Saturday, May 29, 2010

Steps against SmartCity

KOCHI: Minister for Fisheries and Registration S. Sarma has said that the State government will adopt legal steps as SmartCity, the promoters of the proposed SmartCity Kochi project, has gone back on the contract. Talking to reporters here on Saturday, Mr. Sarma said that the government had not yet discussed the possibility of approaching the court. Measures would be taken up at the earliest after studying the relevant legal provisions

Demand to introduce mini train service to West Kochi

KOCHI: A meeting of the district development committee has requested the Central and State governments to start mini train service connecting the old heritage railway station at Kombara and western Kochi.

C.M. Dinesh Mani moved a resolution, at the meeting held at the district collectorate on Saturday, seeking the implementation of the project by extending the railway line up to Mundamveli. Saju Paul, MLA, seconded the resolution.

Kudumbasree to focus on collective farming

KOCHI: The Kudumbasree Poverty Eradication Mission in its 13 {+t} {+h} year will focus on collective farming as a means of empowering women and guaranteeing their financial emancipation. It also plans to intensify marketing to realise the full potential of the production base created thus far through the Neighbourhood Groups (NHGs) and Community Development Societies (CDS) leveraging bank finance and thrift fund.

In tangible terms, Kudumbasree women will expand their collective farming activities to nearly 70,000 more hectares across the State during the current financial year. Paddy, vegetables and fruits will be cultivated. At present women farmers under Kudumbasree carry out farming activities in about 25,000 hectares.

A senior official of Kudumbasree mission told The Hindu that collective farming was one of the pillars on which the process of women empowerment was being built.

Women under Kudumbasree CDS had proved that farming can be a profitable activity. The labour input comes from these women themselves. In addition to their wages, they also earn a profit when they sell their produce

Students, parents get an overview of careers

KOCHI:Joint Commissioner for Entrance Examinations K. Reghunadhan Pillai has said that several open facilitation centres will be opened across the State to help students and parents clear their doubts on the online option registration for professional courses in the new academic year.

Presenting an overview of Centralised Allotment Process (CAP) at the �Courses and Choices � Sessions on the Professional Streams and More, a pre-counselling guidance-cum-orientation programme organised by The Hindu-EducationPlus at A.J. Hall here on Saturday, Dr. Pillai said that a few centres would provide an additional utility of resetting the password. Model Engineering College, Thrikkakara, would be the open facilitation centre in Ernakulam. Help desks would also be set up at various centres, he said.

Orientation programme concludes

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A five-day orientation programme for teachers organised by Aiswarya Public School, Kalakkode, in association with the Centre for Education Research and Training concluded on the school campus on Saturday.

NCC camp

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An all-India rock climbing training camp for NCC Senior Wing and Junior Wing cadets was organised under the aegis of the NCC (Kerala and Lakshadweep) Directorate at Neyyar Dam recently.

As many as 270 cadets and 34 NCC officers participated in the 11-day camp organised by the 5 Kerala Girls Bn NCC, Changanassery, in association with the NCC Group Headquarters, Kottayam.

The objectives of the camp was to teach the basic techniques of rock climbing, build confidence, cultivate a spirit of comradeship and promote a sense of �nature awareness among the cadets. The camp was commanded by Col. Paul V.P., Group Commander of the NCC Group, Kottayam.

Road widening work to begin soon

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Work to widen the 29.2-km Karamana-Kaliyikkavila road, one of the congested stretches of National Highway 47 passing through the district, at an estimated cost of Rs.640 crore will commence soon.

In the first phase, the 12 km stretch from Karamana will be taken up for widening by the Public Works Department (PWD). A sum of Rs.100 crore had been sanctioned by the Finance Department for acquiring land. PWD sources said the department had given administrative sanction for the work following the allocation of funds for acquiring land.

Instructions had been given to expedite land acquisition process in the stretch so that the work could commence soon. Additional land will be acquired for developing junctions and for constructing bus bays, if needed.

The Kerala Highway Research Institute under the PWD had conducted a soil survey. Initially, the survey was carried out by the PWD for a 45-metre carriageway passing through several congested junctions like Pappanamcode, Balaramapuram, Neyyatinkara and Parassala.

The probable opposition to land acquisition had forced the authorities to go for another survey and a final alignment, limiting the carriageway to 30.2 metres. Instead of the standard 4.2-metre median, the stretch will have a 1.2-metre median. Sixteen intersections are there on the stretch. Traffic signals will be installed at busy junctions.

Technocity project launch on June 4

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Technocity, Keralas biggest IT/ITES project, will be launched by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on June 4. The 450-acre facility will come up at Pallippuram, near here, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Technopark Mervin Alexander has said.

He was addressing a press conference here on Saturday along with Infopark CEO Siddhartha Bhattacharya and Cyberpark CEO Binu Pazhoor. On completion, the latest IT Park would generate one lakh direct and four lakh indirect employment opportunities.

Technocity will be developed as an integrated township encompassing IT/ITES infrastructure, residential apartments, shopping malls, hospitals, hotels, educational institutions and other support facilities.

Acquisition of land for the project was completed earlier this year at a cost of Rs.340 crore. This was funded by a consortium of banks lead by the Central Bank of India, he said.

�Technocity is designed to address the socio-economic commitment like rural development, employment creation, earning of foreign exchange, increasing tax collection, etc. with an assured financial feasibility. An investment of over Rs.6,000 crore is expected in the mega-project which will be developed on public private partnership (PPP) basis, Mr. Alexander said.

Technocity project launch on June 4

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Technocity, Keralas biggest IT/ITES project, will be launched by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on June 4. The 450-acre facility will come up at Pallippuram, near here, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Technopark Mervin Alexander has said.

He was addressing a press conference here on Saturday along with Infopark CEO Siddhartha Bhattacharya and Cyberpark CEO Binu Pazhoor. On completion, the latest IT Park would generate one lakh direct and four lakh indirect employment opportunities.

Technocity will be developed as an integrated township encompassing IT/ITES infrastructure, residential apartments, shopping malls, hospitals, hotels, educational institutions and other support facilities.

Acquisition of land for the project was completed earlier this year at a cost of Rs.340 crore. This was funded by a consortium of banks lead by the Central Bank of India, he said.

�Technocity is designed to address the socio-economic commitment like rural development, employment creation, earning of foreign exchange, increasing tax collection, etc. with an assured financial feasibility. An investment of over Rs.6,000 crore is expected in the mega-project which will be developed on public private partnership (PPP) basis, Mr. Alexander said

Expressway project hits bumps

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The uncertainty over finalising the width of the national highway stretches and the alleged resistance against land acquisition are likely to affect the development of the proposed Indian National Expressway Network in the State.

A 400-km reach between Kanyakumari and Thrissur has been included in the network which aims at achieving a target of 15,600 km by 2022, the end of the 13 {+t} {+h} Plan period. The expressway would pass through the coastal region of the State which offloads the traffic on the NH-47 connecting Kanyakumari, Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Thrissur.

It is expected to offer a greater scope for weaning away some traffic from other competing modes with the possibility of the average trip length being doubled in due course of time.

It is expected to complement the existing arterial network of the State in terms of connectivity and performance

Passengers protest flight delay

Nedumbassery: The Cochin International Airport here witnessed some tense moments on Saturday as passengers of an Abu Dhabi-bound Air India Express flight protested against the inordinate delay in its departure.

Airport sources said the flight IX 419, operating in the Kochi- Abu Dhabi sector, was scheduled to take of with 160 passengers on board at 9.25 p.m. on Friday.

However, the aircraft could reach here from Mumbai only by 11.45 p.m. as it had already encountered some engineering problems, they said.

Later, the service was re-scheduled to Saturday morning and the passengers, who had already completed their check-in formalities by the time, were subsequently accommodated in nearby hotels, they said.

The situation worsened on Saturday when the passengers, who had been brought to the security hall as early as by 8.30 a.m., were told of a further delay in its departure.

Friday, May 28, 2010

National seminars on mathematics at university

KANNUR: The Kannur University Department of Mathematical Science will organise two national seminars during June 9-11.

A press release issued by the department here on Friday said the seminars were being organised as part of the annual conference of the Kerala Mathematical Association (KMA), which, since its inception in 1962, had been serving the mathematical community by conducting seminars, workshops and training programmes as also publishing a research journal

2 BJP men hacked to death

KANNUR: Two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers were hacked to death at New Mahe under the Thalassery police station limits here on Friday.

The BJP called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal on Saturday in the district in protest against the murder of the two party workers.

The police said the BJP workers were attacked by a group of assailants at Kallayi, New Mahe, at around 11.30 a.m. The deceased were identified as K. Vijith (28) and K.V. Shinoj (29), both residents of East Palloor, near Mahe. Having suffered multiple stab injuries and burns in bomb blast, Vijith died on the spot while Shinoj succumbed to his injuries while being rushed to the Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode.

BJP leaders alleged that the two party workers were stabbed to death by Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers.

Proposals for development of coastal belt sought

ALAPPUZHA: Fisheries Minister S. Sarma has called upon public representatives and officials to submit proposals for development of the coastal belt of the district, which would in turn be implemented with Rs.5 crore that had been set apart in the budget for the States coastal development initiatives.

Addressing a meeting held at the collectorate here on Friday, Mr. Sarma said the district would have projects implemented in 30 coastal villages spread over seven Assembly constituencies, with each constituency to have projects worth Rs.75 lakh. Public representatives and officials would have to shortlist projects and submit them to the steering committee headed by the District Collector by June 15, after which the committee would have to approve the same and submit the lists to the State government through the State Coastal Development Corporation by June 25.

Special edition on Changampuzha

KOCHI: The special edition of Granthalokam, the magazine by Kerala State Library Council, to mark the birth centenary of poet Changampuzha Krishna Pillai will be released on May 31.

Literary critic M. Thomas Mathew will release the issue by handing over the first copy to K.V. Sudhakaran, president, Ernakulam Press Club, at Edappally Changampuzha Park.

Photo exhibition on Suraiya

Kochi: An exhibition of photos on the late writer Kamala Suraiya taken by Razack Thazhathangadi, chief photographer of Madhyamam daily, was inaugurated by Culture Minister M.A. Baby at the Press Club Art Gallery here on Friday.

Titled �From Neermathalam to Gulmohar, the photos � captured over 17 years, between 1992 and 2009, the year Suraiya died � present various facets of the writers life as Madhavikutty and later as Kamala Suraiya.

Also on display are copies of some most familiar pictures of Suraiya in her teens, with her family and the like, taken from her album.

The pictures bring alive the many twists and turns in the life of Keralas most controversial and most-loved writer.

Entries invited for film festival

KOCHI: Rotary Club of Cochin Metropolis will organise �Script 2011 � an international film festival � here on February 3 and 4, 2011.

An initiative of the Rotary International, District 3201, the event is being held as part of the Rotary District conference to be held here on February 5 and 6 next year.

G. Viswanath, governor of Rotary District 3201, said on Thursday that Script 2011 seeks to recognise outstanding short films based on social issues/themes and corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Anil Menon, chairman of the programme, said that corporates, filmmakers, voluntary organisations and students can participate in the film fest.

Houseboat owners seek exemption

KOCHI: Houseboats must be excluded from the purview of the (Kerala) Inland Vessel Rules, 2010, the All Kerala Houseboat Owners Association has demanded. Houseboats cannot be compared to tourist vessels and passenger ferries, since these traditional vessels are never crowded beyond their capacity. The boat tragedies at Kumarakom, Thattekad and Thekkady occurred because of overloading and the apathy of officials who issued licence to the vessels, said V.C. Zachariah, president of the Association, here on Friday.

�Houseboats have no history of being involved in similar accidents. This apart, they ferry guests along the calm inland waterways, near the coast. Despite these facts, we were not consulted while framing the rules. The insistence on houseboats and workers conforming to these new rules would affect the sector and result in around 4,000 workers being rendered jobless, he said.

Home for abandoned infants to be opened

KOCHI: Kerala High Court judge Justice Thottathil Radhakrishnan will on Saturday inaugurate a new home for abandoned infants and children to be run under the aegis of the Corporation of Kochi at Panakkattampally, Thammanam.

The �Vatsalya Bhavan-Ammthottil will be a 3,000-sq. ft. facility. It is the first of its kind for abandoned infants to be run by the City Corporation, said Mayor Mercy Williams here on Friday. She said that the Corporation already had facilities for abandoned children and adults.

The inauguration is slated for 3 p. m. on Saturday, said Prof. Williams.

Deputy Mayor of the Corporation C. K. Manishankar will deliver the keynote address.

The new facility is being set up under the Cochin Urban Poverty Reduction Project. It will be taken care of by the Don Bosco Welfare Centre Society.

Plea to bar teachers from contesting polls

Kochi:A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday issued notice to the State government and other respondents on a writ petition seeking to restrain aided schoolteachers and staff from contesting elections to various bodies, including the Assembly and Parliament.

The notice was issued by the Bench of Justice C.N. Ramachandran Nair and Justice P. S.Gopinathan.

According to Moosa A.S, manager, AMLP School, Mannarkkad, Palakkad, as per the provisions of the Kerala Government Service Conduct Rules, government employees, including government teachers, were barred from contesting elections. However, the rules had not been made applicable to the teachers and non-teaching staff of aided schools.

IGNOU test for B.Ed. course

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is conducting entrance test for B.Ed. special education programme for the session starting July on May 30.

The test will be held between 10 a.m. and 12 noon. The test is being held in 20 centres for 3,457 candidates. Hall-tickets have already been dispatched to candidates

e-libraries in all districts soon

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Library Council has decided to set up e-libraries in all districts during the current year.

Besides setting up the e-libraries, the council would also institute an annual award for excellence in literature with a purse of Rs.50,000, promote formation of neighbourhood study centres and conduct a survey of libraries in the State. The council has approved its 2010-11 annual budget with an outlay of Rs.36.80 crore to carry out its various ongoing and new projects.

Duty hours fixed for paramedical staff

Thiruvananthapuram: The government has issued orders fixing the duty hours of paramedical staff under the Health Department and the Directorate of Medical Education as eight-hour daily shifts. They will work on eight-hour shifts, totalling 48 hours a week. In hospitals, where casualty and emergency wings are functioning, all staff should be available on call round-the clock. At PHCs which are open from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m. on all seven days of the week, the staff will work on one shift.

Increase in rainfall forecast

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday saw the beginnings of a cyclonic circulation in the upper levels of the atmosphere over the southeast Arabian Sea holding promise of an increase in the intensity of rainfall in the coastal areas of Kerala.

The experimental Global Forecasting System products of the IMD show the winds perambulating over the region turning anticlockwise the monsoon flow from the southwest Indian Ocean into the southern part of the peninsula over the next two days from its present orientation from west to east very close to the southern tip of the State

Super specialty OP clinics at new block from July 1

Thiruvananthapuram: The new super specialty (SS) block of Medical College Hospital, constructed as part of the Rs.120-crore Prime Ministers Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), will formally start outpatient clinics of six super specialty streams on July 1.

The SS block, one of the major highlights of the PMSSY scheme and constructed by HLL Lifecare Ltd. , is expected to be dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister by July end or the first week of August, Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy said at a press conference here on Friday.

The 253-bed SS block, spread over 1,60,000 sq.ft on seven floors, houses the outpatient clinics and inpatient wards of the six super specialties, eight operation theatres, 29-bed six intensive care units, haemo dialysis unit and renal transplant unit, apart from administrative blocks.

Plea to reconsider decision on road width

HIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The organisations of industries have asked the government to reconsider the decision to reduce the width of national highways in the State.

In a joint statement here on Friday, they contended that the reduction of the width of the highways from 45 metres fixed by the National Highway Authority of India to 30 metres would affect the progress of the State.

They felt that some sections which attached more importance to selfish interests than to the development interests of the State were behind the move.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Minister to lay stone for marine park

Kozhikode: Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac will lay the foundation stone for the Beypore marine park of the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra) at a function at Kalladithode on June 1, it was announced here on Thursday.

Industries Minister Elamaram Karim will preside.

The marine park will be developed in about 25 acres near the Beypore harbour. It will have seafood pre-processing units, value-added production centre for marine products, facilities to repair fishing boats, a data and communication centre and a creche.

The estimated cost of developing infrastructure for the park is Rs.10 crore. Funds will be available from the Union governments Assistance to State for Developing Export Infrastructure and other Allied Activities (Aside).

The seafood processing units will be managed by fish peeling workers of the area and is expected to end the unhygienic conditions prevailing in processing units. It is proposed to set up two peeling units, each having 150 workers

Council approves City Development Plan

Kozhikode: A special meeting of the city corporation council on Thursday approved the City Development Plan (CDP) for Kozhikode Urban Area prepared by Kochi-based EMB Planners and Designers for securing funds for development activities in the city.

The consultancy firm comprising Elizabeth Philips, Mary P. Mathews and K. Beena, all retired government town planners, had prepared the CDP for obtaining funds under the second phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme.

Since the Centre has decided to put funding for projects in the second phase of JNNURM on hold, the corporation will now seek funds under a scheme of the government of France. The French government had offered to support four cities in the country to improve urban infrastructure provided these cities had some historical connection with France, Deputy Mayor P.T. Abdul Latheef said

Robbers strike at two houses

KOLLAM: A woman staying alone at Anchal Edamulakkal was gagged, tied to the cot and robbed by a three member gang at about 2 a.m. on Thursday. The gang that arrived in car gained entry into the house through the roof after removing some tiles.

On entering the house they woke up the woman, whipped out a knife and placed it against her neck warning her against raising any alarm. After gagging her and tying her up, they removed the ear rings she wore. From a box beneath the cot they snatched Rs. 5,000 and made away.

In a similar incident at Shakthikulangrara Poovanpuzha in the city, an elderly couple was robbed by a three-member gang also at about 2 a.m. on Thursday

Minister to inaugurate super specialty hospital

KATTAPPANA: Minister for Coir and Co-operation G. Sudhakaran will inaugurate the first super specialty hospital in the co-operative sector on Friday at Thankamany in Idukki district. The hospital will address the health needs of the people in the backward areas.

In the first of the project, the hospital, with an area of 9.500 sq.ft., has X-ray, ECG, lab, ICU, operation theatre, labour room, a pay ward and a 24-hour functioning emergency section. After the inauguration, more specialties like gynaecology, paediatrics and general medicine will be arranged at the hospital.

The office-bearers of the hospital said that arrangements have been made to give concession to all those who are included in the Complete Health Insurance Scheme implemented by the State government

Applications invited for M.Sc. course

KANNUR: The Kannur University School of Behavioural Science here has invited applications for admission to its M.Sc. course in Clinical and Counselling Psychology.

A press release issued by the school here on Thursday said the course consisted of 12 core papers with two elective papers, practical research dissertation, clinical practice and institutional visits. Preference will be given to students who have completed and passed their degree examination in psychology with a minimum of 50 per cent marks in optional main. A candidate having a degree in any subject is eligible for admission. The selection will be made from a rank-list prepared on adding the aggregate percentage in the degree examinations

Kannur set to get a new sports arena

KANNUR: Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said here on Thursday that the Rs.30-crore indoor stadium being developed at Mundayad here for the basketball and wrestling events of the 35th National Games marked the beginning of the development of a proposed sports complex there.

Laying the foundation stone for the indoor stadium, Mr. Balakrishnan said the development of the complex would encourage sports activities in Malabar region, which had produced many sports personalities. The indoor stadium would also boost the development of Mundayad area.

Fish count reveals alarming facts

ALAPPUZHA: The third annual fish count in the Vembanad lake, conducted by the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), has revealed a fall in population of various species, apart from the alarming sight of hundreds of fish trapped to death in plastic bags dumped in the lake.

The count, according to Latha Bhaskar of ATREE, found 52 species of fin fish and 14 species of crustaceans and molluscs including shrimp.

This, she said, was a marked variation from last years census of 62 species of fish and 14 species of the latter. The students and nature lovers engaged in the day-long fish count were shocked at the sight of several hundreds of fish trapped to death in plastic bags, diapers and tampons that lay on the lake-bed after being dumped into the water especially in the Kainakary and Pallathuruthy regions

Award for Madhavan Nair

KOCHI: G. Madhavan Nair, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), will receive the P.S. John Endowment Award instituted by the Ernakulam Press Club from Vayalar Ravi, Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, here on Saturday.

The early recipients of the prestigious award instituted in memory of the renowned journalist include E.M.S. Namboodiripad, V.S. Achuthanandan, E. Sreedharan, C.K. Chandrappan, V.J. Kurian, K.Kasturirangan, Ammannoor Madhava Chakiar, P. K. Warrier, Anju Bobby George, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, K. R. Gowriamma and Sukumari

A Jazz night in Kochi

KOCHI: �Here is our take on � Jai Ho! A Jazz rendition of A.R. Rahmans Oscar-winning score followed.

Jazz musics capacity for improvisation, spontaneity and on-the-spot adaptation was on display at the New York-based Charlie Porter Quartets concert on Wednesday. �The quartet now plays the role of Jazz ambassadors as part of the U.S.

State Departments effort to introduce American music and culture to the developing countries. They were brought to Kochi by the U.S. consulate-general, Chennai. After a short tour of India, they will move on to Bangladesh and later to Turkey

Charitable activities by hotel association

KOCHI: The State-level charitable activities under the aegis of the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association was inaugurated here on Thursday by the president of the association G. Sudhish Kumar.

The charitable activities have been initiated at the first anniversary of the death of former patron and president of the association K. Kuriakose. A function was organised here to mark the death anniversary to launch several programmes including distribution of school accessories to students from poor families.

An insurance scheme for hotel owners and their workers was also launched

Agency to set up community colleges at 100 centres in State

KOCHI: The Bharat Sevak Samaj (BSS) will start community colleges for vocational training in 100 centres across the State by the 2011. Addressing a press conference here, B.S. Balachandran, national general secretary of the BSS, said that the organisation would give shape to a diversification scheme whereby those coming for training in one job were imparted training and knowledge in other related vocations.

As part of organising vocational education campaign across the country, the BSS will organise a nation-level vocational education meet at the MES Centre at Kaloor on May 29. Dominic Presentation, MLA, will preside. Former Judge of the Supreme Court V.R. Krishna Iyer and Philip Augustine, managing director, Lakeshore Hospital, will be honoured at the function.

Film fete for football lovers

KOCHI: The football fever is gripping the city. With the Fifa World Cup just days away, all talk end in football these days. Right from passionate discussions on whether cable wars would deny them the chance to see the action live to ongoing practice matches.

And for those die-hard fans, the Chavara Cultural Centre is offering a feast, of different sort. The centre will organise a Football Film Festival this weekend.

The first film to be screened at the festival is Gods of Brazil � Pele and Garrincha, which is an analyses using archive footage of the careers of two legends. While Pele went on to stake his claim to the pedestal of worlds best footballer, Garrincha, whom many rate as more talented than Pele, died as a broken alcoholic at the age of 49.

Three held on charge of smuggling spirit into the city

KOCHI: The shadow wing of the City Police and the Eroor police arrested three persons, including the manager of a bar hotel in the city, on charges of attempting to smuggle in spirit.

150 hectares of fallow land to be cultivated

KOCHI: Ernakulam district panchayat has made plans to bring another 150 hectares of fallow land under paddy cultivation for the ensuing season. But planners still have to grapple with the continuing shortage of workers to harvest season requirements.

Local panchayats like Chellanam, Kottuvally and Edavanakkad are assessing the possibility of using the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to draft workers for the harvest season even though there is scepticism prevails about its feasibility.

Development Standing Committee Chairman of Ernakulam district panchayat Anil Kanjily said that bringing another 150 hectares of fallow land is an ambitious programme, which would reduce the total land lying fallow in the district to about 20 per cent of the total area available for paddy cultivation.

Water management plan by November

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An integrated water resources management action plan for River Pampa will be drawn up by November, Water Resources Principal Secretary L. Radhakrishnan has said.

Mr. Radhakrishnan told reporters here on Thursday that the Action Plan Support Facility (APSF) facilitated by the Union Environment and Forests Ministry in collaboration with the European Union would be utilised for preparing the integrated plan for watershed-based development.

If the focus of the Pampa Action Plan was on drinking water and pollution of the river, the new plan would be drawn up for integrated use of water resources for tourism, agriculture, pilgrimage and drinking, among others, through pollution abatement.

The new plan would be integrated with the Pampa Action Plan

Do not reduce width of highways: GTECH

Thiruvananthapuram: The Group of Technology Companies (GTECH), a strategic grouping of software companies in the State, has proposed that Kerala use Central funds to compensate and rehabilitate the families that would be displaced for widening the National Highways to 45 metres.

A pressnote issued by GTECH here on Thursday said that reducing the width of the NHs would not be in the long-term interest of the State or its citizens. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has approved the expansion of about 700 kms of highways, at an estimated investment of Rs.10,000 crore, over a 30-month period. However, politicians in Kerala, cutting across party lines, insist that the width of the highway should not exceed 30 m (as against the NHAI standard of 60 m), citing the impact of land acquisition on the affected people. This has put the entire project at risk and the State could lose the approved funding and a project vital to its needs.

State to raise Disaster Response Force

Thiruvananthapuram: The government proposed to raise a State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) to carry out rescue and relief operations during natural calamities and man-made disasters, Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran said here on Thursday.

Delivering the inaugural address at a seminar organised in connection with a mass awareness programme on lightning hazards and safety measures, he said the proposed unit would comprise personnel drawn from the Police, Home Guards and Fire and Rescue Services. The proposal had been approved in principle, he said.

The Minister said a unit of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) would start operations in Kozhikode next month. A second NDRF unit, meant for seasonal operations, would be stationed at Peerumed in Idukki district from July.

Mukesh honoured

Gracious act:Actor Mukesh being honoured with a golden shawl by Kerala Professional Drama Chamber member Kollam Babu at a function in Kollam on Thursday on his appointment as chairman of the Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Akademi

Monsoon keeps Kerala waiting

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The sun moved in and out of rainclouds over Kerala on a day of rain and sunshine on Wednesday.

Aluva received a heavy downpour of 14 cm during the 24 hours ending at 8.30 a.m. on Wednesday. Kanjirappally (8 cm), Kochi airport and Kottayam (7 cm each) also received heavy rainfall.

Several other centres spread across the length of the State received rainfall measuring between 4 cm and 1 cm on the gauge.

The rains have not penetrated beyond the midlands so far this week. There have been a few good spells of rainfall during the course of the week along the plains stretching towards the Palakkad gap and also very isolated downpours in the highlands of Idukki. The month of May so far has been 10 per cent deficient in rainfall in the catchments of Kerala State Electricity Boards hydroelectric projects.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Police quiz bus burning case accused

KOCHI: The City Police team probing the blast at district collectorate interrogated Paramabayi Majeed, one of the accused in the Kalamassery bus burning case, to verify the leads to other suspects involved in the case.

Majeed, who was arraigned as accused in the case related to burning of bus belonging to Tamil Nadu Transport Corporation in September 2005, is now out on bail. The IED-triggered blast went of under the stairs of the fifth floor in July and the investigating team had tracked the suspects to some of the West Asian countries. The investigation had met a dead-end with the arrest of Lashker-e-Taiba operative Thadiyentavide Nazir.

Deposits in cooperative sector increasing\'

KOCHI: Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies T. Mayadevi has said that deposits in cooperative institutions in the district have registered an increase of about Rs. 4,000 crore in the four years since the Left Democratic Front government came to power.

Addressing a press conference at the district collectorate to explain the achievements of the cooperative department in the district, Ms. Mayadevi said that deposits in the cooperative institutions which stood at Rs. 2,625.6 crore four years ago had gone up to Rs. 6,952.37 crore since then.

An assistance of Rs. 3.84 crore was given out to 93 beneficiaries in the district as agriculture debt relief.

Ms. Mayadevi said that the process to write off the debts of fishing workers and widows was in progress.

Staff stir at port continues

KOCHI: Protest action by employees of Cochin Port Trust under the aegis of CITU, INTUC and BMS pressing for implementation of the revised wages settlement and to stop the privatisation of workshop and dredging operations entered the 45 {+t} {+h} day on Wednesday.

The �Satyagraha protest is also to press the trade unions demand that the Cochin Port Trust should buy its own dredger.

One another demand raised by the unions is that the Port Trust should take over the container handling terminal.

Allegations unproven, says Thachankary

Kochi: The suspended Inspector-General of Police Tomin J. Thachankary on Wednesday informed the Central Administrative Tribunal, Ernakulam Bench, that the allegations levelled by the State government against him had not been substantiated by any material.

In reply to the governments statement, he said that wild allegations such as misuse of official vehicle, publishing photograph in uniform unauthorisedly, frequent foreign visits, possession of multiple passports etc were raised against him as part of character assassination. He had not violated any service rule and his action did not constitute misconduct, warranting a suspension. The order was actuated by mala fides.

One more person held on burglary charge

KOCHI: The police team probing into the burglaries committed in houses and churches in Ernakulam and Thrissur arrested one more person � Shaiju, 32, of Amballoor, Thrissur.

The team led by V.G. Raveendranath, Circle Inspector and Siby Thomas, Sub-Inspector, had arrested Shameer, the leader of the group, on Monday night.

Shaiju was arrested from North Paravur on the basis of information received during interrogation of Shameer.

On interrogation, Shaiju confessed to committing many burglaries apart from the crimes committed along with Shameer.

It has been learnt that the group used Shaijus car for burglaries and moved around by hiding the specially-built crowbar used for breaking into houses under the seat of the car.

Retirement age: case adjourned

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday adjourned hearing on a writ petition challenging the government order enhancing the retirement age of government medical college teachers from 55 to 60.



The petition was filed by M.M. Parameswaran, a former teacher of the Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda College, Ollur. The petitioner said the order was arbitrary and illegal. The order was passed without amending relevant rule in the Kerala Service Rules. He also contended that refusing to extend the benefits of the order to Ayurveda college teachers was discriminatory.

Women\'s panel offers help to Sampath\'s kin

KOCHI: The Kerala State Womens Commission has offered help to rehabilitate the impoverished widow of Sampath, who allegedly died in police custody at Palakkad on March 30, and his two babies.

Commission chairperson D. Sreedevi told The Hindu that the commission could take care of Sampaths wife Saritha and the two children, aged two-and-a-half years and two-and-a-half months. The three could be accommodated at the commissions short-stay facility in Thiruvananthapuram and also take special care of the babies. She said the commission was unable to pay any money to her, but could talk to other government authorities if they could do something about it.

Trade bodies oppose cut in width for highways

KOCHI: Several professional, commercial and social organisations have formed a joint platform to voice concern about the move to reduce the width of national highways from 45 metres to 30 metres.

The organisations, including Kerala Management Association, Confederation of Indian Industry, Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (Credai), Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE) Kerala have urged the State government to retain the width at a minimum of 45 metres.

At a joint press conference here, representatives of the organisations released a study report which focused on the need for a 45-metre highway. The report was prepared by the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), using the data collected from government and other authentic sources.

The consortium of organisations sought to allay fears on the compensation and rehabilitation.

Kodiyeri should quit: BJP

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan should resign in view of the High Courts observations on lock-up deaths in the State, BJP spokesman George Kurian said in a statement here on Wednesday.

The State recorded the highest number of lock-up deaths in the country. The Home Department had failed to prevent torture in custody though more than one lock-up death had been reported from some police stations

Youths urged to take YC membership

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala has called upon youngsters to join the Youth Congress, which is giving more political space for them to contribute to the countrys progress and growth of society.

In a statement here on Wednesday, Mr. Chennithala said the organisational elections in the Youth Congress were being held for the first time after many years. The organisation hopes to attract youngsters from across communities to join it, particularly women and people belonging to weaker sections.

Foundation laid for SCERT training centre

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Education Minister M.A. Baby said here on Tuesday that the State government would do more to improve the standard of education in the State.

He was speaking after laying the foundation stone of the guest house and training centre at the State Council for Educational Research (SCERT) headquarters here. The Minister said that the new facilities would help SCERT to lead educational activities in the State.

Mayor C. Jayan Babu, councillor Maheshwaran Nair, P. Govinda Pillai and SCERT director M.A. Khader were also present at the function.

The 50,000 square feet, six-floor guest house will have the facility to accommodate around 120 people at a time.

It will also have facilities like two multimedia conference halls, trainers halls, auditorium, seminar halls, technology room, canteen and faculty rooms.

Student Police Cadet Scheme for State

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Cabinet has approved in principle a proposal to introduce a Student Police Cadet Scheme in schools in the State from the coming academic year.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan told the media after a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday that the scheme would be modelled on the National Service Scheme and the National Cadet Corps. The concept had been tried on a pilot basis in the last State School Kalolsavam (art fete) and found successful.

The Chief Minister said a pre-matric hostel for boys would be set up at Manjeswaram in Kasaragod district. Necessary posts for the hostel will be created.

He announced that 673 temporary posts would be created in armed police battalions for manning training programmes. A new police station will be set up at Panamaram in Wayanad district. Sanction will be accorded for the needed posts

School codes published on website

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Uniform School Identification Code, compiled by the State Institute of Educational Management and Training (SIEMAT)-Kerala has been published on the website www.siemat.kerala.gov.in

SIEMAT, in association with AEOs, DEOs, DIET and DPI, has compiled the school codes for all government, aided, recognised unaided schools, higher secondary schools and vocational higher secondary schools in the State. School codes of CBSE, ICSE, national open schools, technical schools, special schools and area intensive schools have also been included in the list.

The SIEMAT office has to be informed of any correction or addition to the list by post or by email to schoolcode@gmail.com. The postal address is Director, SIEMAT-Kerala, Attakulangara PO, Thiruvananthapuram

Monsoon keeps Kerala waiting

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The sun moved in and out of rainclouds over Kerala on a day of rain and sunshine on Wednesday.

Aluva received a heavy downpour of 14 cm during the 24 hours ending at 8.30 a.m. on Wednesday. Kanjirappally (8 cm), Kochi airport and Kottayam (7 cm each) also received heavy rainfall. Several other centres spread across the length of the State received rainfall measuring between 4 cm and 1 cm on the gauge.

The rains have not penetrated beyond the midlands so far this week. There have been a few good spells of rainfall during the course of the week along the plains stretching towards the Palakkad gap and also very isolated downpours in the highlands of Idukki.

The month of May so far has been 10 per cent deficient in rainfall in the catchments of Kerala State Electricity Boards hydroelectric projects.

The winds from the seas are yet to attain sufficient power to drive the rainclouds up the mountain areas of the Western Ghats.

Admission: student held on charge of tampering

Thiruvananthapuram: The police on Wednesday arrested a 22-year-old engineering college student on the charge of tampering with the engineering entrance allocation process in 2008.

The suspect was identified as Rinu. P. Babu of Idukki district. The case came to light when a student, Geethu Thomas, complained to Director-General of Police Jacob Punnoose that she had got admission to an engineering college that she had not opted for.

Ms. Geethu was ranked 1,757 in the 2008 Engineering Entrance Examination. She alleged that somebody had changed her option online. On the basis of her complaint, the city police registered a case (391/2008 Thampanoor police station crime) of cheating under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code read with violation of Section 66 of the Information Technology Act 2000.

New diagnostic facility at RIO

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Regional Institute of Ophthalmology (RIO) has become the first hospital in the government sector in the State to acquire the sophisticated Ophthalmic Electrophysiology unit, which, through a battery of tests will help in accurate clinical diagnosis of a range of retinal and optical nerve diseases.

The electrophysiology unit, set up at a cost of Rs.28 lakh and a tele ophthalmology unit at Rs.68 lakh, were commissioned at the RIO on Wednesday by Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy.

Electrophysiologic testing is useful in diagnosing a variety of inherited retinal diseases, toxic drug exposure, intraocular foreign bodies, and retinal vascular occlusions. Through a series of tests like electroretinography (ERG), electroculography (EOG), focal macular electroretinography (FERG), ophthalmologists can assess the functioning of the visual pathway from the retina to the brain and can reach an accurate clinical diagnosis. The acquisition of such modern diagnostic facilities will make the RIO a comprehensive eye care centre, Superintendent V. Sahasranamam said.

KEPCO launches poultry products outlet

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Poultry Development Corporation (KEPCO) should take necessary measures to ensure that the State produced its requirement of eggs and poultry meat, said Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan.

He was speaking after inaugurating a KEPCO poultry complex at Pettah here on Wednesday. The Chief Minister said the State imported poultry products from other States to meet its rising demand. Concerns have been raised about such products being brought from neighbouring States. There have been reports that chicken are injected with drugs so that they gain weight very rapidly, he said.

The Chief Minister said it would not be difficult for the State to cultivate its requirement of eggs and poultry. In fact, egg production had risen by 33 per cent during the last four years. In 2006, eggs estimated to cost Rs.120 crore were produced. Today, the figure stands at Rs. 161 crore. Likewise, there has been a 15 per cent jump in the production of poultry meat in the State during this period

Audit finds fault with Devaswom Board

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Local Fund Audit Department has found fault with the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) for not correcting the irregularities pointed out by it when the Board renewed its agreement with the Dhanalakshmi Bank for the sale of coupons and distribution of �prasadam of the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple during the Malayalam year 1185.

In its report submitted to the High Court, the department pointed out that as per the agreement the bank had to remit the entire amount collected from the sale of �aravana and �appom coupons in a separate account opened for the purpose.

The bank had to credit Rs.54,09,42,550 in the boards account for the �aravana sold during the Mandalam and Makaravilakku seasons of 1185 ME. But as per the bank scroll produced to audit only Rs.53,80,54,250 was credited.

The short credit was Rs.28,88,300. Thus, instead of advance collection and credit to the board fund it was actually short credit of such an amount.

Light Logics bags innovation award

Thiruvananthapuram: Light Logics, a Technopark- based company specialised in development of holography equipment, has won the gold medal in the DST- Lockheed Martin India Innovation programme.

The company has been recognised for the development of a new generation Holographic Weapon Sight (HWS) that helps soldiers fire accurately to gain early advantage in combat situations and anti- terrorist operations.

P.T. Ajith Kumar, CEO, Light Logics, received the medal from Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan at a function held in New Delhi last week.

Dr. Ajith Kumar said the Holographic Weapon Sight was designed to replace the conventional red dot sights and laser sights that depended on tubular vision, restricting the field of view in sharp shooting.

Air India cancels flights

Nedumbassery: As a flash strike by a section of employees of Air India entered its second day on Wednesday, some international services of the airline from the Cochin airport had to be cancelled.

The strike is to protest against a gag order issued on the employees against talking to media about the air crash in Mangalore and delay in payment of salaries. The cancelled flights were Indian IC 596 to Sharjah, Air India AI 918 in the Dammam-Muscat-Calicut-Kochi sector and AI 690 in the Kochi-Mumbai route. Indian flight IC 519 to Chennai was also cancelled

UAE relaxes norms on visa cancellation

Dubai: Expatriates changing their jobs in the UAE will no longer be required to cancel visas of family members under their sponsorship. However, they have to deposit a bank guarantee of 5,000 dirhams ($136) for each family member with the Department of Naturalisation and Residency (NRD), a Khaleej Times report said quoting official sources.

Monsoon trawling ban from June 16

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Cabinet on Wednesday decided to introduce the annual ban on trawling along the sea off the State coast from June 16 to July 31. The seasonal ban is introduced to conserve fish resources, the southwest monsoon being the breeding season of many fish species

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Painting competition

Thiruvananthapuram: In connection with World Milk Day on June 1 Dairy Development Department is conducting pencil drawing, painting (water colour) and quiz competitions for upper primary and high school students in the city on May 29. Those interested must contact Principal, Dairy Training Centre, Thiruvananthapuram before May 28. Phone number 0471-2440911

Haritha awards

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Biodiversity Board has announced the Haritha Awards 2009.

Government Higher Secondary School, Sreekantapuram, Kunnur was adjudged the �Haritha School. Rajagiri College of Social Sciences, Kalamassery, Ernakulam is the �Haritha College.

Reema Narendran of the The New Indian Express Thiruvananthapuram was adjudged the �Haritha Journalist (English) and Varghese C. Thomas, Haritha Journalist (Malayalam). V.C. Asha of Amritha TV was adjudged �Haritha electronic media worker. The awards will be given away by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on Wednesday

Prize for Railways

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The pavilion of Indian Railways has bagged the first prize in the Central government sector at the 47 {+t} {+h} All India Trade Fair organised in connection with the Thrissur Pooram Exhibition 2010.

The static running model of Integral Coach Factory and the bio-diesel model from Railway Loco Works, Perambur, were the highlight of the pavilion. Senior Public Relations Officer P. Narayanan received the award from former Speaker Therambil Ramakrishnan, MLA, at a function in Thrissur on Monday.

Speaker, K. Radhakrishnan inaugurated the valedictory function and Devaswom Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran presided over the function.

Low pressure may lead to more rainfall

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chennai Regional Meteorological Centres weather models on Tuesday showed a low pressure system persisting off the Kerala coast over the Lakshadweep Islands, causing an eddying of the water vapour currents at different levels of the atmosphere leading to precipitation.

This churning brought widespread rainfall in Kerala during the day. The system is seen to remain over the area for the next three days covered by the models and, therefore, the prospects are for more rainfall, heavy in some places, into the latter half of this week.

Satellite pictures at different hours during the course of the day showed rainclouds flowing from the westerly direction into the States coastline, which is as it should be under ideal monsoon conditions (unless the direction is from the south-westerly direction).

Indonesian envoy visits Technopark

Thiruvananthapuram: Indonesian Ambassador Andi M. Ghalib, on Tuesday, visited the Technopark campus at Kazhakuttam here as part of his official visit to India. He was accompanied by Leonard F. Hutabarat, First Secretary, and Imbang Listiyadi, Commercial Counsellor.

The delegation met Technopark officials and discussed the possibility of a collaboration between India and Indonesia. �We are interested in associating with a country like India which offers opportunities and values culture. We foresee India becoming a world leader because of its cultural supremacy, said Mr. Ghalib.

�We are looking for an opportunity to build good cultural and trade relations with India. An organisation like Technopark is necessary in Indonesia and probably we will invite the Technopark officials to visit us for discussions on setting up a similar venture,� said Mr. Ghalib.

Regular blood donors to be honoured

Thiruvananthapuram: The World Blood Donation Day celebrations being organised in the city by Terumo Penpol, State NSS Cell and Club 25 on June 14 will be marked by a function to honour repeat regular donors.

The global theme for the 2010 World Blood Donor Day is ��New blood for the world. It hopes that a new generation of idealistic and motivated voluntary unpaid blood donors will form a pool that provides the safest blood possible for use wherever and whenever it is needed to save life.

At the function to be held here, Terumo Penpol will reward individuals, who have made remarkable contributions to voluntary blood donation. The criterion for the best male donor award of 2010 will be a maximum of four donations in 2009 while that for the best female donor award will be a maximum of three donations. The criterion for other donor award will be a minimum of 10 donations in the past five years.

Send SMS to get vehicle details

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Motor Vehicles Department will make information available to motorists through SMS from Wednesday. This is part of the governments �m-governance project to provide information to citizens �anytime anywhere through mobile technology.

Vehicle details, application status, State Transport Authority (STA) permit application status, allotted registration number of vehicles, vehicle tax, vehicle number booking range and status information will be made available through SMS. This is in addition to the online service provided through the website of the MVD (www.keralamvd.gov.in).

City girl tops national painting contest

Thiruvananthapuram: Silpa Sivaraman, a student of St. Marys Higher Secondary School, Pattom, has bagged the first prize in the national-level painting competition for children organised by the Indian Council for Child Welfare in 2009.

Four other students from Kerala have also won prizes in different categories, general secretary of the Kerala State Council for Child Welfare P. Krishnan announced here on Tuesday.

Silpa outclassed rivals from other States to emerge first in the category for children in the 13-16 age group. The theme of the painting was �Favourite Season. The second prize in the category went to P.R. Vaisakh, a student of the NMHSS, Moothakunnam, Ernakulam, for his work on environmental protection. Amrita Prakash of St. Theresas Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School bagged a consolation prize to take Keralas tally in the group to three.

7 persons received cash from Sabarinath, court told

Thiruvananthapuram: At least seven persons, including a film and television serial actor, had received money as advance for land from financial fraud suspect R. Sabarinath, the Crime Branch said.

It informed the court last week that the recipients of cash are actor Biju Pappan (Rs.15 lakh), Naushad of Nedumangadu (Rs.50 lakh), Maheswaran Nair of Mannamoola (around Rs. 2.11 crore as advance for seven acres of hill top property at Pidaram in the city), Arun of Varkala (Rs.15 lakh), Ashraf of Kameleswaram (Rs.60 lakh), Radhakrishnan (Rs.50 lakh) and Shameem (Rs.46 lakh). All had given sworn statements to the magistrate that they would deposit the money in the civil court.

Investigators said Sabarinath had built villas, a floating boat house and club houses on the land at Pidaram. The agency has valued Sabarinaths investment at Pidaram at more than Rs.1.50 crore. It will request the government to take over the land to compensate investors he had allegedly swindled.

Health insurance plan brings more benefits

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan inaugurated the second phase of the RSBY-CHIS (Comprehensive Health Insurance) scheme here on Tuesday, under which 35 lakh families in the State will get health insurance coverage.

He said that the scheme, implemented by the State by modifying the Centres RSBY scheme to include BPL and APL families, the unorganised sector, endosulfan victims etc., was unique. The Centre would pay insurance premium for only 11.79 lakh families it classified as BPL. The State would provide insurance cover for the rest.

Because of increasing medical expenses, the State had recommended that insurance coverage of Rs.30,000 under the scheme be hiked. The government had decided in principle to give free treatment up to Rs.1 lakh for renal and heart diseases and cancer

Dial 108 only for emergencies, public told

Thiruvananthapuram: The 25 ambulances with advanced life support systems (Dial 108), put on the road under the Kerala Emergency Medical Services Project (KEMP), has played a key role in saving many lives in the few days since it was launched.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Court flays Sivapuram village officer

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday criticised the action of the authorities concerned in launching prosecution against a person for reacting furiously against a village officers unreasonable demands for mutation of a revenue register. Justice V. Ramakumar, while quashing the FIR charging A. Vijayan of Kozhikode with preventing the village officer from discharging her official duty, directed the Kozhikode District Collector to issue appropriate instructions to revenue officials that their duty was to serve the public and not to harass them and drive them from pillar to post.

According to Mr. Vijayan, he had approached Sivapuram Village Officer V. Bindu for effecting mutation of the revenue register of the land he bought. He had submitted the registered sale deed along with the application for mutation

Part-time M.Tech. in software at Cusat

KOCHI: Complacency and lack of aspiration has become the tendency of Indian researchers, Pankaj Jalote, noted software engineering expert and Director of IIIT, Delhi, has said.

In his inaugural address at the national seminar on software engineering organised by the Department of Computer Science at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat), Dr. Jalote said that the countrys science, technology and engineering sectors have still not reached maturity in any level and the aspiration level of Indian researchers is very low, which is keeping them where they have started.

Presiding over the function, Ramachandran Thekkedath, Vice-Chancellor of Cusat, said that we should design research-oriented teaching programmes. In most of the foreign countries, research has become an integral part of the curriculum right from the kindergarten level, he said.

K. Poulose Jacob, head, Department of Computer Science, who welcomed the gathering said that there should be an academic audit for the various seminars as well to determine the standards.

In view of the emerging requirements, the department has got sanction to start a part-time M. Tech programme in software engineering with specialisation in embedded systems. Dr. Jacob said that UGC has allotted Rs. 60 lakh for the department in the next plan for procuring equipment.

Teenager attends NASA course

KOCHI: A teenyboppers quest for the unknown took him on a 10-day visit to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States, a fortnight ago.

Ibrahim Farseen was among the 23 high school students from India and the only one from Kerala to be selected for the programme in which they learned about space exploration, spacecraft and the hidden treasures in space. They also went through zero-gravity training. A Standard X student of St. Johns International Residential School, Chennai, he is the son of Moosa Kunhi, cardiac surgeon at Lakeshore Hospital here.

He hails from Kasargod and studied in the Kendriya Vidyalaya, Kadavanthra, till Standard VIII.

Yet to get over the exhilaration of the trip, Farseen spoke of how he appeared for a written test organised by the Altantis Space School, based on which he was selected for the U.S. trip. It probed the knowledge that the students had about space. Two teachers accompanied him to NASA

C.P. Narayanan is political secretary to VS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Planning Board member C.P. Narayanan has been appointed political secretary to Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan. He replaces K.N. Balagopalan who quit the post following his election as a Rajya Sabha member.

Mr. Achuthanandan had earlier objected to the CPI(M) decision, taken two months ago, to post Mr. Narayanan as his political secretary. However, the partys decision prevailed.

60 kg more of gold for GKSF

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sixty kg of gold, along with handloom products, will be distributed as scratch-and-win prizes to shoppers participating in the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival-Season 4 beginning on December 1.

Gold prizes are being offered for the scratch-and-win contest of the fete for the first time.

In addition to the 60 kg of gold, another 40 kg of gold will be given as mega prizes during the 45-day shopping fete, organised by Kerala Tourism

Principal Secretary goes on leave

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Principal Secretary, Public Works, Tom Jose, proceeded on leave for three weeks from Monday. According to his office, he has proceeded on leave for Ayurvedic treatment and that the decision to go on leave from May 24 was taken well in advance.

The official denied that he was against the decision of the State government and an all-party meeting held in the State capital recently on the proposed project for national highway widening in the State.

It was he who prepared the memorandum submitted by an all-party delegation to the Centre

Thilakan appears before Labour Commissioner

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Actor Thilakan appeared before Labour Commissioner C. Reghu and urged him to ensure the right to work.

On the basis of a complaint filed by social worker Noornad Sreekumar before the State Human Rights Commission saying that Mr.Thilakan was denied of opportunities and the right to work, the commission had directed Mr. Reghu to submit a report on the issue.

Mr.Reghu issued notices to the office-bearers of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA), Mr.Thilakan and the complainant.

But AMMA representatives and Mr. Sreekumar did not turn up for the hearing here.

Mr. Sreekumar had informed the commissioner that he was indisposed and was unable to appear on Monday.

Mr.Reghu postponed the hearing to June 17.

�India, Indonesia have built strong trade ties\'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Indonesian Ambassador Andi M. Ghalib has said that annual bilateral trade between Indonesia and India had grown from $4 billion to $10.55 billion within a span of four years between 2005 and 2009 following the strengthening of ties between the two nations after the visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Indonesia in 2005.

Addressing an interaction with the members of the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Monday, he said the two countries shared a solid foundation of values, commitment to democratic pluralism and rule of law and genuine multilateralism. Indonesia attached great importance to relations between the two countries since it perceived India as an emerging economic superpower.

Answering a question at the interaction, he said the recently signed free trade agreement between India and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) would be of immense benefit to both sides. The pact had opened up a market of 580 million ASEAN people to India, of which Indonesia accounted for a population of 230 million. He said Indonesia would welcome the flow of trade, services and investments from India

Conditions favourable for onset of monsoon

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Monsoon-like weather prevailed over Thiruvananthapuram, the gateway of the southwest monsoon into the Indian subcontinent, on Monday, with the city and its neighbouring areas receiving a steady drizzle punctuated by pattering bouts of rainfall since noon.

The whole of the State too received rainfall during the day, heavy in some places. A low pressure system was in position over the Lakshadweep Islands drawing rain clouds to the region.

The winds have still not started flowing from the west or southwest into the States coast for the initial establishment of the monsoon current over the subcontinent. The northern limit of this streamlined seasonal flow from the Indian Ocean had been passing through a point around 500 km south of the southern end of the State since Friday.

Water supply scheme hangs fire

Thiruvananthapuram: At a time when the Water Resources Department and the Kerala Water Authority are basking in the afterglow of the commissioning of the Japan International Cooperation Agency-aided scheme in the city, a 10-year-old water supply project, designed to provide water to eight panchayats adjoining the capital city, is fighting for life.

The latest hurdle in the path of the scheme is that a 1,000-page tender document for awarding a contract to lay a �reach of the pumping main pipeline has gone �missing from the Secretariat here.

It was in 2000 that the foundation stone for the Ayilamkadavu drinking water scheme was laid. The project was designed to generate 11 million litres of drinking water a day for five panchayats in Kazhakuttam, one in Attingal and two in Kilimanoor. The sanctioned outlay for the Centrally-funded scheme was Rs.21 crore.

Kasaragod\'s sorrow lingers

KASARAGoD: The relatives of eight of the passengers from here who died in the Mangalore plane crash on May 22 have to wait for at least a week before they receive the bodies for funeral as the remains of the passengers are among the 22 badly charred bodies that have not yet been identified.

The control room here informed that the death toll of the passengers from Kasaragod was 48. No body was handed over to any of the eight bereaved families on Monday as it was decided to take their body samples for DNA finger-printing in Hyderabad

Sunday, May 23, 2010

GCDA toilet complex to be opened today

KOCHI: The Greater Cochin Development Authority chairperson M.C. Josephine will inaugurate a toilet complex, built by the Authority near the Sewage Treatment Plant at High Court Junction, on Monday .

The complex will have three closets and one bath-cum-toilet for women and three closets and four urinals for men.

The complex has been built by Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, a voluntary social organisation, on a BOT basis.

The renovation work of Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium is nearing completion. Work is also about to commence on the complex at the eastern entry of the Ernakulam South Railway Station, according to a pressnote from the Authority.

Traffic awareness class for taxi drivers

KOCHI: The Kadavanthra Janamaithri Police organised a traffic awareness class here on Sunday as part of its community outreach initiative.

Autorickshaw and taxi-car drivers from within the stations limits attended the traffic awareness class which was led by A. Ananthalal, the Sub-Inspector of Kadavanthra Police. He spoke of the need to drive carefully and to abide by traffic rules, since around 4,000 people get killed in road accidents in Kerala each year and around 40,000 get injured. Accidents can be prevented if each road user is cautious, he said.

The City Police Commissioner Manoj Abraham inaugurated the event, following which spectacles were distributed free of cost to 125 people from within the station limits.

The beneficiaries were selected on the basis of an eye camp held earlie

Maharaja\'s college alumni organise get-together

KOCHI: Around 50 old students of Maharajas College, Ernakulam, who graduated in 1960, gathered at their alma mater on Sunday to recall their younger days and to relive those moments.

Those who arrived for the first ever �Golden Jubilee meet at the Maharajas College, were drawn from various walks of life.

The mood of the meet was set by N. V. John, formerly a professor with New Man College, Thodupuzha, who sang for his friends Mohammed Rafis �Chahoonga meh tuhjhe from �Dosti.

It was a reliving for a few hours what they had experienced in their graduation years as was evident from the joy with which the old students greeted each other and listened to the progress they had made in life.

Their teachers in the Maharajas of those years M. K. Sanu, M. Achuthan, M. K. Prasad and K. J. Cleetus were those who once again addressed their old students.

The get-together of the old students of the 1960 batch ended with a lunch.

Custodial death report to wait

Kochi: The High Court on Friday directed the police not to submit the final report in the case relating to the custodial death of a murder accused in Palakkad.

Justice V. Ram Kumar reserved orders on the petition filed by Murukesh, brother of the victim Sampath, seeking to hand over the investigation of the case to CBI. The State government opposed the appeal and claimed to have investigated the case in an effective manner.

The police informed the High Court that 14 accused, including a Dy.SP and Circle Inspector, had been suspended from service. Departmental action has been initiated against them. Investigation confirmed that Sampaths death was due to custodial torture, the court was told.

Vypeen completes all works under MGNREGS

KOCHI: Vypeen block panchayat has excelled in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) thanks mainly to the determination and drive of its women.

The block set a model for the rest of the district to emulate by completing all the works taken up under the MGNREGP.

That majority of the job days were created by the women further added to the glow of the feat achieved.

Out of the 6,604 works taken up in the entire district under the programme during the 2009-10 fiscal, 5,911 were completed, while the remaining 693 works were in progress.

Compared to this, the Vypeen block completed all the 718 works undertaken during the same period.

The works were spread across seven panchayats in Vypeen. During the period, job cards were distributed to 12,442 members in 3,667 families in the block.

Jobs were given to members belonging to 3,656 families creating 1,22,973 job days. Significantly, out of the total job days, 1,20,043 jobs days were that of women.

Veda mantra training camp held

KOCHI: A camp to train children in veda mantras was held in Thripunithura by Thulu Brahmana Yogam, a unit affiliated to Udupi Madwa Brahmana Sabha in association with Sree Raghavendra Trust and Sree Poornaprajna Vidyapeetom.

Students from various parts of the State participated in this camp that was held under the Gurukula tradition. Classes began for the students every day at 5 a.m. and went on till 9 p.m. In the week-long camp that began last Sunday, the 18 students were given training in Sandhya Vandanam, Salagrama Puja, Sookthas and yoga among other ritualistic aspects. Vedic scholar K. Narayana Bhat led the classes with support from scholars like Sudarsana Bhat, Venkitakrishna Bhat and Vishnuprasad Bhat. Besides vedic mantras, the students were also given training in personality development, health and hygiene practices and cultural heritage

New rules for licensing of inland vessels

KOCHI: All the 4,000-odd boats operating in the States inland waterways will henceforth have to comply with the new norms prescribed in the (Kerala) Inland Vessel Rules 2010, for obtaining or renewing licence.KOCHI: All the 4,000-odd boats operating in the State\'s inland waterways will henceforth have to comply with the new norms prescribed in the (Kerala) Inland Vessel Rules 2010, for obtaining or renewing licence.

State poised for IT leap: VS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan has said that the State is poised for a leap in information technology sector. The growth rate in the sector now was higher than in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

In an article released for publication, the Chief Minister said the State was heading for higher growth because of the infrastructure created by the present government. IT infrastructure developed by the government had increased by 81 per cent during the past four years against 31 per cent during the previous government. The developed space grew to 105 lakh square feet against 19 lakh square feet in 2006 and 13 lakh square feet in 2001. The investment in the last two years alone exceeded Rs.10,000 crore.

Mr. Achuthanandan that software exports from the State would cross Rs.10,000 crore by 2015. When this government came to power, the software export was of Rs. 480 crore. During the UDF rule, the exports had grown only by 200 crore. During 2006-2010, the export from Kerala increased to Rs. 3,200 crore despite global economic recession. At 80 per cent, that was the highest growth rate in the country.

He recalled that the government had adopted a policy of decentralised IT development with three IT hubs and IT parks around them. This helped to prevent the negative environmental impact of large parks.

Training programme for medical graduates

Thiruvananthapuram: The Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Alumni Association in partnership with the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) is offering training to medical graduates in some of the best hospitals in the U.K.

The RCP, as part of the Medical Training Initiative Scheme (MTI), has invited applications from medical graduates to undergo a fully paid two-year clinical training programme in the U.K. National Health Service (NHS).

This is an option available to those who have passed Part I of the MRCP examination. They will now get an opportunity to complete Part II (practical training) of the MRCP in the U.K. itself.

The partnership between the association and the RCP had resulted in the medical college here becoming a training centre for the prestigious MRCP programme.

The Medical Training Initiative (MTI) is a national scheme of the U.K. designed for medical graduates from Third World countries. It supports the U.K.s international development objectives and helps foster exchange programmes between NHS and overseas organisations.

Five from State killed in road accident

PALANI: Five persons, including three women, were killed when their van slipped at a bend on Palani-Kodaikanal Ghat Road near here on Sunday evening.

Two of them died on the way to hospital and three others succumbed to their injuries at Palani Government Hospital. The deceased were Padmini (50), wife of Damodaran, and Kumar (55), his wife Ilasini (50), Ranjani (25), wife of Rithish, and S. Unni Nair (50), all from Kozhikode in Kerala.

The police said that the van lost control and rolled on a 300 ft slope. Almost all people in the van received head injuries and fractures on limbs. They were returning to Kozhikode from Kodaikanal.

The bodies were kept at Palani Government Hospital for post-mortem. Eleven injured were also admitted to the same hospital for treatment.

Sixteen people, including five women and two children, were travelling in the van.

A special police team had rescued all the injured and rushed them to the hospital immediately. But many tourists, with head injuries, were in critical condition

A woman\'s fight for survival

Director Sathyan Anthikkad, in his latest film �Kadha Thudarunnu, uses the stale formula of melodrama and clich�d dialogues to tell the story of a hapless young woman. Scripted by the director, the movie, which portrays a womans battle against all odds, seems contrived.

Shanavas (Asif Ali), a keyboard player, and Vidyalakshmi (Mamta Mohandas) marry against the wishes of their families. They have a daughter (Baby Anikha) and live in a rented house.

Tragedy strikes when some goons inadvertently hack Shanavas to death. Vidya is left to fend for herself. Nowhere to go and penniless, she finds shelter at railway stations.

One day, Vidya boards an autorickshaw and travels in it throughout the day. She absconds without paying the fare. The driver, Preman (Jayaram), thinks he has been cheated. He spots her a few days later and comes to know all about her. He takes her to his colony, only to be confronted by Shanavas family which wants to take possession of the child

Temples reconsecrated at Kalady

Nedumbassery: Jagadguru Sankaracharya Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji, presiding Acharya of the Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetham, reconsecrated the Goddess Sharadamba and Sri Adi Sankara temples at Kalady on Sunday.

Amidst hundreds of devotees chanting mantras and prayers, the 36 {+t} {+h} pontiff of Adi Sankara stood atop the sanctum sanctorum of the temples, pouring consecrated water from a golden pot at Simha Lagnam.

On the occasion, an eagle appeared in the sky and hovered over the place three times.

In the Hindu tradition, the ceremony of Kumbhabhishekam is held to synergise the mystical powers of the idol. The ceremony is also believed to foster healthy propagation of the progeny besides bringing all-round prosperity.

Kasaragod struggles to cope with reality

KASARAGOD: There is hardly any part of this district which is not mourning those who died in the Air India Express plane crash in Mangalore on May 22.

Peoples shock, following the crash which killed at least 48 from the district alone, was replaced the next day by the need to reconcile with the reality of loss. The urgency of bringing home the remains of the deceased, many of them beyond recognition, and their funeral overshadowed any overt sense of grief that has engulfed the district.

Every part of the district has been hit by the tragedy. The bereaved families are scattered across the district from the coastal Kasaragod town to the eastern hill areas. Uppala, Arikkadi, Cheemeni, Udma, Koliyadukkam, Kanhangad, Bandadka, Kundamkuzhi, Poyinachi, Parappa, Thalankara and Neeleswaram are still to come out of grief. Uduma, Chemnad and Pallikkara, three panchayat contiguous to each other, have lost 12 persons in the accident.

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