Sunday, June 22, 2014

Milk price will be increased: K C Joseph

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  Minister K C Joseph has said that the government will have to increase the price of Milma cover milk in the near future. “As the production cost has increased, it will be difficult to do the business without raising the price,” he said.

“Milma has submitted the recommendation for pirce rise before the government and the government is muling over the proposal,” he said.

Joseph said it is the responsibiliy of the government to ensure that dairy farmers get fair price for their products. The minister was speaking at a fucntion organised by the KPCC and local self-governing bodies.

Nurses’ night duty reduced

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The number of night duty days for government staff has been reduced from six to three, through a government order. If they work on night shifts for three consecutive days, they will be eligible for a day’s off.

For the past several years they have had to work for six consecutive days. The  new decision will bring succor to thousands of nurses under DME and DHSC.  Kerala Government Nurses Union State General Secretary A Asokan Thampi has congratulated Health Minister V S Sivakumar for the new decision.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Keralite robbed on train

KOZHIKODE: A Keralite woman was robbed on the Sampark Kranti Express train.  The victim identified as Meera, a native of Koyilandy, was proceeding to Kozhikode from Chandigarh with her two children.  Gold worth Rs 3 lakhs, ATM Card and money were robbed from her.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Life is normal, say Kerala nurses in Baghdad

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Unlike the 46 Indian nurses stranded in northern Iraqi town of Tikrit, others, mostly from Kerala, are content working in Baghdad. They said Thursday their lives are "normal" even after Sunni insurgents have overrun many parts of the country.

Speaking to IANS over phone from Baghdad, a Kerala nurse said, "... while there is heavy checking, life is normal."

She said she lives in a complex at the Baghdad Medical City where there are 15 hospitals.

"Since we live inside (the complex), there is no reason for us to feel unsafe. Our Iraqi colleagues tell us that so far they have not been affected at all. They say that in the evening, they go out with their families," she said, adding Baghdad Medical City is around 15 minutes' drive from the Baghdad airport.

"The only difference is that there is lot of security...," said the nurse, who did not wish to be identified.

She said there are 74 nurses from India who work in the complex  and 73 of them are from Kerala. They all arrived in Iraq early this year.

Another nurse from Kerala who works in the Karbala region, around 70 km from the Baghdad airport, also said things are normal there as before.

She rebutted the notion that all parts of Iraq are reeling under  insurgents' attack.
"Some TV channels back home are trying to generalise the issue here, which is not the truth. They went to my home in Kerala, and as parents are possessive, when they hear of trouble they feel that the entire country is affected."

"In our case, we do not have any issue at all. The management of our hospital has assured that things are normal and there is no need to worry at all," said the nurse, who too did not wish to be identified.

Speaking to IANS over phone from Tikrit, the hometown of deposed and executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein now under control of Sunni militants, a Kerala nurse, however, said she and others are worried.

"Today also the embassy officials called up and said that the roads towards the airport are still not clear. They have assured us that once things are clear, they will ensure that we return to India," she said.

The 46 Kerala nurses stranded in strife-torn Tikrit town in northern Iraq's Nineveh province Wednesday asked the Indian embassy officials to either take them home or change their place of work.

SNDP Yogam Assistant secretary passes away

THRISSUR: SNDP Yogam Assistant Secretary Shajin Nadumuri (50) passed away on Thursday. The end came at Ernakulam Lakeshore hospital by noon. He is a native of Pindani, Puthanchira in Mala.

 He had been the SNDP Assistant Secretary and Yogam Councillor for the past ten years.

CM writes to PM, seeking steps to bring back Iraqi Malayalis

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate steps to bring back Malayali nurses in strife-torn Iraq to Kerala.

Minister K C Joseph informed the Assembly about the letter on Thursday. “The Centre should bear the expense for transporting the nurses back to Kerala. If the Centre is not ready for it, the State government will take care of the expense,” said K C Joseph.

KPCC president V M Sudheeran also has sent a letter to the prime minister to express similar sentiments.

HC moots CBI inquiry into ‘child trafficking’

KOCHI:  Kerala High Court made an oral observation on Thursday that “is it not better to conduct a CBI inquiry into the recent incidents of alleged child trafficking.”  

The bench chaired by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur asked why the government observed silence in the particular case, while it clamoured for CBI inquiry into every other issue.

“Since three states come under the purview of the case, the CBI as a Central agency can go about the case in an independent and detailed manner. The issue cannot be taken in a lighter vein. There were some moves to hide several facts regarding the incident. It should be investigated and found out,” instructed the court, which also suo motu added CBI as a party in the case.      

Meanwhile, the government told the court that the investigation into the ‘child-trafficking’ incident is progressing. “A special team comprising efficient police officers has been deputed for the purpose. In an inquiry conducted in Jharkhand it has been proved that the children were trafficked into Kerala using fake documents. Several persons have been arrested in the case,” submitted the government.

The case will be taken up again on Monday.

Panniyan Raveendran falls, sustains injuries

NEW DELHI:  CPI State secretary Panniyan Raveendran on Thursday skidded inside the bathroom of Kerala House and injured himself. He has been admitted to RML hospital.

Panniyan had gone to Delhi to attend CPI’s national high power committee meeting.

Govt remains mute spectator to ‘fighting’ among IAS officers

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has said in the Assembly on Thursday that the government remains mute spectator to dispute among IAS officers.

Achuthanandan’s allegation comes in the backdrop of the government initiating probe into senior IAS officer Raju Narayana Swami’s complaint against Chief Secretary.  

VS said the chief secretary went in one direction and the others in another direction.   

Kalamassery land grab case: CBI questions Salim Raj

KOCHI: Former gunman of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Salim Raj was on Thursday questioned by the CBI in connection with the Kalmassery land grab case.

The interrogation took place at the Kochi office of the CBI and it was part of the initial procedures to collect evidence. At present, Salim is not an accused in the Kalamassery land grab case but the CBI claims to have got evidence on the part played by Salim to tamper with the land documents.

Most of the complainants have given statements against Salim and the questioning was based on these statements. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Seat belt: Thiruvanchoor stands by his view; Chennithala backs Singh

KOTTAYAM: Transport Minister Thiruvanchoor is unwavering on his stand that it not necessary for travellers in the back seats of a car to wear seat belts. The minister said “it is not practical for people on the back seats to wear seat belts”.
“How is it possible to implement a traffic rule that doesn’t exist in other parts of India,” he quipped.

The minister said 80 percent of the cars running in the State do not have belts for their back seats. Such rules that would inconvenience the common man should not be implemented. Those who want to wear seat belt can wear it, others can avoid it. He also said that he had not been informed about Rishiraj Singh’s decision to quit the Transport Commissioner’s post.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala has backed Singh. He said Singh was an efficient official and added that he was unaware of controversy surrounding the seat belt.

Robbery at Iniya’s house: Sister's fiancé, friend nabbed

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Giving a twist to the case, the police have arrested the culprits behind the robbery at South Indian actress Iniya’s house here. Thambanoor C I Kamarudheen  and Karamana SI C Mohan jointly arrested the fiancé of the actress’ sister and his friend on Saturday.

The arrested person is Shebin (32) from Pattoor Mulavilakam. He is the fiancé of Iniya’s sister Swathi, a serial actress.  The other person arrested is Shebin’s friend Saji (45) alias Karipotti Saji from Sankumugham Chithira Nagar.

The police said Saji carried out the robbery plan charted out by Shebin. “Two more persons, who broke into the house and robbed cash, are under the police’ close watch and they would be arrested soon,” said the CI.

According to the police Shebin and Saji were frequent visitors to the house. On June 5 Rs 5 lakh was stolen from the actress house, when she along with her family had gone to watch a movie at 8:45 pm. Interestingly, Shebin also went with the family to watch the movie, after giving instructions to his friend.

The police first got the information on Shebin’s gang and they started investigation with focus on mobile phone calls.
The arrest of Karipotti Saji was the turning point in the case.

Goons break toddler’s leg

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A three-member gang who barged into a house at Neyyattinkara assaults a 3-yr-old and his father and broke their legs.

The attack victims are Biju and his son Aby from Iruvaikkonam at Neyyattinkara. Both have been admitted to Thiruvananthapuram Medical college hospital with serious injuries.

The real reason for the attack is not yet known. Police presume that the gangs may have attacked the house by mistake, thinking it to be their target. Police have started investigation.

Rishiraj Singh gives letter for leave extension

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Transport Commissioner Rishiraj Singh has given letter to the government, seeking extension of his leave by one more month.

It is reported that his move comes after the government interfered officially and cancelled the circular that made wearing of seat belt compulsory for those sitting on the rear seats of the car.   

Apparently piqued by the government’s step, he has asked the government to extend his leave till July 13, though the leave ended on June 29.

Transport Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhkrishnan, during the Assembly session, had stated that the government was withdrawing the Circular issued by Rishiraj Singh, considering its impracticality.  

According to sources, he has informed his colleagues about his plans to step down as Transport Commissioner but the message is yet to be conveyed to the government.  

Meanwhile, it is reported that Singh had given the letter four days ago. In the letter he had also expressed his interest to return to the Central government service.

Friday, June 13, 2014

CPM failed to accept changes: Karat

THRISSUR:  CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat has said that the party had failed to accept changes that were happening from time to time. There was difference between party’s declarations and its activities. He was speaking after inaugurating EMS Smriti in Thrissur on Friday.

He said if the party had failed to take its decisions to the masses, that fault would be rectified. “From now onwards emphasis will be given to activities that will help the party in reaching out to the public. We will continue our fight against neo-liberal policies and communalism,” he added.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Government can take action against SI: HC

KOCHI: Kerala High court has stated that the government doesn’t need to wait for the court’s permission to take action against accused Sub Inspectors (SIs) in law and order cases involving individuals.

The court made this observation while considering the petition filed by former Nedumangadu SI B Harikumar, questioning the government’s discretion to take action. The petition was dismissed by Justice P D Rajan.

The case dated Februray 17, 2007 is that a Congress worker was verbally abused and slapped on the face, when he was travelling on a bike. Harikumar had approached the high court against the government’s discretionary powers to initiate action against him.

Unruly scenes witnessed in assembly on Mullapperiyar issue

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Some unruly scenes were witnessed in the assembly at the end of the question hour on the Mullaperiyar issue. The opposition members trooped to the well of the house. The assembly proceedings were stalled for nearly twenty minutes.

Tamil Nadu at the meeting of the central water committee convened on December 27argued that they have the ownership rights of the Mullapperiyar, Thunakkadavu and Parambikkulam dams. Jameela Prakasham of the opposition lifting atop the minutes of the meeting said the irrigation chief engineer, who appeared for Kerala, did not oppose their argument. Uproar was witnessed when Irrigation Minister P J Joseph denied it. It ended after the chief minister intervened and promising to reply after examining the copy of the minutes.

Sale of liquor increased, says Babu

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The sale of liquor increased after the closure of bars, Excise Minister K Babu told the assembly. Sale of seven lakh litres were witnessed in the month of May, he said.  

KPCC chief V M Sudheeran had stated earlier that the consumption of liquor reduced after the bars were closed. The statement of Babu is just the opposite.  The policy of the government to prohibit liquor will be executed in phases, he said. 

108 Ambulance: Vayalar Ravi’s son named in FIR

NEW DELHI: The Rajasthan police registered a case against sons of former union ministers Vayalar Ravi and P Chidambaram in connection with the irregularities in the operation of 108 ambulance services. A case has also been registered against Shafi Mather, former economic advisor to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Vayalar Ravi’s son Ravi Krishna and Chidambaram’s son Karthi Chidambaram are the two included in the case.

A case has been registered against Rajasthan former chief minister Ashok Gehlot and former union minister Sachin Pilot for taking a favourable stand towards the  company led by the two. The FIR was registered following a complaint by former Jaipur Municipal Corporation Mayor Pankaj Joshi. The case has been handed over to the crime branch.

A case has been registered against them for incurring financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 2.56 crores in operating '108' ambulance service during the previous Congress regime.

Similar complaints were raised in many states including Kerala. The charge of 108 ambulance services in Kerala was earlier given to their company. Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan had sought a high-level probe on the issue. Following the complaint, a probe is on. A controversy broke out in Kerala even after clarified that Shaffi Mather is not part of the company. The charge of the service in Kerala was given to a new company following the expiry of the contract. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

My Delhi visit has no link with reshuffle, says Sudheeran

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: My visit to Delhi has no link with the cabinet reshuffle, said KPCC vice president V M Sudheeran. Talking to reporters here, he said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has to opine on the reshuffle.

If any directive beneficial to the party, people and the state are proposed, it will be considered with prime importance, he said.

CPM to take back Gopi Kottamurikkal and M R Murali

NEW DELHI: The CPM has decided to take back former party Ernakulam district secretary Gopi Kottamurikkal, expelled from the party after found guilty of sexual demeanour. The central committee meeting convened yesterday approved the decision of the state panel to take him back. The central committee also permitted to recall Shornur municipality former vice chairman M R Murali.

Gopi Kottamurikkal was expelled from the party in June 2012 after a hidden camera controversy. He was first expelled from the district secretary post and then from the party.

Murali was expelled from the party after he refused CPM Ottappalam area committee’s demand to resign his vice chairman post of Shornur municipality.

It’s human trafficking, ready for high level probe, says Jharkhand CM

RANCHI: Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren asserted transporting children to Kerala is clearly a case of human trafficking. A high level probe will be conducted on the issue as a major conspiracy is behind the incident. Talking to reporters of Kerala, he said the government will also welcome a CBI probe.

He asked what interest was behind the trafficking of so many minor children to Kerala. He termed as ‘sad’ trafficking children to the orphanages of the state. It will also be examined whether the children were used for other purposes. He asked not to communalise the issue.

Keralites looted in train

MUMBAI: Keralites were looted in the Jayanthi Janata Express. Seven mobile phones, cash and a laptop were looted. The theft took place in the train which left for Mumbai from the capital city yesterday.

Child trafficking: BJP’s assembly march turns violent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The police fired tear gas shells and used water cannons at the assembly march staged by BJP activists seeking a probe by a national agency on the trafficking of children to the state. Several persons sustained injuries in the attack.

The march which started at 11.30 am was blocked 100 metres away from the assembly. The police used water cannons and tear gas when the activists tried to overturn the barricades. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Reshuffle needed in party, not in cabinet, says Murali

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A reshuffle is needed in the party and not in the cabinet, said senior leader K Muraleedharan. A decision on the cabinet reshuffle has to be taken by the high command and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

 Differences of opinion on the reshuffle will not affect the party’s unity, he said.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

DCC backs Abdullakutty

KANNUR: In an urgent meeting called by Kannur DCC on Friday, the party unit decided to give its complete support  to A P Abdullakuty, who is facing sexual harassment allegations from Solar scam accused Saritha S Nair.

DCC president K Surendran said in a press conference that the MLA had been asked to take a proactive role in the activities of his Assembly constituency. He said the media is cooking up stories about Abdullakutty. “These are baseless reports. He has not informed the chief minister about his willingness to resign. He has also not given any complaint against DCC. The media should desist from spreading such false news,” he said.  

Abdullakutty himself has clarified that news about his resignation bid is wrong. “I have not given complaint against DCC. Whenever I was in crisis, the party and district leadership had stood by me,” he added.

Child trafficking: One more person arrested

PALAKKAD: One more person was arrested in connection with the incident in which  children from Jharkhand and other northern states were allegedly trafficked into Kerala.

Palakkad crime branch arrested one Shafeeq Shaik, a native of  Jharkhand. For the past three years he had been working as an agent of Mukkam Orphanage, said the police. With this, the number of arrested in the case has gone up to ten.

Chennithala not to vouch for Cabinet reshuffle

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala is reportedly not in favour of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s move for a cabinet reshuffle. And,  Chennithala will be flying to New Delhi Friday evening to convince the High Command that there is no need for Cabinet reshuffle. He will remind the high command of the earlier opinion of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and high command leaders that the existing Cabinet is the best team.

When Chandy visited New Delhi on June 2, he had got permission from Sonia Gandhi for restructuring the cabinet. But the topic was not discussed in State Congress or UDF committees. . Though the chief minister is in favour of making Ganesh Kumar a minister, Chennithala is against this.      

At present, I Group ministers dominate the cabinet and if the cabinet is reshuffled, this proportion will change, a reason why I group has been opposing the move.

Friday, June 6, 2014

5 sovereign gold stolen from serial actress’ house

THIRUVANANTHPURAM: Five sovereign gold was stolen from serial actress Swathi’s house at Karamana Maruthurkkadavu after the thieves broke into it. The incident reportedly happened between 9:30 and 12:30 pm yesterday. Swathi with her family had gone out for a film and on returning, they saw their house broken into and five sovereign gold missing.

It was Swathi’s father Shahul Hameed who had taken the house for rent. In his complaint Hameed says that the house was locked with two keys and both had been cut and removed by the culprits.     

Police have started investigation.

Child trafficking: One more person arrested

PALAKKAD: One more person was arrested in connection with the incident in which  children from Jharkhand and other northern states were allegedly trafficked into Kerala.

Palakkad crime branch arrested one Shafeeq Shaik, a native of  Jharkhand. For the past three years he had been working as an agent of Mukkam Orphanage, said the police. With this, the number of arrested in the case has gone up to ten.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dileep files divorce petition

KOCHI:  Actor Dileep has filed a petition in Ernakulam Family court , seeking divorce from his wife and actress Manju Warrier. In the petition filed through his Advocate Philip D Varghese, Dileep has also sought the court’s permission to conduct trial of the case secretly.

The petition says, Dileep and his wife have been living separately for the past so many months and he has been mentally harassed by her. He also requests the court to take steps to respect the couple’s privacy since both are popular film stars and not disclose the contents of the petition to the media or public.

The petition will be considered by the court on July 23.

Dileep and Manju Warrier got married on October 20, 1998. They have a daughter named Meenakshi, who is currently staying with Dileep.

MPs from Kerala sworn in

NEW DELHI: 20 leaders from Kerala including former union ministers were Thursday sworn in as members of Parliament. Lok Sabha secretary general invited the members as per alphabetical order.

When Congress, Muslim League and Kerala Congress (M) MPs took the oath in the name of God, members of the CPM and CPI made a solemn affirmation.

Actor Innocent, who won the polls with the support of Left Front, and Joyce George took the oath in the name of God.

P Karunakaran (Kasargod), P K Sreemathy (Kannur), M K Raghavan (Kozhikode), K C Venugopal (Alappuzha), A Sampath (Attingal), Innocent (Chalakudy) took the oath in Malayalam. Kodikkunnil Suresh took the oath in Hindi and the others in English.

Court criticizes govt in child trafficking incident

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court directed the state government to file an affidavit after detailing the steps taken in trafficking children from other states to Kerala.

A division bench led by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur expressed displeasure on the steps taken by the government in the trafficking case. The incident is shocking and embarassing, the bench said. Asking whether they were brought for child labour, the court said they cannot sit idle in the issue.

The court said the guilty will not walk free and the incident has put the government in an embarrassing situation. The government should not try to shield any big shots if involved in the case. They should be brought before law and punished.

Assocham submits mega plan to transform Railways

NEW DELHI: Industry body Assocham today submitted a mega plan to Railways Minister D V Sadananda Gowda to turn railways into an "engine of growth" through capacity addition, developing high-speed freight network and offering services like e-business and entertainment to passengers.

The proposed mega plan, to be initiated now and completed by 2029-30, is part of the vision of India becoming a seven trillion dollar economy. It will enable creation of freight capacity to handle about 50 per cent of the traffic offered by this level of the economy.

The plan envisages capacity enhancements entailing investments worth USD 2.5 to 3 trillion to make the Railways an engine of growth by creating jobs across the board at various levels, boost demand for construction, steel, cement, equipment, new type of high load wagons, collapse resistant comfortable coaches, latest signaling and electrical items.

It also includes opening up the railways for all types of new services for long distance passengers including e-business and entertainment as well as catering.

"We have suggested to the new Railway Minister a mega plan comprising seven corridor high speed freight network for transporting goods back and forth from manufacturing to consumption centres and from all major ports within specified timeframe of 36 hours," Chairman of Assocham's Committee on Rail Transport A K Agarwal said.

Besides, the industry chamber also suggested building of ultra high speed (up to 300 kmph) passenger services connecting all large and identified urban centres and turning all trunk passenger routes to four line networks effectively separating passenger from goods and services and releasing large capacities for both.

In order to ensure that Indian Railways operate with commercially viable rates as well as to prevent it from misusing its monopoly power against freight or passengers, Assocham has suggested setting up of a regulatory body and putting in place legal provisions to fix all charges levied for the services provided by Railways.

A decision offering full management control to the special purpose vehicles (SPVs) or joint ventures set up for each project component would help boost PPP response from the private sector, the study suggested.

Two cops arrested for buying liquor

MAHI: Two policemen were arrested after found guilty of buying liquor from an outlet in Mahe while on duty. The incident happened yesterday while they were returning after producing Shafi, an accused in TP murder case, in a court in Thalassery. The two arrested under Abkari Act has been identified as Shekar of A R Camp and Mohan Kumar. The Payyoli Police have registered a case. Police said Shafi and other cops are innocent.

People standing near the liquor outlet at Mahi had informed the police control room when they saw the policemen accompanying Shafi buying liquor. The liquor bottle was seized from their vehicle yesterday itself. Five policemen including an assistant sub inspector of the AR Camp were suspended yesterday.

Shafi is lodged at the Viyyur Central Jail in Thrissur.

Rules not followed in child trafficking issue, says Aryadan

MALAPPURAM: Minister Aryadan Muhammed came forward supporting Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala in the incident on trafficking children from Jharkhand to Kerala.

Rules and procedures were not followed in the issue. It should be examined whether it was human trafficking, he said. The steps taken by the home department on the issue is correct, he said.

Aryadan said load shedding would continue till we get incessant rains. Once the maintenance work in the Kayamkulam power plant is completed, there will be load shedding only for 30 minutes from the present 45 minutes.

Main accused in child trafficking case held

PALAKKAD: The special wing of the crime branch arrested the main accused suspected behind the trafficking of children from other states to the orphanages in Kerala. The arrested has been identified as Zakkir Ahamed of Jharkhand.

Ahamed was engaged as a crusher employee in Walancherry, Kunnamkkulam for the past few years. He was arrested after calling him to Palakkad. He trafficked these children to the state without any valid documents.

Initial reports say he has trafficked more than 200 children and that too after paying an amount for it.

He is being questioned following reports that he has trafficked children to orphanages in Kozhikode, now in controversy and Malappuram earlier.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Child trafficking: High-level team from Jharkhand in Kerala

KOCHI: A high-level team from Jharkhand, including Labour Commissioner, Dr Manish Ranjan, is in Kerala in connection with the case relating to trafficking of over 500 children from eastern states to orphanages in the state.

"Our government is viewing the incident very seriously and hence a high-level team has come,"  Ranjan told reporters today.

The team would interact with the children brought from Jharkhand before arriving at any conclusion, he said.

"We will discuss with officers and state Chief Secretary and plan out what is to be done. As of now without knowing the facts nothing can be said," he answered when asked if it was a case of human trafficking.

The team would also talk to officials of the Kerala goverment, he said.

Meanwhile, another official from Jharkhand, camping in Palakkad, said names and addresses of the children have been changed and at least 200 of them had been given Aadhar cards by the Kerala government.

The Child Rights Commission has registered a case in Jharkhand, he said.

Parents of some children said they had been paid between Rs 1500 to Rs 2500 by middlemen and were not aware where their children were being taken.

The Kerala child rights panel had yesterday asked the government to send back the children to their home states in Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal within three weeks as they were brought to the state without due documents and not following procedures under Juvenile Justice Act and Orphanage and Other Charitable Homes Act.

A police investigation is already underway by a special team in the case and an FIR lodged following the arrest of eight persons, who accompanied 586 children at Palakkad to where they were brought in two batches by train.

The children, meant to be taken to some of the orphanages, have been kept in state-run juvenile homes of the Child Welfare Society in Palakkad, Malappuram and Thrissur.

Another team of officials, who came from Jharkhand earlier, are still in Kerala verifying the documents that the children brought with them.

The issue has also caused ruptures within the ruling UDF with key partner IUML resenting the measures taken by the Home Department.

Child trafficking: High-level team from Jharkhand in Kerala

KOCHI: A high-level team from Jharkhand, including Labour Commissioner, Dr Manish Ranjan, is in Kerala in connection with the case relating to trafficking of over 500 children from eastern states to orphanages in the state.

"Our government is viewing the incident very seriously and hence a high-level team has come,"  Ranjan told reporters today.

The team would interact with the children brought from Jharkhand before arriving at any conclusion, he said.

"We will discuss with officers and state Chief Secretary and plan out what is to be done. As of now without knowing the facts nothing can be said," he answered when asked if it was a case of human trafficking.

The team would also talk to officials of the Kerala goverment, he said.

Meanwhile, another official from Jharkhand, camping in Palakkad, said names and addresses of the children have been changed and at least 200 of them had been given Aadhar cards by the Kerala government.

The Child Rights Commission has registered a case in Jharkhand, he said.

Parents of some children said they had been paid between Rs 1500 to Rs 2500 by middlemen and were not aware where their children were being taken.

The Kerala child rights panel had yesterday asked the government to send back the children to their home states in Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal within three weeks as they were brought to the state without due documents and not following procedures under Juvenile Justice Act and Orphanage and Other Charitable Homes Act.

A police investigation is already underway by a special team in the case and an FIR lodged following the arrest of eight persons, who accompanied 586 children at Palakkad to where they were brought in two batches by train.

The children, meant to be taken to some of the orphanages, have been kept in state-run juvenile homes of the Child Welfare Society in Palakkad, Malappuram and Thrissur.

Another team of officials, who came from Jharkhand earlier, are still in Kerala verifying the documents that the children brought with them.

The issue has also caused ruptures within the ruling UDF with key partner IUML resenting the measures taken by the Home Department.

TP case convicts 'buy' liquor, fuel controversy

THALASSERY: TP case convicts, who were returning after attending a trial in another case here, allegedly bought liquor from Mahe, giving room for another controversy. Following the incident, five policemen who accompanied the convicts as security officials were suspended by DGP.

The policemen were taking the convicts including Muhammed Shafi to Thrissur after presenting them in a Thalassery court. On the way, the convicts allegedly bought liquor from Mahe, with the policemen allegedly turning a blind eye on what was happening.

It was bad luck for the convicts and the policemen, when certain local people identified the convicts. They blocked the Scorpio vehicle in which the convicts were being transported and informed the police control room. Two bottles of liquor were recovered from the vehicle.   
Later, they were taken to the Payyoli police station for questioning. Interestingly, the policemen first said that the bottles were bought by Shafi and then corrected it, saying, the liquor was bought for their own personal use.

However, an inquiry into the matter has begun.

There have been allegations that the TP case convicts are provided with extra-comforts against jail rules. 

Court agrees to hike toll rates in Paliakkara

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court ordered to hike the toll rates at Paliakkara in Thrissur. The court ordered to hike after cancelling collector’s act blocking the hike in toll rates.

The court, who asserted that the collector has no right to prevent the hike, directed to take legal steps against KSRTC to get the dues of Rs 8 crores.

The court today considered the plea of contractors Guruvayur Infrastructure Limited.

Load-shedding now for 45 minutes

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The load-shedding in the State has been increased to 45 minutes from the existing 30 minutes. This will be imposed between 6:45pm to 11:45 pm every day.

KSEB officials said, “the duration of the load-shedding has been increased as there is a shortage of 620 Mega watt in State’s share of electricity. The present timings will continue till the State starts receiving copious rains.”

Kerala stifling information on child trafficking: Centre

NEW DELHI:  Women and Child development ministry has criticised the Kerala government over the alleged trafficking of children from Jharkhand to Kerala.

It said that Kerala was not cooperating with the Centre when it comes to parting with complete information on the incident. The ministry officials said, “it can’t be seen as Kerala’s sole problem.”

Nursing superintendent assaults RPF official

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A complaint was lodged with the police here by an RPF official, alleging that she was assaulted by a Nursing superintendent during ticket examination. The official who was attacked has been admitted to hospital. The incident happened on board the Malabar Express Train.

The lady RPF staff told the police that she was assaulted by Kozhikode Medical College hospital superintendent Jemika. The incident happened when the RPF official asked Jemika to show the passenger’s ticket. As she didn’t possess the ticket she was asked to pay the fine. Following this Jemika entered into a heated argument with the lady RPF constable and it ended with Jemika assaulting the constable.  

Stop attacking me, pleads Abdullakutty

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A distraught -looking Abdullakutty MLA today told a private TV channel that for the past three months the media had been humiliating him and with folded hands he made a plea to media organisations to stop maligning him.

Regarding the rumours that he and his family have shifted to Mangalapuram, he said it was true and the decision was taken to help his family have some peace of mind. “My wife and aging parents are totally devastated and always in tears. My house is like a dead person’s house. My wife would have committed suicide, had she not been a Muslim. My child is reluctant to go to school for fear of being ridiculed by his schoolmates. So my family and I have shifted to a rented house in Mangalapuram, from where I could find a new school for my child,” he said   

When asked about the reports that he had closed his MLA office in Kannur, he said it was a false media creation. “I know only one job that is social service and as an MLA I will have to do my duty,” he said.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Operation Kubera: One arrested in Thalassery

TALASSERY: One Rajendran, 49, from Kolasseri was arrested by police, who raided his house as part of Operation Kubera. He was carrying Rs 40 lakh at the time of the  arrest.

Rajendran was earlier an auto driver. Promissory notes and blank cheques were recovered from his house. Talassery Judicial First Class Magistrate court has remanded the accused.

Police cleverly trapped him after they were tipped-off about his illegal business. The arrest took place while he was retuning home after collecting Rs 40 lakh from one of his customers.

Police said he had lent Rs 9 lakh for a bakery owner and took back around Rs 1 crore probably as interest and loan amount.

No action against Abdullakutty without complaint, says Sudheeran

KANNUR: The state congress leadership has not obtained a complaint from Kannur against A P Abdullakutty, said KPCC president V M Sudheeran. So, no steps cannot be taken against him, he said.

Talking to reporters here, he said without knowing the contents of Saritha’s statements one cannot come to a conclusion. Talks on the cabinet reshuffle were not held in the state. Law will take its own course in the child trafficking issue, he said.

Govt gets high command’s nod for Cabinet reshuffle

NEW DELHI: The Congress high command has given its go-ahead for cabinet reshuffle, say reports. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is said to have asked the State leadership to take an appropriate decision on the reshuffle after holding discussions with UDF. This direction from the high command came when the chief minister met Congress president Sonia Gandhi here on Monday.     
However, the chief minister who attended a press conference later in the day didn’t give proper answer to questions related to Cabinet reshuffle. He said discussion regarding the reshuffle were yet to start. He also skirted questions on the possibility of Ganesh’s re-entry into the cabinet.

Steps on child trafficking, says Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Tuesday said the government will take all steps as per law in the child trafficking incident. As investigation on the issue is in the preliminary stages, cannot react more on it, he said. Further steps will be taken after obtaining the report, he said.

The children were trafficked from other states to Kerala.

The chief minister expressed his condolence to Union Minister Gopinath Munde’s death. Chandy said that he has directed officials in Delhi to place a wreath on the body of Munde on behalf of the state.

Water charges will have to be hiked, says Minister Joseph

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Water charges in the state will have to be hiked, said Irrigation Minister P J Joseph.

Talking to the media, he said a review petition will be filed against the Supreme Court verdict in the Mullaperiyar issue on June 30.

Water authority expenses are increasing and not only that the present charge is of old manner. It should be renewed timely.  A final decision will be taken after obtaining water authority’s recommendation, he said.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde dies in accident

NEW DELHI: Rural Development Minister and senior BJP leader from Maharashtra Gopinath Munde Tuesday died here in a road accident.

64-year-old Munde was on his way to airport when his car was hit by another vehicle at around 6:30 am at Prithviraj road-Tughlak road roundabout in the heart of the capital, said Union Minster Nitin Gadkari.

He was rushed to a hospital where doctors declared him dead around 7:50, said Gadkari.

Though Munde did not suffer any injuries, he apparently suffered a shock in the impact of accident.

Munde asked for water from his security guard Nair who was sitting in front of the car and told him to take him to the hospital.

Munde was rushed to the AIIMS Trauma Centre by his personal assistant and a driver. When he was brought to the hospital, he did not have pulse and blood pressure. There was no cardiac activity, said an AIIMS doctor.

Despite all measures, Munde could not be revived and was declared dead. His funeral will take place at his village in Latur tomorrow.

Munde was born in Parali, Maharashtra, on 12 December 1949, to Pandurang Munde and Limbabai Munde in a middle class Vanjari (caste) farmer's family.

Munde's wife Pradnya is sister of Pramod Mahajan. The couple has three daughters Pankaja, Pritam and Yashashri. Pankaja is an MLA. Pritam is a doctor, and Yashashri is studying law.

He leaves behind his sister Saraswati Karad, brother Pandit Anna, who is actively involved in social and political work and younger brothers Manikrao and Venkatrao. He was third child in the family.

He attended a government primary school, in Nathra village, Beed district where classes were conducted "under a tree", and did high school from zilla parishad school, in Parali. He has a BA in commerce from college in Ambejogai.

Munde entered into politics when he met Pramod Mahajan, a friend and colleague in the college. As a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, he took part in the agitation against the state of emergency imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He was incarcerated in the Nashik central jail until the Emergency was lifted.

In 1971, he associated with the campaign of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh candidate in the Lok Sabha election in the Beed constituency. He attended the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's Shiksha Varga (Training Camp) held in Pune that year. He soon became the Sambhajinagar Mandal Karyavah, looking after half a dozen shakhas of the RSS, and subsequently, the in-charge of its Pune City Students' Cell. Later, he was made a member of the executive committee of the city RSS. The Janata Party by this time had split, and the Bharatiya Janata Party, founded by the leaders the erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh had come into existence. Munde was made President of the Maharashtra unit of the BJP's youth wing, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha.

He was opposition leader in Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha from 12 December 1991 to 14 March 1995. Munde was sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra when Manohar Joshi-led government took over the reins of the state on 14 March 1995.

Munde served as a member of the 15th Lok Sabha (2009–2014), representing the Beed constituency.

Munde won 2014 Loksabha election from Beed Constituency by margin of 2 lakhs. He defeated NCP's Suresh Dhas.

Kharge is Congress leader in Lok Sabha

BANGALORE: Mallikarjuna Kharge, who was chosen leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, today said his party would not function as an "opposition for opposition sake" and its approach would be "issue-based".

"We will not function as opposition for opposition sake. It (our functioning) will be issue based in the larger interest of the country and society," Kharge told PTI in his reaction to the new role assigned by his party before leaving for New Delhi.
The Congress as the Opposition party would, at the same time, discharge its responsibility in highlighting the "mistakes" of the Government, Kharge, a veteran Congress leader who has never tasted defeat in his more than 45 years of political life, said.
Profusely thanking Congress President Sonia Gandhi for reposing faith in him, he said, " I will do my utmost to measure upto the expectations of party president."

I will sincerely and honestly try to discharge the responsibility in the interest of the country. Whatever job has been entrusted to me by my party president, I will try to come upto her expectations," he said.
He said he would seek the guidance of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other leaders and take all along in his new role.

Why so many bars, HC asks govt

KOCHI: Kerala High Court has asked the government why Kerala needs to have so many bars. The court raised the question while considering petitions filed by bar owners regarding bar licence.

“The government has been consistently saying that its aim is to reduce alcohol consumption but nothing is being done to reduce the number of bars. How can both these things happen?” asked the court.

When the court explained that the government was permitting bars in order to help tourism, the court retorted: “In that case why can’t government permit bars only in tourist centres.”

Schools reopen after summer vacation

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After a two-month-long summer vacation, schools in Kerala reopened Monday with around three lakh tiny tots initiated into the world of learning.

Praveshanotsavams were organized across the state to welcome newcomers to Class 1. The state level inauguration of praveshanotsavam was held at Thrikkulam Govt School in Malappuram by Minister P K Kunhalikutty and was presided over by Minister P K Abdu Rabb.

Teachers welcomed the tiny tots with sweets and toys. 

Chandy’s visit to Delhi irks Sonia Gandhi

NEW DELHI: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi are annoyed with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy for his visit to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is heard that the two have denied permission to Chandy to meet them.

Chandy had planned to visit the Prime Minister after meeting A K Antony, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

The party leadership had earlier directed Congress chief ministers not to attend the swearing-in-ceremony of Narendra Modi. The congress leadership had expressed displeasure on Mizoram Chief Minister for attending the swearing in ceremony of Modi. Oommen Chandy is the first Congress Chief Minister reaching to meet Modi.  

Chandy thought the leadership would be happy to meet him and would congratulate him for the party’s win in Kerala.  He never thought meeting Modi would annoy the two.

Chandy visited Antony at 9 am Monday morning. Cabinet reshuffle is his main aim. The chief minister is keen in accommodating K B Ganesh Kumar. However, KPCC chief V M Sudheeran and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala are against it. Anyway, a decision will be taken only after meeting the party president.

No case against blade mafia: Man attempts suicide

KOLLAM: The condition of Satheesh, a barbershop owner, is serious after he tried to end his life on the fear that he may lose his property and house given as security. He has been admitted at the Kollam district hospital. Satheesh of Anchalamoodu was found lying unconscious after consuming sleeping pills Monday morning.

He had earlier borrowed money from a native of Kilikollur after pawning his house and property to him. The blade mafia team threatened him and his family after the latter opposed the former to pledge their property for a bank loan. As no action was taken even after a complaint was lodged, he took this extreme step.

Modi promises complete support to Telangana

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday hailed the formation of Telangana and promised complete central support to help take the state to newer heights of progress.

He congratulated K Chandrasekhar Rao on becoming the first Chief Minister of the 29th state and expressed best wishes to its people.

“India gets a new state! We welcome Telangana as our 29th state. Telangana will add strength to our development journey in the coming years,” he tweeted.

“Centre assures complete support to the people & Government of Telangana in taking the state to newer heights of progress,” he said.

Noting that Telangana’s birth is taking place after years of struggle and sacrifices by several people, Modi said, “We pay our respects to them today.”

“My best wishes to people for the state’s development journey,” the Prime Minister said.

K Chandrasekhar Rao was on Monday sworn in as Chief Minister of newly-carved out state of Telangana.

A notification was issued early Monday revoking President’s Rule in Telangana to facilitate Rao in taking charge as the first Chief Minister of the state.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Kerala will get its due: Central minister

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Minister of State for Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises  Pon Radhakrishnan has said that in the matter of development, Kerala will be given the due importance.

He told media persons at the Thiruvananthapuram airport on Saturday that he would visit the land for Kanjikkotte Raiway factory and take steps for the maintenance work of Karamana-Kaliyikkavila road.

Husband ‘strangles wife to death'

KANNUR: A woman was found strangled to death at her rented quarters near Cherukunnu Girls Higher Secondary school on Saturday. The victim was identified as Pullan Kadavathu Ramlath (42), wife of Abdul Rauf. The shocking incident reportedly took place around 3 in the morning.

According to the police, Rauf, 48, wound a shawl around Ramlath’s neck and strangled her to death. Soon after the incident, jittery Rauf called up his friend and told him about the incident. The friend suddenly informed Kannapuram police.

The couple has three wards and among them two sons are working in a Gulf country. Their daughter was in a relative’s house during the incident. The police said Rauf doubted his wife, perhaps, the reason which prompted him to kill her.

Not charging exorbitant interest rates: KSFE chairman

THRISSUR:  KSFE chairman P J Jose has said at a press conference here that KSFE doesn’t charge exorbitant interest rates for money taken as loan by its customers.

“Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala has not said that KSFE is also a part of ‘blade’ mafia. But it was media which had misquoted the minister’s statement,” he said.

Jose said the company had achieved a turn over that saw a rise by 82 percent. In chit schemes, KSFE could make record profits.

SFI activists lay siege to Higher Secondary director’s office

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Demanding rectification of flaws in the Single Window system for Plus One admission, students under the aegis of SFI laid siege to Higher Secondary Director’s office. The protest was led by SFI State president Shiju Khan.

3-yr-old’s hand gets stuck in escalator

KOCHI:  A 3-year-old boy’s hand got stuck in an escalator at Nedumbassery international airport on Saturday. His hand could be taken out only after half-an-hour’s toil. Fracture was noticed in his fingers and he was soon rushed to hospital.

MG Senate postpones election

KOTTAYAM: Mahatma Gandhi University has postponed the election to the university senate. The decision came in the wake of a KSU activist being hacked on Friday.

Today, when the preparation for voting was going on, KSU representatives demanded that the election be postponed and the demand was heeded. This irked the SFI activists, who took out a protest march later.

RMP youth group blocks Mullapally

KOZHIKODE: Former Union Minister Mullapally Ramachandran, who went to evaluate the construction work of Kainatti over-bridge, was blocked by RMP workers on Saturday. Vadakara MLA C K Nanu had accompanied Ramachandran and she also had to face protest staged by the workers, demanding the government not to collect tolls in the name of construction works.

As the protesters refused to disperse, Mullapally and team left the place.

Rahul cannot be singled out for Congress' poll debacle: Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today said that Rahul Gandhi cannot be singled out for the Congress' debacle in the Lok Sabha elections.

"It is not proper to single out any particular leader for the debacle. The party takes collective responsibility in victories as well as defeat. The outcome of the elections has already been evaluated by the party in that sense," Chandy said here, when his attention was drawn to voices against Rahul from certain quarters.

Reposing confidence in the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul, the Kerala Chief Minister, said, "I have no doubt that the Congress will make a comeback. The party should take the defeat positively and engage increasingly with the people without treating them as adversaries in the backdrop of the present setback. The present leadership is capable of restoring the party to its glory."

Chandy, who bucked the anti-Congress trend in Kerala, said, "The Congress lives in the hearts of the people. History tells us that the party has comeback from reversals. The classic instance was its revival after the defeat in 1977 under the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi."

The UDF led by Chandy lifted 12 of the 20 seats, which include 8 from the Congress. Side-by-side national issues, the performance of his government was also a key campaign theme in Kerala.

"What is important is that the defeat should be taken in a positive spirit. The party leaders and functionaries at all levels should work more closely with the people. They should go to the people and never look at the electorate as adversaries who handed out defeat to the party," Chandy, seen as a popular Congress Chief Minister, said.

"Being the most popular party with its presence in all over the country, Congress can revive itself quickly if the reasons for the defeat are ascertained and corrective measures taken, wherever they are necessary."

Chandy, who is entering the fourth year of his present term as Chief Minister, said the success of Narendra Modi-led Government would depend upon its ability to deliver the promises the NDA made during the campaign.

"Let us see, how the new government is performing. Now, the Government has announced a 10-point agenda for 100 days. Let us see how it is going to unfold," he said.

Chandy, known as a hard working Chief Minister, and always seen amidst people, said, "In a parliamentary democracy everything depends upon the performance of the Government."

He expressed confidence that he would be able to maintain a "cordial and constructive relationship" with Modi, whom he is meeting on Monday.

Asked about the main issues to be taken up with the Centre, he said, "Let us first see what their national priorities are. This will also be factored in prioritising our demands."

Chandy said one of the major constraint facing the state was the difficulties faced by thousands of families due to enforcement of Coastal Regulation Zone.

"Now, the situation is such that a person who wants to repair his house in coastal belt cannot do that. Kerala had submitted proposals for amendments in the rules before the previous government and this would be pursued with the new government," he said.