Saturday, July 24, 2010

State advised not to go back on SmartCity

KOCHI: Fisheries Minister S. Sarma has said that the State has received expert legal opinion against going back, in any manner, on the agreement entered into with SmartCity, promoters of the proposed knowledge hub project in Kochi.

Talking to presspersons on the sidelines of the distribution of Matsya Kerala Award 2010 and a fish farmers gathering here on Saturday, Mr. Sarma, who chairs SmartCity Kochi, said SmartCity and the State government were remaining firm on their respective positions.

He said SmartCity had been asked to execute the project in keeping with the provisions of the agreement. If the company was not ready to do so, the government would take appropriate steps. However, a final decision on the project was yet to be taken.

He expressed hope that the Kochi Metro Rail project would be implemented with assistance from the Union government. The Chief Minister had held discussions with Union Minister for Urban Development S. Jaipal Reddy on the project. He hoped that Central assistance would be forthcoming.

Two wanted men held

KOCHI: The team from the Ernakulam Town Central Police arrested two persons wanted in many charges of robbery, chain snatching and vehicle thefts in Ernakulam, Thrissur and Palakkad.

Anu, 19, of Kadavanthra, is wanted in many cases registered at Ernakulam Central, Guruvayur, Vadakkanchery, Shoranur, Pavaratti and Chelakkara police stations.

His brother Manu is also wanted by the police in robbery cases.

FACT may get nod for urea plant

KOCHI: The Union Ministry of Fertilizers and Chemicals initiative to reduce Indias dependence on urea import is likely to give new impetus to the proposal from the Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT) to set up a new urea plant at its Udyogamandal division.

According to sources, the proposal for setting up a 1,500-tonne-per-day urea plant was forwarded to the Union Ministry about six months ago after FACT received in-principle approval for the project. The company is in the process of finding a consultant to prepare a detailed project report and is learnt to have nearly finalised the tendering process for the purpose. The FACT management has decided against revamping its naphtha-fired Cochin division urea plant, which was shut down in 2001. It had an annual capacity of more than three lakh tonnes.

The new proposal is to set up a urea plant, estimated around Rs.700 crore, utilising carbon dioxide produced at the 900-tonnes-per-day ammonia complex at the Udyogamandal division. The project has been timed with the expected availability of natural gas in Kochi by 2012

KSFE to launch subsidiary in Gulf this year: Minister

KOCHI: Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has said that the Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE) Ltd will launch its subsidiary in the Gulf this year.

In his address after inaugurating the fourth edition of the �Ponnonachittikal 2010 of KSFE here on Saturday, Mr. Isaac said that the authorities have submitted the application for approval before the Reserve Bank of India for starting the unit.

He said that discussions were on at various levels to start the Gulf subsidiary of KSFE.

Mangrove park: panel report likely by Tuesday

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The multi-disciplinary team of scientists and officials, constituted by the chairman of the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority, is expected to submit its report on Tuesday on the mangrove theme park at Pappinisserry in Kannur. The team was entrusted to assess the damage to a stretch of mangroves at Pappinisserry, where a society backed by the CPI(M) had set up the park.

The team was constituted following a directive from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

New divisional offices for fire services

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Administrative sanction has been given for reorganising the divisional offices of the Fire and Rescue Services in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode and creating two new divisional offices, one at Kottayam and the other at Palakkad.


Consequently the jurisdiction of the divisional offices will be as follows: Thiruvananthapuram office � Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam; Kottayam office � Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Kottayam; Ernakulam office � Idukki and Ernakulam; Palakkad office � Thrissur, Palakkad and Malappuram, and Kozhikode office � Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod.

NCC to honour Kargil martyrs tomorrow

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The NCC directorate (Kerala and Lakshadweep) is organising a ceremony to mark Indias victory over hostile forces at Kargil and to remember the gallant men who sacrificed their lives for the defence of the motherland, according to a press note issued here.

The ceremony will be held at the martyrs memorial at 9.30 a.m. on July 26. Head of the royal family of erstwhile Travancore Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma will be the chief guest on the occasion. Freedom fighter K.E. Mammen will administer a pledge.

Lt. Col. Krishna Kumar, spokesman for the NCC Group headquarters here, said the aim of the ceremony was to honour martyrs, generate the feeling of patriotism in youth and to inculcate the spirit of self-sacrifice, honesty and integrity among youngsters. The NCC was committed to being a useful component in the nation building process, the press note quoted him as saying.

Probe sought into �love jihad\' cases

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sobha Surendran, president of the Bharatiya Janata Mahila Morcha (BJMM) State unit, has demanded an investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the alleged �love jihad cases.

She told presspersons here on Saturday that nearly 5,000 girls had gone missing during the past five years.

They included terror recruits, those taken to Pakistan and those undergoing various types of harassment. The State Home Department had informed the Kerala High Court that �love jihad� was not taking place in Kerala. But CDs seized in raids conducted after the recent attack on a professor whose hand was chopped off had shown some girls taken to the red streets of Pakistan. The State police were maintaining silence on the issue.

She contended that �love jihad� was part of an organised recruitment process of terrorists.

Nearly 1,000 cases connected with it had been registered.

Steps to fill posts in police

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: All staff vacancies in the Police Department will be filled during the current financial year to make it a �zero vacancy department, Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said.

Briefing presspersons about the decisions taken at a high-level meeting of his department here on Saturday, Mr. Balakrishnan said 1,000 persons would be recruited to India Reserve Battalion Police alone. A separate battalion would be formed for woman constables. The department would also build good teams to represent it in athletics, football, basketball and volleyball in national tournaments.

He said the Bill for a comprehensive amendment of the Kerala Police Act had been presented in the Assembly and it would be passed during the course of the year after gathering inputs from the general public.

The Jana Maithri police system, formed under the jurisdiction of some of the police stations in the State for ensuring the cooperation of the general public in gathering intelligence and maintaining law and order, would be extended to areas under 100 more police stations during the year. He said another new experiment was to involve the students also in helping the police. This system, now being tried in three schools on an experimental basis, had been found successful and would be extended to 100 schools this year.

KTDC to begin work on cottages in Bekal

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) Hotels and Resorts will open its first property in Bekal in Kasaragod district likely in five months. Home and Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan will inaugurate the work on the resort named Beach Camp, with 30 cottages, on July 31.

The cottages will come up on two hectares of land situated between the Bekal beach park and the tsunami park. The State-owned Bekal Resorts Development Corporation has leased out the land for 33 years. Beach Camp will be the first property of the KTDC in the Malabar region and its 32nd resort.

The corporation has decided to use �knock-down technology to construct the cottages and to complete the first phase of 20 cottages within five months, an official told The Hindu. Structures existing on the premises will be made use of. Till now, the property was being used as a tented camping site.

Each cottage resembling a tent will offer the guests a spectacular view of the Bekal Fort and its surrounding areas. �We will be marketing the property in the lower section of the premium class as in Ponmudi, as there are already high-end resorts in Bekal, the official said.

In the second phase, another 10 cottages

Two youth drown in quarry in Palakkad

.PALAKKAD: Two youth of a six-member team on a visit to the town drowned in a quarry at Kallekulangara while bathing in the quarry on Saturday.

The deceased were identified as Vignesh Karthik, 19, a college student and son of Subramaniyan, Amman Kovil, Sharavanampetty, Coimbatore, and Karthik, 23, a worker and son of Marimuthu of Sharavanampetty.

The bodies were recovered from the quarry and sent to the District Hospital for a post-mortem examination, the police said.

Rain: trains diverted on Konkan route

PALAKKAD: Konkan Railway has diverted some trains and cancelled the 2619/2620 Matsyagandha Express on Saturday and Sunday due to heavy rain. The diverted trains are: train no. 2618 Nizamuddin-Ernakulam Mangala Express, which left Nizamuddin on Friday; 2998 Happa-Tirunelveli Express, which left Happa on Friday; 6345 Lokmanya Tilak-Thiruvananthapuram Central Netravati Express, which left Lokmanya Tilak Terminus on Saturday; 2617 Ernakulam-Nizamuddin Mangala Express, which left Ernakulam on Friday; 2287 Kochuveli-Dehradun Express, which left Kochuveli on Friday; and 2431 Thiruvananthapuram Central-Nizamuddin Rajdhani Express, which left Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.

Minorities panel team visiting Wayanad district

KALPETTA: A team from the National Commission for Minorities has begun a 10-day tour of the district to monitor implementation of minority welfare schemes.

Santhanam Krishnamoorthy, member of the commission, collected evidence on Saturday from high-level officials. The commission will verify representation of minorities and protection of their rights after visiting various institutions and work sites.

Centres set up to train minorities free and public enterprises will be in the itinerary.

The commission will evaluate the functioning of the Indira Avas Yojana and verify data on the beneficiaries of welfare schemes and educational loans.

The visit will conclude on August 2.

Teachers\' union to take out march

Kasaragod: The Government School Teachers Union, on Saturday, demanded effective implementation of the education rights Act, passed during the term of the previous United Democratic Front government, to regain the �lost vitality of the education sector in the State.

At a press conference here, O.M. Rajan, secretary of the pro-Congress union, alleged that development activities had stagnated and peoples trust in the public education system had eroded from blatant politicisation during the rule of the Left Democratic Front.

Foundation laid for Keltron tool room

MALAPPURAM: Industries Minister Elamaram Karim laid the foundation for a tool room-cum-training centre being set up by the Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation (Keltron) at Kuttippuram on Saturday.

E.T. Mohammed Basheer, MP; P.P. Abdullakutty, MLA; and K.T. Jaleel, MLA, addressed the function.

The unit is being set up near the Keltron Electro Ceramics at a cost of Rs.12 crore. It is one of the eight green-field projects announced by the State government in order to augment the States industrial growth.

The unit will have a state-of-the-art tool room with precision and advanced computer-controlled manufacturing machines such as lathes, milling machines, grinding machines, metrology equipment and CAD/CAM centre.

The tool room will be capable of making sophisticated components and tools required for defence, aerospace, Railways, automobile and other mechanical engineering industries. The training centre of the unit will offer diplomas and short-term courses in tool and die making, CAD/CAM training for design and development of tools and dies and advanced metal cutting process

Haj training camp begins at Pookkottur

MALAPPURAM: A two-day Haj training camp, organised by the people of Pookkottur, began on the Khilafat campus, Pookkottur, near here on Saturday.

Union Minister of State for Railways E. Ahamed inaugurated the camp. Indian Union Muslim League State president Syed Hyderali Shihab Thangal presided over the function and led the prayers.

Hundreds of pilgrims from different parts of the State are attending the camp.

Islamic scholar and Haj Committee member Abdussamad Pookkottur led the class, explaining the entire process of the pilgrimage with the help of a miniature replica of the Kaba.

The Pookkottur Haj camp has grown to be the largest in the State. The organisers claimed it was the largest in the country.

Hajis from distant places are being accommodated in nearby houses. Families at Pookkottur have come forward to host the pilgrims

Rs.80-crore project for Malabar Cements

WALAYAR (PALAKKAD): Industries Minister Elamaram Karim said here on Saturday that the government would give sanction for a Rs.80-crore modernisation project for the public-sector Malabar Cements Ltd. (MCL) at Walayar.

Inaugurating a marketing and personnel block of the company at the MCL township here, the Minister said Rs.40 crore would be spent on modernisation during the current financial year and the remaining amount in the next financial year. The modernisation drive is being taken up using the companys surplus fund.

He said modernisation of the operations was expected to bring down the cost production and control pollution. It will also help the company to face competition from the private sector cement companies whose cost of production was lesser than MCL.

The Minister said the government would use the surplus fund of profit-making public sector companies to start 10 new public sector units in the State. This will remain as the share of the investing companies in the new units.

He said all contract workers who had completed 10 years service in MCL would be made permanent as part of a government policy.

The Minister said an industrial water supply scheme has been proposed for the Kanjikode industrial area as the industries can no more depend on groundwater.

Centre encroaching on States\' freedom: Achuthanandan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Mounting a searing attack on the Centre for its diverse policies, Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has accused it of encroachment on States freedom.

Speaking at the National Development Council (NDC) meeting in New Delhi on Saturday, the Chief Minister alleged that the Union government was making States �bonded carriers of Centrally-devised schemes and refusing clearance for projects of interest to the State governments if these were not in tune with Central policies. While the former amounted to encroachment on the States freedom and a pre-emption of their Plan resources, the latter smacked of arbitrariness, Mr. Achuthanandan said.

The Chief Minister came down heavily on the Centre for its new practice of launching Centrally-sponsored schemes forcing the States to fall in line with its conditions and later suddenly deciding to drop or modify the schemes or raise the States share in financing such schemes. �The State governments, having got involved in a scheme in whose formulation they had no say in the first place, are then made responsible for it to greater degrees at the whim of the Centre, he said and cited the changes being effected in the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and the National Rural Health Mission as instances in point. In both the cases, the Centre had pushed up the States share in funding, placing a heavy pressure on their Plan resources, he pointed out.

Teachers stage dharna

PATHANAMTHITTA: National Teachers Union (NTU) workers staged a dharna before the office of the Deputy Director of Education in Thiruvalla on Saturday.

Inaugurating the dharna, NTU State secretary Parassala Jayakumar said the Right to Education Act should be redesigned for Kerala, considering that the State is highly literate. Mr. Jayakumar called upon the government to take immediate steps to approve the appointment of all teachers who had assumed duty. He said the government is bound to ensure job protection to all teachers.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Talk on citizen\'s rights during bandhs

KOCHI: A paper on �How far can a citizens right to movement be curtailed by bandh and hartal would be presented by senior lawyer K Ramkumar at a sitting of �Shadow Assembly that would be held at BTH on August 14. The Assembly has been constituted by the Save Kerala Movement.

Acting workshop in the city

KOCHI: The youth is now fully hooked to television these days, with the medium opening up lots of career opportunities. For those who want some chiselling of their talents to excel on screen, a three-day training is coming up.

A media school in the city, School Of Media Studies (SOMS), along with Adage Events, is organising the workshop on screen acting, anchoring and modelling. The workshop will be held from August 13 to 15 at Hotel Park Central, Kochi.

SOMS is run by a group of professionals from the film industry, under the guidance of renowned filmmaker Kamal.

The workshop, which will be led by eminent faculties from Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, is meant to polish the acting skills of young talents and help them to develop innovative ideas. The participants will also get a feel of being in front of camera.

Those interested can get more details on phone numbers 99950 53235, 4066020 or 6594969.

Ammonia tanker lorry overturns at Kundannur

KOCHI: A major accident was averted when Fire and Rescue Service personnel managed to contain the leakage of ammonia from a tanker lorry on the National Highway at Kundannur Junction during the early morning hours of Friday.

A tanker lorry loaded with ammonia, which was going to the FACT unit at Ambalamugal from Willingdon Island, was hit by a trailer truck coming from the opposite Vytilla side.The trailer truck was carrying an excavator at the time of the road accident.

The tanker lorry overturned under the impact of the collision and the valve of the tanker developed problems leading to leakage of ammonia. The accident happened at 4 a.m.

Four units of fire fighters, two from Gandhinagar and two from the FACT unit, were rushed to the spot and they contained the effect of ammonia leakage by continuously spraying water on the chemical.

Kundannur Junction is one of the busiest spots along the National Highway as NH-47 and NH-49 intersect here. Experts from Kochi Refineries, FACT and Cochin Port Trust visited the accident site to evaluate the damage.

The overturned tanker could be removed only by noon, but the traffic at the junction could be managed as the tanker overturned after entering the road towards Maradu, said traffic police personnel.

No changes in probe team: police

KOCHI: Inspector-General of Police, Ernakulam Range, B. Sandhya has termed �baseless and false the reports about changes being made in the team investigating the assault on T.J. Joseph, Professor of Malayalam, Newman College, Thodupuzha.

She was interacting with reporters after the inauguration of the new space for the office of the City Police Commissioner at Revenue Tower here on Friday. Reports like these would be detrimental to the progress of the investigation, she said.

New office for City Police Commissioner

KOCHI: The office of the City Police Commissioner has been shifted from its premises at High Court junction to the eleventh floor of the Revenue Tower along Park Avenue.

The existing building at High Court Junction would be demolished and the new complex would be constructed there soon.

B. Sandhya, Inspector General of Police, Ernakulam Range, inaugurated the new office here on Friday.

She lit the ceremonial lamp. K.K. Gopalan, Executive Engineer, Kerala State Housing Board, handed over the keys to Ms. Sandhya, who handed it over to Manoj Abraham, City Police Commissioner.

Ashok Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Kottayam; A. Akbar, Superintendent of Police, Alappuzha; George Varghese, Superintendent of Police, Idukki; T. Vikram, Superintendent of Police, Ernakulam Rural; P.H. Ashraf, Deputy City Police Commissioner; K.I. Bhaskaran, Deputy Commandant, Armed Reserve Camp, Ernakulam; were present at the shifting function.

Free entry for kids to zoo

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Children below 15 years will be allowed free entry on Sundays from July 25 to the zoo and museum which comes under the Museum and Zoo Department.

KSRTC\'s online booking facility at Munnar

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has introduced online reservation system at the Munnar bus station. The system will especially benefit tourists.

Tickets can be reserved in advance for the KSRTCs Munnar-Bangalore, Munnar-Thiruvananthapuram, Munnar-Guruvayur, Munnar-Alappuzha and Munnar-Thiruvalla services.

The KSRTC says advance reservation can be made online using Master and Visa debit/credit cards.

Entertainment sponsor for shopping festival

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ashirwad Cinemas Max Labs Films is likely to be the entertainment sponsor for the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF) season four, to commence on December 1.

It is for the first time that authorities are roping in an entertainment sponsor for the festival, GKSF Director and Additional Director, Tourism, K.N. Satheesh said here. Four firms had come forward during the initial discussions. The professional conduct of the festival and the publicity element associated with the sponsorship attract firms, Mr. Satheesh said.

Plea to begin flyover work

Thiruvananthapuram: The Trivandrum Residents Apex Council (TRAC) has urged the government to speed up official procedures for the construction of the proposed flyover connecting the Power House road to Thakaraparambu.

In a memorandum submitted to the Principal Secretary, Public Works, its office-bearers said there had been no follow-up on the decision to shift utility pipes and cables on the Power House end, before commencing work on the flyover. They feared that protracted litigation would delay the proposal to evict the multi-storeyed building housing the Big Bazaar retail shop for the rehabilitation of displaced traders. It appealed to the government to rehabilitate the traders elsewhere and shifting the utility lines quickly to enable commencement of flyover work.

178 high schools being upgraded

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As many as 178 high schools in the districts of Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod are being upgraded as higher secondary schools.

Speaking on behalf of the Education Minister in the Assembly on Friday, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs M. Vijayakumar said new higher secondary batches would start functioning in these schools from this academic year itself. He was replying to a private members resolution, seeking a special programme for expanding school facilities in north Kerala. Mr. Vijayakumar said north Kerala had been remaining backward in all respects, compared to the rest of the State. Over the last four years, there had been a focused effort to change the situation, not only by initiating steps to start several major development projects, but also by expanding the facilities for education in the region.

He said more than 22,000 seats were increased for higher secondary education in north Kerala during the last four years

Rs.574 crore for expansion of PSUs

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Industries Minister Elamaram Karim said here on Friday that Rs.574 crore was proposed to be invested for expansion and starting of new units of public sector undertakings this year.

In an article released for publication, the Minister said it was for the first time in three decades that fresh investment was being made in the public sector. The public sector was being strengthened at a time when the Centre was divesting equity in public sector undertakings.

Mr. Karim said funds for investments were being raised through budget provisions, using reserve funds of profit making units and loans. More than Rs.100 crore was being provided by Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited (KMML) and Malabar Cements Limited for funding projects of other companies. Half of this would be treated as equity in new units and the balance as loan. Besides, KMML would be carrying out its own expansion projects. This year it would spent Rs.158.70 crore for the purpose. It had drawn up plans costing Rs.550 crore for the coming year.

He said reserve funds of KMML had come down during the previous United Democratic Front (UDF) government rule owing to misuse. The government had ordered a vigilance enquiry into the plunder.

New ration cards by August 31

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ration cards for all new applicants would be issued by August 31, Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran told the Assembly on Friday.

Responding to a calling attention motion from A.P. Abdullakkutty (Congress), the Minister said that as of June 29, the government was in receipt of 6.85 lakh applications for fresh ration cards. The applications were being processed at taluk supply offices with technical support from the Centre for Development Imaging Technology (C-DIT) so that all the applications would be cleared by August 31, he said.

The Minister said the new applications were mostly from persons who required cards of their own and those who had shifted out of their parental homes. The government had stopped accepting new applications for ration cards owing to the work already on hand. By this month end, the department would once again begin accepting fresh applications, he said.

Mr. Divakaran pointed out that the department had issued fresh photo-affixed cards to 68 lakh households in the State over the last two years.

Responding to another calling attention motion from A.A. Aziz (RSP), Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Vijayakumar said the Director General of Police had issued strict instructions to the Range IGs, SPs and Commissioners of Police to ensure removal of vehicles heaped near traffic police stations across the State without delay

Training institute for drivers at Edappal

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State government will set up a training institute for drivers at Edappal with Central government assistance, Transport Minister Jose Thettayil has said.

Replying to questions in the Assembly on Friday, Mr. Thettayil said that training would be imparted to drivers of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), PSUs and government departments on the basis of a syllabus at the institute. Based on a Central government direction, a three-month training course would be made mandatory for those running driving schools.

Periodical medical fitness test would be conducted for KSRTC drivers. At present 2,591 buses in the KSRTC fleet had been insured. The government was considering a proposal to regularise empanelled drivers who had worked for 120 days in a year from 2000 to 2008.

The mini buses procured during the tenure of the previous United Democratic Front (UDF) government had incurred a liability of Rs.150 crore to the Corporation. Speed governors bought by the previous government had become defective.

The Corporation had engaged Keltron for repairing the defective speed governors.

Centre urged to foot the bill on RTE Act initiatives

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Legislative Assembly on Friday adopted a resolution urging the Union government to bear the entire expenses of the States while implementing the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009.

The resolution, moved by CPI(M) member M.M. Monayi, was adopted with 24 votes in favour and 12 votes against, after a discussion lasting for more than one-and-a-half hours.

K. Sivadasan Nair of the Congress moved an amended resolution urging both the Centre and the State governments to bear the expenses. The amended resolution was defeated by the same margin as the other one was passed.

Speaking on behalf of the Education Minister in reply to the discussion, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs M. Vijayakumar said the Act was highly relevant in major regions across the country still plagued by the problem of illiteracy and lack of facilities for education.

Kerala had invested heavily on education since Independence and had achieved the target of universal education. The challenge now for the State was in improving the quality of education. Kerala wanted the Centres support to take up this challenge.

A. Sreedhara Menon dead

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Eminent historian and former Head of the Department of History, University of Kerala, Alappat Sreedhara Menon died here on Friday. He was 84. He is survived by wife, Sarojini Menon, and two children. The cremation will be on Sunday.

Sreedhara Menon, born to Kovilakathu Parambil Padmanabha Menon and Alappat Narayani Amma on December 18, 1925, in Ernakulam, grew to be among the prominent historians in the country with 25 books to his credit.

After graduating in 1944, he joined the History Department of the St. Thomas College, Thrissur and completed his postgraduate studies in the University of Madras in 1948 with first rank.

He joined the History and Politics Department of University College here in 1949 before moving to Harvard University on a Fulbright Travel Grant and a Smith-Mundt Scholarship from where he secured a masters degree in Politics with specialisation in International Relations. His first book (on Indian history) was published in 1956.

He joined the Kerala Gazetteers Department in 1958 and became its first State Editor, a post which he held until 1968.

Special campaign against dengue

Thiruvananthapuram: The alarming surge in the cases of dengue fever in the district has prompted the district health administration to launch a special disease control and prevention campaign on a war footing in five panchayats and areas within the city Corporation.

The campaign to control and prevent the spread of infectious diseases, with a focus on dengue fever, is being planned for three weeks from July 26 in Corporation wards in the periphery of the district and in Balaramapuram, Vilappil, Vizhinjam, Aamachal and Vilavoorkal panchayats, where local outbreak of dengue had occurred as soon as rains began.

The district has so far reported 690 dengue cases and one death due to the infection.

More rice, sugar for festival season

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala will be allotted extra rice and sugar during Onam and Ramzan, Union Minister of State for Food and Agriculture K.V. Thomas said here on Friday.

He was speaking after inaugurating a five-day National Livestock Show and Food Festival at the Kanakakkunnu Palace.

The details of the allotment will only be announced, as is appropriate, in Parliament. Anyhow, the State will see changes in its food grain allocation in six months when the new Food Security Bill becomes law. Then, the number of families in the BPL category will go past the eight-crore mark. Once the Bill is passed, the State will get rice and wheat at Rs.3 a kg, Mr. Thomas said.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Students to be honoured

KOCHI: Meritorious Brahmin students will be honoured at a function being organised by the Ernakulam Gramajana Samooham and Kerala Brahmana Sabha at the Gramajana Samooham Hall on Saturday at 5.30 p.m. Managing Director of Inkel Kerala G.C. Gopala Pillai, who will be the chief guest will give away mementos and cash awards to students who have passed the Tenth and Plus Two exams in flying colours. Gramajana Samooham president A.K. Seshadri will preside. The meeting of the city unit of Brahmana Sabha will be held on Sunday at 3 p.m.

Onam offers from Co-Optex

KOCHI: The Tamil Nadu Handloom Weavers Cooperation Society Limited (Co-Optex) is geared up to offer a variety of products at reasonable prices during this Onam. Co-Optex has stocked a wide range of silk and cotton saris to woo customers. With the Tamil Nadu government announcing a rebate of 20 per cent for silk and cotton items, the products are bound to be cheaper this time round. Besides, Co-Optex will offer discounts up to 50 per cent for selected products during Onam. �Staff Reporter

Co-Optex has been extending credit facility for the purchase of handloom cloth from its showrooms for government servants and employees of public sector undertakings.

Convention of physically challenged

KOCHI: The Kerala State Vikalanga Sanghatana Aikyamunnani will organise a convention of parents of the physically challenged and distribute insurance policy forms for its district members at Maharajas College auditorium on Sunday.

K. Kunhabdulla, State general convener of the organisation, said here on Thursday that the district-level inauguration of the nagarik suraksha policy registration process for the physically challenged will also be held on the occasion.

He urged the government to form a welfare department for resolving the problems faced by the physically challenged in the State. Mr. Kunhabdulla said that the government should take steps to ensure representation of the physically challenged in law-making bodies here. He said that the authorities can organise district-level sittings for addressing the issues being faced by the physically challenged in the State.

State seeks replacement of judge from Bench

Kochi: The State government filed a petition before the Kerala High Court on Thursday seeking to replace Justice C.N. Ramachandran Nair from the Bench hearing the review petitions on a verdict prohibiting meetings on public roads.

In the petition, the government pointed out that Justice C.N. Ramachandran Nair had violated the canons of judicial ethics prescribed in the restatement of values of judicial life by the Supreme Court in 1997. One of the values prescribed for a judge was that a judge shall not enter into public debate or express his views in public on political matters or on matters that are pending or are likely to arise for judicial determination.

Mr. Justice Ramachandran Nair had defended the ban on roadside meetings while presiding over a book release function in Kochi recently. The government contended that the judge made the comments fully aware that petitions seeking to review his own judgment were pending before the Bench headed by him.

The petitioner, therefore, pleaded that the judge refrain from hearing the review petitions and place the matter before the Chief Justice for referring the petitions to another Bench.

State must speak in one voice for metro: Iyer

KOCHI: People of the State must in unison demand the speedy implementation of the Kochi metro-rail project, former Judge of the Supreme Court V. R. Krishna Iyer has said.

This is because the mode of mass-rapid transport is needed to unwind the maddening traffic snarls in Kochi, he said, while inaugurating a Metro-Rail Protection Convention organised by the AITUC on Thursday at the Ernakulam Town Hall. �A section of merchants who are opposing the project must end their misunderstandings about it.

He was critical of the Planning Commission suggesting a public-private partnership, as opposed to the Centre-State joint venture mooted for its execution by the State/Central Governments, the DMRC and the Union Urban Affairs Ministry. �The Planning Commission is making an attempt to test whether the situation is ripe in the State for rampant privatization. We want the project to be executed by the State/Central Governments in a speedy manner. Huge buildings and shopping malls are not the signs of development. On the contrary, development projects must be of help to ordinary people and make their life easier,� said the AITUC State general secretary Kaanam Rajendran. The State secretary of AITUC, P Raju presided.

Four more arrested in assault case

KOCHI: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the police probing the assault on T.J. Joseph, Professor of Malayalam, Newman College, Thodupuzha, arrested four more persons on Thursday.

Shiyaz and Mohammed Ali from Muvattupuzha were arrested on charges of conspiracy and providing financial support to those involved in the crime. Shiyaz and Ali are understood to be heading divisional units of the Popular Front of India (PFI). The two are learnt to have confessed that the State leadership of the PFI and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) were also involved in providing money to those who went into hiding after the assault.

Latheef from Aluva and Moideenkutty from Malappuram were arrested on charges of hiding the accused and helping them escape. All four were later remanded by the Muvattupuzha Judicial First Class Magistrate Court

Onam rebate for khadi products

KOCHI: This years Onam festival season sales under the Khadi and Village Industries Board will be inaugurated here on Monday by the Ernakulam district panchayat president P.S. Shyla. Khadi Board member T. L. Mani will preside at the inaugural function, being organised at the Khadi Tower, Kaloor, from 10.30 a.m., said a press release here. Urban Affairs Standing Committee Chairman of the Council of the Corporation of Cochin K.V. Manoj will inaugurate the coupon distribution.

Khadi Board secretary P. Somarajan Pillai will inaugurate the sales. Khadi Board Member U. Babu Gopinath, Khadi Board Director P. Ajayakumar and Project Officer R. Sreekumar are among those scheduled to participate in the inaugural function.

Meanwhile, the government has announced the Onam rebate for khadi products. Cotton and spun silk products will come with a 30 per cent discount while silk and woollen products will come with a 20 per cent discount, the press release said.

The rebates will be available on products being sold at the showrooms under the Khadi Board and at the temporary stall set up at the Ernakulathappan Grounds between July 20 and August 21, the press release added.

Remembering a Kathakali maestro

KOCHI: For Kathakali aficionados, there will be no replacement for Kottakkal Sivaraman. He was the last word in the portrayal of woman characters in Kathakali. His death a couple of days back deprived the art scene of a master, a towering presence.

And for those who want to get one last glimpse of the master performing, Vernissage Art Gallery is providing a chance. The 30-minute-documentary Minukku by award-winning M.R. Rajan will be screened at the gallery on Saturday.

An exhibition of photographs of the master taken by Rajan Karimoola, senior photo journalist, will also be inaugurated on the same day. The exhibition, titled �Shivaraamaneeyam, will be on at Vernissage Gallery B till July 29. Film actor Ranjini will inaugurate the exhibition �Kites and Smiling Faces at Gallery A, featuring 30 works, mostly in acrylic, by Mody Thomas and Kajal Charankatt. The exhibition will be on till August 8. Literary critic M.K. Sanoo will preside over the function.

Two H1N1 deaths in city

Thiruvananthapuram: Two deaths due to H1N1 infection were confirmed in the city on Thursday. Premkumar, 54, a resident of Judge Nagar road, Karamana, and Premalatha, 49, of Melethil Veedu, Thirumala , had died at the Medical College hospital on July 19, where they had been admitted with fever and breathlessness.

The district has so far reported 65 confirmed cases of H1N1 infection, in its second spell this year (since May). The death toll due to H1N1 in the district is 11. Now that the epicentre of the infection has shifted to northern districts, fewer cases are being reported here. However, crowds can still be seen at the H1N1 screening centre at the General Hospital.

The Health Department has directed all doctors that treatment with Oseltamivir be started without delay in all cases of fever which last over two days, especially if the throat or respiratory tract is involved.

Memorial service for air crash victims

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Air India (AI) will organise an all-religion memorial service at Mangalore on July 27 in memory of those who were killed in the crash of Air India Express flight IX-812 on May 22.

The national carrier has requested all family members, friends and well-wishers of the deceased to join in the prayer to be held at Dr. TMA Pai International Convention Hall, M. G. Road, Kodiabail, Mangalore from 10 a.m. to 11.15 a.m.

Secretary, Union Civil Aviation Secretary, M.M. Nambiar and Chairman and Managing Director, Air India, Aravind Jadhav will be present on the occasion.

Air Imdia will make transport arrangements for relatives who are interested in attending the memorial service from Bhatkal, Kasaragod and Udipi.

A press release issued here by the airline said the relatives can contact helpline numbers (Mangalore) 0824-2452306, 2452307 and 2452308 for assistance in this regard.

Dogs to steal the show at Kanakakunnu

Thiruvananthapuram: As many as 100 dogs of different breeds will be on show at the National Livestock Show and Food Festival beginning at the Kanakakunnu Palace grounds here on Friday.

Apart from the giant St. Bernard, guard dogs like the Mastiff, Rottweiler, Great Dane, German Shepherd and Rajapalayam, sporting breeds like the Labrador Retriever, the cute pug and the pocket-size Chihuahua will be on display.

Smallest canine breed

The Chihuahua, the smallest canine breed, usually weighs around 1.5 to 3 kg and grows to a height of 6 to 10 inches.

The St. Bernard in contrast, weighs 64 to 120 kg and has a height of one metre.

Based on the breed, pedigree and other attributes, the price of a puppy varies from Rs.5,000 to Rs.1 lakh.

The Rottweiler, known as a one-master dog, the German Shepherd famed for its loyalty, the Labrador Retriever, known as a great family dog and the friendly pug are expected to attract visitors to the dog section at the show.

e-payment facility at more divisions

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) will extend the facility for online payment of water bills to 13 more divisions in the State, Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran has said.

Replying to questions in the Assembly on Thursday, Mr. Premachandran said the facility was already available in Thiruvananthapuram division and it would be extended to other divisions in the current financial year. The KWA will start marketing of bottled drinking water in February 2011. Following the augmentation of water supply in Ernakulam district, fresh drinking water connections will be given to domestic consumers in Thripunithura, Vadakkekara and Paravur areas from August 1. Work on the Kalippara and Kottayam-Pattiyam-Koothuparambu drinking water projects will begin this year.

He said the Meenad drinking water project would be commissioned this year. The tender documents of the Ayilamkadavu drinking water scheme at Kazhakkuttom in Thiruvananthapuram were reported missing. Following a preliminary inquiry, it has been found that the documents were missing from the Secretariat. The next Cabinet meeting will decide the nature of probe to be instituted in this case. As per statistics on March 31, the drinking water arrears due from various consumers amounted to Rs.257.69 crore. The arrears of local self-government institutions amounted to Rs.243.09 crore.

SEC to hold regional meets

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Prior to the civic elections in September, the State Election Commission (SEC) will hold meetings of political parties at the regional level for resolving local issues.

This was decided at an all-party meeting held by the commission here on Thursday. The commission accepted the suggestion to hold regional meetings for resolving local issues so that the elections could be held without any hitch.

State Election Commissioner P. Kamalkutty told the meeting that District Collectors has been entrusted to settle the complaints about polling stations. The draw of lots for finalising the wards reserved for various sections would be conducted in a transparent manner. A rotation system would be followed in selecting the wards. The order for drawing the lots in each civic body would be Scheduled Tribe woman ward, Scheduled Tribe, Scheduled Caste woman, Scheduled Caste and general category woman wards. Representatives of civic bodies and registered political parties would be invited for witnessing the process.

Electoral Registration Officers had been directed to accept complaints about the voters list till the publication of the final list on August 12. A State-level meeting of political parties would again be called before issuing the election notification.

An �unhealthy trend\' in Assembly

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The overuse of the provision for raising a �point of order to intervene in a discussion on the floor of the Assembly came in for discussion during its session on Thursday.

Senior legislator Aryadan Mohammed brought up the issue and said that an unhealthy tendency was being noticed in the Assembly nowadays.

Whenever a member who had the mike refused to yield to a request from another member for permission to intervene in a discussion, the strategy of the latter was to say he or she has a �point of order to raise.

A �point of order is a provision to permit a member to bring to the notice of the Speaker something that is not in order, as per the rules and procedures of the House, stated by another member participating in a discussion.

Normal business of the House will be delayed unnecessarily when this provision is misused, Mr. Aryadan Mohammed said.

Speaker K. Radhakrishnan said he too favoured a detailed discussion on this tendency and permitted several other members to air their views on the subject. All of them were of the view that this tendency should be checked.

When they sought a ruling on the issue from the chair, Mr. Radhakrishnan said he would also have the subject discussed in the Business Advisory Committee of the House (which consisted of Ministers and senior members) so that members cooperation could be ensured from all sides. He said he would give his ruling after that.

Students develop black box for bikes and cars

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Black boxes have been an integral part of aircraft for some time now. They are crucial to analysing the aircrafts performance during a particular flight and are critical to knowing what went wrong when a flight goes awry. What if there can be black boxes for your bikes and cars?

A group of final-year students of the Muslim Association College of Engineering, Venjarammoodu, have put together what they call a �Cruise Monitoring and Control System (CMCS) that helps regulate a vehicles speed, serve as a driver-alert device and one which records data, including speed and acceleration.

The CMCS consists of a monitoring system and a controlling system. The monitoring system has an LCD display, microcontroller, a storage device, a sensor unit and a buzzer. This unit records the speed of the vehicle for each rotation of the wheel and stores in a memory card; the kind used in digital cameras and mobile phones. The data remains saved even when the vehicle is switched off. By analysing this data, the driving habits of a person be analysed�are there bursts of acceleration, was the vehicle over speeding, were the brakes applied at a particular time etc.

The controlling system has an actuator, a wiper motor, relay circuits and limit switches. When the speed of a vehicle exceeds a pre-set limit, the microcontroller sends a signal to the actuator that regulates the speed of the vehicle. Through the actuator either the clutch or the accelerator can be controlled. The CMCS alerts a driver when he approaches the speed limit. This is to ensure that there is no sudden deceleration of a vehicle during crucial moments such as the time when it is overtaking another vehicle. However, the team is yet to find a way to make the CMCS itself crash-proof.

The device has been fitted on a bike and the team members say it can be modified for a car.

In the coming days, the team�consisting of B. Varun Chandran, R. Kannan Raj, M. Unnikrishnan, R. Vinaya Krishnan, V. Vipul and S. Jabir�plans to

Isaac welcomes Pranab proposal

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has welcomed Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjees proposal to start the process of introducing a unified single rate structure for Goods and Services Tax (GST) for the whole country from the beginning of the next financial year.

The proposal is for a three-tier tax structure to start with from April 1, 2010, to be unified at a common point for all goods and services in a phased manner over a period of three years and shared equally between the States and the Union government.

Making a statement in the Assembly on Thursday, Dr. Isaac said he could not attend the meeting the Union Finance Minister had with the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers in New Delhi on Wednesday since the Assembly was in session here.

He hoped that the formula suggested by Mr. Mukherjee at the meeting, involving the phased transition from a three-tier tax structure to a unified one, would help evolve a consensus among the States in introducing the GST.

In fact, Kerala was ready and eager for the introduction of the GST from April 1 this year itself but some of the other States had apprehension.

The Finance Commission had put forward certain suggestions on how to roll out the new indirect tax regime, replacing the Central and State levies such as excise, service tax and value added tax. The approach suggested by the Finance Commission too was acceptable to Kerala.

Training for teachers in new system

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With a view to train college teachers in the intricacies of the choice-based credit and semester system newly introduced for degree courses, the University of Kerala is organising a month-long training programme at its Academic Staff College (ASC).

The first of the training classes for Mathematics, Malayalam and Commerce will be held there on July 26. Teachers who are intimately familiar with the new system will lead the sessions in which two teachers from a college will participate. These two teachers will train others in their departments.

�We are initiating this programme so that the new system for degree courses will operate smoothly, pro-vice chancellor of the University J. Prabhash told The Hindu on Thursday.

Congress blames CPI(M) for growth of terror outfits

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A leadership meeting of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) has squarely blamed the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) for the growth of terrorist forces in the State.

In a resolution adopted at the meeting here on Thursday, the KPCC said the current wave of disclosures of terrorist links in the State was the outcome of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) governments refusal to pay heed to the repeated red alerts issued by Central intelligence agencies.

The Congress had warned the CPI(M) of the dangers when it sought the cooperation of fundamentalists and fringe organisations in the Assembly elections four years ago.

State to place more focus on neonatal care

Thiruvananthapuram: The Health Department, in association with the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP), has launched a programme to tackle neonatal mortality by ensuring that all health care providers, right from primary health centres, are trained in Essential Newborn Care.

According to IAPs figures, the major causes of neonatal mortality in the State are birth asphyxia (21.1 per cent), birth injuries (10.6 per cent), infection (41.8 per cent), prematurity (10.3 per cent) and other causes like congenital birth defects (16.2 per cent).

Easy access to spatial data soon

Thiruvananthapuram: Natural disasters, industrial accidents, environmental crises or terrorist attacks call for quick response from rescue services and security agencies. Similarly, planners, scientists, resource managers and infrastructure sector companies have to make speedy decisions to address development needs.

Much of the information needed to make sound decisions is based on detailed geographic information. The availability of accurate and current geospatial data is critical in the decision-making process. The absence of a common platform and a mechanism for sharing has proved to be a hurdle to the effective use of data in Kerala. But that is set to change.

Kerala is all set to be the third State in India to have a spatial data infrastructure in place, making it easy for users to share geospatial information generated by various agencies.

The Kerala Spatial Data Infrastructure (KSDI) is being set up on the Technopark campus here. The facility is based on a joint proposal by the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS), Kerala State Remote Sensing and Environment Centre, National Informatics Centre and Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment. The contract for hardware, software and customisation will be awarded through bidding.

According to M. Samsuddin, project director on deputation from CESS, KSDI is proposed as a single window mechanism for providing access to the spatial data generated by various agencies in the State. It is visualised as a network of databases created by various agencies and a central database to be managed by KSDI.

UDF walkout over admissions

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Members of the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) staged a walkout from the Assembly on Thursday alleging complicity between the government and the private self-financing medical college managements resulting in a serious muddle in admission for medicine and other allied courses and heavy financial loss to students.

The Opposition alleged that the agreement between the government and the managements was coming in the way of students getting admissions and forcing them to cough up huge sums if they moved from one college to another on getting higher options. The confusion over admissions was also forcing students to migrate to Karnataka and other neighbouring States to pursue their higher studies, the Opposition members said.

Presenting the governments case on behalf of Education Minister M.A. Baby, who is away in New Delhi attending the Central committee meeting of the CPI(M), Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Vijayakumar said the government was aware of the gravity of the situation which had arisen on account of the Medical Council of India (MCI) derecognising some of the private self-financing medical colleges in the State. The recognition had been restored to some of them, but a few others were yet to get back their recognition. Since there was time till September 30 to complete the admissions, it should be possible to resolve the situation to the satisfaction of everyone within that time-frame, he said.

�No-plastics\' day in Guruvayur

Thrissur: The Guruvayur Municipality is observing a �no-plastics day on Saturday and all vehicles entering the town will be checked for plastic bags.

The initiative is part of the civic bodys efforts to free the town from the menace of plastics. An anti-plastics rally will also be taken out on the day.

Municipal chairperson Geetha Gopi said here on Thursday that all vehicles entering the town on Saturday would be checked for plastic bags. Cloth bags will be supplied to the passengers to replace the plastic bags.

The �plastics raid would be conducted in collaboration with the police and the Motor Vehicles Department, in addition to volunteers of Scouts, Guides and NCC, Ms. Gopi told reporters.

The Guruvayur Municipality had banned the use of disposable plastic shopping bags effective from July 1.

�Guruvayur Municipality with an area of 7.48 square km has a population of 22,000. But nearly 3.5 crore people visit Guruvayur every year. This makes enforcement of the plastic ban difficult, she said.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

�NH should have uniform width\'

KOCHI: The national highway should have uniform width across the country to get the benefit from it, said K.K. Kapila, chairman of International Roads Federation. He was addressing a seminar on the �deliberations on the critical need for development of national highway, organised by Kerala Development Forum, an umbrella organisation of various non-political organisations, here on Wednesday.

Focusing on the need for a highway with adequate width, he said about 5,000 people die in road accidents in Kerala every year and the financial loss on account of the accidents is about Rs.600 crore annually. There has to be separate lanes for vehicles which move slow. There should be no accidents because the roads are bad.

The compensation to people affected by land acquisition should be raised in Kerala. Ways should be explored to accommodate the affected in the rear part of the acquired land. He mooted an initiative from the commercial establishments to raise additional funds to meet the expenses of rehabilitation, as a part of corporate social responsibility. He also offered his contribution of Rs.1 lakh towards the fund.

Concern over Kochi being left out of 24x7 customs trial run

KOCHI: The shipping business community here has expressed its concern over Kochi being left out of the centres chosen for a 45-day trial run ahead of the introduction of 24x7 customs clearance facility in selected centres across the country.

The shippers welcomed the introduction of the trial run but demanded that an important station like Kochi should not be left out in the future as such a facility is urgently required here too.

Home-based waste management plan

KOCHI: Kochi Nagara Poura Samithi and Karikkamury Residents Association, with technical support from Credai-Clean City Mission, launched a programme on Wednesday to help families in their respective residential areas to achieve self-sufficiency in management of bio-degradable waste.

A spokesman for the samithi said that residents would be first made aware of the method of composting bio-degradable waste from the households and will then be provided with small units that can be used for turning bio-degradable waste into bio-fertilizer.

The new programme, launched at a function on Wednesday at the Chavara Cultural Centre, will cover around 300 residential units in the heart of Kochi.

The nearly 50 participants in the inaugural programme were given a class on using the bio-waste management unit and the process involved.

Kabeer B. Haroon of Credai-Clean City Mission said that they planned to make the residents aware of the method that is easily adopted in households. The bio-composting method involves use of cultured bacteria instead of earthworms, he said.

School health task force reaches out to society

KOCHI: MES Eastern School, Eloor, has many first-of-its-kind initiatives to its credit. The school has now turned its focus on the health sector.

Early this month, the school formed a 60-member health task force made up of students from Class VI to Class IX. The primary objective of the force is to create awareness about the lifestyle diseases which have become a scourge for society.

As the first phase of the programme, classes were conducted on diseases like diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart disease. Each member of the force is leading such classes in at least 10 families in his or her locality. The members of the task force had been given training on lifestyle diseases by a health team led by Sheriff, the health inspector at the Eloor primary health centre.

They were also imparted training on how to check blood pressure and urine samples.

The training was conducted in two phases. In the second phase the students were given a class on �heart disease and exercise. A CD presentation on lifestyle diseases followed.

Stress on building job skills

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Lifelong Education and Awareness Programmes (LEAP) Kerala Mission Project has started functioning. It aims at drastic changes in the literacy programmes with emphasis on job-oriented training and better awareness.

The decision was taken at the fourth general council meeting of the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority, chaired by Minister for Education M.A. Baby, here on Wednesday.

A LEAP centre will be set up in every panchayat under the project to take care of project activities, according to a press release.

Molestation charge: case against forest guides

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Two tourist guides attached to a Vana Samrakshana Samithi (VSS) in the Achenkoil forest range in Kollam district are in police custody following the charge of molesting an unidentified woman, Forest Minister Benoy Viswom told the Assembly on Tuesday.

Answering a submission from V.D. Satheeshan, he said three persons were involved in the case. One of them was yet to be taken into custody.

They had taken a video clipping of the incident on a mobile phone camera and circulated it.

The incident had occurred some time back but came to light when the video clipping was flashed by a Malayalam news portal.

The Minister said the victim hailed from Tamil Nadu.

Probe source of extremist funding: CPI

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CPI State executive has urged the Central and the State governments to investigate the sources from which the religious extremist elements in Kerala received funding for their activities.

A resolution adopted by the committee, which met here on Tuesday, said there were reports that such elements received funding from various sources. It, however, wanted caution while handling the issue and said that since only a fringe was involved in violent activities, it would be wrong to brand an entire community as extremists.

The CPI executive also accused the Opposition UDF with soft approach towards the extremists, particularly the Popular Front of India which, it said, was a new version of the National Development Front.

Facilities for the aged to be expanded

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State government proposes to implement in all sincerity the measures envisaged under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act of 2007, Industries Minister Elamaram Karim told the Assembly on Wednesday.

He was replying, on behalf of the Minister for Social Welfare, to a calling attention motion moved by C.P. Mohammed, who said the demographic structure of the State was changing fast and the proportion of the aged in the population was increasing. The joint family system that used to afford security to the aged in the past too had collapsed.

An increasing number of aged people now faced the trauma of neglect and ill-treatment.

25 lakh seedlings to be distributed in State

Thiruvananthapuram: Agriculture Minister Mullakara Ratnakaran said here on Wednesday that 25 lakh vegetable seedlings would be distributed free-of-cost across the State through the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Kerala (VFPCK).

Speaking after inaugurating the distribution of seedlings at a function held at the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club, he said the project was conceived with the objective of reducing Keralas dependence on neighbouring States for vegetables.

�Many of the States are finding it difficult to meet their domestic demand. This is bound to impact the quantum of their exports. The resultant crisis for Kerala can be resolved only by stepping up local production, he said.

The Minister said homestead cultivation was one way to address the situation.

Director of Agriculture G.Surendran, Press Club secretary Biju Chandrasekhar and VFPCK chief executive officer N. Vijayan were present on the occasion.

The project involved distribution of high-yielding saplings through residents associations.

Seeds and saplings of cold climate vegetables like cabbage will also be sold at concessional price by VFPCK.

33 local bodies to submit projects

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As many as 33 local self-government institutions will submit detailed project reports for developing infrastructure under the Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) this week, Local Self-government Minister Paloli Mohammed Kutty has said.

Mr. Kutty said in reply to questions in the Assembly on Wednesday that Rs.41.419 crore had been spent under the scheme.

Securing land was one of the main impediments in taking up projects under it. But the rate of fund absorption under the scheme was much higher than that in the previous years.

President to dedicate �parnasala\' at ashram

Thiruvananthapuram: The lotus-shaped marble �parnasala at the Santhigiri Ashram at Pothencode, near here, will be dedicated to the nation on August 13.

President Pratibha Patil is scheduled to dedicate the building, a pressnote issued by the ashram said here.

The President will also inaugurate a month-long celebration in connection with the event.

Constructed in the shape of a full-bloomed lotus in pure white marble, the structure, where the body of Karunakara Guru is interned, will be opened for regular worship on September 12, the Gurus 84th birthday.

The ashram is making elaborate arrangements for the dedication ceremony.

Minister\'s remark leads to uproar

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Opposition United Democratic Front created a rumpus in the Assembly on Wednesday in protest against a remark made by Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Ports M. Vijayakumar.

The Minister made the remark while replying to the debate on the demand for grants for Ports. In protest against the remark, the Opposition rushed to the well of the House. They were calmed only after the Minister withdrew the reference and the Speaker expunged the controversial portion of the statement.

Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy led a boycott of the rest of the sitting demanding an expression of regret from Mr. Vijayakumar.

Earlier, the Minister told the House that the government proposed to develop Kerala into a maritime State. The statutory Maritime Board, proposed for coordinating the activities of ports in the State, would be formed this year. Coastal shipping services connecting the Azeekal, Bepyore and Kollam ports would be started in two months.

Mr. Vijayakumar said that expressions of interest had been called for development of the second phase of the Vizhinjam international transhipment terminal. The government had taken up development of basic infrastructure for the port in the first phase costing Rs.1,000 crore. A new wharf had been inaugurated at the old port.

Walkout over tribal land alienation

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) put the Kerala government on the defensive in the Assembly on Wednesday with a spirited attack followed by a walkout over large-scale alienation of tribal land at Kottathara village in Palakkad district between 2006 and 2009.

Armed with documents to support their case, the Opposition pointed out that a �real estate mafia had, under the pretence of setting up a wind farm, grabbed around 350 acres of tribal land in the Nallasinka and Varadampadi Adivasi hamlets during the period. They had also encroached upon around 50 acres of forest land in the area. They bought the Adivasi land through 52 transactions relating to Survey No. 1275 at the Agali sub-registrars office. The Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) officer concerned had submitted a report to the government exposing the magnitude of the land grab as far back as May 7, but no action had been taken on it so far, they alleged.

Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy wanted the wind farm to be closed down immediately and a comprehensive inquiry, preferably by an Assembly committee, initiated to bring out all facts relating to the land grab.

Pointing out that the land grabbers had duped the revenue, registration, power and SC/ST development departments, he sought stern action against all those responsible,

Minister for Welfare of Scheduled and Backward Communities A.K. Balan said that a three-member committee headed by the Ottappalam RDO would hold a hearing on the allegations at Agali on Friday and that stern action would be taken against all persons concerned if the RDOs inquiry brought to light any wrongdoing.

Livestock show to feature rare breeds

Thiruvananthapuram: The five-day National Livestock Show and Food Festival beginning here on Friday will feature a collection of endemic and exotic animals, pet birds and ornamental fishes. The event is being organised by the Departments of Food, Animal Husbandry and Consumer Affairs at the Kanakakunnu Palace grounds.

Rare breeds of cattle from all over the country, different varieties of goats and threatened species of livestock will be showcased. Different varieties of broiler and egg laying birds, turkey, quail, emu, duck, guinea hens and ornamental birds will also be among the exhibits.

Minister for Food and Animal Husbandry C. Divakaran said here on Wednesday that the exhibition was conceived with the objective of recognising livestock as a key element in the drive to achieve food security in the State. Mayor C. Jayan Babu, Additional Chief Secretary (Animal Husbandry and Dairy) P.K. Mohanthy, MILMA Managing Director Sanjeeb Kumar Patjoshi, Animal Husbandry Director Vijayakumar and Kerala Livestock Development Board Managing Director Ani S. Das were present.

Union Minister of State for Food K.V. Thomas is scheduled to inaugurate the event. The inaugural function will be preceded by a cultural pageantry starting from the Central stadium on Friday evening. Separate pavilions are being constructed for pet animals and birds.

Search your school, on the Web

Thiruvananthapuram: Students gaining admission to the higher secondary course through the single window system often fret about not having enough information about the school they will be attending for the next two years.

But that worry may soon be a thing of the past. All they will have to do is to log on to a website with a school mapping system to find out the location, distance to the school from home and also the infrastructure in the institution.

The Centre for Advanced Remote Sensing and Environmental Studies (CARE), a newly launched organisation based in the city, has come up with such a school mapping system for Attingal municipality.

Employing remote sensing and GIS technology, the Web-based system was developed as a pilot project. It includes all the information about the 14 government recognised schools in the municipality like the location, year of establishment, distance from junctions to each school, infrastructure and primary requirements like toilets. The information will be hosted in the official website, CARE director, T.Jitesh said.

Users can utilise the zoom option to get focussed details of each school. They can query and access the information without using a proprietary software, he explained.

State nominees skip board meets

Thiruvananthapuram: Several government nominees on the director boards of public sector undertakings, statutory bodies and autonomous institutions often absent themselves from the board meetings. The nominees are usually officials of the rank of joint secretary and above.

Though officials from all departments have to take the blame, sources say, those from the Finance Department are the major defaulters. Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) L.C. Goyal has issued a circular frowning upon the absenteeism among the officials in the department. Last year also, he had done so, but, it seems, to no avail.

Forest Department orders inquiry

Thiruvananthapuram: The Forest Department on Wednesday ordered an investigation into the construction of two check dams inside the disputed Merchiston tea estate in the ecologically fragile Agastyamalai Biosphere Reserve, near Ponmudi hill station.

Official sources said the department had sought the Advocate-Generals opinion whether it could prosecute the firm claiming ownership of the estate under section 27 of the Kerala Forest Act. The section was non-bailable and carried a punishment of up to five years of imprisonment.

Investigators said the check dams were constructed for irrigation and the firm claimed to have got prior sanction.

The firm had �purchased the 700-acre estate from another plantation company in 2005. At the time, the estate was vested with the government under the provisions of the Kerala Forests (Vesting and Management of Ecologically Fragile Lands) (EFL) Ordinance 2000.

When the ordinance became an Act in 2005, the firm claimed that the government had excluded the estate from the purview of �EFL.

In 2007, the then Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF), who was also the custodian of Ecologically Fragile Lands, re-notified the estate as EFL and directed the firm to vacate it. (The firm had challenged his order in the High Court).

The CCF overruled an order by his predecessor to exclude the estate from the purview of the Act on the ground that the firm had made an �incompetent application.

Onam Week events from August 22

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Onam Week Celebrations will be held at 16 venues in the city from August 22 to 28, Law Minister M. Vijayakumar has said.

Replying to questions in the Assembly on Wednesday, Mr. Vijayakumar, who was deputising for Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, said it had been proposed to hold classical music and dance events, �ganamela, �kathaprasangom, �kalaripayattu, various folk art events, etc during the week. Television channels and media houses will conduct stage shows as part of the celebrations. Trade fair and food festival will be organised. The Vellayambalam-LMS stretch will be declared as �festival zone. The week will conclude with a cultural pageantry.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Special counters for IT returns

KOCHI: In view of the expected rush for filing of income tax returns on July 31, the due date in the case of salaried class, the Income Tax office, Kochi, will open special counters to receive returns at its office complex on IS Press Road. There will be separate counters for senior citizens. The special counters will function from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from July 28 to 31. For details contact phone 0484-2390167 or 2795505, according to a press release

Saphalyam award presented

KOCHI: Shahul Hamid has won the award for best story for his work �Sugandhangalude Ullarakal in a competition organised by Saphalyam, a literary magazine run by senior journalists in the State.

The award was presented by writer and critic M. K. Sanoo. Awards should be given to young people, he said as it encourages them to be more involved in their work.

The judges panel including Chowalloor Krishnankutty, Jose Panachippuram and M. K. Harikumar who had selected the story �Kalbaishakhi� by Deepa M. for the award had to drop the writer from the list after the story lost out on technical grounds as it was published in two publications earlier. Hamids story that was selected for the second spot was given the award.

E. S. Jose, who presented a memento to the winner, also spoke. P. A. Alexander, Editor of Saphalyam, proposed a vote of thanks.

Professor\'s hand likely to regain sensation

KOCHI: Thodupuzha Newman College Professor T.J. Joseph, who was attacked a fortnight ago, may be able to use his severed hand again. �We expect Prof. Josephs hand to function reasonably well in a few months, R. Jayakumar, micro-vascular surgeon who stitched the hand back in a 16-hour surgery at Specialists Hospital here, told The Hindu.

He said the complicated surgery was successfully completed. The professor would regain sensation in his hand in three months. He would have to stay at the hospital for two more weeks for more surgeries on the other wounded hand and leg.

Dr. Jayakumar said the right hand of Prof. Joseph had been chopped off at the wrist. He had lost a lot of blood and it took 12 bottles of blood to resuscitate him. A lot of tissues were lost in front of his forearm and had to be replaced with tissues from his thigh. The entire �re-plantation surgery was conducted under the microscope. The operation took a long time as the severed blood vessels and nerves had to be reconnected. Prof. Joseph has deep wounds on his leg and the left hand and would need more surgeries which would be done next week. Salome Joseph, the professors wife, told The Hindu that the State government had given the family Rs.4 lakh towards meeting the medical expenses. The money came from the Chief Ministers Relief Fund.

Reservation facility opened

KOCHI: The ongoing railway line doubling works in different parts of the State would be completed as per the revised deadlines, despite rain slowing the pace of the works, Minister of State for Railways E. Ahamed said here on Tuesday.

The doubling works at many stretches south of Mulanthuruthy are suffering inordinate delays because of delay in acquiring land and in awarding contracts.

Addressing mediapersons here after the inauguration of the computerised passenger reservation system on the Kerala High Court premises on Tuesday, he said the facility would function from 9.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4.30 p.m., with Sunday being a holiday. The system was earlier commissioned by the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court Jasti Chelameshwar. The new satellite-linked amenity would help not only those who come to the court, but also people from the vicinity and those from the Goshree islands.

On contractors reluctant to take up works in Kerala since the rates prescribed by the Railways fall below the market rate in the State, Mr. Ahamed said that he could not give a firm reply since the agency had got a �set practice and could not revise the rates easily. (Many projects, including civil works and commissioning of platform six at the Ernakulam Junction railway station are held up because contractors are unwilling to take up the works). Mr. Ahamed said that platform six would be commissioned only by December. The previous deadline expired in June.

One killed, 54 injured as tanker rams city bus

KOCHI: One person was killed and 54 were injured as a tanker lorry carrying drinking water rammed a private bus at Pathadipalam near Edappally Toll here during the morning peak traffic hours on Tuesday.

The accident occurred around 9.15 a.m. The tanker lorry, coming from the Aluva side, apparently went out of control in the drizzle and jumped over the median before hitting the side of the bus going in the opposite direction, forcing the bus to fall on its side. The bus, operating between Ernakulam and Pokkattupadi, had 54 passengers on board.

Jayaprakash, 45, of Nettipadam, Ernakulam South, who was an engineer with the Kerala State Electricity Board, got stuck under the bus and died on the spot. His body was removed after those who gathered on the spot immediately after the accident lifted the bus.

Out of the 31 persons admitted to MAJ Hospital, two continue in hospital, while the rest have been discharged; out of the 10 admitted to the Ernakulam Medical Centre, seven were discharged and two remained in hospital and out of the 13 admitted to the Cooperative Medical College, Kalamassery, one remained in hospital while the rest were discharged.

Conservation project mooted

Thiruvananthapuram: The government will prepare an action plan with Central assistance for conserving mangroves in the State, Forest Minister Benoy Viswom has said.

Replying to questions in the Assembly on Tuesday, Mr. Viswom said the government would work out the action plan for mangrove conservation in consensus with the Opposition. He also said the government would not approve development projects that would upset biodiversity.

Lawyers take out march to Assembly

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Members of the State unit of the Indian Association of Lawyers took out a march to the Assembly on Tuesday, demanding that the Advocates Welfare Fund Act be amended.

They demanded raising the medical assistance to advocates to Rs.2 lakh, payment of stipend to junior advocates for five years, re-inclusion of the provision for exempting junior lawyers from remitting their share to the fund for five years and giving freedom to the advocates to opt for the existing scheme or the new scheme with retrospective effect

Terror probe: Centre flayed

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Tuesday criticised the Central government stand on the investigation into terrorism-related cases in Kerala.

In an article released for publication here, the Minister said the Centre had declined the States request for a CBI inquiry into the larger conspiracy behind the Marad massacre. It was also reluctant to entrust the National Investigation Agency (NIA) with the investigation of the detection of explosives in a train in Kerala and attempt to sabotage a train at Nilambur recently. On the other hand, the NIA had taken over cases which were under investigation by the State police without the consent of the State government. Those were cases in which the State police had identified the accused.

He said the LDF governments had always been taking effective steps against extremists. The LDF had formed a special squad for investigating such cases between 1996 and 2001. But, the UDF that came to power in 2001 did not follow up the investigations as it had come to power with the support of extremists. It withdrew cases against NDF activists, including one charged against the attempt to murder the former Chief Minister E.K. Nayanar. Subsequent developments such as bomb blasts were not properly investigated, he alleged. The present government, on the other hand, had formed an internal security investigation team under Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) Siby Mathews to investigate terrorism-related cases.

Food Minister promises cheaper rice for all sections

Thiruvananthapuram: Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran said here on Tuesday that the State government had taken steps to ensure supply of quality rice at subsidised rates for everyone, irrespective of financial status.

Speaking after inaugurating the district-level Cooperative Sales Fair opened by Consumerfed to combat price rise here on Tuesday, he said the department would ensure the availability of rice, sugar and other provisions. �Moves are afoot to provide rice at Rs.2 for all irrespective of whether someone belongs to APL [above the poverty line] or BPL [below the poverty line] families, he said.

Bomb hoax creates scare in Chala market

Thiruvananthapuram: An anonymous person called the city police control room around 6 p.m. on Tuesday and threatened that bombs had been planted at different locations in the crowded Chala market. The police checked the commercial area and called it a hoax.

Investigators traced the call to a coin-operated public pay-phone booth near the Kerala State Road Transport Corporations city depot, near East Fort.

The booth owner, one Rajeev, told the police that the caller was a young man dressed in a pale-white shirt and dark pants. The police said Rajeev could not give anymore information about the caller.

The city police went into overdrive following the threat. Fire and Rescue Service units and ambulances were put on the standby. Important government hospitals were asked to prepare for admission of mass casualties. Armed striker units of the police were put on alert for rapid deployment.

The police deployed several units of its Bomb Disposal and Detection Squad. Assisted by sniffer dogs and bomb-detection equipment, the squads scanned the market, including shops and parked vehicles, for explosives. They inspected cargo lorries and warehouses.

Tribal people to get free rice for Onam

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran announced in the Assembly on Tuesday that 12 kg of rice would be given, free of charge, to every tribal family during the Onam festival.

Replying to a debate on the demands for grants for Food, Animal Husbandry and Dairy, the Minister said the tribal people would also get rice at Rs.2 under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana. None would go without a sumptuous meal on the Thiruvonam Day as the government also proposed to supply Onam kits to all BPL families. Eligible persons who had not got rice at Rs.2 a kg so far could get it now.

Mr. Divakaran said the government would seek higher allocation of sugar and rice from the Centre for Onam. The State Civil Supplies Department would set up temporary depots for seven days as special bazaar for Onam.

He said 100 more Maveli stores would be set up in the State this year. Mobile Maveli stores would now reach out to all parts of the State. Hypermarts would start functioning shortly in Thrissur, Kottayam and Thalassery.

He said it was no sin for the government to have increased milk prices. The dairy farmers had been clamouring for it. However, for the sake of consumers, the government had kept down the hike to Rs.3 a litre against a recommendation for Rs.5 a litre. The price of cattle feed would be kept steady for the benefit of farmers.

Warrant issued against Maudany again

BANGALORE: A magistrate court here on Tuesday issued a non-bailable warrant against Peoples Democratic Party chairman Abdul Nasir Maudany, an accused in the 2008 Bangalore blasts case. This is the fourth time that a warrant has been issued against Mr. Maudany, who is yet to appear before the court.

Mr. Maudany is one of the 32 accused in the case. A woman was killed in the blasts. He is one of the six persons mentioned in an additional charge sheet filed by the city police on June 11.

On Tuesday, the judge conducted the hearing through videoconferencing with some of the accused lodged in the Bangalore Central Prison. Thadiyantavide Nasir and Safaz, arrested in connection with the blasts, said the police had not given them copies of the charge sheet. The police sought time to supply the charge sheets. The court adjourned the hearing till August 3.

Assault on Professor Joseph: sketches of two more suspects released

KOCHI: The police on Tuesday released sketches of two more suspects involved in the assault on T.J. Joseph, Professor of Malayalam, Newman College, Thodupuzha, on July 4. Sketches of two other suspects were released on Sunday and look-out notices on three members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) were released before that.

With the latest release of sketches, the police have requested information from the public on seven suspects directly involved in the case, all of whom are absconding.

In a related development, the investigation team registered a case for sedition under Section 124 (A) of the Indian Penal Code against Dr. Reneef, a dentist who was arrested on July 13 on charges of conspiracy.

The case was registered following searches conducted on his residence, during which printed material promoting jihad against democratic institutions were found, said a senior police officer in the team.

17 hospitalised after inhaling poisonous gas at workplace

ALAPPUZHA: Seventeen women were hospitalised after inhaling an unidentified poisonous gas at their workplace here on Monday.

The women, employees of a spices and fragrance export firm, had arrived at the firm this morning after it re-opened following a cleaning and fumigation process that began on Saturday.

The women, who were working in the blending section, started feeling uneasy after they removed the plastic covers that had been placed on the articles inside the building before the fumigation process began.

With some of them complaining of breathlessness and vomiting, they were rushed to the Medical College Hospital at Vandanam and the General Hospital here.

One woman was admitted to the intensive care unit at the MCH while the others were admitted to the wards. Six others were discharged after being treated.

Authorities of the firm said the cleaning process was done by the Kochi unit of a pest management company and that a clearance certificate too had been issued. What went wrong was being verified, they said.

Row over Alappuzha Medical College turning away patient

ALAPPUZHA: The Alappuzha Medical College Hospital (AMCH) at Vandanam here is in the centre of a controversy after a patient, a youngster who was rendered immobile and suffered memory loss after an accident, was allegedly turned away without being admitted.

The patient, Rajeev, 24, an electrician hailing from Vettiyar in Mavelikara, had sustained critical injuries in a two-wheeler accident at Mavelikara on June 28, following which he was rushed to the Mavelikara Government Hospital. However, owing to lack of advanced treatment facilities there, he was shifted to a private hospital at Thiruvalla.

According to his brother-in-law T.C. Prasad, the treatment at the private hospital was costly and they suggested shifting Rajeev to the Kottayam Medical College Hospital (KMCH) the same day. Rajeev underwent a surgery at the KMCH on June 29. Though he has survived a critical phase, he still is unable to stand on his feet and has a severe loss of memory even 20 days after the surgery. With KMCH authorities telling the family that it would be better to shift him to the AMCH since they had no vacant beds to admit Rajeev, the family brought Rajeev to the AMCH around 3 p.m. on Friday.

Farming project for women

KOCHI: Our society has lost its agrarian culture and any effort to bring it back should be appreciated, said B. Sandhya, Inspector General of Police, Ernakulam Range. She was speaking after inaugurating �Harita Sobha, the project launched by the Lioness Board to empower women workers in the unorganised labour sector and housewives to form self-help groups and engage in vegetable farming using latest techniques, at Chellanam near here

High Court on Saturday sitting

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday observed that judges who have free time and are willing can have a sitting on Saturdays provided advocates on both the sides offer to argue cases on that day.

The Bench comprising Justice C.N. Ramachandran Nair and Justice P.S. Gopinathan made this observation while disposing of a writ petition filed by High Court lawyer M.L. George.

The petitioner sought to enforce the reported decision of a Full Court of the High Court to hold a sitting on all Saturdays except second Saturdays. The Bench pointed out that a release issued by the Registry had stated that there was no such Full Court decision to hold a sitting on all Saturdays except second Saturdays.

Naval Ship Repair Yard offers apprenticeship

Kochi: The Naval Ship Repair Yard here has sought applications from candidates who have passed ITI with 65 per cent marks in electrician, electronic, mechanic, TV and video mechanic, machinist, refrigerator and AC mechanic, fitter, welder, painter (general), electroplater and turner trades for apprenticeship for a period of one year and from those with similar qualification in diesel mechanic (I.C. engine fitter), shipwright (carpenter), sheet metal worker, millwright mechanic (mechanic machine tool maintenance) and plumber trades for apprenticeship for a period of two years.

The candidates should have secured over 50 per cent marks in their matriculation or equivalent examination. They should have completed 14 years of age as October 1, 2010.

The upper age limit of 21 years is relaxable for SC/ST/OBC candidates as per the rules. Shortlisted candidates would be required to appear for a written examination and interview for which call letters will be issued. Applications on white paper with bio-data and the trade in which apprenticeship is sought, together with attested copies of certificates should reach �The Commodore Superintendent, Naval Ship Repair Yard, Naval Base, Kochi- 682 004 on or before August 13.

State granted three weeks to file response

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday granted the State government three weeks to respond to a petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking a directive to the police to hand over the case diary and other documents relating to the custodial death of Sampath, an accused in a murder case in Palakkad.

Justice V. Ramkumar passed the order when a petition came up for hearing. In the petition, the CBI said if these files were not handed over it would cause inordinate delay in taking up the investigation

Hearing on plea by Thachankary begins

Kochi: A Full Bench of the Ernakulam Central Administrative Tribunal on Monday began hearing arguments on a petition filed by Inspector-General of Police Tomin J. Thachankary challenging his suspension from service. The Bench consisting of L.K. Joshi, Vice-Chairman; George Paracken, Judicial Member; and K. Noorjehan, Administrative Member; has been constituted after a two-judge Bench referred to the larger Bench the petition of the senior IPS officer. � Special Correspondent

The petition was referred by the Bench comprising Judicial Member Justice K. Thankappan and Administrative Member K. George Joseph as there were differences of opinion between them on the legal question whether the State Government has the power to place under suspension an All India Service employee under Rule 3 of the All India Service (Discipline and Appeal) Rules 1969.

While the Judicial Member was of the view the State had no power to suspend the IPS officer, the Administrative Member differed with this view.

Mr. Thachankary has been placed under suspension for undertaking a foreign trip without obtaining the permission of the State government. According to him, he had been suspended on extraneous and irrelevant considerations, bypassing the Home Department. He also pointed out that no disciplinary proceedings had been commenced against him by serving a memorandum of charges. Therefore, the suspension was totally misconceived. The government contended that Mr. Thachankary went abroad without obtaining sanction of the government

IGNOU to allow writing of exams in regional languages

KOCHI: The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is making an effort to help its students by allowing them to write the examinations in regional languages.

The universitys student evaluation division is currently working on implementing the proposal at the ground-level in its 60 regional centres across the country.

V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice-Chancellor of IGNOU, said that the university had been working on a series of new and path-breaking ideas to meet the diverse and often daunting expectations of a large number of learners who cannot afford to acquire education from a conventional university.

Prof. Pillai said the move to allow students to write exams in regional languages is part of its initiative towards universalisation of education.

The university authorities said that students would get their results faster and conveniently, with the decision to allow students to write exams in regional languages.

IGNOU has also created six zones to decentralise evaluation of answer scripts. The move is expected to benefit over 30 lakh students of the university.

22,000 more Plus One seats

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Cabinet sanctioned 22,000 additional seats at the Plus One level in various schools in North Kerala on Monday.

The decision is a sequel to its earlier decision to sanction courses to high schools in panchayats with no higher secondary schools. Seats were proposed to be increased in Thrissur district and districts north of Thrissur to bridge the gap between students who have qualified for higher education in the SSLC examination and the availability of seats.

Briefing the media, Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan said two courses each would be sanctioned to 178 schools. Besides, higher secondary courses would be sanctioned in 10 model residential high schools.

Mr. Achuthanandan announced that Onam kits (with provisions and vegetables), costing Rs.71.55 each, would be given free of cost to 20 lakh families living below the poverty line during the festival season

Fourth round of allotments published

A press note issued here on Monday said the allotment details can be had from the website Fifty seats in the government medical colleges at Thrissur and Alapuzha which did not have recognition from the Medical Council of India earlier have also been included in the allotment.

Candidates should remit the required fee on July 20 or 21. Candidates who have received allotment to government/ aided/ government-controlled self-financing engineering colleges should report for admission on July 20, 21 and 22. Those allotted to private self-financing colleges should report for admission on July 20 and 21. In the case of government/ government-controlled self-financing medical colleges for the MBBS course, candidates should report for admission on July 21, 22 and 23. All colleges should furnish the non-joining report on July 26.

The allotment process will continue in the case of government/ aided/ government-controlled self-financing engineering and medical colleges. Allotments will also continue for the Mount Zion College of Engineering and Technology for Women, Chengannur, and to the Devaki Ammas Guruvayoorappan College of Architecture, Malappuram.

The allotments to private self-financing medical colleges, government/ self-financing dental colleges, government/ aided/ self-financing ayurveda colleges, the BHMS course and for courses of the agriculture university will be notified shortly, the press note added.

Take up issues, VS tells MPs

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on Monday sought the help of MPs from the State to prompt the Union government to include the whole of Kerala in the programmes of the National Food Security Mission.

Addressing a meeting of the MPs in the context of the coming Parliament session, Mr. Achuthanandan said only Palakkad district was now covered by these programmes.

The Centre sanctioned Rs.188 lakh in the first year, Rs.277 lakh in the second year and Rs.262 lakh in the third year for Palakkad district since the launch of the mission, which targeted increasing the food production in the country by one crore tonnes a year.

Road repair: PWD to adopt new technology

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Minister for Public Works and Finance T.M. Thomas Isaac has said the conventional way of constructing roads in the State should be changed to meet the anticipated passenger and freight travel demand in the years ahead.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, the Minister said the government was for making use the latest technology and machines for the resurfacing of the roads to ensure longer life for the roads and to ensure hassle-free travel. The overall quality of PWD roads was much below the standard set by the Indian Road Congress and it was causing significant economic loss through increased vehicle operating cost and accidents. He said the PWD would buy a pothole filling machine from Patna at an estimated cost of Rs.35 lakh on a trial basis.

Dr. Isaac said over one lakh potholes had been filled during the intensive drive launched by the PWD in the State since he took over the charge of the department. �Ninety per cent of the potholes had been filled and work cannot be taken up in remaining area due to seepage of water, flooding and other reasons.

Terror threat to dams, says Balan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The hydel power projects in the State are facing threat from the LTTE and Muslim fundamentalist organisations, Power Minister A.K. Balan has said.

Mr. Balan told the Assembly in reply to questions on Monday that the Intelligence Bureau had warned the State of the threat and in the light of it, the State government had taken steps to tighten security. But this was no hindrance to promoting hydel tourism.

Power credit cards would be issued to students next year. A sum of Rs.50 crore had been set apart for distribution among students who conserved electricity. The energy saved by them would be recorded in the cards so that they could avail themselves of the credit for procuring books and study materials, he said.