Saturday, July 10, 2010

State told to lead efforts in waste management

KOTTAYAM: Chairman of World Malayali Council, India region, George Kulangara has urged the State government to lead the efforts in waste management.

Speaking at a press conference here on Saturday, Mr. Kulangara said the State government should take up the responsibility of providing proper sanitation in the State. �The government should assist Corporations and municipalities through various programmes. The project should be conducted under the supervision of the Minister for Local Self-Government, he said. Mr. Kulangara said the State should avail itself of various funds allotted by the Central government for this project. �A large amount of allocated funds go unused every year. This assistance should be used for the development of the State,� he said.

Hamid Ansari calls for a better networked university system

KANNUR: Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari has said that sharing of facilities for research and exchange of skills and knowledge will, in the long run, contribute to a more networked, efficient and productive university system.

Inaugurating the Inter-University Centre for Biosciences (IUCB) on the Mangattuparamba campus of Kannur University here on Saturday, Dr. Ansari said sharing of such facilities would promote a better interaction and movement between academia and industry.

Congratulating the State government for its initiative in establishing inter-university centres (IUCs) in eight fields of academic study in various universities in the State, he said the autonomous centres would facilitate the nucleation and growth of active groups in specific fields of research. They fostered the development of centres of excellence within the university sector for teaching, research and development in specialised disciplines.

The Vice-President said the IUCB was expected to build on the progress made by the universitys Biotechnology and Microbiology Department in structural biology and structure-based drug discovery and designing. The proposed herbal garden under the IUCB, to be named after E.K. Janaki Ammal, world-renowned ethno-botanist from the district, would be a fitting tribute in her memory.

Training for UGC NET

KOCHI: A training programme for UGC NET aspirants is being organised at the Maharajas College with assistance from the University Grants Commission. The training will start on July 17. Those wishing to join the training programme may contact: 94953 83880.

KOCHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sought an inquiry by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the assault on T.J. Joseph, Professor, Newman College, Thodupuzha. Haren Pathak, former Union Minister of State for Home, was talking to mediapersons after visiting Professor Joseph with a party delegation. The Popular Front of India and the NDF, allegedly involved in the incident, should be banned, he said. The Intelligence Bureau report on the incident should be made public and a status report published, he said. The delegation will submit its report to the BJP president by Tuesday.

KOCHI: The first Kerala Womens Science Congress will be held at St. Teresas College from August 10 to 12.

As part of this, a logo design competition has been announced for girl students in colleges across the State.

Details are available over phone numbers 2393242 and 93888 67935. � Staff Reporter

BJP seeks NIA probe

KOCHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sought an inquiry by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the assault on T.J. Joseph, Professor, Newman College, Thodupuzha. Haren Pathak, former Union Minister of State for Home, was talking to mediapersons after visiting Professor Joseph with a party delegation.

The Popular Front of India and the NDF, allegedly involved in the incident, should be banned, he said. The Intelligence Bureau report on the incident should be made public and a status report published, he said.

The delegation will submit its report to the BJP president by Tuesday.

Collectorate blast: police facing extradition problems

KOCHI: Though the Special Investigation Team probing into the blast at the District Collectorate on July 10 last year have almost zeroed in on the main suspect, the case is nowhere near closing.

The investigators have traced the suspect, believed to be having a direct link with Lashker-e-Taiba, to Oman.

But he could not be extradited as India does not have an extradition treaty with Oman.

A senior police official involved in the investigation said that the chances of bringing him over weigh mostly on the National Investigation Agency, by including him as a suspect in cases of terrorism already being probed.

This could be done as main suspects are linked to all activities.

Assault on professor: 2 more held

KOCHI: Two more persons have been arrested and remanded in connection with the assault on T.J. Joseph, professor and Head of the Department of Malayalam, Newman College, on Sunday last, taking the total number of those arrested to four.

Kamaruddhin, 30, and Sajeer, 30, from Muppathadam, Aluva, were arrested on Friday on charges of conspiracy. Three others were also taken into custody from Thodupuzha while sticking posters, on charges of disturbing communal amity.

Director-General of Police Jacob Punnoose said the investigation was progressing in the right direction and more arrests would be made soon.

Families of slain soldiers honoured



Thiruvananthapuram: Family members of 40 slain soldiers were felicitated at a function organised here on Saturday in connection with Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) Day.

Chella Thai, mother of the late Captain Jerry Prem Raj and K. Sudha, wife of the late Naik Jayaprakash were among those honoured at the function. Ishita kumar, president of AWWA, Pangode military station, was the chief guest.

A medical camp was organised for women.

Kudumbasree anniversary fete begins tomorrow

Thiruvananthapuram: As many as 5,0000 women are expected to participate in the 12 {+t} {+h} anniversary celebrations of the Kudumbasree poverty alleviation mission in the city beginning July 12.

The City Corporation has made elaborate arrangements for the four-day celebrations.

As many as 2,000 neighbourhood groups will join the celebrations.

The event will take off on Monday morning with sports competitions at the Central Stadium.

An exhibition and sale of products manufactured by various Kudumbasree units will be held at Torch Tower building at the Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium.

As seminar on �Status of women will be held in the Public Library hall on July 15, followed by a cultural programme.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan will inaugurate a family get-together of 50,000 women members of Kudumbasree at 3.30 p.m. on Thursday.

Ministers T.M. Thomas Isaac, Paloli Mohammed Kutty, M. Vijayakumar and C. Divakaran; Mayor C. Jayan Babu; MLAs; and Kudumbasree officials; are expected to participate.

�Koottam\' members to meet today

Thiruvananthapuram: It is a two-lakh strong community that keeps growing. A huge inter-continental cyber platform that brings together people from different professions and social strata. And the one thing that binds the community is the love for Malayalam language and culture.

Two years ago, when Jyothikumar and his friend, Jayamohan, started koottam.com, a social networking site devoted to promoting Malayalam, they had no idea it would flower into a world-wide fraternity. �Today, we have members in New Zealand, Australia, U.S., Canada, U.K., Dubai, Bahrain, Kuwait and Afghanistan blogging and chatting in Malayalam. They include scientists, farmers, politicians, doctors, manual labourers, government employees and students, Jayan Damodaran, a member of the fraternity, said

�Nothing is anathema to us. Everything other than communalism and obscenity are discussed threadbare but only in Malayalam. The World Cup football tournament, the recent issue of identity politics and the assault on a college teacher at Muvattupuzha are hot topics of discussion on koottam.com,� he said

Chettur Shankaran Nair remembered

MANKARA (PALAKKAD): Thennala Balakrishna Pillai, former MP and president of the Chettur Shankaran Nair Foundation, has said that Shankaran Nair, as president of the All India Congress Committee, forcefully expressed his opinion in the party in front of personalities such as Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Inaugurating the 153rd birth anniversary celebrations of Shankaran Nair at Mankara here on Saturday, Mr. Balakrishna Pillai said that from the beginning, freedom of expression was allowed in the Congress. C.V. Balachandran, president, District Congress Committee, presided over the function organised by the Parali Block Congress Committee.

Narcotic worth Rs. 2 crore seized

Nedumbassery: The excise department on Saturday evening seized hashish oil worth Rs.2 crore in the international market from two persons in Aluva.

Acting on a tip-off, a team of the excise officials led by circle inspector Anil Kumar recovered the consignment from two persons identified as Jayesh and Jayakumar, both hailing from Devikulam in Idukki district. The seizure was made while the contraband was being brought here from Idukki and the accused were taken into custody.

Oman Air puts wind in the sails of Sultanate\'s gift to Singapore

Following an epic, five-month voyage from Oman to Singapore, the Jewel of Muscat, a traditional Arabian sailing ship built to a 9th Century design, has reached its destination.

The ship, a gift to Singapore from the Sultanate of Oman, arrived at Singapore Harbour to be met by the President of Singapore, SR Nathan, where he was presented with a kamal, a 9th Century navigational tool, by the Jewel of Muscats Omani captain, Saleh Al Jabri.

The Jewel of Muscat was reconstructed from the design of the wreck of the only 9th Century Arabian ship ever discovered. Sponsored by Oman Air - who provided logistical support including air and freight transport -

the ship took one year to construct and was hand-built without nails at Qatab Beach in Muscat, Oman. It then set sail on its historic voyage across the Indian Ocean, following the ancient trade routes between Oman and Singapore.

Oman Airs Chief Executive Officer, Peter Hill, said:

Oman Air is delighted to have played a part in bringing to life this vital reminder of Omans rich history. The Jewel of

Muscat is a superb example of Omani craftsmanship, both ancient and modern, and it is an honour to have played a role in creating this symbol of the powerful links between the Sultanate of Oman and Singapore.

The Jewel of Muscat is a symbol of friendship between Oman and Singapore and a celebration of the close, historic ties between these two great seafaring nations. She left Port Sultan Qaboos, in Muscat, on 16th February 2010 and the journey to Singapore included stopovers in India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, each an Oman Air destination. Arriving at

Singapore Harbour at sunset on 3rd July, the ship was greeted by Singapore President SR Nathan, His Highness Sayyid Harib bin Thuwainy Al-Said and other key dignitaries from Oman and Singapore.

Kerala planters happy with soaring rubber prices

July 10 (IANS) Planters in Kerala are a happy lot with the soaring prices of natural rubber which are hovering around an all-time high of Rs.182 a kg as demand from the automobile industry is far outstripping the supply.

K.G. Thomas, a retired state government employee, says this is a moment to cherish. You wait and see, it will soon touch Rs.200.

I own eight acres of rubber plantation, which I inherited from my father. I began cultivation of rubber in 1973. I have never had to look back all these years with my rubber plantation. Even when prices were rock bottom, when many cut down rubber trees and planted coco beans plants, I held on and will do it till the rest of my life, said Thomas.

India stands fourth in the list of global producers of rubber with a nine percent share. Kerala accounts for 81 percent of the rubber production in the country.

Production of rubber in Kerala jumped from 580,000 tonnes in 2000 to 691,000 tonnes in 2005. In 2009, it reached 783,000 tonnes.

Bomb threat, sabotage attempt: All�s not well in God�s own country

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Authorities in Kerala had much to ponder on Friday, with an attempted sabotage of a passenger train, a bomb threat to the Kerala Express and a seizure of explosives from a private bus in Malabar.

All this on a day when Vice President Hamid Ansari was visiting the state, and the bail petition of Bangalore blast accused Abdul Nasser Madani was rejected by the Bangalore sessions court.

Sabotage was suspected in the case of the brake pipes of a passenger train being sawn at 20 places, on Thursday, ahead of its Friday morning departure from Nilambur to Shoranur.

The investigation was handed over to the crime branch. Officials said the twin rubber hose of the train was sawn at 20 places, perhaps with a hack-saw blade. Adding more suspense to the incident, the brake pipes of the train were found cut again on Friday.

Police unearth CDs of Taliban like terror module in Kerala

Kerala Police have unearthed compact discs allegedly belonging to a Taliban-like terror module in Aluva and Muvattupuzha areas of the state.

Police sources said the CDs belonged to the Popular Front of India (PFI). They confirmed that they had retrieved many terror related documents that contained Taliban and Al-Queda plans for attacks.

Police said that they are continuing with their raids of PFI houses and other institutions across the state.

In an another raid police seized a gun from the house of Popular Front leader Ayoob at Kunnetheri near Aluva.

In the raid at the district office of the organisation at Kujunnikkara pamphlets and videos relating to NDF were seized.

They also seized a car from the hideout of another PF activist Kunjumon. Pamphlets and CDs allegedly depicting and Taliban executions were recovered from his house

NHRC summons Palakkad magistrate in police custody case

New Delhi, July 10 (ANI): The National Human Rights Commission has issued conditional summons for the personal appearance of District Magistrate, Palakkad on August 20 in connection with non-compliance of its recommendations seeking various reports in a case of death in police custody in the district.

Buzz up!

Sambath, 30, was arrested by the police in Town North on March 29 after he was found to be in possession of ornaments worn by Sheela, who was murdered. A case was registered. He complained of uneasiness and chest pain, and collapsed in the lockup.

Sambath was taken to the Palakkad District Hospital, where he was declared brought dead.

The NHRC registered a case in the matter on receiving an intimation on April 1 about the incident from the Superintendent of Police, Palakkad.

Thereafter, it asked the district magistrate to send various reports including inquest, postmortem and the magisterial inquiry reports vide letter dated April 28.

Blasts: Court rejects Madani�s bail plea

engaluru, July 9: A fast track court on Friday dismissed the anticipatory bail application filed by Abdul Nasser Madani, one of the accused in the 2008 Bengaluru serial blasts. Madani had moved the anticipatory bail application after the city police submitted an additional chargesheet naming six accused on June 11 before an ACMM. The names include Madani, of Karunagapalli in Ernakulam, Shoaib, alias Faizal of Paapinsseri in Kerala, Sarfuddin, of Kuruva in Kannur, Thajuddin, of Ernakulam, Abdul Khadar, of Virajapet in Kodagu district, and P.B. Sabeer, of Perambavoor in Ernakulam.

Public prosecutor K. Rudraswamy said the investigating officer in the case has gathered substantial material to establish the role of Mr Madani in the 2008 blasts. Madanis counsel P. Usman had filed an application before the 5th fast track sessions court stating the Kerala police was tracking Madani�s movements. Mr Usman said his client had been accused of travelling out of Kerala and conspiring with other accused in the Bengaluru serial blasts. The Kerala police had been recording Madani�s speeches outside Kerala over the last three years. �Madani�s counsel had filed an application seeking government documents available with the Kerala police department. He stated that Madani was provided security and hence his movements were recorded. He contended the allegations that Madani travelled to Karnataka and Kasargod to hatch the plot for 2008 blasts were baseless. Later, Madani�s counsel withdrew the application and submitted the details of his movements, Mr Rudraswamy said.

Assault on Kerala professor: Al Qaeda CD found

Kochi: A CD linked to the Al Qaeda has been found in the vehicle of a man suspected to be connected to the attack on a Kerala college teacher five days ago, police said on Friday.

Kochi Superintendent of Police (Rural) T. Vikram said that the vehicle belonging to Kunjumon was seized Thursday near here and the CD recovered from it. He is a suspect in the case related to T.J. Joseph, whose right palm was chopped off for an allegedly inflammatory question paper, police said.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Meet to chalk out stir plan

KOCHI: A convention of leaders of various Scheduled Caste (SC) organisations opposed to the Ranganath Misra Commission report will be held at the Ernakulam Town Hall on July 10.

It is being organised by the Samvarana Samrakshana Prakshobha Samithi, its general convener P.M. Velayudhan said. At a press confer ence here on Thursday, Mr. Velayudhan said if the report was implemented, it would result in the addition of converted Christians and Muslims into the reservation list.

Complaint redressal adalat

KOCHI: A taluk-level complaint redressal adalat was held at Kothamangalam in connection with the fourth anniversary celebrations of the State government.

A decision was taken to grant Rs. 2.63 lakh benefiting 63 persons from the Chief Ministers relief fund and Rs. 3 lakh to 159 persons from the Natural Calamities Relief fund.

Out of 274 complaints received related to the revenue, industry, and civil supplies departments, 190 complaints were settled.

Six complaints were rejected at the sitting of the adalat.

Funeral of Jamwal today

Kochi: The funeral of Rear Admiral S.S. Jamwal, Chief of Staff of the Southern Naval Command who was killed in an accidental gunfire at the small arms firing range of INS Dronacharya on Wednesday, will be held with complete military honours at Palluruthy Corporation Crematorium, Thoppumpady, near here, at 12.30 p.m. on Friday.

Top Navy officials, including Vice-Admiral K.N. Sushil, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command,are slated to attend the funeral. A wreath will be placed on behalf of the Governor.

KSEB unions plan protest

KOCHI: Trade unions representing employees of the Kerala State Electricity Board have come together to launch a protest against moves of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission.

A discussion on the �jurisdictional powers of Electricity Regulatory Commission and the crises in power sector, organised by the KSEB Pensioners Association here recently, adopted a resolution to launch a State-wide campaign against the commissions moves.

Former KSIDC chairman K. Vijayachandran was the moderator. Association president M.K. Parameswaran Nair presented the subject.

Plea not to harass men

KOCHI: The Purusha Vimochana Vedhi has urged the government not to harass men in the name of implementing the provisions of the Dowry Prohibition Act and the Domestic Violence Act.

Unnnikrishnan Nair, State president of the vedhi, said here that Clause 498 A in the Dowry Prohibition Act gave the wife the powers to lodge complaints against her husband for petty differences. He said that the police can arrest the husband and his relatives without conducting any investigations on the allegations.

The vedhi representatives said that there were also provisions in the Domestic Violence Act, which gives the wife the powers to lodge complaints against her husband over trivial issues.

Govindacharya rules out rejoining BJP

KOCHI: The former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Govindacharya, has scotched rumours that he is going to rejoin the party.

At a �meet the press programme organised by the Ernakulam Press Club here on Thursday, he said he had resigned from the party out of disillusionment with the happenings within the party which had failed to meet social goals.

He said he had no conflict with anyone while relinquishing the party membership. At present, he was coordinating activities of various social groups to further the cause of social development under a new organisation, Bharat Vikas Sangama.

Idealism had taken a back seat and all political parties, including the BJP, had become pro-rich, he said.

Land acquisition: court directive to corporation

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the Secretary, Kochi Corporation and Revenue Divisional Officer, Fort Kochi to appear in person on July 21 to explain about the status of the land acquired for widening the roads in front of the South Railway station.

Justice S.Siri Jagan passed the directive on a writ petition filed by M.S. Omanakuttan of Cheraneloor.

He said that the land was acquired in 1996 for widening the roads in front of the South railway station to ease the traffic congestion.

The land owners freely surrendered their land in lieu of the exemption from building rules granted for constructing multi-storied buildings. However, the government had not taken possession of the surrendered land.

Nor was the surrendered land used for widening the roads in front of the railway station.

The petition sought a directive for taking possession of the land by the government and using the land for development of the roads in front of the railway station.

A festival of the king of fruits

KOCHI: Are you a die-hard fan of actor Suresh Gopi? If the answer is yes, the Kerala Mango Festival beginning at Ernakulam Town Hall is the place you should visit on Friday. The three-day festival organised by Greenvalley Public School, Kothamangalam, will have a mango variety �Suresh Gopi Pasanth named after the popular actor.

Tariq Musthafa, a farmer from Uttar Pradesh, has named this variety in recognition of Mr. Gopis successful career in the Malayalam film industry.

Pradeep Kuriakose, festival director, said here on Wednesday that the festival is unique as it is being organised by the students of the school. �Have you ever seen or heard of a 2-kg mango or a small (2 grams) mango? If not, you can spot these at the festival, he said. Nearly 200 varieties of mango will be on display at the venue. Mr. Kuriakose said that the event will give the public an opportunity to see and taste many hybrid varieties of the fruit besides giving them a chance to interact with the growers.

A mango eating competition will be held on Saturday. The organisers have also planned a mango quiz competition on the occasion.

The venue will also have mango dishes on display that include mango chicken biriyani, mango rice with curry, kappa with mango fish curry and mango cuts. More details about the festival can be had over 9895099444.

New park in city dedicated to the memory of poet

KOCHI: Edappally Raghavan Pillai, along with Changampuzha Krishna Pillai, paved a new path of sensibility for Malayalam literature, not just the genre of poetry.

While Changampuzha explored the brighter side of life more, it was Edappally who often delved into the darker aspects of the human psyche.

This image of Edappally Raghavan Pillai got cemented when he committed suicide at the age of 37.

And now the city is remembering the poet by dedicating a public space in his name.

The park, built on 22.5 cents donated for free by the Kerala State Housing Board Allottees Association, at Edappally is perhaps the only memorial for the poet in his home place, said N.A. Mani, councillor and chairman of Education and Health Standing Committee, Kochi Corporation. The park was constructed by the corporation and it was inaugurated on May 10.

LNG terminal: prospects brighten for power plant

KOCHI: Decisions at a high-level meeting convened by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on the progress of work on the proposed LNG terminal brighten the prospects for a 1,200-mW gas-based power generation plant on Puthuvype Island, close to the proposed LNG receiving and re-gasification facilities within the Special Economic Zone.

The meeting, in the State capital on Wednesday, decided to set up a single-window facility for acquisition of land for laying pipeline from Kochi to Mangalore and Kayamkulam. The post of a Deputy Collector would also be created specially to speed up the land acquisition process.

It was decided that a meeting would be convened soon in Kochi on the proposal from PLL for setting up a power-generation facility. The proposal ran into trouble after a dispute over the ownership of a 40-hectare plot that the Cochin Port Trust identified as suitable for setting up the power generation unit.

CD seized from suspect\'s house

KOCHI: Police officers investigating the assault case on T.J. Joseph, Professor at Newman College, Thodupuzha, on Thursday seized a compact disc (CD) containing images of torture and executions done by the Taliban along with other incriminating documents from one of the suspects.

The CD was recovered from a Toyota Innova owned by Kunjumon of Aluva. The vehicle was confiscated from his residence on Thursday, after the investigators received information that one group involved in the assault had travelled by this vehicle. No one has been taken into custody in this connection.

Director-General of Police Jacob Punnoose told The Hindu that the evidence points to extensive preparations being made ahead of the assault. �We are taking this development very seriously, he said.

Mr. Punnoose had visited the scene of the crime in Muvattupuzha and reviewed the progress of investigation on Wednesday night. Following the seizure of the CD, the top officials in the district met to take stock of the situation.

The police conducted searches for suspects in different parts of rural district on Thursday. Investigators said the group had made efforts to cover the track.

Metro still under Centre\'s consideration: Sreedharan

KOCHI:. The execution of the Kochi metro-rail project as a Centre-State joint venture project is very much under the Centres consideration, the MD of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation E. Sreedharan has said.

The Union Urban Transport Ministry is processing the matter so that it can forwarded to the Cabinet Committee for Economic Affairs (CCEA), he said.

He criticised the statement by the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman M. S. Ahluwalia early this week that the Centre would be unable to pool in funds for the project.

�The Commission had given in writing its nod for the project six months ago. Mr. Ahluwalias statement is his personal opinion, he said.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Sreedharan said that all that the Centre needs to give is Rs. 600 crore over a four-year period.

This works out to just Rs 150 crore each year, when the total Union budgetary allocation for different projects is over Rs 2 lakh crore.

Latin Catholic diocese to be active in civic polls

Thiruvananthapuram: The Latin Catholic diocese will play a key role in the upcoming local body elections to ensure that the Latin Catholic community is not alienated from the mainstream and also to ensure that the community is adequately represented at the administrative level in local bodies, Metropolitan Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram and president of the Kerala Region Latin Catholic Council (KRLCC) Susaipakiam has said.

At a press conference held here on Thursday to announce the agenda of the 16 {+t} {+h} general body and Rights Convention of the KRLCC, which is being held in the city from July 9 to 11, Dr. Susaipakiam said the diocese had decided to become active participants in the local body elections as there was a general feeling that the Latin Catholic community continued to be neglected and remained on the fringes of mainstream society as the diocese was not taking a pro-active role in the political processes.

VS seeks code for observers

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has opposed the Election Commissions practice of deploying central forces without the consent of the State governments and proposed the need for introducing a code of conduct for election observers.

Delivering the presidential address at a national seminar on electoral reforms held under the joint aegis of the C. Achutha Menon Study Centre and Library and the Indira Gandhi National Open University here on Thursday, the Chief Minister said such actions amounted to challenging the principles of federalism. Law and order being a State subject, the Army or forces from other States should not be deployed without the consent of the State government concerned.

He said that though the commission claimed to conduct the elections in a free and fair manner, there were complaints that it was yielding to the interests of the Union government. The threatening note of the commission in deploying Central forces and the attempt to raise it as a campaign issue against the parties governing the States often led to the allegation that there was an indirect link between the Centre and the commission. Kerala and West Bengal had such experiences too. He said the Army was deployed in Kannur during the previous Lok Sabha elections and this was a demand of the UDF.

Hamid Ansari to open RTI portal

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Vice President M. Hamid Ansari will launch the RTI Knowledge Portal of the Institute of Management in Government (IMG) here on Friday.

The portal will serve as a single referral point for information on the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Its main features are a full-fledged repository of major studies, research papers, presentations, major government reports, government orders, circulars and rules, major decisions of the State Information Commission and so on.

The portal will be user-friendly and will offer a basic-certification e-course in the RTI Act which can be taken either in Malayalam or English and an �Ask the expert facility through which a panel of RTI experts will answer questions online. The question and answers will be archived.

The portal has been developed by IMG with the technical support of the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Kerala.

Delay in opening aircraft repairing facility flayed

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The inordinate delay in commissioning the Aircraft Maintenance Base, a joint venture of Air India and the U.S.-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing, near the new international airport terminal here has come in for criticism.

The Rs.70-crore facility is coming up on a 6.07-hectare plot provided free of cost by the State government to Air India. The first phase was scheduled for commissioning in March last year.

Although the building has come up facing the Chakka-Airport road, the other works, including that of the interior of hangars, are in progress. The base is yet to get electricity connection despite paying required deposit to the Kerala State Electricity Board.

Construction of the parallel taxiway, to bring the aircraft that land on the runway of the adjacent airport to the base, is yet to be taken up. The work has been entrusted to the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

Shashi Tharoor, MP, visited the site on Thursday. He was briefed about the work by AIE Regional Maintenance Manager R. Raghu Kumar and AI Station Manager M. Jyothi Prakash.

100 fisherwomen become IT literate

Thiruvananthapuram: As many as 100 women from the coastal village of Poovar can now look forward to spending quality time before a desktop computer in their free hours. The women in the 18-30 age group formally entered the portals of the IT world at a function held here on Thursday.

They received certificates on successful completion of IT training offered by the Kerala State IT Mission in association with the Erikavila Vanitha Sangham of Poovar.

Shashi Tharoor, MP, felicitated the women at the function.

The45-day computer training programme introduced the participants to the basic utilities of computers and the use of Internet and e-mail. A crash programme on communication skills was also organised. An evaluation programme in both theory and practical segments was conducted at the end of the course, in which 15 passed with distinction and 64 with First Class.

Pension for coconut farmers

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government will introduce a pension scheme for coconut cultivators on November 1, Minister for Agriculture Mullakkara Ratnakaran said in the Assembly on Thursday.

Replying to a debate on the demand for grants for agriculture, the Minister said farmers with holding of less than a hectare with minimum of 20 coconut trees would be eligible.

He said the government proposed to take up a number of schemes to increase paddy production and bring more areas under paddy cultivation. All paddy crops would be insured by the government and Rs.5 crore had been set apart for that.

He urged the Centre to increase procurement price of paddy from Rs.10 to Rs.15 a kg. The State was already procuring paddy at Rs.12 a kg. This would be increased.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Concession in rail fare for film technicians

industries, the Ministry of Railways has decided to extend concession in fares to movie technicians travelling for productionrelated work. Under this scheme, a concession of 75 per cent in sleeper class, and 50 per cent in first class, AC chair car, AC 3tier and AC 2tier will be given.

According to a press release, this concession will be granted in all trains, including Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Jan Shatabdi trains. However, those travelling by Duronto, Yuva and Garib Rath services will not be able to avail of it. The scheme will be effective from July 1.

Chopping of hand is brutal, barbaric and anti-Islam

TO A question - �Is Akbar an ideal for you in any way ?� in an interview with Professor Gauri Viswanathan of Columbia University the acclaimed novelist Salman Rushdie replied, �No, I worry about the idealism of Akbar, because a lot of that is backwards projection. We want to have a liberal, tolerant, almost democratic man in the 16 th century. But Akbar was a despot. He was a man jealous of his power, and exercised it.

So I think what interested me was to write about that conflict in him: between the self that was disputatious and open-minded and the other self that did not anyone to argue with him. Of course he tried so hard to break down the barriers created between the people of India - the barriers created by their different systems. Well, hes attractive because he has open-mindedness on the subject.

Kerala: Nexus between Thachankary, Madani?

KOCHI: Top intelligence officers have unearthed a mysterious link between tainted IPS officer Tomin J Thachankary and controversial PDP leader Abdul Nasser Madani. Highly placed sources said a house at Vennala is under the close scrutiny of the Central intelligence agencies after it was found that the house was taken on rent by Riyan Studio, owned by Thachankarys wife, and Abdul Nasser Madani in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

Intelligence sources said that the house which Riyan Studio took on rent was the one where Madani and his wife Soofiya Madhani stayed for nearly four months before shifting to their present house at Karukapilly in Kochi. The anti-piracy cell had conducted a search for pirated CDs on the premises of the house.

Karnataka police sources said that it was in this house that Madani met LeT suspect Thadiyantavide Nazeer.

Madani moved into this house on October 15, 2007. He stayed there for nearly four months,�� sources said. A detailed investigation is on to ascertain the circumstances under which Madani chose the house. Sources said they were also analysing the context in which Thachankary had voluntarily gone to interrogate Nazeer in Bangalore in the backdrop of this new findings.

The house belonged to an NRI woman and her brother is the caretaker of the house for many years. The caretaker, who was questioned by the Karnataka police in connection with the Bangalore bomb blast case, has moved a petition in the Ernakulam Judicial First Class Magistrate Court contending that the police had forced him to sign a witness statement in Kannada against Madani.

Genelia opposite Pritviraj!

Ace cameraman Santosh Sivan who has been getting accolades for his brilliant work in Raavanan, is now all set to do a bilingual in Malayalam and Tamil, titled Urumi .

It is a casting coup for Santhosh as he has brought together Indias most valued brand Genelia and the fastest rising star Prithviraj together. Santosh�s last directorial ventures in English Beyond the Rains ( 2007)and Tahaan(2008) in Hindi have been critically acclaimed and were also marketing success.

Says Santosh: �My next film is Urumi is a period film with Prithviraj and Genelia in the lead while the rest of the cast is being finalised. Urumi is an 8 ft long flexible sword used in Kalari fights, a martial art of Kerala. Sankar Ramakrishnan who had directed the promising short film Island Express in the Kerala Cafe anthology is writing the script. The film is set in 15 century, and is a bilingual and will be made for international audiences.

Allegations against Cong member stalls Kerala assembly

Thiruvananthapuram: Angry exchanges and a walkout marred proceedings in the Kerala assembly on Tuesday over an allegation that Congress legislator A P Abdulla Kutty was caught in the company of a woman near a hill station.

The treasury and opposition benches exchanged heated words over a statement by Communist Party of India-Marxists (CPI-M) M Chandran on Monday evening that his former party colleague and now Congress legislator A P Abdulla Kutty was travelling to Ponmudi hill station with a woman when he was stopped by people and handed over to police.

When Chandran made the statement in the assembly, the entire opposition staged a walkout.

Kutty, in his explanation, said that on Monday, after spending some time in the assembly, he proceeded with two friends to their home near Ponmudi, 70 km from here.

En route our vehicle was stopped by some people due to the strike called by the Left. I called for the police who took me to the station. Another family was also there whose car was stopped and they were also taken to the police station. The police said they will give me protection to travel to my friends place but I said I will go back to the legislators hostel. And to this Chandran has alleged that I was caught with a lady, he said.

Kutty, a two-time CPI-M Lok Sabha member from Kannur, quit the party ahead of the 2009 polls. He won the Kannur assembly seat in a by-election as a Congress candidate.

Fazal case: SC rejects Kerala Government\'s plea

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has dismissed a special leave petition filed by Kerala Government challenging the Division Bench order of the Kerala High Court directing a CBI probe into the murder of Fazal Mohammed.

Fazal was a CPM activist and later shifted his loyalties to the National Development Front (NDF). He was working as a newspaper boy at Thalassery in Kannur. He was found murdered on March 22, 2006 at 5 p.m. in Thalassery. The allegations were that the CPM activists killed Fazal. The police conducted investigation and arrested three persons belonging to the CPM. Meanwhile, Fazals wife moved the High Court by way of a writ petition seeking a probe by the CBI.

A Single Judge of the High Court allowed the petition, directed a CBI probe and made some observations which were not very charitable to the State Government. On appeal, Division Bench of the High Court expunged the observations, but permitted the CBI probe.

The state moved the apex court challenging the order of the Division Bench. When the matter came up on Tuesday before a Bench comprising Justice Aftab Alam and Justice R M Lodha, counsel for Kerala contended that the state police had conducted a thorough investigation into the murder and there is no need for a CBI probe.

It was argued that a CBI probe cannot be directed without the consent

of the State Government. However, the Bench, citing a judgment by the

Constitution Bench, said that CBI probe could be directed, and dismissed the petition filed by Kerala.

Floods leave 50 people dead in Assam and Kerala



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According to the ministry of home affairs, almost one million people have been hit by the floods, forcing almost half a million to leave their water-logged villages and seek shelter in government relief camps.

Mountainous Assam, where five people have drowned, has been the worst-affected with 13 out of 27 districts hit by flooding, including Kokrajhar, Lakhimpur, Baksa and Bongaigaon.

Relief and rescue operations have started in all the affected districts, said Assams chief minister Tarun Gogoi.

Troops from the countrys National Disaster Response Force have also been deployed to the area where they are ferrying stranded villagers along with their belongings, on hundreds of rubber and wooden boats to safer areas.

There are around 700 relief camps accommodating over 400,000 people in Assam, officials say, adding that essential aid is being distributed and medical teams are providing assistance.

In Kerala, where more than 23,000 people have been affected and 48 people

20 L pregnant women may get H1N1 vaccine

MUMBAI: Taking a cue from the Kerala government, the state public health department is considering administering an anti-swine flu vaccine to over 20 lakh pregnant women.

We have carefully studied the Kerala model on the swine flu vaccine. A comprehensive proposal has been submitted to the government, it will cost the state exchequer Rs 80 crore if it is administered free of cost, a senior public health official told TOI on Tuesday.

Ever since the swine flu vaccine was made available, Kerala became the first state to administer it free of cost to pregnant women. In Maharashtra, a comprehensive three-tier plan was drafted for administration of the swine flu vaccine to doctors, paramedical staff and all employees in government hospitals. It was unfortunate that barring a few doctors and paramedical staff, most have refused it. We have decided to return the remaining quota of the vaccine to the Centre, he said.

Kerala prof attacker now threatens cop

An alleged member of a radical Muslim outfit, accused of attacking a Kerala lecturer, has now threatened a police officer probing the case, police said on Tuesday.

�Rasheed (30), an activist of the Popular Front of India, criminally intimidated Circle Inspector Famous Varghese, a member of the investigation team, said Rural SP T. Vikram.

According to the police, Rasheed, who is the district secretary of the front, threatened the officer with dire consequences if he continued raiding the houses of its activists.

The police had raided the houses of Rasheed and other activists soon after Sundays attack on Malayalam lecturer T.J. Joseph, in which his right hand was chopped off.

The attack took place at Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district, about 220 km north of the state capital.

Jospeh had earlier been sent to jail for preparing a blasphemous question paper that allegedly made derogatory references to Prophet Mohammed.

The Popular Front, formed in 2006, was accused last year of carrying out a �love jihad�, under which activists allegedly lured women from other faiths into marriage and then forced them to convert to Islam.

Call to implement Women\'s Bill

KOCHI: Women members in Ernakulam district affiliated to the Kerala Non-Gazetted Officers Union participated in the convention held here on Tuesday, as part of the proposed agitation demanding immediate steps to control inflation and implementation of Womens Reservation Bill.

A release issued by the organisers said that R. Chandra, vice-president of the Tamil Nadu unit of the All India Kisan Sabha, inaugurated the convention at Maharajas College auditorium.

M. Sunitha, member of the NGO Union State committee and K. Thulasi, State joint secretary of the All India Democratic Womens Association spoke. P. B. Jagadeesh, district president of the NGO Union, presided.

The convention demanded that the Centre should correct its policies aiding inflation besides protecting social security programmes in the country

Sampath case: plea to hand over files

Kochi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday filed a petition in the High Court seeking a directive to the police to hand over the case diary files relating to the custodial death of Sampath, an accused in a murder case in Palakkad.

Probe delayed

In its petition, investigation officer S. Unnikrishnan said if these files were not handed over it would cause inordinate delay in taking up the investigation.

He said the files were yet to be given to the CBI though a Division Bench dismissed an appeal filed by the State government against the single judges directive for a CBI probe on June 11. The investigation could be started only if the CBI received those files. It was highly necessary that a directive be issued to the police to hand over the files.

The court while ordering a CBI probe had observed that the investigation in this case by the State police had turned out to be a mockery with only perfunctory attempts to weave a seemingly plausible story of a torture while in police custody.

The judge had said that much strain was not necessary to infer that there was an orchestrated attempt to shield certain officers in the higher echelons of the police and make certain officers of relatively lower rank scapegoats

Workshop on cloud computing

KOCHI: Cloud computing is the latest innovation that has brought computing power within reach of every organisation, offering unprecedented scalability wherein the user can add resources on demand and give them up when not needed, instead of the classical model of over-investing in infrastructure and managing it at a huge cost. It also provides huge cost-effectiveness by providing a �pay per usemodel and ensures professional management of the infrastructure.

The Computer Society of India and IEEE Computer Society are jointly organising a three-day workshop on cloud computing, bringing together the major cloud service and applications providers under a single platform at IIT Chennai from August 18 to 20.

Sessions on �business value proposition of cloud computing�, �Research trends in cloud computing� and a panel discussion on �are we ready for cloud computing� along with a few user experience will be part of the workshop.

The workshop will offer the participants a rare opportunity to get a first hand knowledge by hearing �from the horses mouth�, the specifics � both business and technology perspectives of the emerging area of cloud computing. For details, visit http://www.csi-chennai.org/wcc/index.html or contact S. Ramasamy, on 98400 09417; e-mail: sypsys@vsnl.com

Grading system for B.Tech. courses in Cusat

KOCHI: The Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) has decided to implement grading system for its B.Tech. examinations from 2010-11.

The new system will be implemented at the university engineering departments, School of Engineering on Thrikkakara campus, Cochin University College of Engineering at Pulinkunnu, and its affiliated colleges.

Registrar N. Chandramohanakumar said on Tuesday that the evaluation of the first year B.Tech. students on the campus would be based on the grading system from this year onwards.

The grading pattern will be worked out in detail later.

Dr. Chandramohanakumar said that the university has no plans to introduce the semester pattern for the B.Tech. courses this year.

He said that the regular pattern of conducting the examinations after the completion of one year will be continued for B.Tech. programmes even as the evaluation method will be switched to the grading system.

New students\' force in five school

KOCHI: Decks have been cleared for the launch of the Student Police Cadet (SPC) scheme in the district. A meeting of the district advisory board of the SPC that met here decided to start the project in five schools.

Student Police Cadet is a new concept launched by the State government in which students will come together to form a force like NCC and NSS.

The aim of SPC is to instil civic sense and social commitment among students and to enable students to support police in fight against crime and terrorism.

The schools identified for the project are: Government Girls High School, Ernakulam; St. Sebastian High School, Thoppumpady; Edward Memorial Girls High School, Fort Kochi; Vennala High School, Vennala; and Government Boys Higher Secondary School, Tripunithura.

The SPC meeting was held at the office of the City Police Commissioner Manoj Abraham, who is the chairman of the district advisory board. The district collector is the chief partron.

Heritage bylaw of civic body to be updated soon

KOCHI: The heritage conservation bylaw of the Kochi Corporation will be updated soon.

The bylaw will be validated by including the guidelines of the Archaeological Survey of India and the existing building rules, civic authorities said here on Tuesday.

Though the Kochi Corporation council had approved the draft bylaw for the preservation of both the natural and cultural heritage of the city five years ago, the authorities had failed to enact it. The latest initiative comes at a time when the civic authorities are left with hardly one month to complete its term in office.

The officials of the southern circle of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will lead the discussions to be held at Kochi Corporation on Tuesday. Experts in heritage conservation, civic representatives, officials of the town planning, engineering and revenue department of the Kochi Corporation will attend the deliberations. The workshop is jointly hosted by the Town Planning Standing Committee and Centre for Heritage Environment and Development of the Kochi Corporation.

C-DIT\'s technical writing course

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With a view to preparing candidates for a career in technical writing, the Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT) has launched a one-year course on the subject.

The curriculum gives emphasis on practical training and the performance of students would be assessed on a continuous evaluation mode.

Apart from special training sessions on improving English language skills, there will be sessions on personality development,technical writing software etc. Applications have been invited for the programme that costs Rs.60,000. Priority will be given to those who have completed B.Tech, B.Sc, BA English and BA Mass Communication and Journalism. Those who have written the final year degree examinations can also apply. Details can be had from the Thiruvananthapuram office on phone 9895788255.

Preserve paintings: Tharoor

Thiruvananthapuram: Shashi Tharoor, MP, has called upon the government for urgent measures to protect the paintings exhibited in the Sri Chithra Art Gallery here. In a press note issued here after a visit to the art gallery, Mr. Tharoor said the Ravi Varma paintings in the gallery were an invaluable part of Keralas rich heritage. He said they were exhibited without adequate protection. �Visitors to the gallery can easily touch the paintings. Some of the works have been damaged by exposure to human hands. It is fortunate that the paintings have escaped major vandalism. I have never seen paintings or art forms being treated in such a casual manner in any other country.

Mr. Tharoor said the paintings had to be preserved in air conditioned rooms. He observed that the plight of the Ravi Varma paintings was in sharp contrast to the security given to the sword of Velu Thampi Dalawa kept in the Napier Museum, hardly 50 metres away.

Housing board staff council stages dharna

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Housing Board Employees Action Council staged a dharna in front of the Secretariat here on Tuesday demanding immediate intervention of the government to save the board which was in a debt trap and whose activities had ground to a halt.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala, who inaugurated the protest, offered full support if the State government took steps to launch new schemes with the Centres help and settled the boards dues to the HUDCO under a one-time settlement scheme.

Centre of India Trade Unions State secretary M.M. Lawrence, who delivered the keynote address, asked the Housing and Finance Ministers to take the initiative to solve the financial problems of the board. AITUC State secretary K.P. Sankaradas said it was high time that the State government took steps to solve the boards problems.

Housing Board Employees Federation president C.B.C. Warrier asked the government to pay up its dues to the board.

KSRTC to introduce season tickets

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Transport Minister Jose Thettayil announced in the Assembly on Tuesday that season tickets would be introduced in KSRTC buses across the State.

Replying to the debate on the demands for grants for Transport and Taxes on Vehicles, the Minister said that season tickets were already available on a pilot basis on the Kasaragod-Mangalore route.

The Minister added that the government would come out with a transport policy soon.

The proposed authority for fixing bus fares and freight charges would be formed shortly. (Future fare revisions will be decided by the authority).

He said that temporary employees working for the KSRTC for eight years would be confirmed if they had worked for not less than 120 days a year. The KSRTC had appointed more than 18800 persons over the past four years

Monday, July 5, 2010

Woman arrested

ALAPPUZHA: A woman, who according to the police is mentally challenged, barged into a courtroom at Haripad near here and tried to sit on the judges chair on Monday. The woman, a resident of Karthikapally, was reportedly sitting on a bench outside the main courtroom of the Munsiff Court in Haripad. Around 9.15 a.m., she barged into the courtroom sat on the judges chair. An employee present alerted the Haripad police. She was later arrested and presented before the court and was remanded.

Defend RTI, people told

KOCHI: The Kerala Right to Information Federation has urged the people to save the RTI Act in the face of manifold threats from the bureaucracy and the government to its existence.

The federation, a collective of RTI activists in the State, said in a statement that there was an attempt to substantially water down the Act at the national level while, within the State, the Information Commission was handicapped by the shortage of staff and resources. It is the responsibility of the people at large to support and defend the RTI Act, which was the outcome of a long struggle by civil society organisations.

Less rush of patients at hospitals

KOCHI: Patients had a tough time reaching hospitals on Monday as hartal supporters stopped all vehicles.

The district General Hospital, which usually has over a 1,000 people at its out-patient department, had 167 patients, of which 14 were diagnosed with fever on Monday.

The hospital had only 30 per cent of doctors attending their duties and all operations scheduled for the day were cancelled.

No emergency cases came up in the day, said the Hospital superintendent.

In the Thripunithura Taluk Hospital, there were 177 patients in the OP, of which 15 patients had fever.

All the hospital staff had reported for duty as an ambulance was deployed to bring the staff into the hospital, said the Hospital superintendent. On any normal day, the OP varies from 500 to 600 patients.

In the Aluva Taluk Hospital, 84 people reached the OP. On a usual full day, the hospital has an OP of about 700 patients.

Hearing on contempt plea procedure next week

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court, on Monday, adjourned to next week the hearing on a legal question whether a writ petition seeking to initiate contempt-of-court proceedings against M.V. Jayarajan, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader, was maintainable.

The Bench, comprising Chief Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice P.N. Ravindran, adjourned the hearing when the petition filed by C.A. Edison, chairman, All-Kerala Niyama Sahaya Vedi (legal aid forum), Thrissur, came up for hearing.

The High Court Registry had pointed out that a petition seeking contempt-of-court action could be moved only with the consent of the Advocate-General.

In the present case, the consent had not been obtained. The Registry indicated that in view of an earlier decision by the High Court, suo motu action for initiation of contempt proceedings could be taken only after the Full Court considered the matter.

The petition said the remarks made by Mr. Jayarajan against a court order banning roadside public meetings amounted to contempt of court. He had used language which scandalised the judiciary and lowered its image and reputation. The petition sought a directive to the police to carry out an investigation and to register criminal cases against him.

Social networking turns popular

KOCHI: Easy access to the Internet and GPRS-enabled phones has thrown open several avenues to stay connected and updated to our social surroundings. Social networking has become very popular among the young people in the city.

The Internet has certainly changed the way we live our lives, by providing us with a trove of information available anywhere. This has revolutionised our information demands and the way we interact with other people. Social networking has redefined the way we look at friendships.

A young tech-savvy professional, Keerthi Varier, says, �Social networking is crucial as I cant be expected to keep in touch with everyone over phone or mail. This is a medium by which I can collectively let people know what I want to convey, which is easier than 400 SMS or e-mails. Govind Menon, a college-goer echoed the same opinion. According to him, �These sites help me keep in touch with my friends however far way they are.�

Thats not the only aspect which has made social networking over the Internet popular and widely used. Sidharth Babu, an engineering student says, �Previously, while taking an online quiz only you would know your scores but now you can tell your friends and even share it with them. So you will know where you stand. These sites are user friendly and very easy to navigate.�

BJP to take out SP office march

KOCHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will take out a march to the office of the Superintendent of Police at Aluva on Tuesday in protest against �the increasing Talibanism in the State.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, A.N. Radhakrishnan, State general secretary of the party, accused the Home Ministry of having failed to curb militant activities in the State. He said that places like Aluva have become a safe haven for terrorists.

Referring to the attack on T. J. Joseph, professor and head of the department of Malayalam at Newman College, Thodupzha, he said that the incident was a blot on the ministry and the police, which failed to check the growth of terror elements in the State.

Blaming Education Minister M.A. Baby for his alleged remarks portraying Mr. Joseph in bad light at a meeting in Kozhikode on Sunday, Mr. Radhakrishnan termed the Ministers observations against Mr. Joseph as �inhuman.

He said that Mr. Babys remarks would have caused considerable pain to the family members of the professor, who were already under severe stress following Sundays incident.

Activities of Jamaat under scrutiny

Kochi: The State government on Monday informed a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court that the Additional Director-General of Police (Intelligence) would closely watch the activities of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and scrutinise its publications to find whether the organisation is propagating any anti-national ideologies overtly or covertly.

This information was conveyed to a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice P.N. Ravindran when a writ petition filed by Abdul Samad, convener, Islam Matha Probothaka Sanghom, Kochi, seeking a directive to the State government to ban the organisation and probe its source of funding came up for hearing.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home and Vigilance) K. Jayakumar on Monday appeared in person before the court and filed an affidavit. The Bench had directed him to appear in view of the governments failure to file an affidavit in response to the writ petition.

Soccer movie fete from today

KOCHI: Football fans in town have something to cheer about. The Cochin Arts and Communications (CAC) is joining hands with them to celebrate the football carnival.

Starting Tuesday, CAC will host a soccer movie fest at its auditorium in I. S. Press Road. The movies to be screened during the five-day festival include Escape to Victory, Goal III, Bend it Like Beckham, The Cup, and Offside.

Directed by John Huston, Escape to Victory narrates the story of Allied prisoners of war who are interned in a German prison camp during World War II.

Starring Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone and Max von Sydow, the movie earned wide critical acclaim. It also starred football superstars Bobby Moore, Osvaldo Ardiles, Kazimierz Deyna, Paul Van Himst, and Pele. Yabo Yablonsky penned the script for the movie.

Goal III is the third part of the association football Goal film trilogy directed by Andrew Morahan. Written and produced by Mike Jefferies, the film did not have a theatrical release and was instead released in DVD format in the U.K.

Metro rail: Minister flays Plan panel



KOCHI: The objections levelled by the Planning Commission to deny permission to execute the Kochi metro-rail project as a joint venture between the State and Central Governments are deplorable, M. Vijayakumar, the Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Railways has said.

He was reacting to the stand taken by the Commission on Monday, which is diametrically opposite to the decision taken by it over a year ago in which it had given the nod for the project on the lines of the Delhi metro-rail.

The Commission had on Monday reportedly objected to the Central Government extending financial support to the State for the project. The Union Finance Ministry too had earlier objected to the State Governments proposal, despite the Union Urban Affairs Ministry, the State Government and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation demanding that the project be implemented with Central help.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Vijayakumar said that the Commissions suggestion to rope in private players to execute the project is unfeasible in Kochi.

Ensure toilet facilities in schools, State told

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday directed the State government to ensure that toilets, urinals and drinking water facilities were provided at all aided and government schools.

The Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice S.S. Satheesachandran issued the directive when a petition filed by the State government seeking to review a directive to provide these facilities at all the schools came up for hearing.

The directive came on a writ petition filed by the secretary of the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad, Vadakkanchery zone, in March 2009.

The court said the situation was alarming and the State government had a duty to ensure that such facilities were provided at all schools. These facilities were the basic need of students. They had a right to have such facilities in schools.

The Bench said it was part of their fundamental right. Those principals or mangers who were not aware of these requirements did not deserve to continue in their posts.

The Bench also ordered the Director of Public Instruction (DPI) to ensure that such facilities were provided at all aided schools as well. The DPI should also obtain compliance report regarding the directive for establishing the facilities from the Deputy Directors, District Educational Officers and the Assistant Educational Officers.

Hartal total, peaceful in city

KOCHI: The dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the Left and Opposition parties at the Centre to protest against the fuel price hike today was total and peaceful in the city.

Vehicles were off the road during the better part of the day , but life picked up towards the evening when two-wheelers and private vehicles ventured out to carry out immediate tasks. Some of the commercial establishments also did brisk business after the hartal hours.

This is the second hartal within a fortnight but the public response was quite positive and there were hardly any incidents which called for the intervention of the police.

Normal life was affected and commercial activities came to a standstill today. Most roads wore a deserted look and shops remained closed. There were sporadic incidents of �hartal supporters trying to block vehicles at some places in the city during the forenoon. The police arrested LDF activists from Palarivattom, Panangad, Kadavanthra, Ernakulam South and Trikkakkara in this connection. Hartal was more or less peaceful in the suburbs and rural areas, the police said.

While train services operated as usual, KSRTC and private bus services did not ply till 6 p.m. Normal KSRTC services would resume only by Tuesday, as many buses have been held up in different depots across the State.

Football fever at Goethe Zentrum

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It will be football fever at the Goethe Zentrum in Thiruvananthapuram when Germany takes on Spain in the semi-final of the ongoing FIFA World Cup on July 7.

The match will be screened at the Zentrums amphitheatre from 11.50 p.m. on Wednesday.

Though entry to the event is free, reservations have to be made for the limited number of seats, a press note issued here by Zentrum director Syed Ibrahim said. Reservations can be made on phone 0471-3013018. Refreshments will be served during half-time.

There will also be a quick round of football quiz. Winners will be given Zentrum merchandise, including bags, caps, T-shirts and umbrellas

Community villages planned in all districts

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran said on Monday that community villages would be developed in all districts for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

The Minister was replying to the debate on the demands for grants for Land Revenue, District Administration and Miscellaneous and Relief on Account of Natural Calamities in the Assembly.

Mr. Rajendran said the villages were planned as part of various housing schemes being implemented for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

The villages would have all the basic amenities besides housing. The first village would come up in Kasaragod district.

The Minister announced that the government proposed to bring in legislation for a social security scheme covering people affected by land acquisitions.

He said the distribution of titles deeds to all eligible settlers and tribespeople would be completed by the end of this year.

Altogether 1.5 lakh titles were being granted.

Protest against Joseph

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Several ruling front MLAs were up on their feet protesting when P.J. Joseph, who resigned as a Minister and crossed over to the Opposition benches recently, was called by the chair to participate in a discussion on the demands for various departments, including the Public Works Department (PWD), in the Assembly on Monday.

Their objection was countered with equal force by the Opposition MLAs, particularly Joseph M. Puthusserry and P.C. George, who maintained that Mr. Joseph, as an MLA, had the right to participate in the discussion. The objection from the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) was first aired by P. Jayarajan of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). As soon as Mr. Joseph took the mike, Mr. Jayarajan asked if it was proper for someone who had been in the Council of Ministers that approved the State Budget to speak against the demands for grants in the budget.

The House heard loud exchanges for several minutes. Deputy Speaker Jose Baby, who was in the chair, asked the MLAs to be quiet. Senior members from either side had to intervene before the former Minister could commence his speech.

UDF for stern action on attack

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: United Democratic Front (UDF) convener P.P. Thankachan on Monday urged the government to take steps to apprehend the accused behind the attack on Thodupuzha Newman College Professor P.T. Joseph and give them exemplary punishment.

In a statement here, Mr. Thankachan termed the act �gruesome and barbaric.

He blamed the Government for being primarily responsible for such kinds of attacks that are being reported from various parts of the State. Instead of taking stern action against such incidents, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government and the police had adopted a soft approach.

The National Investigation Agency and other Central investigating agencies had alerted the State government about the possibility of such attacks, but no precautionary steps were taken by the government and the State police.

A blast on a single stroke

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: At a time when motorbikes have gone from two-stroke to four-stroke engines, a group of students at the Mohandas College of Engineering and Technology have put together a �single-stroke engine which they have christened the �blaster engine.

The way it is designed, the �blaster will produce power during each stroke of the piston; two power strokes, that is, for each revolution of the crank shaft.

This, a note prepared by the students said, is achieved by a dual combustion chamber in the single cylinder engine.

The blaster � developed by J. Deepak, T. A. Sreeganesh, Rothit Raj, Anish Thomas and Jithin Subash � also generates more power. Since it generates more power strokes in comparison to two-, four- or six-stroke engines and since there are no �idle strokes, the blaster is able to generate more power, the note said.

Consequently, the team says, this engine is more suited for two-wheelers for which power is king. The team says the power generated by their blaster is equivalent to that generated by a two-cylinder, two-stroke engine. Added benefit? A saving on space.

Rs.1,097-crore power charge arrears

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) is yet to collect power charge arrears of Rs.1,096.55 crore due from consumers till March, Electricity Minister A.K. Balan has said.

Replying to questions in the Assembly on Monday, Mr. Balan said the arrears due from government institutions came up to Rs.144.82 crore. The dues from the cooperative sector and public sector undertakings amounted to Rs.334.18 crore, local self-government institutions, Rs.12.6 crore and the private sector, Rs.542.58 crore. He said Kerala would become a power-surplus State next year.

The tariff would not be increased or load-shedding imposed.

The government was doubtful of the Centre granting clearance for the Athirappilly power project.

The government had decided to form a company of the Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT) and local bodies for exploiting non-conventional energy sources.

UDF members stage walkout on hartal issue

: The Opposition UDF staged a walkout from the Assembly on Monday accusing the LDF of having made the people of Kerala �captives with its second hartal in 10 days.

Mounting a strong attack on the government for what they termed its failure to offer protection to the people who wished to go about with their various vocations and studies, the Opposition leaders alleged that the hartal had been called only to divert public attention from embarrassing issues such as Health Minister P.K. Sreemathys visit to the U.S. at a time when the State was reeling under a vicious viral fever outbreak, National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe against IG of Police Tomin J. Thachankary and the controversy over the Kerala High Court ban on wayside meetings.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, however, rejected the Opposition contentions and said the LDF did not regret having called the second hartal. Any number of hartals would be necessary to convey to the Centre the heavy impact of its decision to hike the prices of petroleum products on the lives of the people of Kerala.

The ruling alliance could not help doing it because the Congress in Kerala was not making even a single move or using its clout with the Centre to do so, he added.

The Chief Minister pointed out that 13 State-wide hartals had taken place after the LDF assumed office. Of these, six were called by the BJP, two each by the UDF and the LDF, one by the CPI(ML) and two by other organisations.

Hartal total, incident-free in district

Thiruvananthapuram: The dawn-to-dusk hartal call by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Bharathiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance to protest the hike in prices of petroleum products was total in the district on Monday.


The protest was relatively incident-free in the city and suburbs. Shops and commercial establishments remained closed for the better part of the day. Public transport buses, private cars, autorickshaws and taxis stayed off the road. Two-wheelers plied as usual.


Unidentified persons threw stones at Kerala State Road Transport Corporation buses at Parassala on Sunday night. No incidents of forced closure of shops or violence were reported, the police said.


A small group of hartal supporters attempted to block the vehicle of Congress legislator A.P. Abdullakutty at Vithura around 4 p.m. The MLA was travelling in a Maruti Swift car along with two others, including former panchayat president Reghuchandran Nair and one Mujib, a lawyer. One Prasad, a real estate dealer, his wife and son, were tailing the MLA in a Mercedes Benz car.


The police said Mr. Abdullahkutty and Mr. Prasad were returning from Ponmudi, where Mr. Prasad had booked few rooms. The MLA told the police that he had gone to attend a personal function. They drove their vehicles into the Vithura police station and continued on their journey to the city an hour later.


Hartal total, incident-free in district

Thiruvananthapuram: The dawn-to-dusk hartal call by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Bharathiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance to protest the hike in prices of petroleum products was total in the district on Monday.

The protest was relatively incident-free in the city and suburbs. Shops and commercial establishments remained closed for the better part of the day. Public transport buses, private cars, autorickshaws and taxis stayed off the road. Two-wheelers plied as usual.

Unidentified persons threw stones at Kerala State Road Transport Corporation buses at Parassala on Sunday night. No incidents of forced closure of shops or violence were reported, the police said.

A small group of hartal supporters attempted to block the vehicle of Congress legislator A.P. Abdullakutty at Vithura around 4 p.m. The MLA was travelling in a Maruti Swift car along with two others, including former panchayat president Reghuchandran Nair and one Mujib, a lawyer. One Prasad, a real estate dealer, his wife and son, were tailing the MLA in a Mercedes Benz car.

The police said Mr. Abdullahkutty and Mr. Prasad were returning from Ponmudi, where Mr. Prasad had booked few rooms. The MLA told the police that he had gone to attend a personal function. They drove their vehicles into the Vithura police station and continued on their journey to the city an hour later.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Autoshow in Kochi

KOCHI: Association of Automobile Workshops Kerala will organise �Autoshow 2010, an exhibition of automotive vehicles, automobile components, garage tools and machinery from October 1 to 3 in Kochi.

The event will be held at the Marine Drive grounds. The show will have more than 100 stalls, according to the organisers.

Business sessions and seminars will be conducted as part of the event

Corporation contractors to protest on Tuesday

KOCHI: Contractors at Kochi Corporation have decided to observe �black day on Tuesday, in protest against delay in releasing payments due to them.

In a representation made to T.M. Thomas Isaac, Minister for Finance, the Cochin Corporation Contractors Association said that nearly Rs. 18 crore was pending as payment for works that have been completed.

The Cochin Contractors Association has called for release of payment due till April 30.

643 law graduates enrolled

KOCHI: The Kerala Bar Council enrolled 643 law graduates as lawyers on Sunday.

In his address, Justice Harun Al Rasheed of the Kerala High Court, who was the chief guest of the function, urged the young lawyers to work hard to improve their language skills.

Every word uttered by a lawyer in the court is of utmost importance, he said.

Vinod Singh Cherian, chairman of the Bar Council of Kerala, P. Jacob Varghese, chairman of the enrolment committee of the Bar council, and M. Raman Kutty, committee member were among those who attended the ceremony .

In his address, Justice Harun Al Rasheed said that the criticisms against the judgments of courts in cases should be for the public good.

It should be constructive in nature, Justice Harun Al Rasheed said.

Professor\'s hand chopped off; 2 held

KOCHI: A gang of anti-social elements chopped off the right hand of T.J. Joseph, Professor and Head of Department of Malayalam at Newman College, Thodupuzha, near his house at Muvattupuzha on Sunday morning.

Mr. Joseph, who has been under suspension following a controversy over disparaging remarks about religious beliefs in an examination question paper he had prepared for undergraduate students, was arrested in April by the police and let out on bail.

Mr. Joseph, 53, was attacked by a gang of six when he returned from church by car at 8.15 a.m. along with his mother and sister. The gang pulled him out of the car and chopped off his hand a little below the wrist with an axe and threw away the severed hand in a nearby plot of land, police sources said. He was also stabbed on the arm and leg. The gang arrived in a van and fled the scene after the assault. In order to create fear, they burst crackers before and after the assault. Mr. Josephs wife who rushed out of the house hearing the commotion was chased away by the gang.

Mr. Josephs neighbours rushed him, along with the severed hand, to a plastic surgery hospital in Kochi, some 50 km away.

The Muvattupuzha police late in the afternoon took two youths into custody and found the van claimed to have been used by the gang. The registration number of the van was fake.

The van reportedly had blood stains and broken pieces of the windscreen of the Professors car.

Centre mulls ban on trade in peacock feathers

KOCHI: It\'s time to dispose of peacock feathers and curios made out of it.



The move comes from the Ministry of Environment and Forests for protecting the national bird. So start packing the peacock feathers including its lovely bunches that find a place in homes.



But a lavattoms made of peacock feathers are here to stay.



The draft Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2010 says that the feathers can be kept for religious purposes with the permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden. This exemption would make the use of a lavattoms in temple festivals including poorams legal.



The authorities had earlier contemplated a total ban on the trade of these feathers. This was following reports that the high demand for the feathers had led to rampant poaching and killing of the birds. Those who possess feathers of peacock and articles made of it should declare the number of tail feathers articles to the Chief Wildlife Warden within six months of commencement of the Act. The draft legislation also suggests that no person shall transfer or sell the feathers or articles made of it after that. Those in the business of selling articles will also be banned from carrying on the business.



The Ministry has also proposed that any person, dealer, trader or manufacturer, who immediately before the commencement of Act was carrying on the business or occupation, shall dispose of all items made from tail feathers of peacock and articles within 30 days from the commencement of the Act.

Kochi to host global meet on pepper

KOCHI: The International Pepper Community meeting will be held in Kochi from November 8 to 12.

The community is an inter-governmental organisation of pepper-producing countries. The organisations members include Brazil, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

The meeting will provide a platform for farmers, scientists and representatives of spices trade associations to exchange information on pepper cultivation and export activities.

During 2009-10, India exported 19,750 tonnes of pepper valued at Rs.313.93 crore, as against 25,250 tonnes valued at Rs.413.74 crore in the previous year, registering a decline of 22 per cent in volume and 24 per cent in value. Export of pepper to major destinations such as the U.S. and the European Union declined during the year.

�Clean tree\' campaign launched in city

KOCHI: The Kochi Corporation launched a �clean trees campaign here on Sunday. The officials of the Corporation and the Forest Department jointly removed billboards, nails and festoons from the trees located at the Madhava Pharmacy junction.

All advertisement materials displayed on trees in the area were removed on Sunday, said E.M. Sunilkumar, chairman of the town planning standing committee of the Corporation. Representatives of various residents associations also joined the drive.

The campaign, which is organised as part of the environment protection measures of the Kochi Corporation, will continue in the coming days. All the trees located in the city will be freed of unnecessary publicity materials, he said.

The civic body had launched a green campaign in the city last month as part of the world Environment Day celebrations

People\'s help sought to tackle garbage issue

: Thrikkakara panchayat, which provided one of the first models of sustainable waste management in the State, will now renew its efforts to find a permanent solution to the continuing problem of rising heaps of waste across its residential areas with the help of residential associations that have expressed their willingness to segregate waste to enable proper handling and disposal.

Thrikkakara panchayat president Sabitha Kareem told The Hindu that waste disposal was a major problem facing the panchayat. The problem can be solved only with the participation of the people, she said.

The panchayat has sufficient installed capacity already to handle about 1.5 to 2 tonnes of segregated waste daily, she said.

However, segregation�basically between bio-degradable and plastics�had not happened so far.

Former panchayat president and member of the District Panchayat M.E. Hassainar said that Thrikkakara had provided a model for the State in localised handling of waste more than a decade ago.

The problem of segregation continued to persist with waste now being collected without discrimination and being dumped in a public place. Secretary of Thrikkakara Residential Associations Apex Council M.S. Anil Kumar said that the residential associations were ready to cooperate with the panchayat authorities to find a permanent and lasting answer to the problem of waste management.

Jayaprada to act in Malayalam film

Thiruvananthapuram: Director R. Sarath, who began his film career with �Sayahnam (Twilight) that bagged the Kerala State award for the best film in 2000, has announced his new project in Malayalam � a film with actor Jayaprada in the lead. The movie is to be produced by Jayaprada herself. Actor Mukesh will be cast opposite her in the film, dealing with middle-aged love, Sarath said.

He said the film would be remade in Hindi with slight variations in theme and with a different cast. Shooting would begin on August 17 and would be completed in one schedule at locations in and around Nagercoil.

He said the film had a train-related plot

Ban on roadside meetings flawed: Ninan Koshy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Social commentator and rights campaigner Ninan Koshy has termed �flawed and �infirm the June 23 Kerala High Court judgment �prohibiting the government and its agencies from granting permission to hold meetings on public roads and road margins and said the order would curtail a democratic right.

In a statement here on Sunday, Dr. Koshy pointed out that the order was passed accepting practically all the arguments of the petitioner, making them the conclusions of the court and denying opportunity or permission to the respondents to present their views or even give explanations.

What the High Court could have done to deliver justice to the petitioner was to give instructions to the government that permission should be given to meetings on the roads and their margins only on condition that they do not obstruct traffic and cause inconvenience to the public. The court could have stated that this should apply to the whole of the State.

Thousands of meetings are held in villages and towns across the State, mainly at junctions and margins of roads. These are the venues for dissemination and propagation of ideas and views. By prohibiting them, rather than putting necessary restrictions on them, the court is curtailing fundamental rights of speech and expression and of peaceable assembly enshrined in the Constitution. There is no reference to any constitutional provision or legislation under which the order is issued, Dr. Koshy said.

Reaching out, across cyber space

Thiruvananthapuram: Ramya Antonys cyber friends have risen to the occasion again. The young writer who is undergoing treatment for cancer will soon have a laptop to put her thoughts into words and a modified two-wheeler to travel around.

On Sunday, Friends of Ramya, an expanding circle of well-wishers belonging to the Orkut and Facebook communities, organised an exhibition of paintings based on her collection of poems titled Salabhayanam.

The paintings were done by students of the fine arts college here. B.D. Dathan, artist, inaugurated the exhibition named Niram 2010.

As many as 30 paintings are on display at the Devaki Warrier memorial study centre. T. Radhamany, secretary of the study centre, presided. K.G. Sooraj, convenor, Friends of Remya, spoke.

BJP to organise stir against price rise

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to organise demonstrations in all districts on July 30 in protest against the State and Central governments failure to check prices.

In a political resolution adopted at a two-day meeting of the State council which ended here on Sunday, the party said the financial policies of the Central government and corruption were responsible for the price rise. Kerala would be the worst-affected because it was a consumer State. However, the State government was looking on as people suffered. The public distribution system had failed to help. The State Civil Supplies Corporation and other entries were functioning like commercial entities diverting and misusing supplies and selling for profit, it said.

BJP State president V. Muraleedharan told the media after the meeting that the BJP was sticking to its plan to organise a hartal in the State on Monday as the Centre was not heeding to public protests. The hartal would be not only against hike in prices of petroleum products but also against the policies of the Central government that caused general increase in prices.

A week-long campaign would be organised from July 23 over price rise.

Study seeks probe into eco impact of gelatin unit

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A study conducted by the Jananeethi Institute, a Thrissur-based voluntary organisation, about the operations of the joint sector Nitta Gelatin India Ltd. (NGIL) at Kathikudam in Thrissur district has sought a comprehensive investigation into the ecological damage being caused by the company.

The study report, released here at a press conference last week, has sought constitution of a high-power committee to assess the environmental impact of the companys operations from its inception and an expert medical team to make a thorough health survey within a 2.5-km radius of the company to study the impact of the sludge and effluents over a period of 30 years.

The company was originally set up as Kerala Chemicals and Proteins Ltd. (KCPL) in 1979 and was later rechristened Nitta Gelatin India Ltd. (NGIL) as a joint sector venture promoted by the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC). It manufactures gelatin, collagen peptide, ossein and di calcium phosphate, its main raw material being crushed animal bones.

The local populace have been complaining about rampant violation of environment safety norms causing ailments to many people in the area.

Hike in fuel price: Left hartal today

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala will have its second hartal within a fortnight on Monday when the State joins the nation-wide Left-sponsored hartal to protest against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments decision to decontrol petroleum product prices and jack up the prices.

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) has decided to join the hartal despite the State having registered its protest against the Central decision with a hartal on June 26 on the contention that the gravity of the situation called for such a reinforced response.

The hartal would be between 6 a. m. and 6 p.m. The LDF leadership has appealed to all sections to support the hartal taking into account the long-term implications of the Centre decision.

The Kerala Public Service Commission has postponed its tests and interviews slated for Monday.

So has the universities and other institutions. With majority of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) workers, private bus operators, taxis and autorikshaws set to join the strike, the public transport system in the State is certain to remain crippled for the major part of the day. Schools and other educational institutions have already announced an unofficial holiday on Monday.

Officials blamed for clearing pilot

Thiruvananthapuram: The State police are likely to initiate disciplinary action against at least four airport Emigration Check Post (ECP) officials suspected to be responsible for the oversight which allowed an airline pilot of Pakistani origin to enter the country through the international airport here in May.

Khan Khalid Rasheed, 56, a resident of Karachi, had piloted the Etihad airliner which landed here from Abu Dhabi at around 3.50 a.m. on May 6. Mr. Rasheed is holder of Pakistani passport number BF 4109113 issued from Karachi on April 7, 2010 and valid till April 6, 2015.

Investigators said usually an airline informed the ECP if they had any foreign national (particularly Pakistanis, Bangladeshis or Afghans) among its crew members or on board. The law allowed Pakistani air travellers to enter the country only through New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai airports.

Medical college hospitals bogged down by RSBY

Thiruvananthapuram: The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), or Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme, which gives a annual health expense coverage of up to Rs.30,000 a family, may have proved to be a windfall for many government hospitals. But for the medical college hospitals giving tertiary-level medical care, the scheme has not been rewarding, say administrative officials of the hospital here.

With extended paperwork and the struggle for hospitals to balance the huge claim amounts and equally huge expenditure statements, the scheme has become more of a burden for many tertiary-care hospitals, they say.

�[The] RSBY may be profitable for most public sector hospitals as the actual expenditure is low and the flow-backs of insurance payments can be considered their �profits. However, for the MCH [Medical College Hospital] here, which does a lot of high-end procedures, the expenditure is too high to rake in such �profits, a hospital official says.

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