Saturday, July 3, 2010

Make use of courses offered: varsity

Kozhikode: The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has appealed to the people of northern districts of the State to make use of the assortment of courses and educational programmes offered by the university, which are internationally recognised, easy to access and affordable to all.

Addressing a press meet here on Saturday, IGNOU Regional Director K.S. Divakaran Nair said most people in this region were �yet to be fully informed about the enormous scope and value of what was offered by IGNOU to its learners.

�Though there are many, who enrol for different IGNOU programmes from the Malabar region, there is still to be desired more from districts like Wayanad, Malappuram and Kasaragod in terms of enrolment, he said.

Sand from Malampuzha dam to be made available

Kozhikode: District Collector P.B. Salim has said that sand from Malampuzha dam will be brought to the district in view of the shortage of the material for implementing the EMS Housing Scheme and the Indira Awas Yojana, envisaged for people belonging to economically-backward communities.

The acute shortage of sand had prolonged the construction of houses in many civic bodies in the district. Construction was in progress at 5,400 of the total 27,000 houses, Dr. Salim said at a review meting of the EMS Housing Scheme at the Collectorate conference hall here.

He said the sand would be made available to 78 grama panchayats, two municipalities (Koyilandy and Vadakara) and the city Corporation. Steps had been taken to transport the sand required for the construction of 100 houses in each local body, Dr. Salim said.

12 heart valves donated

KOTTAYAM: The Heart Care Foundation founded by Jose Chacko Periapuram, has donated 12 artificial heart valves to the Kottayam Government Medical College Hospital.

The valves, secured by the foundation from a distinguished producer of the same, were handed over to T.K. Jayakumar, Head of the Department of Thoracic Surgery by Justice Cyriac Joseph, judge of the Supreme Court

Accused in theft cases nabbed

KANNUR: A 23-year-old youth accused in nearly 90 cases of theft was arrested by the Town Police here on Saturday. The police recovered seven stolen motorcycles and an autorickshaw from the youth, identified as K. Nayeemuddin, hailing from Pazhayangadi here.

The police said the accused was involved in several theft cases, including temple burglary and vehicle theft. He was arrested by a police team led by Circle Inspector of Police P.P. Sadanandan.

The police said he had stolen the vehicles that were recovered from him after his release from jail on February 2 last.

He was involved in cases of burglary in places of worship in different parts of the district and nearbly areas, they said.

According to the police, he had stolen the motorcycles from Payyannur, Thalassery, Vadakara, Pazhayangadi, Kannur town and Trikkarippu and the autorikshaw from Thavam here. He had served prison term for nearly six years in different theft cases, the police said.

To give a fillip to the number of Fulbright scholars

COIMBATORE: While the information and orientation that students going abroad for higher studies get is immense, knowledge and awareness about the various fellowships and grants being offered to professionals intending to pursue research and projects abroad is very minimal.

Unless and until the individuals themselves take the initiative to visit the various websites concerned there is no easy access to such information. The United States � India Educational Foundation (USIEF) of the U.S. Consulate General, Chennai, has made a path breaking effort in creating awareness about the Fulbright and Fulbright-Nehru grants and fellowships to those interested, in Coimbatore.

Though it has been conducting mentoring workshops in Chennai and other tier-1 cities for a few years, this is the first time that such a workshop was held here at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) on Saturday. It is identifying institutions in various cities/towns that are interested in promoting its faculty and other professionals in their city in making use of the fellowships and also in conducting mentoring workshops there.

Central team visits tribal colonies in Wayanad

KALPETTA: A joint committee under the Union Ministries of Tribal Affairs and Environment and Forests has expressed satisfaction over the progress in the implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act in Wayand district.

The district administration has set a model for other States to emulate, committee members C.K. Sreedharan, Ravirappa Pragada and Rajeshkumar Dogra said on Saturday after they visited tribal colonies like Madoortheikkil, Panchami, Cheeyambam, Kalankandy, Ponkuzhy, etc.

During their visit to the Madoortheikkil colony, the team scrutinised as many as 53 land records.

The district administration had built as many as 35 houses in that colony at a cost of Rs.1.25 each. Livestock had also been provided to all households.

District Collector T. Bhaskaran; Forest Right Committee Deputy Director Vasanthakumaran Nair and Tribal Resettlement Development Mission Officer Prasad accompanied the panel.

The panel will hold a sitting at the Collectorate conference hall at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Mr.Bhaskaran said.

VS: Congress in vilification mode

ALAPPUZHA: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has said that the Congress is trying to portray the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as a person who had done nothing wrong to the nation.

Speaking after the inauguration of a Communist Party of India (Marxist) local committee office at Thamarakulam near here on Saturday, Mr. Achuthanandan said he had inadvertently said �Rajiv Gandhi instead of �Sanjay Gandhi [in a speech in the Assembly] and immediately corrected himself. However, the Congress-led Opposition was carrying on a vilification campaign against him, ��hiding the crimes Rajiv Gandhi had committed against the nation.

Mr. Achuthanandan said that the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Arjun Singh himself �had admitted� that it was Mr. Gandhi who helped the former Union Carbide chairman Warren Anderson, the main accused in the Bhopal Gas tragedy case, to flee the country. Who could forget �the justification Mr. Gandhi had given to the nation following the mindless massacre of thousands of Sikhs in the wake of his mother Indira Gandhis assassination� in 1984, Mr. Achuthanandan asked.

Neglect of Minicoy alleged

KOCHI: The Minicoy block Congress has launched an agitation against what they termed �the neglect of the islands needs by the bureaucracy at Kavaratty, the Lakshadweep administrations headquarters. Block Congress president B. Hassan said in a press release here that certain heads of departments were hostile to Minicoy.

Mammiyoor award

KOCHI: The award instituted in memory of the guru of Kerala Mural Art, Mammiyoor Krishnankutty Nair, Mammiyoor Vamsadhara Puraskaram, will be given to P. N. Suresh, executive director of Aranmula Vastu Vidya Gurukulam. This award is for his comprehensive contribution to the cultural field and includes Rs. 33,333 in cash and a memento. The award is given once in three years by the Mammiyur Krishnankutty Nair Asaan Foundation

Dalai Lama to open meet

Kochi: The 33 {+r} {+d} World Congress of International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) will be held here from September 4 to 7.

At a press conference, Thomas Mathew, president of the IARF said that the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama would inaugurate the event on September 4. As many as 600 peace-makers from different parts of the world would take part in the congress and discuss vital issues such as ethnicity, religion and human rights. He said that IARF interventions were very effective in conflict resolution and peace-making,

Dr. Karan Singh, Swami Agnivesh, Asma Jahaghir, human rights activist from Pakistan and other world spiritual leaders would participate in the event.

The IARF, an inter-faith organisation, was formed in 1900.The spirit of Chicago World Parliament of Religions held in 1893 had paved the way for formation of the organisation, he said. The IARF has the general consultative status of the United Nations, he said

Concession for free surrender of land

KOCHI: Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, who holds additional portfolio of Public Works, said here on Saturday that the floor-area ratio (FAR) rules would be relaxed for those who surrender land free of cost for development of roads.

He was briefing the media at the end of a review meeting of stakeholders and authorities concerned at the Government Guest House.

A trip to explore the splendours of coconut

KOCHI: The Coconut Development Board has evolved a scheme to explore the splendours of coconuts. The board is planning to set up projects in association with agencies in the tourism, food and handicrafts sectors.

A pilot project, named �Coconut Trail, is to be launched at Kumbalangi. The project envisages a package for providing a unique experience in a location where coconut and the products derived from it will be the prime attraction, according to Ananda Bose, chairman of the Board.

The scenic location will have coconut trees of different types and the visitors will get an opportunity to climb the trees if they desire so. Climbing the palm tree is a splendid exercise and at a time when the State is facing lack of manpower suited for the job, the sporty event could generate a lot of interest among the people.

A �nalukettu, a house built in the traditional method, will be open to the visitors. It could give insight into the environment-friendly construction practices.

The wood of the coconut tree finds ample use in the conventional construction methods.

SBT revises interest rates

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: State Bank of Travancore (SBT) has announced a revision of interest rates for NRE deposits with effect from Friday.

As per the revision, interest rate for NRE term deposits for periods from one year to less than two years will be 2.92 per cent, for two years to less than three years, it will be 2.72 per cent and for three years and above up to 5 years, it will be 3.08 per cent.

Interest rate for FCNR deposits in dollars will be 2.17 per cent for a period of one year to less than two years, 1.97 per cent for two years to less than three years, 2.33 per cent for three years to less than four years, 2.71 per cent for four years to less than five years and 3.05 per cent for five years. For deposits in pound sterling, the corresponding rates will be 2.46 per cent, 2.43 %, 2.8 %, 3.16% and 3.45 %.

Potholes on roads filled in two districts\'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Potholes on roads under the Public Works Department (PWD) have been filled in the districts of Thiruvananthapuram and Pathanamthitta, said the office of Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac.

In a press release issued here on Saturday, his office said the work was progressing vigorously all over the State although rain was causing difficulties.

The potholes on National Highways 47A and 213 too were filled on Friday.

Kozhikode division

The stretch of National Highway 17 passing through Kozhikode division too has been made free of potholes.

Dr. Isaac is monitoring the progress of the work on a day-to-day basis.

According to his office, 49,463 potholes on PWD roads spread across the length and breadth of the State have been filled so far.

Only 32,826 more potholes remained to be filled., the press note said

Kerala varsity BA, B.Sc. results out

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Girls bagged top ranks in the final year B.Sc. and B.A. examinations of the University of Kerala the results of which were published here on Saturday.

Of the 34 candidates who scored the top three ranks in various subjects for the B.Sc. examinations, 28 were girls. In the B.A. examinations, 45 out of the 56 top rankers were girls.

In the B.Sc. examinations, the highest pass percentage was for geography(97.10). While The lowest pass percentage (50.37) was for polymer chemistry.

In the B.A. examinations the highest pass percentage was for Sanskrit general and for Sanskrit special Vyakarana (100). The results can be accessed at the web site www.keralauniversity.ac.in. Applications for revaluation and scrutiny of the B.Sc. answer sheets should be submitted on or before August 15. The mark lists will be despatched to the respective centres by July 20.

For the B.A. examinations the applications for revaluation and scrutiny should be submitted on or before August 18.

State pays homage to M.G. Radhakrishnan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: People from different walks of life paid a tearful homage to veteran Carnatic music vocalist and composer M.G. Radhakrishnan who died here on Friday afternoon.

Right from the morning, Medayil House, his residence at Thycaud in the city, witnessed luminaries from the film and music world, including Nedumudi Venu, Jagathy Sreekumar, streaming in.

The body was taken to the Swati Tirunal Music Academy where students and the talents whom he nurtured gathered to pay last respects to their guru.

The body was later taken to the All India Radio and was brought to his residence. Around 4 p.m., the body was taken to Santhi Kavadam and was cremated with State honours in the presence of a huge crowd comprising Ministers, politicians and music buffs. His son Rajakrishnan performed the last rites.

Crime editor arrested

Thiruvananthapuram: The State police arrested T.P. Nandakumar, editor of the Crime news magazine, in Kochi on Saturday on the charge of publishing offensive and defamatory material against a Kaduthuruthy-based Non-Resident Indian businessman.

Official sources said Mr. Nandakumar had published the allegedly defamatory material on the online edition of his magazine.

The businessman, Alexander, was fighting a defamation suit against Mr. Nandakumar in the District Sessions Court, Ernakulam.

The court had ordered Mr. Nandakumar not to publish any further news reports or material relating to Mr. Alexander till further orders. Recently,

Mr. Alexander petitioned Director-General of Police Jacob Punnoose stating that Mr. Nandakumar had published offensive material defaming him in the latest online edition of his magazine.

Mr. Punnoose ordered the cyber police to register a case and investigate the matter. The police arrested Mr. Nandakumar on the charge of violating Section 66 of the Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008.

The section carried a punishment of up to three years of imprisonment.

School uniforms distributed

Thiruvananthapuram: As part of the Technopark-based RM Education Solution Indias (RMESI) ongoing School Welfare Programme, school uniforms and shoes were given away to students of Government Lower Primary School, Karichar (Kaniyapuram sub-district), recently.

RM groups chief financial officer Iain McIntosh and non-resident managing director Chris Clements gave away the items, a press note issued here said. The executives later interacted with the students and staff and spent over an hour at the school.

Mr. McIntosh urged the students to study hard and respect their teachers. He also stressed the importance of education for all as part of ensuring growth and development. School Principal Leela said it was a kind gesture and felt good that the company had selected the school for the programme, the press note said.

�I see this as part of our social responsibility, and being in the education field we are very keen to see our children grow up to be good citizens. We would just like to do our bit to contribute to their learning process in any way we can, the press note quoted company chief executive officer Connell Viegas.

A majority of students of the school hail from economically backward families, the press note said.

NABARD to promote organic farming

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) proposes to promote organic farming in the State through banks and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

In the first phase, the initiative will integrate the activities of over 10,000 farmers in organic farming. A meeting of NGO stakeholders convened here has decided to publish a White Paper on the potential of organic farming in Kerala.

Addressing the meeting, K.C. Shashidhar, Chief General Manager, NABARD, Kerala, said, �the bank plans to promote organic farming through joint liability groups.

Meet calls for total ban on plastic bags

Thiruvananthapuram: Participants of a workshop organised here on Saturday called for a total ban on plastic bags in view of the failure to enforce the ban on plastic bags of thickness below 30 microns.

Environmental activists and producers of eco-friendly products from across the country participated in the workshop organised by Thanal and the Zero Waste Centre in connection with International Plastic Bag Free Day.

They said the failure to enforce the ban on carry bags had shrunk the market for paper bags and other substitute products. This had led to a crisis for the manufacturers and minimised job opportunities. They recommended a total ban on plastic bags to check the environmental and public health problems caused by the material, on the lines of the regulation in Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu.

Inaugurating the workshop, Sugathakumari, poet and environmental activist, called upon the government to avoid the use of plastic at all official functions and go in for eco-friendly substitutes instead. She urged the City Corporation and the State Sanitation Mission to enforce the regulation on plastic bags.

Rise in night-time burglaries likely

Thiruvananthapuram: The police have warned the public against a possible spurt in night time burglaries during monsoon.

Deputy Commissioner of Police C.H. Nagaraju said that professional burglars, mainly gangs from outside the district and State, often used the cover of darkness and rain for their operations.

The police said at least 11 housebreaks were reported in the city in May. The burglars had shown a preference for gold ornaments, cash and electronic gadgets. In some cases, the burglars had targeted areas were power outages were relatively common and street lighting poor. Most of the burglaries were reported during night.

The police said negligence on the part of house owners often worked to the advantage of thieves. Burglars broke into houses through weak and ill-secured backyard doors and also those leading to the terrace.

Most of the recent house breaks had occurred between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. The police suspect that migrant gangs responsible for the burglaries used early morning buses and trains to decamp with their loot.

The detection rate in burglary cases was relatively low compared to other serious crimes such as armed robbery, murder-for-gain, cheating and causing grievous hurt.

It is difficult to recover stolen property, particularly gold, in its original form. The police said there could be a new set of burglars at work in the city and they were yet to figure in police records.

Karunakaran not to accept outcome of party elections

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Senior Congress leader K. Karunakaran said that he would not accept the outcome of the organisational elections in the State unit of the party.

Mr. Karunakaran told reporters here on Saturday that whatever be the outcome of the elections, he and his supporters would not accept it. It has been reduced to a farce. Certain people are suspected of making mysterious moves to bring the State party leadership under their control. Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala and Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy had visited him a couple of times, but no fruitful discussions were held. The State leadership is trying to deceive the party high command. Being a senior Congress worker, becoming part of an election process like this is shameful, he said.

After deciding the candidates to be elected from the booth to the KPCC, attempts are on to impose the list on the diligent worker. Never before in the history of the party had the elections been reduced to such a sham, he said.

Once the State returning officer is appointed, he should fix the assistant returning officer and district returning officers and conduct the elections from the booth to the State level within the stipulated time. Once the returning officer takes charge, the powers of the KPCC president will be limited. But none of the constitutional procedures has been followed. Even the membership campaign was not conducted in a flawless manner. The leadership had not called meetings of workers at the booth level to elicit their views. Neither the mandalam nor the block committees had been formed in the right manner.

Direct flights to Europe from November

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Condor, a popular German holiday airline, will offer direct connectivity between Kerala and Europe with the commencement of direct flights from Frankfurt to Kochi from November.

Initially, the airline will offer only �seasonal flights every Thursday on the Frankfurt-Kochi sector from November to April next. The first flight of the airline to Kerala using Boeing 757-300 aircraft will take off on November 5 from Frankfurt, which is also the headquarters of the largest holiday airline in Germany. The flight will be via Bahrain and will be in operation till April 29. The commencement of direct flights from Frankfurt has come as a relief to the tourism industry that is trying hard to overcome the slump due to economic recession and non-operation of chartered flights from the U.K. and Scandinavian countries to Kerala.

�We have connectivity to Europe via Mumbai, Qatar and Dubai at present. The commencement of flights by Condor will offer direct connectivity between Kerala and Europe for the first time. It was a long-pending demand of the travel and tourism industry, Director, Nedumbassery airport, A.C.K. Nair told The Hindu.

The low landing charges at the Cochin international airport (10 per cent less compared to other airports) seem to have prompted the airline to opt for Nedumbassery instead of the Thiruvananthapuram international airport. �We are open to discussions and in providing further concessions to the airline,� Mr. Nair said.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hike in compensation

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has decided to enhance the compensation paid to victims of wild elephants attack to Rs.2 lakh, Forest Minister Benoy Viswom told the Assembly on Thursday. Responding to a calling attention motion by Aryadan Mohammed (Congress), the Forest Minister said that when the LDF came to power, the amount was only Rs.50,000.

Honour for centenarian tree

Thiruvananthapuram: A benign, silent presence, she has presided over the sprawling school grounds for a century. Her green canopy has provided a cool shade to generations of students.

On Friday, the majestic 100-year-old teak tree on the premises of SMV Government Model Higher Secondary School was honoured with the title of �Vriksha Sree.

The title was conferred on the tree by Forest Minister Benoy Viswom who put up a board on it.

The Minister also inaugurated a scheme to set up farm and environment clubs in schools.

M.Tech. in government colleges

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Minister for Education M.A. Baby has said the government has decided to start the M.Tech. course in government engineering colleges in Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur.

Replying to questions in the Assembly on Friday, Mr. Baby said a majority of the self-financing colleges in the State had reached an accord with the government.

He said the government had not taken a stance on the Centres proposal for a unified medical entrance examination. Since the States were following different reservation norms, all aspects had to be considered before implementing the proposal. The government had sought a year to implement the Free and Compulsory Education Bill.

Livestock show, food fete

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A national livestock show and food festival will be held at the Kanakakkunnu Palace here from July 23 to 27.

Minister for Food and Civil Supplies C. Divakaran said here on Friday that the programme would feature exhibitions of cattle from different States, pet birds and ornamental fishes; cultural pageantry; gaja (elephant) mela and calf rally; and seminars; besides the festival of culinary delights, including local dishes.

There would be dance and music programme by well-known artists every day.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan would inaugurate the festival at a function, to be attended by Union and State ministers, including ministers from other States.

Notification for crop insurance

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The notification of the climate-based crop insurance being implemented jointly by the Central and the State governments and the Agricultural Insurance Company of India has been issued. It will be available for the pepper cultivators of Wayanad and Idukki districts and the paddy cultivators of Palakkad district. The scheme provides for the payment of compensation for variation of rainfall during the period insured. The premium to be paid by the farmers is Rs.662 per acre for pepper and Rs.243 per acre for paddy. The Centre and the State will provide 50 per cent of the premium for pepper and 78 per cent of the premium for paddy as subsidy.

The maximum compensation to be paid is Rs.10,000 per acre. The last date for joining the scheme is July 6. More details can be had from the office of the Agricultural Insurance Company of India in Thiruvananthapuram or from the Krishi Bhavans.

NABARD to promote organic farming

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) proposes to promote organic farming in the State through banks and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). In the first phase, the initiative will integrate the activities of over 10,000 farmers in organic farming. A meeting of NGO stakeholders convened here has decided to publish a White Paper on the potential of organic farming in Kerala.

Addressing the meeting, K.C. Shashidhar, Chief General Manager, NABARD, Kerala, said, �the bank plans to promote organic farming through joint liability groups.

NABARD will implement the project in seven districts initially, in association with the Kerala Social Services forum, an umbrella NGO under which 36 NGOs are affiliated.

As a prelude to its formal launch, NABARD will conduct a two-week training programme for farmers in organic farming.

CPI(M) trying to divert attention: BJP

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: BJP State president V. Muraleedharan said here on Friday that the CPI(M) had launched a tirade against the judiciary to divert attention from real issues.

Addressing a press conference here, he said the government wanted to divert the attention of people from issues related to PDP leader Abdul Nasir Maudany, Inspector General of Police Tomin Thachankary and Jamaat-e-Islami and hike in milk prices.

The BJP had divergent views on some of the court verdicts but opposed the CPI(M) leaders speaking like rowdies, he said. The party wanted the State government to bring legislation to nullify the court order against holding meetings on public roads.

Mr. Muraleedharan said that the courts were not showing social commitment if one went by some of the recent judgments. They should not encroach upon the domain of legislature and executive.

He said the conference of office-bearers of the BJP State unit had decided to support the Bharat bandh on July 5 though a second bandh in ten days would cause hardships to the people.

Court verdict against natural justice: VS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has said though the government had the highest regard for the judiciary, it could not but disagree with the Kerala High Courts order banning wayside meetings as it breached the principle of natural justice.

Mr. Achuthanandan told a news conference after the disruption of Assembly proceedings on Friday that the High Court had issued the order disregarding the principle that no one shall be punished unheard.

The court had not cared to hear the State government before issuing the ban order, which was difficult to implement in the given context in the State and which would have far-reaching consequences both within and outside Kerala. The Left parties had come out against the High Court verdict only on account of this, he said. Pointing out that fair comment was permissible in the case of court verdicts, the Chief Minister said there was only fair comment in the present instance as well.

If anything was stated beyond that was being examined by the High Court, it would be better to wait for its decision in the matter. In a democracy, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary had the responsibility to work together for the common welfare of the people. The government held the judiciary in the highest regard and hoped that the same attitude would be shown by the judiciary, he said.

A ten-day treat for book lovers



Thiruvananthapuram: The annual book fair organised by the State Institute of Languages at the VJT hall here from Thursday promises a treat for bibliophiles. As many as 2,000 titles on subjects ranging from science and technology, literature, archaeology and health to fisheries, agriculture and music are exhibited at the fair.

Screen plays of various movies and biographies of famous personalities are also on sale. Complete works of B.R. Ambedkar in 34 volumes is one of the major attractions.

Prathapa Muthaliyar Charithram, the first novel in Tamil, is another exhibit of interest.

All the books exhibited at the 10- day fair are printed and published by the institute and are priced from Rs.10 to Rs.500.

There is also a discount of 20 to 50 per cent on all the titles. A special discount of up to 60 per cent is being offered for old books.

The institute is using a new open source software developed by the Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT) for the sale of books at the fair.

Stress on early detection among high-risk groups

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The high rate of mortality among pregnant or post-natal women due to H1N1 infection has prompted the Health Department to take pro-active measures by strengthening early detection of the infection in the community.

Though it had been established when the H1N1 pandemic broke out that pregnant women were highly vulnerable to the infection, it was only in the second spell of virus activity in the State that more number of deaths among this category of patients was reported.

The WHO had recommended that in areas where H1N1 infection was widespread, pregnant women as well as clinicians should be alert to the symptoms of influenza-like illnesses in these women

Physicians had been given instructions to find out from patients with suspected H1N1 infection whether there were any other family members in the high-risk group. In such cases, immediate anti-viral chemo prophylaxis should be started for the family member in the high-risk group � pregnant and post-natal women, asthma and diabetes patients � using the drug Oseltamivir.

However, it was later felt that these precautions at the clinicians end were not enough to detect pregnant women with influenza cases sufficiently early because, according to the GoI guidelines, the advice to those with mild influenza symptoms was to stay at home and take rest.

The Health Department is now utilising the services of its Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) to detect cases of influenza-like illnesses among pregnant women in the community.

Total ban on plastic carry bags sought

Thiruvananthapuram: On Saturday, the capital city will join the rest of the world in observing International Plastic Bag-free Day, even as environmental groups here have raised the demand for a total ban on plastic bags to check the environmental hazards caused by the material.

The slogan of this years International Plastic Bag-free Day is �Get the Bag out of your head.

The highlight of the days programme in the city is a meeting of various groups that produce paper bags, cloth bags and other eco-friendly options to plastic bags. The event is being organised by Thanal and Zero Waste Centre.

The two organisations have urged the government to enforce a total ban on plastic carry bags. Recently, Kanyakumari district enforced such a ban through local bodies, they point out.

�Sustainable materials and products to replace plastic carry bags are available in the market. Many groups across the State are producing paper bags, cloth bags and bags made of various natural fibres. But these will never find a proper market till there is a ban on plastic bags, says R. Sridhar, coordinator, Thanal. The organisations are also demanding social and governmental support to manufacture and market products to substitute plastic bags. They say encouragement for such products would open up job opportunities at the local level.

Attack on DYFI leader: three held

Thiruvananthapuram: The police have arrested three Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activists in connection with the attempt on the life of a Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) worker, �Chukkran Renjith, at Chembakassery Junction last Sunday. The prime suspects were identified as �Pathu Pradeep of Palkulangara; Mahesh of Karickakam; and Mahesh of Palkulangara.

Investigators said �Pathu Pradeep had a personal score to settle with Renjith and he carried out the attack without the knowledge of the RSS leadership.

According to the police, Renjith had bullied Pradeep several times and persuaded him to defect to the DYFI. Pradeep sought the support of some RSS workers from Mannanthala who had a grudge against Renjith, one of the main accused in the murder of RSS activist Mannanthala Renjith in 2008. They conspired with Pradeep and others to attack Renjith, local committee secretary of the DYFI Vanchiyoor unit.

Investigators said the assailants bought machetes from a shop in Chalai and hid them under a pile of coconut husks near the Fort Government Hospital. They assembled at the spot on June 27 and started scouting for Renjith on motorcycles from daybreak. They spotted him at 6.45 p.m. The police said two of the motorcycle-borne assailants knocked Renjith down. The others tailed them on a motorcycle and in a car. They were eight in all, armed with machetes. They hacked Renjith who sustained over 12 deep cut injuries. His limbs were almost severed.

M.G. Radhakrishnan dead

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Carnatic vocalist and music director M.G. Radhakrishnan died here on Friday afternoon. He was 70. Mr. Radhakrishnan, who had been ailing for a while, died at a private hospital.

Born into a music family in 1940, Mr. Radhakrishnan was the son of musician Malabar Gopalan Nair and Harikatha exponent Kamalakshi Amma. He had his college education at S.D. College, Alappuzha, and took �Ganabhooshanam from Swati Tirunal Music Academy. He then joined All India Radio as music composer.

He made his debut in cinema through Aravindans path-breaking film Thambu. Since then, he had composed songs for a number of films including Aaravam, Chamaram, Thakara, Randu Jenmam, Njan Ekananu, Devasuram, Manichithrathazhu, Advaitham, Achaneyanenikkishtam and Ananthabhadram. The songs in the last two films won him the State award for the best music director. He made outstanding contributions to developing light music. He officiated as executive member of the Sangeeta Nataka Akademi and won its award too.

Mr. Radhakrishnan is survived by wife, Padmaja, a son and a daughter. The body will be cremated on Saturday. People from different walks of life paid homage to Mr. Radhakrishnan. Assembly Speaker K. Radhakrishnan, Minister for Culture M.A. Baby, Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy , Sangeeta Nataka Akademi chairman Mukesh, RSP State secretary V.P. Ramakrishna Pillai and KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala, were there among those who mourned Mr. Radhakrishnan.

Court ruling affects Assembly session

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The ongoing controversy over the Kerala High Courts ban on roadside public meetings and the verbal attacks on the judiciary by CPI(M) leaders had its echo in the Assembly on Friday when slogan-shouting Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) members trooped into the well of the House forcing adjournment of the proceedings barely half-an-hour into zero hour.

The Opposition members rushed to the well of the House taking exception to a mistaken observation by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan about the former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, while responding to the UDF demand for adjournment of the proceedings to discuss the High Court fiat and its aftermath.

The Chief Ministers attempt was to remind the Congress benches about how their party had responded to the Allahabad High Court verdict against the late Indira Gandhi with the imposition of Emergency.

Trouble arose when he asked the Opposition to recall how the late Sanjay Gandhi and his supporters had detained and intimidated the then Supreme Court Judge V.R. Krishna Iyer. However, instead of attributing the action to Sanjay Gandhi, he mentioned Rajiv Gandhis name.

SBI Kerala circle plans net and mobile banking expansion

State Bank of India, Kerala circle has ambitions to expanding internet and mobile banking services in the region along with additional facilities being added to ATMs, chief general manager B S Bhasin said.

Bhasin and SBI Kerala circle general manager V Ramamoorthy said that this fiscal would see developments coming in the net banking facilities for salary disbursements to employees.

Bhasin added that mobile banking facility would be enabled in even those phones which do not have an internet connection. We are launching it in a big way, he said.

One could deposit both cash and cheques through this facility to any accounts they wish, he said.

For the first time in Kerala, the bank would be launching POS machines, cash terminals as a pilot project in four branches in Kochi.

SBI has shown strict defial against use of recovery agents for loan recovery from customers.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

MG University to make trial allotments for CAP

KOCHI: Mahatma Gandhi University will conduct a trial allotment, as part of its proposed Centralised Allotment Process (CAP) for postgraduate programmes.

It is for the first time the university is conducting CAP for all its postgraduate programmes.

The schedule of the allotment process will be announced soon after the publication of the B.Com. results.

Senior university officials said that the trial allotment will give an idea about the chances of getting allotment to a course and college based on the options registered and the rank of the candidate.

The trial allotment does not guarantee that the candidate will get allotment in a college or course.

The first allotment list will be published on the website www.mguniversity.edu after the trial allotment and the period earmarked for revising options.

Course, college details

The allotment list will show the personal details, the college and the course to which the candidate is allotted to and the fee to be remitted.

A provisional allotment

Elaborate arrangements for Onam vegetable sale

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Agriculture Department proposes to make elaborate arrangements for distribution of vegetables during the Onam season. Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran told officials at a high-level meeting here on Thursday to work out the details. Mobile vegetable vending units would be pressed into service and vegetable melas would be organised, he said.

Man arrested

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ajesh Kumar, 30, was arrested on Thursday evening at the Tagore Centenary Hall after police personnel found a knife inside his bag. The arrest took place a short while before Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan arrived at the venue to inaugurate a private hospital. The knife was found when police personnel, as part of security protocol, were checking the bags. The man, who identified himself as a graphic artist working for a Malayalam publication, told the police that he carried the knife for self-defence. A case under sections 20 and 30 of the Arms Act was charged against him. He would be produced in court on Friday

BJP threatens stir against SEC

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has threatened to launch an agitation against the State Election Commission (SEC) if it failed to rectify the lapses in the voters list for the upcoming local body elections.

Party spokesperson George Kurien told reporters here on Thursday that the list of delimited wards published by the commission was replete with mix-up, and the 15-day deadline set for clearing the mistakes was insufficient.

Mr. Kurien cited specific cases in Palakkad, Malappuram, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Kasaragod districts and said the CPI(M) was trying to upset the elections in its favour by making the commission publish the list with errors.

Doctors\' Day celebrated

Thiruvananthapuram: The government hospitals in the State are fully equipped to meet the exigencies of an epidemic of viral fever or infectious diseases, Industries Minister Elamaram Karim has said.

He was inaugurating the Doctors Day celebrations here on Thursday.

Distributing the State governments Best Doctor awards in the public and private sectors, Mr. Karim said the medical profession was one service sector which demanded a high level of social commitment, dedication and responsibility from the professionals.

Despite the odd complaints, the services rendered by government doctors were exemplary, he added.

Director of Health Services M. K. Jeevan, the ADHS (Health and Family Welfare) P.K. Jamila, ADHS (Public Health) P.P. Aravindan, Director of Medical Education V. Geetha were also present on the occasion.

45 fresh flu cases

Thiruvananthapuram: Forty-five new cases of H1N1 and one death due to the infection were confirmed in the State on Thursday.

The new cases include 10 from Malappuram, seven from Kozhikode, six cases each from Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam, four cases each from Kottayam, Thrissur and Kasaragod, three from Alappuzha and one case from Kollam.

The H1N1 death confirmed was that of Fathima (45) of Palapetty, Malappuram, who died at Amala Hospital, Thrissur on Thursday, while under treatment for fever, pneumonia and ARDS.

The death toll due to H1N1 infection since May has now gone up to 37, while the confirmed cases have crossed the 800 mark.

Senior health officials said that they were quite concerned about Ernakulam, from where more cases and deaths should be expected because the level of alertness about H1N1 among medical fraternity as well as the public continued to remain very poor there, despite consistent appeals from the Health Department.

Youth urged to protect environment

Thiruvananthapuram: Forest Minister Benoy Viswom has reminded the youth of their responsibility to protect the earth and its environment and preserve them for future generations.

Speaking after inaugurating the Bhoomitra Club set up by the government and the University of Kerala at the Santhigiri Sidha Medical College here on Thursday, he exhorted students to take the initiative to share knowledge on the environment and protect it.

The Bhoomitra Club scheme has been launched by the government to encourage activities focussing on environment protection at the college level.

�Global warming is a result of mankinds skewed approach to development. It is important to protect the natural environment while taking up development activities. The tree planting campaign in Kerala is our response to a global crisis. By protecting trees, we ensure the survival of mankind, the Minister said.

Pinarayi defends hartal call

Thiruvananthapuram: CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has defended the Left parties decision to observe a nation-wide hartal on Monday, saying no one concerned about his daily bread will oppose it.

Inaugurating a building named after the late party leader C. Gangadharan in Kozhikode on Thursday, Mr. Vijayan wondered why those protesting against the hartal against the fuel price hike were unconcerned about the policies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh which, in his view, were the cause of the sharp increase in prices of essential goods.

The hike in fuel prices had to be resisted at all cost as it had come at a time when the people were groaning under the burden of increase in prices of essential commodities, he said.

Alleging that the increase in fuel prices was to promote the interests of corporates, the CPI(M) leader warned it was certain to have grave repercussions.

He announced that his party would not pull the curtains down on its protests against the fuel price hike with the hartal on Monday but would follow it up with protest marches across the State.

Hartal evokes partial response

Thiruvananthapuram: The hartal call given by the Vaikunata Swamy Dharma Paripalana Sangham (VSDPS) to protest against the police action against some of their leaders last week evoked a partial response in the district.

Hartal supporters threw stones at four Kerala State Road Transport Corporation buses at Parassala. They smashed the windscreens of a KSRTC bus and a private bus at Kattakada. The police registered cases under the Prevention of Public Property Destruction Act. They said efforts were on to identify and arrest the miscreants.

Building permits: order to avoid delay

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has asked the city corporations and the municipalities to take steps to avoid delays and issue building permits within the fixed time limit.

In a circular issued here on Wednesday, the government asked the urban local bodies to make special arrangements for taking decisions on applications for building permits without any delay, issuing the permits and taking follow-up action.

The circular wanted all technical staff up to the level of Overseer Grade II of the engineering and town planning wings to be given duties connected with construction and implementation of the Building Rules. The Secretaries should delegate their powers. The applications should be forwarded to the officials in charge of various areas in the same priority in which they were submitted.

Grama Nyayalayas for 30 blocks

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan announced in the Assembly on Thursday that the government proposed to set up 30 Grama Nyayalayas in the State.

Replying to the debate on the demands for grants for Administration of Justice, Police, Jails and Tourism, the Minister said the nyayalayas were to be set up in 30 development blocks against the background of pendency of as many as 10 lakh cases in regular courts.

Mr. Balakrishnan said the government proposed to set up a new court at Karunagapally and family courts at Thalassery and Vadakara. A high-tech jail would be opened in Thrissur.

Theft of Rs.13 lakh from gas agency: inside job suspected

Thiruvananthapuram: The police suspect that the theft of Rs.13 lakh from the office of a gas agency at Ambalathara was an inside job.

The agency owner, Sangeeth Kumar, had lodged a complaint on June 28 that Rs.12,67,963 kept in a safe locker in his office had gone missing.

Plea for total ban on plastic bags

Thiruvananthapuram: On Saturday, the capital city joins the rest of the world in observing International Plastic Bag free Day, even as environmental groups here have raised the demand for a total ban on plastic bags to check the environmental hazards caused by the material.

The slogan for this years International Plastic Bag free Day is �Get the Bag out of your head. The highlight of the days programme in the city is a meeting of various groups producing paper bags, cloth bags and other eco-friendly options to plastic bags. The event is being organised by Thanal and the Zero Waste Centre.

The two organisations have urged the government for a total ban on plastic carry bags. Recently, Kanyakumari district imposed such a ban through local bodies, they point out. �Sustainable materials and products to replace plastic carry bags are available in the market. Many groups across the State are producing paper bags, cloth bags and bags made of various natural fibres. But these will never find a proper market till there is a ban on plastic bags, says R. Sridhar, coordinator, Thanal.

Road safety experts moot wider medians

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Four-and-a-half-metre-wide medians are mandatory for the NH-17 and NH-47 stretches which are being developed, to bring down road accidents and reduce traffic congestion, according to road safety experts.

Most of the road accidents on highways are due to collisions in stretches that do not have medians and near busy junctions where vehicles queue up to take a right turn. Road safety experts say many head-on collisions, like the recent one on NH-47 near Parippally that resulted in the death of four persons, could have been avoided if there were medians on the highway. They propose construction of a four-and-a-half-metre-wide median, which should be reduced to three-and-half metres near junctions to create a waiting area for vehicles intending to turn right. It will decongest junctions and ensure speedy movement of vehicles through the lane next to the median on four-lane roads.

Rural IT initiative takes off

Thiruvananthapuram: Kadakkal and Perinad, two sleepy towns in Kollam district, formally gained a place in Keralas IT map on Thursday. The recently inaugurated Technolodges in these two places became operational.

Accentia Technologies, a Technopark-based company specialising in IT solutions for health care, financial and insurance sectors, has set up satellite centres at the two Technolodges.

About 300 employees can work across three shifts at the two centres. �We have already appointed about 50 professionals for both the locations. They have been undergoing training at our Technopark facility and 28 of them were placed today at our Kadakkal and Perinad offices, said Pradeep Vishwambharan, CEO, Accentia Technologies. �We are recruiting professionals from Kollam district for the two centres and they will be placed by the end of September this year.�

The professionals recruited are being trained to cater to non-voice legal and business transcription.

Punching at medical colleges from August

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Punching system will be introduced in all Medical Colleges and the Directorate of Medical Education in August.

Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy informed the Assembly in a written reply on Thursday that the government took action against two doctors who continued private practise in violation of the ban. During the period between January 1 and June 25, 37 deaths were reported due to H1N1, 14 due to leptospirosis and four due to dengue fever.

KSRTC restructures 36 fare stages Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAURAM: The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation has restructured 36 fare stages for the bus services it operates in the State.

The revised fare stages are effective midnight on June 30.

A press note issued here said Transport Minister Jose Thettayil ordered the revision of fare stages on the basis of a report submitted by a group of KSRTC officials led by Chairman and Managing Director T.P. Sen Kumar.

Over the years there had been many anomalies in the corporations fare stages.

The creation of new bus stations and junctions was also an important reason for the revision in fare stages and the sanctioning of identical fare stages, the press note added.

Award for Principal of Vidyodaya School

The principal of Vidyodaya School, Thevakkal, Krishnakumari Nair has been awarded the best principal trophy and appreciation certificate by the Science Olympiad Foundation, New Delhi.

This is to recognize her leadership in the schools efforts at encouraging promotion of science, maths and IT. The school also has a variety of innovative co-curricular activities.

Perambra panchayat innovates to revive paddy farming

Perambra (Kozhikode): During the early days of its implementation, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) was a difficult act for the State.

Given the low wage (Rs.125 a day) on offer under the scheme and the restrictive norms, there was little leeway for the State to make it work. It has been a long haul from there to the present.

The MGNREGS has now been innovatively refashioned to suit the States specific geographical and labour conditions. Although little noticed by the outside world, local self-government institutions have played a major role in this transformation and prominent among them is the Perambra panchayat here which successfully tapped the latent skills and spirit of volunteerism of its people to lift its farm output to admirable levels.

What the civic body did was very simple. It brought together hundreds of women who were ready to work on the farms and gave them all support. The whole exercise began with a series of meetings involving 300-odd farmers and Kudumbasree volunteer groups to chalk out a group-farming initiative.

Roughly 150 acres of fallow land at Kaipram, owned by the farmers, was identified. A major portion of these lands had remained fallow because of heavy inundation from the Marakkadithode that runs from Ponparamala to the Kuttiyadi river.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Applications invited

KOLLAM: The TKM College of Engineering has invited applications for admission to the University of Kerala-affiliated part time MBA course for the year 2010. The last date for receipt of application is July 15. For more details, contact 0474-2708353

Maudany victim of conspiracy: NYL

KOLLAM: The State committee of the National Youth League (NYL) has alleged that the BJP government in Karnataka had hatched a political conspiracy to get Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Abdul Nasir Maudany falsely implicated in the Bangalore serial blasts case.

At a press conference here on Wednesday, NYL leaders called upon people of Kerala to stand united and oppose the conspiracy. The leaders said that NYL would extend support to the ongoing agitation by the Maudany Samrakshana Samara Samithy at Anwarassery

Panel to visit Wayanad

KALPETTA: The members of a joint committee under the Ministries of Tribal Affairs and Environment and Forests will visit the district from July 2 to 4 in order to evaluate the progress of the implementation of the Scheduled Tribe and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act in the State.

The committee members will visit various parts of the district and assess the progress, an official release said.

PG medical exam: change in nativity clause opposed

ALAPPUZHA: Postgraduate medical students here have opposed the recent changes brought about by the State government in the eligibility criteria stipulated in the nativity clause for the super specialty entrance examination for PG courses in general medicine and general surgery.

Amendment

According to the students, till 2009, the eligibility criteria for writing the examination required the students to have an MD/MS degree from a college recognised by the Medical Council of India and degrees accepted by the Kerala University in case the MD/MS was done outside the State while the nativity clause stipulated that they should be Indian citizens of Kerala origin by birth or by permanent residency.

However, in 2009, the State governments Director of Medical Education (DME) and Controller of Entrance Examinations (CEE) made amendments to the nativity clause.

The stipulation that the candidate should be an Indian citizen of Kerala origin was changed to merely of �Indian origin while a one-year compulsory rural service/senior residency/government service in any government medical college or government hospital in the State clause was added.

More retail shops at Kochi airport

KOCHI: The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) will open more retail shops in its international and domestic passenger terminals. This is expected to improve CIALs retail business and up its income from these activities.

According to the airport authorities, the company plans to set up a world-class shopping area with reputed brands operating from these retail outlets. It now intends to lease out two retail spaces measuring 9 sq.m. CIAL also proposes to launch two retail shops in the canopy, three in the international general concourse and one in its security hold area.

In the international terminal, it envisages the retailer to engage in the retail categories ranging from fashion jewelry to Ayurvedic products with a license period of seven years. It stipulates the operators to share a percentage of the total monthly gross sales to the promoter and also suggests a mobilization period of two months.

Special dredger to remove hard patch

KOCHI: The deployment of a specialised mechanical dredger, brought in from Mumbai and deployed on Tuesday, to cut and remove a hard patch of seabed is expected to speed up the efforts to achieve the required draft for berthing a vessel carrying quay cranes for the Vallarpadam International Container Transhipment Project, said a press release from Cochin Port Trust here. The vessel carrying the cranes had arrived at the outer anchorage on June 24 but could not be berthed because of the insufficient depth of the channel.

The press release said that the Ports grab dredger GHD Nehru Satabdi would also be deployed on a payment basis. �This arrangement is expected to speed up the deployment of the quay cranes expeditiously, said the press release.It said that the Port Trust had arranged with the dredging contractor, Jaisu Shipping, to provide for adequate depths to bring in the vessel carrying the quay cranes on schedule.

However, the required depth could not be achieved uniformly because of a hard patch � 35 metre wide and 300 metre long � parallel to the jetty. This patch could not be broken by the suction dredgers deployed.

Medical shops to sell Tamiflu

KOCHI: With the number of Influenza A H1N1 cases on the rise, Tamiflu, the drug for treating the viral fever will be made available in private medical shops. It will sold to individuals only on doctors advice. In a meeting with the Additional Drugs Controller here the medical stockists were asked to make the drug available in private medical shops too.

Over 20 cases were reported in the district by the Health authorities on Wednesday making the tally of swine flu cases to about 45 One death was reported on Tuesday from Muvattupuzha.

In the Health Services, all the hospitals up to the mini primary health centres would stock the medicine.

An emergency meeting in this regard would be held on Thursday to take steps to ensure the availability of medicines. Health workers, supervisors and lady health supervisors and health inspectors have been asked to be present at the meeting with a receipt from the medical officer in charge of the respective institution so that drugs can be arranged immediately.

The meeting would also discuss the treatment protocol to be followed by the hospitals. A meeting of the private health institutions would be held this week itself to strengthen the treatment delivery system.

ATM for milk vending opened at Kaloor

KOCHI: Taking the product to the doorsteps of the consumer is a practice followed by many marketing agencies. Providing an uninterrupted facility, popularly known as 24x7 service, is another effective tool to attract the customer.

The Ernakulam region of Milma intends to offer both by introducing a new concept in milk marketing, the Any Time Milk vending machine.

The ATM, as the machine is called by Milma, functions similar to the popular automated teller machines used for money transactions. It has the looks of a large sized refrigerator or the common ATMs installed by banks.

The machine, a dispenser of milk or curd in sachets, is claimed to be the first of its kind in India.

A smart card, with an individual code number, is used for providing commands to the machine. The smart card acts like a pre-paid electronic voucher which can be �charged to various denominations, in an operation resembling the cellular phone recharge.

The machine was developed for Milma by a company based in Chennai. Three machines have been provided to Milma and more could be supplied as per demand, according to company officials.

The machine was launched at a function organised at Renewal Centre, Kaloor. Mayor Mercy Williams inaugurated it. M.T. Jayan, chairman of the Ernakulam Regional Cooperative Milk Producers Union Limited, said the machine would be convenient for residents in apartment complexes.

The machine, priced at Rs.1 lakh, is being offered at 25 per cent discount to residential associations, according to Jose Abraham, managing director of the Ernakulam region of Milma. P.T. Gopalakurup, Milma chairman, and other officials of Milma spoke.

Case against Jayarajan: hearing adjourned

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday adjourned to July 5 the hearing on a legal question whether a writ petition seeking to initiate contempt of court proceedings against M.V. Jayarajan, CPI(M) leader, was maintainable.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice P.N. Ravindran directed the Advocate General to address the legal issues in the case, especially in the backdrop of an earlier ruling by the High Court that suo motu action for initiation of contempt proceedings could be taken only after the matter was considered by a Full Court. The court while issuing the directive orally observed that �the factual background of the case is annoying. It was pointed out that a petition seeking contempt of court action could be moved only with the consent of the Advocate General.

In the instance case, the consent of the Advocate General had not been obtained.

The writ petition sought to initiate contempt proceedings against the CPI(M) leader for making statements against a High Court ban on public roadside meetings. The petition was filed by C.A. Edison, chairman, All Kerala Niyama Sahaya Vedi, Thrissur.

Gyan Vani to be on air from today

Thiruvananthapuram: The Thiruvananthapuram station of Gyan Vani FM radio channel, set up by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), will start local transmission from July 1.

Regional Director, IGNOU, B. Sukumar said here on Wednesday that the station would offer value-added educational programmes for listeners in and around Thiruvananthapuram city. The programmes would be aired from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Gyan Vani is a unit of Gyan Darshan, IGNOUs educational TV channel. The programmes transmitted from the studio of All India Radio, Thiruvananthapuram can be heard on 105.6 MHz. Dr. Sukumar said efforts were on to set up an independent studio for Gyan Vani.

A press note issued by IGNOU said Gyan Vani programmes were aimed at enhancing and supplementing the teaching-learning process.

Jail term for five

Thiruvananthapuram: Judicial First Class Magistrate-III F. Asheeda has sentenced five persons to six months imprisonment after she found them guilty of forcibly releasing a detainee from police custody and obstructing a uniformed police officer from discharging his duties.

Those convicted are Sasthamangalam Mohanan, Kaimanam Prabhakaran, a Municipal Corporation employee, Kattakada R.V. Rajesh, Vinod Sen, Municipal Councillor, Neyyatinkara, and D. Vinod Kumar of Pothencode. The magistrate also fined them Rs.1,000 each.

The prosecution case was that the accused trespassed into the Thampanoor police station on February 18, 2003, and forcibly released one Attipara Anil, who was arrested on the charge of violating traffic rules. The accused also prevented a police officer on duty from discharging his official function.

Forest staff allege bid to revive sandalwood mafia

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Forest Rangers Association has threatened to surrender the weapons provided by the State government to register their protest against the �failure to check the increasing attacks on forest staff.

Association president B. Udayakumar told a press conference here on Wednesday that the government had failed to take action against those who attacked a Range Officer at Kanthalloor.

�The police also registered a murder case against the officer, he said.

Certain elements were trying to revive the sandalwood mafia in the State that had been suppressed by the efforts of forest rangers, he said. Rangers would go on a mass leave on July 5 to press for their demands and as amark of protest.

Mr. Udayakumar said rangers would continue their efforts to protect the environment and the tribal people.

Wards: final list published

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Delimitation Commission has published the final list of delimited wards in 969 grama panchayats, 46 municipalities and three Corporations. There are 16,514 divisions in panchayats, 1,681 in municipalities and 184 divisions in Corporations.

The details have been published in the respective civic bodies.

Three copies of the list will be given free of cost to panchayat and municipal committees of the national and State parties and the parties which have a representation in the Assembly. The public can have copies on paying the expense for taking duplicate copies.

The District Collectors received 5,870 complaints on the draft delimitation report. This included 5,164 complaints in panchayats, 565 in municipalities and 141 in Corporations. The commission held sittings in all districts and heard the complaints before preparing the final report

Call to mobilise youth against drugs

Thiruvananthapuram: Devaswom Minister Kadannapally Ramachandran has stressed the need to fortify young minds against drug abuse and addiction to liquor, the two evils threatening family relations and the social fabric of the state.

Speaking after inaugurating the Narcotics free Schools scheme launched by the District Panchayat in association with the Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC)- India and the Department of Information and Public Relations here on Wednesday, he said substance abuse and alcoholism were responsible for the high rate of suicides, homicides, mental health problems, road accidents and domestic violence in the state. �Encouraging young minds to give up alcohol and drugs is more effective than a ban.

The scheme envisages the constitution of vigilance committees to prevent the sale and consumption of liquor, drugs and tobacco- based products within a 400 metre radius of educational institutions. The campaign will be implemented through school health clubs. It also includes a pre and post campaign survey covering 14500 students to assess the extent of exposure to drugs, tobacco and liquor.

New college at Ambalappuzha

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Cabinet on Wednesday decided to set up a new arts and science college at Ambalappuzha in Alappuzha district and a regional artificial insemination centre at Athawanad in Malappuram district.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan told the media that the government college would initially offer courses in B.A. in economics, B.Com. with computer application and B.Sc. in mathematics. The Cabinet decided to create 23 posts for the college. It also sanctioned eight posts for the insemination centre. The Chief Minister said the Cabinet decided to upgrade the posts of 30 sub-inspectors in the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau to that of inspectors of police.

The Executive Vice-President of the State Council for Science, Technology and Environment would be appointed as ex-officio Principal Secretary.

All-party meet on NH issue soon

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government would soon convene an all-party meet to discuss how to respond to the Centres stand that the highways must have 45 metre width to be eligible for Central assistance, Finance and Public Works Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac told the Assembly on Wednesday.

Responding to a calling attention motion by Rajaji Mathew Thomas (CPI), Dr. Isaac said the Centre had informally communicated to the State its rejection of the last all-party meetings resolution to limit the width of the highways to 30 metres. The State must now decide how to respond to the Centres stand and also how highway development could be achieved without causing hardship to the people who were likely to be displaced because of it, he said.

Dr. Isaac said the alignment of the highways would have to be re-worked. This would be possible only through a techno-social audit with the involvement of experts. Those who own land and buildings on either side of the highways, those who run shops and other establishments in such buildings either as owners or as tenants and those who occupy land abutting the highways would all have to be compensated at market rates.

It would also be necessary to rehabilitate those who live on either side of the highways and also provide employment to those whose livelihood is dependent on their being closer to the highways, he added.

Tamiflu made available at private hospitals

Thiruvananthapuram: As part of strengthening the preventive measures against influenza A (H1N1), Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) has been made available at more private hospitals and all government health care centres right from the primary health centres, District Medical Officer N. Sridhar has said.

The district health administration listed out the private hospitals and pharmacies where Tamiflu tablets had been made available. The hospitals are KIMS Hospital, SP Fort Hospital and Cosmopolitan Hospital.

Tamiflu can be bought, if required, from these medical shops also: Devi Pharma, Vanchiyoor; United Surgicals, East Fort; Neethi Medicals, Kedaram, Kesavadasapuram; Lakshmi Medicals, Medical College Junction; and Mullackals, West Fort.

As directed by the Health Secretary, the DMO convened a meeting of major private hospitals, pharma companies and dealers here on Wednesday to discuss if licences should be issued to more medical shops for selling Tamiflu.

Assistant Drugs Controller M. R. Pradeep and senior medical officers also took part in the meeting.

The district health administration appealed to the public to seek the help of a physician if symptoms of fever, sore throat do not show improvement within 48 hours.

Prices of essential items set to go up

Thiruvananthapuram: With lorry operators demanding a revision in freight charges to match the fuel price hike, people are bracing themselves for another round of increase in the price of essential commodities.

Retail prices of most items, including vegetables, are showing an upward trend. Tomato and green chilli have seen an exponential rise in price over the past one week.

While the retail price of tomato went up from Rs.24 a kg to Rs.30, green chilli now costs Rs.40 from Rs.24 last week.

Retailers at the Chala market maintain that it is supply shortage caused by floods in Tamil Nadu early this month that has been creating volatile vegetable prices for the past few weeks.

�I guess we will have to do away with the expensive items, says Lilly Michael, a retired teacher.

Lorry operators from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are yet to declare a freight charge hike

Police plan security audit of migrant workers

Thiruvananthapuram: The City Police Commissioners office has directed builders, hoteliers, contractors and manpower suppliers employing migrant labourers to register their workforce with the local police.

The police suspect that a considerable number of migrant workers claiming to be from Bihar and West Bengal are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

They are also concerned that lawbreakers, including extremist elements and insurgents, can seek refuge in migrant labour camps. There has also been a marginal increase in crimes, chiefly burglaries, involving migrants.

The police have scant information on the migrant workforce, with the majority employed in the construction sector. Several farmers in the suburbs also employ them.

The police are collecting intelligence on those who imported labourers from other States in significant numbers.

Unauthorised labour suppliers imported migrant labour without recruitment licence from the home State of the workers or employment licence of the State Labour Department.

They recruited poor people by paying an initial amount of Rs.10,000 or more to their families. These �faceless middlemen offered companies cheap labour for less than Rs.300 a day. The labourers would be paid only half the amount.

MEMU services figure in timetable

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The decision to operate Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) rail services on the Ernakulam-Kollam-Ernakulam sector on six days a week and mail and express trains announced in the Railway Budget are the highlights of the Railway timetable for the Southern zone that will come into effect from Thursday.

The MEMU services will be operated using eight-car rake and the train will stop at all stations on the stretch, according to the new timetable that was released in Chennai on Wednesday.

The MEMU services will operate on all days except Sunday. The 0356 service from Kollam will leave at 10.05 a.m. to reach Ernakulam at 2.20 p.m. In the return direction, Train No. 0357 will leave Ernakulam at 2.45 p.m. to reach Kollam at 6.40 p.m. However, the date of introducing the MEMU services has not been mentioned by the Railways in the timetable.

Railway sources said the MEMU is likely to be introduced in the last quarter of the financial year as the shed at Kollam is to be commissioned and the rakes have to reach the division.

Landslip-hit railway track restored

PALAKKAD: The railway track damaged in landslip between Padil and Thokur stations, near Mangalore, was restored by the Railways on Wednesday and rail traffic normalised, according to a press release issued by the Palakkad Railway Division authorities

Private bus operators seek fare hike

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala State Private Bus Operators Federation has demanded that the minimum bus fare be fixed at Rs.5 and the kilometre rate at 60 paise.

A central committee meeting of the federation held here on Wednesday said the Central governments decision to give the right to fix petrol prices to oil companies and the move to do away with the control regime for diesel prices in near future would lead to total anarchy.

At a press conference, federation president A.K. Abdullah and general secretary Lawrence Babu said the Central and the State governments should desist from steps that would wreck the private bus industry which was in dire straits following the diesel price hike effected on June 26. When the diesel price went up by nearly Rs.3 on February 27, the State government, on March 6, reinstated the old bus fares. However, as more than 50 per cent of the bus passengers were students and as their fare was not increased, the bus owners had to suffer a dip in their income

Role of Computer in Orthopaedic Surgery

Computer in medical practice is used as a tool for attaining precise and perfect end results, to eliminate the �human error and for ease of surgery. CAOS (computer assisted orthopaedic surgery is gaining popularity in the orthopaedic world. Commonly called as navigation, the functioning is similar to GPS (global positioning system) in aerospace technology. Use of instrument landing system is helpful to pilots for landing in adverse climatic conditions. Similarly use of computer navigation helps the Ortho Surgeon to tackle difficult situations in surgery.

Computer assisted surgery is most commonly used in Total Knee Replacement and spine.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kasaragod panchayat president resigns

KANNUR: The Kasaragod district panchayat president has stepped down ahead of a United Democratic Front (UDF)-sponsored no-confidence motion.

Panchayat president and Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader M.V. Balakrishnan on Tuesday resigned in anticipation of the no-confidence motion scheduled to be moved on June 30. The LDF is likely to lose its majority in the 16-member district panchayat body with the Indian National League nominee deciding to back the UDF-sponsored no-trust motion. The political representation in panchayat body now is six CPI(M) members, four Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) members, three Congress nominees, and one each from the INL, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party. The NCP nominee in the panchayat is also set to back the no-trust motion.

NCP member Geethakrishnan, who had been elected with the LDF support in the last local body election, had announced her decision to support the UDF. Her decision had then been challenged by the LDF under the anti-defection law.

Mr. Balakrishnan told reporters after his resignation that the panchayat had initiated many developmental activities during the past five years.

Vacancies of medical officers

KALPETTA: A walk-in interview will be held at the District Medical Office (Homoeo), Muttil, at 11 a.m. on Wednesday for the temporary vacancies of homoeo medical officers in the district. Candidates must report for the interview with bio-data and original certificates

Spurious toddy seized in raid

ALAPPUZHA: Three persons were arrested and 1,235 litres of toddy laced with spirit was seized during an Excise raid at Muthukulam near Kayamkulam here on Tuesday.

The raid, which began at 6 p.m., found that toddy was being laced with spirit, both illegally procured and brewed, in a shed adjoining the house of one Chandran, who is now absconding.

Ratheeshan, 38, Reji, 29, both from Haripad, and Manu, 26, of Kayamkulam were arrested in this connection.

The raid was led by Excise Commissioner Siddaiah, Joint Commissioner Sukumar Chettiar and Deputy Commissioner N.J. Mathai, Excise sources said.

Contempt case: court seeks AG\'s view

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday sought the views of Advocate-General C.P. Sudhaka ra Prasad on the legal question whether a writ petition seeking to initiate contempt of court proceedings against CPI(M) leader M.V. Jayarajan for his remarks against the judiciary is maintainable.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice P.N. Ravindran directed the Advocate-General to give his views in view of the legal question involved in the controversy and various objections raised by the High Court Registry as well as the background in which the petition was filed. The High Court Registry noticed that a petition seeking contempt of court action could be moved only with the consent of the Advocate-General.

The writ petition sought to initiate contempt proceedings against Mr.Jayarajan for making statements against judges in the wake of a High Court ban on holding public meetings on roadsides.

Review of anti-ragging activities

KOCHI: Mahatma Gandhi University will soon review the steps being taken by the colleges affiliated to it to check the menace of ragging on the campuses.

The move is part of the efforts made by the universities across the State to check the menace.

Senior university officials said that the colleges should follow the recommendations issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for preventing incidents of ragging during the new academic year.

Colleges will be asked to submit an action taken report on the various steps being implemented to check ragging.

Colleges will have to put up display boards stating that ragging is totally prohibited.

6 kg of ganja seized, two held

KOCHI: Sajjad, 45, and Mujib, 35, both of Perumbavoor were arrested by the Hill Palace police with more than 6 kg of ganja in their possession. They had packed ganja in 1 kg units.

Three held

Three persons, including the owner of a house at Azad Road, Kaloor, were arrested by the Shadow police and the Ernakulam North police on charges of immoral activities on Tuesday.

Best Doctor awards announced

Thiruvananthapuram: The State governments Best Doctor awards for the year 2009 have been announced.

In the Dental department, the Best Doctor award went to Prashantila Janam, Head of the Department of Periodontics, Government Dental College, Thiruvananthapuram.

Sairu Philip, Associate Professor, Community Medicine, Alappuzha Medical College, won the award in the Medical Education department; R. Shahir Sha, medical officer at Karavalloor primary health centre, Kollam, in the Health Services; and B. Sumadevi, Insurance Medical Officer, in the Employees State Insurance. In the private sector, the Best Doctor award went to P.I. Verghese Chemmanam, senior consultant, S.H. Medical Centre, Kottayam.

The awards will be given away on Doctors Day, which falls on Thursday.

KSEB move to replace overhead lines

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Electricity Minister A.K. Balan has said the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) would examine from which all sources it could raise the money required to replace overhead power transmission and distribution lines in and around Chettikulangara, in Alappuzha district, with underground cables.

In a submission in the Assembly on Tuesday, M. Murali said the overhead lines were an obstruction to the free movement of the tall chariots from the neighbouring villages to Chettikulangara on the day of the annual Bharani festival in March at the temple there.

Every year, the KSEB was required to untie the overhead lines to enable the believers to drag the traditional chariots to the temple. This resulted in days of blackout in the area in the midst of the temple festivities.

In reply, Mr. Balan said the festival was part of a great heritage. Replacing the overhead lines in the area with underground cables would entail an expense of more than Rs.1.5 crore and the KSEB would find out the source for the required amount at the earliest, he said.

Doctors decide to defer strike

Thiruvananthapuram: The doctors, who had earlier proposed a State-wide strike on Wednesday to press for the implementation of a law to protect hospitals and doctors from mob attacks, have decided to defer their strike for the time being.

The Joint Action Council of Doctors for Hospital-Patient Protection Law, comprising doctors outfits from public and private sectors and the Indian Medical Association, decided to call off the strike temporarily following a written assurance from Health Minister P. K. Sreemathy that the government would enact a law to protect hospitals in a time-bound manner, a leader of the Joint Action Council said on Tuesday. The Council leaders had held discussions with Ms. Sreemathy on Monday, before she left on a foreign tour.

The doctors had been on a State-wide campaign demanding that the government implement a law to protect hospitals and doctors from attacks by mobs, by making such attacks a non-bailable offence.

Panel to monitor earth removal mooted

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Local Self-Government Department has mooted the formation of municipal-level technical committees to redress complaints regarding removal of earth for construction of multi-storeyed buildings in the State.

A decision in this regard was taken in the wake of complaints against a stipulation in the Kerala Municipality Building rules that the consent of the neighbour should be secured before engaging in removal of earth of a depth of more than 1.5 metres. Following protest against the provision by builders and developers, the Local Self-Government Department elicited their views and amended the rules.

The provision was initially included in the rules in view of complaints that digging and piling operations posed a threat to weak and old structures near construction sites of multi-storeyed buildings. The rules said the developer should make amends for any damage caused to the neighbouring structures due to such operations.

As per revised rules, prior consent of the neighbours is not mandatory for constructing wells, septic tank, recharge pits, compound wall and the like.

The application for securing permit for development or construction should be submitted along with a certificate of the architect, designer or the engineer who prepares the plan. The applicants have to furnish sectoral drawings and specifications showing the level and depth of digging at all places. The secretary of the local self-government institution will be the convener of the expert committee proposed to deal with the complaints.

Together, they learn values for a lifetime

Thiruvananthapuram: Keerthy Thomas and Aparna Unni are like any other regular college students. They listen to the latest music albums, hang out with friends and worry about their grades.

But unlike many others, they are committed to give back some of the privileges they have enjoyed to society. And, with the help of a youth volunteer network, they are making a difference to the lives of underprivileged children.

�Make A Difference (MAD) is an organisation of young people working amongst orphans and other needy children to provide them with quality education, thereby empowering them for the future. It was founded by a group of college students in Kochi with a vision �to bridge the inequality in society through education.

Change of Train numbers from July 1

The number of the 6349 Thiruvananthapuram-Mangalore-Parasuram Express had been changed to 6650 with effect from July 1, the 6350 Mangalore-Thiruvananthapuram Express to 6649, the 6123 Chennai Egmore-Thiruvananthapuram Ananthapuri Express to 6723, the 6124 Thiruvananthapuram-Chennai Egmore Ananthapuri Express to 6724, the 344 Kayamkulam-Ernakulam Passenger to 346 and the 346 Kottayam-Ernakulam Passenger to 344.

Arrival time of trains from July 1

The 6341 Guruvayur-Thiruvananthapuram Intercity Express will now reach Thiruvananthapuram at 10.05 a.m. instead of 10.25 a.m. The 2644 Nizamuddin-Thiruvananthapuram Express at 11.10 a.m. and the 2623 Chennai-Thiruvananthapuram Express at 11.25 a.m. The 2626 New Delhi-Thiruvananthapuram Kerala Express will arrive at Thiruvananthapuram Central at 2.35 p.m. instead of the present 2.20 p.m.

The 2257 Yesvantpur-Kochuveli Garib Rath Express will arrive at Kochuveli at 12.50 noon, the 302 Ernakulam-Guruvayur Passenger at Guruvayur at 8.35 a.m., the 322 Kollam-Alappuzha Passenger at Alappuzha at 5.45 a.m. and the 337 Ernakulam-Alappuzha Passenger at 5.20 p.m.

The 364 Thiruvananthapuram-Kottayam Passenger will reach Kottayam at 7.50 p.m. and the 354 Kollam-Kottayam Passenger will reach the destination at 10.50 a.m.

The 323 Alappuzha-Kollam Passenger will reach Kollam at 7.35 p.m. and the 355 Ernakulam-Kollam Passenger at 10.35 p.m. The 6381 Mumbai-Kanyakumari Express will reach Kanyakumari at 12.45 noon and the 6526 Bangalore-Kanyakumari Express at the destination at 7 p.m. as per the new timings from July 1.

Early departure for 12 trains from July 1

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Early departure for 12 trains, revision in arrival time of several trains and change in numbers of six trains are the highlights of the new railway timetable that will come into effect from July 1.

The railway timetable for the Southern Zone, comprising Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad railway divisions, will be released at the zonal headquarters in Chennai on Wednesday. According to the new railway timings, the departure of the 2258 Kochuveli-Yesvantpur Garib Rath Express from Kochuveli has been advanced for the benefit of long-distance commuters. The Garib Rath Express will leave at 4.35 p.m. from July 1 instead of the present 8.20 p.m.

The 6346 Thiruvananthapuram-Lokmanyathilak Netravathi Express will depart from Thiruvananthapuram Central at 9.50 a.m. The 6322 Thiruvananthapuram-Bangalore Express will depart from here at 4.05 p.m. and the 2696 Thiruvananthapuram Central-Chennai Central Super Fast Express at 5.10 p.m.

The 377 Thiruvananthapuram-Nagercoil Passenger will depart from Thiruvananthapuram at 11.05 a.m., the 2515 Thiruvananthapuram-Guwahati Express at 12.50 noon, 2643 Thiruvananthapuram Central-Nizamuddin Express at 2.20 p.m. and the 6342 Thiruvananthapuram-Ernakulam Intercity Express at 5.25 p.m.

From Nagercoil junction, the 6352 Nagercoil-Mumbai CST Express will depart at 4.40 a.m. from July 1 and the 2668 Nagercoil-Chennai Egmore Express, at 5 p.m. The 364 Nagercoil-Kottayam Passenger will depart at 12.20 noon and the 376 Nagercoil-Thiruvananthapuram Passenger at 6.20 p.m.

The 6042 Alappuzha-Chennai Express will depart from Alappuzha at 4 p.m. and the 323 Alappuzha-Kollam Passenger at 5.25 p.m. The 6309 Ernakulam-Patna Express will depart from Ernakulam at 4.40 p.m. and the 650 Ernakulam-Shoranur Passenger at 5.35 p.m. From Kottayam, the 353 Kottayam-Kollam Passenger will depart at 5.45 p.m. and the 354 Kollam-Kottayam Passenger from Kollam at 7.55 a.m.

Flight develops snag, returns to airport

Nedumbassery: A Bangalore-bound Air India flight with 42 passengers on board that took off from the Cochin airport here on Tuesday aborted its journey after being airborne for nearly 15 minutes.

Airline officials said the daily flight IC 509, operated with an A320 type aircraft in the Kochi-Bangalore-Chennai sector, took off at 7.05 a.m. but returned on detecting a technical snag developing on the engine side. The crew immediately informed the ATC officials of the malfunctioning. They in turn alerted the airport officials and the aircraft was grounded 20 minutes later.

�The passengers were put on other flights, said its spokesperson, adding that the unexpected turn of events did not affect other services.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Spurt in tourist arrivals in Munnar; fewer visitors for Thekkady

KATTAPPANA: The post boat-tragedy period has shown a decline in the number of tourists, both foreign and domestic, visiting Thekkady while the overall trend in Idukki district was more or less the same in the last tourist season compared to the previous one.

While the records show a 10 to 15 percent decline in the tourist arrivals in Thekkady from October last year to May this year, almost an equal increase was recorded in the tourist arrivals in Munnar during the season. During January-February, the main tourist season in the district, the decline in tourist arrivals in Thekkady in comparison to the previous year was very much evident, as per the official figures.

According to District Tourism Promotion Council secretary M. Rajesh, an overall shift in the tourist arrival pattern was seen with fluctuations in the monthly figures even as the tourist arrivals to Munnar showed an increase last season compared to the previous season. He said that the world economic slow down has not affected the tourist arrivals in the district much as the numbers showed a slow but steady increase. Different marketing packages had been drawn for tourists from European countries and the Southeast nations who arrive at different periods during the year, including the monsoon season.

Plea against M.V. Jayarajan

KANNUR: Indian Lawyers Congress (ILC) State unit has urged action against Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader M.V. Jayarajan for denigrating High Court judges.

ILC State president T. Asaf Ali, in an e-mail, has urged the Registrar-General of the High Court to initiate suo motu action against Mr. Jayarajan under the Contempt of Courts Act 1971 for his reported public statement scandalising and ridiculing judges and judicial institutions while referring to a judgment of a Division Bench of the High Court banning roadside public meetings for road safety reasons. Mr. Ali said the tone and tenor of the statement was highly objectionable and was nothing short of a criminal contempt which warranted action under the contempt of courts rules.

He said the statement of Mr. Jayarajan could not be taken as an isolated one. Unless strong action was taken against those who ridiculed and threatened judges and courts publicly, judges would not be able to deliver justice freely and fearlessly.

Dalits take out march to SP office

KANNUR: A march was taken out to the office of the Superintendent of Police here on Monday demanding the arrest of those responsible for the death of a Dalit youth at Puthiyatheru here two months ago.

Death of youth

The march was organised by the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Action Committee demanding that the culprits responsible for the death of K. Vineesh, who was found hanging at his house at Puthiyatheru on April 17 last, be arrested.

The march was inaugurated by Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha leader and Dalit activist M. Geethanandan.

Monsoon carnival from July 9

KALPETTA: All arrangements are in place for Splash 2010, a three-day monsoon carnival, organised by the Wayanad Tourism Organisation (WTO), an organisation of property owners, in association with the Department of Tourism, district administration and the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) from July 9. The carnival is aimed at exposing the tourism potential of Wayanad through travel operators, tourism entrepreneurs and travel writers.

The organisers said as many as 150 travel agents, 20 travel writers and more than 100 property owners, apart from tourists, would participate.

Protesters march to venue

KOCHI: Activists of the Revolutionary Youth Front, the youth wing of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, took out a protest march to the venue of the board meeting of SmartCity held at a hotel here on Monday. Led by its State secretary Saleem P. Chacko, the slogan shouting activists attempted to barge into the room where the meeting was to be held before sitting on a dharna in the portico.

Later, they were removed from the scene by the police.

Talks by distributors, exhibitors fail

KOCHI: The talks held between representatives of the Film Distributors Association and Film Exhibitors Federation, to resolve the differences over the issue of hold over (assessment of collections before shifting a movie from a theatre) percentage, failed here on Monday night.

The distributors wanted to hike the existing hold over percentage of 80 percentage in air-conditioned theatres and 70 percentage in non-AC theatres. The exhibitors refused to accept this demand. Both parties agreed to continue the talks on Tuesday. Vehicle attacked

Staff Reporter writes from Kozhikode: Miscreants attacked film director Ali Akbars car at Chevarambalam, near here, on Monday. The window of the Maruti Omni was shattered, the police said. Ali Abkar said he had been supporting actor Thilakan who was expelled from the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes recently.

Machine for vending milk

KOCHI: The first Anytime Milk Vending Machine will be inaugurated here on Wednesday by Mayor Mercy Williams at a function at the Renewal Centre, Kaloor, at 11 a.m.

The milk sachet vending machine has been developed and is introduced by Ernakulam Regional Milk Producers Cooperative Union, using the latest technology for anytime sale of the Milma brand of milk and curd.

The milk vending machines will be fist installed on the premises of apartment complexes and flats, said a statement from the managing director of the Ernakulam Regional Cooperative Union Jose Abraham in a press statement here.

The release said that it was a totally new concept in milk sales and the technology had been developed under the aegis of the cooperative union.

Milk vending through the machines will be through use of smart cards that can be recharged.

Round-the-clock refrigeration and automatic stock position information are two of the key features of the facility being introduced, the press release said

Thachankary cases: VACB denies favouritism

Kochi: The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau on Monday informed the Kerala High Court that there was neither negligence nor favouritism on the part of vigilance officers in dealing with the cases against suspended Inspector-General of Police Tomin J. Thachankary.

In an affidavit filed in response to a contempt of court petition, Vijayanand, Inspector-General of Police, Vigilance, said the bureau had inquired into the allegations against him such as amassing wealth disproportionate to his known source of income, smuggling of costly electronic items from Singapore, possessing more than one Indian passport, frequent overseas visits, misuse of departmental jeep, publishing of his photographs in uniform for publicity of cassettes abroad and working as an agent of Malayalam Communications.

The Vigilance Department had taken earnest efforts for completion of the inquiry within the time limit stipulated by the High Court.

In fact, no directive was issued to submit the inquiry report before the High Court. Therefore, there was nothing wrong in submitting the report to the Vigilance Director.

Home Secretary to appear in court

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday directed the State Home Secretary to appear in person before the court on July 5 to explain the steps taken on allegations of anti-national activities of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind in the State.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice P.N. Ravindran criticised the Central and State governments for their lack of �alertness in cases relating to the security of the nation. It made the observation when a writ petition filed by Abdul Samad, convener, Islam Matha Probothaka Sanghom, Kochi, came up for hearing.

The petition sought a directive to ban the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and probe the financial sources of the organisation. The petitioner also sought a directive to seize the books and other publications of the outfit, which were full of anti-national and anti-Islamic contents.

The financial source was yet to be traced out. Reports linking the organisation with terrorist outfits had appeared in newspapers. However, no action had been taken by the government, the petitioner alleged. The court observed that the attitude of both the governments towards the writ petition was �distressing�. The court pointed out that the Central government had refused to own up any responsibility saying that it was for the State government to consider banning the organisation since the alleged activities were taking place in the State.

15 MLAs nominated to KPCC

Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) has nominated 15 MLAs to the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee. The decision was taken at the CLP meeting held on Monday with Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy in the chair.

Rs.110 crore for paddy development

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Agriculture Department is taking up paddy development programmes with an outlay of Rs.110 crore this year, Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran said on Monday.

Addressing a conference of agricultural officers here, the Minister said an additional 14,000 hectares of fallow land and 12,000 hectares of dry land were proposed to be brought under paddy cultivation this year. Paddy development was proposed to be carried out under the food security scheme, sustained paddy development programme, the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and other programmes. Besides the Department, the Kerala Agriculture University and local bodies will be involved in the programmes.

Mr. Ratnakaran announced that monitoring cells would start functioning at the district and panchayat levels for effective implementation of the proposed programmes

RSS appeals against liquor sale

Thiruvananthapuram: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has urged the government not to sell liquor through authorised outlets of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation in view of the social problems it engendered in the State.

Briefing reporters on the decisions of the RSS State executive committee meeting here on Monday, Pranth Karyavah V.Gopalankutty Master and Pranth Prachar Pramukh R.Sanjayan said alcoholism had emerged as a major bane for the State.

�The Beverages Corporation sold Rs.5,549 crore worth of liquor last financial year. Apart from the 393 authorised outlets of the Corporation, there are 600 bars, 5,000 toddy shops and over 20,000 unauthorised outlets in the State, they said adding that a popular movement must be initiated against the social evil.

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