Saturday, July 31, 2010

Two GCDA officials suspended

KOCHI: Two officials of the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) were suspended in connection with the allegation of improper sale of a five-cent plot owned by the authority in the city.

S. Vijayakumar, estate officer and A. Imamin Mubin, section assistant/section officer were suspended from duty with effect from July 31, according to an order issued by the Chairperson.

A group of Youth Congress activists had barged into the office of the secretary of the authority on Friday, protesting against the media reports on this allegation and the Kadavanthra police registered case against 27 persons in this connection

Muneer flays Left parties

KOCHI: Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) State secretary M.K. Muneer has accused the Left Democratic Front (LDF) of aligning with extremist forces with an eye on the vote bank.

Dr. Muneer was delivering the keynote address at a seminar on �Anti-extremism, organised by the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Vichar Vibhag, here on Saturday. He said the LDF had turned a blind eye to acts of extremism with the aim of gaining political mileage from such incidents.

�Contrary to the belief of many, revolution has never been a part of Islam. This is a ploy of the Left parties to instigate violence in Kerala. Every Muslim should remember that he is also an Indian and more importantly, a part of mankind, he said. Kottayam District Congress Committee (DCC) president K.C. Joseph, MLA, alleged that the LDF encouraged its cadres to indulge in acts of violence.

Veteran journalist dead

KOCHI: K.P. Krishnanunny, veteran journalist, died here on Saturday. He was 92.

Mr. Krishnanunny is survived by his son, Anil Kumar, and two daughters. He was ailing for the past few days.

Mr. Krishnanunny had worked as a legal correspondent of The Hindu in Kochi and also wrote a column named �Cochin in Focus from 1984 to 1990. His High Court reportage was wide ranging and authentic, looked forward to by the readers and appreciated by the higher echelons of the judiciary and discerning legal fraternity.

Affectionately called KPK, Mr. Krishnanunni started his journalistic career with Reuters in Colombo on July 3, 1942 during the Second World War and continued there for six years.

He joined the Press Trust of India (PTI) on February 1, 1949 on his return from Colombo. He had also served as Bureau head of PTI, Thiruvananthapuram, for a brief period.

Meera Jasmine makes a comeback to Malayalam

KOCHI: Actor Meera Jasmine is back in Malayalm film after a three-year hiatus, thanks to director Rajeev Anchals latest flick, �Pattinte Palazhi.

Meera plays Veena, a singer in the movie produced by A.K. Pillai under the banner of Adithya Movies. The actor, who took a long break from the Malayalam film industry, said here on Saturday that she is feeling so happy to have made a comeback through such a wonderful movie.

�I should thank Rajeev Anchal for giving me a great character. Cameraman Azhagappan has been successful in giving me an entirely different look suiting the script of the movie,� she said.

Award for best eco-clubs of schools

KOCHI: Its recognition time for the green initiatives of school children.

The eco-clubs in the schools will compete for the coveted green prizes instituted by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment.

The prizes will be given for the best eco-clubs formed under the National Green Corps programme, an environment awareness programme initiated by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2001. The clubs aim at creating awareness on environmental conservation and conducting activities, which will ultimately help in building a generation that could strengthen the ecological foundation of the State, according to a council communication.

In Kerala, 3,460 schools have eco-clubs functioning on their campuses and each eco-club consists of around 50 students and a teacher in-charge. It is estimated that

Irregularity in CFL distribution alleged

KOCHI: The Kerala Electricity Employees Confederation (INTUC) has alleged that a scheme being implemented by the State government for distribution of compact fluorescent lamps is flawed.

The scheme is a variant of the Bachat Lamp Yojna (BLY) of the Union government, a fact being sidelined by the State government, according to general secretary M.S.Rawther.

He said at a press conference here on Saturday that the BLY scheme envisaged replacement of faulty CFL lamps within two or three years depending on whether the guaranteed life span of the lamp was 6,000 hours or 10,000 hours. The State government had distributed lamps having a life span of 6,000 hours, with a one year guarantee.

Women to head seven district panchayats

Thiruvananthapuram: The post of president of the district panchayats of Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod are reserved for women.

According to a State Election Commission notification, the presidents post in Thrissur will be reserved for Scheduled Castes community.

Vice-presidents posts

In Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Ernakulam, Palakkad and Wayanad, the post of vice-president will be reserved for women.

Gift sponsor for GKSF

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Malabar Tourism Development Cooperative Limiteds Vismaya Park will be the gift sponsor of the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF) season 4 beginning on December 1. An agreement to this effect has been reached between Director of GKSF and Additional Director of Tourism K.N. Satheesh and Chairman of the Cooperative K.K. Narayanan.

This is the first time that a water theme park, especially from the cooperative sector, is becoming the sponsor of the GKSF and it shows the gaining popularity of the shopping festival, Mr. Satheesh has said in a statement.

Seats for women: KSRTC to study Lok Adalat order

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Sate Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is to take a decision on a directive of the Permanent Lok Adalat, a judicial forum constituted to settle disputes relating to public utility services, to earmark 25 per cent of the seats in buses for women after studying the order.

�We have not received the order. We have read about it in the newspapers. A decision will be taken after studying the order, the legal issues and other factors involved like profitability of the services, Chairman and Managing Director of the KSRTC S. Rajasekharan Nair said.

The judicial forum headed by A. Dennison on Friday ordered the KSRTC to reserve the front door of two-door buses for the exclusive use of women.

Plan to promote pisciculture

Thiruvananthapuram: Mayor C. Jayan Babu inaugurated a project to promote fish farming in ponds and tanks by releasing fish into the Koyikkal pond at Kannamoola in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday.

The City Corporation had tied up with the Department of Fisheries for the promotional project being taken up under the Matsya Keralam scheme of the State government. Fish will be released into 20 ponds in different wards of the city in the first phase of the project.

36,000 fish offspring

Local-level committees will monitor the programme. The Fisheries Department is supplying 36,000 fish offspring for the scheme.

Corporation Health standing committee chairman G.R. Anil, ward councillor S. Satheeshkumar, project coordinator Sunilkumar and Fisheries Extension Officer Bindu were present.

Demand for transport charge hike unreasonable\'

Thiruvananthapuram: The Residents Associations Federation of Kerala has condemned the tendency to demand a hike in public transport charges, every time fuel prices go up.

The State committee of the federation, which met here on Friday, said Kerala was the only State where the authorities justify a hike in bus charge, citing the losses sustained by the State Road Transport Corporation.

This, the meeting said, fuelled a similar demand from private bus, auto and taxi owners.

The federation said transport bus owners were not filing the mandatory income-expenditure statements to the regional transport authority.

This, it noted, had led to the failure to assess the returns. The meeting also observed that the unscientific determination of fare stage was detrimental to the interests of the people.

A resolution adopted by the meeting called on the government to leave the decision on transport tariff to the new regulatory commission.

President of the federation Amaravila Ramakrishnan Nair presided over the function.

Army celebrates anniversary of Colachel battle

Thiruvananthapuram: The Indian Army celebrated the 269 {+t} {+h} anniversary of the victory of the Travancore forces over the Dutch military at Colachel in Tamil Nadu on Saturday.

Head of the ruling family of erstwhile Travancore Uthradom Tirunal Marthanda Varma was the chief guest at the function, organised by 16 Madras (Travancore), the army unit stationed at Pangode here. Major General (retd.) V.D.I. Devavaram; Brigadier (retd.) Arumaraj; Brigadier Krishan Kumar, Station Commander, Pangode; Col. R.K. Chaudhary, Commanding Officer, 16 Madras; the District Collector of Kanyakumari and the District Revenue Officer attended the ceremony. It was on July 31, 1741 that the forces of the then king Marthanda Varma defeated the Dutch, both at sea and on land, in a unique amphibious battle.

Sasthra University wins innovation contest

Thiruvananthapuram: The Thanjavur-based Sasthra University bagged the top honours at the TechTop national innovation contest here on Saturday, winning the first prize comprising the Degree C Award of Rs.1,00,000 for a project on �production of nano-carbon sheets from the exhaust pipes in industries.

The second prize comprising Rs.50,000, sponsored by the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), went to the Jaipur Engineering College for its �universal mobile automation system project and the third prize of Rs.30,000, sponsored by the Kerala State Council of Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE), was given to the Cape Institute of Technology, Tirunelveli, for a project on �The Dark NET � an initiative to furnish remote areas with internet facility. Chief Secretary P. Prabhakaran gave away the prizes at the valedictory function held at Technopark.

LDF accused of manipulating electoral process

Thiruvananthapuram: The BJP district committee and the District Congress Committee have accused the LDF of manipulating the electoral process to retain power in the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation Council.

A release quoting DCC president V.S. Sivakumar alleged widespread irregularities in the draft voters list for elections to the council.

He said the list violated the assurance that population would be the criterion for delimitation of wards. �The earlier understanding was that the number of voters in each ward will be between 8,000 and 10,000. But, the draft list shows a huge disparity in the number. Many of the voters on the list for the 2009 Assembly elections have been left out on the draft list.

Mr.Sivakumar alleged efforts to erase the natural boundaries of the Corporation wards and divide UDF majority areas. Most of the LDF- held wards had been left untouched, he observed.

Mr.Sivakumar said the list of polling stations had also led to complaints from the public. Many voters would have to travel kilometres to exercise their franchise, he said.

Call to deal firmly with ragging

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Legal Services Authority (KELSA) Executive Chairman C.N. Ramachandran Nair inaugurated the State-level anti-ragging campaign in professional colleges at the College of Engineering Thiruvananthapuram (CET) here on Saturday.

College managements should deal firmly and promptly with ragging incidents. The approach had been light so far, he said. There should be initiatives to generate awareness about the consequences of ragging, a criminal offence under the Prevention of Ragging Act, Mr. Nair said.

The presence of the police on campuses was undesirable and the government should extend all assistance to college managements. Students could approach KELSA for free legal aid in ragging cases, he said.

Education Minister M.A. Baby, who presided over the function, listed out the new initiatives that the State government had taken to prevent ragging. This included setting up of departmental committees. The focus was on making the campaign student-centric to ensure their welfare, mental development and academic progress, he said.

New Minister may get Ports portfolio

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) is most likely to give the Ports portfolio to the Kerala Congress P.C. Thomas-faction nominee to the Cabinet, V. Surendran Pillai, as it is having second thoughts on giving him charge of the Sports department at this juncture.

The party has taken into account the several major commitments that the department has undertaken, including preparations for integrating sports and physical education with the school curriculum and the massive infrastructure projects being undertaken for the 35th National Games at an estimated outlay of Rs.500 crore.

Sports and Youth Affairs Minister M. Vijayakumar, who also holds the Ports portfolio now, has done much work on both the fronts in close coordination with the Kerala State Sports Council. The general feeling among the sports administrators is that a change of guard at this juncture will not help matters. This feeling was communicated to the CPI(M) leadership by persons involved in either process.

Change in train services

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Southern Railway has announced change in train services on August 12, 15, 16, 18 and 19 in view of the commissioning of the double line between Coimbatore North and Irugur.

Some trains that originate or terminate at the Coimbatore railway station will run via Coimbatore-Podanur-Irugur instead of Coimbatore-Pilamedu-Irugur. These trains (with dates) are as follows: 2676 Coimbatore-Chennai Kovai Express (August 12), 2675 Chennai-Coimbatore Kovai Express, 2676 Coimbatore-Chennai Kovai Express, 2647 Coimbatore-Nizamuddin Kongu Express, 6610 Coimbatore-Nagercoil Express, 2672 Mettupalayam-Chennai Nilagiri Express and 2674 Coimbatore-Chennai Cheran Express (all on August 15), 2680 Coimbatore-Chennai Intercity Express, 2084 Coimbatore-Mayiladuthurai Jan Shatabdi Express, 1014 Coimbatore-Lokamanya Tilak Terminus Express, 2676 Coimbatore-Chennai Kovai Express, 6610 Coimbatore-Nagercoil Express, 2672 Mettupalayam-Chennai Nilagiri Express, 2674 Coimbatore-Chennai Cheran Express (all on August 16), and 2675 Chennai-Coimbatore Kovai Express, 2676 Coimbatore-Chennai Kovai Express (August 18).

Southern Railway said some of the trains passing through Coimbatore will run via Podanur-Irugur without touching Coimbatore. However, Railways have given a stoppage to these trains at Podanur, instead of Coimbatore junction.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Surprise harvest for paddy farmer

KOLLAM: A farmer at Umayanallur in the outskirts of Kollam city has harvested over 200 kg of paddy without sowing his field.

Talking to The Hindu, B. Sasindrababu said he was simply overwhelmed by the harvest on 60 cents of paddy fields in the Umayanallur wetlands. He said the field was cultivated last year with Uma variety paddy and harvested in January this year. He later decided to leave the field fallow as the January harvest was a loss. With the onset of the monsoon, Mr. Sasindrababu noticed a rich spout of paddy.

These sprouts were from paddy that was dropped down while collecting the sheaves during the last harvest season. Though these may sprout later, they never turn into a crop that can be harvested.

Efforts to save tusker on

KALPETTA: Efforts are on to save a wild tusker trapped in the marshes at Chettyalathur, an isolated settlement inside the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary since Wednesday night.

Forest personnel and settlers in the village on Friday used a crane to shift the animal as its hind legs were paralysed owing to concussion of the vertebral column.

The rescue team shifted the animal to an elevated ground near the marsh after a strenuous task lasting four hours.

�We are trying our best to save the animal and treatment was started by a team of forest veterinary surgeons and veterinary science experts from the veterinary colleges at Mannuthy and Pookode, K.V. Sreevalsan, wildlife warden of the sanctuary, told The Hindu over the phone

Tribal form 23 neighbourhood groups

KALPETTA: As many as 250 tribal families of Panamaram panchayat in the district constituted 23 neighbourhood groups under the district Kudumbasree Mission at a camp held for the purpose in Palukkunnu near Panamaram on Wednesday.

District Collector T. Bhaskaran inaugurated the programme and also disbursed a corpus fund of Rs.2500 for each neighborhood group during the function.

The camp was organised as a part of a sustainable development programme for tribal families in the district, being implemented by the Kudumbasree Mission in association with the Scheduled Tribes Development Department. It aimed at uplifting the marginalised sections of the society, missions district coordinator A. Noushad said.

Foundation comes to aid of accident victim

ALAPPUZHA: Rajeev, a 24-year-old man rendered immobile with loss of memory after an accident and who was allegedly turned away by the Alappuzha Medical College Hospital (AMCH), has been offered help by the Bahuleyan Charitable Foundation, founded by the philanthropic neurosurgeon K. Bahuleyan.

Foundation managing director Rajeev Mannali said the foundation had come to know about Mr. Rajeev from a news report that appeared in The Hindu on July 20.

The youngster, Col. Mannali said, has been admitted to the Indo-American Hospital Brain and Spine centre at Chemmanakari near Vaikom following the Bahuleyan Charitable Foundations decision to help Mr. Rajeev return to normal life.

Col. Mannali said the foundation would sponsor Mr. Rajeevs treatment since the youngster was an electrician hailing from a poor family. Mr. Rajeev, 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, after which he was shifted to the Kottayam Medical College Hospital, where he underwent a surgery on June 29. Though he survived a critical phase, he was unable to stand on his feet and has a severe loss of memory even 20 days after the surgery

Petroleum dealers defer stir

KOCHI: The All Kerala Federation of Petroleum Traders has postponed the move to withdraw the operation of tanker lorries from Saturday.

Federation secretary M. Radhakrishnan said the agitation was planned after Indian Oil had refused to continue the operation of the tanker lorries of the dealers from August 1.

The oil company agreed to keep the decision in abeyance for a month, he said.

Exhibition on �India in space\'

Kochi: Toc-H Institute of Science and Technology (TIST), in association with the Indian Space Research organisation (ISRO), is organising a three-day exhibition on �India in space on its campus at Arakkunnam from August 4.

The exhibition will be open to students of professional colleges, high schools and senior secondary schools between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the first two days. The general public can view the exhibition on the last day.

While there is no entry fee, colleges and schools should register with Toc-H for allocation of timeslots for their students. For details, call 2749600 or 2748388.

The master is still a student

KOCHI: He took to karate at age nine and six decades later, Zenpo Shimabukuros interest in the martial art has not gone down one bit.

The 67-year-old Japanese Master holds the worlds highest-ranking 10 {+t} {+h} Dan Red Belt but Shimabukuro says he is a student all the time.

�You keep learning forever, in fact, every time you teach, you keep learning new things, he said at a city hotel on Friday. He has come to Kochi to open The Budo Academy, a modern martial arts centre at Kakkanad.

There is a big campaign to include karate in the Olympics but Mr. Shimabukuro feels that such a move could kill the martial art. The Budo Academy will have special weekend hours for schoolchildren and evening sessions for working people

Cusat counselling for B.Tech. seats

KOCHI: The Cochin University of Science and Technology will conduct a counselling for the vacant seats in B.Tech. programmes on August 3 and 4.

An official release said that candidates figuring in the waiting list up to rank 12,000 can participate in the counselling to be held on August 3. Those figuring in the list above the rank 12,000 can attend the counselling to be held on August 4.

Candidates should reach the Kunjali Marakkar School of Marine Engineering on the Thrikkakara campus at 10 a.m.

They should bring the original certificates and the fee required for getting admission. Those who have got admission in other institutions should submit a certificate from the head of the institution along with the attested copies of the certificates.

More details about the counselling can be had from, Phone: 0484-2862255.

Houses for the poor inaugurated

KOCHI: Minister for Housing Benoy Viswom has said the Kerala State Housing Board will launch a residential complex for expatriate Malayalis in Kozhikode next month.

Delivering the inaugural address after launching Athani, the innovative housing scheme for the urban poor implemented by the housing board at Thrikkakkara on Friday, Mr. Viswom said the project would mark the revival of the housing board. Despite its various weaknesses the survival of the housing board was crucial since it catered to the housing needs of the poorest of the poor.

Order on lateral entry postings

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court ordered that the lateral entry appointments to the posts of assistants and section officers in the Secretariat would be subject to the result of a writ petition challenging the same.

Justice Antony Dominic passed the interim order on a writ petition filed by Abhilash and other candidates on the list prepared by the Public Service Commission (PSC) for appointment as Assistant/Auditors in the Secretariat. The petitioners said that executive orders were passed for appointments of last-grade employees such as peons as well as typists and confidential assistants to the posts of the Assistants. According to the petitioner, the PSC had not conducted any test for assessing the merit of the lateral entry candidates. The petitioners also pointed out that the lateral entry appointments were made without following the communal reservation principles provided in the Kerala State Subordinate Rules (KSSR).

Honour killings a cause for concern\'

KOCHI: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairman K.G. Balakrishnan has said the increasing incidents of �honour killings in the country is a cause for serious concern.

In an informal interaction with reporters here on Friday, Mr. Balakrishnan said what was coming out in the media was only the tip of the iceberg, as several young men and women were being murdered by their own people for marrying against the wishes of their families.

Asked if a new law was required to battle the crime, Mr. Balakrishnan said effective policing and better investigation were important. �The courts and the police need to be more sensitive to the issue, he said.

He did not think it wise to charge with murder the entire members of a village meeting that said �yes to an honour killing. Asked if the NHRC would have a role in combating honour killing, Mr. Balakrishanan said it was basically a law and order problem and that it was up to the police and courts to handle it.

Mr. Balakrishnan said that if the Right to Education Act was implemented well, the problem of child labour could be tackled to a large extent as children would be at school rather than at workplace.

Car used by teacher\'s assailants found

KOCHI: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the assault on T.J. Joseph, Malayalam teacher at Newman College, Thodupuzha, took into custody the car in which the assailants apparently fled after the incident.

A group of activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) chopped off the right palm of Mr. Joseph when he was returning from church on July 4. During the assault, one of the attackers suffered injuries when Mr. Josephs son tried to ward them off with a knife. The assaulters are believed to have shifted from the Omni van, in which they were travelling till the attack, to the Lancer, owned by Niyaz of Kalady, a PFI activist, after the assault. The injured person was taken to a nearby hospital in this car.

The car was parked at the residence of another person at Kunjunnikara, who was not involved in the crime, said a senior police official of the SIT. The police took the car into custody from Kunjunnikara on Thursday night.

96 students graduate from Co-operative Medical College

KOCHI: Minister for Co-operation, G. Sudhakaran, on Friday said that he would be requesting a grant for the professional educational institutes in the co-operative sector so that it would be able to check the commercialisation of professional education.

Speaking after inaugurating the graduation ceremony of the 2004 MBBS batch of the Co-operative Medical College (CMC) at Kalamassery, the Minister said the grant would also help the functioning of the college, which is running at a deficit.

Ninety-six medical graduates of the batch passed out on the day. The Minister also gave away medals to the top two students of the batch.

S.S. Chithra won the best outgoing student award besides the top medal for the first and the final years. Aishwarya P. got the top scoring medal for the second year and the second position in the first and final years of graduation.

Ticket sales for Vavu bali

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The sale of tickets for offering �bali at the Parasurama temple at Thiruvallam for Karkidaka Vavu on August 9 will begin at the temple from August 1. A Travancore Devaswom Board release said on Friday that deputy devaswom commissioners had been posted at Thiruvallam, Janardhana Swamy temple, Varkala, Sri Krishna temple, Thirumullavaram and Siva temple, Aluva for making arrangements for �bali offering.

Award winner honoured

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Divisional Railway Manager Rajiv Dutt Sharma has complimented K.J. Kapil Dev who has been selected for the Arjuna Award-2010.

Mr. Dev, who hails from Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram, was the captain of the Indian Volleyball team in the Doha Asian Games and has represented the country in many international competitions.

Mr. Dev, who is also the Indian Railways volleyball player, is working in the Commercial wing of the Railway Divisional Office, Thiruvananthapuram.

Government to blame for price rise: Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy has held the LDF government responsible for the rise in prices of all goods other than that of petroleum products.

Inaugurating a State conference of the INTUC-led All Kerala Tipper, Excavator Lorry Drivers, Operators and Workers Association here on Friday, he said the State government would have even increased the prices of petroleum products if it had the authority for it.

He charged the government with using the hike in prices of petroleum products to squeeze the people even though many States, including West Bengal, had forgone their share of the tax to provide relief to the people. The government had defied even the Polit Bureaus directives to give up its share of the tax.

State ready for inquiry, says Isaac

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Minister for Finance and Public Works T.M. Thomas Isaac said here on Friday that the government was willing to enquire into allegations regarding granting of permissions for lotteries and acceptance of tax for additional draws.

Replying to questions at a press conference, the Minister said that the State government had no right to disallow additional draws by authorised representatives of lotteries of other States. The government had letters from Sikkim government and court orders which confirmed that Megha distributors were authorised agents. However, since the Opposition had raised doubts, the government had sent a fax to the Sikkim government seeking clarification. The reply should come in a week.

An official who had failed to collect penalty on delayed payment of tax had been suspended from service, after the government detected the irregularity.

Allot seats for women, KSRTC told

Thiruvananthapuram: The Permanent Lok Adalat, a judicial forum constituted to settle disputes relating to public utility services, has ordered Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to ensure that seats are compulsorily set apart for women in its buses conducting stage carriage operations.

The forum, chaired by A. Dennison and comprising K.M.A. Latheef and D. Santosh Kumar as its members, ordered the KSRTC to reserve the front door of two-door buses for the exclusive use of women. It should be written on the buses that its front doors are exclusively for the use of women.

In the cases of buses with only a rear door, the conductor should ensure that the seats near the door are set apart for women.

Fake liquor blending unit busted

Thiruvananthapuram: The Excise Department on Friday busted an illegal liquor blending unit operating from a house in a middle class residential colony at Menemkulam near the Technopark campus here.

Excise enforcers confiscated 1,800 litres of contraband spirit, hundreds of empty Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) bottles, a bottling machine, fake labels of popular liquor products, scores of bottles of imported essences and permitted food colours to impart flavour and colour of brandy and rum to the otherwise bland molasses spirit.

They also seized forged security stickers carrying the copied signature of the Excise Commissioner and holograph emblems of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (KSBC).

Excise enforcers arrested Shibu, who was living in the house along with his family, and impounded two cars parked inside the garage. Excise Inspector T. Ani Kumar said Shibu and his associates bought spirit smuggled into the district from distilleries in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra and converted the stuff into fake IMFL products for sale in the districts coastal areas. They fabricated popular and cheap IMFL brands such as Old Port rum and Top Up brandy.

A ready reckoner for train passengers

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Despite the advent of technology, the railway commuters look forward to the release of the railway timetable in July as it is user-friendly, comprehensive, easy-to-read and has valuable information on the trains and the railway network. The timetable for the Southern Zone valid from July this year to June next has just hit the stands.

The Rameswaram bridge in the Southern Railway and Rajahmundry bridge in South Central Railway have occupied the cover page of the timetable. The Dudh Sagar in Goa that comes under the South Western Railway has been featured in the back cover with the message �Indian Railways Serving Customers with a Smile.

The zonal railways � South Central Railway, Southern Railway, South Western Railway and Konkan Railway � in the South have been clubbed together for making the timetable comprehensive.

Railway to run Onam specials from August 18

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Southern Railway will run special trains between Chennai Central, Tiruchirapalli, Mangalore Central and Mangalore Junction and various stations in the State from August 18 to 28 to clear the rush during the Onam season.

A press release said here on Wednesday that reservation of seats on these trains would start on Thursday.

Fish farming brings laurels to panchayat

LABBAKADA (Idukki dist): The success of its fish farming initiative has earned Kanchiyar grama panchayat in Idukki district this years award for the best Matsya club in the State.

Fish farming in ponds was launched in the reservoir areas at Kanchiyar, home to a large number of Mannan tribesmen, about a year-and-a- half ago. About 250 fish ponds have been formed in addition to a large number of private ponds where fish species are grown. There are 156 members in the Matsya Club and over 200 farmers in the fish farming sector. Many ponds also provide water source for agriculture purpose.

Explaining the features of the project, grama panchayat president Mathew George told The Hindu that the fish farming sector was developed after intensive implementation of the watershed programme. Ponds were provided to farmers under various schemes. They were also given seeds conducive to the topography and climatic conditions. Training classes were conducted regularly for the members of the club.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Coast Guard rescues Lankan fishing boat

: The Indian Coast Guard on Wednesday extended assistance to a Sri Lankan fishing boat that had gone adrift off Kanyakumari following engine failure three days ago.

The boat, currently being towed to Tuticorin for repairs and repatriation of its five-member crew, is likely to reach there on Thursday morning.

According to a Coast Guard release, its Maritime Rescue Sub Centre here received a message from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre at Colombo on Sunday night requesting assistance to a disabled fishing vessel, �Bambi (Rahul-I), which was drifting 115 nautical miles southwest of Kanyakumari. Although a Dornier aircraft was launched from Kochi for search operations on Monday, bad weather prevented sighting of the boat in distress.

Another Dornier sortie on Tuesday morning detected the boat about 88 nautical miles southwest of Kanyakumari. On the same day at noon, Coast Guards Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel (AOPV) Samar sailed out from Kochi to provide assistance to the vessel.

In a rendezvous with it on Wednesday morning, the Samar team found that the boats engine had failed due to fuel contamination. The Coast Guard also provided food and water to the starving crew.

Kodikunnil to move apex court

KOCHI: Congress leader Kodikunnil Suresh has said that he will approach the Supreme Court against Mondays Kerala High Court verdict declaring his election to the Lok Sabha from the Mavelikara constituency void.

At a press meet here after the High Court stayed the verdict for three weeks on Wednesday, Mr. Suresh said he would discuss with the Congress leadership before moving the apex court. Justice M. Sasidharan Nambiar had declared his election to the Lok Sabha void while allowing election petitions filed by his nearest rival, R.S. Anil of the Communist Party of India, and two other electors from the constituency.

The court had found that while a certificate issued by the Nedumangad tahsildar had mentioned his caste as Cheramar, the Kottarakara tahsildars certificate said he was a member of the Pulaya caste.

3,000 fishermen to benefit from welfare scheme

KOCHI: Over 3,000 fishermen of Kochi would benefit from a joint programme being implemented by the civic body and Matsyafed, the fishermen cooperative.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Kochi Corporation, Matsyafed and Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Programme (KSUDP) at Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday for the implementation of various welfare schemes, said Mercy Williams, Kochi Mayor. Four corporations of the State including Kochi have signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the agencies, she said.

Bomb scare in city

KOCHI: Tension prevailed in the city as there were bomb threats reported in the District Collectorate and both the railway stations in the city along with Aluva railway station. The threat proved to be a hoax after the police checked the spots.

An anonymous letter was received by T. Vikram, Superintendent of Police, Ernakulam Rural, a couple of days ago that bombs would go off at 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday at these spots. The letter was posted from Kalady.

A bomb squad and a dog squad reached the Collectorate premises at 7.45 a.m. The entire area was cordoned off and thoroughly checked. No explosive was found on the premises during the search.

During the office hours, the bomb squad restricted the entry to the office through one gate, while senior officials were allowed through a separate entry. This led to some crowd management issues, as only those who had identity cards were allowed into the office building initially. The police posting was withdrawn after office hours.

Mangrove theme park: order for status quo

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday ordered that status quo be maintained with respect to the closure of the mangrove theme park run by the Pappinisseri Eco Tourism Society in Kannur until further orders.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice P.N. Ravindran passed the interim order on a writ petition filed by Ansari Kannoth, Kannur district president of the Muslim Youth League.

The petition sought a directive to the society to pay compensation for the damage caused to the mangrove and the ecology due to the setting up of the theme park.

Though a prayer for a directive to the society to close down the park became infractuous, the petitioner pushed for the plea for compensation

National book festival begins today

Thiruvananthapuram: Rachana, the cultural wing of the Kerala Secretariat Employees Association, is organising a national book festival at the Central Stadium here from Thursday to August 4.

O.N.V. Kurup, poet, is scheduled to inaugurate the festival at a function on Friday evening. The inauguration will be followed by a �Kaviyarangu, including Ezhachery Ramachandran, D. Vinayachandran, Kureepuzha Sreekumar, Murugan Kattakada, Vinod Vaisakhi and Poovathur Chithrasenan.

Two killed in accidents

Thiruvananthapuram: Two pedestrians were run over by vehicles and killed on Wednesday. Sudarsanan, 55, of Kuzhimukku, Attingal, who was found run over by an unidentified vehicle at Poovanpara, near Attingal, was declared dead on arrival at Government Medical College Hospital here. Babu, 45, of Pullukadu was knocked down and killed by a car at Guru Nagar, Kulathoor, late on Wednesday night

Housing scheme for unskilled workers

Thiruvananthapuram: The State government has launched a scheme to provide housing to unskilled labourers who migrate to urban centres for work.

As part of the Innovative Housing Scheme, the Kerala State Housing Board has completed 16 flats for unskilled workers in Thiruvananthapuram district. It has started work on 24 more flats for them.

Inaugurating the scheme, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said the governments intention was to provide affordable and decent housing to labourers near urban centres where they could easily find work.

In the Thrikakkara suburb of Ernakulam district, the government had built 36 flats for construction labourers who commute to Kochi for work.

In Kottanellur on the outskirts of Thrissur district, the housing board was completing 24 flats for unskilled labourers.

Minister defends environmental activists

Thiruvananthapuram: Forest Minister Benoy Viswom has called for public condemnation of the trend to brand all environmental activists as anti-development campaigners.

He was delivering the inaugural address at a seminar on �Global warming and the survival of the planet, organised by the Swadesi Council, here on Wednesday.

Mr. Viswom said, �Only a true lover of nature can appreciate and espouse sustainable development. Such a person speaks the language of well being. Nature lovers shoulder the onerous task of preserving the earth for future generations.

He said Mahatma Gandhis swadesi ideals and vision should be the guiding light for mankind.

He termed Gandhiji the greatest environmental guru the world had ever seen

Government to look into lottery row: VS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthandnan said here on Wednesday that the government would look into the issue of lottery distributors siphoning off money from the State though bogus lotteries.

Noting that the allegations raised by the Opposition in this regard might not be correct, the Chief Minister said the government would examine whether the distributors could cheat the people because of inadequacy of steps taken by the State government or deficiencies of the Central law on lotteries

Artificial bund at Thiruvallam removed

Thiruvananthapuram: The Department of Coastal Shipping and Inland Navigation, on Wednesday, began demolition of an artificial bund at Moonnattumukku that had led to tension between people of the Poonthura fishing village on the one hand and those on the Edayar island and the mainland at Thiruvallam on the other.

The demolition work was taken up following a meeting convened by Minister for Water Resources N.K. Premachandran last week to settle the dispute that was threatening to spin out of control.

While the people on the island and the mainland were demanding the demolition of the temporary bund, those at Poonthura wanted it to be retained as an access route to the island. The structure made of packed earth was hindering the natural tidal flushing process and aggravating the pollution of the downstream stretches of the Karamana river. It was built by a contractor entrusted with the job of desilting the waters on the western side of the island.

PSC to revamp departmental exams

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The departmental examinations being conducted by the Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC) for State government employees are set for a thorough revamp.

The commission is getting ready to switch over to online application system from August 15 in the first phase and replace the conventional descriptive type examinations with the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) system. These steps are being taken to overcome the delay in holding examinations and to announce the results quickly.

Sources told The Hindu here that from submission of applications to issue of hall-tickets and announcement of results, all will be computerised in the first phase.

The commission initially planned to change over to the new mode after introducing e-payment for the employees. Considering the delay in providing ATM facility, it has been decided to launch the first phase immediately. A one-time registration facility being introduced as part of the online application system has been cited as a main advantage.

At the time of registration, each employee will get a permanent number. It can be used to appear for all departmental tests during their career. The present system mandates separate registration for each examination. Corrections can also be made in the applications till the time of issue of hall-tickets.

Airport fracas: court exempts accused from appearance

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Judicial Magistrate Rajaram Retnakumar Kamath, on Wednesday, permanently exempted two persons, including a Gulf-based businessman and a British national, from appearing personally for trial in the case relating to the drunken assault on a security official and other passengers at the international airport here on February 7, 2009.

The accused are Raman Pillai Raghu Adeekalathu, alias Madathil Raghu, 49, and his business partner, Ahmed Mohammed Al-Jalak, an Egyptian-born British national.

Palakkad-Pollachi new track by 2011

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The gauge conversion of the Palakkad-Pollachi stretch will be completed by 2011and electrification of the busy Shoranur-Mangalore railway section will be taken up after the ongoing doubling works in the section. A sum of Rs.320 crore had been sanctioned for the work, Divisional Railway Manager S.K. Raina said.

He was addressing the 142nd meeting of the Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC) of the Palakkad Division at the Railway Divisional Office at Palakkad on Wednesday.

Mr. Raina said an integrated security system had been sanctioned for the Kozhikode railway station at a cost of Rs.3.57 crore in addition to bomb detection and disposal squad. The system would also be introduced in Mangalore Central at a cost of Rs.3.49 crore.

Passenger lifts to connect the platforms, a new foot over- bridge with ramps and escalators were the new amenities that had been sanctioned for the Kozhikode station. Additional works that had been proposed include coach guidance system and concreting of tracks in the platform area.

In Kannur, the sanctioned works include the construction of a second entry and booking office, shifting of reservation system to a new building, paving of the parking area, improvement in circulating area and facelift of the station in general. The other works that had been proposed were introduction of passenger lifts and concreting of tracks in platform

All districts to have cancer detection facilities

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:The government is planning to create cancer detection and preliminary care facilities in all districts, Health Minister P. K. Sreemathy has said.

Replying to a submission by Manjalamkuzhi Ali (CPI-M) in the Assembly on Wednesday, the Minister said the facility would be created in at least one hospital in every district. A meeting of representatives from the Regional Cancer Centre and the Malabar Cancer Centre, held recently, had decided to give special training to health personnel in every district for the purpose, she said.

Lottery: Isaac refutes charges

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has accused the Congress and its allies of having come up with �totally flimsy and baseless allegations regarding the running of out-of-State lotteries in Kerala to cover up the support being extended to the lottery mafia by the Centre.

Dr. Isaac told a news conference here on Wednesday that none of the five allegations raised by the Opposition on Tuesday had any merit as the entire authority to control the lottery trade was vested with the Centre and there were repeated court verdicts tying the State governments hands.

Uproar in Assembly over lottery row

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:The lottery row triggered noisy scenes in the Assembly for the second day on Wednesday with the Opposition United Democratic Front engaging Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac in a heated debate and, at one point of time, barging into the well of the House taking umbrage at a remark of his about Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy.

The issue was raised by the Opposition leader, who wanted to know under what circumstances the Minister had announced outside the House about the conduct of a departmental inquiry into the acceptance of advance tax by the Assistant Commissioner, Commercial Taxes, Palakkad, in violation of the relevant norms.

The Minister, he alleged, had announced the inquiry after telling the House that there was no question of holding any inquiry into the Opposition charges. Dr. Isaac replied that he had only asked the Taxes Secretary to see if there was any violation of the relevant norms.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A novel experiment in filmmaking

KOCHI: Anyone with the right aptitude, motivation and also has a good camera and computer might be able to make a worthwhile movie for Rs 4 lakh, in this digital age.

They would have to shell out another Rs 14 lakh as payment to different stakeholder organisations in the industry.

The money required for marketing the movie would be in addition to this, said those at the helm of Theatre Lab Centre of Experimental Theatre Studies, Kochi, while addressing mediapersons here on Tuesday. Their maiden venture �Yathi, the pause in between, would be screened at the Maharajas College Auditorium here on Sunday. The function would also see a discussion on �the democratisation of cinema. The participants would include senior journalist and filmmaker Sasikumar and script writer John Paul.

Directed by Satheesh Mullackal, Yathi is a Malayalam feature film about Narens struggle to survive the recent global recession that shattered his dreams of making it big in the real estate sector.

Grace marks for home candidates

KOCHI: Job seekers applying for government posts in their home districts will now get an edge over their competitors from other districts. The government has agreed to a recommendation by the Kerala State Public Service Commission that home-district applicants, selected through the PSCs district-wise recruitment, should be given a grace mark of five in the selection tests. The government is expected to issue an order to this effect soon.

The step is expected to benefit home-district applicants and encourage them to stay on in their own districts. However, this will only apply to those posts for which recruitments are made by the PSC in each districts. The posts will include lower division clerk (LDC), last grade servant (peon), police constable, Excise guard, Forest guard, and schoolteachers up to high school level.

The PSC had made the recommendation more than five years back and it was only recently that the government decided to act on it. Applicants from northern districts as well as Idukki are likely to benefit since they are often outsmarted by applicants from the southern districts.

Some three years back, the PSC had made two other important recommendations, which are yet to be accepted by the government, the senior official said. This related to the educational qualifications of last grade servants and clerks. The PSC wanted that only non-graduates should be considered for the peons post and that the minimum qualification for clerk should be graduation.

More Thirukochi buses likely to be introduced

KOCHI: The KSRTC would reinforce its presence in the city and suburbs, taking note of the sound passenger patronage for the 50 Thirukochi series of buses that were introduced over a week ago.

The average daily collection of each Thirukochi bus is over Rs 4,000 as compared to the over Rs 3,000 a week ago. This is expected to increase further to at least Rs. 6,000 as more passengers attune their schedule in keeping with the bus timings. Many commuters who were so far dependant on private buses have begun opting for the RTC services since they are punctual, comfortable and safer to travel. Saturdays flash strike by private buses in the Thripunithura-Eroor route after passengers opposed the attempts by some workers to reduce the collection of a Thirukochi bus in the route, has further eroded the image of private buses.

The RTC is keeping all options open, including operating more Thirukochi services in routes where there is inadequate public transport. Ten more non-AC buses purchased under the JNNURM scheme would soon begin service in Kochi.

Reacting to opposition from some quarters for the RTC seeking permit to operate more buses in Kochi, the agencys zonal officer G. Jayaraj said that it can operate any number of services networking the city. There might be a cap on the number of city buses, but not on moffusil services, he said.

BSNL bill payment

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The General Manager of the Mobile Services of the BSNL, Kerala Circle, has asked the post-paid consumers to pay their bills for July by July 28 to avoid disconnection

Artificial limbs distributed

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Artificial limbs were distributed free of cost to select physically challenged persons in the grama panchayats within the district panchayat. District panchayat president Aanavoor Nagappan distributed the artificial limbs to 21 persons selected from the applicants for artificial limbs in the Zonal Limb Fitting Centre at Medical College Hospital.

Kinfra\'s rural apparel parks to come up soon

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra) is setting up a number of rural apparel parks in Kerala, one of which is coming up at Thiruvambadi in Kozhikode.

The foundation stone for the park will be laid on August 3. The other apparel parks will be set up at Ponnani in Malappuram, Rajakumari in Idukki, Payyannoor in Kannur and Ranni in Pathanamthitta. Each park offers comprehensive infrastructure and support services to the clients, according to a press release. The most fascinating feature of Kinfra is that it offers single window clearance facilities.

The Rural Apparel Parks programme, announced in the 2010-11 Budget, is aimed at giving a boost to the textiles sector

VS\' remarks not against any religion: Viswan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Coming to the defence of Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan whose remarks about the Popular Front of India (PFI) have kicked up a row in the State, Left Democratic Front (LDF) convener Vaikom Viswan has said the remarks were directed only at the PFI and its activities and not against Islam or Muslims.

�All that the Chief Minister did was to place the facts before the people and expose what the Popular Front has been doing. Why is the UDF getting worked up because of that, Mr. Viswan asked.

The LDF leader was replying to questions about the Chief Ministers remark at his media briefing after the LDF panel meeting here on Tuesday.

All political movements in the State should have rallied behind the Chief Minister instead of attacking him, Mr. Viswan said.

Land distributed to tribal families

Thiruvananthapuram: Minister for the Welfare of Scheduled and Backward Communities A.K. Balan said here on Tuesday that the government would take stern action against those who grabbed tribal land. He was addressing a function organised at Vithura to distribute land to tribals under the Forest Rights Act.

Mr. Balan said the government had distributed land to 12,500 tribal families in Kerala. Efforts were on to provide land to 10,000 more tribal families. The Minister announced that the survey of tribal land in Thiruvananthapuram had been completed.

He said all tribal families would be provided 12 kg. of rice free of cost for the Onam festival season

100 more doctors for health service

Thiruvananthapuram: The government will soon post another 100 doctors in the State Health service, Health Minister P. K. Sreemathy told the Assembly on Tuesday.

Replying to a submission by Anathalavattom Anandan (Communist Party of India-Marxist), Ms. Sreemathy said the Public Service Commission had forwarded the names of 100 candidates selected by it.

They would be given posting very soon. Ms. Sreemathy told T.N. Prathapan (Congress) that the government would soon issue a treatment protocol for government doctors, besides stipulating that they write both the generic and brand names of medicines in their prescriptions. It might not be easy to enforce this stipulation in the case of doctors in the private sector, but the government would make every effort to ensure that the drug companies did not fleece the people. Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran told Mankode Radhakrishnan (Communist Party of India) that a special cell would be established to look after farmers welfare as a follow up to the Swaminathan Commission recommendation for establishment of a department for farmers welfare in the State.

Law soon to protect investors: Isaac

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government proposes to enact a comprehensive law to protect investors in private investment and money lending institutions, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac told the Assembly on Tuesday.

Responding to a calling attention motion from V.K. Ibrahim Kunju (IUML), the Finance Minister said the government would also initiate steps to ensure that private micro-finance outfits do not dupe the public or become a threat to the Kudumbasree Mission.

The Commercial Taxes Department would conduct investigations into the functioning of money lending institutions to see if they functioned with licences and within the ambit of the law, Dr. Isaac said. The Finance Minister said there was some ambivalence as to whether it was for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) or the State government to monitor and control the activities of such movements.

The State government could initiate action against money lenders who functioned without licence. But in the case of micro-finance outfits, there was no such clarity.

Dr. Isaac said there was need for a political consensus on tackling the proliferation of micro-finance ventures in the private sector.

Women to head Corporations

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Election Commission has issued a notification reserving the top slots of three city Corporations and 30 municipalities for women.

Women will become Mayors of the Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kozhikode city Corporations after the coming elections to the local bodies. In Kochi and Thrissur, the Deputy Mayor post has been reserved for women.

The municipalities in which the chairperson post has been reserved for women are Attingal and Nedumangad in Thiruvananthapuram district; Punalur in Kollam district; Thiruvalla in Pathanamthitta district; Alappuzha, Chengannur, Cherthala and Kayamkulam in Alappuzha district; Changanassery and Vaikkom in Kottayam district; North Paravur in Ernakulam district; Iringalakuda, Kodungallur and Chavvakad in Thrissur district; Ottapalam in Palakkad district; Perintalmanna, Ponnani, Tirur and Kottakkal in Malappuram district; Koyilandi and Vatakara in Kozhikode district; Kannur, Koothuparamba, Payyannur, Taliparamba and Thalassery in Kannur district; and Kanhangad and Neeleswaram in Kasaragod district.

The chairperson post has been reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes in Paravur in Kollam district, Chittur-Thathamangalam in Palakkad district.

Elappully winner in DD reality show

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Palakkad has cornered the glory in Thiruvananthapuram Doordarshan Kendras �Green Kerala Express social reality show with Elappully and Akathethara grama panchayats in the district emerging top winners in the show.

In the grand finale of the social reality show here on Tuesday, Elappully with its interesting experiment in milk production and its interventions in the field of agriculture was adjudged the winner from among the grama panchayats. Elappully was awarded Rs.1 crore as the prize money.

Akathethara, which came second, took home a purse of Rs.50 lakh. The third prize of Rs.25 lakh was won by Adatt panchayath in neighbouring Thrissur district.

The award for the best municipality in the State was won by Ottappalam, also in Palakkad district.

The second place was cornered by Malappuram municipality. While Ottappalam got prize money of Rs.50 lakh, Malappuram took away Rs.25 lakh. The prizes were given away by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan at the final episode of the show, which was telecast live by Doordarshan.

The social reality show was mounted jointly by the Thiruvananthapuram Doordarshan Kendra and the Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT) for the Kerala State Suchitwa Mission. Altogether 152 panchayats took part in the reality show, which was held in three stages. Fifteen panchayats that entered the final round of the show were given Rs.10 lakh each.

VS urges people to join armed forces

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has exhorted more people to join the armed forces and more employed people to join the Territorial Army.

Speaking at a reception given by the government to the Kannur-based 122 Infantry Battalion (TA) Madras here on Monday, Mr. Achuthanandan said joining the armed forces was a matter of patriotism. It was not a mere job but self-dedication.

The Chief Minister lauded the battalion for being selected the best Territorial Army battalion in the country for the third year in a row. It won prizes for this years Republic Day and Army Day parades. It was the only Territorial Army unit deputed by the Union government to restore peace in Sri Lanka. The excellent service rendered by the unit in that country won all-round praise. It was doing excellent service on the Jammu and Kashmir border with Pakistan. The battalion had excelled in the area of sports too, he said.

Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan presided over the function.

Law Minister M. Vijayakumar, Devaswom Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran, Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy,

Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy, Mayor C. Jayan Babu and V. Sivankutty, MLA, were present at the function.

KSRTC driver sentenced to life

Thiruvananthapuram: First Additional Sessions Judge P. Somarajan on Tuesday sentenced a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) driver to life imprisonment for murder after the accused was found guilty of deliberately driving his bus over a physically challenged woman. The court also slapped a fine of Rs.50,000 on the accused, Balachandran of Mannanthala who was attached to the KSRTC Peroorkada bus depot.

The victim, Thankachi, 37, an employee of Government Ayurveda College, was killed in the incident that took place at 1.45 p.m. on April 25, 2006.

According to the prosecution, Thankachi alighted from the bus driven by Balachandran at Mukkola Junction. The woman was standing behind the bus to cross the road when the vehicle suddenly reversed, crushing the woman under the wheels.

The prosecution said Balachandran harboured a grudge against Thankachi. The prosecution examined 16 witnesses, including passengers who travelled on the same bus with Thankachi, and several local residents who witnessed the incident. It also presented 16 documents as incriminating evidence in the case.

One of the forensic findings in the case was that both the rear and front wheels of the bus had run over Thankachi when the vehicle suddenly reversed.

Prosecutors argued that the crucial forensic finding indicated that the incident was not an involuntary offence, as was the case in traffic accidents, but a deliberate and premeditated act on the part of the driver.

Physical Fitness Mission for State

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State government will soon set up a special purpose vehicle, Kerala Physical Fitness Mission (KPFM), to tackle the problem of poor physical fitness among the people of the State.

A high-level meeting, attended by Education Minister M.A. Baby and Sports Minister M. Vijayakumar, here on Tuesday discussed the formation of the mission and decided to go ahead with the proposal.

The discussion was based on a concept paper prepared by the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs in the wake of poor results returned by tests conducted among nearly 24 lakh students in 6,100 schools during last academic year under the ongoing Total Physical Fitness Programme.

It was also decided to appoint a core committee to study the proposals regarding the scope of the proposed mission, the programmes it should undertake and its funding pattern. The terms of reference would include a study of similar models adopted elsewhere in the world and assessment of the work being done by the hugely successful Kerala State Literacy Mission. The committee would be constituted by the government in the next few days after Mr. Baby and Mr. Vijayakumar consulted their Cabinet colleagues concerned

Kodiyeri: no complaint on �Taliban-model\' courts yet

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The police have so far not received any complaint on the functioning of �Taliban-model courts in Kerala, Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.

Replying to a submission by Aryadan Mohammed (Congress), Mr. Balakrishnan said the police was, however, keeping close tabs on the activities of organisations such as the Popular Front of India that were reported to have organised parallel courts called �Dar ul Khada in different parts of the State. The police had so far received such information only from media reports, he said.

When debtors heaved a sigh of relief

KOCHI: Shanthan was delighted as he walked out of the Ernakulam Town Hall where he had gone to present his case before the Fishermen Debt Relief Commission on Tuesday morning.

He was almost convinced that the commission would take a favourable decision on his plea to write off the remaining of the Rs. 1.25-lakh loan he had taken three years ago. The loan, along with the interest was to be repaid in 100 instalments. He could repay only Rs. 10,000 and that too towards interest before the option of getting the debt written off opened up before him.

But not everyone was as optimistic as Mr. Shanthan after their meeting with the commission. Radhakrishnan, hailing from Pattanam, had taken a loan of Rs. 1.50 lakh in 2007 from the Parur-Vadakekkara Service Cooperative Bank Limited for his daughters marriage. He claims that he had never defaulted on the instalments. �So, doesnt that make me eligible for a write off of whatever is remaining of my loan? he asked.

University of Kerala enters world of webcasting

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The University of Kerala took another step towards becoming a �fully wired community with the inauguration of its webcasting and videoconferencing facilities here on Tuesday.

The videoconferencing system will allow the Vice-Chancellor to interact live with academics and officials on the Karyavattom campus from his chamber at Palayam. A special room capable of seating up to 20 persons has been readied at the office of the credit and semester system at Karyavattom for this.

The videoconferencing facility was launched by Education Minister M.A. Baby, who addressed a group of professors and university staff at Karyavattom from the VCs chamber.

The facility was an indication that the mother university of Kerala was stepping into a technology-driven era, he said.

Cabinet berth for Surendran Pillai

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The wait is over for the Kerala Congress (P.C. Thomas) faction and its lone legislator V. Surendran Pillai. The State committee of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala has given the nod for his induction into the V.S. Achuthanandan Cabinet.

Forest Minister Benoy Viswom briefed the LDF panel about the proposal for notifying around 17,922 acres of government land in Idukki district as reserve forest in the light of resistance to the proposal from locals and farmers. According to Front sources, the Minister clarified that the proposed notification would not cause large-scale dislocation as was being made out. He also offered to personally clarify matters to the local LDF leadership. The panel, therefore, decided to defer the decision on the issue to its next meeting on August 12.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Green Health Festival from today

ALAPPUZHA: The Alappuzha municipality, in association with various science and healthcare institutions, is organising the Alappuzha Green Health Festival 2010 from Tuesday to July 31.

Addressing a press conference here, Municipal Chairman P.P. Chitharanjan said the health and environment knowledge event, to be held at the Alappuzha Town Hall, would aim at creating awareness on the significance of healthcare initiatives and environmental conservation apart from imparting practical knowledge on both topics to the general public through exhibitions and a series of seminars.

The State Health Department, State Suchithwa Mission, Kudumbasree and other units would have their stalls at the exhibition to showcase garbage disposal initiatives and success stories while a medical exhibition would be put up by the Alappuzha Medical College and the Cochin Cooperative Medical College.

British Council training for teachers

KOCHI: The British Council is making an effort to address the increasing demand for international, communicative English language teacher training qualifications in South India.

It will run its inaugural CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) programme for teachers from October 11 to November 5 at its recently opened teaching centre in Chennai. Teachers from Kerala who are interested to attend the programme can apply. More details about CELTA can be had from, or 044-42050600. e-mail: The deadline for applying for the course beginning on October 11 is September 19.

Work on Edapally railway overbridge to resume soon

KOCHI: The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has sanctioned a total of Rs 36 crores for the Edapally railway overbridge.

Construction activities on the bridge got stalled indefinitely after the contractor engaged by the PWD (NH wing) abandoned the work midway over two years ago. The sanctioning of Central funds would enable pending work on the bridge and the approach roads to be completed. The Railways had completed its portion of the bridge over the rail line many years ago. The bridge provides crucial connectivity at the ever-busy Edapally level-crossing along the NH 17.

The incomplete bridge had resulted in motorists in either direction being forced to wait for long till the narrow level crossing was opened to traffic.

The gate malfunctioning very often after vehicles rammed into it, made matters worse.

The two-lane bridge would have a 7.50-metre-wide carriageway, apart from a footpath on one side. Once the bridge is commissioned, the city could expand towards Cheranalloor.

Security strengthened at Mullaperiyar

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Security at the Mullapperiyar dam site has been strengthened to avert any possible attack by extremists or saboteurs, Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran told the Assembly on Monday.

Responding to a calling attention motion from Roshy Augustine (KC-M), the Water Resources Minister said the government had conducted a security audit of all the 33 dams under the Water Resources Department following an alert from the Centre and placed the Mullapperiyar dam in the �A category requiring the highest security cover. A police team with the necessary communication facilities was giving round-the-clock security cover to the dam and steps were being taken to prevent entry of miscreants into the dam site

CMP celebrating silver jubilee

Thiruvananthapuram: The Communist Marxist Party (CMP), a constituent of the United Democratic Front (UDF), is celebrating its silver jubilee from Tuesday.

The party was formed on July 27, 1986 in Thrissur by a motley group of leaders, led by M.V. Raghavan, who were expelled from the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) for touting an alternative line.

As far as the CMP is concerned, it has been a struggle for survival during the past 25 years, facing opposition from the CPI(M).

The party leadership owes a lot to veteran Congress leader K. Karunakaran who found Mr. Raghavan a good ally. The fledgling party was promptly given a place in the UDF and in the 1987 elections, Mr. Raghavan was given the ticket from Azheekode and won it with a slender lead.

Green Kerala Express\' grand finale today

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: �Green Kerala Express, a social reality show on local self-government institutions hosted by Doordarshan, Thiruvananthapuram, is headed for its grand finale on Tuesday.

The programme, in which 152 local self-government institutions participated in 102 episodes, would conclude with the live telecast of the final round and prize distribution

The panchayats and other local bodies were evaluated by an eminent jury headed by K.P. Kannan, professor, Centre for Development Studies (CDS). The other members include social and environmental activists R.V.G. Menon and M.K. Prasad, management expert G. Vijayaraghavan and Vinitha Menon, professor, anthropology, Kannur University. A celebrity jury, comprising actor Padmapriya, media expert Sasikumar and poet Sugathakumari was also present.

VS hurt religious sentiments: Hassan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Congress leader M.M. Hassan has charged Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) with trying to hurt religious sensibilities and create communal tension.

Mr. Hassan, who was flagging off a Neyyar Dam camp yatra organised by the Perunthanni Ward Congress Committee here on Monday, said the Chief Ministers Muslim-baiting was part of a political exercise he indulged in whenever elections were round the corner. He challenged Mr. Achuthanandan to ban sections which organised on communal lines and wrecked law and order in the State if he had the guts to do it.

He wanted to know if the Chief Minister was trying to extend to Kerala the open ties the CPI(M) had with the Bhartiya Janata Party, as seen in the organisation of the July 5 Bharat bandh and in Parliament.

V.S. Sivakumar, president of the District Congress Committee, who inaugurated the camp, said the government which did not implement any development project worth the name was trying to pass off Central projects as its own.

The government which destroyed development and law and order during its four years in office was spending crores of rupees to project itself as a good government.

He described such actions as a challenge to the people.

Ward delimitation: hearing on July 30, 31

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Delimitation Commission will hear complaints on the delimitation of wards in block panchayats on July 30 and 31. Hearing on the draft list of 136 wards will be held at the Grama Panchayat Association Hall at Vellayambalam here. The following is the schedule for hearing the complaints on July 30: Kasaragod (10 a.m.), Kannur (11 a.m.), Wayanad and Kozhikode (12 noon), Malappuram (2 p.m.), Palakkad (3.30 p.m.), and Thrissur (4 p.m.).

The following is the schedule on July 31:Ernakulam (10 a.m.), Idukki (11 a.m.), Kottayam (11.30 a.m.), Alappuzha (12 noon), Pathanamthitta (2 p.m.), Kollam (3 p.m.) and Thiruvananthapuram (4 p.m.). The commission will hear only those complaints filed earlier and will not accept fresh petitions, the secretary said in a release here on Monday.

LDF to discuss Kerala Congress faction\'s plea today

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State committee of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) will take up on Tuesday the demand of the Kerala Congress faction led by P.C. Thomas for a berth in the Cabinet.

The Kerala Congress faction has formally handed over a letter to Front convener Vaikom Viswan staking claim. The letter was handed over to Mr. Viswan by the factions general secretary George Sebastian here on Monday.

PFI works to destroy amity: VS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has said there are bad intentions behind the efforts in certain circles to portray the statement he had made in New Delhi on Saturday as one targeting the Muslim community.

Answering a submission from K. Babu of the Congress in the Assembly on Monday, Mr. Achuthanandan said his reference was about the seditious and secessionist activities of the organisation being known variously as National Development Front, Popular Front of India (PFI) and Social Democratic Party of India. He had spoken in New Delhi based on available information about the activities of this organisation.

�It is an organisation that works to destroy peace and communal amity in Kerala by inciting communal passions. It doesnt represent the Muslim community, he said.

Elaborating, Mr. Achuthanandan said the police had made several arrests in connection with the hand chopping incident at Muvattupuzha. Pamphlets and records recovered from the arrested persons unambiguously brought out the dangerous intentions of the organisation. From the recovered pamphlets and records, the Chief Minister read out exhortations to �reject and destroy the democratic system in the country.�

Steps to streamline supernumerary postings

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government will soon issue a comprehensive order streamlining creation, reporting and filling of supernumerary posts as a follow-up to the decision to unify the retirement age of State employees and teachers, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac told the Assembly on Monday.

Dr. Isaac said the normal annual intake into government service was around 18,000. Of these, 8,000 would be teachers whose retirement was in any case linked to the close of the academic year. Of the remaining 10,000 possible postings, 6,035 had been made last year. The government normally took up to two years to fill all vacancies arising during a given year. This could be due to various reasons, including the absence of relevant PSC rank-lists, delay in the conduct of departmental promotion committee meetings and so on, he said

Kamal Hassan invited for Onam week inaugural fete

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kamal Hassan, actor, is likely to be the chief guest at the State-level inauguration of the Onam week celebrations of Kerala Tourism at Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium here on August 22.

The State government has written to the actor inviting him for the inaugural event that will kick off the celebrations in the State capital, district headquarters and major tourist destinations across the State. Official sources said the actor was yet to confirm his participation.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan will inaugurate the government-sponsored festival.

His Cabinet colleagues and other dignitaries will participate in the function.

As in the previous editions, the stadium will be the hub of the celebrations where mega shows will be staged by Malayalam television channels and the print medium from August 22 to 28.

At other venues in the city, cultural programmes will be staged from August 23 to 27. The celebrations will come to an end with a pageantry from Kowdiar to East Fort on August 28 evening.

As it is the last edition of the celebrations during the present Left Democratic Front regime, the authorities are trying to make the event more colourful.

Not yet time to rest on our laurels: Paloli

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Local Self-Government Institutions (LSGIs) in Kerala might have made several gains and set examples in diverse fields, but it is not yet time for the State to rest on its laurels or forget that there is a lot of catching up to do, said Local Self-Government Minister Paloli Mohammed Kutty.

On the criticism that the accounts of even local self-government institutions that have performed admirably are in disarray, Mr. Mohammed Kutty says that it has been one of his departments persistent concern over the last four years. �I would say that we have been 80 per cent successful in our efforts. Out of 1,223 local bodies, only 8 have not finalised last years accounts, he points out and adds, �I am sure things will improve further in the days to come.�

At 20, Technopark chases bigger glories

Thiruvananthapuram: Technopark, the first and single-largest information technology (IT) park in India, is preparing to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its foundation.

With a built-up area of 4.5-million sq.ft, the campus today houses 180 IT and IT-enabled-services companies employing 28,000 professionals.

It was in July 1990 that the State government set up the Electronics Technology Park, Kerala as an embryonic society for Technopark. The autonomous society was established to create infrastructure and provide support required for the development of high-technology companies.

The foundation stone for the first building in Technopark was laid on March 31, 1991 by the then Kerala Chief Minister, E.K. Nayanar. K.P.P. Nambiar, industrialist, was Technoparks first chairman. The campus was dedicated to the nation by the then Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, in November 1995.

�Technopark has helped Kerala capitalise on its advantages and transform itself into an IT powerhouse through focussed initiatives in IT infrastructure development, HR [human resources] development and citizen e-enablement. Kerala is one of the few States that bucked the global trend and registered a phenomenal growth in IT. In the recent past, many international IT brands have moved to Technopark Thiruvananthapuram for the excellent infrastructure, 24x7 power and data connectivity.

Congress candidate\'s election declared void by High Court

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday declared void the election of Congress candidate Kodikkunnil Suresh from the Maveklikara Lok Sabha constituency.

Justice M. Sasidharan Nambiar declared the election void while allowing election petitions filed by defeated Communist Party of India candidate R.S. Anil and two other electors from the constituency. Mr. Suresh won the reserved seat by defeating his nearest rival by a margin of 48,048 votes. The court set aside the election as it found that Mr. Suresh did not belong to the Scheduled Castes.

The court found that while the certificate issued by the Nedumangad tahsildar had mentioned his caste as Cheramar, the Kottarakara tahsildars certificate said that he was a member of the Pulaya caste. The court observed that the Returning Officer should not have accepted the nomination of Mr. Suresh in the light of the contradictory caste certificates.

The court found that he had not been accepted into both these Scheduled Castes.