Saturday, May 31, 2014

HRD Minister Irani seeks revocation of suspension of DU staff

NEW DELHI: HRD Minister Smriti Irani today asked Delhi University to "reinstate" five non-teaching staff members, who were suspended for allegedly leaking purported documents relating to her undergraduate admission and admit card following a row over her educational qualifications.

Irani said that in public life one should be open to scrutiny and criticism. "So am I," the Minister said on microblogging site Twitter.

She said that "since Delhi University is an autonomous institution, I have put forth my personal appeal to the Vice Chancellor to reinstate the officials".

University sources had yesterday said that its School of Open Learning has suspended five persons on the suspicion that they entered a confidential domain and accessed documents which were leaked.

Those suspended are a Section Officer and four officials below him in hierarchy. An inquiry has been initiated against them, they said.

Meanwhile, Congress attacked the Narendra Modi government over the suspension of the officials.

"5 officials of Delhi University suspended for leaking HRD Minster's educational qualification details!Does this Govt believe in transparency," party general secretary Digvijay Singh tweeted.

Taking another potshot at the government, he said, "ACHHE DIN AA GAYE HEIN. Would anyone stand up for the suspended officials of DU?”

After Irani sought revocation of the suspension, Singh quipped, "Thanks Smriti for appealing to VC DU for reinstating DU officials. Now let people of this Country know your actual Educational Qualification".

Sources said the officials have admitted to SOL's Director Chandra Shekhar Dubey to leaking the documents.

Irani is at the centre of a raging controversy over her educational qualification after it emerged that she had made contradictory declarations when she contested Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and 2014.

Congress had launched a broadside against her questioning her ability to deliver as HRD minister as she was "not even a graduate".

Irani had said "extraneous circumstances" were created to deviate her attention from work and asked the people to judge her by her work.

Badaun sisters’ gang rape: Kin want accused to be hanged publicly

BADAUN: On Saturday, family members of the two teenage cousin dalit sisters who were gang-raped and hanged, termed the incident as more gruesome than December 16 gang-rape case and demanded that the accused should be hanged publicly.

Father of one of the victims, who was gang-raped in Ushait area on the night of May 27, said that the incident was "more gruesome than Delhi gang-rape case which rocked the nation".

He also demanded a CBI probe, adding that there should be nothing less than capital punishment.

"The manner in which the entire world saw our innocent girls hanging, we want that in the same manner it should watch the accused hanging. They should be hanged publicly," he said.

The father said that he did not believe in the promises and announcements of the state government.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had come down heavily on police officers on Friday, warning them that such incidents should not be repeated any cost.

He had said that the family of the victims should be given financial assistance of Rs five lakh each.

However, the victim's father said that they don't want any compensation.

"We want justice, not compensation," he said.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Hooch tragedy looms large: Sudheeran

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: KPCC president V M Sudheeran has said that there is a possibility for spurious liquor tragedy in the State and hence the government should be on high alert. “To put the government in a dilemma, liquor lobby may be trying to plot a hooch tragedy,” he said.  

He said it is not the government’s aim to promote drinking by raising the standard of bars. “We want to bring in complete liquor ban by reducing drinkers’ craving for alcohol,” he added.

One arrested under Goonda Act

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  A person who had been committing robbery on trains was arrested on Friday under Goonda Act. Jamal from Kottayam, Ettumanoor was arrested by Railway police and handed over to State police.

Jamal, who is already an accused in about 100 cases of theft, has undergone punishment in the past. Now, he will be in preventive detention in jail for six months.

Adalat also, as part of Operation Kubera

THRISSUR: Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala has said that as part of Kubera Operation, initiated to curb ‘blade’ mafias, Adalats will be convened at district-level.

Adalats will be held in all districts under the supervision of SPs. Adalats will be held before June 20.

Adalat will examine the authenticity of complaints and take action against genuine complaints. On the other hand, if it lacks credibility, action will be taken against the petitioner.

Monsoon will be on time: Met Department

NEW DELHI: India Meteorological Department has informed that monsoon will hit Kerala on June 1 itself. But Met department director B P Yadav said that one could not rule out the possibility of a slight delay in its onset.

Formation of low pressure area is expected over Arabian sea and Bay of Bengal. The Met department said that it was closely observing the direction and nature of the wind day by day.

Shut down KSRTC if it is running at a loss: HC

KOCHI: Kerala High court has asked why KRTC is not shutting down, if it is running at a loss. The court also questioned the logistics behind hiking the minimum bus fare from Rs 7 to Rs 10.

The questions were thrown up by Justice K Surendran while considering a petition filed by Ernakulam-based Advocate Basil Aippettu against the rise in bus fare.       

If the government finds it difficult to run the KSRTC, it should be handed over to a competent management. If there is any flaw in the bus fare hike, it should be examined by Transport Secretary, the court said and allotted two months’ time for this.

When the government argued in the court that it had to go for a hike since the KSRTC had been running in loss, the court retorted that the story about its loss was an open secret.

Pregnant woman stamped to death in Delhi

NEW DELHI:A man stamped his nine-month old pregnant wife to death in New Delhi. She has been identified as Princy of Thodupuzha. The police arrested her husband Shaiju in connection with the incident.

The incident happened last night. The police had warned Shaiju after the woman lodged a complaint to the police earlier mentioning her husband’s cruelty.

Govt not to appeal on Aranmula issue, says Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government will not appeal against the verdict of the National Green Tribunal cancelling environment clearance for the Aramula Airport Project, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. Meantime, the chief minister said the government will not oppose if KGS Group, the project promoters, obtain a favourable verdict.

The Chennai bench of the green tribunal had cancelled the clearance of the project two days back.

In reply to a question, he asked social activists to use respectable language.

MPs’ path is bed of thorns: Innocent

KOCHI: Innocent, an actor and the Left independent MP from Chalakkudy has said he knew that an MP’s path is not a bed of roses but a bed of thorns. Talking to media persons at Ernakulam Press Club he said, “Whether I am an MP or minister, my character will not change.”

“It is said that to speak out in Parliament one needs to know Hindi. But I don’t see it as a big thing. My film colleague Paresh Raval will be there in the Parliament as a BJP MP. Even then speaking Hindi will be an added advantage,” he said and added in a humorous tone that he had come to learn from others that an MP can also survive in the Parlimaent with Malayalam.

When asked about row over Human Resource Development Smrithi Irani’s educational qualification he quipped: When we talk about that she and I will  come under the same category.

Police man stabbed at Railway station

KOLLAM: Senior Civil police officer Abdul Salam, 50, who was on duty at Kollam Railway station, was stabbed on Friday with a knife. The injured police man was soon rushed to district hospital by other policemen who were also on duty at the station. He had sustained a deep injury on his back side.

The incident happened at 8 in the morning at Plat Form number 1.

 In connection with the incident the police have nabbed Vipinchandran, 35,   a native of Vettikavala. He is suspected to be a mentally deranged person. Even in custody Vipinchandran tried to create panic by shouting and behaving like a mad man.
The police also recovered the knife from him. He is being questioned by policemen under the instructions of SI Sanal kumar.  

It all happened when Vipinchandran was walking on the platform dragging a sack. The sack hit the body of a passenger standing nearby, which resulted in a heated argument between them. Seeing them quarrelling, Salam intervened to solve the issue. In the melee, Vipin took out his knife and stabbed the police man and at that time there were no trains on platforms.

George compares Anto Antony to dog in blog

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Government chief Whip PC George has taken to his blog to attack Anto Antony MP who had lashed out at him during the KPCC Executive meeting held on Thursday.  

In his blog he has written a satirical story of sorts, making unveiled criticism against Anto Antony. ‘Mullinu keezhil nadakkan bhayappedunna purathu punnulla kodichi’ is the title given to the story. Anto Antony had yesterday alleged that George had sent ‘quotation team’ to kill him and followed it with numerous other criticisms.

Antony had likened George to a mad dog and it was against this that George ‘cooked up’ a story without directly naming Antony in the story. He has also scoffed at Antony’s reference to death threat allegedly perpetrated by George.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mustafa suspended for 'joker' comment

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Former Kerala minister T H Mustafa was today suspended from Congress for calling Rahul Gandhi a "joker" and saying he should be removed if he does not resign in the backdrop of the party's debacle in the Lok Sabha polls.

As the remark by Mustafa fuelled a controversy with some party leaders condemning it, a meeting of the KPCC held here to review the election performance of the party and the UDF led by it in the state felt the Congress leader had committed "a serious mistake" by making adverse comments againt Rahul.

Mustafa had prima facie breached the organisational discipline and decorum and he was being suspended from the primary membership, pending futher inquiry into his conduct, KPCC President V M Sudheeran said briefing reporters on the deliberations at the meet.

He said the party at the national and state level had taken a clear position that individual leaders should not be held responsible for the defeat.

Mustafa, who was a minister in the K Karunakaran Ministry in the early 1990s, had told a news conference in Kochi yesterday that Rahul depended on a coterie close to him during the campaign and said "acting like a joker" would not help in elections.

"He (Rahul) should resign from the party. He should not continue. If he doesn't resign voluntarily, he should be removed. He acted like a joker(during the poll campaign)....," Mustafa had said.

Taking exception to the remark, the Youth Congress state President Dean Kuriakose raised the issue at the meeting and demanded expulsion of Mustafa from the party for his fulmination at the central leadership.

The Congress and its UDF allies have done comparatively well in Kerala bagging 12 of the 20 seats at stake, but the party suffered some glaring losses with the LDF wresting its traditional strongholds like Idukki and Chalakkudi.

Though a KPCC Executive member, Mustafa, known for his penchant for targeting leaders in the state, did not turn up at the meeting today, sources said.

Some of those who spoke at the executive also made critical comments against the central leadership, without naming Rahul or any other top leaders, party sources said.

However, most senior leaders held that it would be inappropriate to put the entire blame on any particular leader.

In Nagpur, senior Congress leader and former union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar disagreed with Mustafa's assessment.

"I do not agree with what a senior Kerala leader said about Rahul," he said.

On change of party leadership, Aiyar said, "Congress had (fared) badly previously in regimes of prime ministers Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and also under P V Narasimha Rao. But at no time did the question of change of leadership crop up".

Backing Sonia and Rahul, Aiyar questioned whether parties like SP, BSP, who too got bruised in polls, have changed their top leadership?

"There is no question of changing Congress leadership of Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi. Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh, BSP supremo Mayawati and Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal's party also fared poorly.

"But have these leaders quit or is there any demand for their removal," Aiyar asked.

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi condemned the remarks and said they were made out of frustration.

Another Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal sidestepped Mustafa's comment and asked party leaders to raise issues internally.

Former Minority Affairs Minister K Rehman Khan also said the issues should be raised in the party forum.

"Who is responsible and what has happened is a matter to be investigated. Congress president and Vice President have said that they have taken the responsibility. It does not mean that you go on criticizing them. Going public with your views is against party discipline," he said.

T H Mustafa calls Rahul 'joker'

KOCHI: Blaming Rahul Gandhi for the party's electoral reverses in the Lok Sabha election, a senior leader in Kerala Wednesday termed the Congress vice president a "joker" and demanded he be removed from his posts if he does not step down voluntarily.

T H Mustafa, a former minister, also demanded Gandhi's sister Priyanka Gandhi be made the new party chief.

Addressing reporters here, Mustafa said that Gandhi should quit from his post and if he does not, he should be removed.

"Rahul behaved like a joker and that's the reason why the Congress suffered a major reversal in the Lok Sabha polls. The role of a prime minister is not child's play and the people knew it and handed out the worst defeat to the Congress party.

"He should take responsibility and quit and if not he should be removed and Priyanka Gandhi should be made the new president of the party," he said.

"His (Rahul's) mad style of working using computer and internet and in the company of a group of CWC members who only praise whatever he does has caused this defeat. It's unfortunate that even A K Antony belongs to this group," he said.

Mustafa, a former minister in the K Karunakaran cabinet (1991-95) and five-time legislator, is known for openly attacking top leaders of his party.

KSRTC will tide over financial crisis within a year: Antony Chacko

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: New KSRTC chairman and MD Antony Chacko has said that within one year, the corporation will come out of its financial crisis and start making profit.

He said: As of now, the KSRTC is running at a loss of Rs 93 crore. By hiking the bus fare, the department will get an extra income of Rs 15 crore. By transferring the pension liability to LIC, the department will save Rs 37 crore.

“The board had a loan burden at 14.5 percent interest and if the interest is reduced, Rs 27 crore will be saved on that account. After all this, there is a loss of 14 crore and it can be negated if the bus schedules are rearranged so as to generate a daily income of Rs 7 crore,” the MD said.

Malayali stabbed to death in Riyadh

RIYADH: A Malayali was found stabbed to death in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) on Thursday. The dead has been identified as Ajeeb hailing from Mannarkkad.

According to reports he was murdered by his colleague. Saudi Police said that the accused is a citizen of Sudan.

Power supply will be partially disrupted

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In North Kerala, the power supply will be partially disrupted on Thursday and Friday.

The KSEB informed that the power failure was because small repair works were going on in Madakkathara Line.

Suresh Gopi’s make-up man succumbs to accident injuries

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Actor Suresh Gopi’s make-up man died on Thursday. He was severely injured in a road accident, recently and had been battling for life in hospital.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Give statement on Thursday itself, Court instructs Saritha

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In the case relating to the rape allegation against A P Abdullakutty MLA, solar scam accused Saritha S Nair was asked by Thiruvananthapuram Chief Judicial Magistrate to give her statement on Thursday itself.  The court also made it clear that it could not extend the time for recording statement any further.   

Meanwhile, Saritha, on Tuesday, requested for five more days’ time to give statement as she would be in the hospital.

The case was that the MLA had called her to Mascot hotel apparently to discuss matters related to solar panel project and raped her. But, interestingly, Saritha didn’t turn up the last two times she was summoned to record her statements.

Be humane in approach, CM tells police

ANGAMALY: Police who work day and night to maintain law and order should also have a humane approach towards people, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said.

He was speaking at the Police association’s 31st State representative’s meet after inaugurating it.

For justice, people first approach police and towards them police should take a conscientious approach, he said, adding that the government would proceed with harsh measures against ‘blade’ mafia into whose trap the poor has fallen.

Situation demands hike in electricity tariff: Aryadan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Electricity Minister Aryadan Muhammed has said that the current situation in State demands a hike in electricity tariff. There is a shortage of Rs 2,900 crore for the Board.

“In order to increase the tariff, the Board needs the permission of Regulatory Commission. The government should also recommend for hike in tariffs,” said the minister, who added that the government had not taken a decision in that regard.

Centre can take decision on Aranmula issue: Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The centre can take their own decision on the Aranmula Airport issue, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. Briefing reporters after the weekly cabinet meet, he said sanction for the project was given by the former LDF government.

The government had earlier mentioned their stand on the Madhav Gadgil and Kasturirangan report on the protection of Western Ghats. The government is not against the protection of environment but it should be sheltered without neglecting the people, he said.

Chandy said that he is not against the opening of the branches of Prime Minister’s office in states. The government is also not against the idea of the new Prime Minister.

When such offices are commenced in states, the Prime Minister should then explain in which way it should function. I do not think going to Delhi to get things done for the state is so difficult, he said.

I’ll be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 2 as part of courtesy. Development things of the state will be discussed but detailed talks will be held later.

Other cabinet decisions are a temple police station in Guruvayur will be granted,  trawling is banned from June 15-31, moratorium of agricultural debts extended till February 15, 17.5 cents allotted to the Hanuman Kovil Public Trust in Ernakulam,
78 lecturer posts will be created in colleges of Kondotty, Koduvally, Mankada, Balusseri, Chelakkara and Thrithala, posts in colleges of Thalassery, Payyanur, Kattakada and Neyyatinkara were not granted due to some technical reasons and the chief minister has been entrusted for it. 

Passengers with gold in stomach held in Nedumbassery

NEDUMBASSERY: Four passengers, who reached Nedumbassery International Airport with gold in stomach, were taken into custody. A coin of eight grams was obtained from one person as soon as he vomited on reaching the airport. The four has been shifted to the hospital for taking an X ray.

The four reached the airport from Malayasia via Malindo Flight last night. A red light started flashing hinting about the yellow metal on their bodies when the four passed through the metal detector door.  On questioning, they revealed that they have swallowed the metal. Among the four, three are from Ramanathapuram and one from Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu.

Administering enema on them is quite dangerous. In that case, after taking an X-ray certain food items should be given. The X-ray shows how much gold they have swallowed.

Eight periods in schools soon

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: State government has decided to turn the existing seven periods in schools to eight. It has also been decided to reduce one-hour lunch-break to 35 minutes.   

A report regarding the change is being prepared by SERT’s expert committee appointed by the government and it will soon be over. Thus there will be an increase of five periods in a week.

The class-timings will be from 10am to 4pm and lunch-break will be from 12:55 pm to 1:30pm.  

Environmental clearance for Aranmula Airport cancelled

CHENNAI: In a strong setback to Kerala, the Chennai bench of the national green tribunal Wednesday cancelled the environmental clearance given to the proposed airport project in Aranmula.

The bench led by Justice Chockalingam ordered KGS Group, the promoters of the project, not to carry on any work in the area. The court passed the order following the plea of Ranganathan and Royson, activists of Aranmula Heritage Protection Committee.

The four reasons cited for cancelling the environmental clearance are enough statements were not recorded from the public, enviro care, the agency who conducted an environmental study for the project do not have the required qualification, a study was not conducted on the environmental impact and lastly the project will badly affect environment.

The bench observed that the KGS Group obtained the clearance after flouting rules. The bench also rejected state government’s argument that green tribunal has no right to consider the plea.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Five of family consume poison, two children die

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a tragic incident, 33-year-old Rajesh consumed poison along with his mother and three children in Nalanchira.  The man, his mother and one son are battling for life, while another son and daughter died in the hospital.

The victims have been identified as Vignesh R Nair (6) and Ammu alias Sivani (5).
Rajesh of Akshaya Gardens in Nalanchira, his eldest son Maheswaran and mother Kumari (52) are in a serious condition. Rajesh and his mother are admitted in the medical college hospital and son at the intensive care unit of the SAT Hospital.

Vignesh and Sivani were confirmed dead by the time they reached SAT Hospital.  The reason for the crime is not known. A case has been registered.

Saritha warned, withdraws arrest warrant

PATHANAMTHITTA: The Pathanamthitta Chief Judicial Magistrate Court withdrew the arrest warrant issued against Saritha S Nair, the main accused in the solar case. The court warned her for violating bail conditions. The warrant was issued against her for flouting the bail condition asking her not to leave Kerala.

Advocate Fenny Balakrishnan informed the court that it was his fault to advise her to travel via Kollur as there was a threat if travelled to Coimbatore. As the court hadn’t directed which way to travel, travelled via Kollur, he said. "If that is so, she could’ve travelled to Coimbatore via Gulf," quipped the magistrate.

District cooperative bank reduces loan interest rates

KALPATTA: District cooperative bank has reduced its interest rate on loans in order to help the commoners and protect the poor from ‘blade mafias’.   

Bank president P V Balachandran has informed that more funds have been made available to help the bank sanction loans without hassles.

The interest rate over gold loan has been reduced from 13% to 11% and for other loans, the reduction is by 1 to 2 per cent. Housing Loan has been reduced to 10 % from 12.50 %.

SHG/JLG loans are now 9 %, and Tourism/Others loan 14 % 

Registration for Plus One begins

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Registration procedures for Plus One classes have begun in the State. The students can also apply through the website: For further scrutiny, the students will also have to submit application in schools and the last date for this is June 12.

For those who fail to apply online can approach schools where they will get application and prospectus during the first week of June.

“In a few selected schools Focus Point (Help desk) will function till May 31.From here students and parents can get information regarding the course and its job prospects,” Higher Secondary Department Director K N Satheesh informed.

Be humane in approach, CM tells police

ANGAMALY: Police who work day and night to maintain law and order should also have a humane approach towards people, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said.

He was speaking at the Police association’s 31st State representative’s meet after inaugurating it.

For justice, people first approach police and towards them police should take a conscientious approach, he said, adding that the government would proceed with harsh measures against ‘blade’ mafia into whose trap the poor has fallen.

Gadkari defamation case: Kejriwal agrees to furnish personal bond to get bail

NEW DELHI: AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday agreed to furnish personal bond to get bail in the criminal defamation complaint filed against him by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari.

The former Delhi chief minister, who has been lodged in Tihar Jail, accepted to do so on the suggestion of Delhi high court earlier in the day.

Kejriwal's lawyer told HC that personal bond of Rs 10,000 has already been signed and will be filed before magistrate today itself.

A bench of justices Kailash Gambhir and Sunita Gupta had said that Kejriwal can raise whatever legal issues he wants to, once he comes out of jail and that he should not make it a prestige issue.

Senior advocate Shanti Bhushan and advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Kejriwal, had sought to meet the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader in prison to seek his instruction and put forth the court's suggestion.

The judges advised Kejriwal to furnish the bail bond and said that the same would be subject to final outcome of the legal issues raised by him. The legal issue raised by Kejriwal, in his petition seeking his immediate release from the jail, is whether bail bond is necessary in summons case when accused appears and is accompanied by a lawyer.

The petition challenged the May 21 and 23 orders of a magisterial court remanding Kejriwal in judicial custody for not furnishing bail bond in the criminal defamation complaint filed by Gadkari, saying the same was not mandatory and he should have been allowed to give a written undertaking instead. Kejriwal in his plea, filed through advocate Rohit Kumar Singh, has said the magisterial order sending him to judicial custody was "illegal" as it was based on a "completely wrong premise of law."

During the proceedings, the bench suggested that Kejriwal should furnish bail bond and challenge the magisterial orders once he comes out of jail. It also questioned how a habeas corpus, filed on behalf of Kejriwal, applies against a judicial order. A writ of habeas corpus is used to bring a prisoner or detainee before the court to determine if the person's imprisonment or detention is lawful. Kejriwal's counsel argued that his detention is "totally illegal" as only a person in custody is required to furnish bail bond.

Modi restructuring; 17 ministries clubbed under 7 ministers

NEW DELHI: In a restructuring of his Cabinet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today combined 17 related ministries into seven different groups, including some infrastructure departments, in an apparent bid to ensure synergy and better results.

First the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, created in UPA-II, has been brought together with External Affairs Ministry under Sushma Swaraj while Corporate Affairs has been brought back to Finance under Arun Jaitley.

In infrastructure sector, the Prime Minister has combined Road Transport and Highways and Shipping in the ministry to be headed by Nitin Gadkari, who had made a name for himself by adopting an innovative approach in expanding road transport network and bridges in Maharashtra when he was a minister there in BJP-Shiv Sena Government.

Another important infrastructure combination is bringing together Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy under the independent charge of Minister of State Piyush Goyal. These used to be separate ministries with Cabinet ministers incharge in the UPA governments.

Related ministries of Urban Development, Housing and Poverty Alleviation have been placed under the charge of M Venkaiah Naidu, while Rural Development, Panchayat Raj and Drinking Water and Sanitation have been grouped together under the charge of Gopinath Munde.

In another minor combination of ministries, Goa's Shripad Naik has been charge of Culture and Tourism as Minister of State with independent charge.

However, this is not the first time that ministries have been brought together for the purpose of efficiency and homogeneity.

Late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi brought together infrastructure department of Railways, Shipping and Civil Aviation under one combined ministry of Transport headed by the late Bansi Lal. He had three Ministers of States to help him.

Gandhi also clubbed education, culture and women and child development under the Ministry of Human Resources Development under late P V Narasimha Rao. The HRD ministry was created for the first time then.

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his tenure had brought Information Technology and Communication under one umbrella while his successor Manmohan Singh had brought together Surface Transport and Shipping.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Rajnikanth not to attend Modi swearing-in ceremony

CHENNAI: Tamil superstar Rajnikanth, who had been invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi Monday, will not attend the function, sources close to the actor said.

They said the actor was not in town and, therefore, would not attend the ceremony, which will see Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, among other dignitaries, grace the occasion.

The sources did not divulge any further information.

The actor's move comes in the wake of a fringe student outfit staging a protest near his house last night, asking him to stay away from the ceremony in the light of Rajapaksa's participation.

All political parties in Tamil Nadu, including the ruling AIADMK and also the DMK, have opposed the invitation extended to Rajapaksa.

Earlier, during his election campaign in Chennai, Modi had taken time off and met Rajnikanth at his residence.

He had extended an invitation to Rajnikanth for the swearing-in ceremony today.

Narendra Modi visits Rajghat

NEW DELHI: Ahead of being sworn in as India's 15th Prime Minister, Narendra Modi Monday visited Rajghat and paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi.

Modi spent around 10 minutes at Rajghat, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.

A number of Delhi BJP leaders including Harsh Vardhan, Vijay Goel and Vijender Gupta were present at Rajghat.

Modi, who led BJP to an astounding victory in the Lok Sabha polls, will be sworn in as the Prime Minister this evening in the forecourt of the majestic Rashtrapati Bhawan at a grand function to be attended by foreign dignitaries including SAARC leaders.

President Pranab Mukherjee will administer the oath of office and secrecy to Modi and his Council of Ministers in the presence of a host of leaders, including outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, besides leaders of various other parties and Chief Ministers of a number of states.

17 cabinet ministers to be sworn in along with Modi

NEW DELHI: Narendra Modi will be sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India at a function to be held Monday evening, 17 cabinet ministers and 16 ministers of states will also take oath along with Modi. Meanwhile, senior leaders L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi have not been included in the cabinet. The list of ministers has been handed over to the President.

Others to be sworn in along with Modi are Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Naja Heptullah, Uma Bharati, Ravishankar Prasad, Venkiah Naidu, Gopinath Munde, Harsha Vadhan, Maneka Gandhi, Ananth Kumar, Piyush Goel, V K Singh, Jitender Singh, Nirmala Seetharaman, Upendra Kushwaha, Ram Vilas Paswan, Kalraj Mishra, Tawarchand Gehlot, Juel Oram, Rao Inderjit Singh, Kiran Rijju.

Malayali in Mecca shot dead

MALAPPURAM:  A Malayali was found to be shot dead in Mecca on Saturday. The dead has been identified as Anas Puthuveettil, a native of  Nilambur. Anas reached Mecca a week ago under House driver’s visa.

Train services restored in capital city

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Train services disrupted after an electric line snapped near Kazhakoottam have been restored. Maintenance work on the electric line was completed, informed the railway sources. The 66 KV Line snapped on the track between Kazhakkoottam amd Kochveli early Sunday morning at 4 am.

The train services were disrupted following the snag. Trains to other places from the capital city were not able to depart.  Trains proceeding to the capital city were stopped at Kollam. The services were restored after four hours. Railway authorities said trains to the capital city would be affected for almost three hour.

Informed party about readiness to resign: M A Baby

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CPM leader M A Baby told a news channel on Saturday that he had informed the party about his readiness to resign as Kundara MLA as he failed to win the Lok Sabha election from Kollam constituency which includes Kundara Assembly constituency.

He said he believed in the righteousness rather practicality and the final decision regarding his resignation would come from the party.

No chance for a minister from state, says Rajagopal

NEW DELHI: Why should a minister given from the party announced as untouchability in Kerala, asked former union minister and BJP leader O Rajagopal. There is no chance to get a minister from the state in the Narendra Modi Government, he said.

Rajagopal termed as ‘unfortunate’ on the decision of the chief minister to skip the swearing in ceremony of Narendra Modi. This shows the attitude of the state, he said.

Chandy to meet Modi on June 2

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Monday said that he will meet PM designate Narendra Modi on June 2 and hold talks with him. Chandy said Modi had invited him to attend the swearing in ceremony. I had informed my inability to be present on the occasion due to prior engagements in the state, he said.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa are also not attending the function. Jayalalithaa is skipping the ceremony due to the presence of Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse.

Three children drown in Edamalayar River

KOTHAMANGALAM: Three children drowned at the Edamalayar River Sunday afternoon. They have been identified as Abhijith, Krishnendu and Jithu of Alappuzha.

The incident happened in the aftenoon at the Vadattuppara Palavanpadi side of the Edamalayar River when they went for bathing. 

Krishnendu died while trying to rescue Abhijit and Jithu from drowning. The bodies of the three were fished out with the help of the local people. The bodies have been shifted to the hospital for post mortem.

Students found dead in well

THRISSUR: Two plus one students were found dead in a well. They have been identified as Greeshma, daughter of Shankaran of Thycaud and Anjali, daughter of Baby.

The bodies were found in the well in the search conducted after the two were found missing. The bodies were taken out after police reached the spot.

Chandy to skip Modi's swearing in

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is not attending the swearing in ceremony of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister in New Delhi tomorrow, citing pre-scheduled engagements in the state, which prompted the BJP to term the decision as "unfortunate".

According to the Chief Minister's Office sources, Chandy had received the invitation for the ceremony but informed Modi about his inability to be present on the occasion due to "pressing" engagements in the state.

Chandy, a senior Congress leader, will be meeting the new Prime Minister during his next visit to Delhi, they said.

Senior BJP leader O Rajagopal termed as "unfortunate" Chandy's decision to skip the ceremony.

Rajagopal, who was a Minister in the Vajpayee Government and had two terms in the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh, said he was confident that Modi Government would be extending all support to the development of Kerala.

Rajagopal, who lost narrowly to Congress's Shashi Tharoor in Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat, however, said Kerala is unlikely to have representation in the Modi Ministry and held there was no justification to make a claim for that.

"I don't think Kerala will have a representation in the ministry. Kerala cannot make a claim since the state has treated BJP like an untouchable," he told reporters.

BJP has persistently tasted defeat in parliament and assembly elections in the state.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Don’t be judgemental about Modi rule: K M Mani

KOTTAYAM:  Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani has said it is not right to be prejudiced against the soon-to-be governance of Prime minister-designate Narendra Modi. He said he was optimistic about Centre showing its due consideration to Kerala.

Mani hopes that Kerala will get all the backing and help from Modi government.  
“In case the help doesn’t reach us, we will together put pressure on the Centre to make it respond to our demands,” He said.

Meanwhile, Muslim League leader E Ahamed MP said that the League knew what to do when Modi became the prime minister. “No one needs to teach League politics. Minor communities will demand what they need and will see to it that it is delivered,” he said.

Valakom case: Aides of Pillai, son subjected to polygraph test

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CBI has subjected close aides of Kerala Congress (B) chairman Balakrishna Pillai and his son Ganesh Kumar MLA to lie-detector test in the case relating to the assault on a teacher in Valakom.

Pillai’s cousin Saranya Manoj and Ganesh Kumar’s Additional Personal Assistant Pradeep were subjected to the test. Six more persons will have to undergo the test and CBI hopes to collect more evidence from them.

The case is that an attempt was made to murder Krishnakumar , a teacher in the RVHSS school run by Balakrishna Pillai. According to the teacher’s statement, a few persons had tried to kill him on his way back home from the house of astrologer Sreekumar.

Nobody can write off Congress party: Antony

NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader A K Antony has said that the party had expected a defeat in the Lok Sabha election but never imagined that its intensity would be of such a magnitude. But he said, “the Congress represents India’s culture and nobody can script the final fate of the party,” he said.       

He said: “As far as the Congress is concerned, defeat is not a new thing. The Congress will make a comeback, fighting every bit to regain the lost trust among the people. It is not an easy task… Rahul or Sonia can’t be blamed for the poll defeat. Rahul is the Congress person who had done maximum campaigns. The responsibility of the defeat is equally shared by Congress leader.”

Antony said there was no move in the party to remove Rahul or Sonia. The Congress would return under the leadership of Sonia and Rahul. He would not be considered for the post of Rajya Sabha Opposition leader, while the party would function as a constructive Opposition.     

The Congress leader said Kerala had done a good job even when there was anti-Congress sentiment throughout India. But for a few controversies, UDF would have got three or four additional seats. Lauding Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his government, Antony said “UDF will win again if the assembly elections are held”.

Antony added that he was stepping down as defence minister with a sense of satisfaction. He clamed that he could do many things for Kerala, ensure the security of the nation and boost the morale of Indian military forces.

Premachandran deserved it: Pinarayi

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CPM State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday said that he had used an abusive term (scoundrel) against RSP leader N K Premachanran since he deserved to be called so. That usage had not brought any dent to the party image.

He said the party didn’t deny the fact there was leakage of LDF votes. The defeat of the Front in Thiruvnanthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kozhikode and Vadakara would be evaluated. The reason for reduction in votes will also be analysed and proper remedial measures will be taken. “In the election, community organisation helped the UDF and even the media supported it,” he said           

“In Kollam, CPM and CPI together campaigned during the election. The party will examine whether it was only RSP’s crossover to the UDF that had cost it Kollam seat.
We don’t feel that the telecast of interview against Mata Amritanandamayi had affected the party’s performance in Kollam, Alappuzha,” he said.

Dismissing M A Baby’s readiness to resign, Pinarayi said the party had not decided about Baby’s resignation.       

Nod for merger of RSPs; party will remain as single party at national level

NEW DELHI: RSP’s Central committee meeting has given the go-head for the merger of RSP and RSP (B). In the meeting held in Delhi on Saturday, the party decided to hold plenum within the next six moths to chart out future course of action.

Ironically, the RSP is with the Left in Bengal and with the Congress in Kerala. RSP merger committee will be held in Kerala on June 10.  The nod for merger was given despite the fact that the RSP’s stand in Kerala is different from that at national level.

Party leaders N K Premachandran and AA Aziz explained the circumstances that led the RSP in Kerala to leave LDF and join UDF. National Secretary T J Chandrachoodan said the central leadership had accepted that decision as it was appraised of the ill-treatment RSP received at the hands of the CPM. He added that RSP’s national meeting would also discuss ways to regain the "lost glory" of the Left.

Doctor operates on boy’s ‘genitals instead of heel’

MOOVATTUPUZHA: A doctor in Moovattupuzha on Saturday allegedly operated on a 6-yr-old boy’s genitals by mistake, when actually, the lump to be removed was in his heel.

The incident happened at Moovattupuzha Taluk hospital and the doctor responsible for this medical negligence is reportedly one Dr Tehzool J Rasool there. Later, after coming to know of his blunder, he surgically removed the lump from his heel, as well.  

The issue kicked up a row after the parents gave a complaint to Hospital superintendent in this regard. Following this, the child was taken to another hospital in Kozhancherry for further treatment for which the doctor agreed to foot the hospital bill. 

League was not aware of Chandrika’s editorial: Kunhalikutty

MALAPPURAM:  Minister P K Kunhalikutty has said that the editorial in Muslim League mouthpiece Chandrika, criticising Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for the Congress’ dismal performance in the just concluded Lok Sabha election, was not with prior knowledge of the League. He said action would be taken against those responsible for bringing out such a controversial editorial.

“It will be known in two days against whom action should be taken. Such mistakes have occurred earlier also, but in spite of issuing warnings it has been repeated,” Kunhalikutty said after a League meeting. 

Untouchability towards Modi should end: Muralidharan

NEW DELHI: The untouchability towards Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi should end, said state party president V Muralidharan. At present, chances for a representative from the state in the Modi Government do not exist, he said.

O Rajagopal was made a minister in the A B Vajpayee Government, as he was a Rajya Sabha member. The situation now is different.  The interests of the state will be protected even though nobody represents the state, he said.

If Ganesh resigns, Congress may field its candidate

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It looks like Kerala Congress (B) chairman Balakrishna Pillai’s clamour for making his son K B Ganesh Kumar a minister will not be heeded. His statements with overtones of ‘threat against the government’ also seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

Now, the opinion that is gaining momentum within the Congress party is, if Ganesh Kumar steps down as MLA, the party should field its own candidate in his place in Pathanapuram. The leaders also feel that it is not necessary to succumb to Pillai’s threat that he would reveal Solar scam accused Saritha S Nair’s statements against certain persons in the UDF. Pillai’s threatening statements have been annoying  several UDF leaders for some time now.
In the last UDF meeting, Pillai had warned, “if Ganesh is not made the minister by May 31, repercussions will be damaging and he (Ganesh) will resign his MLA post”.

Meanwhile, the Congress feel that Ganesh’s resignation, if it happens, will not be a threat to the UDF government as RSP has joined the Front and R Selvaraj from CPM also joined the Congress, giving the government the required number in the assembly.

Hindu votes turned against CPI (M)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  It was opined at the CPI (M) state panel meeting that Hindu votes are turning against the party. It was a setback for the party airing the interview of the former disciple of Amritanandamayi in the party channel.

The votes believed not to leak have been leaked and it is a serious lapse that one could not stop that. Leaders attending the talks said that it should be rectified after finding the reason for it. Votes for the front have gone to the BJP. It was also opined that the situation which led the people to vote for Aam Aadmi should also be judged.

Some pointed out that not fielding a candidate from the Nair Community from Thiruvananthapuram to Chalakudy is one of the reasons for the poll debacle.

Though the ‘stinker’ remarks against RSP did not affect much in Kollam, criticisms arose from other districts.

Landslide victory for BJP in Poonjar by-election

KOTTAYAM:  In the by-election held in the 11th ward of Poonjar Panchayat, the BJP has achieved a big win. Sanal P A, who contested under the party symbol, won by a margin of 117 votes.

Out of the total 717 votes polled, 319 went to BJP; UDF got only 203 votes and LDF 195.

Earlier, LDF member Manoj had won from here but as he left the Front and joined the Congress, he was disqualified as panchayat member. Thus, there arose the need for by-election.
BJP’s victory has become a head-ache for both Fronts. In the panchayat, the tally now is LDF - six, UDF – six, and BJP – One. In the panchayat administration, BJP will have a say now. 

Holes spotted on railway track in Kozhikode

KOZHIKODE: Detection of 34 holes on the metal part of the railway track in Kozhikode on Friday has given room for suspicion that attempts were made to sabotage the railway track. Neatly ‘drilled’ holes were spotted at Kundayithodu between Kallayi and Kozhikode. (Kallayi is ten metres away from Kozhikode.)
The holes came to the notice of the railway officials when they were carrying out the routine check-up. The official pointed out that it was impossible to make such five mm-radius holes without the help of machines. They thoroughly suspect sabotage motive behind the incident. The officials have stated searching for clues.

Meanwhile, the local residents staying near by are in the dark as to when it could have happened. They say they don’t remember hearing any drilling sound or seeing any person under suspicious circumstances. This information had added to the mystery surrouding the holes.

A team comprising City police Commissioner A V George and RPF Inspector Anil Kumar has rushed to the spot and started investigation. Nallalam police and railway protection force have filed a case over the incident.   

Legal steps will be taken on standard bars, says Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: All the 418 bars closed will not be opened, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. However, legal steps will be taken on standard bars. Some of the bars opened are of substandard. I don’t know how the 317 bars opened are functioning, he said. The government is trying to implement a complete ban on liquor by reducing the availability of liquor in phases, said Chandy.

If anyone has been defeated in the Lok Sabha polls, it is because of their own faults, he said. They could not have been defeated if their doings were good. They are blaming others, as they could not criticize themselves, he said.

Arrest warrant against ‘elusive’ Saritha

PATHANAMTHITTA: Pathtnanmthitta Judicial Magistrate court has issued an arrest warrant against solar scam accused Saritha S Nair on Friday as she did not appear in the court for the second consecutive time in a case related to her breaching bail terms.
“The warrant should be executed before the case comes up for hearing on June 2,” the court said.

Saritha had visited Kollur Mookambika temple in Karnataka, which went against her bail conditions. It was the investigating officer who had moved court against Saritha’s temple visit, submitting that she flouted bail terms.  

While considering the case, the court asked whether Saritha was befooling it. It also pointed out that it was for the third time that the case was being postponed.

Meanwhile, Saritha’s advocate Feny Balakrishnan informed the court that she could not appear in the court as she had to attend another case in Chalakkudy. “She can’t attend two courts at the same time,” he said. Following this, the arrest warrant was issued.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

Ensure devotees’ safety in Guruvayoor: HC

KOCHI:  Kerala High Court has instructed the Guruvayoor temple authorities to ensure the safety and security of devotees visiting the temple. “There are complaints about ill-treatment being meted out to the devotees thronging for darshan of the deity. The matter should be treated with due seriousness,” observed the bench chaired by Justice T R Ramachandran.

The court said, day by day complaints by devotees are on the rise. And, under that circumstance, special arrangements should be made for the safety of the devotees.

The court was dealing with the case relating to the assault on a devotee and his mother. The inquiry report on the issue with Advocate General’s seal was handed over to the judge. The copy of the report was given to all parties in the case. 

Opinions should be raised in party forums, says Chennithala

KOZHIKODE: Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala Friday slammed the statement of Minister C N Balakrishnan made yesterday. Allegations should be raised in KPCC meetings. Talking to the media, he said statements damaging the self confidence of congress leaders should be avoided. Balakrishan had yesterday said they lost the Chalakudy seat as P C Chacko contested.

Cheninthala said there is no move to make A P Abdullakutty MLA resign. I had spoken to K Sudhakaran. Kannur DCC president need not express his dissatisfaction towards Abdullakutty, he said.

Government’s Operation Kubera against blade mafia will continue. He asked policemen not to mediate in issues involving blade mafia. Police officials are too under the observation of intelligence, he revealed. If K B Ganesh Kumar, resigns, the Congress will contest in that seat.

RSP to be with UDF in state, says Premachandran

NEW DELHI: The state faction of the RSP will be with the UDF, said N K Premachandran MP. Talking to reporters here, he said that he would work for the interest and unity of the front in which he is.

Premachandran said the party would take policy decisions after sticking on to the party’s originality. The central leadership will take decisions on the party’s future course of action. Decisions should be taken after accepting the stand of the RSP accommodated in the UDF.

In reply to a question, Premachandran said the people of the state have reacted to the remarks of CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.

Auto driver fractures hands of Kerala Kaumudi journalist

KOCHI: An auto driver fractured both the hands of a journalist of Kerala Kaumudi daily for questioning the excess fare charged.  Lenin, working as a sub-editor in the Kochi unit of the daily, was injured in the attack. The police took n into custody Murali (40), the auto driver, in connection with the incident. Lenin is undergoing treatment at the Medical Trust Hospital in the city.

Lenin and his friend P B Praveen Kumar, working as system supervisor in the daily, caught an auto after duty last night. The auto driver charged Rs 40 but Lenin and his friend were willing to pay only Rs 30. The two got into the auto and the driver kept on blabbering about the diesel charge. The two got down midway and said a complaint will be lodged. Soon the drive took a lever from the auto and attacked them with it.

Murali was taken into custody within hours. The police had recently taken stringent action against auto drivers for charging excess fares.

LDF retains Attipra ward, majority in corporation

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Left Front has retained the Attipra ward of the city corporation in the by election held yesterday. Sobha Sivadath of the CPM won by a majority of 913 votes. C Sreekala of the UDF has been pushed to the third position and BJP to the second place. When Sreekala obtained 770 votes Subhakumari of the AAP got only 83 votes.

Majority for the Left Front in the corporation has touched 51 with the win in Attipra. Death of former councilor M S Sangeetha had brought down the LDF tally to 50 in the 100-member sabha. The LDF now has 41 members for CPM , seven for CPI, two for RSP, and one for Congress (S).

‘Licence of unhygienic hotels will be cancelled’

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Food Safety department has informed that the licence of shops and eateries which fail to maintain cleanliness will be cancelled without prior notice.Strict legal action will be taken against hotels, canteen, and wayside eateries with unhygienic infrastructure and food. The department has decided to act quickly as they feel that the fast approaching monsoon may also bring with it several communicable diseases. 

People can register their complaints through toll free number- 18004251125.
Assistant Commissioner (Intelligence) phone:
Thiruvananthapuram: 8943346195
Ernakulam: 8943346196
Kozhikode: 8943346197

Veekshanam retorts to Chandrika’s editorial

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a tit-for-tat reply to Muslim League mouthpiece Chandrika’s editorial blaming Rahul Gandhi for UPA’s poll debacle, Congress mouthpiece Veekshanam, on Thursday, came out with a strongly-worded editorial.

The editorial criticises Chandrika for squarely blaming Rahul Gandhi for Congress’ dismal performance. “Muslim League paper’s act of verbally abusing Rahul in the backdrop of election results is far below the level of decency. Can the League show one party which is not individual-centric? Even Muslim League thrives on Panakkattu spiritual glory. When Kerala has faired well in Lok Sabha election, Leauge’s paper is trying to play spoilsports. They better stop this…Moreover, it was inappropriate from the League’s part to choose Rajiv Gandhi’s death anniversary itself to criticise his son,” says the editorial.      

Kadakampally land scam: CBI raids Salim Raj’s quarters

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A CBI team, on Thursday, raided the house and police quarters of former gunman of the chief minister, in connection with Kadakampally land scam case. The raid which started early morning in the City also targeted about 30 centres in the district.

Raids were conducted in Salim Raj’s Palayam quarters and Kottayam residence. The houses of Revenue officials accused in the case as well as having alleged links with the case were raided. Raids were also held in Kochi in connection with Kalamassery land deal.

Balakrishnan not to quit minister’s post

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  Minister of Cooperation C N Balakrishnan has said that in the backdrop of Thrissur poll failure, no one should ever think of removing him from the minister’s post.

He said if Dhanapalan had contested from Chalakkudy, he would have won the election easily. “He was asked to contest from a different place by the high command and this interference by the party did not work out. Thus, it becomes clear that each and every opinion of the high command need not go down well with the people,” he said.

Former MP K P Dhanapalan had earlier told the media that leaders including Balakrishnan had assured the high command of his victory.

Govt for more restrictions on pvt financial institutions

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala government has said that private financial institutions lack transparency in their loan transactions and hence tough restriction should be placed on them.

Pointing out the issue, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala has sent a letter to the Reserve Bank governor. Chennithala has also urged the RBI to take necessary action to ease procedures for sanctioning loans.

Kejriwal's custody extended till June 6

NEW DELHI: A court here Friday extended the judicial custody of former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal till June 6.

Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha extended Kejriwal's judicial custody by 14 more days after he refused to furnish a personal bond in a defamation case filed by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari.

Kejriwal Wednesday refused to pay the bail bond of Rs10,000 and was sent to the Tihar Central Jail.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cooperative bank interest rate reduced to 15 %

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has decided to reduce the interest rate of loans taken from State/District cooperative banks and Primary Service Cooperative groups from 16% to 15%. Those who apply for the loan will get it within 15 days. All these decisions were taken by high level committee held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.  

Rs 5000 and below will be made available on the very next day of applying and that too without any security. The amount above Rs 5000 and below Rs 10000 will be granted on a person’s guarantee within the next two days of applying.

The move is part of the government’s plan to curb lade mafia.

Gold crashes by Rs 800; biggest single-day fall in 2014

NEW DELHI: Gold prices today plummeted by up to Rs 800, the biggest fall in a day this year, to 10-month low levels in major bullion markets of the country after RBI eased import restrictions on the precious metal.

In Delhi, gold prices plunged by Rs 800 to Rs 28,550 per 10 gram, the lowest level since August last year.

In Mumbai, the price fell below the 28,000 mark dropping by Rs 780 to Rs 27,840 per 10 gram.

The precious metal dropped by Rs 800 to Rs 28,310 per 10 gram in Chennai, while it lost Rs 605 to trade at Rs 28,340 per 10 gram in Kolkata.

Traders attributed the sharp fall gold prices to RBI's decision to ease import restriction on the metal which triggered heavy sell-off by stockists.

RBI allowed select trading houses, in addition to already permitted banks, to procure the precious metal to boost exports.

There are expectations that RBI's move would increase supplies and reduce prices in the domestic market, they said.

RBI in July last year had imposed severe restrictions on gold imports in order to check burgeoning current account deficit and sliding rupee.

The central bank had tied imports with exports and prescribed a 20:80 formula.

This facility was available to select banks only and other entities were barred from importing the metal.

A weakening trend in global markets, which normally sets price trend on the domestic front, too weighed on prices here.

The rupee today strengthened by 30 paise to close at over 11-month high of 58.47 against the US dollar. A stronger rupee makes imports cheaper.

Welcoming RBI's decision on easing the 20:80 gold import norms, the World Gold Council said this will help in increasing official supplies.

In futures, the June contract of the metal trading 0.66 per cent lower at Rs 27,190 per 10 grams after hitting a low of Rs 27,151 earlier in the day on the MCX.

Malayali electrocuted in Madeena

JEDDAH: Sainul Abden (39) hailing from Malappuram was electrocuted in Madeena. He was living there with his family there. The mishap occurred when he was repairing the Water tank at his house on Madeena airport road.

Sainul and his family had been working in Madeena for about two decades and the death came when they were planning to go to India. Sainul was the Maintenance Manager in Al Isra Aluminium company.

Baby sent on parasailing: Case against parents

KANNUR: Police have filed a case against two parents, who had sent their 11-month-old baby on parsailing all alone on Wednesday. Edakkadu police have registered case under Juvenile Act.

The incident happened at around 11:30 am at Muzhappilangadu Drive-in beach, when  the child was put through this traumatic experience in the name of adventurous sport.

The victim of this cruel act is Niya Nisamat, the granddaughter of Safar Ahemmad, who had organised the parasailing exhibition under the aegis of Aero Sports Society.

The girl was crying aloud continuously and the parents seemed least least bothered about it. The parachute went sailing up to a height of 300 feet and when it touched down on the ground, the child had become extremelytired. Ironically, the organisers did this cruel experiment without providing helmet or any safety measure to the child.

Govt cancels decision to shut down Malapparambu school

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Today’s Cabinet meeting has cancelled its decision to shut down the Kozhikode Malapparambu AUP school, which was demolished by its manager with the help of real estate lobby.

The chief minister told media that the government’s decision came in the backdrop of the public opinion that the school should be re-opened.

The school was demolished on the eve of the Lok Sabha polls at the behest of school’s manager and subsequently his brother was arrested.

The construction of new school building has started with the help of local residents.

The management had earlier approached the government seeking its closure. They had submitted that that the school with just 53 students was running on loss. Initially the government had taken a stand favourable to the management.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Student found charred to death in hostel

THRIPUNITHURA: The charred body of a student, a final-year B.Com student at the NSS College in Thripunithura, was found in the toilet of the hostel. The victim has been identified as Vidya, native of Marad in Ernakulam.  Her lunch box, books and bag were also found lying burnt outside the toilet.

There are plus two to degree level courses in the college. A student who went to the bathroom in the morning found the body first and informed the Principal.

A picture of a girl drawn on the floor with a chalk has grown suspicious. Initial reports say it is a case of suicide. DCP Nishanthini said the girl may have set ablaze after pouring kerosene on her body. Chances of a murder are also examined. Forensic and finger print experts have reached the spot. The body has been sent for post mortem after inquest.

Load-shedding from May 22 to 31

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: There will be half-an-hour loading-shedding in the State from May 22 to 31. The load-shedding between 6pm and 10 pm will be alternated between the South and North regions.

Medical colleges,  district hospitals and Water Authority dedicated Feeders have been excluded from the load-shedding.  
KSEB informed that on Thursday, load shedding will be in effect from Kasargod to Madakkathara 400kv substation areas and on Friday it will be from Kalamassery 220kv substation to Thiruvananthapuram district.

The KSEB has made this arrangement as maintenance work is going on in Sabarigiri power station.

No anxiety over Bar licence issue: HC

KOCHI: Kerala High Court has said that it is not anxious about the bar licence issue. Justice P N Raveendran clarified that the court would have interfered if it were a case relating to the opening of a school or road.

The court made this observation while considering the bar licence case. The case will be considered again on June 2. 

11-month-old sent on solo parasailing; Human Rights panel, police to file case against parents

KANNUR:  Sending a baby of barely 11 months old alone on parasailing by her parents in Kozhikode on Wednesday has landed the couple in trouble. Following media reports on the misdemeanour, the State Human Rights Commission and the police acted swiftly to initiate action against the parents.

A top police official said the parents would be charged under different clauses of human rights violation and putting the child through hours of indescribable trauma. “The psychological condition of the child will be examined and statements will be taken from the parents, before proceeding with further action” he said.   

The event took place in the adventurous sports training organised by Kozhikode-based Malabar Aerosports Society.

Interestingly, the event held at Muzhappilangadu Drive-in beach was attended by District collector and Police superintendent. The child is the grand daughter of society office-bearer Sahar Ahammed. She was made to sail at 600 feet height and it is reported that only because of sheer luck that the child escaped unscathed.       

According to sources the mother and father of the child who was present at the event had given their consent. After fastening the sailing belt to the child, the mother also ran with the baby for some distance before leaving her to parasail to the heights, on her own.

The baby started crying loudly, creating panic among the onlookers. Even when the parachute touched the ground after the flight, she kept crying. Soon, the parents took out their child and vanished from the scene as if to evade TV cameras.  

Incidentally, the Akashayatra (Sky flight), conducted by State Youth Welfare board at Payyambalam in Kannur two weeks ago, saw District collector P Balakiran falling off a glider but he managed to walk away unhurt.
The child, Niya Nizam, had undergone a month's training, a relative of the toddler told television channels.

Kannur Superintendent of Police P N Unniraja said that he had asked the organisers and parents not to put the child to such a trauma.

"We are looking into the matter and taking legal opinions on whether a case can be registered against the parents and organisers," Unniraja, who also inaugurated the event, said.

He said he had told the organisers yesterday not to send the child on the trip and had hesitated to inaugurate the event today.

The organisers, a private company from Kozhikode, had said legally there was no provision to ban the event, the official said.

Malayalam actor Vineeth, a friend of the family, who was also present, wondered why the media was trying to kick up a controversy when the child's parents had no issues.