Friday, August 31, 2012

Coalgate: No question of my resignation: Manmohan

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said that there was no question of his resignation over the controversy related to the CAG report on coal block allocation. He said: "I have to maintain the dignity of the office of PM." The PM also asked the BJP to stop the diversionary politics and stop disrupting Parliament.

"I can't indulge in slanging match, it's better to stay silent," said PM Manmohan Singh, while returning to India from Tehran after attending the NAM summit.

The Prime Minister arrived in New Delhi on Friday after a four-day visit to Tehran during which he attended the 16h summit meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement and held bilateral meetings with the presidents of Iran and Pakistan.

At the meeting with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari Thursday, Manmohan Singh said that expeditiously concluding the trial of the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attack would be the biggest confidence building measure between the two neighbours.

Maya Kodnani gets 28 years for Naroda Patiya massacre

AHEMEDABAD:Former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani was sentenced to 28 years in jail on Friday for murder and conspiracy during one of the country's worst religious riots, when up to 2,500 people, most of them Muslim, were hunted down and hacked, beaten or burnt to death in 2002.

Hundreds of friends and relatives of the 32 people found guilty gathered outside a court in the western city of Ahmedebad to hear the sentences, the final step in a years-long case that cast a spotlight on still simmering communal tension in the world's biggest democracy.

Most relatives of the victims of the riots in Gujarat state stayed away from the court, a sign that 10 years on, memories of the bloodletting by Hindu mobs still cast a pall of fear over the state's Muslim community.

There were unconfirmed reports that some Muslim shopkeepers had shut their establishments and families had fled the city, fearing retaliatory attacks over the sentences. 

Maya Kodnani, an MLA from the state's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Gujarat minister for women and child development between 2007-2009, was the highest-profile conviction to date in connection with the riots.

The state prosecutor had called for all 32 convicted to face the death penalty, even though India rarely carries out the sentence. All 32 were sentenced to jail, for terms ranging from 14 years to life.

Kodnani's conviction is an embarrassment for both the BJP and Gujarat's high-flying chief minister, Narendra Modi, who is lauded by foreign companies for his business-friendly policies and is often touted as the country's next prime minister.

7.6 quake hits Philippines, tsunami warning issued

MANILA: A 7.6-magnitude undersea quake struck off the eastern coast of the Philippines late Friday, triggering tsunami warnings across the region. At least one house collapsed and power was knocked out in several Philippine cities, local radio reported.

A tsunami alert originally was issued for several countries including Japan and for Pacific islands as far away as the Northern Marianas, but most of them were soon lifted, leaving warnings only for the Philippines, Indonesia and Palau, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

"My neighbors and I have evacuated. We are now on our way to the mountains," fisherman Marlon Lagramado told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from the coastal town of Guiwan in the Philippine province of Eastern Samar.

The quake, with preliminary magnitude 7.6, hit at a depth of 34.9 kilometers (21.7 miles) and was centered 106 kilometers (66 miles) east of Samar Island, the US Geological Survey said.

The head of the Philippine seismology agency, Renato Solidum, said that residents living along the coastline of eastern Samar Island were advised to evacuate to high ground in case of the tsunami.

A local radio station reported one houses collapsed in southern Cagayan de Oro city and there was no electricity in several other towns and cities across the central and southern Philippines.

Kalabhavan Mani's mother is no more

CHALAKKUY: Popular actor Kalabhavan Mani's mother, Ammini died on Friday of old age diseases. She was eighty. Wife of late Chenathunaadu kunnishery Veetil Raman, the cremation of the deceased will be held on Friday. Apart from Mani, she is survived by Thankamany, Santha, Leela, Sharadha, Anmini and Ramakrishanan.

Emerging Kerala: VS sees ’corruption’ emerging

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CPI (M) veteran and leader of the opposition V.S. Achuthanandan on Friday alleged that only corruption is likely to emerge at the Emerging Kerala meet.

Stating that there is no clarity about the projects being presented at the meet V.S said that he would not attend the meet even if he is invited. The government is aiming at selling of land resources including those in Nelliyampathy and Vagamon through the project, he alleged.

Two Keralites die in chopper collision

THRISSUR/THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It has been confirmed that two Keralites—Squadron leader Manoj V. Nair of Thiruvananthapuram and Flight Lieutenant Sreejith Maloor (24) of Thrissur—among nine IAF officers were killed when the two Mi-17 helicopters were involved in a mid-air collision near Jamnagar, Gujarat, on Thursday.

The body of Sreejith will be brought to his homeland on Saturday. Because Manoj and his wife had been settled in Coimbatore, his body will be buried there on Saturday evening. Manoj’s body was brought to Coimbatore in a special aircraft of IAF.

Sreejith joined IAF against the wishes of his parents. He joined the National Defence Academy in Pune after relinquishing his engineering studies at Bangalore. He has been serving for 2 years. He is the son of Krishnankutty Nair-Umadevi couple from Thrissur.

Manoj is a native of Pazhayakarakkamandapom near Nemom in Thiruvananthapuram district of KeralaManoj is the son of K. Viswambharan Nair, a former air force officer, and V. Sujetha. Rajalekshmi, who is also an air force officer, is Manoj’s wife. They have a four years’ old daughter Sharanya.

Tanker accident: driver surrenders

KANNUR: The driver of the LPG tanker which met with an accident here resulting in the death of nine persons and damages worth crores of rupees, has surrendered at the DySP's office here on Friday.

Kannaiyan hails from Tamil Nadu. He told the police that a vehicle carrying fishes tried to overtake his tanker through the left side and he was forced to turn right. Then he lost control and the tanker hit on the divider and fell upside down.

A case has been registered against Kannaiyan for unintentional murder.

SC directs digitisation of experts' report on Mullaperiyar dam

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday directed digitisation of a voluminous expert committee's report on safety aspects of Mullaperiyar dam which would be the basis for determining validity of an act passed by Kerala Government to allegedly circumvent the apex court's earlier direction on the issue.

The direction was given by a five-judge Constitution Bench of justices DK Jain, RM Lodha, HL Dattu, CK Prasad and AR Dave.

The expert committee had recently given a report in a sealed cover indicating that the century-old dam, which is the bone of contention between Tamil Nadu and Kerala, was structurally and hydrologically safe.

Though the apex court had earlier permitted Tamil Nadu to raise the water level upto 142 feet, Kerala had bought in an enactment in March 2006 restricting the hike to 136 feet compelling Tamil Nadu to approach the apex court again.

The five-judge bench of the court had earlier constituted the expert committee to examine afresh the safety aspect of the dam. The committee had submitted its report recently.

Observing that "we will have a paperless hearing", the bench directed the registry to digitise the 50,000-odd page report so as to enable the court to examine it.

The court also recorded the submission of Additional Solicitor General Haren Raval that the Ministry of Water Resources will render all assistance in the digitisation process.

The bench said after the digitisation, the respective states will be furnished copies of the report in digital format.

It posted the matter to October five for further directions.

LPG tanker explosion toll touches 11

KANNUR: With three more persons succumbing to burns, the toll in the LPG tanker explosion on Monday at nearby Chala has climbed to 11. The two, undergoing treatment at Pariyaram Medical College Hospital, died last night, police said. Another person died in Mangalapauram Hospital.

Nine more persons were battling for life with severe burns at different hospitals, police said.

Thirty-five people were injured when the LPG tanker overturned and exploded after hitting a road divider on August 27.

Minister’s car collides with autorickshaw, driver dies

ALAPPUZHA: An autorickshaw driver was killed in an accident when his autorickshaw collided with the car of Minister Manjalamkuzhi Ali at Bernard Junction in Kalavoor in Alappuzha at 6.30 pm on Friday.

He is identified as Ramachandran Nair (63) of Kalavoor, Alappuzha. Ramachandran Nair was rushed to Alappuzha General Hospital, but later died.

The minister received injuries on his leg, and was admitted to a private hospital in Cherthala. He was on his way to Ernakulam.

Sree Narayana Guru jayanthi celebrated across Kerala

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The 158th birth anniversary of saint-reformer Sree Narayana Guru, who deeply influenced the modern history and culture of Kerala through his central sloga slogan "one caste, one religion and one God for man", was celebrated across the state on Friday.

While inaugurating the Jayanthi Maha Sammelanam (conferences) at Chempazhanty Gurukula, Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said that the world is worshipping the philosophy of Guru which blends spirituality with materiality.

Thousands of devotees, bearing the yellow flags, lined up for the Jayanthi processions in major towns all through the state, organised to mark the occasion, also known as "Chathaya dinam", referring to the star under which the Guru was born.

Community prayers and feasts were held at Chemapzhanthy Gurukulam, hallowed by the birth of the saint, the forerunner of the social reform movement of Kerala in the 20th century.

Devotees in large numbers gathered at Sivagiri Mutt at nearby Varkala, where the Guru spent his last days.

Sree Narayana Dharma Pariplana Yogam, the socio-cultural outfit of the Ezhava community, organized processions and public meetings in most places.

Former minister O. Rajagopal, A. Sampath MP, Adv. M.A. Waheed, Palayam Imam Maulavi Jamaludeen Mankada, Pastors’ Welfare Board Convener Rev. Dr. Jyothi Isaac, SN Trust Assistant Secretary Kilimanoor Chandrababu, former MLA T. Sarathchandra Prasad, Vellanad Surendran, Ambalathara M.K. Rajan, Councillor K.S. Sheela, Alamcode Surendran, Dr. K.L. Vivekanandan, Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, Swami Sudhanada and Swami Aroopananda attended the function at Chempazhanthy.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Presence of Sri Lankan fishing vessel raises suspicion

 The coastal security agencies here launched immediate search operations on Thursday following an Intelligence report that a Sri Lankan fishing vessel was anchored in sea off the Kochi coast.

 The Intelligence wing from Kollam alerted the Kochi coastal police that some of the persons were being transported in a fishing boat to a Sri Lankan vessel anchored at a distance of one nautical mile off the coast.

 The security agencies suspect that it would be a bid for human trafficking.

 There were similar attempts to transport Sri Lankans to other countries from Kochi and Munambam in last two years.

 Marine Enforcement Circle Inspector K M Sajeev said that a speed boat of the Coast Guard and the boats of coastal police and Marine Enforcement combed the area.

 Later, a Coast Guard ship, C-114, also joined the search operations.

 “The possibilities of human trafficking cannot be neglected.

 “Earlier such attempts were made using rented fishing boats, but it is the first time that we came to know of transporting persons by shifting them from onevessel to another at sea,”Sajeev said

Sneha made my birthday so special: Prasanna

Yesterday (August 28) was Prasanna’s birthday and his first birthday after entering wedlock. The actor is elated over his wife, Sneha’s gift to him on his birthday.

” I have been flying high and still can’t come to terms with the happenings of yesterday, Birthdays were always there…Parties with bouquets, cakes with candles and what not, when people around me asked what’s special for this birthday I said it is my first birthday as a husband that’s it”, starts off Prasanna.

“But my wife had other ideas; she made it the birthday of my life…she sprang a surprise by taking me to a school for the visually challenged. We had lunch with the children there, gifted them new clothes and spent quality time there. I doubt if this gesture of my wife could ever be repaid…I have to do it with just a month and half away…breaking my head on this difficult yet satisfying task after the overwhelming moments of yesterday!”, says Prasanna.

Remember Sneha’s birthday is on October 12. We’ll have to wait to see if the actor manages to pull out something special not just for Sneha but for the others as well, as she did…

Eucalyptus trees becoming a headache for forest officials

The Eucalyptus trees planted in large numbers in the forest and the buffer zones in the Idukki district are becoming a headache for the forest officials.

 The National Tiger Conservation Authority in its Management Effectiveness Evaluation(MEE) of Tiger Reserve in India 2010-2011 report has also expressed concern over the Eucalyptus plantations in the grasslands of the tiger habitat in the Periyar Tiger Reserve.

 According to the officials from Munnar, the Eucalyptus trees are being planted for monetary gains by the big establishments in Chinnar and Kanthaloor area.

 Even though the Forest Department has stopped distributing Eucalyptus saplings under the social forestry programme, the trees are being cultivated in some of the plantations in large numbers.

Rain hits Onam sales

The relentless rain on Onam days has dampened the hopes of traders in the state.

Owing to price hike, decrease in purchasing power of the consumers and continuous rain the business was down by 15-20 per cent in the state compared to last year.

 Sectors such as textiles, electronics, home appliances and restaurants are the worst hit.

 “Apart from liquor and milk other businesses were down during the Onam season.

 There were reports from Kambam, Theni and Valparai in Tamil Nadu that owing to lesser demand from Kerala most of the vegetables became stale.

Three held for molesting and blackmailing girl

Three men were arrested on Thursday for molesting a girl and later blackmailing her using the video clips of the incident. The arrested were identified as Sibin, 25, of Paravoor, Sherin, 33, of Munambam, and Rajesh alias Kuttan Mani, 33, of Pattanam. According to the police, Sibin had promised to marry the 22-year-old girl two years

back and later molested her. He had also secretly filmed the incident. Later, using the video clips, the other accused threatened the victim and molested her several times. A sum of Rs 25,000 and 15 sovereigns of gold were obtained through blackmailing. It was when the accused threatened to upload the clips on the internet that the girl informed her parents, who then lodged a complaint with the Paravoor police. During interrogation, Sibin submitted that he was already married. The arrested were produced before the Judicial Magistrate Court and were remanded in judicial custody.

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Bomb hoax spoils cops’ Onam

Unlike others, the policemen of Kalamasserry station as well as members of the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) could not enjoy the ‘Onasadhya’ following a fake bomb scare in the Kalamassery area on Wednesday afternoon.

A fake phone call about a high-capacity bomb in Kalamassery spoiled the Onam for the policemen.

Following the call, the police spotted the place where the ‘bomb’ was planted.

It was kept in a plot covered with weeds near the HMT Guest House and Cochin Cooperative Medical College. “After reaching the spot we spotted the bomb and called the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad. However, the country-made bomb which was kept in an isolated place did not have any explosives in it.

“We also conducted search in the nearby places, but could not recover anything. It seems that the attempt was to spread scare during the Onam celebrations,” said a Police official.

Tommy Sebastian, Assistant Commissioner, Special Branch, said the police would trace the phone call and book the person behind it. “We have started an inquiry to identify the person behind this and he will be arrested soon,” the Assistant Commissioner added.

Thilakan’s condition remains serious

The condition of renowned film actor Thilakan, hospitalized following heart attack, continued to be serious today.

Medical Bulletin said the 76 year-old actor continued to be on ventilator support and his condition was still serious.

No progress is seen in the functioning of his brain. His kidneys too have stopped functioning. His blood pressure has also gone down.

Vigilance case against former collector

 A vigilance probe will be conducted against former collector Saradha Muraleedharan.

The case against her is for incurring loss to the government while taking over land for ITDC while serving as the collector of the capital city.

RBR has good FDFS reports

After the First Day First Show of ‘Run Baby Run’, which started as early as 7 am in many theatres across the state on the ThiruOnam day, the fans of the star are indeed happy to find their Onam offering the best so far from Lal this year. The movie which is said to be patterned like every other Joshi movie is a suspense thriller with its share of good twists. But the first independent script by Sachi which tells about the fights between news channels, has its share of freshness and gives a different look to the movie.

Mohanlal appears as Venu, the Reuters stringer who comes down to the state to shoot some visuals for a story and to attend as a respondent in the court. RBR features just one song, the hit ‘Aattumanal Paayayil’ sung by Mohanlal. Biju Menon gets most of the claps apart from Lal who makes a cakewalk through the role.

As of now, the movie is expected to give Mohanlal that much evading super hit, that has been keeping away from the superstar though his recent ‘Spirit’ and ‘Grandmaster’ were much appreciated.

‘Run baby run’ has opened in around 80 centres across the state of kerala and is expected to become the winner of this Onam season.

Ban on bulk SMS, MMS revoked with immediate effect

NEW DELHI: The government on Thursday revoked ban on bulk SMS with immediate effect. The ban on bulk sms was to expire on Friday. Ban on bulk SMSes and MMSes withdrawn with immediate effect, home ministry said in a statement. The ban was imposed on August 17, after reports emerged that threatening SMS-es were being sent to students from the North-East in cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad. It was aimed at checking the spread of rumours, which had fuelled panic.

The ban came into force after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that spread of rumours by miscreants had led to people belonging to the north east to flee from Bangalore, Pune and some other parts of the country.

Noting that the guilty should be brought to book, the Prime Minister said that at stake was not just unity and integrity of the country, but also communal harmony.

"Any miscreant fanning rumours should be brought to book," he said.

Woman killed in bike accident

VELLARADA: A woman who was riding pillion on the bike ridden by her son was killed on Wednesday after her sari got entangled between the spokes of the wheel at Kollayil near Vellarada in Thiruvananthapuram. She is identified as Beemabeevi (44), wife of Sirajjudin of Panachimoodu.

Her son Manzoor was injured. Both of them were heading towards a relative’s house at Amaravila.

Though they were rushed to Karakkonam Medical College, Beemabeevi succumbed to injuries. Her body was subjected to postmortem and was later buried at Panachamoodu Muslim Jamaath Mosque.

One Keralite among 9 killed in mid-air chopper crash

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: One Keralite was among the 9 killed in the mid-air collision of two MI-17 helicopters near Jamnagar Air Force Station in Gujarat. He is identified as Manoj V. Nair, Squadron Leader at Sulur Air Force Station in Coimbatore.

Manoj went to Jamnagar for attending a four days’ training. He joined the Indian Air Force 10 years ago and has worked at several air force stations outside Kerala.

Manoj is a native of Pazhayakarakkamandapom near Nemom in Thiruvananthapuram district of KeralaManoj is the son of K. Viswambharan Nair, a former air force officer, and V. Sujetha. Rajalekshmi, who is also an air force officer, is Manoj’s wife. They have a four years’ old daughter Sharanya.

Manoj’s parents have gone to Jamnagar soon after hearing the news of Manoj’s death.

K. Pankajakshan cremated

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The mortal remains of veteran RSP leader and former Kerala minister K. Pankajakshan, who died on Tuesday, were consigned to flames with full state honours at the Titanium Employees Union office compound here Thursday evening.

Earlier in the morning, his body was brought home where a large number of people paid their last respects.

The body was later laid at the RSP state committee office and the VJT hall here for the public to pay homage.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan, Speaker G. Karthikeyan and ministers were among those who paid their respects to the leader when the body was laid at the VJT hall.

Today Sree Narayana Guru Jayanthi

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The 158th birthday of renowned philosopher and social reformer of modern Kerala, Sree Narayana Guru, will be celebrated on Friday. The birthday of this great saint is celebrated on the Chathayam asterism of the Malayalam month of Chingam (Leo) which falls on Friday.

Communal harmony processions, conferences, community prayers, and floral tributes feasts will be held. The Guru pujas will be organized under the aegis of Sree Narayana organizations in and around the world.

Special pujas, community prayers and community feast will be held at Chempazhanthy Gurukula in Thiruvananthapuram district where Guru was born. Communal harmony procession will be inaugurated by minister Shibu Baby John. BJP leader O. Rajagopal will be the chief guest. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will inaugurate the Jayanthi Mahasammelanam (conference) at 6.30 pm in Chemapzhanthy. The function will be presided over by the president of Sivagiri Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham Trust, Swami Prakashananda. Minister V.S. Sivakumar, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, A. Sampath MP and M.A. Waheed MLA will deliver speeches.

South-west monsoon has vigorous over Kerala

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: South-west monsoon has been vigarous over Kerala. Rain occurred at most places in Kerala and at isolated places in Lakshadweep.

According to meteorology sources here, Heavy to Very heavy rain fall reported in cm are: Kanjirappally 9, Ponnani 8 Kayamkulam,Kozlandy,Vadakara 7 each. TVM Airport,Chalakudi,Irikkur,Konni 5 each.

Agathi, CIAL airport TVM city, Talacherry, Mananthavadi, Parambikkulam, Trichur, Aluva, Thalacherry, Mannanthavadi, Parambikkulam, Trichur, Aluva, Piravom, Mavalikkara, Chenganoor, Vaikom, Munnar, Aryankavu 4 each.

Alappuzha, Cherthala, Haripad, Karipoor Airport, EKM south, Taliparambu,Minikoy,Palakkad,Ottappalam,Alathur,Kollamkode, Pattambi,Thithala,Vellanikkara,Enamakkal,Thodupuzha,Tiruvalla, Kudilu & Agathi 3 each.

Another 16 stations reported a rainfall of 1-3 cm. Forecast valid until the morning of 1st Sept. rain or thunder showers will occur at many places in Kerala and Isolated places in Lakshadweep.

Heavy rainfall warning: Heavy rainfall will occur at isolated places in Kerala & Lakshadweep during next 48 hours. Outlook for subsequent two day (sept 2, 3) no significant change.

Fisherman warning: Strong onshore winds from Westernly direction speed occasionally reaching 45-55KMPH is likely along and off Kerala coast and over Lakshadweep area during the next 24 hour.

Two houseboats go up in flames

ALAPPUZHA: One person was killed when two houseboats went up in flames in Kerala's tourist location of Alappuzha. Investigations are on to establish the cause of the fire, police said Thursday. "Three houseboats were docked at the site. Two were gutted in the fire. The third was moved away before the flames could reach it. A casual worker who was sleeping in one of the boats died," said Tomy Pulikattil, a leading houseboat operator in Alappuzha who witnessed the fire.

Five fire engines fought the blaze.The loss is estimated at Rs.70 lakh.

"We are given to understand that the fire was caused by a leak in a cooking gas cylinder in the kitchen of one of the houseboats," said Pulikattil. The cause of the fire, however, will only be known with certainty once investigations conclude.
The accident happened at a time when tourists were visiting the state in large numbers in view of Onam. More than 400 houseboats in Alappuzha have been serving visiting tourists.

Locals heaved a sigh of relief that the damage was restricted to two houseboats.The accident comes close on the heels of the explosion in a tanker carrying liquefied petroleum gas at Kannur Monday, leaving six people dead by Thursday morning.
Seven houses and 15 shops went up in flames in that explosion.

Liquor worth Rs.70 crore sold on Onam days

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala saw Rs.70 crore worth of liquor sales during the two Onam days Tuesday and Wednesday.

An official from the excise department told IANS that sales on the first day of Onam totalled Rs.34 crore and Rs.24 crore the next day.

"The figures are still coming in. It could be certainly close to Rs.70 crore during the two days," said the official.

While the entire state has a holiday on these two Onam days, the only establishments open are the sales outlets of the Kerala State Beverages Corp, the sole wholesalers of liquor in the state.

Liquor in Kerala is sold through 708 bar hotels and 383 state-owned retail outlets.

Rum remains the most preferred drink, accounting for more than 55 percent followed by brandy (close to 40 percent) and Vodka (four percent). Gin, whisky and wine account for the rest.

Sales of liquor in the last fiscal crossed a record Rs.7,000 crore and the revenue to the state government by way of taxes crossed Rs.6,000 crore.

This fiscal the sales are expected to cross Rs.8,000 crore and the state exchequer will get more than Rs.7,000 crore.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

‘KSRTC operating highest number of services’

KSRTC chairman and Managing Director K G Mohanlal said that the KSRTC  was operating a record number of services these days.  Denying reports which appeared in a section of the media that large number of KSRTC buses was in the workshop, Mohanlal said KSRTC was now operating 5,000 services and 250 JnNURM services. On certain days, the services will reach a maximum of 5,300. In the 2010 Onam season, it was 4,813 and during the same period in 2011 it was 5,015.

He said in view of the heavy rush during the Onam festival, extra care had been made to ensure that services were operated without fail. Long distance services are being operated from Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram and Kozhikode.

 On inter-state routes, services were being operated between T’Puram-Nagercoil, Thiruvananthapuram-Thenkashi, Kollam- Thenkashi, Palakkad-Coimbatore, Chittoor -Coimbatore, Chittoor -Pollachi and Perinthalamanna- Gudalloor.

Additional services are being operated from Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Thrissur to Mysore and Bangalore.

Three services are operated on a daily basis from these depots. In view of the heavy rush, additional services will be operated to Bangalore on September 2.

One A/C Volvo bus service to Bangalore on a daily basis is being operated from Thiruvananthapuram. 

He said KSRTC had 6,153 buses including that of JnNRUM as of now.  Of this, 10 percent of buses (615) are made available for repair works and training. Now, 806 buses are in the workshop and for compulsory training programme. The body building of new buses have reached 90 per month.   During Onam, employees’ benefits have all been paid in spite of financial difficulties, the Managing Director said.

Fire safety: Norms for issuing NOCs for buildings amended

Orders were issued on Tuesday revising the norms for issuing NOCs for buildings after assessing the fire safety measures.

 For single-storey buildings up to ten metres in height, the NOC will be issued by a committee headed by the Assistant Divisional Officer of the Fire and Rescue Services. The officer in-charge of the fire station concerned, Assistant Station Officer and a Fireman (on rotation basis) will be the members of the committee. The NOC has to be issued within two days if there are no objections.

 For buildings up to 24 metres in height, the nod for the application has to be given by a panel headed by the Divisional Officer. The Assistant Divisional Officer and Station Officer of the area will be the other panel members. The final approval has to be given by a panel consisting of the  Divisional Officer, Assistant Divisional Officer, Station Officer and the Assistant Station Officer.

 The NOC has to be issued within seven days of the building inspection team waving the green flag. If there are objections, the application has to be forwarded to the Fire and Rescue Services HQ within 10 days.

 NOCs for buildings over 24 metres in height have to be issued by a panel headed by the Technical Director (Fire Service). The Divisional Officer, Fire and Rescue, Thiruvananthapuram; Station Officer, HQ, Thiruvananthapuram will be members of the panel. This committee will also inspect the land, building and fire safety equipment.

 It is also this committee that has to take a decision on the applications for NOCs on which scrutiny committee have raised objections within 15 days.

A happy, healthy and shavarma-free Onam

From time immemorial, come rain or sunshine, I, Mahabali, have been regularly visiting Kerala all these umpteen years without fail.  Suppose I happen to miss a single visit, utter chaos will prevail.

The Government will declare, ‘No Mahabali, No Onam, No Bonus.’ My effigy would be burnt in every nook and cranny of Kerala. Curse would be flung at me. But curse is something I am quite used to. It was after all a mighty curse which has landed me in this predicament.

So I feel it is my divine duty to meet and greet all Keralites on the D-Day. They in turn vie with one another to welcome me with grand floral decorations.  But of late the large floral spreads have been diminished in size. The reason being the soaring prices of flowers almost competing with the prices of gold. So often fresh flowers are replaced by artificial.Real or artificial, my subjects know that I love all things bright and beautiful and all humans great and small.

Scientists find new compound with anti-cancer properties

The scientists at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) along with the scientists at the Mayo Clinic, have found that the compound Plumbagin from common ‘koduveli’ plants (Plumbago species) has enough anti-cancer properties to be developed into an effective anti-cancer drug.

 The findings have been published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

 It has been found that plumbagin cuts off new blood vessels to cancer cells, affecting its growth and proliferation.

 Besides, it induces ‘apoptosis’ or cell death in cancer cells.

Oommen Chandy announces relief to victims

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has announced a compensation package of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the two persons killed in the gas tanker lorry tragedy at Chala here.

 In addition, medical expenses of all the victims will be met by the government.

 Addressing mediapersons after visiting the victims undergoing treatment at the AKG Hospital, Koily Hospital at Talap and the Pariyaram Medical College Hospital and the accident spot, the Chief Minister said that all those who sustained above 40 per cent burn injuries would be given `3 lakh to 5 lakh.

 The entire medical expenses of the victims will be met by the government.

 Since it was the gas tanker lorry of the Indian Oil Corporation which was involved in the mishap, Chandy had talked to the top officials of the IOC while working out the compensation package.

 If any additional payments had to be made, this would be met by the government.

 The hospitals where the victims were admitted for treatment had been directed to send the medical bills to the government.

 Those who sustained burn injuries below 40 percent will be given Rs 2 lakh each, and the District Collector has been authorised to assess such cases, he said.

 The District Collector has also been directed to make an estimate of the damage caused to houses, shops, buildings, vehicles and agriculture.

 Since there was an allegation that the road-dividers too were responsible for the mishap, the Roads Division of the PWD and the National Highway Engineers had been asked to demolish the dividers at Chala on Wednesday, the Chief Minister said.

 The government had also decided to widen the road from Thazhe Chovva to Puthiyatheru to find a lasting solution to the traffic blocks in the Kannur region.

 A four-lane road is proposed to be built for the purpose and the Cabinet meeting next week will finalise the proposal, he said.

 The Chief Minister was accompanied by his Cabinet colleagues, M K Muneer, K C Joseph, K Sudhakaran MP and MLAs K M Shaji and Sunny Joseph.

 Ministers Adoor Prakash, Thiruvanchoor Radhakarishnan, K C Joseph and Sivakumar also visited the victims.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Onam - Kerala's harvest festival

Onam, for all its festive mood, is entwined with the rather dismal tale of King Mahabali’s exile into netherworld. As the day’s merrymaking fades out, we sigh at the knowledge of the noble King’s inevitable return to the dark world. But maybe, we should revisit the legends for there is a more cheerful tale about the origins of Onam.

As we know it, the story behind Onam is that the demon king Mahabali was sent to netherworld by Lord Vishnu in his reincarnation as the dwarf brahmin Vamana. In most re-tellings of the tale we are told that Bali was sent to ‘Pathalam’, the lowest of the worlds, as punishment for his ego. But the story as it is told in the Srimad Bhagavatam is somewhat different, say some Sanskrit scholars.

Bali was not sent to Pathalam as punishment but sent to Sutalam after he was liberated from his ego.

Private agencies cheat applicants of PM scholarship

Little-known private agencies and fly-bynight operators are allegedly using the Prime Minister's Scholarship Scheme as a handy tool for skimming money off unsuspecting victims, according to government agencies here.

Smelling a rat, the Department of Sainik Welfare, Kerala, has warned candidates not to fall prey to such agencies who have been found to be operating from states such as Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The department issued the warning after a number of applicants for the PM's Scholarship Scheme for Dependent Wards/Widows of Ex-Servicemen raised the alarm.  Apparently, the modus operandi is simple.  The agencies merely make use of the current system of announcing the scholarship winners. They lift addresses of the candidates from the  website of the Department of Sainik Welfare and post a letter congratulating the winners.

The unsuspecting candidates are told they are eligible for more scholarships and promised details by post. All this is for a ?nominal registration fee? in the range of Rs 250 which can be paid by way of DD, money order etc. ?We have received a number of similar complaints over phone and two in writing. Isha Reading Room and Information Centre said to be based in Gangavathi, Karnataka, was collecting money by informing candidates that they had won the PM's merit scholarship.

SNDP Yogam to withdraw plea in SC

 The SNDP Yogam has decided to withdraw the petition filed before the Supreme Court against the decision of the state government to implement 10 per cent reservation for the economically backward belonging to the upward communities in the state.

 SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan has said that the Yogam has also decided to withdraw the impleading petition filed before the Supreme Court.

 The Jamaat Council had filed petitions questioning the decision of the government to impose 10 per cent reservation for the upward classes.

 “We filed the petition before the High Court, but the plea was rejected. The SNDP had spent about Rs 3. 25 lakh for the case. The front had then filed a review petition before the apex court,” he said.

 “The UDF government had passed the order to implement the reservation. The League was also a part of that government. “The situation necessitated the SNDP to accept the request of the Jamaat Council. Various factions of the Muslim community have also been a part of the front. But later, we understood that we were being deceived.

 “The Muslim community is trying to capture power and position in the present government also. We realise that under the current circumstances, it is best to withdraw the petition. Hence the decision,” Vellappally said.

“The NSS on Sunday took a step in strengthening the bond with the SNDP Yogam, and we went ahead with the withdrawal” he added.

SBT donates vehicle to palliative care unit

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Bank of Travancore donated a vehicle to the Palliative care Unit of District Panchayat. The vehicle is for the exclusive use of their Palliative and Cancer care units. An SBT release said here that the services of the unit cover most of the Grama Panchayats in the district and the unit extends palliative care to the critically and terminally ill patients and supports their families. Under the scheme a medical team headed by a doctor visits the house of critically ill and terminally ill persons to provide care and medication, covering various Grama Panchayats and involves extensive travel. The Panchayat offers all services, including medicines, free of cost to the patients. The scheme is being implemented in association with the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC).

Former Deputy Mayor dead

KOZHIKODE: An all-party meeting was held at the Government UP School, Panniankara to condole the death of the former deputy mayor of Kozhikode and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader P T Moideen Koya, 69. Moideen Koya, who represented the Kallai ward in Corporation council thrice, was the Deputy Mayor during 1982-83. Moideen Koya had also served as the district secretary of IUML and was the district president of the Swatantra Thozhilali Union. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Woman killed in accident

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Thresiamma, 75, died after the car driven by her son overturned on applying sudden brakes, at Akkulam on Monday. They were from Kanyakumari and were travelling back from Kochi when the accident took place. Thresiamma’s daughter-in-law and granddaughter, also in the car were admitted to the Medical College Hospital with minor injuries, sources said.

Three held for chain-snatching

KOCHI: The Palarivattom police have nabbed three persons regularly involved in chain snatching. The prime accused Sibi, 32 years from Chalikkavattom was caught first, on a tip off. His arrest followed that of Nawaz, 38, from Palluruthy, who was picked up from Aluva and Chenda Suresh, 40, from Eroor. V Gopakumar, sub-inspector, Palarivattom, at a press meet, said that the modus operandi of the gang was to identify old women, especially above 70 years, and watch their movements and plan the chain snatching. For this the gang would use stolen motor bikes, he said. The police was able to catch this gang when a case relating to chain snatching was registered earlier in the month by one Ammu, 74 years. The only clue they had got from the case was that the motor cycle of Hero Honda make had a registration number ending in ‘17’.

Tanker explosion: Divider to be demolished, says Chandy

KANNUR: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the divider which led to the tanker lorry explosion in the district will be demolished on Wednesday. A suitable decision to replace it will be taken after holding talks with the PWD, he said. Talking to reporters after visiting the site, he said an amount of Rs 10 lakhs would be given to the family of Sreelatha, who died of severe burns. Rs 10,000 would be given as emergency relief.

Rs 5 lakhs would be given to seriously injured and 2 lakhs to those with minor injuries.

Chandy asked Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to give compensation to the family of the dead and the injured.

RSP leader K. Pankajakshan passes away

Thiruvananthapuram: RSP senior leader and former minister K. Pankajakshan died here Tuesday night. He was 84. 
Pankajakshan was under treatment at the Medical College Hospital after he suffered a heart attack. A stalwart who played a crucial role in the Left front movement in the state Pankajakshan served as a member of the legislative assembly for two decades. He also served as a minister in five cabinets in the state

Born at Pettah, Thiruvananthapuram in 1928, Mr. Pankajakshan has been elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1970, 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1987.

He was the Minister of Public Works from 1976 to 1979 and the Chief Whip of ruling coalition in 1980-81. He also served as the Minister of Labour and Rehabilitation from 1987 to 1991.

Mr. Pankajakshan entered politics through the Congress in 1945. He was later attracted to the Congress Socialist movement and participated in the national movement.

Later, he joined the Kerala Socialist Party (KSP) and was in the forefront of many agitations and trade union struggles. He joined the RSP after a rift in the KSP.

Tanker blast: CPM demands high level probe

KANNUR:  The CPI (M) Tuesday demanded a high level probe into the gas tanker explosion in which one person was killed and many seriously injured at Chala in the district last night.

Talking to newspersons here, Politburo member and former Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishan, MLA, said a top level investigation could fix responsibility for the blast. He also demanded Rs 25 lakh solatium for each of the victims of the inferno.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and many of his cabinet colleagues visited the accident site.

Three killed in bus-car collision

KUTTIPPURAM: Three persons were killed when the car in which they were travelling collided with a private bus near the Kuttippuram Bridge Tuesday morning.

Those dead have been identified as Sumeera and car driver Balakrishnan but the third person has not been identified. 

When two persons died on the spot, the third one died on way to the hospital.

Vigilance case against Saradha Muraleedharan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A vigilance probe will be conducted against former collector Saradha Muraleedharan. The case against her is for incurring loss to the government while taking over land for ITDC while serving as the collector of the capital city.

Monday, August 27, 2012

One succumbs to injuries in tanker explosion

KANNUR: One woman succumbed to her injuries after battling serious injuries she suffered during a LPG tanker explosion on the national highway in the Chala area in the district.

The woman identified as Sreelatha, wife of Kesavan of Sreenilayam in Chala, died at a private hospital in the district. Kannayya, the driver of the tanker lorry which met with the accident is a native of Tamil Nadu. He fled from the area soon after the explosion.

The tanker lorry was on its way to Kannur from Kozhikode when the incident occurred.

The accident happened when the gas tanker lost control and hit a road divider at around 11 pm last night and caught fire, which spread to about 20 houses and shops in the vicinity.

Meanwhile, chief minister and ministers will visit the accident site today. Visiting the site in the morning, Agriculture Minister K P Mohanan said the government will meet the medical expenses of the injured.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has left for Kannur from Kochi via helicopter. Minister K C Joseph is accompanying the chief minister.

SC permits VS to withdraw plea

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court permitted opposition leader V S Achuthanandan to withdraw the plea filed before the Supreme Court alleging that the investigation in the land allocation case against him was not moving in the right direction.

He withdrew the plea following legal advice to approach the high court.

The pleas of his relative T K Soman and a member of his personal staff Suresh are under the consideration of the court.

Death of Bihari youth: Doctors threaten strike

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) Monday threatened to go on strike after Chief Minister Oommen Chandy refused to revoke action against five doctors for dereliction of duty leading to the death of the Bihari youth.

"On September 27, we will stage a dharna in front of the secretariat. We will have one more round of talks with the chief minister and if that too fails then we will have no option but to go on an indefinite strike from October 1," said a KGMOA official after meeting with the chief minister.

The doctors also announced that from September 6 they would start a "non-cooperation" strike when they will not perform duties other than examining patients at hospitals.

 Later, Chandy told reporters that the decision to take action against the doctors was based on two reports submitted to the government.

Notice for government on Mani’s plea

KOCHI:  The Kerala High Court accepted CPM Idukki district former secretary M M Mani’s plea against the formation of a special investigating team probing Ancheri Baby murder case. The court sent notice to the government and the investigating team on the plea.

LPG tanker lorry explodes, causes huge fire

KANNUR: An LPG tanker lorry exploded near Chala near Kannur on Monday.
According to reports, the tanker lorry on its way to Kannur exploded near the Chala temple. The huge explosion caused an outbreak of fire in the area. Police and Fire and Rescue Service personnel from Kannur and Thalassery areas rushed to the spot to secure the area and check the spread of fire.

Reports say that there were two explosions. Local residents say that they could see fire raging. Even police and Fire and Rescue personnel could not reach near the spot because of extensive fire that covered large area. The reports say that the explosion occurred after the driver of the tanker lorry alighted from the cabin on finding gas leakage.

According to initial reports five houses caught fire following the explosion. 6 persons who sustained major injuries were rushed to the Pariyaram Medical college hospital. Reports say that residents rushed out of the houses immediately after the explosion. Several shops in the area have also been destroyed in the fire. By midnight the fire was brought under control, according to reports.

Top officials including police officers have rushed to the spot. Ambulances from Kannur and Thalassery were also asked to rush to the spot.

Condition of Thilakan continues to be critical

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  The condition of Thilakan undergoing treatment at the KIMS Hospital following cardiac arrest continues to be critical, the medical bulletin said. 

No progress is seen in the functioning of his brain. His kidneys too have stopped functioning. His blood pressure has also gone down.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

District training behind criminal bandwagon

The crime graph on trains has shown a steep increase this season with more and more theft cases being registered at railway stations in the state.

In Ernakulam alone, at least 12 cases of petty crime and large time thefts were registered in the month of July.

In August, between Ernakulam and Aluva stations, as many as seven cases have been registered till date.

Interestingly, according to railway police officials, the most number of crimes being registered in the state take place at stations between Ernakulam and Aluva.

“Last month, nearly every other day, we were being notified about a stolen baggage case or money theft cases. In spite of the strict vigil, it becomes nearly impossible to keep a tab on all the compartments of the trains, because of the lack of police personnel in the Railways.”

However, police cite that though the majority of these cases are booked in Ernakulam and Aluva, they do not occur anywhere near these station limits.

“Out of the 12 cases that were registered last month, nearly 10 of them occurred beyond Thrissur and other districts.”

The reason?

Bodies recovered

ALAPPUZHA: The body of Jithu, 18, son of Babu of Kottaikkad House at Aikya Junction, Keerikkad, near Kayamkulam, who went missing in the Kayamkulam lake during a boat race on Saturday, was recovered on Sunday. The body was handed over to relatives after a post-mortem examination. On Saturday, the body of Aneesh, 21, of Kochuparambil House, Valiyazhikkal, near Kayamkulam was found. Aneesh had fallen off a country boat while watching the boat race.

Poaching: Two held

KALPETTA: The police arrested Annan, 49, of Poolakkolly at Venniyode and Vasu, 45, of Kavumuttom at Karakkamala in Wayanad on Sunday at Anappalam Junction here while they were allegedly transporting a 12-kg porcupine carcass. The animal was reportedly poached from a private plantation near here.

The police seized a country-made gun and their motorcycle. They were booked under section 25(1) (A) (illegal possession of weapons and use) of the Arms Act 1957 and the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, K.K. Abdulsherief, sub-inspector, Kalpetta, said. The accused would be produced before the First Class Judicial Magistrate Court here.

Mud slip in well traps three, all rescued

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Three persons of a family in Kariyidavila in Vizhinjam had been trapped in the mud slip that followed the digging of a well in the compound of their house.

Two persons have been rescued by the fire force and the neighbours earlier while one named Babu (40) of Kottappuram remained trapped under the soil for longer.

He was also rescued after three hours.

Another well was dug earlier but as there was no water to be found, they dug the new well deeper.

The mud from the old well has collapsed into the new well.

Roaring Sales of Kerala Onam Lottery Tickets

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala 'Thiru Onam Bumper lottery', billed as carrying the biggest prize money of over Rs.20 crore in the country, is seeing roaring sales, an official said Sunday.

"The sale of tickets opened July 6 and the draw is scheduled for Sept 7. Every day we expect a sale of 1.50 lakh tickets," said the official on condition of anonymity.

The lotteries department (under the taxes department) looks after the sale of the tickets.

"Last year for Onam, over 30 lakhs tickets was sold and taking that as the bench mark, when this year's bumber was planned, we decided to have a ceiling of maximum 54 lakh tickets.

"We printed over 36 lakh tickets, out of which 23 lakh tickets were sold till yesterday (Saturday). With 12 days to go for the draw, we decided to print another six lakh tickets," said the official.

Bomb on rail track: Santhosh held

KOTTAYAM: Santhosh, alias Matt Santhosh, who helped in making the bomb placed on the rail track near Piravom Road station between Kottayam and Kochi. He was arrested by a team led by Mulunthuruthy sub inspector Younus from a rubber estate at Veliyanad in Ernakulam.

Senthil, remanded in the case is lodged in Kottayam sub-jail.

Infant dies in accident

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A four months’ old baby girl, Anushree, died on Sunday when the Scorpio car driven by her father collided with a KSRTC bus at Thattathumala in Kilimanoor near here. Her father Rajesh, who arrived from Sharjah on Sunday, was driving the car home. Rajesh, his mother Ramani, his wife Reshmi, father-in-law Rajan, Rajesh’s brothers Raju and Ranjith were injured in the accident and were admitted to Gokulam Medical College Hospital at Venjarammoodu.

Bail for P Jayarajan in Shukkoor murder case

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court Monday granted strict conditional bail to CPM Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan, 32nd accused in in the Abdul Shukkoor murder case. Jayarajan is at present lodged in the Kannur Central Jail after his arrest on August 1. T V Rajesh MLA, 33rd accused in the case, was granted bail earlier.

The court has directed Jayarajan to furnish a bond of Rs 25,000 and two sureties for the like amount. The court said bail is being granted to Jayarajan as the investigation in the case has been completed and charge sheet filed. The court also considered the demand of M K Damodaran, (counsel of Jayarajan), seeking bail taking into account his health condition.

Abdul Shukoor, an activist of the Muslim League was murdered allegedly by CPI (M) activists at Keezhara near Kannavam, Kannur in February 2012.

He has been charged with IPC Section 118 (concealing design to commit offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life). Police claimed that some of the prominent CPI (M) leaders in the district were aware of the circumstances of the murder and they had sought to harbour the culprits.

‘Onam’ fervour grips Kerala

Sunday, Aug 26, 2012: The harvest festival of Keralites is round the corner. Onam is the most important and colourful festival for Malayalees, commemorating the visit of King Mahabali and an utopian past that was filled with abundance, peace, equality and harmony during his reign.

The festivities are on as ‘Tiruvonam’ day of the Malayalam month of Chingam (the first month of the Malayalam calender) this year falls on August 29.

AMMA to help Thilakan

Actor Mammootty talks to media persons after visiting actor Thilakan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) will extend monetary help to thespian actor Thilakan, said actor Mammootty after visiting him at a private hospital here. He also prayed that Thilakan may regain physical strength and health.

Thilakan suffered heart attacks on Saturday. He has been admitted to a private hospital here and is on the ventilator.

Superstar Suresh Gopi, who also visited Thilakan, is hopeful and said: "I feel, he (Thilakan) will be soon acting again. When he saw me, I could see tears trickling down his cheeks and this is a good sign because he is expressing himself. We should all extend our prayers to him."

Beginning his career in the 1950s through the theatre movement, Thilakan did his first film Ulkadal in in 1979. In his over three decade film career, he has featured in about 300 films. His latest film, Ustad Hotel, is currently running in theatres.

The actor was in news for taking on the AMMA, leading to his ouster in 2010.

Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan, directors Sibi Malayil and Kamal, Maniyanpilla Raju and other film personalities visited the actor at the hospital.

Mud slip while digging well, one trapped

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Three persons of a family in Kariyidavila in Vizhinjam had been trapped in the mud slip that followed the digging of a well in the compound of their house.

Two persons have been rescued by the fire force and the neighbours while Babu is still trapped under the soil. Efforts are being carried out for his rescue.

Another well was dug earlier but as there was no water to be found, they dug the new well deeper.

The mud from the old well has collapsed into the new well. 

Migrant workers should not feel out of place, says CM

KOCHI: While distributing the Onam kits to migrant workers from other states, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that they should not feel that they are outsiders in the state as their cooperation and efforts are of prime importance for the progress of Kerala.

He added that when people of Assam were attacked in other states, the government was successful in ensuring protection to them in Kerala.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K V Thomas was present along with ministers Anoop Jacob, K Babu and Shibu Baby John.

The labourers were excited when the chief minister greeted them in Hindi.

Bomb threat rumour: Man held

ALAPPUZHA: A man had been arrested for spreading rumours of a fake bomb threat in a function in which Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and KPCC Ramesh Chennithala was present.

Prashanth, who works as peon in Mahathma Girls School, was held.

Creamy layer: NSS withdraws petition

NEW DELHI: NSS has submitted application to withdraw the petition it has submitted to the Supreme Court against the central and state governments for its move to raise the creamy layer ceiling.

According to the NSS general secretary G Sukumaran Nair, the decision came out of NSS’s strategy to bond better with castes with reservations, primarily SNDP.

Thilakan in critical condition, govt to bear treatment expenses

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Actor Thilakan’s health condition continues to be critical.

A medical board meet was held on Sunday morning to assess the condition of the veteran actor who is under treatment in KIMS hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.

Minister for Health V S Sivakumar, who visited the actor, declared to the media that the government will bear the expense of Thilakan’s treatment.

Actor Suresh Gopi also visited Thilakan.