Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Children, parents take out march for primary school

KANNUR: School students, parents and the people of Kalanki, a remote village in the hill area of the district, staged a march to the Collectorate on Wednesday demanding that a government primary school be started in the village.

Action committee leaders who organised the protest said the long-standing demand of the local people for setting up a government school in the village, about 70 km from here, was yet to materialise despite a resolution passed by the Ulikkal panchayat and the purchase of 50 cents jointly by the local people and the panchayat.

An unrecognised school had been started under the initiative of the parish church there in 1996 in view of difficulties of students going to a nearby school at Mattara, seven km from the village, they said adding that the school had later been included under the alternative school scheme of the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA).

Vigilance finds Rs.4.8 lakh unaccounted amount with VEO

ALAPPUZHA: A village extension officer (VEO) was allegedly found to be in possession of an unaccounted sum of Rs.4.8 lakh during a Vigilance raid at Pallipad, near Haripad, here on Wednesday.

Vigilance officials, following complaints that P. Rajan, VEO of Pallipad, was engaged in large-scale corrupt deals in connection with the EMS Housing Scheme, conducted the raid from 11 a.m. at the office and found that the official had Rs.4,80,930 in his possession. Since the official could not explain the source of the money, a case has been registered against him and further legal proceedings will be initiated from Thursday.

The Vigilance officials, led by Alappuzha Vigilance Deputy Superintendent of Police James Joseph, said they had attempted to raid Mr. Rajans office on several occasions following different complaints, but the office remained closed on most occasions. While, Rs.4.75 lakh was found from a bag he was carrying, Rs.5,000 was in his pocket and the rest, on his table. Mr. Rajan has been asked to appear before the DYSPs office at Alappuzha on Thursday for further interrogation, after which the proceedings recommending departmental action will be initiated, officials said.

Cyber Cell cracks lottery fraud

KOCHI: Timely intervention by the Cyber Cell of the City Police helped the victim of online lottery fraud to recover the money cheated out of her. Jyothi of Kumbalanghi, got a message on her mobile on August 4, saying that she was one of the seven winners from India for Rs.3 crore by London-based BBC-1.

Work on new bridge begins

KOCHI: The construction of the new bridge at Karanakodam on Thamannam-Pullepady road stretch began on Wednesday. Kochi Mayor Mercy Williams inaugurated the work.

The Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry is constructing the bridge for Kochi Corporation. The chamber will be allowed to display advertisement panels on the bridge in lieu of the money it spends for constructing the bridge. The work will be supervised by the officials of the Kochi Corporation.

The authorities had earlier promised to complete the construction of the bridge within 100 days. Earlier, the Kochi Corporation and the chamber authorities had signed a memorandum of understanding for the implementation of the work. The chamber had earlier constructed a bridge for the Greater Cochin Development Authority

Steps to check price rise will continue, says Minister

KOCHI: Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran said on Wednesday that steps are being taken to ensure adequate supply of essential commodities during the ongoing festival season. He was inaugurating the Onam Metro Peoples bazaar, a special outlet of the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited, here on Wednesday.

The Minister said the timely intervention of State government agencies and the strengthening of public distribution system were major steps for controlling the prices in the market. The measures would continue even after the festival season. The State government had submitted a project worth over Rs.330 crore for distribution of essential commodities and the Union government had given approval to it.

He said initiatives to weed out corruption in the public distribution system needed support from all parties. The State government was open to discussions on ways to control price rise.

The LDF government allowed a discussion when the issue came up in the Assembly, he said.

Mammon is the villain, says Srinivasan

KOCHI: Greed for money among film stars and lack of producers with creativity seem to be driving Malayalam cinema backwards, Srinivasan, actor, has said.

At a press conference after a preview of his latest movie, Atmakatha (slated for release on August 20), at the Ernakulam Press Club on Wednesday, the actor said the stars whose eight films bombed at the box office in a row thought that their ninth or tenth movie would click. If the ninth or tenth make it at the box office, they continued to retain their stardom, everyone easily forgetting the failure of the eight.

Recalling that the Malayalam film industry had renowned producers such as T. E. Vasudevan, M. O. Joseph, and Hari Pothan who had the courage to make movies that did not take the beaten path, Mr. Srinivasan said there were fewer such producers these days.

He said there was no point competing with �masala movies made in Tamil and Telugu. Malayalam films had earned repute not for big budgets but for aesthetic values.

Mr. Srinivasan denied allegations made by Thilakan, actor, that there was a ban on him. Asked if he feared that the industry would ban him for speaking the truth, he said the associations in the industry would not support him in times of a crisis if he spoke against them. But he continued expressing his views on various issues

High Court directive to hand over case diary

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday directed the State government and the police to hand over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in two days the case diary relating to the custodial death of Sampath, prime accused in the murder of Sheela of Puthur in Palakkad.

Justice V.Ramkumar issued the directive while disposing of a petition filed by the CBI seeking a directive to the police to hand over the case diary.

The CBI said the files were yet to be given to the CBI though a Division Bench dismissed an appeal filed by the State government against the single judges directive for a CBI probe on June 11. The investigation could be started only if the CBI received those files, the CBI said.

The government submitted that the police were not able to hand over the files, as the files were submitted to the Supreme Court in connection with the appeal filed against the High Court order. The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the appeal filed by the government.

In its appeal, the government had said the State polices impartial investigation had revealed that Sampath had died of torture and third-degree methods inflicted on him in custody by a police team . Twelve policemen had been suspended. When the investigation was going on in the right direction, the High Court had ordered a CBI investigation

Appointment of SIC: hearing adjourned

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday adjourned to August 16 the hearing on a writ petition challenging the appointment of Sony Thengamam as State Information Commissioner (SIC).

When the petition filed by D.B. Binu, High Court lawyer and general secretary of the RTI Kerala Federation, came up for hearing, Justice S. Siri Jagan asked the Government Pleader to make an argument on the question whether the Governor could be made a respondent in the petition on the next date of hearing.

The petitioner pointed out that Mr. Sony was the assistant secretary of the Kollam district committee of the Communist Party of India (CPI). He had been involved in activities of the CPI in various capacities for long.

The petitioner said the Right to Information Act disqualified MPs or MLAs or a person who holds any other office of profit or connected with any political party or engaged in any business or any profession from being appointed as State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner.

Mr. Sony, being a political worker, could not have been considered for appointment to the post of State Information Commissioner. Besides, he did not have the qualification as prescribed by the Act. As per Section 15(5) of the Act, a person of eminence in public life with knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and government should alone be appointed as State Chief Commissioner or State Information Commissioners.

Onus on State authority: Centre

Kochi: The Centre on Wednesday informed the Kerala High Court that it was for the State Coastal Zone Management Authority to take further action against the mangrove theme park run by the Pappinissery Eco-Tourism Society in Kannur.

The Assistant Solicitor-General made the submission on behalf of the Centre when a petition filed by Ansari Kannoth of Kannur came up for hearing before a Bench comprising Chief Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice P.N. Ravindran.

The Assistant Solicitor-General submitted that the State Coastal Zone Authority had been empowered to implement the provisions of the Coastal Zone Regulation Zone notification. The Centre had earlier directed the society to stop the functioning of the park in view of the violation of the CRZ norms.

Policeman held on charges of forgery

KOCHI: An Assistant Sub-Inspector, attached to the City Control Room and now under suspension, was arrested for producing forged documents before the court to release a vehicle involved in a case. K.V. Gopinathan, ASI, his wife Rajasri and stamp vendor K. Ravikumar, 57, of Cherthala, were arrested for forging a document that was presented before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) court.

The case relates to unauthorised parking of a car inside police quarters at Thevara on May 1 by Abdul Barry, a police constable who was dismissed from the force on grounds of indiscipline. The car, bearing registration number KL-39 6046, obstructed the movement of pedestrians and other vehicles in the premises. Following this, V.G. Raveendranath, Circle Inspector, Ernakulam Town South and quarters station officer, asked Barry to move the vehicle

Exhibition of village products from today

KOCHI: Minister for Health and Social Welfare P.K. Sreemathy will inaugurate �Cochin Saras, a national level exhibition-cum-sales of products manufactured by self-help groups and village industries from across the country at the Ernakulathappan ground on Thursday at 5 p.m.

Dominic Presentation, MLA, will preside. Mayor Mercy Williams will be the chief guest. P. Rajeev, MP, will make the first sale. District Panchayat President P.S. Shyla and District Collector M. Beena will be among those present.

Endowment lecture at CESS tomorrow

Thiruvananthapuram: Noted theoretical physicist and cosmologist Thanu Padmanabhan will deliver the ninth Prof. C. Karunakaran endowment lecture at the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS) here on August 13.

The title of the talk would be �Our changing view of the cosmos.

A recipient of the Padma Shri award in 2007, Prof. Padmanabhans research spans a wide variety of topics in gravitation, structure formation in the universe and quantum gravity.

Prof. C. Karunakaran was the Director General of the Geological Survey of India and founder-director of CESS.

He led the first joint scientific expedition to the great Nicobar island in 1965, an endeavour that gained world attention

Raid on shops, hotels

Thiruvananthapuram: A joint team of officials from the Civil Supplies, Legal Metrology, Health and Revenue departments and the police carried out raids on shops, hotels and ration depots across the city on Wednesday.

The operation was part of a drive launched by the monitoring cell headed by the District Collector to check irregularities by traders during the Onam festival season.

In the raids at Sreevaraham, Pettah, Pattom and Marappalam, the squad initiated action against three provision stores and five vegetable traders

Scheme to protect mangroves inaugurated

Thiruvananthapuram: Forest Minister Benoy Viswom said here on Wednesday that society had begun to acknowledge the key role played by mangrove forests in stabilising the earths ecosystem. He was addressing a function organised at the All Saints College here to inaugurate a financial assistance scheme launched by the Forest Department to protect mangroves.

The Minister said the 700 sq. km. of mangrove forests in Kerala had diminished over the years. �Mangroves have proved to be natural barrier against huge tsunami waves. They are also known to provide a breeding ground for fish. Protection of mangroves will provide a lasting solution to many environmental problems, he said.

Under the funding scheme taken up as part of the International Year of Biodiversity, owners of land with mangrove forests are eligible for assistance up to Rs.4,000 a year. They will get Rs.10 to plant a mangrove sapling and an additional Rs.2 after one year.

Workshop on technology, media

Thiruvananthapuram: The Alumni Association of the Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Kerala, is organising a three-day media workshop on �Technology logs on to media space from September 13 at the Animation Centre, Vellayambalam. A press note issued by the association said here on Wednesday that the workshop was aimed at those intending to pursue a career in new media.


It would be addressed by prominent mediapersons.

Graduates and those pursuing graduate studies are directed to prepare an article, not extending 500 words on the �Significance of social networking in the modern world.

The article is to be sent to M. Vijayakumar, Professor, Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Kerala, Karyavattom, Thiruvananthapuram � 695581. It may be e- mailed to

MCC to get stem cell therapy unit

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Health Minister P. K. Sreemathy has said that a bone marrow transplant unit and stem cell therapy unit will be set up for treatment of blood cancers at the Malabar Cancer Centre (MCC), Thalassery, with technical assistance from the Adult Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation unit of Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukie, USA.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, the Minister said that bone marrow transplantation was the most modern treatment for leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. This treatment was already available at the Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. However, there were problems in obtaining suitable bone marrow.

Stem cell transplantation, which was a more advanced and effective treatment, would help to solve the problems.

Bonus for PSU employees

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The 7,056 employees of nine State public sector undertakings will get a bonus of Rs.11.31 crore this time. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting held here on Wednesday under the leadership of Industries Minister Elamaram Karim and Labour Minister P.K. Gurudasan. Labour Commissioner C.S. Reghu and the Additional Chief Secretary T. Balakrishnan, who is in charge of Industries, were among those who took part in the meeting.

The undertakings are KMML, Malabar Cements Ltd., TELK, TTP, United Electrical Industries, Steel and Industrial Forgings, Traco Cable Company, Kerala Electrical and Allied Engineering Company and TCC.

Farm awards announced

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kodannur Kole Farming Cooperative Society at Cherpu in Thrissur has won the State award for the best farming society in 2008-09. The Nelkathir Award carries Rs. 2 lakh, citation and gold medal.

The Karshakothama Award for farmers doing arable farming, animal husbandry and dairying along with fish farming went to M. M. Looka of Chungathara village in Malappuram district. P. M. Mathew of Agali village in Palakkad was chosen as the best coconut farmer. T.V. Rajnarayanan of Thiruvilluamala in Thrissur district won the award for young farmer and Britishiya of Chirayinkizhu in Thiruvananthapuram district won the award for young woman for farming.

Each of the awards carries Rs. 1 lakh, gold medal, plaque and certificate. The other winners of the State awards, carrying cash prizes of varying amounts, for the year are the following: Karshaka Jyothi (for best farmer belonging to SC and ST): Ponnan, Chittoor, Palakkad.

Shrama Sakthi (for best agriculture worker): V. Vijayakumari, Chungathara, Malappuram. Karshaka Mitra (for best agriculture officer): E. Ajimol, Vengad Krishi Bhavan, Kannur.

State not utilising funds, says Joshi

Thiruvananthapuram: Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj C.P. Joshi has accused the State government of underutilising the 100 per cent grants available for various components under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

Inaugurating a one-day workshop on �Panchayats and 15 years of decentralised development, organised by the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Development Studies, a research body of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee here, Dr. Joshi said the Centre was providing 100 and 40 per cent of the funds to State governments for the labour and materials components under the MGNREGS. However, Kerala has utilised only 85 per cent of the funds for labour and 15 per cent for materials. �This means that the Kerala government has been making no contributions of its own to the prestigious programme, he said.

British universities may prefer academic tie-up\'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Universities in the U.K. may prefer to establish academic collaborations with their Indian counterparts before considering setting up of campuses in the country, Deputy High Commissioner at the British Deputy High Commission, Chennai, Mike Nithavrianakis said.

He was talking to The Hindu at the office of the Kerala Council of Historical Research (KCHR) here on Wednesday. Mr. Nithavrianakis, who is in Kerala on a private visit, held discussions with P.J. Cherian, director of the KCHR, on the Councils initiatives, including the archaeological excavations at Pattanam.

As a result of such collaborative ventures, students from Britain may do part of their undergraduate or postgraduate study in educational institutions in India. Also, institutions in both countries may start offering �shared doctoral degrees, he said. For such initiatives, the universities need not wait for the passing of the foreign educational service providers bill, he pointed out.

The British Minister for Universities is scheduled to visit India in November with a delegation of Vice-Chancellors. The delegation is likely to visit institutions of interest. If academic institutions in both countries express willingness to institute collaborative ventures, the British government would only be glad to facilitate the same.

Stay unfair: Ministers

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac and Industries Minister Elamaram Karim have questioned the fairness of a High Court stay on the use of excess funds lying with the Malabar Cements for investment in other public sector units.

�The honourable single judge issued the stay on Tuesday [following a petition for the general secretary of an unrecognised union] without giving an opportunity for the government to be heard, they said at a press conference here on Wednesday.

The Ministers said Malabar Cements was a State public sector company. The government had taken a decision to use the substantial excess funds lying with some of its profit-making companies not only as investment by way of equity in other public sector ventures, but also for providing loans to other promising public sector units, thereby optimising the utility resources.

This decision, announced in the State budget, was part of the measures the government had been adopting for making the public sector dynamic and vibrant. The board of directors of each company had the legal powers to decide how best to utilise the companys resources and how best to develop the manufacturing and business processes by synergising operations with other units.

They said the stay order was tantamount to the court intervening in the decision-making powers of the government.

ABVP march turns violent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Nine activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) sustained injuries in police action after a march taken out by the ABVP to the Secretariat on Wednesday turned violent. The agitators were demanding a ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI) and the arrest of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Abdul Nasir Maudany.

Violence erupted at around 12 noon when a section of demonstrators hurled stones at the police force stationed at the main gate of the Secretariat. They tried to break the police barricade. The police trained the water cannon on the protesters and lobbed teargas shells to disperse them. They later cane-charged the agitators.

A tense situation prevailed on the arterial road for over 15 minutes as the police and the Home Guards attempted to forcibly arrest the injured activists and shift them to the station.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders later intervened to shift the injured from the A.R camp to the General Hospital. At the General Hospital also, the police and BJP, ABVP activists entered into an altercation over delay in providing medical aid to the injured and alleged inhuman treatment by the police. Later, the injured were shifted to the Medical College Hospital.

Five policemen sustained minor injuries in the incident, the police said. The Cantonment police have registered a case against 14 ABVP activists. Six of the arrested have been remanded.

Activists of the ABVP and the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha took out a march to the Secretariat in the evening in protest against the alleged high-handedness of the police and denial of medical aid to the injured.

Phase I of housing project launched

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Wednesday inaugurated the first set of flats constructed at Karimadom Colony under the first phase of the Union government-assisted Basic Services to Urban Poor Project (BSUP) of the city Corporation.

Law and Public Works Minister M. Vijayakumar; MLA V. Sivankutty; Mayor C. Jayan Babu; and Deputy Mayor V. Jayaprakash; were present at the function to hand over the keys.

In the first phase, works costing Rs 2.36 crores have been completed by the project implementing agency, Centre for Science and Technology for Rural Development (Costford). This includes construction of 80 flats in four blocks, a market and an anganwadi.

�The beneficiary families have already been identified and finalised by the Corporation. Handing over the ownership certificates and other formalities will be completed after a decision on the specific flats and floors to be allotted to the families is taken, said Corporation Welfare standing committee chairman S.A. Sundar. Each block has four storeys with eight units on the ground floor, six on the first floor, four on the second floor and two on the third floor.

The Rs.16-crore BSUP slum modernisation project at Karimadom Colony includes the construction of 560 flats in 28 blocks spread across an area of 9.73 acres. The project also includes construction of community halls, study centres, markets, kiosks, biogas plant, public taps and walkways

Ashram set for Parnasala dedication

Thiruvananthapuram: The Santhigiri Ashram at Pothencode, near here, is geared up for the dedication of the Parnasala, a 91-foot lotus-shaped structure in pristine white marble.

On Friday, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil is scheduled to dedicate the Parnasala, which is the final resting place of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru, the founder of the Ashram.

The President will also formally inaugurate the month-long celebrations to be held at the Ashram in connection with the Parnasala dedication.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Swami Janananma Jnanatapaswi, Swami Jyotiroopa Jnanatapaswi, assistant general manager of the ashram G. Jayakumar and Resident Editor, Communications, T. Sasimohan said the President would reach the ashram at 10 a.m.

She would be received by the representatives of the Ashram led by the �sanyasi sangh.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bail terms relaxed

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday relaxed the bail conditions of Soofiya Maudany, an accused in the Kalamassery bus burning case and the wife of PDP leader Abdul Nasir Maudany, till September 13. Justice V. Ramkumar passed the order on a petition filed by Ms. Maudany. She sought the relaxation in view of Ramzan.

New camera launched

KOCHI: Digital imaging company Canon India has launched IXUS 300HS digital camera in the country with a formal launch here recently, capitalising on the Onam festival spirit.

Launching the product, Alok Bharadwaj, senior vice-president, Canon India, said the company recorded an impressive growth of 55 per cent during the first half of the year clocking a sales of Rs.1,200 crore, up from Rs.840 crore during 2009.

Musical worship concert

KOCHI: A musical worship concert would be held on Sunday evening at the Pastoral Orientation Centre, Palarivattom.

Organised by Missions India, the theme is �None is beyond the love of God. �The aim is to pray unitedly for peace and unity of India. A noteworthy fact is that people from different Christian denominations will come together to sing songs of praise at the programme, said George Cherian, general secretary of the Mission.

For details, call 94473 20350 or 94471 34369.

Protection ordered for windmills i

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday ordered police protection for a week to Asian Star Company for operating its windmills at Attappady in Palakkad.

The Bench of Justices K.M. Joseph and M.L. Joseph Francis passed the order on a petition filed by the company seeking police protection for its operation. The company alleged that members of the Attappadt Samrakshana Samithi were obstructing its operations.

The Bench made it clear that the order would not be a bar on the samithi continuing its strike through lawful means. The Bench said the order would not stand in the way of any statutory authority conducting an inquiry under any law in force.

Award presented to Leelavathi

KOCHI: M. Leelavathi, noted critic, received the Samastha Kerala Sahithya Parishad award here on Tuesday.

M. Achuthan, president of the Sahithya Parishad, presented the award to Dr. Leelavathi. It consisted of a purse of Rs. 25,000 and plaque.

Speaking on the occasion, K.G. Sankara Pillai, renowned poet, said that there is a hidden enlightenment in Dr. Leelavathis works. She has been able to travel deep in to the core essence of various literary works in Malayalam literature, he said.

Explaining that Dr. Leelvathis literary career has spread like a thick forest into the minds of the readers, Dr. Pillai said that it has also left an indelible mark in their hearts thanks to her deep understanding of various subjects and the ability to unravel it before the readers effectively. S. K. Vasanthan, noted writer, said that Dr. Leelavathi has been successful in bringing in refined and innovative ideas and themes through her criticism of various works. Denying allegations that Dr. Leelavathi has been supporting only the elite Hindu writers, he said that those propagating such views had a narrow view about Dr. Leelavathi and her works

First smoke-free tourist destination

KOCHI: An action plan has been drawn up to make Ernakulam district the first smoke-free tourist destination in the country.

The plan was drawn up at a district-level workshop for effective implementation of the National Tobacco Control Act on Tuesday.

The campaign will be undertaken jointly by the district administration, district medical office and the Kerala Voluntary Health Services .

The plan proposes to make all public places in the district smoke-free by next June with the cooperation of the district administration. A year-long programme has been charted out in this connection.

Climate change will affect all: Minister

KOCHI: �The rising temperature of the Earth is seeking to say something about the arrogance of man that has become the biggest challenge of the future of the Earth. The Earth is changing and has stopped enduring all, said Benoy Viswom, the Minister for Forests on the challenges of climate change and the depletion of biodiversity.

Inaugurating a three-day conference of the first Kerala Womens Science Congress 2010, organised by Shakti and St. Teresas College with a focal theme on Women and Biodiversity, Mr. Viswom said that money and profiteering has given a new meaning for development that is tearing apart the biodiversity.

Development should not be held back, but it should be for the masses with an eye on the future, he added. All the foundations that man has created on this Earth are now crumbling, he said, adding that the future of man on this Earth is rather unsafe.

The concept of development needs to be changed and he hoped that it would become a debating point at the Womens Science Congress

K. Mohandas, Vice-Chancellor, Kerala University of Health and Allied Sciences and Jancy James, Vice-Chancellor, Central University, Kerala, were the guests of honour on the occasion. Dr Mohandas released the Book of Abstracts of the Science Congress while Dr. James released the logo for the Congress.

High Court stays transfer of MCL funds

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday stayed the proceedings initiated by the government to transfer funds of Malabar Cements Limited (MCL) by way of loans and equity to seven public sector undertakings (PSUs)

Justice S. Siri Jagan passed the interim order on a writ petition filed by Sulthan Mohammed, general secretary, Malabar Cements Employees Association.

According to the petitioner, the Palakkad unit of the company had been making profits because of the sustained and dedicated work of its employees. The employees were shocked to hear that steps were on to transfer Rs.48 crore to various public sector undertakings. In response to an application under the Right to Information Act, the Public Information Officer of the company informed the association that the government had approved the transfer of funds to public sector undertakings such as Kerala Mineral Development Corporation, Kerala State Textile Corporation, Traco Cables, Kerala State Industrial Enterprises Limited , United Electrical Industries Limited, Kerala Small Industries Development Corporation and Kerala State Electronic Development Corporation.

Allotment schedule of MG University revised

KOCHI: Mahatma Gandhi University has revised the schedule for its Centralised Allotment Process (CAP) for admission to the postgraduate courses and the first allotment will be held on August 30.

The university had earlier scheduled the first allotment on August 16. According to the new schedule, a trial allotment will be held on August 21. Students can re-arrange/add/delete their options from August 26 to 29 (up to 10 a.m.). The second allotment is on September 4. Classes will begin on September 13.

The last date for issue and submission of application form both online and hard copy with all necessary supporting documents is August 13. The university will publish accepted data and provisional index marks on August 19. Rectification of complaints will be held on August 19 and 20.

Senior university officials said that the trial allotment will give an idea about the chances of getting allotment to a course and college based on the options registered and the rank of the candidate. The trial allotment does not guarantee that the candidate will get allotment in a college or course. The first allotment list will be published on the website after the trial allotment and the period earmarked for revising options.

The allotment list will show the personal details, the college and the course to which the candidate is allotted to and the fee to be remitted. A provisional allotment memo will be displayed on the website and the candidate should take a printout of the same to be produced in the bank for remitting the required fee. Candidates who remit the fee as per the first allotment within the prescribed time limit will have the facility to cancel or re-arrange their higher options before the second allotment during a specified period.

Attakalari to perform in Kochi

KOCHI: Artistes of the Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts would perform excerpts from its productions at the David Hall, Fort Kochi, on September 4 and at the Fine Arts Hall in the city the next day, the centres artistic director Jayachandran Palazhy said at a press conference here on Tuesday.

The Attakkalari Centre is committed to contemporary dance and inter-disciplinary performance work. An umbrella organisation for dance and digital arts, it facilitates and produces international arts events. Attakkalari has organised national and international events connected with contemporary dance, including festivals, seminars and residencies.

On September 6, there will be an audition at the Chavara Cultural Centre in the city to select aspiring young dancers. The performance at David Hall would be presented by cgh earth, while the one at Fine Arts Hall is presented by the Muthoot Pappachan Foundation and supported by Max Muller Bhavan. The organisation is conducting a performance in the State after a couple of years. Drawing sustenance from Indias wealth of performance traditions, the Attakkalari movements language is fresh, energetic, sinuous and earthy. Their influence can be seen in its unique dance repertoire

Workshop on Koodiyattam

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sangeet Natak Akademi (New Delhi) - Kutiyattam Kendra, Thiruvananthapuram, in association with Mithraniketan, is organising a four-day workshop on �The aesthetics of Koodiyattam from August 13 to 16.

Sangeet Natak Akademi vice-chairman Ratan Thiyam will inaugurate the workshop at the Mithraniketan City Centre.

Airport gets ISO certification

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The international airport here has been awarded the ISO 14001-2004 certification for having friendly environmental management system.

The airport has also been assessed as complying with the upgraded ISO 9001-2008 for providing and maintaining infrastructure facilities such as air traffic, ground flight safety, fire and rescue, security, passenger terminal management and other ancillary support services for smooth civil aviation activities.

Gets best social worker award

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: M. Abdul Latheef, Chairman and Managing Director, Hercules Group of Companies, has been selected for the best social worker award instituted by the Kerala Sahridaya Vedi for perpetuating the memory of Syed Khan Sahib, former MD of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, who had rendered yeoman service for the growth and development of the Muslim Association.

President of the vedi Thalekunnil Basheer said that the award would be presented to him by Law Minister M. Vijayakumar at a function at the Muslim Association Hall at Nandavanam here on August 17.

Maudany communalising charges: BJP

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: BJP State president V. Muraleedharan said on Tuesday that PDP leader Abdul Nasir Maudany was trying to communalise the criminal charges against him.

Addressing a press conference here, the State president said the PDP leader was trying to use religion as a cover for anti-national activities. True Muslims would recognise that.

Though the Karnataka police were acting in accordance with the law, Mr. Maudany was alleging a conspiracy. If there was a conspiracy, why were the Muslims of Karnataka not saying anything about that, he asked.

Referring to Mr. Maudanys claim that Anwarsseri was an academic centre, Mr. Muraleedharan said that Mr. Maudany was using it as a cover for terrorist activities

Tourism Department alive to child abuse

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: M. Sivasankar, Director, Tourism Department, said here on Monday that while economic growth contributed by the tourism sector was crucial to the State, the department did not need a single rupee coming from child abusers and was willing to work with any agency to check sexual exploitation of children by tourists. Speaking on �Consultation on child sexual abuse related to tourism at the second day of a seminar organised by the Kerala Mahila Samakhya Society, Mr. Sivasankar said the department had started to accept that child abuse in the context of tourism in Kerala was not a myth but a reality.

He said while it was possible to detect and take prompt action against illegal activities in the organised tourism sector, only social interventions and multiple support systems for children could check such activities in the unorganised sector.

Director-General of Police Jacob Punnoose suggested the introduction of annual certification for tourism establishments and home-stays as a possible intervention strategy to check tourism-based illegal practices

KSEB contests panel charges

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has contested the charges the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission (KSERC) had given in a press release recently in support of the decision to withdraw the permission for levying a fuel surcharge on the power supplied to consumers in the State.

In a press release on Tuesday, the KSEB said the main charge was that it had not furnished to the KSERC the particulars of the amount collected as fuel surcharge promptly. �However, the commission, vide its letters dated July 20 and 26, had given the KSEB time till August 10 to submit the accounts of the levy collected till June. The KSEB had furnished the accounts to the commission before the specified date, the press release said.

Further, the Cabinet, at its meeting on April 7, had exempted consumers drawing up to 120 units of power a month from the surcharge. The Cabinet also had decided to give the KSEB as subsidy the income it would lose while exempting the low-end consumers from the surcharge. The government had, in its supplementary demands for funds for the current financial year in the State Assembly, had made the required allocation for the subsidy and had decided to adjust the amount against duties the KSEB had to pay to the government, the press release added

Cyber crimes posing serious threat: experts

Thiruvananthapuram: The State governments in India are yet to respond to the threat posed by cyber assailants, though the telecom and banking sectors in the country are well prepared, experts from the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT)-India, have said.

They were participating in a workshop on crisis management for countering cyber attacks and cyber terrorism organised by the Kerala State IT Mission and CERT- Kerala here on Tuesday.

Addressing the workshop, B.J. Srinath, senior director, CERT-India said cyber attackers were refining their methods and consolidating global networks that supported coordinated criminal activity. �Information stealing, rather than destruction, is the main objective, he said.

Mr. Srinath said the use of cyberspace for money laundering, propaganda and recruitment to terrorist networks was on the rise.

Students to interact with scientists

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: One hundred and fifty students � high achievers in Class 10 � from 40 schools in the district will rub shoulders with eminent personalities from the world of science and technology at the Genius Meet-2010, being organised by the EduWorld Foundation, a registered charitable society, in the city on Saturday.

Foundation chairman V.S. Jayakumar said here that the meet aimed at inspiring and motivating young minds to dream of studying in premier science and technology institutes and of a career in science. �We have selected the cream of students from each school and they will have the opportunity to interact with eminent personalities, including the former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation G. Madhavan Nair, Dr. Jayakumar told The Hindu.

The participants will also get to hear B.N. Suresh, director of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology; E.D. Jemmis, director of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research; A. Sivathanu Pillai, Chief Executive Officer of BrahMos Aerospace; and A. Jayakrishnan, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kerala. Dr. Madhavan Nair is expected to spend half a day interacting with the participants.

The experts are scheduled to brief the students about the work being done in frontier areas of science and technology and provide insights on how to go about choosing and shaping a career in science. There will also be a session on developing academic skills for excellence.

The participants will also visit the newly-built amphitheatre at the Science and Technology Museum where the meet will be held.

Registration on for pookkalam contest

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The registration for the fourth edition of The Hindu-MetroPlus Pookkalam contest to be held at Government Womens College at Vazhuthacaud here on August 21 is progressing.

Fifty teams will be able to take part in the contest on a first-come- first-served basis. Each team can have five members, including the team captain, of which three should be women. All the members should be above 15 years of age.

The teams should register in advance either over the telephone at 0471-2502001 or through e-mail: The registration fee of Rs.100 will be refunded after the event.

The contest will be held from 9 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. The pookkalam should be prepared within two-and-a-half hours, including drawing and preparing flower arrangement.

The first three winners will receive cash prizes of Rs.20,000, Rs.12,500 and Rs.7,500 respectively. The fourth, fifth and sixth prize winners will receive an Olympus camera and the next 10 teams will receive consolation prizes of Rs.1,500 a team.

Panchayat plans Scheduled Tribe welfare scheme

Kanhangad: The Panathady grama panchayat in Kasaragod district has come out with a comprehensive package aimed at the sustainable development of the Scheduled Tribe families in the hilly hamlet.

The project, called Rigorous Initiative of Government Agencies to Help Tribes (RIGHT Panathady), envisages welfare programmes for all members of such families.

The project is being initiated on the basis of data collected by the Kudumbasree Mission on the social and economic status of 2,331 Scheduled Tribe members in 25 tribal colonies, panchayat president M.V. Krishnan said here on Wednesday.

Minister for Welfare of Scheduled and Backward Communities A.K. Balan would inaugurate the project at the grama panchayat hall on Thursday.

Mr. Krishnan said the project required coordination of various government agencies. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Welfare Department had earmarked Rs.40 lakh for the project.

He said children in anganwadis, girls in the 13-19 age group and those above 65 would be supplied nutritious food under the project.

Export of marine ornamental fish gets a boost

Marine ornamental fishes with striking colours and features may earn Kerala a place in the map of the ornamental fish business.

Kerala Aqua Ventures International (KAVIL), the agency set up for promoting ornamental fish farming, is all set to explore the export potential of the fish varieties.

There is immense export potential for marine fishes in the overseas market. However, the supply is very limited, explained A. Gopalakrishnan Nair, executive director, KAVIL.

The Maldives, Indonesia and the Philippines are the leaders in the business. Most of these countries collect fish from the wild and export them. Kerala can also try the methods employed by these countries. The result of one of the informal surveys conducted at Vizhinjam near Thiruvananthapuram recently was quite encouraging, he said. �The buyers in the overseas market, especially the U.S., need a wide variety of fish and under the present system, we are unable to meet the demands, said Binju Asha Kurian, director of FAB Ornamental Fish Farming Private Limited, which owns an export hub at KAVIL, near Kadungalloor.

Clean-up of Rayarom river completed

KANNUR: The clean-up of Rayarom River at Alakkode by Navy and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel to

remove the large quantities of discarded pesticides dumped into it was completed on Tuesday. The scientist from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) who tested the quality of water reported that there was no toxicity in the river water.

The last phase of the search for the remaining pesticide bottles and packets was completed on Tuesday afternoon. The potency of the pesticides materials removed from the river has been defused.

District Collector V.K. Balakrishnan told reporters here on Tuesday that A.K. Gupta, scientist at the Gwalior-based nuclear, biological

and chemical emergency wing of the DRDO who had collected water samples from different spots in the river and examined them, had

reported that there was no toxicity in the river water. On the basis of the report, instructions have been given to resume pumping of water from the river for drinking water supply, the Collector said.

The Navy and NDRF personnel had searched for pesticides in the river along a 15-km stretch downstream, he said.

Karnataka police team in Kollam

KOLLAM/KOCHI: A four-member team of the Karnataka Police arrived in Kollam at 5.30 p.m. on Tuesday to execute the arrest warrant against Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Abdul Nasir Maudany who has been listed as an accused in the Bangalore serial blasts case.

A tense situation prevailed at the Anwarssery camp of Mr. Maudany. His supporters raised slogans and swore that they would resist any attempt to arrest him. A large group of PDP workers, gagged with black bands, lay down at the entry gates to the Anwarssery complex to prevent the entry of the Karnataka police team.

The team, led by the Crime Branch Special Inquiry Squad Circle Inspector, held discussions with Kollam District Superintendent of Police Harshita Attaluri on providing protection to the team to execute the arrest warrant.

Ms. Attaluri told reporters in Kollam that the Kerala Police were fully prepared to provide protection to the Karnataka team. Protection will be provided as and when they submit a request in this regard, she said.

Ms. Attaluri said she was not in a position to say when Mr. Maudany would be arrested. �It is for the Karnataka Police to decide. The task of the Kerala Police is only to provide protection to effect the arrest subject to a request from the Karnataka Police.

Quit India Day\' observed in city

KOCHI: Fasting and public meetings marked the anniversary of the �Quit India Day observance in Kochi.

While the Nationalist Youth Congress organised a fast at the High Court junction against the growing tendencies of communalism and extremism, the Youth Congress Kaloor division committee organised a public meeting on Monday. C.M. Devassy, of the NCP, inaugurated the public meeting

Film festival from August 14

KOCHI: The Sixth Angamaly International Film Festival, featuring films like �Soofi Paranja Katha, �True Noon from Tajikistan and Oscar winning �Hurt Locker, will be held between August 14 and 18 at Vinod Theatre.

Minister for Transport Jose Thettayil is the film festival chairman.

�A cultural event

He told reporters here that the festival in Angamaly had received a tremendous response from the public over the years and it had turned into a major cultural event for the town. Film directors Priyanandan, Biju Vattappara and K. P. Dhanapalan, MP, will attend the inaugural function at Vinod Theatre on the first day at 4 p.m., said the organisers here at a press conference on Monday.

�Soofi Paranja Katha directed by Priyanandan will be the inaugural film. Twenty-five films will be screened during the festival.

�Cannot Live Without You from Taiwan; �Jermal (Fishing Platform) from Indonesia and �Tales from a Golden Age from Romania are among the other films being featured.

Rally against terrorism

KOCHI: For Malayalis, terrorism was a phenomenon happening far away in the snow-capped Kashmir Valley or the Hindi heartland. Not any more.

A string of events, from the felling of a Malayali youngster by the bullets of security forces in Kashmir to the chopping off of the palm of a teacher in Muvattupuzha have awakened them from a false sense of security.

The Thrikkakkara Residents Association Apex Council (TRAAC) has planned a two-wheeler rally to create awareness about the threat posed by terrorism. �Message of love against terrorism, will be the theme of the rally.

District Collector M. Beena will flag off the rally on Independence Day at 4.30 p.m. at the Ayyanad bridge which forms the border of the Thrikkakkara panchayat. The rally will end at Kakkanad Junction where High Court Judge C.N. Ramachandran Nair will administer the oath on resisting terrorism.

�The resistance against terrorism could be developed only through spreading the message of love and to achieve this, awareness should be created among the people about this serious threat,� said Anil Kumar, general secretary of TRAAC, about organising such a rally

Street-food vending carts to be modernised

KOCHI: Kochi Corporation is all set to bring in a novelty in street vending. Now people can think of more hygienically prepared food off the streets in a modern vendor cart.

The makeshift shack is to undergo a change with the local bodys intervention with an aim to upgrade street vending of food, by standardising the quality. This is the first in its kind of scheme in the State that is being implemented in the city with Rs. 25 lakh from the Poverty Social Fund of the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project.

The first such cart would be handed over this week to a vendor at Vyttila. The stainless steel hand cart has been designed by city-based C-Earth with many facilities such as to stocking of potable drinking water as well as a waste management system, with a waste collecting bin attached to the cart.

The quality of water would be checked by the Corporation authorities and they would also check whether the waste management is properly done. The placement of carts is also important as the surrounding needs to be hygienic. The aim is to provide safe food for the people

10 new non-AC low-floor buses to be introduced next week

KOCHI: Minister for Transport Jose Thettayil said here on Monday that 10 new low-floor, non-AC buses would be introduced next week on the Aroor, Angamaly, Fort Kochi, Perumbavoor and Kakkanad segments.

There will two buses each in the Puthenkurisu, Angamaly and Perumbavoor segment and two each in the Kakkanad and Aroor segments.

The new services are being introduced because of the encouraging results from the recent introduction of 50 Thiru Kochi services, the Minister said as he pointed out that these services were soon expected to break even. He said that the Onam season rush was expected to do the trick for KSRTC.

The festival season will also see the introduction of more frequent trips by KSRTC buses in the city and its neighbouring areas to ease commuters problems, the Minister said.

The recently-introduced Thiru Kochi services were not against anyone or aimed at hurting anyone, said the Minister when it was pointed out to him that some private bus operators had taken umbrage at the introduction of the new services. Thiru Kochi services are aimed at easing the difficulties faced by the commuters in and around the city, he said. There was no immediate consideration to increase the number of Thiru Kochi buses because various KSRTC depots were congested at present. The Aluva bus depot is congested with buses based in Angamaly depot being parked there.

Inauguration of the new bus stand complex in Angamaly will solve the problem to an extent.

MG varsity results out in record time

KOCHI: Mahatma Gandhi University has published the results of the second semester choice-based credit and semester system (CBCSS) examinations in record time.

The university raced ahead of other universities following the system by publishing the results of the examinations for the 116 undergraduate programmes conducted in April-May on Wednesday last.

The examinations included Model -I (traditional), Model-II (vocational) and Model-III (new Generation and UGC aided).

Elaborating on the achievement, Rajan Varughese, Pro- Vice-Chancellor, told The Hindu here that Mahatma Gandhi University is the first university in the State to publish second semester CBCSS results, which cover the entire 27,000 students enrolled at the first degree level in the university.

�The major breakthrough achieved by the university, in the midst of severe criticism from all quarters for the hasty implementation of CBCSS system in 2010, is the product of academic commitment by teachers in affiliated colleges and round-the-clock vigil and hard labour by the university staff in the examination branch, he said.

Last-minute rush hits expenditure priorities

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Despite all the talk about paucity of funds to meet development and welfare needs, last minute rush to spend amounts allocated in the budget continues to be a bane of the State government.

According to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, more than 50 per cent of the expenditure under several heads is now being incurred either during the last quarter or, worse, in the final month of the financial year. During 2008-09, over 50 per cent of the expenditure under 34 heads of account was incurred during the last quarter or the final month. In some cases, this came to 100 per cent of the funds sanctioned under certain heads, says the CAG.

The worst cases are the capital outlay on urban development, investment in general financial and trading institutions, loans for power projects and loans for chemical and pharmaceutical industries (all 100 per cent), loans for housing (99 per cent), land reforms (97), loans for fisheries (96), social security and welfare (90) and other capital outlay on industries and minerals (87 per cent).

In several other cases, the rush of expenditure was quite high. The most glaring among these is the claim for 76 per cent of the funds allotted under capital outlay on water supply and sanitation and that for 67 per cent of the funds under capital outlay on welfare of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes in March, 2009.

45-metre-wide road to be laid to port site at Vizhinjam

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A 2-km stretch of road will be laid to the site of the proposed international port at Vizhinjam in six months, Ports Minister V. Surendran Pillai said here on Monday.

Speaking to The Hindu after a visit to Vizhinjam, Mr. Pillai said Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan would lay the foundation stone for the road on August 16.

�The area earmarked for the road is full of fields. These will have to be levelled before the 45-metre-wide road can be laid, Mr. Pillai said.

He said a 29-km-long road from Kovalam to Kaliyikkavila would be strengthened and tarred to ply very heavy vehicles. The work would cost Rs.30 crore.

Tenders had been called for putting in place a drinking water supply system for the proposed port.

�The officials concerned have been directed to issue immediately a selection notice and sign an agreement with the appropriate party for the water supply scheme,� Mr. Pillai said.

Congress demands polls in single phase

Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress has demanded single-phase elections to the local bodies and has blamed the State government for the uncertainty about the conduct of the polls, though the new members will have to assume office on October 2.

�Either this is sheer inefficiency or a premeditated move, says Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy.

The government has failed to follow the procedures for ward delimitation, preparation of voters list, formation of new panchayats and reservation, he says.

The United Democratic Front (UDF) High-Power Committee met twice in the past two months to assess the situation and had criticised the State Election Commissioner for his alleged failure to infuse transparency in ward delimitation and preparation of voters list. The Opposition front had alleged at that time that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) had been meddling with the pre-election processes with ulterior motives.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala says he had pointed out much earlier that the delimitation and the preparation of voters list were being deliberately delayed to sabotage the election.

Heavy rush to offer �bali\'

Thiruvananthapuram: Tens of thousands of devotees offered �Vavu Bali at temples, ghats and beaches across the district on Monday morning to propitiate their ancestors.

There was a heavy rush of devotees at the Parasurama temple, Thiruvallam, the beaches at Shanghumugham, Varkala and Avaduthura, and other temples.

At Thiruvallam, the rites began at 3.30 a.m. Forty priests were deputed to the �Bali Mandapam� inside the temple, a temporary shed outside and the ghats beside the river to assist the devotees in performing the bali. The Travancore Devaswom Board had made arrangements for up to 3,000 devotees to perform �bali� at a time in the Thiruvallam temple complex. Tickets were issued in advance.

Devaswom officials were posted as special officers to supervise the arrangements in various temples. Policemen were deputed for crowd control and traffic regulation. Arrangements were made to provide emergency medical care and drinking water and ensure uninterrupted power supply. Most temples deployed casual labourers for cleaning the �mandapams� after each batch had offered �bali.� Hundreds turned up at the Shanghumughom beach to perform the rites. Arrangements were made for the devotees there. There was a heavy rush of devotees on the Papanasam beach in Varkala right from early morning. The Devaswom Board had issued licence to priests deputed to help the devotees. The Varkala municipal authorities, the police, Fire and Rescue Services personnel, Kerala Water Authority officials and members of voluntary organisations were present to help the devotees

Tourism Department alive to child abuse

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: M. Sivasankar, Director, Tourism Department, said here on Monday that while economic growth contributed by the tourism sector was crucial to the State, the department did not need a single rupee coming from child abusers and was willing to work with any agency to check sexual exploitation of children by tourists.

Speaking on �Consultation on child sexual abuse related to tourism at the second day of a seminar organised by the Kerala Mahila Samakhya Society, Mr. Sivasankar said the department had started to accept that child abuse in the context of tourism in Kerala was not a myth but a reality.

He said while it was possible to detect and take prompt action against illegal activities in the organised tourism sector, only social interventions and multiple support systems for children could check such activities in the unorganised sector.

�The Tourism Department, which is the sole agency promoting Kerala as a tourism destination, has always promoted Kerala as an exclusive tourism destination. We do not want a large number of tourists coming to Kerala. If you look at the kind of promotion and marketing we have been doing, Kerala has been projected as an exclusive tourist destination offering a unique tourism experience,� he said.

Malabar coir festival from August 12

Kozhikode: The Malabar Coir Fest-2010, organised by the Kerala State Coir Development Department, will begin at the Corporation stadium in Kozhikode on August 12. Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran will open the 10-day festival.

At a press conference here on Monday, M. Mehaboob, general convener of the fest, said the department was organising a festival in Kozhikode for the first time.

�The aim of the programme is to popularise coir products among consumers and to invite the attention of entrepreneurs, he added.

Josit Kurien, Additional Director of the department, said altogether 80 stalls would be put up at the exhibition.

Held on charge of running weapon unit

Kasaragod: The police on Sunday busted an illegal gun manufacturing unit at Panathur under the Rajapuram police station limits in the district. A 65-year-old man was arrested in this connection.

Acting on a tip-off, a police team raided the house of Joseph alias Babu and seized a few accessories of country-made guns from a thatched shed attached to his house at Chiramkadavu. The accused was produced before the Hosdurg Judicial First Class Magistrate Court which remanded him to 14 days judicial custody, T.P. Sumesh, Sub-Inspector, said.

The police are on the lookout for a person who the arrested man confessed had helped him in manufacturing illegal weapons. A case under the provisions of Section 3 and 25 of the Arms Act was registered.

Facilities for pilgrims to be improved: Minister

THIRUNELLY (WAYANAD): Devaswom Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran has said the government will give special consideration to improving basic amenities for pilgrims at Sree Mahavishnu Temple at Thirunelly, a major temple under the Malabar Devaswom Board in Wayanad district. Mr. .Ramachandran told reporters on Monday after offering the ritualistic �Vavu Bali at the temple that he had personally experienced the rush and the lack of infrastructure facilities at the temple to accommodate pilgrims on special days such as �Karkidka Vavu.

The government would set up better amenities under the pilgrim tourism and other projects, Mr. Ramachandran added.

The Minister said he would hold talks with senior officials of the Forest Department on steps to remove impediments to the construction of the Panavally-Pothumoola road that connects Thirunelly and Mananthavadi

Thousands offer �Vavu Bali\' at Aluva

Nedumbassery: Tens of thousands of devotees, including people from far away places, converged on the Sivarathri Manalpuram near here on the banks of the Periyar river in Aluva to propitiate their ancestors by performing the �Vavu Bali during the Karkidaka Vavu day on Monday.

The rituals got off to a start as early as 3 a.m on the day with the performance of a Ganapathi homam in the Siva temple here, also followed by a couple of other special pujas including Mruthyunjayanam, Thilahavanam, Dhara and Namaskaram. Initiated by priests Subramanian Namboodiri and Neelakandan Namboodiri, the ceremonies in the temple continued up to 11 a.m and the offerings were distributed subsequently.

Assisted by around 200 priests, around 1,000 devotees performed the rite of �Bali Tharpanam at a given point of time and took a holy dip in the river. A total of 150 balitharas were set up for the ceremonies.

According to the authorities, the event witnessed an unprecedented rush with 75,000 people carrying out the rite by noon and it was expected to set a record in the total number of persons arriving here as the offerings would continue till 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

The observance of Vavu Bali is considered as an important ritual in propitiating ones ancestors, thus ensuring the welfare to their living descendants. The myth behind the ritual is traced to the Ramayana in which Lord Rama performs the last rites of his friend Jadayu.

National Highway widening: Kerala Transport Minister flays Centre

KOCHI: Kerala Minister for Transport Jose Thettayil said here on Monday that the Union government and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) were creating confusion in the minds of the people through frequent news items on the widening of National Highway 47 while the State was yet to get a formal response from New Delhi to an all-party memorandum on the issue.

The Minister said nearly three months ago an-all party decision to seek restriction of National Highway widening work to 30 metres was forwarded to the Union government. Under these circumstances, it was unfortunate that news items on National Highway widening frequently appeared in newspapers, the Minister said at the Ernakulam Press Club on Monday

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Inter-school sports event

KATTAPPANA: The district unit of the Nehru Yuva Kendra will organise inter-school sports competitions at various places from August 13. The schedule of the competitions is: hockey (St. Marys H.S., Arakkulam), wresting (MES H.S., Amayar), table tennis (IHEP ground, Moolamattom).

Weight-lifting competition will be held at Newmans College auditorium, Thodupuzha, on August 14. Competitions in football, volleyball, archery, basket ball, badminton and athletics will also be held.

Those schools interested in participating in the competitions should register with the district youth co-ordinator, Nehru Yuva Kendra, Thodupuzha, before August 10. Phone No: 04862-222670.

SFI asks Congress to condemn attack

KANNUR: The Students Federation of India (SFI) has demanded that senior Congress leaders, including Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy, visit S.E.S. College at Sreekantapuram here and condemn the attack allegedly carried out by the Kerala Students Union (KSU) and the Youth Congress on the campus on Saturday.

SFI State president K.V. Sumesh said at a press conference here on Sunday the KSUs denial of its involvement in the attack made no sense. The provocation for the attack was the rejection of the nomination papers filed by a KSU worker by the returning officer of the college union elections held on Friday.

Mr. Sumesh alleged that the Principal was partisan for not saying that the KSU was involved in the attack.

The attackers smashed 228 windowpanes, notice boards and tube lights of the college and the windscreens of two cars parked on the premises of the house of a lecturer who was the returning officer.

A sour ginger harvest

KALPETTA: A rot disease afflicting rhizomes and the sharp decline in prices of raw ginger due to heavy rain have cut into the prospects of ginger farmers in Wayanad, one of the major ginger-growing regions in the State.

Most of the ginger plantations, especially in the low-lying areas of the district, are under the threat of rhizome rot, a fungal disease. The spot price of new ginger a bag (60 kg) was Rs.1,100 at the Meenangadi market on Thursday against Rs.1,500 a week ago and the price of �monsooned (old) ginger was Rs.3,000 against Rs.3,500.

�I planted ginger in one acre of leased land at a rent of Rs.40,000 a year around four months back. But I am forced to take a premature harvest due to the fungal disease, locally called Mahali, Mathew Parambil, a small scale farmer at Panamaram said. �When I purchased ginger seeds five months back, I paid Rs.3,500 a bag,� he added.

He had spent more than Rs.1.3 lakh for the cultivation so far and was not sure whether he could recoup even a fraction of his investment. �The condition of many ginger farmers is no different,� he said.

Benny of Krishnagiri, a ginger merchant, said the tender ginger crop in the flooded areas would begin to rot in two days and the farmers in these areas would be forced to take a premature harvest

Remand prisoner escapes

ALAPPUZHA: A person who was remanded to the Mavelikara Sub-Jail after being arrested for manhandling a policeman escaped from the jail on Sunday. The accused, Vinod, 30, was reported missing from Sunday noon. .

Unmanned level crossings turn death traps

ALAPPUZHA: The accident in which four persons, including two foreign tourists, were killed when their car attempted to cross an unmanned level crossing here on Sunday is the latest in several such accidents and near-accidents in Alappuzha.

The car driver had failed to see the oncoming train, reportedly due to a curve in the road approaching the level crossing and also because of the dense growth of shrubs alongside the tracks.

The actual reasons for the accident are, however, yet to be ascertained. Southern Railway Additional General Manager K.K. Shrivastava and Divisional Railway Manager Rajiv Dutt Sharma visited the accident site, while the Mararikulam police have registered a case.

Railway officials said there were 45 unmanned level crossings from Ernakulam via Alappuzha up to Kayamkulam. With the number of accidents on the rise, Railways were in the process of drawing out a plan to man these gates. Manpower had been recruited and work was about to start.

As for accidents, it was just two days back that nearly 70 school students had a providential escape when the school bus they were travelling in got stalled in the middle of the tracks while crossing an unmanned level crossing.

Information service on mobile phone

KOCHI: Getting a telephone directory on mobile phone. That is what �Moooble, a service provided on the mobile phone by a Kochi-based company, offers.

Anyone can get information on companies and service providers in different parts of the country through a simple message on the mobile phone. The customer has to send a short message service (SMS) seeking information in a particular format to 56070.

The required information would be received on the mobile phone through the service provided by Urogulf Direct Infosolutions India Pvt. Ltd. , its director P. Sarith Kumar said. Details such as phone number, address, service provided and products available would be included in the reply, he said. The details of various companies and service providers were being registered with the Kochi-based company across the State. It would be extended outside the State. The service would be expanded to include information on places and government departments as well as timings of bus, train and airline services. Cinema show timings would also be made available, he said.

The plan was to extend the service to enable the customer for a worldwide info service on mobile phone, Jebi Isaac, managing director, said.

Department of Posts enters new domains

KOCHI: The Department of Posts has introduced services such as business post, logistics post, retail post, instant money order and international money transfer. It is also engaged in sale of gold coins and railway tickets, say officials of India Post.

Instant money orders allow web-based money transfer through post offices between two resident individuals within the country. Amounts from Rs.1,000 to Rs.50,000 can be transferred from designated post offices by means of a 16-digit secret number. The international money transfer service is being operated in collaboration with Western Union Financial Services. It facilitates instant remittance of money from 185 countries to India. The recipients can, in fact, collect the money in minutes after the sender has made the remittance. The service is aimed at fulfilling the needs of NRI-dependent families, international tourists and foreign students studying in India. Under the service, a remitter pays the amount at Western Union outlets and gets a money transfer control number. The sender can call up the payee and give the number, after which the money can be collected from the post office concerned. This entire process can be completed within 10 minutes. Business post provides a convenient mail service for small businesses and large companies. Customers can choose from a range of cost-effective and professional mailing services, including printing, sealing and addressing, to suit the business needs. Logistics Post can cater to any demand for moving goods, parcels and consignments in terms of delivery deadline and quality of service. It offers the facility for anytime monitoring of the status of the post. The customers can send their consignments either in full truck load or less, one parcel or multi-parcels, based on their requirements.

Thamannam road widening project hanging fire

KOCHI: The detailed town planning scheme for the Thamannam-Pullepady road widening project, which would have redrawn the development paradigm of Kochi, is hanging fire.

Though the civic authorities completed the groundwork for the project some three months ago, the government is yet to issue orders approving the project. The scheme is also awaiting the notification from the Chief Town Planner, civic authorities pointed out.

The scheme is aimed at creating a width of 22 metres along the approach roads to the Thamannam-Pullepady overbridge on a private-public-participation mode. As it was proposed to be implemented in PPP mode, the civic authorities hoped to obtain land for the project free of cost. Modern bus bays, parking lots and markets were also proposed in the scheme. There was also proposals for rehabilitating people who would lose their houses in the same area.

The civic authorities felt that if the scheme was notified on time, it would have created a trend in obtaining land for development projects in Kochi.

The non-availability of land was identified as the major bottleneck in the implementation of development projects in Kochi. Some of the ambitious projects suggested for Kochi had failed to take off due to the non-availability of land.

Isaac expresses condolences

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Finance Minister T. M. Thomas Isaac expressed his condolences over the death of four persons in an accident at the level crossing at S.L. Puram in his constituency on Sunday. Mr. Isaac, who is now in Vijayawada to attend the extended Central Committee meeting of the CPI (M), said in an official release issued here that the collector had been asked to make necessary arrangements to send the bodies of the two foreign nationals, who were killed in the accident, to their country. The bodies had been kept at the mortuary of Alappuzha Medical

Plus One allotment list published

Thiruvananthapuram: The allotment list for admission through the single-window system to merit seats in new higher secondary schools in Thirussur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod districts has been published.

According to an official statement here, admissions will be held on August 10 and 11 from the list. Students who have got allotment should pay the fee and ensure their admission since there will be no more opportunity to maintain the higher options. However, students will get an opportunity to change their school after the admission. There will be one more allotment on August 16 to fill up seats for those who do not get admission even after getting the allotment, the statement said. Details are available on

Poopally accident brings safety issues to the fore

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The death of four persons in an accident at an unmanned level crossing at S.L. Puram in Alappuzha district on Sunday has exposed the vulnerability of the 118 unmanned level crossings in the Thiruvananthapuram railway division.

It also highlights the need to sensitise road users on the safety measures to be followed at such level crossings.

The accident occurred within a month of Railways observing a week-long drive to coincide with International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) observed by the International Union of Railways.

A railway official told The Hindu that visibility was good on the stretch and the loco pilot of the train followed all mandatory rules, including blowing of horn, while approaching the level crossing.

Railway sources said this was the first fatal accident at the S.L. Puram level crossing. The unmanned level crossing was one of the 71 in the division to which personnel would be posted this year, this included 45 critical crossings in the Ernakulam- Alappuzha- Kayamkulam section.

The sources said work had commenced to eliminate all unmanned level crossings in the country in the next five years. The rising number of accidents at these crossings was a cause of concern for Railways.

Call to be proactive in protecting child rights

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: No State should make a distinction between native children and migrants in protecting child rights, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Chairperson Shantha Sinha said here on Sunday.

Delivering the keynote address at a seminar on �Overall picture of children in Kerala: emerging issues and challenges, organised by the Kerala Mahila Samakhya Society, Ms. Sinha said every State had the responsibility to protect the rights and interests of migrant children also.

�We are not citizens of a State but of this country. All States should proactively intervene to ensure the welfare of children. This also includes taking appropriate measures to repatriate migrant children, she said.

Protection of child rights should not be a debatable issue and that authorities must take an uncompromising stance to ensure their protection, she said.

Speaking on the issue of child abuse by tourists and exploitation of children at tourist destinations, Ms. Sinha said the issue had come to the notice of the Commission. The Commission would communicate its concerns to the authorities concerned.

More focus on quality, patient safety sought

Thiruvananthapuram: A two-day national conference on hospital administration held here has called for placing quality and patient safety at the centre of the health delivery system, as improvements in these areas can promote a better work culture in institutions and improve public confidence in the system.

The conference was organised by the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) and the Kerala chapter of the Federation of Hospital Administrators.

There is, at present, no data on patient safety in the country and while the system of accreditation has had a few corporate hospitals moving forward to be more accountable, public sector hospitals are less amenable to institutionalising quality and patient safety, according to Shakti Kumar Gupta, Head, Department of Hospital Administration and Medical Superintendent, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Patient safety capacity in the country should be built and while ensuring a standard of safety and security to patients, there should also be clear and concise policies on handling issues related to patient safety, Dr. Gupta said.

Land pooling mooted for planned growth

Thiruvananthapuram: A one-day consultation programme on the proposed Attukal Development Scheme held here on Sunday mooted the idea of land pooling to ensure planned growth of the temple township and surrounding areas with public participation.

Addressing a seminar organised in this connection, Chief Town Planner (CTP) Eapen Varghese said the scheme could be taken up as a pilot project to ensure the availability of serviced urban land for controlled growth. �Land pooling will result in a win-win situation for the residents and government agencies involved in development of infrastructure, he said.

�The concept involves a voluntary surrender of property to the local self-government institution or development authority which then reconstitutes the individual properties and returns it to the owners with additional benefits like access roads. A portion of the land is deducted for open spaces and development of roads. Land pooling offers a viable solution to the development of the Attukal area that is marked by narrow roads, acute space crunch and haphazard development,� he said.

Petitions pile up at Information Commission

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Information Commission is faced with a large backlog of appeal petitions, and the problem is worsening day by day.

Vacancies in the commission, staff shortages and a lack of proper systems add to the problem.

Appeal petitions now take more than 15 months to be disposed of. State Chief Information Commissioner Palat Mohandas and commissioners V.V. Giry and K. Rajagopal differ on the number of pending cases and the reasons for that, though they agree to the increasing trend.

The annual report of the commission for 2009-10 says the panel received 1,256 complaints (on non-disposal of requests and other omissions and commissions by the State public information officers) and 1,556 second appeals on decisions of public authorities during the year. As many as 1,350 complaints and 842 appeals were disposed of.

However, data furnished by the two commissioners say only 226 appeals were disposed of.