Saturday, June 5, 2010

Campaign to save river

KATTAPPANA: Environmentalists under the auspices of the Darsana Cultural Forum on Saturday observed World Environment Day as the Kattappana river protection day.

A cultural meeting and public march demanding steps to protect water sources were held as part of the programme.

President of the forum E.J. Joseph said the river, which originates from Elamala and ends at Anjuruly joining the Idukki reservoir, had a width of over 100 ft nearly two decades back. �Now it has been reduced to a mere rivulet without any flow during summer.

P.P. Lakshmanan for World Cup

KANNUR: India may not be among the 32 nations participating in the World Cup Football tournament in South Africa. But P.P. Lakshmanan will attend the showpiece event for the third time as a member of the Appeals Committee of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Addressing a Meet-the-Press programme at the Press Club here on Saturday, Mr. Lakshmanan, who has served as secretary of the All India Football Federation and president of the Kerala Football Association and also as chairman of the Kannur municipality, said the National Football League that he had conceived was aimed at developing football in the country. He exuded hope that the State had the right background to develop football infrastructure.

Plant trees to save the Earth: Minister

KOCHI: Forest Minister Benoy Viswom never wastes an opportunity to convey the message of environment protection.

The artist in him woke up when he turned up to inaugurate the poster design exhibition organised by Organic BPS, a branding agency, here on Saturday. Mr. Viswom made a drawing of a tree and wrote this caption: �Climate change: Tree is the answer.

He said that planting of trees will help check the adverse impacts of climatic change. The Minister also pointed out that the government had initiated a green campaign aimed at spreading the message of environment protection.

Dileep Narayanan, Chief Executive of the agency, said that they had received 200 entries on the theme of �Kochi � Kick the CO2 addiction, as part of the poster design contest. Mr. Narayanan said that the exhibits will be displayed at various petrol pumps across the city. The inaugural exhibition was held at BPCL petrol pump near Padma junction.

Create more jobs for the educated: Kalam

KOCHI: Higher education in India should be backed by proper opportunities for employment and a multi-pronged strategy is required to make education more attractive, said A. P. J Abdul Kalam, former President of India.

Inaugurating the year-long navathi celebrations of the Union Christian College at Aluva near here, he pointed out the deficiencies in the present educational system in the country, which generated over three million graduates a year. While 10 to 15 per cent of this group opt for teaching and research, the employment system is not in a position to absorb the rest, leading to educated unemployment, he said.

The former President was of the view that higher education should be enterprising as well as creative and emphasised the need for sustainable development, competitiveness and a spirit of integrity. He also urged the young generation to work hard and succeed and to uphold the core values of righteousness and character.

Quoting the words of Mahatma Gandhi written during his visit to the college in 1925, he reminded the institution that it had a remarkable task of living up to the words of the father of the nation.

According to him, the overall education system should aid to impart the value system to the children.

Take pride in clean environment: Kalam

KOCHI: It is �delightful to learn that eight million trees will be planted under the second phase of the Haritha Keralam project, the former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has said.

He was delivering the inaugural address at the launch of the projects second phase on World Environment Day at the A.P. Kurien memorial panchayat hall at Karukutti, near here, on Saturday.

Mr. Kalam put forth the mission of �billion trees for billion people of India in the next three years as part of the global �ten billion tree programme.

Recalling the �ten billion tree mission put forth during his NASA visit in October 2009, Mr. Kalam said it should be taken up by �global youth. It would bring about a major change to the eco-systems of the world, he said. �We agreed that nations should work together to achieve this mission through youth movement. Probably, it would be the first time that humanity would play a positive role as weather-makers, he said.

�All of us should prevent further damage to environment,� Mr. Kalam said and urged people to create quality living conditions in an equitable manner.

�This would call for learning lessons from the past, collaborative efforts, improvement and sustenance, political consensus, legislative action, scientific research, technological innovations, societal consciousness, education and a pride in clean environment,� he said.

VS urges students to take part in tree-planting drive

KOCHI: Chief Minister V. S. Achuthandanan has urged the student community to actively participate in the tree planting campaign aimed at checking the impacts of climate change.

Addressing hundreds of students who turned up to participate in the tree planting campaign organised by the Aluva-based Association for Environment Protection at the Aluva guest house in connection with the World Environment Day programmes, Mr. Achuthandnan said that climate change has become a major problem affecting the lives of people across the globe.

The Chief Minister exhorted the students to plant more trees, as it would help in protecting the environment.

Mr. Achuthanandan also planted a sapling on the occasion.

Forest Minister Benoy Viswom inaugurated the silver jubilee celebrations of the association on the occasion.

V. D. Satheesan, MLA, delivered the environment day message.

Be wary of bad roads, poor visibility: police

Thiruvananthapuram: The district police are bracing for an increase in night-time accidents with the arrival of the monsoon. Low visibility and slippery roads are the chief causes of accidents during the season.

Traffic-enforcers said morning-walkers and bicyclists, who were most at risk, should wear brightly coloured or reflective clothing to help motorists spot them better in the cover of rain and darkness.

Schoolchildren travelling without adult escorts should carry bright coloured bags with reflective stickers, sport markedly coloured umbrellas or wear bright rain coats.

As many as 50 pedestrians were killed in road accidents in the city last year. The toll this year till April is 11. The victims included morning-walkers and students. The police said the causalities were chiefly those who walked on their left hand side (wrong side) of the road.

Motorists often engaged yellow-tinted fog lamps and powerful halogen bulbs, even in relatively well-lit urban areas, for increased visibility during the monsoon.

Such indiscriminate use of powerful headlights by drivers and reluctance to dip headlamps on incoming vehicles disoriented other motorists and often caused accidents.

A taste of rustic knowledge

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: �We are against exporting our rare herbs to foreign countries and making money out of it. We will have to pay money and buy these from foreigners at a later stage, Lakshmikutty, a 70-year-old tribal healer said

at a programme here on Saturday.

She was talking about rare and endangered medicinal plants and herbs found in the forests of her homeland at an interaction with schoolchildren organised by the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA) and Agri Friends Cultural Association.

Around 300 students from eight schools in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts participated in the event titled �Kaattarivu, Naattarivu, Kadalarivu on World Environment Day.

Planting drives mark World Environment Day

Thiruvananthapuram: A variety of programmes involving different sections of society marked World Environment Day programmes in the city on Saturday.

The District Information Office organised a function and seminar at the Vellanad block panchayat. District panchayat vice-president B.P. Murali inaugurated. Saplings were planted to mark the district-level inauguration of the Akshara Vriksham project.

N. Sakthan, MLA, inaugurated a district-level tree-planting programme under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). District panchayat president Anavoor Nagappan presided over the function held at Maranelloor. A painting competition was also organised.

J. Arundhati, MLA, inaugurated the planting of bamboo trees along the banks of the Vamanapuram river. The project will be taken up under the employment guarantee programme. As many as 1.5 lakh saplings are to be planted under the scheme this week.

Thrissur zoo to have modern facilities

Puthur (Thrissur): Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has said that Thrissur zoo will have state-of-the-art facilities after it is relocated to Puthur.

The Chief Minister was addressing a meeting in Puthur on Saturday to inaugurate construction of walls in a plot to which the Thrissur zoo would be relocated.

�The 13-acre plot in the heart of the city where the zoo is currently located has been found unsuitable. Space constraints are affecting animals. Hence, the zoo is being relocated to a 306-acre plot in Puthur. The Finance, Revenue, Culture Departments and the Central Zoo Authority of India have taken keen interest in the relocation. The relocated zoo at Puthur will have the locational advantage of being near the Peechi dam, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Kerala Agricultural University, College of Forestry and the College of

Veterinary and Animal Sciences. The new zoo should be similar to or better than the ones in Thiruvananthapuram and Mysore, he said.

He said the annual number of visitors to the Thrissur zoo should be raised from the current 5,000 to 10,000 or 15,000. �The new zoo should keep more varieties of birds and animals.�

Kalady\' documents a legend\'s life

Nedumbassery: Seldom in history has one individual had so much influence on a nations history, its civilization and religion. Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya, the exponent of the Advaita School of deliberation, is believed to be one such person.

His doctrine of Sanathana Dharma is considered as one of Indias biggest contributions to the world.

His works have been translated into different languages and his thoughts have takers the world over. However, while his achievements remained eternal, the life history of this legend had slipped into oblivion over time- till the rediscovery of Kalady exactly a century back.

It was this episode of rediscovery that spirited the Sri Shankara Advaita Research Centre, an institution associated with the Sri Sharada Peetham at Sringeri, to visually document what the life of Adi Shankara may have been like.

The documentary �Kalady, The Triumph of Faith Over Time was released in Kalady on May 18, 2010. It narrates how Kalady- the birth place of Adi Shankara was discovered by the 33 rd Jagadguru of Sringeri Sri Sharada Peetham and gives a description on the rich legacy of this picturesque sleepy town on the banks of river Periyar as a centre of Vedic learning and culture

Madappally college student makes it to IISc

Kozhikode: R. Rathul Nath, student of Government College, Madappally, has been selected for an integrated Ph.D. programme (in physics) of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. He is the only student from Kerala to be selected for the programme this year.

It is for the second consecutive year that a student from the Department of Physics of the college is being selected. Last year, V. Vaisakh made the grade. Nath, who has just finished his Bachelors degree in physics, cleared a national-level entrance test and an interview conducted by IISc.

Happy birthday Bhavana!

Bhavana, who made heads turn with her first Tamil film Chithiram Pesuthadi, went on to do several films in Telugu and Malayalam simultaneously. Today being her birthday, Galatta.com takes this opportunity to wish her a very happy birthday.

After teaming up with Thala Ajith in Aasal recently, the lady is truly on a high. The pretty actress is currently busy with her maiden Kannada film Jackie opposite Puneeth Rajkumar.

Born as Karthika Menon in Kerala, Bhavana is the daughter of Pushpa and assistant cinematographer G. Balachandran Menon. She made her acting debut in the Malayalam film Nammal opposite newcomers Siddharth, Jishnu and Renuka Menon. The film was a big success and after that there was no looking back for her.

May her career be filled with more and more versatile assignments and projects! A very happy birthday!

Wild elephant saved from well

Palakkad (Kerala), Jun 5 (PTI) A wild elephant that fell into a 20-foot-deep well at a village near here was rescued unharmed and let back into forest in the wee hours today after 22 hours of hectic efforts.

The she-elephant, which appeared to be a three-year-old, was enabled to walk up through a path created by digging up a side of the well, using excavators.

Two trained elephants, known in local parlance as kunkis, were brought to the spot by late last night to tackle the wild jumbo in case it turned violent after getting out of the well.

According to wildlife officials, the elephant did not create any problem as it was led to the forest fringes by the trained elehphants and forest guards.

The jumbo, member of a herd that strayed into the village from Valayar forest on Tamil Nadu borders, slipped into the disused well without wall or fencing.

Dengue, swine flu grip Kerala, nine de

With the onset of monsoon, dengue fever and a variant of swine flu have broken out in Kerala, claiming nine lives so far, an official said.

An unspecified number of people have fallen sick in the districts of Pathanamthitta, Kozhikode, Kottayam and Thiruvananthapuram, said officer Amar S. Fettle.

Seven deaths had been reported because of H1N1, he said.

Fettle told IANS that everything was under control during the relatively hotter months but now things are not that conducive.

Since May 15 things are bad, with 37 people testing positive for HINI and seven people dying because of it, he said.

There have also been 823 cases of dengue fever -- and two deaths.

Since the start of the year, more than 8.45 lakh people across the state have been affected by fever, he said.

People have to wake up and keep their surroundings clean. With the monsoon getting stronger, proper public hygiene has to be maintained, he said.

Monsoon to hit coastal Karnataka and Kerala by June 5

Bangalore: Monsoon may remain subdued over Kerala and Karnataka coast for next 24 hours, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

Indias Southwest monsoon has further advanced into most parts of northeastern states and some parts of Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim. Reports also suggest that the monsoon will head towards Karnataka by June 5, but there might be some delay in its progress due to the severe cyclone Phet in the Arabian Sea.

Monsoon may remain subdued over Kerala and Karnataka coast for next one day, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

On the severe cyclonic storm �Phet, the weather office said that it moved west-northwestwards and was about 1400 km away from Mumbai and 1100 km southwest of Naliya (Kutch, Gujarat).

The storm over westcentral Arabian Sea is likely to weaken and move slowly in a northwesterly/northerly direction and cross Oman coast, the IMD said. It will then recurve northeastwards towards the Pakistan coast, it added.

The western disturbance would affect northwest India during the next 4-5 days, the IMD said.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Do not blame the audience, says Sathyan Anthikkad

Kozhikode: If mainstream Malayalam cinema has deteriorated beyond recognition since the glorious days of 1980s, it is solely because of filmmakers, according to director Sathyan Anthikkad.

�It is foolish to blame our audience; they should not show the way to directors, it should be the other way round, the veteran director said at a meet-the-press programme in Kozhikode on Friday. �The directors should show them good films, and viewers will follow them. The filmmakers should not assume that the taste of the audience has deteriorated.�

Looking back at the golden period of Malayalam cinema � the 1980s and the early �90s � he said that was a time when the story of the film was what mattered most, not the stars.

�We had films like Vida Parayum Munpe and Ormakkayi,� he pointed out. �Directors like Padmarajan, Bharathan, K.G. George and Mohan were making excellent films then. Fazil, Priyadarshan and I tried to make different films. Looking back, I feel I was willing to experiment more then; I am not sure if I would be able to direct a film like Appunni today, � he said

Migrant worker held on murder charge

KOTTAYAM: The police have arrested a 25-year-old migrant labourer from West Bengal in connection with the murder of an 80-year-old lady at Kidnagoor on Thursday.

According to the police, Mariamma, wife of the late Mathan of Kumbanamkunnu near Kidnagoor, who was staying with her sister had gone to the neighbours house to inquire about power failure, by 4 p.m. While she was returning, she passed through the camp where nine migrant labourers from West Bengal, working for a rubber nursery, were staying. One of them, Mohammed Shukur Ali, allegedly came near her inquiring about the jackfruit on the tree near the camp.

When the old lady stopped to answer him, he slashed the ladys throat with the knife he was holding, and spirited away the jewellery she was wearing.

Oachira drinking water scheme inaugurated

KOLLAM: K. Radhakrishnan, Speaker of the Assembly, has said that along with implementation of drinking water schemes, elaborate measures have to be taken to protect water bodies.

Inaugurating the Oachira drinking water project at Oachira, near here, on Friday, Mr. Radhakrishnan said protection of water bodies had been taken up as a major scheme around the world. Water bodies should be protected right from the forests to the coastal areas.

The Kerala Water Authority should take up not only the supply of water but also the protection of water bodies. Efforts should be made to commission all drinking water projects in a time-bound manner.

Presiding over the function, Minister for Water Resources N.K. Premachandran said the Rs.38-crore scheme had the capacity to purify 150 lakh litres of water a day.

The sad tale of two lakes in Kollam

KOLLAM: The theme of the 47th World Environment Day (WED), which is being observed on June 5, holds much relevance to Kollam district. Two of its prime water sources, Sasthamcotta Lake and Ashtamudi Lake and the scores of freshwater and marine fish species in them, face a bleak future on account of environment degradation. The district has definitely not been complying with the WED theme �many species, one planet, one future.

Sasthamcotta, with an area of 4.14 square kilometres is the biggest freshwater lake in the State and Ashtamudi Lake, with an area of 614 square kilometres, the deepest. Both have been listed as Ramsar sites.

One found murdered in waiting shed

KOCHI: Thankappan, 49, of Varappuzha was found murdered, with his head smashed with a boulder, in a waiting shed along the National Highway at Chirakkakam on Friday morning.

The police said that he used to work as goldsmith, but of late he had been roaming around showing signs of mental instability. He never used to stay in one place and the waiting shed was where he used to sleep at night.

Security personnel in the nearby region had seen him alive till 12.20 a.m. and the murder was committed after that using a boulder which was found nearby. The body was taken to the Alappuzha medical college for a post-mortem examination.

B. Sandhya, Inspector General, Ernakulam Range; and T. Vikram, Superintendent of Police, Ernakulam Rural, visited the scene of the crime. Senior police officials said that the investigation is on around those who were involved in similar crimes committed in the district recently.

Assurance on building plans

KOCHI: A seminar, organised here today, on the Pre-Development Control Regulation (Pre-DCR) tool box being implemented in Kochi Corporation for online submission of building plan approvals, gave an opportunity for architects and the public to express their doubts on the issue.

One of the main concerns raised during the seminar was the confidentiality and security of the building plan submitted online. After the representative of Softech Software Limited, which had come up with the software, explained the process, Ajith B. Patel, Corporation secretary, said that the drawings submitted are stored at the state-of-the-art data centre managed by the IT Mission, whose security is vouched by the State Government.

Kannur airport work by year-end

KOCHI: The Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra) has initiated the process for the selection of an integrated project consultant for the development of the proposed greenfield airport in Kannur.

It has invited proposals for the appointment of the consultant through open bids. The competitive tendering process is to be completed within two months. The consultant is to be appointed by August-September. The groundbreaking ceremony, which marks the formal beginning of the work, is to be held in December, a top Kinfra official told The Hindu.

The consultant is required to develop the airport from the design to the operational stage. It will have to provide advisory services on technical, financial, operational and other aspects.

Kannur International Airport Limited has been established as a public limited company with 26 per cent equity held by the government and 25 per cent by government-owned entities. The consultant is expected to draft the financial structuring of the project and the mode of private participation will depend on it. The projects authorised capital will be Rs.1,000 crore, the official said.

VS to open chemical emergency centre

KOCHI: Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan will inaugurate a Chemical Emergency Response Centre (CHEMREC) at Kakkanad on Monday at 3.30 p.m.

Labour Minister P .K. Gurudasan will preside. He will also inaugurate the model office of the Joint Director of Factories and Boilers Department. Union Minister of State for Agriculture K.V. Thomas and Fisheries Minister S. Sarma will be the guests.

P. Rajeev, MP, MLAs K. Babu, A.M. Yousuf, and M.M. Monayee, district panchayat president P.S. Shyla, District Collector M. Beena will also be present.

CHEMREC has been set up by the Factories and Boilers Department in association with the Industries Department.

The facility is aimed at bringing down the risk and resultant consequences of chemical emergencies in the district.

The State government had allotted about 20 cents of land free of cost and Rs. 1.40 crore towards the construction of the building, K. Sasi, director, Factories and Boilers Department, told a press conference here on Friday.

Building collapse: probe report submitted

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Chief Town Planner who probed the February 1 collapse of a section of a multi-storeyed tourist home at Thampanoor here has found the architect, the contractor, the owner and Corporation officials who gave the nod for the renovation work responsible for the incident which claimed six lives.

In his report submitted to Minister for Local Self-Government Paloli Mohammed Kutty, Chief Town Planner Eapen Varghese recommended several steps to be taken to avoid such incidents in future. The Minister issued directive to amend the Kerala Building Rules incorporating the safety measures and recommendations made by the Chief Town Planner

Civil services exam training

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Centre for Career Development Studies (CCDS) will begin an intensive training programme from June 9 for those appearing for the civil services main examination beginning in October-November this year.

Those expecting the results of the preliminary examination held by the Union Public Service Commission on May 23 can join the programme. Apart from general knowledge, training will be given in the elective subjects also. The classes will be held from 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. on all working days, CCDS Director B. Chandrachoodan Nair said. Those joining the CCDS to write the main examination will be given free training to attend the final interview.

For details, contact the CCDS office in PKB Building, GPO Lane, Pulimood. Phone: 2469020/ 2468958.

Documentary film fete from June 11

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The third International Documentary and Short Film Festival, featuring 97 films in the competition section, will be held here from June 11 to 15.

Culture Minister M.A. Baby told reporters here on Friday that a retrospective on noted documentary filmmaker C. Sarathchandran featuring his five films will be held as part of the festival being organised by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy. A memorial lecture will also be conducted.

The competition section consists of 10 long documentaries, 16 short documentaries, 38 short feature films, 18 animation, seven music videos and eight campus films. The non-competitive section has 38 films, four long documentaries, 10 short documentaries and 24 short films. Ten international documentaries and short feature films have been selected in the international section

Reconsider move to take over temples, say seers

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A delegation of Sanyasins met Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on Friday and expressed their concern over the move of the government and the Malabar Devaswom Board to take over temples and madhoms.

The delegation comprising Swami Gangesananda Theerthapadar (Panmana Ashram), Swami Vimalananda (Varkala), Swami Vidyananda Giri (Nettayam), Brahmachari Bhargavaram (Chenkottukonam Asharam) and Viswa Hindu Parishad leader Kummanam Rajasekharan met Mr. Achuthanandan and demanded that the order to take over the Thrikaikottu Madhom in Tanur and 120 temples be repealed. The delegation said Revenue and police officials were trying to take over temples like the Ganapathy temple at Bathery and the Anjaneya temple at Palakkad, which were being systematically managed by the devotees.

The takeover had been initiated on the premise of administrative lapses, they said. But the accounts of the madhoms had been audited and they were well-administered too. The Thrikaikottu Madhom was set up by Thodaka Acharya, a disciple of Sankaracharya. The madhom could be managed only in line with the tradition of Sankaracharya and the existing system could not be altered, they said.

Early warning system launched

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The early warning system for disasters and VHF-based communication system set up at a cost of Rs.3 crore linking the Secretariat, Land Revenue Commissionerate, 14 district collectorates, 63 taluks and 200 villages in the State was commissioned by Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran here on Friday.

Addressing a function in this connection at the Civil Station at Kudappanakkunnu here, Mr. Rajendran said all villages in the State would be covered in the second phase of the project.

Increasing number of deaths due to natural disasters like lightning and cyclone was a matter of concern. Twenty persons were killed in lightning these summer months. Of this, 10 were killed in Pathanamthitta district alone. The Minister said the Kerala Fire and Rescue Services had been strengthened to meet any challenge.

Trees at Tagore Theatre to be documented

Thiruvananthapuram: The World Environment Day celebrations on Saturday will highlight the importance of the rich diversity of trees on the Tagore Theatre premises, one of the few surviving green lungs in the city.

The premises have been documented by Friends of Trees, a city-based NGO, as part of its annual exercise.

The survey has revealed that the ground, covering an area of 2.5 hectares, has 296 trees belonging to 51 species, 46 genus and 21 families. The mapping programme was taken up as a prelude to the World Environment Day celebrations. During the survey, volunteers identified each tree by species and measured it. A tree register was prepared to identify each tree by its local name, scientific name, family, girth and location on the campus. A booklet based on the register was also prepared. According to C.K. Karunakaran, general secretary, Friends of Trees, the diversity of trees is fairly satisfactory, but for the presence of a large number of copper pod (46) (Peltophorum pterocarpum) and mahagony (18).

The survey report says that Polyalthia trees form an excellent green wall on the western side of the ground, insulating the complex from the dust and smoke of the heavy traffic on the road.

SmartCity: State may go for other options

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has said the State government will seek alternative means for the development of SmartCity project in Kochi if the proposed deal with the Dubai-based Tecom failed to materialise.

Speaking after launching the development project of the Technocity IT township at Pallipuram near here on Friday, Mr. Achuthanandan said the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government would not dilute the terms of the proposed pact with the investors of SmartCity project. ��The Dubai-based company does not seem to be ready to come to an agreement on our terms. In that case, we will have to look at other alternatives, Mr. Achuthanandan said.

Mr. Achuthanandan said six technolodges would be opened this year to provide infrastructure facilities for IT firms in rural areas. �There has been a spurt in the development of Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram, and Infopark, Kochi, over the last four years. The Cyberpark in Kozhikode and the satellite IT parks at various locations are also aimed at broadbasing the development of the IT sector in Kerala.

Jamaat to keep off poll politics

Thiruvananthapuram: Jamaat-e-Islami general secretary T.A. Arif Ali has made it clear that his organisation will keep out of electoral politics, though supporters will be encouraged to contest the upcoming local bodies elections.

Replying to questions at a meet-the-press programme organised by Kesari Journalists Trust here on Friday, Mr. Ali said his organisation would team-up with civil organisations, environmental groups and opinion-makers who occupied a political space beyond the one occupied by the rival coalitions in the State. Explaining the reason for the shift in stand, he said the Jamaat wanted to be part of the development process at the panchayats which were directly involved in development projects and at the same time retain its profile as a social organisation.

The Jamaat would continue dialogues with all political parties and it was part of this process that the organisation held discussions with the Indian Union Muslim League leadership. He disclosed that the IUML leadership had taken such an initiative, but did not subscribe to the view that the League was the sole arbiter of the Muslim community. �If we are a religious organisation, the IUML should explain to the Election Commission why it should hold a dialogue with one, he said in reply to a question on the IUMLs attitude towards the Jamaat.

Children to get a feel of traditional knowledge

Thiruvananthapuram:The Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA) is offering schoolchildren an exposure to traditional knowledge in various sectors.

A programme is being organised at the Science and Technology Museum here on Saturday in connection with the World Environment Day.

The event titled �Let Us Talk Biodiversity, will have three sessions�Forest Knowledge (Kattarivu), Sea Knowledge (Kadalarivu) and Local Knowledge (Nattarivu). Tribal folk and fish workers who possess abundant knowledge and experience on the subject will share their experiences with the students.

The programme is supported by the Science and Technology Museum, Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, Environment Management Agency, Kerala, Kerala State Biodiversity Board and Agrofriends Cultural Association.

Minister for Food and Civil Supplies C. Divakaran is scheduled to inaugurate the programme. R.V.Varma of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board will deliver the keynote address

Revised list of doctors\' posting on Monday

Thiruvananthapuram: The Directorate of Health Services will issue a revised list of postings under the specialty/administrative cadre on Monday after considering the grievances of doctors and looking at the anomalies that might have crept in while implementing the new system.

Director of Health Services M.K. Jeevan said the grievance cell which has been working round-the-clock at the directorate had received about 300 to 400 complaints of which only 10 per cent may be considered as �genuine cases.

Minister promises solution to Sabari line row

ERUMELI: Union Minister of State for Railways E. Ahmed has said that the Ministry is trying to complete the projects assigned for Kerala in a time-bound manner.

Speaking to mediapersons after inaugurating the new building for the Vavar Memorial High School here on Friday, Mr. Ahmed said a major hurdle faced by the Railways was the delay in getting land for taking up the developmental activities.

To another question, Mr. Ahmed said that the issue of alignment for the proposed Sabari Railway line would be sorted out amicably. Opposition from a section of people and the various alternative alignments proposed by them had created a serious situation. As per the existing proposal, the line will enter Idukki at Thodupuzha and move to Erumeli via Erattupetta. He said he proposed to discuss with the Chief Minister and peoples representatives and study the alternative alignments before making a final declaration on the issue.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Kalam to deliver lecture at CIFT

KOCHI: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former President, will deliver a lecture on environmental and biodiversity issues on June 6 at the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology at 9.30 a.m.

Mr. Kalam will also interact with scientists and research students on the occasion, said a communication issued by B. Meenakumari, director of the institute.

Man climbs on wagon, sustains electric shock

KOCHI: A person sustained multiple burns from electric shock when he came into contact with the electric lines drawn over the railway track after he reportedly climbed atop a goods wagon stationed at the South railway station on Thursday night.

After climbing over the wagon, he started waving his hands in an attempt to draw the attention of the passengers on the platform. By the time the alarmed onlookers shouted to caution him about the electric lines overhead, he had come into contact with the lines. Railway Protection Force personnel pulled him down and rushed him to the General Hospital

�Gandhi\'s philosophy is practical\'

KOCHI: It is a misconception that Gandhian philosophy was impractical as the practical aspects of the philosophy were evident in Swadeshi construction works, said M.M. Jacob, former Union Minister and governor.

He was speaking at the valedictory session of Swadeshi Festival at Gandhi Bhavan here. The exhibition of various Swadeshi products brought in from different parts of the State, stood testimony to the strength of the Swadeshi movement, said P.T. Thomas, MP, in his address. Jacob Pulikkan, director, Gandhi Centre for Rural Development; Parameswara Sarma, secretary, Poornodaya Book Trust; and A.R. Shafique, coordinator, Swadeshi Training, spoke.

Planting of saplings, marathon to mark Environment Day

KOCHI: The Kerala State legal Services Authority, in association with the Lawyers Environmental Awareness Forum and the Kerala High Court Advocates Association, will plant saplings on Saturday as part of World Environmental Day celebrations.

C.N. Ramachandran Nair, judge of the High Court of Kerala, will inaugurate the celebrations at the Kerala High Court Advocates Association Hall at 10 a.m. K.P. Ouseph, Chief Conservator of Forests and Custodian of Ecologically Fragile Land, will speak on Kerala Forest Policy and the problems in its implementation. Legy Abraham, secretary of the Forum, will preside.

The Kerala Catholic Youth Movement (KCYM), the youth movement of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese will organise a variety of awareness programmes in connection with World Environment Day.

The programme will start off with a mini marathon from the Rajendra Maidan. Deputy Police Commissioner P.H. Ashraf will flag off the marathon at 10 a.m. It will end at St. Marys Basilica. This will be followed by an environment friendly gathering, �My Earth, to be attended by various cultural and social leaders

Court restrains Railways from cutting trees

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court has restrained the Railways from felling or cutting the branches of the trees standing in the Aluva Railway station compound.

The Bench comprising Justice C.N. Ramachandran Nair and Justice P.S. Gopinathan passed the interim order on a writ petition filed by S. Seetharaman, secretary of the Association for Environment Protection.

According to the petitioner, the Railway authorities had decided to fell four big trees standing in the railway station compound without getting mandatory sanction from the forest department.

Trees were important for the environment because of their ability to absorb greenhouse gases.

Revision of private bus routes planned

KOCHI: The City Traffic Police are making another attempt at revising the routes of private service buses in the city, as well as mofussil services.

The police had to backtrack from a recent move to find an alternative route for buses to take the load off a segment of M.G. Road.

This time, however, the police officials made sure that the revisions go down well with the bus operators.

The new revisions were made on the basis of suggestions made at a meeting in which top traffic police officials and representatives of unions of bus owners, operators and employees participated. The meeting came up with seven suggestions on revising the routes for private buses. According to the new plan, buses coming to the city from Elamakkara can enter the city without reaching Kaloor by taking Sastha Road and Manappattiparambu.

Ulloor Award

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ettumanoor Somadasans Jalasamadhi has been selected for the Ulloor Award 2009 of the Mahakavi Ulloor Memorial Library and Research Institute. The first Ulloor Endowment Award for research work or article on the Mahakavi has gone to Sr. S.H. Ancy.

The awards will be presented by Devaswom Minister Ramachandran Kadannapally at a function to be held in connection with the Mahakavis 133 {+r} {+d} birth anniversary here on June 9.

KSFE norms hit collection agents

Thiruvananthapuram: The pro-INTUC Kerala State Financial Enterprises Agents Union is up in arms against the decision of the Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE) board to impose certain regulations on collection of funds for its various chitties.

The KSFE board had imposed the regulations on the grounds that the commission earned by collection agents was disproportionate to the efforts and time devoted to their task in view of the proliferation of chitties. Some of the agents earned huge amounts of commission in one collection drive because of this, the board said in its order.

The union had termed the board order as ��anti-labour and a violation of the labour laws. The union, in a statement here on Thursday, said the board had in effect gone back on its promise of giving incentive to the agents who were pressurised to campaign for various special schemes of KSFE.

Bullet seized at airport

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Aviation Security Group (ASG) personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) seized a live bullet from the hand baggage of a passenger at the international airport here on Thursday.

The live round used in 9 mm pistol was recovered during the x-ray screening of the hand baggage of 29-year-old P. Rajudcosta Cecil , airport sources said

Biotech project proposals invited

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Biotechnology Commission, which comes under Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, has invited project proposals under Young Investigators Programme in Biotechnology (YIPB-2010) and Biotechnology Innovations for Rural Development (BIRD-2010) programme.

The applicant should possess a Ph.D. in any branch of life sciences/biotechnology and should have three years post-doctoral research experience in biotechnology.

The candidate should be less than 40 years of age.

Age relaxation of maximum 5 years would be given to scientists belonging to SC/ST/OBC, women and physically challenged category as per rules.

Ten copies of the project proposal along with a soft copy have to be submitted in the prescribed format.

Doctors reassured on transfer complaints

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy said here on Thursday that genuine complaints about transfer of doctors in the Health Services would be redressed.

The Minister told journalists that transfers were inevitable following creation of speciality cadre and promotion of doctors. However, remedial action would be taken if seniority had been overlooked in postings. Ms. Sreemathy said that the doctors had been directed to join duty on the next day upon receipt of transfer orders. Action would be taken against those failing to do so. Many of the transferred doctors were working in the same district for long. She said that the services would not be affected if some transferred doctors went on leave. There were enough doctors in the service now, and a batch of doctors who had taken leave for postgraduate studies were slated return in a week or two. Specialist posts falling vacant following promotions would be filled through interviews by the Public Service Commission

Cabinet clears block reorganisation

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Cabinet has given the go-ahead to reorganise the block panchayats and upgrade Karunagapally, Thrikkakara, Eloor, Maradu, Kottakkal, Nilambur and Neeleswaram grama panchayats as municipalities.

Local Administration Minister Paloli Mohammed Kutty said in an official release here on Wednesday that the Cabinet approved the proposal to merge Nattakom and Kumaranelloor panchayats with Kottayam Municipality, Thiruvankulam with Thrippunithura, Pookode and Thycaud with Guruvayur, Porathissery with Irinjalakuda and Methala with Kodungallor.

The Cabinet decided to merge Sreekariyam, Vattiyoorkavu, Kudappanakunnu, Vizhinjam and Kazhakuttom with Thiruvananthapuram Corporation and Elathur, Cheruvannur-Nallalam and Beypore with Kozhikode Corporation.

A tribal panchayat, Idamalakuddy, will be formed by bifurcating Munnar panchayat. The number of panchayats will come down from 999 to 978. Thiruvananthapuram rural block panchayat will cease to exist following the merger of panchayats with Thiruvananthapuram Corporation.

VS remark unfortunate, says Chandy

Thiruvananthapuram: Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy on Thursday termed as �unfortunate Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandans statement accusing the Congress of encouraging Christian and Muslim communal politics.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Mr. Chandy alleged that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) had unfailingly played up communal politics on the eve of every election. He said the party had shared platform with PDP leader Abdul Nasir Maudany in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

The party also got the backing of the Jamaat-e-Islami in 18 Lok Sabha constituencies. The attempts to divide society on communal lines for the sake of votes would seriously harm future generations, he said.

He said the Chief Minister had failed to respond to some pertinent issues he had raised during a �meet the press programme organised by the Kesari Journalists Trust on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the LDF government

Monsoon revival likely in 5-6 days

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The monsoon flow over Kerala has gone haywire under the distracting influence of the �very severe cyclonic storm Phet, now hovering over the Oman coast, but the flow is set to fall into its pattern in another five or six days, according to the numerical weather prediction models of India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Almost from the very day the IMD announced the onset of the monsoon over Kerala on May 31, the weather system that quickly developed into a cyclonic storm, from its tentative beginning as an upper level circulation over the southeast Arabian Sea, had started siphoning off to its centre all the moisture feed from the sea robbing the State of the kind of rainfall usual at monsoon onset.

From the southeast Arabian Sea, the system kept moving northwest and, on Thursday, was set to cross the Oman coast in a days time. It is then traced to move in a northeast direction to cross the Pakistan coast and the adjoining coast of Gujarat by Sunday, the IMDs cyclone tracking and forecast bulletin said

State pollution control awards announced

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (Kochi refinery) and Binani Zinc Ltd, Ernakulam, have shared the State award for excellence in pollution control by very large industries in Kerala this year.

The award for excellence among large industries went to United Breweries, Kanjikode, Palakkad. Kochi Minerals and Rutile Ltd., Ernakulam, and Victory Granite Metal, Thrissur, won the awards for medium and small industries respectively. The Malabar Institute of Medical Sciences Ltd., Kozhikode, bagged the award for excellence among large hospitals.

Minister for Health and Social Welfare P.K. Sreemathy, who announced the awards here on Thursday, said the institutions were chosen for the awards considering their achievements in conserving environment.

She also announced prizes for industries, hospitals, hotels and local bodies for pollution control. The following are the prize winners:

Very large industries: NTPC (Rajiv Gandhi Combined Cycle Project), Kayamkulam (first prize); Hindustan Newsprint Ltd., Kottayam (second prize); and FACT (Udyogamandal division), Ernakulam (third prize).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pre-monsoon diseases on the rise in Alappuzha

ALAPPUZHA: Even as the south-west monsoon is playing hide and seek with the State, seasonal contagious diseases have started making their presence felt across the district.

While health authorities insist that there is nothing yet to worry about, they agree that precautionary measures have been set into motion. K.M. Sirabudin, District Medical Officer, said a campaign against vector-borne and viral diseases, with focus on dengue, Leptospirosis (rat fever) and jaundice was already on.

The public had been asked to observe at least one dry day a week, making sure that there were no avenues for mosquitoes to breed with steps being taken to avoid stagnation of water in any form around the house.

Fogging operations too were being undertaken in most areas, with special focus in four wards in the Kayamkulam municipality, from where six suspected of cases of dengue were reported recently

Rulers against Empowerment\'

KOCHI: The leader of the Adivasi land struggle, C.K. Janu, has said the ruling class fears that if the Adivasis are given lands, they will become politically empowered. This was because, she said, the politics of land was essentially linked to the power politics. Since the ruling class did not want the Adivasis to enter power politics, they were denied the right to lands, she said after accepting the K.A. Kunjila memorial Stree Sakthi award at a ceremony here on Tuesday

Proceedings stayed

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday stayed the proceedings on a non-bailable warrant issued against Fr. Varghese Thekkekkara, first accused in the Malankara Varghese murder case, till the disposal of the case.

The order was issued by Justice K. Hema while considering an anticipatory bail plea filed by the accused and a petition filed by Saramma, widow of the deceased. Ragging case

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday stayed the decision of Calicut University to revoke the suspension of Sandeep Kumar, a student leader

Reception for Sankaracharya

Kochi: Rage and lust cause people to sin, Chief of Sringeri Math Jagadguru Sankaracharya Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji has said.

Speaking after receiving a grand welcome at Ernakulam Kinattunkara Samoohamadom on Wednesday, the Swamiji said that pride caused downfall.

Since God glows in every living being, it would only be proper to show kindness towards everything. The goal of every individual should be to attain moksha, the Swamiji said.

The reception given to the Swamiji was led by S. Krishna Iyer, A.K. Sheshadri, and R. Ramakrishnan.

Sringeri Math administrator Gowri Shankar and Sree Sankara educational institutions Managing Trustee B.S. Krishnan participated in the function

First sanitation award presented

KOCHI: Vadavucode block panchayat has bagged the award for maintaining the cleanliest office premises in the district, District Collector M. Beena announced here on Wednesday.

She was declaring the first ever sanitation award in the district under the sanitation campaign for reviewing the cleanliness of the government offices and other public establishments at the grama panchayat level and to recognise them with awards and star rating.

The award comprised of a purse of Rs.20,000. Vazhakulam block panchayat office bagged the second prize comprising a purse of Rs.10,000. Chengamanad police station and Ernakulam district information office shared the third prize of Rs.5,000.

Three offices at the district level and seven offices at the taluk level were selected for awards.

Besides, the best schools and hospitals in terms of cleanliness were also to be awarded.

Special drive by police ahead of monsoon

KOCHI: The City Traffic Police have started a special drive ahead of the monsoon as part of an effort to reduce the high incidence of accidents during the season.

�Diesel spilled on the road gets frothy during the first couple of rains, making the stretch highly slippery. Hence we get more accident cases during the first few rains, said K.B. Venugopal, Assistant Commissioner of Police, City Traffic (West).

The onset of monsoon and re-opening of schools pose a challenge for the traffic police, in both controlling the sudden increase in traffic volume and disciplining negligent drivers.

�During the drive, we focus on lane discipline. We make sure heavy vehicles and two-wheelers stick to the left lane of the highway, while the right one is left free for light vehicles. Similarly, we book vehicles not allowing pedestrians free use of zebra-crossings,� said K.S. Baby Vinod, Assistant Commissioner of Police, City Traffic (East).

12.3 lakh apply for peon\'s post

KOCHI: If you thought the average cobweb-laden, poorly-furnished, dilapidated government office with its bureaucratic stiffness is a spirit-dampener for the new-generation job-seeker, think again.

The lure of a government job continues to be very strong in Kerala in spite of the opening up of myriad opportunities in private sector that often offers walk-in interviews. For the average Malayali, the plush offices and sophisticated work culture in the private sector are no match for the job security, lax discipline, enormous holidays and leave schemes that the government jobs provide, no matter the job title.

Flyover: road worthiness test today

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The road worthiness test of the flyover across Bakery Junction, a major component of the City Roads Improvement Project (CRIP), will be carried out on Thursday evening as part of throwing open the 510-metre long flyover to traffic.

A technical team will carry out the road worthiness test at 5 p.m. on Thursday in the presence of Principal Secretary, Public Works, Tom Jose and the Director of Trivandrum Road Development Company Ltd (TRDCL-the implementing agency of CRIP) Mukund Sapre and other officials.

70 lakh saplings to be planted

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Forest Department will promote planting of 70 lakh saplings on World Environment Day (June 5) with public participation.

Forest Minister Benoy Viswom said here on Wednesday that the saplings would be planted on land belonging to the panchayats, communities, educational institutions, Railway and private parties besides on the sides of roads and the banks of rivers, lakes and pools. The panchayats would take the lead in planting and care of the seedlings.

The Department had targeted planting of one crore saplings under the Harita Keralam project launched last year with the participation of people from all walks of life, especially youth and students. Nearly 32 lakh seedlings were produced last year. This year, this was increased to 70 lakh. Some panchayats had grown their own nurseries.

The Minister said only seedlings of native trees were being distributed under the project. Mr. Viswom said this years planting of trees under the �Ente Maram programme, designed exclusively for students, would be launched on June 8.

Plea to review move to limit NH width

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala State branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has urged the State government to approve the development of the National Highway road corridors to a width of 45 metres as specified by the National Highway Authority.

A press note quoting IMA State president Dr. Sreekumar Vasudevan and secretary Dr. J. Rajagopalan Nair said the heavy traffic on the roads in Kerala, the need to transport essential goods from the neighbouring States and the increased freight traffic generated by major projects like the Vallarpadam terminal demanded a 45 metre width for highways in the State. It called on the government to review the all-party decision to limit the width of the roads to 30 metres in view of the public resistance to land acquisition.

�Kerala has a high record of vehicular accidents, mainly due to the poor condition of the existing roads. It is time the government convened an all party-meeting to discuss the issue and evolve a consensus that would be acceptable to the public at large, it said.

The press note warned that the failure to review the all-party decision on limiting the width of the highways would catapult Kerala to the top position in the accident rate and lead to heavy loss of life

Ordinance to take over Kanan Devan land

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Cabinet on Wednesday decided to take over 1,036 acres at Kanan Devan Hills village in Devikulam taluk for the development of a tourist zone in Munnar.

The land is currently on lease to Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Company (formerly Tata Tea) in Munnar. An ordinance would be issued for takeover of the land.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan told the media after the weekly Cabinet meeting that a township and facilities would be developed there. He declined to say whether the government would grant titles to traders and others who were currently occupying some of the land.

The Cabinet decided to depute a three-member official team for a detailed look into the proposal to notify 17,350 acres in the possession of the Forest Department at Kanan Devan Hills village as reserve forest. The team would consist of the Principal Secretaries of Revenue, Local-Self Government and Forests.

There were differences of opinion between the Forest Department and the Idukki Collector regarding the notification of the land. While the Forest Department said the area in its possession could be straightaway notified, the Collector maintained that the boundaries were not clear and needed to be surveyed and demarcated correctly before the notification.

Driving home a message, the traditional way

Thiruvananthapuram: Old timers would still recall bullock carts decked up with movie posters or other campaign material doing the rounds in the city. That was a time when the automobile revolution was yet to take off and animal-drawn carts were a popular form of transport.

A bullock cart manoeuvring its way through a maze of traffic on the city roads would be an anachronism today but it is also eye-catching. And the perfect way to drive home a message, as the Department of Health has realised. Every year, the monsoon rains herald the epidemic season in the district as water-logged areas turn breeding grounds for mosquitoes. With dengue fever emerging as a major threat this year, the Directorate of Health Services has launched a pre-emptive campaign across the capital region.

Designed by the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), the week-long IEC (Information, Education and Communication) campaign uses traditional methods of communication such as bullock cart and �chenda melam to grab public attention.

The campaign was flagged off from Vizhinjam on May 29. It will tour the dengue risk areas like Mukkola, Kattakkada, Vilavoorkkal, Nemam and Balaramapuram before concluding at Kudappanakkunnu on June 4. It uses public announcement and distribution of notices to drive home the message of fever control.

Panel to monitor capital road development

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A high-level committee headed by Law Minister M. Vijayakumar and District Collector Sanjay Kaul has been formed to review and monitor the progress of road development works in the capital.

The decision to form the committee comprising V. Sivankutty and V .Surendran Pillai, MLAs; Mayor C. Jayan Babu; Trida chairman Ajayakumar; and heads of various departments was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan here on Wednesday.

Mr. Vijayakumar told reporters that the committee would meet on Wednesdays to review the progress of the works. The next meeting will be held at 2 p.m. on June 9. The meeting decided to temporarily rehabilitate 54 traders at Thakaraparambu for constructing a flyover. He said necessary steps would be taken to solve the legal issues with the promoters of Big Bazaar. The flyover at Bakery Junction will be opened to traffic next month.

Films on climate change to be released on June 5

Thiruvananthapuram: A special preview and release of five films on climate change will be the highlight of the World Environment Day celebrations organised by the Association of British Scholars in association with YMCA, the British High Commission, National Geographic channel and British Council here on June 5.

Named �Five Scripts, One Plot: Solutions for Climate Change Challenges, the package of short video films focuses on mitigating climate change, with special emphasis on water and energy. Directed by the winners of the UK Environment Film Fellowships-2010, they will be screened on the National Geographic channel.

Wheeling in Change, a film directed by Nina Subramani, focuses on the lifestyle changes adopted by the residents of Bangalore to mitigate emissions. Notes from a Green City, by Madhyama Subramaniam features the successful reforms introduced by the Surat Municipal Corporation to mitigate climate change

Welfare schemes to be integrated

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and Minister for Social Welfare P.K. Sreemathy will meet � along with officials of both the departments � next week to initiate the integration of welfare schemes for families of prisoners and ex-prisoners.

A welfare fund would also be set up for the purpose, Mr. Balakrishnan said here on Wednesday. He was speaking after inaugurating a rehabilitation scheme for ex-prisoners organised by the Department of Social Welfare. Twenty persons were given demand drafts of Rs.10,000 each as part of this rehabilitation package.

A crime affects two families; that of the perpetrator and that of the victim. It is important that the children from such affected families do not turn to crime due to adverse circumstances. The government has instituted welfare schemes in a bid to dissuade people from taking to crime.

A farmers\' collective harvests success

It is an experiment that has brought farmers, in large numbers, back to their fields and drawn the attention of bankers and fledgling farmers enterprises. In Kerala, it has no parallel. In terms of the remuneration farmers are getting and the freedom they enjoy, it is an entirely new world of experience.

The Mazhuvannoor farmers market (Swasraya Karshaka Vipani) in Ernakulam district, under the aegis of the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Kerala (VFPCK), is rewriting history for an audience so accustomed to reading newspaper reports on farmers woes.

Here, in nearly 1,000 sq. ft. of floor area under a sweltering tin roof one hears farmers discuss excitedly the new season.

They are trying to spot the rains, now playing truant. Everywhere, there is an air of expectancy that greets you as you wind your way around heaps of pineapple, elephant foot yam; jackfruit, tapioca, cucumber, jackfruit seeds, banana flower buds, sacks of dried tapioca in various shades; yam stems, half-a-dozen variety of bananas.

�I gave up my job in a private company to return to farming, says V. S. Shashi. It was because of this market that farming has once again become remunerative, he said, bearing witness to a silent revolution brought about by this simple union of farmers.

Kovilan no more

Thrissur: Malayalam litterateur Kovilan, well-known for his �Pattala kadhakal (tales from the barracks), died at a hospital in Kunnamkulam, near here, in the early hours of Wednesday.

The 87-year-old writer, whose real name is Kandanassery Vattomparambil Velappan Ayyappan, had been keeping bad health for quite some time. He is survived by two daughters and a son.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Money chain scheme: one held

KOCHI: The City Police arrested the main accused in the case registered for cheating many after offering them profits through a money chain scheme.

Jayaprakash, 38, was the main partner of Jains Care Marketing from K.K. Road, Kaloor. Another partner of the company Indrakumar, 40, was arrested earlier and he is now out on bail. The police are on the look out for two more persons in this case.

On hearing about the arrest of Jayaprakash, more than 100 persons approached Ernakulam Town North Police with complaints. Among those cheated are senior police officials, a government pleader, advocates and officials and many have lost between Rs. 14 to 20 lakh.

North sub-inspector Nizamudeen arrested Jayaprakash when he reached Kochi from Chennai to settle claims by some of the investors. Held for impersonation

A young woman, who was earlier involved in the case related to the suicide of a merchant, was arrested by the city police for impersonating a woman sub-inspector

Cusat B.Tech. results out

KOCHI: School of Engineering and Model Engineering College at Thrikkakara have cornered majority of the top ranks in the B.Tech. final semester examination results announced by the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) on Tuesday.

The engineering branch, name of rank holders and college-wise list (in the order of first, second and third rank) are as follows:

Civil Engineering: Neha Parool (School of Engineering); Abhishek Shukla (School of Engineering); and Anant Prakash (School of Engineering).

Computer Science: Faseela K (Model Engineering College); Rishi Kumar (School of Engineering), and Dhanya R. Mathews (College of Engineering, Chengannur).

Electronics and Communication: Ranjitha A.G. (Model Engineering College), Nijin E (College of Engineering, Thalassery), and Kavitha Krishnan K.L. (College of Engineering, Kottarakara).

Electrical and Electronics Engineering: Saurabh Shekhar (School of Engineering), Soumya Sasidharan (School of Engineering), and Bijo Reji (College of Engineering, Kidangoor).

Electronics and Biomedical Engineering:

Colourful reception to new school entrants

KOCHI: �Praveshanotsavam, the colourful reception accorded to children entering Class I on school reopening, marked the day across schools in the city and the rest of the district which reopened after two months of summer vacation on Tuesday.

The day turned out to be a painful experience for some as the feeling of being torn away from the comfort of their homes dominated over the grand reception accorded to them at the school.

At the same time, many others were ebullient on entering an altogether new environment and that too accompanied with a reception in which they were the centres of attraction.

The new entrants into the world of letters presented a mixed picture, with some smiling and others shedding tears.

Milk price based on panel report\'

Thiruvananthapuram: Minister for Food and Animal Husbandry C. Divakaran said here on Tuesday that the government would implement the report of the commission set up to decide the price of milk.

Inaugurating the government-sponsored World Milk Day celebrations at Kanakakunnu Palace, he said efforts were on to resolve shortage of milk in Kerala. �A series of initiatives have been kick-started, including the dairy farm coming up at Kulathoopuzha, the hi- tech dairies at Kolahalamedu and Mattupetty, model dairy farms, new dairy products and quality control mechanism, he said.

Meeting of blood donors on June 11

Thiruvananthapuram: Club 25 blood donors in the city will share their experiences at a get together to be held at Hotel Taj Residency here on June 11. The programme organized by Terumo Penpol includes a motivational talk for donors, interactive session and fun and games.

Club 25 is a donor recruitment tool to encourage younger people to donate blood regularly. According to a spokesperson for the company, a performance indicator for a modern blood service is the number of regular blood donors they have on the roll. Some countries have a high percentage of donors in this category. This means that these donors are �very safe as they will have been tested many times for infectious disease markers and blood group characteristics

Kasaragod school tops youth parliament contest

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: C.J. Higher Secondary School Chemnad, Kasaragod has won the first place in the State youth parliament competition 2009-10 conducted by the Department of Education and Institute of Parliamentary Affairs. Education Minister M.A. Baby and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M.Vijayakumar, on Tuesday, said that GHSS Kaniyambetta, Wayanad, won the second place and G.V.HSS for Girls, Kasaragod won the third place. The first prize winner scored 77.25 marks out of 100, second prize winner got 74.5 and third prize winner 73.75 marks. Some the other winners and their marks are: Government HSS, Konni, Pathanamthitta (67.25), Marthoma HSS, Pathanamthitta (66), St.Marys HSS, Kottarakara (63.75), and Vimala Hridaya HSS, Kollam (59.75).

KSEB authorities face action

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission (KSERC) has decided to initiate action against the authorities of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) for �the lapses in submitting the boards annual income-expense accounts since 2007-08.

In a press release on Tuesday, the KSERC said the action was in consonance with section 142 of the Electricity Act. The board had repeatedly sought time for submitting these accounts citing different reasons.

The KSERC had been indulgent in allowing board more time.

The delay in receiving accurate accounts from the KSEB had made it difficult for the KSERC to take decisions on power tariff structure, the release said.

In the latest instance, the KSEB had yet again sought time to provide the information required by the KSERC saying that certain records had to be obtained from the government.

�After examining the facts, the commission has rejected the request and decided to initiate legal action against the KSEB authorities,� the release said.

Enlarged �Rs.2 a kg rice\' scheme launch today

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The enlarged scheme for supply of rice at Rs.2 a kg to the poor will be launched at a function to be held at Neyyattinkara, near here, on Wednesday.

Minister for Food and Civil Supplies C. Divakaran told presspersons here on Tuesday that the scheme would now cover traditional workers and daily wage earners in the unorganised sector.

The Minister said Congress leaders were making misleading statements after the government took the decision to launch the scheme. They claimed that the State was just providing rice supplied at Rs.3 a kg by the Centre for Rs.2 a kg. The Centre supplied rice under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (at Rs.3 a kg.) for five lakh families only. The enlarged scheme would cover 36 lakh families which came to more than half of the ration card holders in the State.

The State provided subsidy at Rs.4.20 a kg to 10 lakh below poverty line (BPL) families for whom the Centre supplied rice at Rs.6.20 a kg. The total allotment was actually being distributed to 15 lakh families. For others, falling in the above poverty line (APL) category, the State provided a subsidy of Rs.6.90 a kg, as the Centre was charging Rs.8.90 a kg. Though the Centre had announced that it would provide food grains to all families at Rs.3 a kg under the food security scheme, the scheme was yet to materialise.

It rained only sweets and balloons

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It was a sunny day that welcomed back children in the city to their schools after the summer vacations.

As hundreds of children walked into classrooms for the first time on Tuesday, at least some seemed disappointed at not being able to flaunt that new umbrella and raincoat, bought specially for the occasion. Others were too busy being at sea in the new environment.

At the Manacaud TTI LPS, where the district-level inauguration of �Praveshanotsavam was held, the school and city Corporation authorities added colour to the event with balloons and festoons.

Malayalam will be compulsory at primary level, says Minister

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State government will initiate punitive action against schools which do not teach Malayalam as a compulsory subject at the primary level, Education Minister M. A. Baby has said.

The government will create a mechanism to monitor compulsory teaching of Malayalam till standard four. When standard five becomes part of the primary school as per the new Central education policy, compulsory teaching of the mother tongue will be extended accordingly. The government would soon issue orders in this regard, Mr. Baby said.

He was delivering the presidential address at the State-wide inauguration of �Pravesanotsavom (Induction festival) held at the Government UPS, Azheekode, in Aruvikkara grama panchayat near here.

When the LDF government assumed office in 2006 there was no official directive on the compulsory teaching of Malayalam in schools. The Department of Education rectified this shortcoming. In schools with linguistic minorities the respective mother tongue should be compulsorily taught.

Black water, part of monsoon blues

Thiruvananthapuram: For the past several years, residents of Vattiyoorkavu panchayat have lived in fear of the approaching monsoon. That is the time of the year when their water sources turn black with the increased leachate runoff from the City Corporations garbage plant at Vilappilsala.

Due to this, the Kerala Water Authority shuts the pump house feeding water from the Meenampally canal, an upstream tributary of the Karamana River, to the distribution network. Most of the wells are also heavily polluted due to the mixture of rainwater and leachate.

This year is no different. The heavy pre-monsoon showers brought misery to hundreds of families, as the leachate flow polluted the river water and wells.

�It is difficult to control the leachate flow during the rainy season, says Babu Ambatt, executive director of the Centre for Environment Development (CED), the agency that manages the garbage plant along with the Corporation.

Thee Pottan\' best professional drama

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The play �Thee Pottan presented by Kozhikode Sangeerthana has been selected as the best professional drama for 2009.

Culture Minister M.A. Baby and Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Akademi chairman Mukesh who announced the Kerala State professional drama awards for 2009 said that Jayan Thirumana who directed �Thee Pottan won the award for the director of the best play. �Soorya Hrudayam presented by Kannur Sangha Chetana was the second best drama. Rajeevan Mammili who directed �Kumaran Oru Kudumbanathan was adjudged the best director.

Sreedharan Neeleswaram who acted in �Vishapinte Puthran is the best male actor and Bindu Suresh who acted in �Aaranyakam is the best female actor. Radhan Kannapuram and Thombil Rajasekharan shared the award for second best male actor. Radhan won the award for his role in �Thee Pottan and Rajasekharan for his role in �Kadalolam Kanivu. Ammini Ernest won the second best female actor award for acting in �Thee Pottan.

Monsoon acts coy over Kochi

Officially, the southwest monsoon has set in over the State.

But the rain gods seem to be waiting to shower their blessings over Kochi.

Going by the announcements of the Indian Meteorological Department, the southwest monsoon set in over Kerala, its entry point into the country, on May 31. Announcing the onset, the weathermen also predicted that with �favourable conditions, the southwest monsoon has further advanced into most parts of south Arabian Sea, entire Kerala, south Tamil Nadu and some more parts of southwest Bay of Bengal on Monday.

Yet, the monsoon showers skipped Kochi on Tuesday, in its northwards journey, though everyone was anticipating its arrival, in torrents.

With their rainwear and umbrellas ready, the city dwellers were all set to walk into the rainy phase of the weather cycle from Tuesday. From school children to office goers and labourers, every one was prepared for the wet months of the year and had made arrangements to live through the season

Centre must clarify stand on National Highways, says VS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has said that the State is awaiting clarification from the Centre on the proposal for widening the national highways passing through Kerala.

Participating at a meet-the-press organised by the Kesari Memorial Journalists Trust here on Tuesday, Mr. Achuthanandan said an all-party delegation had sought 30-metre width for the highways on account of the fears and anxieties expressed by the people who were likely to be affected by the road-widening project and that any review of the position taken by the all-party meeting and an all-party delegation would have to wait for the Centres response to the States demand.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Accused in custody

Thrissur: The police on Sunday regained custody of Mohammad Rafi, an accused in the 2001 Mandalamkunnu Nisham murder attempt case, after CPI(M) workers allegedly got him released from police custody on Saturday.

Rafi, reportedly a CPI(M) worker, had been absconding for the past seven years. The police closed in on him on Saturday after he returned from the Gulf. A group of CPI(M) workers, including party branch secretary Usman, allegedly assaulted the police after they took Rafi into custody and got him released. Policemen Benny, 36, and Jofi Raj, 38, sustained injuries and were hospitalised.The Vadakkekkad police registered a case against 10.

Kerala Sahitya Akademi endowments presented

Thrissur: The Kerala Sahitya Akademi endowments for 2009 were presented at a function here on Sunday.

Addressing the gathering, writer and social activist Sukumar Azhikode said that writers should strive to be closer to the masses.

�Pride of place

�Literature once enjoyed pride of place in every family. It should regain its status, he said.

He said that the term, �Purogamana Sahityam (progressive literature), denoted literature that dealt with the progress of the marginalised. �It does not signify the progress of literature. Ideologues such as K.E.N. Kunjahammed should understand this,� Prof. Azhikode stated. Akademi president P. Valsala presented the endowments in different categories

Unit facing pollution charge attacked

Thrissur: Two persons, on Sunday, attacked the security wing of the Nitta Gelatin India Limited (NGIL) at Kathikudam, an ossein-producing company that has been facing allegations of environmental pollution.

According to T. Vijayakrishnan, assistant general manager of the company, the attackers arrived on a motorcycle around 1 a.m., attacked the security office with iron bars and smashed windowpanes before speeding away.

�They left behind a few posters which carried slogans like �Move over NGIL, �Maoist Zindabad, Maoist Kerala Unit and �Clean Up Kathikudam. One attacker wore a helmet and the other covered his face with cloth, Mr. Vijayakrishnan said. The police examined the place.

New coastal police station at Azhikode

Thrissur: Round-the-clock sea patrolling around five nautical miles from the Kodungalloor shoreline will begin on Monday with the inauguration of a coastal police station at Azhikode in Kodungalloor.

Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan would inaugurate the coastal police station, the second in the State, at 9.30 a.m., Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran said at a press conference here on Sunday.

The patrolling would later be extended to 12 nautical miles off the shoreline extending from Kodungalloor to Puthu Ponnani. The police station would have two 12-tonne interceptor speedboats, a five-tonne boat, a jeep and two motorcycles.

It would have a total strength of 67 personnel, including a circle inspector, three sub-inspectors, three additional sub-inspectors, nine head constables, 30 constables, two drivers and six boat-drivers.

��The station will start functioning with 15 re-deployed personnel trained by the coast guard, Superintendent of Police M.P. Dinesh said. The station would have telescopes, a watch tower with radar and high-frequency communication gear. A building to house the station was constructed at a cost of Rs.28 lakh. Each 12-tonne interceptor speedboat would cost Rs.2.5 crore.

Call for free treatment for haemophiliacs

Thrissur: Suresh Hanagavadi, president of the Haemophilia Federation (India) and professor of pathology with the Kasturba Medical College and Hospital, Manipal, has urged the Kerala government to provide haemophiliacs free treatment in government medical college hospitals and taluk hospitals.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, he said that New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Puducherry governments were treating haemophiliacs free of cost.

�Assam and Rajasthan too are planning to do so. In a population of 31 million in Kerala, 3,200 to 4,000 people are expected to be haemophiliacs. As many as 2,000 of them have registered with haemophilia chapters. The Kerala government should extend support to haemophiliacs irrespective of their APL-BPL status, he said.

According to an estimate, one lakh people in the country are haemophiliacs. Of them, 13,000 have registered with haemophilia support groups. About 40 per cent of haemophiliacs are children and 25 per cent of patients are indigent.

Stone laid for industrial park

MALAPPURAM: The Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra) has begun work on an industrial park at Kuttippuram in the district. Industries Minister Elamaram Karim laid the foundation stone for the Kinfra Park on Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) campus at Kuttippuram on Sunday afternoon.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Karim said construction of the park would be completed within a year.

He said the Kerala State Detergent and Chemicals (KSDC) factory, which has remained closed for many years on the KSIDC campus, would be revived.

It will be handed over after seeking an expression of interest, he said Local Administration Minister Paloli Mohammed Kutty laid the foundation stone for a standard design factory being set up at the Park. K.T. Jaleel, MLA, presided over the function. S. Ramnath, managing director of Kinfra, welcomed the gathering. Additional District Magistrate P. Abdul Rahman, and V.K.C. Mammed Koya, Kerala State Small Industries Association president, spoke.

Remembering Kamala Suraiya

Kozhikode: Writer T.P. Rajeevan will inaugurate the Kamala Suraiya commemorative programme organised by the Kerala Sahithya Gramam at the Nalanda Auditorium here at 10.30 a.m. on Monday.

Writers Kalpatta Narayanan, U.K. Kumaran and K.P. Sudheera among others will speak on the occasion.

Campaign to clean water tanks in schools

Kozhikode: The youth wing of the Muslim Educational Society (MES) launched a voluntary campaign to clean the drinking water tanks at the government schools in the city on Sunday.

Nine tanks were cleaned on Sunday. The campaign was inaugurated by City Police Commissioner P. Vijayan. M.E.S youth wing state secretary A.T.M. Asharaf and district president T.P.M. Sajal Muhammed were present.

Youth wing district secretary K. Hashim said most of the drinking water tanks on the school premises here were in unhealthy condition and required cleaning before the schools reopened on June 1. He said students using water from these tanks might face health hazards.

�We held this campaign to remind authorities about the urgent need to clean the drinking water tanks in schools before the new academic year, said Mr. Hashim

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