the three-day �monsoon festival being organised by the society from July 16.

The theme park, set up by PETS, registered under the Societies Registration Act, was started with a plan to develop the park over a five-year period, he said adding that the societys objective was to protect and conserve mangroves in the area.

SriLankan to resume flights to Kochi

Nedumbassery: Srilankan Airlines, the flagship carrier of the emerald island will be resuming its services in the Kochi- Colombo sector from the next winter schedule of the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), according to senior airport officials.

�CIAL has been in consultations with the airline for sometime now and as of now, the plan is to operate three flights per week between here and Colombo and providing onward connections accordingly, said A.C.K.Nair, the airport director.

He also said that the airport had been receiving a large number of enquiries from the passengers as the demand for tourist connections and business connections between the two destinations were on the higher side.

� Sri Lanka is fast becoming a popular international tourist destination and the service is also expected to cater to the combined tourist packages connecting it with the various destinations of Malaysia or Singapore,� the airport director said.

The airline had operated five services per week in the Colombo-Kochi route with a flight on every weekday but suspended its Kochi service in January last year owing to a re-fleeting process.

Airport museum nearing completion

Nedumbassery: With the construction of a 120,000 sq.ft building for the proposed airport museum nearing completion, the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) has finalised the configuration of displays inside the museum.

According to the airport company, the museum will have four exhibition halls showcasing the growth and evolution of the global aviation industry and relevant materials supported by photographs and narrations in English. Each of the rooms will contain a central model of different structures related to the airport industry or the models of fighter planes and choppers.

The first hall will showcase the history of airports and Indian aviation while the next stall will have pictures and descriptions about the evolution of airports with special reference to the growth of Indian aviation since 1912.

The project will also trace the evolution of passenger aircraft, fighter planes, helicopters, aircraft engines and their components. Further, there will be an area for exhibiting the replicas of the highest airports in the world, difficult airports for landing, airports with maximum features and those in strategic locations.

The museum also proposes to set up an exclusive CIAL section encompassing its origin, financing schemes, its models of land acquisition and compensation dispensation, rehabilitation, milestones and future programmes and a replica.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Munnar master plan blueprint released

KATTAPPANA: A blueprint of the guidelines for the master plan of Munnar to develop the town and the adjoining nine grama panchayats was released on Tuesday.

The blueprint will be submitted to the government for approval and the notification, when released, will be published in the grama panchayats.

Complaints and suggestions from the public will be called for before releasing the final guidelines, district town planner M.A. Thomas said.

The blueprint was released in Munnar by a team of the district town planning department. Grama panchayat presidents, peoples representatives and members of various service organisations attended the meeting.

The highlight of the blueprint is a master plan for environmentally sensitive zones and the areas congenial for taking up development projects. The protected areas have been divided into two zones - most sensitive and sensitive.

Take action against those spreading extremism: MVR

KANNUR: Communist Marxist Party (CMP) leader M.V. Raghavan has called for strong action against those spreading religious extremism in the State.

The developments in the State indicated that religious extremism was strengthening. It had already assumed a frightening proportion, Mr. Raghavan told reporters here on Wednesday.

Terming religious extremism a great menace, he said strong action is required to create a fear-free atmosphere in the State. The State government should intensify investigations into cases involving religious extremist groups. Such groups had grown in the State as a result of police inaction in registering cases against them, he said. Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan should initiate action against workers of his own party indulging in making bombs and other weapons, Mr. Raghavan said.

Seeking steps to enhance security in public places, he said the government should ensure an atmosphere where people could lead a peaceful life.

MDSU to stage Secretariat dharna

KANNUR: The Malabar Devaswom Staff Union (MDSU), an affiliate of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, will stage a dharna in front of the Secretariat on July 21 demanding amendment to the Malabar Devaswom Act and setting up of a common fund for temples under the Malabar Devaswom Board.

The union central committee meeting here decided to stage the dharna to press its demands, which include steps to amend the Act to implement the High Court judgment on establishing the board, to introduce a common scheme by unifying separate schemes for administration of temples in the Malabar region, rectification of anomalies in the pay scale of temple employees, action against temple administrations that are yet to implement pay reforms and disbursal of pay arrears from March 2009.

Union State president T.V. Chandramohan presided over the meeting. General secretary V.V. Sreenivasan and secretary P.K. Balagopalan participated.

SDPI alleges conspiracy

KANNUR: District leaders of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), political wing of the Popular Front of India (PFI), have alleged a conspiracy involving the police and political parties behind the recent police raids at SDPI offices and residences of party workers.

SDPI district president Pallipram Prabhakaran and district general secretary Noushad Punnakkal said at a press conference here on Wednesday that the raids at SDPI offices in the district were an assault on freedom of opinion and the political activities envisaged in the Constitution.

The SDPI being a political party registered as per the instruction of the Election Commission of India, its involvement in elections in different States over the past one year and its decision to contest the coming local body elections in the State had earned the hostility of the mainstream political leadership. The raids were part of a conspiracy hatched by the upper caste mindset, they said.

Raids continue

ALAPPUZHA: Raids by police teams on the houses of leaders, activists and office-bearers of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and the Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI) continued for the second day on Wednesday in various parts of the district.

The raids in Alappuzha, which began in the morning, were at Punnapra, Ambalapuzha, Valanjavazhi, Pulayanvazhi, Mullathuvalappu and Purakad.

PFI district secretary Sudheer Punnapra and district treasurer T.K.P. Salahuddins houses were among those raided. Houses of several SDPI activists too were raided.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (Alappuzha) B. Ravindra Prasad said the raids would continue on Thursday. So far, apart from a few weapons, pamphlets and CDs that were recovered during the raids at Mannancherry, the police have not been able find anything �incriminating, Mr. Prasad said.

PFI Ambalapuzha area secretary Suneer was arrested by the police later in the day for taking out a protest march without the permission of the police.

Police teams sent to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka

Kochi: State police teams have been sent to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to gather information about PFI activists suspected to be involved in the attack on T.J. Joseph, Professor, Newman College, Thodupuzha on April 4. �We have already sent police teams to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as some PFI activists would have taken refuge there, police sources said. The raids and searches would continue in the State, they said.

Lookout notices against the three main accused had been sent to all airports in the country.

Six PFI activists had been arrested in connection with the incident till now.

Lost paintings: plea admitted

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday admitted a writ petition seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the reported missing of certain original works of Raja Ravi Varma from the State government custody.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice P.N. Ravindran issued notice to the CBI and other respondents, including the State government. The petition was filed by Archana Narayanan, lawyer and great grand niece of Raja Ravi Varma. She said as per the records of Kilimanoor Palace, over 75 paintings had been handed over to the then government. However, now only 55 paintings were displayed at the Sree Chitra Art Gallery, Thiruvananthapuram.

Health Secretary made respondent

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday impleaded the State Health Secretary as respondent in a writ petition filed by the PVS College of Nursing, Kozhikode seeking affiliation for nursing courses.

The Bench, comprising Chief Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice P.N. Ravindran, impleaded the Health Secretary as it prima facie appeared to the court that the University of Calicut was not competent to grant affiliation in view of the establishment of the Kerala University of Health and Allied Sciences.

The nursing college complained that they were yet to get affiliation for its courses for the year 2009-10 and 2010-11. The college alleged that the university was functioning notionally.

Placement offer for 90 % of MEC students

KOCHI: The Model Engineering College (MEC) at Thrikkakara beat recession blues when 90 per cent of the B.Tech. students ( May 2010 pass-out) on the campus were extended around 201 offers by the who-is-who of the Indian industry.

The young techies posted an impressive placement record this year signalling the revival of campus recruitment after a bad patch triggered by global recession. Elaborating on MECs placement achievements, V. K. Jayasree, placement officer and faculty member, told The Hindu that Infosys and TCS extended the highest number of offers to the students.

Infosys made 46 offers while TCS extended 30 offers. MindTree came third when it gave 15 offers to the B. Tech. graduates. Other companies that offered placements were CGI (11); Deloitte (11), Yahoo (10 internship); Bosch (8); Cordys (7); Wipro VLSI (7); and Poornam (8), she said

Court\'s directive to Bangalore police

Kochi: A special CBI court here, hearing terror-related cases probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Kerala, on Wednesday, directed the Bangalore police to produce the six accused in the 2008 blasts case, including T. Nazeer, before the court on July 28. The direction was issued by Special Court magistrate S. Vijay Kumar.

The six are also accused in a case relating to recruiting of some Keralites for terrorist activities in Kashmir. The NIA also produced seven other accused in the case in the court and they have been remanded in two weeks judicial custody.

The accused complained to the court about their faces being covered. However, the magistrate said there was no ground for any grievance as appropriate orders had been issued by the court to produce them with their faces covered.

While being produced in the court a few days ago, Nazeer had told mediapersons that he had not implicated PDP leader Abdul Nasir Maudany in the Bangalore blast case. This had prompted NIA to approach the court for a direction to Kerala police to produce all the accused in terror-related cases only with their faces covered.

Court\'s directive to Bangalore police

Kochi: A special CBI court here, hearing terror-related cases probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Kerala, on Wednesday, directed the Bangalore police to produce the six accused in the 2008 blasts case, including T. Nazeer, before the court on July 28. The direction was issued by Special Court magistrate S. Vijay Kumar.

The six are also accused in a case relating to recruiting of some Keralites for terrorist activities in Kashmir. The NIA also produced seven other accused in the case in the court and they have been remanded in two weeks judicial custody.

The accused complained to the court about their faces being covered. However, the magistrate said there was no ground for any grievance as appropriate orders had been issued by the court to produce them with their faces covered.

While being produced in the court a few days ago, Nazeer had told mediapersons that he had not implicated PDP leader Abdul Nasir Maudany in the Bangalore blast case. This had prompted NIA to approach the court for a direction to Kerala police to produce all the accused in terror-related cases only with their faces covered.

Two held on charge of forging documents

KOCHI: Two persons were arrested by the Ernakulam Town South Police on charges of forging documents like certificates, driving licence and voters identity card to present along with passport applications.

Those arrested were Padmanabhan Nair, 60, of Kakkanad, who owned Highness Travels near the Passport Office and his employee Seenath, 42, of Palluruthy.

A police team led by Circle Inspector V.G. Raveendranath searched the office and confiscated fake degree certificates purported to be issued by University of Kerala, fake driving licences, blank stamp papers issued by High Court vendor and not specifying details of buyer and blank stamp papers attested by notary.

On interrogation, the accused said that the forged documents were issued to support the passport applications and to secure placements abroad. It was also learnt that two persons from Manjeri in Malappuram and Changanassery were also involved in the process.

The blank stamp papers were used to present affidavits along with applications for passports. The police have initiated a probe on those who secured passports using fake documents given by the accused.

Both the accused were later produced before Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) and remanded.

One killed, three injured as patient turns violent

KOCHI: A patient admitted to the chronic ward of the General Hospital turned violent and killed another patient at around 2.30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Shamsu, 52, of Fort Kochi, was admitted to the hospital on complaints of cold and fever. He was later shifted to chronic ward, where patients without bystanders are admitted.

He has a history of convictions in theft cases. Hospital sources said that he might have had withdrawal symptoms after abstaining from alcohol for three days and became violent by around 1 a.m.

He attacked Joy, 83, of Chellanam, who was discharged three days back, but did not leave the hospital. The accused used the stick used by Joy to support himself, to attack him. Joy suffered a head injury and internal bleeding. The efforts made by hospital staff to save his life failed. Three others suffered minor injuries in the incident. There were 12 others in the ward at that time.

The accused tried to escape when the ward was opened by the hospital staff on hearing the commotion. He was overpowered and brought under control.

Ernakulam Town Central police registered a case in this regard and shifted the accused to its custody.

More time to evict encroachers

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday granted the State government time till August 31 to implement the High Court directive to evict encroachers from certain land in Wayanad.

The Bench comprising Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice M.L. Joseph Francis passed the order on a government petition seeking to extend the time given for evicting the encroachers from the land in the possession of George Pothen and Harrisons Malayalam Limited.

When the petition came up for hearing, the court viewed video footages of the incidents in which the MLAs and others prevented the police and other government officials from evicting the encroachers.

The court after playing them on the laptop orally criticised the action of the MLAs. The court observed that the representatives of the people were seen shouting slogans and hurling threats at the police and other officials.

The Bench orally observed that one could understand if a common man resorted to such action. But the actions of the MLAs could not be approved of. The court also said that they were not fully convinced of the reasons given by the Advocate-General for not evicting the encroachers.

In response to an earlier directive to explain the steps taken to evict the encroachers, Advocate-General C.P. Sudhkara Prasad submitted that the police could not use force because of peculiar nature of the terrain.

nfopark can create one lakh jobs: CEO

KOCHI: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandans declaration to create one lakh job opportunities in the second phase expansion of Infopark has gained momentum with Board of Approval of the Union Commerce Ministry granting Special Economic Zone status to a portion of the land identified for the expansion

In a recent interview to the Hindu, Infopark CEO Siddhartha Bhattacharya said that there was no doubting the States potential to achieve that goal.

Quoting industry projections, he said that the increment in the non-tier 1ocations in the coming years was about 1.6 million jobs. �If we are to maintain the leadership position among the non-tier 1 locations we have the potential to grow from the existing 40,000 jobs to 3 million jobs, he said.

He said that the State needs to look outside software exports to maintain the growth rate. Higher end services like knowledge processes, legal processes, clever computing, engineering services, training, data centres should be relevant.

He cited small and medium enterprises as another potential avenue for growth since Kerala was inherently very strong in the area.

Keralam\' after consensus only\'

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Kerala V.S. Achuthanandan told the Assembly on Wednesday, that the government would look into demands for changing the official name of the State to �Keralam.

The issue was raised by Babu M. Palissery (CPI(M)) as a submission, in which he mentioned that spelling of places like �Trichur had already been changed to �Thrissur and �Calicut to �Kozhikode.

CPT to seek Rs.100-crore loan from Mumbai port

KOCHI: Cochin Port Trust has received Union Government sanction to avail a Rs. 100-crore loan from Mumbai Port Trust for developmental activities related to the International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) on Vallarpadam Island.

Sources in the Port Trust said on Wednesday that the Port Trusts cash flow had been severely affected because of several factors, including the doubling of expenses in maintenance dredging for the Vallarpadam project.

The maintenance dredging cost had gone up to around Rs. 100 crore this year compared to the Rs. 40 to 50 crore during the last year, sources added. Besdies, the Cochin Port Trust bought new tugs at a cost of more than Rs. 80 crore, which also ate into the cash available for developmental activities.

The sources pointed out that under the Major Port Trusts Act, ports are allowed to borrow money.

IGNOU centre

Thiruvananthapuram: The Rangaprabhath Childrens Theatre at Alumoodu near here has been recognised by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) as a resource and training centre. � Special Correspondent

Kerala police keeping tabs on rights bodies

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Wednesday told the Assembly that the Intelligence Wing of the Police Department was keeping a close watch on certain human rights organisations, which were suspected to be indulging in activities aimed at subverting the development initiatives being taken up in the State. The Home Minister, who was replying to a calling attention motion moved by P. Viswan, said certain organisations, under the pretext of championing human rights, were seen taking over the leadership of agitations against road-widening programmes and industrial projects.

Welfare scheme for madrasa teachers

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A welfare scheme for madrasa teachers will be launched in Kozhikode on July 24, Local Administration Minister Paloli Mohammed Kutty has said. While replying to questions in the Assembly on Wednesday, the Minister said the State government had so far allocated Rs.23 crore for taking up welfare schemes for the minorities as per the recommendations of the Rajinder Sachar Committee report.

District Collectors had been directed to give report for implementing the welfare schemes.

The government has given approval for 43 Buds Schools for differently abled children. It has been proposed to open one Buds School in each block panchayat. An institute to impart special training for teachers in such institutes will be opened in the State.

Welfare scheme for madrasa teachers

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A welfare scheme for madrasa teachers will be launched in Kozhikode on July 24, Local Administration Minister Paloli Mohammed Kutty has said. While replying to questions in the Assembly on Wednesday, the Minister said the State government had so far allocated Rs.23 crore for taking up welfare schemes for the minorities as per the recommendations of the Rajinder Sachar Committee report.

District Collectors had been directed to give report for implementing the welfare schemes.

The government has given approval for 43 Buds Schools for differently abled children. It has been proposed to open one Buds School in each block panchayat. An institute to impart special training for teachers in such institutes will be opened in the State.

New bridge to be constructed

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A high-level meeting chaired by Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan here on Wednesday decided to expedite steps to construct a new bridge in place of the 80-year-old Moidupalam at Thalassery.

Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, in charge of the Public Works portfolio, told the meeting that the government would meet any expenditure required for the project in addition to the funds sanctioned by the Centre.

Land will be acquired with the full concurrence of land owners. The meeting entrusted Collector V.K. Balakrishnan with the task. The Home Minister said the next Cabinet would take a decision on the Collectors recommendation for fast-track acquisition.

The PWD Minister wanted immediate steps to be taken for the repair and maintenance of the Kadachira-Mamakunnu-Meethala Peedika Road through which goods vehicles were being diverted after the Moidupalam became unsafe. The meeting was attended by A.P. Abdullakutty, MLA; PWD Principal Secretary Tom Jose; Dharmadam panchayat president Sreeja and Muzhappilangadu panchayat president Prabhakaran Master.

Mullaperiyar: State to present studies

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala will present its views and documents showing structural weakness of the Mullaperiyar dam before the empowered committee constituted by the Centre on a directive from the Supreme Court.

A high-level conference, chaired by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, here on Wednesday decided that the second part of the study done by the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkie, on the likely impact of earthquakes on the dam should be placed before the empowered committee.

In addition, studies on structural weakness of the dam would be prepared and presented.

The conference resolved to take a strong stand before the committee that a new dam would be the solution to the problem.

The conference was attended by Minister for Water Resources N.K. Premachandran; Additional Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar; Principal Secretary (Water Resources) L. Radhakrishnan; Advisor to the Chief Minister on Inter-State Waters P.M. Valsalan; chairman of the Mullaperiyar Cell M. K. Parameswaran Nair; members of the cell; and chief engineer K. Lathika and C.N. Sathi.

Scientists, farmers urged to work together

Thiruvananthapuram: Minister for Agriculture Mullakkara Ratnakaran has stressed the need for a platform for agricultural scientists and farmers to exchange knowledge. Speaking after inaugurating the Rural Agricultural Work Experience Programme (RAWEP) for students of Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) here on Wednesday, he highlighted the importance of combining modern agricultural technology with traditional knowledge of farmers.

Mr. Ratnakaran called on agricultural scientists to focus on climate change-based research. He underlined the need to prepare a database on water bodies for irrigation and to take up restoration activities.

The Minister urged scientists to ensure participation of rural folk in the activities to be taken up under RAWEP. He also exhorted them to carry out follow-up programmes. He said the government had sanctioned funds for promotion of rural agriculture in Kollam and Pathanamthitta districts. Swarup John, Dean, College of Agriculture, Vellayani, presided over the function. Implemented through five colleges under KAU, RAWEP offers a platform for students and farmers to share knowledge.

The semester-long programme involves watershed management analysis, farm planning, agri clinics, industrial attachment, research station training, EDP and project management, media attachment, Self Help Group (SHG) training and village stay. The programme seeks to equip agricultural graduates to take up challenging jobs in the changing agricultural scenario.

Bid to promote adventure tourism

Thiruvananthapuram: As many as 50 school and college students, including 20 girls, will undertake a 22-day journey across the State to assess the condition of the rivers flowing through Kerala and explore the possibility of developing river- based adventure sports.

The programme is named �River Basin Adventure Expo-2010 and it will set off from Thiruvananthapuram on July 15.

Organised by the Kerala State Youth Welfare Board and the Academy for Mountaineering and Adventure Sports, Neyyatinkara, the journey involves the study of river basins and their environment.

The team will travel through the wooded areas of the Western Ghats to reach Manjeswaram.

Bid to promote adventure tourism

Thiruvananthapuram: As many as 50 school and college students, including 20 girls, will undertake a 22-day journey across the State to assess the condition of the rivers flowing through Kerala and explore the possibility of developing river- based adventure sports.

The programme is named �River Basin Adventure Expo-2010 and it will set off from Thiruvananthapuram on July 15.

Organised by the Kerala State Youth Welfare Board and the Academy for Mountaineering and Adventure Sports, Neyyatinkara, the journey involves the study of river basins and their environment.

The team will travel through the wooded areas of the Western Ghats to reach Manjeswaram.

Third time unlucky for airport terminal

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The decision of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to defer commissioning of the Thiruvananthapuram international airport terminal � due to a controversy over who should inaugurate it � has come as a big setback to the travelling public and the airlines.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel was scheduled to commission the terminal on July 16. International operations from the new terminal was to have commenced on August 1.

However, the State government is keen on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurating the terminal. It is learnt that when Mr. Patel and T.K. A. Nair, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, talked to Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan over phone on Monday, he sought deferring of the commissioning from July 16 as he would be preoccupied

SriLankan to resume flights to Kochi

Nedumbassery: Srilankan Airlines, the flagship carrier of the emerald island will be resuming its services in the Kochi- Colombo sector from the next winter schedule of the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), according to senior airport officials.

�CIAL has been in consultations with the airline for sometime now and as of now, the plan is to operate three flights per week between here and Colombo and providing onward connections accordingly, said A.C.K.Nair, the airport director.

He also said that the airport had been receiving a large number of enquiries from the passengers as the demand for tourist connections and business connections between the two destinations were on the higher side.

� Sri Lanka is fast becoming a popular international tourist destination and the service is also expected to cater to the combined tourist packages connecting it with the various destinations of Malaysia or Singapore,� the airport director said.

SriLankan to resume flights to Kochi

Nedumbassery: Srilankan Airlines, the flagship carrier of the emerald island will be resuming its services in the Kochi- Colombo sector from the next winter schedule of the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), according to senior airport officials.

�CIAL has been in consultations with the airline for sometime now and as of now, the plan is to operate three flights per week between here and Colombo and providing onward connections accordingly, said A.C.K.Nair, the airport director.

He also said that the airport had been receiving a large number of enquiries from the passengers as the demand for tourist connections and business connections between the two destinations were on the higher side.

� Sri Lanka is fast becoming a popular international tourist destination and the service is also expected to cater to the combined tourist packages connecting it with the various destinations of Malaysia or Singapore,� the airport director said.

SriLankan to resume flights to Kochi

Nedumbassery: Srilankan Airlines, the flagship carrier of the emerald island will be resuming its services in the Kochi- Colombo sector from the next winter schedule of the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), according to senior airport officials.

�CIAL has been in consultations with the airline for sometime now and as of now, the plan is to operate three flights per week between here and Colombo and providing onward connections accordingly, said A.C.K.Nair, the airport director.

He also said that the airport had been receiving a large number of enquiries from the passengers as the demand for tourist connections and business connections between the two destinations were on the higher side.

� Sri Lanka is fast becoming a popular international tourist destination and the service is also expected to cater to the combined tourist packages connecting it with the various destinations of Malaysia or Singapore,� the airport director said.

SriLankan to resume flights to Kochi

Nedumbassery: Srilankan Airlines, the flagship carrier of the emerald island will be resuming its services in the Kochi- Colombo sector from the next winter schedule of the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), according to senior airport officials.

�CIAL has been in consultations with the airline for sometime now and as of now, the plan is to operate three flights per week between here and Colombo and providing onward connections accordingly, said A.C.K.Nair, the airport director.

He also said that the airport had been receiving a large number of enquiries from the passengers as the demand for tourist connections and business connections between the two destinations were on the higher side.

� Sri Lanka is fast becoming a popular international tourist destination and the service is also expected to cater to the combined tourist packages connecting it with the various destinations of Malaysia or Singapore,� the airport director said.

Airport museum nearing completion

Nedumbassery: With the construction of a 120,000 sq.ft building for the proposed airport museum nearing completion, the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) has finalised the configuration of displays inside the museum.

According to the airport company, the museum will have four exhibition halls showcasing the growth and evolution of the global aviation industry and relevant materials supported by photographs and narrations in English. Each of the rooms will contain a central model of different structures related to the airport industry or the models of fighter planes and choppers.

The first hall will showcase the history of airports and Indian aviation while the next stall will have pictures and descriptions about the evolution of airports with special reference to the growth of Indian aviation since 1912.

The project will also trace the evolution of passenger aircraft, fighter planes, helicopters, aircraft engines and their components. Further, there will be an area for exhibiting the replicas of the highest airports in the world, difficult airports for landing, airports with maximum features and those in strategic locations.

Kozhikode turns a commercial hub of Malabar

When compared to other prime cities in Kerala, as of now, Kozhikode is fast turning out to be a major commercial hub. With too many ambitious projects centering Kozhikode having already taken off and many still in the pipeline, the city of Zamorins is beginning to hog the limelight. With these, not only Kozhikode but the entire Malabar region will reap the benefits of industrial growth in terms of more job opportunities and allied activities resulting out of it.

Of all the projects, the two IT parks one the Government-owned Cyber Park and the other one U L Cyber Park promoted by Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society located at a short distance from the city is likely to spearhead the growth prospects of Kozhikode in a big way. The proposal of converting these IT Parks into a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) has already got its clearance from the Government. On completion, these two projects will turn out to be Kozhikodes answer to Technopark in the State capital and Infopark at Kochi. With Kozhikode turning out to be a major IT destination in South India, the long awaited dream of people of Malabar is also getting translated into a reality.

�Till now, no major commercial activity has taken place in Kozhikode. And with the coming up of two IT Parks, the fortunes of entire Malabar region is in the threshold of a revolutionary change, observes M.A.Mehboob, secretary of the Calicut Chapter of CREDAI Kerala. And at this point, at CREDAI, we are seriously involved in spreading awareness at all levels as these new projects will give a facelift to the entire Malabar region. However K.G.Girishbabu, the CEO of UL Cyber Park is of the view that a lot need to be done in terms of infrastructure development as the prevailing conditions are too minimal especially in the case of domestic air connectivity. �Kozhikode being the only major city between Mangalore and Kochi along the Western Coast has huge potential growth in its fold and can be the natural choice of many corporate majors�, he adds.

Kozhikode turns a commercial hub of Malabar

When compared to other prime cities in Kerala, as of now, Kozhikode is fast turning out to be a major commercial hub. With too many ambitious projects centering Kozhikode having already taken off and many still in the pipeline, the city of Zamorins is beginning to hog the limelight. With these, not only Kozhikode but the entire Malabar region will reap the benefits of industrial growth in terms of more job opportunities and allied activities resulting out of it.

Of all the projects, the two IT parks one the Government-owned Cyber Park and the other one U L Cyber Park promoted by Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society located at a short distance from the city is likely to spearhead the growth prospects of Kozhikode in a big way. The proposal of converting these IT Parks into a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) has already got its clearance from the Government. On completion, these two projects will turn out to be Kozhikodes answer to Technopark in the State capital and Infopark at Kochi. With Kozhikode turning out to be a major IT destination in South India, the long awaited dream of people of Malabar is also getting translated into a reality.

�Till now, no major commercial activity has taken place in Kozhikode. And with the coming up of two IT Parks, the fortunes of entire Malabar region is in the threshold of a revolutionary change, observes M.A.Mehboob, secretary of the Calicut Chapter of CREDAI Kerala. And at this point, at CREDAI, we are seriously involved in spreading awareness at all levels as these new projects will give a facelift to the entire Malabar region. However K.G.Girishbabu, the CEO of UL Cyber Park is of the view that a lot need to be done in terms of infrastructure development as the prevailing conditions are too minimal especially in the case of domestic air connectivity. �Kozhikode being the only major city between Mangalore and Kochi along the Western Coast has huge potential growth in its fold and can be the natural choice of many corporate majors�, he adds.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bombs, knives found by Kerala police

.Police Monday raided a building owned by a mosque in Keralas Kannur district and found country bombs, knives and an axe besides leaflets of the Popular Front, a radical Muslim organization, the authorities said.

The building raided by Kerala Police is in Edakad in Kannur.

Answering queries about any proposal to ban the Popular Front, which has attracted criticism for its fundamentalists approach, union Minister of State for Home Mulapally Ramachandran told reporters that the request to ban the group has to come form the state government.

Petrol Pumps across Kerala to remain shut toda

Nearly 1400 petrol pumps of public sector oil companies across Kerala remained closed on Monday to protest the decision of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) to start new pumps in the State.

All pumps, except 20 directly run by oil companies and those of Kerala state Civil Supplies Corporation, will remain closed from 6 AM to 6 PM, All Kerala Federation of Petroleum Traders said.

Federation Secretary M. Radhakrishnan told PTI that dealers took out a march to the HPCL terminal at nearby Irumpanam to protest the proposed set up of petrol pumps.

HPCL sources here said the company had only placed advertisements for some new locations and it was not clear how many would actually come up. They said only 40 of the 800 locations advertised last year by the oil companies came up and the figures were likely to be the same this year as well.

They said more outlets were required with increase in vehicular traffic and consequent increase in demand for petroleum products.

The traders claim that the decision to start new pumps was taken without assessing economic viability.

Radhakrishnan said around 700-800 pumps are expected to be started this fiscal year in Kerala by IOC, HPCL and BPCL.

Of this, HPCL would start 349 new pumps, he said.

New pumps being set up near existing pumps will reduce sales volume, he said, adding 78 per cent of pumps are able to sell only 3300 litres of petroleum products a day.

Dealers said their margins are further reduced due to high labour cost and banking charges and wanted the commission charges to be revised.

They said they get only Rs 1.10 gross commission per litre of petrol and 67 paise for diesel. The net commission works out to 5-6 paise per litre for petrol, they said.

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