Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No decision taken on Land Use Bill: Oommen Chandy

THIRUVVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday said after the cabinet meeting that no discussion was held and no decision was taken on the Land Use Bill.

He said there are two commission reports on law reforms with the government. Any discussion will be held only after seeking the opinions of concerned departments on the basis of the reports.

Bills were not discussed in any forum. Chandy clarified that the government has not even thought of making a law for land use.

No decision taken on Land Use Bill: Oommen Chandy

THIRUVVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday said after the cabinet meeting that no discussion was held and no decision was taken on the Land Use Bill.

He said there are two commission reports on law reforms with the government. Any discussion will be held only after seeking the opinions of concerned departments on the basis of the reports.

Bills were not discussed in any forum. Chandy clarified that the government has not even thought of making a law for land use.

Four youths killed after car falls into river

THRISSUR: Four youths were killed after the car in which they were travelling fell into a river at Azhikode near Kodungalloor. The dead have been identified as Vishnu (17), Vaishak (19), Satheesh (21) and Akhil (19). Four others who were in the car escaped.  The passengers were natives of Porathissery in Irinjalakkuda.

The eight-member team was on a pleasure trip to Munakkal beach in Azhikode. The car fell into the river when they were returning back to Irinjalakkuda.

Four youths escaped after smashing the windowpanes of the car. The other four could not escape as they were trapped inside. The vehicle was taken out from the river using a crane.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

'Joint game' being played on Kochi Metro issue: Kodiyeri

KANNUR: Deputy opposition leader and CPI (M) politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan alleged that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath were playing a 'joint game' in connection with the issues related to the appoint of Delhi Metro for the works of the Kochi Metro. Talking to newsmen on the sidelines of a function before the District Collectorate here, Kodiyeri said Chief Minister was under the shadow of suspicion in this issue. He said if the UDF Government's first priority was to give the work of Kochi Metro to Delhi Metro, then why the government had sent Chief Secretary to discuss with a Malaysian company.

Kodiyeri also pointed out that how the Chief Secretary visited a foreign country without the consent of the Chief Minister. So Chief Minister was liable to clear the suspicion over him. Metroman Sreedharan had disclosed that about 65 lakh were lost per day due to the delay of project of 6,000 crore, but no government official had said what was the main obstruction to hand over the works to Delhi metro. Kodiyeri alleged that UDF government was trying to make controversies over the issue. He also said CPI (M) would protest against the UDG government's move to sabotage Land Reforms Act. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan also addressed a fast agitation organized by the joint rank holders association of the PSC, to protest against the hike of pension age and withheld the new appointment, before the district collectorate. DYFI state unit Secretary T V Rajesh, MLA, inaugurated the agitation. Leaders of various youth organizations leaders also addressed the fast agitation.

Women must be more active in Public Life: Pranab

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: President Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday said women in Kerala continued to have a low profile in public life despite high literacy rate and progressive political environment in the state.

Inaugurating the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Loyola College of Social Sciences here, Mukherjee wanted women in the state to take more active role in various leadership levels and said a good step in this direction was the reservation of 50 per cent of seats in local bodies and panchayats for women.

"A perceptible marginalization of women in the economic process and their low level of control over resources have been major impediments in improving their status in the state," he said.

Asking the students to pause and consider the challenges that still needed to be addressed, Mukherjee said that "despite the state's high literacy rate of 86 per cent, Kerala has a relatively low profile of women in public life."

Statistics show a concentration of women in the unorganized sectors, including agriculture labour, cottage and traditional industries and selected service sectors where equal pay for equal work was unfortunately not well established, he said.

"There needs to be more active involvement of women in various leadership levels in the state," he said.

Quoting Swami Vivekananda, he said that "from time immemorial, India has been a mine of precious ideas to human society, giving birth to high ideas herself, she has freely distributed them and broadcast over the whole world."

"In pursuing your mission with dedication and commitment, students of Loyola College are making a significant difference in realizing Swami Vivekananda's vision for our people," he said.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, State Governor H R Bhardwaj, Union Minister of State for HRD Shashi Tharoor and Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram M Soosa Pakiam were among those who offered felicitations.

Report on Natarajan in land allotment case submitted

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: ADGP R Sreelekha submitted a report on K Natarajan, information commissioner, who allegedly tried to influence DySP V G Kunju, investigating officer in the land allotment case against V S Achuthanandan.

The report said evidence against Natarajan contacting Kunju many times has been obtained.  Natarajan first contacted the DySP after March 31soon after the FIR was registered by the vigilance after including VS as an accused in the case. The ADGP had produced some reports of the BSNL to prove her version

Microsoft opens Windows 8 in India

BANGALORE: Global software major Microsoft late Thursday unveiled its Windows 8 version of the operation system in India as part of its worldwide launch.

"Retail and enterprise users worldwide will be able to experience from Friday all that Windows has to offer with a new user interface, a host of applications from its store," Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik said in a statement late Thursday.

The bundled version will be available on form factors ranging from tablets to laptops and ultra-notebooks from 14 OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners, including Acer, Dell, Fujitsu, HCL, Hewlett Packard, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, Wipro and Zenith Computers.

Over 250 Windows 8 enabled devices, including 23 new SKUs (stock keeping unit) of Windows 8 PCs are available across 100 cities and over 2,500 retail stores.

Unlike its earlier versions, including Windows 7, Windows 8 boasts of an intuitive start screen and tiles with rich content and update in real time.

"As Windows anytime upgrade (WAU), the latest version is cloud connected. Users will have to sign once with their MS (Microsoft) account to ensure they will be able to access mails, calendars, contact, pictures among other apps (applications," Pramanik said.

The new OS (operating system) will have two versions at retail - Windows 8 & Windows Pro, while Windows 8 enterprise offers mobile productivity with features like To Go, Direct Access.

"Users can upgrade their personal computers (desktops) that have Windows XP, Vista or Window 7 at an affordable price of Rs1,999 till Jan 2013," Pramanik added.

Centre protecting corporate houses, says Pinarayi

KOZHIKODE: The Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre stood for protecting the interests of big corporate houses in the country, CPI (M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said Tuesday.

Inaugurating a national seminar on Assault Against Women organized by the Party Kozhikode North and South Area Committees, he said this was evident from shifting Petroleum Minister S Jaipal Reddy in the recent cabinet rejig by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Stating it was not an appropriate political step, he said Reddy was divested off Petroleum portfolio on behest of a major industrial house in the country.

On the ill-treatment meted out to Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Sashi Tharoor at a reception accorded to the latter yesterday, he said it reflected the culture of the Congress Party. The police, responsible to protect her, remained a mute spectator to the incident in Thiruvananthapuram yesterday, he said.

Launching a scathing attack on communal forces, he said these forces had grown to the extent of even dictating on the attire of women in the state. Congress-led UDF government in the state took a lenient attitude towards misdeeds of these forces, he alleged. Accusing the communal forces for denying social freedom to women, he said efforts should be made to alienate them and their design by the society. These forces had also attempted to deny education to women to meet their agenda, he said. Calling upon the class movement to take up the issues relating to women aimed at their empowerment, he said shrinking responsibilities by them would denigrate the movement.

Shashi Tharoor says his wife 'priceless'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Hitting back at Narendra Modi for the attack on his wife Sunanda Pushkar, Union Minister Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday said she is "priceless" but the Gujarat chief minister needs to be able to love someone to understand that. Tharoor also said his wife was worth a lot more than Modi's imaginary Rs 50 crore.

"My wife is worth a lot more than your imaginary 50 crores. She is priceless. But you need2be able2love some1 2understand that," Tharoor tweeted.

Speaking in Shimla yesterday, Modi had taken potshots at Tharoor's personal life, saying his wife was once his "50-crore-rupee girlfriend", a day after the Congress leader made a comeback in the Union Cabinet reshuffle as minister of state for human resources development.

"Wah kya girlfriend hai. Apne kabhi dekha hai 50 crore ka girlfriend?" (What a girlfriend?. Have you ever seen a 50-crore girlfriend), Modi said at an election rally, in an apparent attack on Tharoor's wife. "There was a Congress leader who was a minister. He was accused of amassing wealth from cricket. He had said in Parliament that he is not connected to the Rs 50 crore in the lady's name," the BJP stalwart said in an apparent reference to Tharoor in the context of the IPL cricket controversy involving Pushkar in 2010 which led to his resignation as minister of state for external affairs minister. "...And then girlfriend becomes wife, we learn some time later...the issues are still not settled and he (Tharoor) is now made a minister," the chief minister said.

Explaining his tweet, Tharoor said that since Modi was "silly enough" to attack his wife, he said she is worth more than his imaginary 50 crores and that one has to be able to love someone to understand that.

"We will have to see whether he (Modi) is capable of understanding that," he added.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Kochi Metro: Delhi not sure yet

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) seemed to pull back from taking over the execution of Kochi Metro Rail Project (KMRP) as the meeting between Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath raised a negative response from the latter, when he clarified the takeover of the project is not practical.

Though Kamal Nath told Oommen Chandy that he would consider the matter, this clearly indicates that the Congress at the centre will bring a situation favourable for the project only if its leadership goes for a political consensus. The union minister’s words also remind that some officers at the Ministry of Urban Development and in Kerala are being successful in their moves to obstruct the Kochi project.

Later after discussions with Chandy, Kamal Nath told media persons that Delhi Metro is meant for Delhi and that there are limitations for DMRC to take over projects outside Delhi since it has heavy work load there (Delhi).

Media should not make a controversy out of a metro in Kochi which is not yet formed. A third phase construction is going on in Delhi. Fourth phase should be started soon. The serious damage on the runway should have to be rectified. In these circumstances, it is practically difficult to take over Kochi Metro project. Since Kerala sought help from DMRC, what could be done will be examined. The opinion of Delhi government will be sought in this, Kamal Nath explained.

24-hour bus strike tomorrow

MALAPPURAM: Bus employees, under the banner of the Kerala State Private Bus Transport Workers Federation, affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, will strike work on Tuesday pressing various demands, including service conditions at par with the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation. K Firos Babu, district secretary of the federation, said here on Sunday that the government should take steps prevent attacks on bus workers. He called upon the people to cooperate with the striking bus workers. He 24-hour strike would begin at midnight on Monday

Never before so many union ministers from state

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state was cheering as it got the highest ever representation in the union cabinet. The number of ministers from the state went up from six to eight after Sunday's reshuffle.

Among those sworn in were former undersecretary general of the UN, Shashi Tharoor, and five-time Congress Lok Sabha member Kodikunnil Suresh.

For Tharoor, it's a return to being minister of state. Two and a half years ago he was forced to resign from the cabinet over allegations of a conflict of interest in his promotion of the IPL Kochi cricket team, which was linked to Sunanda Pushkar, the woman he married after stepping down as minister.

For 50-year-old Suresh, his elevation as minister comes as reward for being in the close company of Defence Minister A K Antony ever since he became a politician in the early eighties.

Kerala has 20 Lok Sabha members and nine Rajya Sabha members.

The six ministers already in the council of ministers from the state are: Defence Minister A K Antony, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, Minister of State for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution K VThomas, Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed, Minister of State for Home Mulapally Ramachandran, and Minister of State for Power K C Venugopal.

Speaking to reporters here Sunday, state congress chief Ramesh Chennithala said that the induction of two new ministers from Kerala would prove hugely beneficial for the party in the next general elections.

'We are all happy for Suresh because this is the first time a dalit from the state has become a member of the union cabinet, after former president K R Narayanan. With regard to Tharoor, he is a known national and international figure; this is going to be very good for the state,' Chennithala said.

Incidentally, with the latest reshuffle, all the four who represent Alappuzha - Antony, Ravi, Venugopal and Suresh - have become ministers.

But former CPI M minister and senior party legislator G Sudhakaran, who also hails from Alappuzha, said the reshuffle was just a little juggling before the next general elections.

'Who does not know that a minister of state in Delhi has no powers? Look at Venugopal. A lot of noise was created when he was sworn in, but what has he done since? Even Antony in the second UPA government has not been able to do much. So this is nothing but one little juggle before the next general elections,' Sudhakaran said.

Music director Devi Krishna dies

THRISSUR: Music director Devi Krishna died of cardiac arrest at his friend’s residence in Kunnamkulam early Saturday morning. He was 59.

He was the music director of Pai Brothers and had also composed music for many plays. He was at present involved in the film Thirukkural directed by Murukan.

He has received the state award of Kerala Lalitha Kala Akademy for the music direction of Rajakan in 2007. He entered the field playing table for music director Raveendran. Apart from Raveendran, he had also assisted Johnson and Mohan Sithara.

He was the son of late Kunjumon and Ammu.

MVR threatens to quit UDF

KANNUR: CMP general secretary M V Raghavan threatened to quit the UDF if the administration panel of the Pariyaram Medical College is not dissolved. A final decision will be taken at the UDF meet to be convened on November 5 if a favourable stand is not taken, he said.

The present administration panel assumed office after casting almost 1000 bogus votes.  The present panel should be disbanded and fresh elections should be conducted. Till then, let the panel work under the leadership of the administrator.  Our stand is that the government should not take over the Pariyaram Medical College.

Sunanda Pushkar loses cool at airport

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Shashi Tharoor, the newly sworn in Minister of State for HRD, lost her cool at the airport during the reception accorded to him at the airport in the capital city.  Youth Congress and KSU activists along with senior activists were present in the airport to receive the union minister.

A youth among some others tried to misbehave with her and Sunanda, who lost her cool, slapped him and tried to push her way through. Immediately, two came to the rescue and escorted her outside.

DMRC’s is not final word, says Minister Babu

KOCHI: Minister K Babu said DMRC’s is not the final word in the Kochi Metro Rail project. Political and ruling leaderships are there on top of DMRC, he said.

The state government had earlier decided to hand over the Kochi Metro to DMRC and there will be no change in that, he said.

I was punished for no fault: Shashi Tharoor

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Shashi Tharoor, re-inducted into the Manmohan Singh government after two years, said on Monday that he was dropped earlier from the ministry for no fault of his.

Tharoor made the comment after hundreds of supporters gave him a rousing welcome as he landed here after Sunday's swearing in ceremony in Delhi. Tharoor is the Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram.

"I think old wounds have healed. I now have a portfolio through which I can do good for the country and the state," said the new minister of state for human resource development.

"A lot can be done because education and training come under my portfolio. I assure you I will do my best," a beaming Tharoor told the media.

Tharoor's re-entry into the council of minister came as a surprise to many in Kerala. Leaders of the Congress in the state had said that Tharoor stood no chance of becoming a central minister.

"In his first tenure, there were glaring shortcomings in his office here," said a Congress leader here.

"His office appeared to keep people at bay. We hope he has learnt his lessons," he said.

In 2009, Tharoor was inducted as minister of state in the external affairs ministry.

Among those excited by Tharoor's re-entry into the ministry are young techies at the Technopark here.

"We have had the joy of hearing him speak when he visited our company. Believe me, we became his instant fans," said one of them.

Friday, October 26, 2012

“Minority Shree” is coming; Kudumbashree in trouble

KATTAPPANA: Adding more trouble to the women oriented organization Kudumbashree, the state government is learnt to have decided to divide the units of the organization on the basis of different communities and lend special monetary aid.

The new project aims at giving huge financial help to those units where members from the minority communities form the majority. So there is nothing official about it to call Kudumbashree a Minority Shree in the near future. Discussions are also being held to “create” majority.

As per the project, financial aid up to Rs. 2.5 lakh would be disbursed to Kudumbashree units, Ayalkoottams, NGOs. About 70 percent of the members in Kudumbashree are from minority communities. Those communities eligible for the benefits are Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Buddha and Parsi. Those groups which registered in 2012-2013 are eligible.

A group consists of 20 women. Monetary benefits will be given for any sectors such as agriculture, service, production, etc. The groups will either get a maximum amount of Rs. 2.5 lakh or half of the total amount of money required for the projects. The amount should not be paid back.

The motto of the government project is to ensure a permanent income for the women members. Moreover, training for those projects which are intended to be implemented via Kudumbashree would be given by the Minority Welfare Department.

The project is supervised by Minority Welfare Department, Minority Cell at District Collectorate and Minority Promoters. An order regarding this has been sent to Kudumbashree by Directorate of Minority Welfare Department.

Minor giving birth:Stepfather held

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  The step father of a 13-year-old schoolgirl has been arrested in connection with her rape, giving birth to a baby boy at SAT Hospital on Monday last. The eighth-class student hailing from Kottarakkara in Kollam was hospitalised in an advanced stage of pregnancy with severe complications, on September 20 by her parents.

Police said the stepfather had threatened to kill her if she disclosed the incident to anybody. Her mother said she came to know about the incident after six months of pregnancy. Though the parents were unwilling to file a police case in this regard, the hospital authorities informed the incident to the police after two-days of the delivery, citing the seriousness of the issue.

CPM activist hacked in Thrissur

THRISSUR: A CPM worker was hacked by some unidentified assailants early Friday morning. The Perinjanam party branch secretary has been identified as Shaji. He was attacked while he was going to distribute newspapers. He has been admitted in the hospital and the police have started investigation in the case.

M V Jayarajan asks govt to take over Pariyaram Medical College

KANNUR: The CPM will not oppose if the government takes over the Pariyaram Co-operative Medical College, said party leader M V Jayarajan and chairman of the administrative panel of the hospital.

The employees of the Kozhikode Medical College were made permanent when the government took over it. Similarly, the employees of the Pariyaram should also be made permanent, he said.

The party will oppose back seat driving if the government tries for it after taking over the hospital. The UDF had opposed the taking over of the hospital during the tenure of the Nayanar government and they themselves had cancelled the process.

Jayarajan said irregularities were detected when M V Raghavan took over the administration of the hospital. The UDF has now decided to take over the CPM-controlled administrative panel of the hospital due to guiltiness.

The last UDF meet convened asked the government to consider the takeover of the panel headed by Jayarajan.

No change will be made in devaswom ordinance, says Sivakumar

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government will not make any changes in the devaswom ordinance, said Minister V S Sivakumar. The government will go forward with the present ordinance.  Other things would be considered when the ordinance will be taken for discussions in the assembly, he said.

No changes will be made in these decisions like voting rights only for believers of god and avoiding the representation of women members in the boards, he said.

The Mahila Congress and the Left organisations opposed the ordinance. 

Kochi Metro: No explanation received from Tom Jose

KOCHI: The former Kochi Metro MD and Principal Secretary, Tom Jose has not yet responded to the demand for his explanation by the Chief Secretary.

Presently, Tom Jose is at Masur. He is undergoing a training session at IAS Academy there. He will return to Kerala only on November. Since Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar is retiring on October 31, Tom Jose is likely to give explanation to the new Chief Secretary.

Tom Jose had dashed a letter to Central Urban Development Secretary seeking details of the role of "metroman" E Sreedharan in the Kochi metro rail project, proposed to be implemented by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

The letter sent by Jose, allegedly without government's approval, had kicked up a row with opposition parties in the state alleging that this could be a move to keep Sreedharan away from Kochi Metro Rail project.

Jose was shifted from the post of MD of Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) two months ago amid allegations that there had been concerted efforts to keep Sreedharan out of the project.

Private Bus strike from Monday onwards

THRISSUR: The private bus operators in Kerala has decided to go on strike from October 29 (Monday) midnight onwards, said All Kerala Bus Operators Co-ordination Committee.

The committee complained that the increasing prices of diesel and spare parts, 50 percent increase in the vehicle insurance, and salary hike of employees have been leading the private bus sector to a crisis.

Kodikkunnil Suresh will become union minister

NEW DELHI: Kodikunnil Suresh, senior Congress MP from Mavelikkara constituency in Kerala, will certainly become union minister in the cabinet revamp in the cabinet revamp scheduled for tomorrow (Sunday).

The credentials of Suresh lie in the fact that he had won five times as an MP and that nobody from a Dalit background from Kerala has not yet included in the union cabinet. Suresh also had gathered the support from Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

Sources say that a senior minister from Kerala will be either elevated as governor or given position of the party’s national level.

Kodikunnil Suresh was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1989 and thereafter in the 1991, 1996, 1999 General Elections to the Lok Sabha from Adoor Constituency. He was defeated in the 1998, 2004 elections. He served as the member of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee and member of AICC.

Meantime, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, a former Chief Minister of Karnataka, sent his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after apparently being told of plans to revamp the Cabinet. It has since been accepted.

Krishna, who was surprisingly made the External Affairs Minister after 2009 elections, said he was stepping down to pave the way for youngsters and strengthen the hands of leadership for strengthening the party.

There were indications that he could be asked to lead the Congress in Karnataka where assembly polls are due next year.

Late in the night, reports emerged that Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and Social Justice Minister Mukul Wasnik also had offered to quit working for the party.

Whether Rahul Gandhi would join the government is still a matter of conjecture even as the Prime Minister held consultations with Congress President Sonia Gandhi for about an hour, apparently to give final touches to the exercise.

Some more Ministers are likely to quit ahead of the reshuffle, which could be the last before the Lok Sabha elections slated for 2014.

Among the probables for induction are Chiranjeevi, whose 18 MLAs provide stability to the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh after the merger of his party PRP.

Speculation is that former Chief Minister K. Vijay Bhaskar Reddy's son Surya Prakash and two MPs from Telengana region are likely to be made union ministers.

From West Bengal, where ally Trinamool Congress quit the UPA two months back, Congress MPs A.H. Khan Chowdhury, brother of late Ghani Khan Chowdhury, PCC President Pradeep Bhattacharya and Deepa Dasmunsi are among those being said to be considered for induction.

Trinamool had six ministers in the Council of Ministers, including one at the Cabinet level.

The possible names of the successors in the External Affairs Ministry include Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal.  The other changes could include ministers holding dual portfolio shedding one of their responsibilities.

Younger ministers like Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora and Jyotiraditya Scindia are likely to be upgraded in the exercise.

There have been berths vacated by DMK representatives A. Raja and Dayanidhi Maran in the last two years after their names cropped in the 2G scam. However, DMK President M. Karunanidhi had recently made clear that his party will not like to reclaim their lost berths.

Thursday also Minister of State in the PMO V. Narayanasamy met Karunanidhi at his residence in Chennai when DMK leader is believed to have stuck to his position.

There is speculation that some young faces, considered close to Rahul, like Manicka Tagore and Meenakshi Natarajan could be inducted into the council of ministers.

With the death of Vilasrao Deshmukh, there is a vacancy for a cabinet minister from Maharashtra.

Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai and Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaisawal have come under attack from the Opposition on the coal block allocation issue.

Eye-witness in TP murder case dies

KOZHIKODE: P Ramachandran (46) the main eyewitness in the murder case of RMP leader T P Chandrasekharan, died here Friday. He was a witness who saw the murder close to 200 metres.

His statements to the investigating officials helped them to collect details of the suspects and the vehicle used by them at the time of the murder. He witnessed the murder while hanging festoons as part of some anniversary celebrations.  He was undergoing treatment for cancer.

He leaves behind his wife Praseena and children Ashwathy and Ashwin.

Body of youth found in canal

NEYYATINKARA: A body of a youth was found dumped in the canal under mysterious circumstances. The body has been identified as that of Shankar (26), son of Chandran and Prasanna of Balaramapuram.

The youth, a welder, was reported missing for the past three days. The local people found the body Friday and informed the Balaramapuram police.

Muslims in state celebrate Bakrid

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Muslims in Kerala Friday celebrated Bakrid with prayers and acts of charity, recalling the unflinching faith and dedication shown by Prophet Ibrahim to the Almighty.

The faithful thronged mosques and specially arranged Id-gahs across the state in the morning for prayers, where Imams and religious scholars gave out the Id message of total dedication to God, universal love and compassion.

Actor Mammootty was among hundreds, who turned up to offer namaz at the Id gah in Kochi.

M V Jayarajan asks govt to take over Pariyaram Medical College

KANNUR: The CPM will not oppose if the government takes over the Pariyaram Co-operative Medical College, said party leader M V Jayarajan and chairman of the administrative panel of the hospital.

The employees of the Kozhikode Medical College were made permanent when the government took over it. Similarly, the employees of the Pariyaram should also be made permanent, he said.

The party will oppose back seat driving if the government tries for it after taking over the hospital. The UDF had opposed the taking over of the hospital during the tenure of the Nayanar government and they themselves had cancelled the process.

Jayarajan said irregularities were detected when M V Raghavan took over the administration of the hospital. The UDF has now decided to take over the CPM-controlled administrative panel of the hospital due to guiltiness.

The last UDF meet convened asked the government to consider the takeover of the panel headed by Jayarajan.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kochi Metro to be executed by DMRC, says Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Seeking to remove hurdles in the way of Kochi Metro rail project, Chief Minister Ommen Chandy Wednesday held discussions with technocrat E Sreedharan and resolved to press Delhi Metro to take up the work of Rs 5,181 crore project.

After their meeting, both Chandy and Sreedharan said they were confident that the work would be executed by DMRC in three years' time.

Chandy told reporters he would soon meet Urban Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and would also be writing to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for making DMRC's service available.

He said some problems had cropped due to DMRC's decision to have some restrictions on taking up works outside Delhi. But the DMRC-Kochi metro tie-up was planned much earlier and a project office had already been set up.

Sreedharan said he also agreed with Chandy's view and was confident work would start going without further delay.

"DMRC has set up a project office in Kochi. The design and tender documents are ready", Sreedharan said.

The meeting assumes significance as the opposition had charged the Congress-led UDF Government with trying to keep Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and its former chief Sreedharan off the project with ulterior motives.

Another dimension was recently added to the debate over the project after senior IAS officer and former KMRL MD Tom Jose wrote to the Central Urban Affairs Secretary seeking details of Sreedharan's role in Kochi Metro.

The government had sought an explanation from Jose for dashing off the letter to the Centre allegedly without its approval.

Pinarayi seeks withdrawal of Devaswom ordinance

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan Wednesday asked the government to withdraw the ordinance proposed by them seeking to amend the Devaswom Act. Some conditions in the ordinance are against constitution.  

Talking to reporters here, he said that if the government is not ready to withdraw the ordinance, the opposition would approach the Governor.

It is not correct to deny voting rights to the representatives elected.

Pinarayi asked the chief minister to convene an all-party meet to solve the hurdles in connection with Kochi Metro.

Pinarayi seeks withdrawal of Devaswom ordinance

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan Wednesday asked the government to withdraw the ordinance proposed by them seeking to amend the Devaswom Act. Some conditions in the ordinance are against constitution.  

Talking to reporters here, he said that if the government is not ready to withdraw the ordinance, the opposition would approach the Governor.

It is not correct to deny voting rights to the representatives elected.

Pinarayi asked the chief minister to convene an all-party meet to solve the hurdles in connection with Kochi Metro.

Two suspended for trying to sell baby in SAT Hospital

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Two employees of the SAT Hospital have been suspended for trying to sell a baby.  Those suspended are attenders-- Vineetha and Raveendran.

A woman from Kollam delivered a baby on October 15. The two approached her when she told them that she will not be able to look after the baby.

The woman lodged a complaint when the two bargained over the price.

Sex racket busted, five held

KOZHIKODE: Police have busted an inter-state sex racket with the arrest of six persons in Kozhikode last night. Police said Thomas Jose (28) of Alappuzha, Dennis (35), Wayanad, Mohammed Azlam (23) Reena Joseph (32), both Kozhikode and Swetha (24), hailing from Bangalore, were arrested in a raid conducted at Arayidathpalam area in the city. The racket was conducted linking hotels and resorts in Kozhikode and Wayanad districts police said, adding a car, Rs 22,000 and liquor bottles were seized during the raids from their possession. The raid was led by Assistant Commissioner of Police (North) Prince Abraham and Kozhikode Medical College Police Circle Inspector Prem Das.

Sex racket busted, five held

KOZHIKODE: Police have busted an inter-state sex racket with the arrest of six persons in Kozhikode last night. Police said Thomas Jose (28) of Alappuzha, Dennis (35), Wayanad, Mohammed Azlam (23) Reena Joseph (32), both Kozhikode and Swetha (24), hailing from Bangalore, were arrested in a raid conducted at Arayidathpalam area in the city. The racket was conducted linking hotels and resorts in Kozhikode and Wayanad districts police said, adding a car, Rs 22,000 and liquor bottles were seized during the raids from their possession. The raid was led by Assistant Commissioner of Police (North) Prince Abraham and Kozhikode Medical College Police Circle Inspector Prem Das.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

One more farmer commits suicide

KOZHIKODE: A debt-ridden farmer, who consumed poison, died in Kozhikode Medical College Hospital Sunday. Police said Sivan (65), hailing from Pazhuppathur in Wayanad, had consumed poisonous substance and succumbed today.

His family sources said Sivan took the extreme steps as he was unable to pay back about Rs 5 lakh loan taken from various agencies, including banks and individuals. Many farmers had committed suicides in the hilly district during the last couple of months as they were unable to return loans due to crop failure.

AG seeks early trial in TP murder case

KOZHKODE: Advocate General sought an early trial of the 76 accused arrested in connection with the murder of RMP leader T P Chandrasekharan.  AG’s legal advice was that if the case is handed over to an agency like the CBI then the trial will be delayed and there are chances for the accused getting bail. So, the AG directed to start the procedural measures on the trial.

Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnna has informed TP’s wife K K Rama the direction to begin the trial.

Three students missing from Juvenile Home

KOTTAYAM: Three inmates of the Juvenile Home at Thiruvanchoor were found missing. Students in the age group of 13 to15 years were reportedly missing from the Juvenile Home four days back. But the authorities lodged a complaint at the Ayarkkunnam Police only yesterday. The police have started an investigation on.

There were reports that the students here were sexually harassed. Meantime, Social Welfare Minister Dr M K Muneer has called a high level meet tomorrow to discuss the problems of the Juvenile Home.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tom Jose’ letter against Sreedharan released

KOCHI: P Rajeev MP Saturday released the letter sent by Tom Jose, former MD of Kochi Metro to DMRC chairman Sudheer Krishna seeking exemption of E Sreedharan from Kochi Metro.

Addressing a press meet along with Justice V R Krishna Iyer, Rajeev said the letter was sent after Tom Jose was expelled from the managing director post.

Tom Jose was behind the exemption of Sreedharan from Kochi Metro. Rajeev asked the state government on what grounds did Tom sent the letter after he was relieved from the post.

The letter asked whether DMRC was ready to provide money and help to the projects in Kerala, has any kind of power given to Sreedharan in the Kochi Metro Project, is he intervening in Kochi Metro with the consent of DMRC are some of the questions raised by Tom Jose.

Rajeev released the order of DMRC entrusting Sreedharan for Kochi Metro. DMRC withdrawing from the project is suspicious.

Krishna Iyer sought government’s intervention in executing the project. The Kochi Metro should be made a reality after including DMRC and E Sreedharan, he said.

VS alleges conspiracy over Sreedharan's role in Kochi Metro

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan Saturday alleged that the state government was involved in a conspiracy to avoid the role of E Sreedharan from the Rs 5,000 crore Kochi Metro Rail Project. Addressing a press conference here, he said the government was playing 'hide-and-seek' on the metro project, creating an 'uncertain situation'.

Top official in the centre and the governments including former Kochi Metro Managing Director Tom Jose were looking for commissions in the project, he alleged. Clarifying that why he avoided the inauguration of the foundation stone laying ceremony of Kochi Metro Project, he said now Union Minister A K Antony could understand that why he did not attend the function.

Earlier, Antony had said Achuthanandan had played a major role in the metro rail and regretted his absence at the inaugural ceremony.

Govt want DMRC to take over Kochi Metro, says Minister Babu

KOCHI: The government wants the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to execute the construction work of Kochi Metro Rail Project, said Minister K Babu. A team led by E Sreedharan should take over the project, he said.   

When asked whether DMRC would be asked to take over the project, the minister said the cabinet will take a decision on it. E Sreedharan and DMRC should hold more talks on it, he said.  

Meantime, BJP leader O Rajagopal said protests will be staged if DMRC is kept aloof from the project.  Sreedharan is being avoided as he will not encourage corruption, alleged the leader. 

Rauf claims he is implicated in false cases

KOZHIKODE: Controversial businessman K A Rauf Friday said he was being implicated in false cases to force him to rapprochement with his former mentor and Industries Minister P K Kunhalikutty.

Talking to reporters here he said he was arrested in connection with the strike in a stone quarry, which he owned, on a complaint by Vazhakkad in Malappuram Block Panchayat President Jabhar Haji on charge of obstructing government servant from discharging duty. He said Haji, with whom he held a meeting to settle the stir in a stone quarry in Vazhakkad, asked him to withdraw allegations against Kunhalikutty as a pre-condition.

Haji also wanted him to make a public statement informing he had withdrawn the allegations, Rauf said. He feigned an agreement on condition that cases, including Maharashtra land issues against him would be dropped, fully knowing that court cases cannot be withdrawn, Rauf alleged. However, Haji became angry when he came to know that Rauf recorded their conversation in a 'key-chain' camera, prompting him to lodge the complaint. A police officer, who interrogated him (Rauf) after the arrest demanded other cameras, if any, held by him to record the conversation. He said his lawyer also received a phone call from 'a person close to Kunhalikutty' asking for an early settlement of the issues. Stating he was blackmailed, harassed and cornered by sources close to the 'wretched ruler' since his revelation a couple of months ago that he influenced the judiciary to get a clean chit in the infamous Kozhikode ice-cream parlour sex scam of 1990s.

AI flight heads to Kochi after nine hours of hijack drama

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Air India flight that was headed from Abu Dhabi to Kochi finally took off from the Thiruvananthapuram Airport here on Friday afternoon after nine hours of hijack drama.

There was high drama at the Thiruvananthapuram Airport here earlier, as the pilot of the Air India flight 4422, from Abu Dhabi to Kochi, sent out a hijack alert triggering alarm.

The pilot claimed that he took the extreme step after some passengers reportedly tried to force their way into the cockpit.
According to reports, the passengers were angry as the flight, which was coming from Abu Dhabi, was diverted here at the last minute.

This flight was reportedly diverted to Thiruvananthapuram because of fog.

HC dismisses petition by former CVC PJ Thomas

KOCHI: Kerala High Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by former Central Vigilance Commissioner PJ Thomas, seeking to quash proceedings against him in the 1991-92 Palmolein import case, which reportedly caused a loss of Rs 2.32 crore to the state exchequer.

Dismissing the petition, Justice S Sateeshchandran said it was 'meritless'.

"The petitioner can approach the trial court-- Vigilance court at Thiruvananthapuram for discharge from the case."

The Vigilance court had included Thomas as eighth accused.

Seeking to quash the proceedings pending against him, Thomas moved the court, complaining he was made accused in connection with implementation of a cabinet decision 21 years ago.

The court also rejected his plea that import of Palmolein occurred two decades ago and the case is based by limitation.

The Supreme Court had on March 3 last year set aside the appointment of Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner.

The Apex Court had termed as "illegal" the Sept 3, 2010 recommendation for appointment of Thomas as CVC since the high-powered committee did not consider the pending charge sheet against him in the palmolein import scam.

The decision to import palmolein was taken when Congress led UDF government under K Karunakaran was in power.

DMRC to move out of Kochi Metro?

KOCHI: In a conspicuous move to take away the decision-making powers assumed to E. Sreedharan on Kochi Metro, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) plans to move out of the Kochi Metro.

DMRC has decided that consent from the director board meeting is needed to take over projects outside Delhi. Half of the shares of DMRC is with Delhi government.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Narrow escape for Minister Mohanan and T V Rajesh MLA

KANNUR:  Minister K P Mohanan and T V Rajesh MLA had a narrow escape after a boat carrying them overturned while they were on their way to attend a function. The incident happened at Ezhoth.

Panchayat president C V Kunhiraman and Dr Vanaja, an officer of the agricultural department, were in the boat when the accident happened. All got drenched in the water. Police and the local residents together brought them ashore. The function which was set to start at 9 am got a bit delayed.

Keralite dies in Singapore

KOZHIKODE: A Keralite and an assistant computer engineer working in the Microne Company in Singapore was killed in an accident. 

The dead identified as Anoop Joe (23) was the son of John, a teacher of St Mary’s High School in Thamarasseri and Alice, deputy head mistress of GVHSS.

He was killed after a bus hit his bike.

Centipede in masala dosa, Hotel Aryas closed

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Hotel Aryas was closed after a customer found centipede in the masala dosa served. The hotel in Fort was closed after food safety officials inspected the hotel. The creature was found in the masala dosa bought by Nagarajan.

Ramachandran Master seeks probe in ISRO case

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Congress leader and former minister K K Ramachandran Master asked the government to conduct a probe on the conspiracy hatched to trap senior leader K Karunakaran in the ISRO spy case.  The ousted leader said that if the government is not ready for it, then he would approach the court for a CBI probe.

Ramachandran Master said, “I too had campaigned against the leader with Oommen Chandy. I’m seeking a probe now as I regret for the incident. I know some things about the conspiracy, but will not reveal it publicly but will disclose it during investigation.”

Court orders to open KFC

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court directed to open the KFC outlet at Pulimoodu in the capital city. The outlet was closed after worms were found in the chicken served. A bench chaired by Justice C N Ramachandran while directing to open the outlet said the samples were not collected legally from the hotel.

The court asked KFC to abide the criteria of the food safety department. The food safety department was asked to produce in court the results of the food items seized from the outlet in a sealed cover.

Worms were found in the chicken served on October 9.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

South Indian Bank title sponsor of GKSF

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Tourism Department has announced the South Indian Bank, one of India's leading private sector banks, as its title sponsor of the sixth edition of Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF), which is the largest shopping festival of its kind in Asia. A MOU in this regard would be signed between Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar and South Indian Bank Executive Director Abraham Tharayan.

GKSF is one of the biggest events of Kerala's tourism and retail calendar. Season 6 of GKSF starts from December 15, 2012 and concludes on January 31, 2013, aiming to be bigger and better than ever. The 48-day fiesta has lined up special discounts, exciting prizes and a series of fun-filled events for shoppers within and from outside the state. The festival's multi-fold objectives include making Kerala the country's tourism and trade hub by strengthening the state's retail sector, increasing inflow of both domestic and foreign tourists, and promoting our culture, traditions, handicraft and indigenous products. The support of the South Indian Bank could trigger a wave of 'shopping tourism', which has great potential to boost trade and commerce sectors of the country's economy.

Youth drowns in Bharathapuzha

PALAKKAD: A youth drowned while taking bath in the Bharathapuzha near Thrithala. The dead was identified as Sirajudeen, 20, son of Abubeckar of Cholakulam, Padijaramgadi. He had gone to the river with five friends and was trapped in a huge pit formed in the middle of the river due to sand-mining. The police, Fire and Rescue Services personnel and the local people rescued the other youths. One of them, Latheef, 20, has been admitted to a hospital in Pattambi.

Fishing boat runs into seawall

KOLLAM: A mechanised boat on a fishing expedition carrying seven persons got badly damaged when it lost control and ran into a coastal seawall at Eravipuram here on Sunday. One of the crew members, identified as Joseph, was seriously injured. Others escaped with minor injuries. Joseph has been admitted to the district hospital and he was declared out of danger by Sunday evening. It was a group of people residing on the Eravipuram coast who came to the rescue of the boat crew on hearing them wail out for help. The boat had set sail from Kavanad by 11 p.m. on Saturday.

The steersman’s dozing off has been cited as the cause of the accident. A team from the Neendakara coastal police station and the Fisheries Department reached the accident site. Though an attempt was made to retrieve the boat with the help of five mechanised fishing boats, it was unsuccessful.

Hartal begins, Vilappilsala comes to a standstill

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An indefinite hartal has started in the Vilappilsala area which turned into a battlefield after a short gap. Transportation has come to a standstill in Vilappilsala and its surrounding areas.

Shops and other establishments remain closed in the area. The functioning of government offices, banks and educational institutions will be disrupted. Security has been beefed up in these places.  The protestors said they will continue their strike till the government orders closure of the Vilappilsala factory.

People including children of Vilappilsala are taking part in the strike. Vilappil panchayat president S Shobana Kumari’s hunger strike has entered the third day. Many from various sectors of the society have reached the spot expressing solidarity. A large contingent of police has been deployed in the area to avoid any untoward incidents.

The government has called an all-party meeting tomorrow to discuss the issue.

Palakkad emerges champion in Kerala State Junior Athletic Meet 2012

KOCHI: The Palakkad district on Sunday won their first championship in Kerala State Junior Athletic Meet held at Maharaja’s College Ground in Kochi. Bagging 570.75 points from the three day competitions, Palakkad added to their assets 29 gold, 29 silver and 20 bronze medals. Ernakulam came just behind Palakkad with 347.5 points by winning 24 gold, 18 silver, 15 bronze. Kottayam finished third with 374 points. Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode got fourth and fifth places respectively.

Earthquake felt in Kannur, Kasargod

CHERUPUZHA: Minor earthquakes were felt at hilly areas in Kannur and Kasargod districts on Sunday. In Kannur, 2.25 magnitude quakes occurred at Vayakara, Aymaram Kuttoor, East Eleri, West Eleri and Cheemeni. A 4.3 magnitude quake was felt at Madikkeri, Adoor, Kundar, Panathur and Panathedi in Kasargod around 4 pm.

Two dies in accident in Nooranad

ALAPPUZHA: A man and his granddaughter died, and his wife injured in an accident when the scooter they were travelling collided with a Bolero at Nooranad on Sunday morning at 9.30.

The deceased have been identified as Sivadasan (62) and his granddaughter Parvathy (14). Sivadasan’s wife Rathnamma (54) has been admitted to Pushpagiri Medical College Hospital.

Bid to sabotage Kochi Metro, says Vijaya Kumar

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A planned move is taking place to sabotage the Kochi Metro Rail Project for a private company, said former minister M Vijaya Kumar.

This is to grab commission worth crores.  A move has begun to hand over the project to a private company in the name of global tender. The chief minister along with some ministers is trying to hand over the project to a private company led by a former MD expelled.

There are solid evidences to show that in 2005 the then chief minister Oommen Chandy tried to hand over the project to a private sector. Many companies including Gamon India took part in the global tenders invited. The LDF Government which came to power later shelved the move and decided to start the project on a public sector basis.

CPM ‘publicly censures’ VS

NEW DELHI: Senior leader VS Achuthanandan was publicly censured by the CPM for his visit to Koodamkulam against the wishes of the party leadership.

Addressing a press meet here, party general secretary Prakash Karat said the central committee passed a resolution after discussing VS’ stand different from the party stance on the Koodamkulam issue.

Karat directed to wait till the copy of the resolution is obtained when asked about action against VS. There will be no change in the stand taken at the party congress in Kozhikode on the Koodamkulam issue. The CPM is not keen in the closure of the nuclear plant in Koodamkulam, but safety of the people is important.

An independent agency is needed to guarantee safety measures in Koodamkulam.  If it is assured then the plant can be commissioned, he added.

Infosys Q2 profit rises 24%

BANGALORE: Infosys Ltd, India's second-ranked software services provider, reported a 24 percent gain in quarterly profit, as European firms come under pressure to shift more backroom functions offshore to keep their costs in check.

The information technology bellwether caught analysts on the hop in July when it cut its annual sales forecast more deeply than expected - as global economic uncertainty hit tech spending - but its shares have risen by a fifth since its lows that month, beating gains of 13 percent on the benchmark Sensex stock index and nearly 9 percent by market leader Tata Consultancy Services.

Profit at Infosys, whose clients include Bank of America, Volkswagen and GlaxoSmithkline, rose to 23.7 billion rupees ($450 million) for the quarter that ended September, from 19.06 billion rupees a year earlier.

July-September net profit was forecast at 23.8 billion rupees ($448 million), according to Thomson Reuters data. Profit in the previous quarter grew 33 percent from a year earlier.

The recent stock rally has come as investors see some signs of stability for the global economy and hope for an uptick in demand, though the International Monetary Fund this week warned that the United States and Europe could slide back unless they resolved their debt troubles.

IMF head Christine Lagarde has blamed Europe and the US - the mainstays of India's $100 billion software and services outsourcing industry - for companies putting off investment and hiring.

All indebted to retain unity, says Chennithala

KOCHI: All parties are indebted to retain unity in the UDF, said KPCC chief Ramesh Chennithala. The congress cannot go forward by pawning self-respect, he said. All parties are equal and has the same importance in the UDF, he said.

Cardiac surgeries to resume at Pariyaram

KANNUR: The Pariyaram Medical College management has decided to resume cardiac surgeries at the Sahakarana Hrudayalaya attached to the hospital. Heart operations in the Hrudayalaya had been stalled because of the strike by cardiac surgeons and the subsequent termination of senior cardiothoracic surgeon Kuldeep Kumar and cardiac anesthetist Prashanth.

A press release issued by the Hrudayalaya said that dates for cardiac surgery of 28 patients had been fixed. Patients registered for cardiac surgery should contact the Hrudayalaya administrator for dates. In view of the increasing number of patients, heart operations would be conducted on Saturdays and Sundays also, the press release said. Prashanth Surendran, a senior cardiothoracic surgeon, would examine patients in the out-patient wing from 2 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Two held with revolver, bullets

THRISSUR: The police arrested two persons who were found in possession of a revolver and bullets at the Thrissur Chief Judicial Magistrate Court. The police said the bullets were seized from Rafeeq, 34, of Palakkad, who was undergoing trail in a fake currency case. During further investigation, the police recovered a revolver and more bullets from his friend Eqbal, 32.

Malala’s condition satisfactory, vital organs intact: Pak military

Islamabad, Oct 14, 2012:  Pakistan’s teenage rights activist Malala Yousufzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban, was still on ventilator at a top army hospital, though her condition was satisfactory and her vital organs were “intact and working properly”, the military said on Saturday.

The condition of 14-year-old Malala, who is in the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi, continues to be satisfactory, a military spokesman said. She is still on ventilator in the intensive care unit but her vital organs are “intact and working properly,” he said.

A board of doctors is continuously monitoring her condition. A special medical team, comprising specialists from abroad and civilian hospitals and senior doctors of the Pakistan Army, is also keeping a vigil on Malala’s health round the clock, the spokesman said.

Malala, who along with two of her school friends was attacked by militants on Tuesday in Mingora – the main town in the former Taliban stronghold of Swat, was airlifted from a military hospital in Peshawar to Rawalpindi for better care on Thursday after doctors removed a bullet lodged near her spine.

One more held for theft from bank

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  The Thampanoor police have arrested one more person in connection with the theft of pawned gold from the Thiruvananthapuram Service Cooperative Bank’s branch near Gandhari Amman temple road. Circle Inspector Sheen Tharayil identified the suspect as Hari Prasad, a cashier of the bank. Earlier, the police had arrested the bank’s appraiser, Gita Ramani, in this connection.  Tharayil said Gita and Hariprasad had conspired to steal, in phases, pawned gold ornaments for which no claimants had turned up in the past 10 years. They pawned the stolen gold in other banks and used the amount to acquire property and vehicles. The suspect was remanded to 14 days in judicial custody.

Kudumbashree is govt’s agency, says Muneer

KOZHIKODE: Kudumbashree is an agency of the government and it is my responsibility to run that organization smoothly, said Minister M K Muneer.

Muneer said discussions in connection with the strike were held after consulting with the chief minister. I’ve not added anything on my own, he said.

Munner said, “The land of the Calicut University has not been donated. If examined the agenda of the syndicate, one can examine that. It was the League who spotted the 600 acres of land for the university. The effort of many including my father was behind it. Those criticizing the League are not aware of the history of the UDF.”

League not to back out from self-examination, says Kunhalikutty

KASARGOD: The Muslim League will not back out from self-examination if required, said Minister P K Kunhalikutty. He said that he is not responding to the criticisms voiced by V D Satheesan MLA against League.

The minister said issues to be discussed will be done with open minds. But daily matters are not discussed in party meetings. Prime importance is given on how administration can be made beneficial to the public.  It is not necessary to reply to every statement, he said.

V D Satheesan MLA had stated that the League’s fifth ministerial post has dented the communal atmosphere of the state.

Decision on Koodamkualm after CC stand, says VS

NEW DELHI: A decision will be taken after knowing central committee’s stand on continuing support in the Koodamkulam strike, said opposition leader V S Achuthanandan.  Party general secretary Prakash Karat will inform their stand at a press meet, he said.

VS said, “I just conveyed the anxiety regarding the strike held in Koodamkulam. The Koodamkulam issue will affect almost 6 crore people of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. The decision on the post of opposition leader will be taken by the party.”

There are many in the congress party who oppose and support K Karunakaran in the case. In the present situation, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy should give a reply in the case.

E. Sreedharan writes to KMRL, State and Central governments

KOCHI: Resisting the move to avoid including him and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in Kochi Metro Project, Metro Man E. Sreedharan wrote letters to Kerala Minister Aryadan Muhammed, central Urban Development Ministry, and the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL), clarifying that there is nothing which bars DMRC from getting the execution power of the project since DMRC is not a consultancy of Kochi Metro Project.

The advisor of Kochi Metro Project and former DMRC Chief, Sreedharan also said the central government can hand the project to DMRC.

‘Kerala Kaumudi’, on September 11, had reported the stance of KMRL that execution power of the project could not be handed to DMRC according to the conditions of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Central Public Enterprises Department, and Central Finance Ministry.

Sreedharan, in his letter, says DMRC has not been appointed as the consultancy of the project. The consultancy contract has not been signed.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

SFI wins MG varsity polls

Kottayam , Oct 13, 2012: The Students Federation of India (SFI) has taken control of the students’ union in 22 out of the 28 colleges affiliated to the Mahatma Gandhi University that went to polls on Friday, according to SFI sources.

The SFI also wrested control over the University Union by winning 36 out of the 46 posts.

The Kerala Students Union took control of the students’ union in four colleges, out of which two have been formed without a coalition.

The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) was able to register a victory in one college union.

None of the unions were able to gain a majority at St. Dominic’s College, Kanjirappally.

Residents thwart municpality’s attempt to dump waste in town

Tension prevailed in the area as local people resisted the attempts of the Alappuzha Municipality to dump waste at the road near the Women and Children Hospital here in the wee hours of Wednesday.

The authorities tried to dig up a hole and dump the waste at around 2.30 a.m. Locals gathered in large numbers when they spotted trucks of the municipality carrying waste. Almost half of the hole was filled with waste by the time people gathered. The truck driver fled the scene immediately. However he was caught by the locals and was released after police arrived. The local residents said it was the second attempt made to dump waste in the area.

Actress Ananya competing in state archery championship 2012

It's been five years since actress Ananya pursued a passion close to heart in all seriousness. The two-time state archery champion let go her interest in the sport following a busy career in films and a freak accident five years ago. But St Albert's ground in Kochi might as well see the rebirth of the champion in her today, as she steps in to represent Ernakulam district in the State Archery Championship.

"Am I tanned beyond recognition?" the actress says in a funny vein as she takes a break from the practice sessions. Ananya, who was shooting for her third Telugu flick, director Raghevendra Rao's Intintaa Annamayya, off Vizag, decided to try her luck at the sport when she had a few days at hand back home in Kochi before the next schedule commences. For the past few days, Ananya was seen practising for her event in Kochi. "I wonder if my film's crew will question who I am when I'm back on the sets! It was difficult initially; especially since I haven't been practising regularly after I fell off a scooter five years ago and hurt my hand. And then, more recently, I fractured my elbow on the other hand in another freak accident on the sets of my film, Nadodimannan. Nevertheless, I wanted to participate," Ananya tells us, adding, "Though, I won't be disappointed if I don't win a medal, for I'm quite sure that all the participants have been training hard and for long now. All I want is to give it a try."

Incidentally, while her beau Anjaneyan has been her pillar of support, he hasn't been going to her practice sessions. "I did go initially; and even tried a hand at the sport. The bow was much heavier than what I thought it to be! But then, her coach told me that when I'm around, she's losing focus," he says with a laugh. "So I decided to stay away for good."

So will he give the final event today a miss? "I don't know actually. If Ananya is comfortable having me around, I'll only be too happy to witness her performing her best at the championship."

Ann in Ranjith’s new movie Leela

Director Ranjith’s soon-to-begin ‘Leela’ will see actress Ann Augustine playing yet another character where she plays the title role. Incidentally, her debut, director Lal Jose’s ‘Elsamma Enna Aankutty’, also had her essaying the title role. Leela is a heroine-centric film based on R Unni’s story.

“The film has been getting postponed for some time now as the director was busy with his other commitments. However, we’ve tentatively decided to start the shoot of Leela in January,” says Ann, who’s thrilled to be part of a film by Ranjith, one the most popular filmmakers of the present times. “I’ve known him since childhood as my father’s friend (Ann is the daughter of actor Augustine); in fact, he’s the one who gave me my pet name, Vicky. However, this is the first time I’ll be acting in his flick. Yes, I’m excited to the core!”