ADVERTISEMENT

Thiruvananthapuram

10 dead in Kerala, TN, several fishermen missing as cyclone Ockhi heads for Lakshadweep

Heavy rains lashed many parts of south Kerala and south Tamil Nadu and at least 10 people have died since yesterday as cyclone Ockhi intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and hurtled past the coasts of the two states towards Lakshadweep Islands on Friday.

 
Cyclone Ockhi: 8 killed, several fishermen missing
Heavy rains lashed many parts of south Kerala and south Tamil Nadu and at least 10 people have died since yesterday as cyclone Ockhi intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and hurtled past the coasts of the two states towards Lakshadweep Islands today.
 
Four people were killed in south Kerala and five in south Tamil Nadu in rain-related incidents yesterday even as the authorities mounted a massive search and rescue operation for scores of fishermen reported missing at sea.
 
One fisherman, who was among those rescued today, died in hospital here today, taking the toll in Kerala to five, official sources said.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a warning of a very severe cyclone for Lakshadweep Islands this evening and said the system was likely to intensify further in the next 24 hours.
 
In a Red message issued at 1730 hours today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the system, now over the Lakshadweep  area and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea, continued to move west-northwestwards with a speed of 15 kmph during the past six hours and intensified further into a "Very Severe Cyclonic Storm".
 
It lay centred at 1430 hours IST today near latitude 9.1º N and longitude 73.0º E, about 90 km north of Minicoy and 220 km south-southeast of Amini Divi. 
 
"The system is very likely to intensify further during next 24 hours. It is very likely to continue to move west-northwestwards across Lakshadweep Islands during next 24 hours and then move north/ northeastwards during the subsequent 48 hours," the bulletin said.
 
The IMD warned that, under the influence of the system, heavy to very heavy rainfall was very likely at most places over Lakshadweep area during the next 24 hours, with isolated extremely heavy falls. There could be isolated heavy to very heavy falls during the subsequent 24 hours, it said.
 
The bulletin also said that rainfall was very likely at many places over Kerala during the next 24 hours, with heavy rainfall at isolated places.
 
According to it, gale winds, with speed reaching 120-130 kmph, gusting to 145 kmph, were very likely over and around Lakshadweep Islands during the next 24 hours and gradual decrease thereafter.
 
Squally winds, with speed reaching 45-55 kmph, gusting to 65 kmph, were very likely along and off Kerala during the next 24 hours and along and off Karnataka coast during the next 24 hours, it said.
 
The bulletin said sea conditions would be phenomenal over and around Lakshadweep Islands during the next 24 hours and very high during the subsequent 24 hours.
 
Sea conditions would be high to very high along and off the Kerala coast during the next 24 hours and along and off the Karnataka coast during subsequent 24 hours.
 
The cyclone could cause damage to power and communication lines due to breaking of tree branches and uprooting of large avenue trees; major damage to thatched houses, huts and kutcha houses; some damage to pucca roads; flooding of escape routes; and damage to banana and papaya trees and standing crops.
 
Storm surge of about one metre above astronomical tides was very likely to inundate low lying areas of Lakshadweep Islands, the bulletin said.
 
Fishermen along and off Lakshadweep Islands were advised not to venture into the sea during the next 48 hours. Similarly, fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea along and off the Kerala and Karnataka coasts during the next 48 hours.
 
Ships and aircraft of the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) were involved in the rescue efforts at sea while teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were deployed in the affected areas in the two states and units of the Indian Army were on standby to come to the aid of the civil adminstration, if necessary.
 
Official sources here said more than 220 people had been rescued from the sea by the Navy, ICG and IAF. Many of them were admitted to hospitals here for treatment, they said. 
 
Some of the fishermen were rescued by a Japanese cargo ship in the area. As many as 37 people were rescued by Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) of the Indian Navy which flew between Thiruvananthapuram and the sea.
 
The ICG said it had deployed nine ships and two Dornier aircraft in the area and rescued as many as 52 fishermen so far.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
The International Safety Net (ISN) had been activated to advise Merchant Traffic to render assistance to stranded fishermen, it said.
 
Among others, Indian Naval Ships Sagardhwani, Jamuna and Nireekshak were in the affected areas in the Arabian Sea. INS Sharda and Shardul are also sailing out soon to augment the search effort. Both ships were in final stages of embarking HADR items for assistance at Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands, Indian Navy sources said.
 
In Poonthura, a coastal village near here, angry groups of fishermen and their families staged protests, alleging that the government had not acted in time and not done enough as far as the rescue efforts were concerned. 
 
Former Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, both senior leaders of the Congress, visited the area today to listen to the woes of the villagers.
 
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told newspersons that the state government had received an alert about the cyclone only on Thursday afternoon. He said the rescue efforts were also hampered by the bad weather conditions.
 
Mr. Vijayan said all possible efforts were being made to locate and rescue the missing fishermen. He said the state government had urged the Ministry of Defence to deploy more aircraft for the search and rescue operations.
 
In Lakshadweep, the authorities had issued orders for the evacuation of people from low-lying areas in Kalpeni, Minicoy, Kavratti, Agatti, Androth, Kadamath and Amini islands.
 
NNN
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Infrastructure development a priority for government, says Modi in Kerala

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the inauguration of the Kollam Bypass on NH 66, in Kollam, Kerala on January 15, 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the inauguration of the Kollam Bypass on NH 66, in Kollam, Kerala on January 15, 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said infrastructure development was the priority of his government and the 13 km, two-lane Kollam bypass on National Highway (NH)-66 in Kerala that he dedicated to the nation earlier in the day was an example in this regard.
 
Kerala Governor Justice P. Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Minister of Tourism K J Alphons along with other dignitaries were present at the dedication ceremony.
 
Addressing a gathering at he Asramam ground in Kollam later, Modi said the project had got the final sanction in January 2015 and it had now been completed.
 
He said his government believed in "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas" for ease of living for the common man and appreciated the contribution and cooperation of the Kerala government in completion of the project.
 
The Kollam Bypass will reduce travel time between Alappuzha and state capital Thiruvananthapuram and decongest the traffic in Kollam town.
 
Talking about the projects in Kerala, the Prime Minister said that about 500 km of national highway has been added in Kerala since May 2014. He added that under Bharatmala, a detailed project report for the Mumbai-Kanyakumari corridor is under preparation. 
 
Modi said that the government is committed to ensure timely completion of all the projects.  He said that through PRAGATI, more than 250 projects worth Rs. 12 lakh crore have been reviewed at his end.
 
Highlighting the progress in road connectivity, Modi said that compared to the previous Government, the pace of construction in national highways and rural roads has almost doubled. More than 90% of rural habitations have been connected today compared to only 56% under the previous government.  He expressed hope that the government will reach the target of 100% rural road connectivity soon.
 
Regional air connectivity and expansion of railway lines have shown marked improvement resulting in creation of job opportunities, he said.
 
“When we construct roads and bridges, we do not only connect towns and villages. We also connect aspirations with achievements, optimism with opportunities and hope with happiness," he said.
 
About Ayushman Bharat, he said that 8 lakh patients have been benefitted under this scheme while the government has sanctioned more than 1100 crores rupees till date for the scheme. He urged the Government of Kerala to expedite the implementation of Ayushman Bharat scheme, so that the people of Kerala can be benefitted.
 
Modi said tourism is the hallmark of Kerala’s economic development and a principal contributor to the state’s economy. He added that recognizing the tourism potential of Kerala, the government has sanctioned seven projects in the state under the Swadesh Darshan and PRASAD schemes with funds worth Rs. 550 crore.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
He said India posted a growth of 14% over 2016 in the tourism sector while the world grew at an average of 7%. He added that India now stands at third place in Power Ranking in the 2018 report of the World Travel & Tourism Council. Foreign tourist arrivals in India increased by 42% from around 70 lakh in 2013 to about 1 crore in 2017. The foreign exchange earned by India due to tourism witnessed a jump of 50%, up from $ 18 billion in 2013 to $ 27 billion in 2017. He described the introduction of the e-Visa as a game changer for Indian tourism which is now available to nationals of 166 countries. 
 
Earlier in the day, Modi visited Odisha where he said the government was committed to the all-round development of the state and of eastern India as a whole.
 
He visited Balangir, where he launched several development projects worth Rs. 1500 crores and laid foundation stones of various projects.
 
He dedicated a Multi-Modal Logistics Park (MMLP) at Jharsuguda to the nation. The MMLP will make Jharsuguda the prime hub of logistics in the region. 
 
He also inaugurated the Balangir-Bichhupali railway line built at an estimated cost of Rs. 115 crore.
 
Noting that it was his third visit to Odisha in the past three weeks, he told a gathering at the Railway Yard in Balangir that his government was making continuous efforts for the development of the state and eastern India.
 
He also dedicated to the nation the new bridge over Nagavali River, doubling of railway lines between Barpali-Dungaripali and Balangir-Deogaon and electrification of 813 km of Jharsuguda-Vizinagaram and Sambalpur-Angul lines. 
 
He laid the foundation stone of Kendriya Vidyalaya in Odisha's Sonepur at an estimated cost of Rs. 15.81 crore. 
 
“Education leads to human resource development. But it is connectivity that transforms such resources into opportunity. Inauguration of 6 railway projects is an effort of our endeavour to enhance connectivity. It will facilitate movement of people, make mineral resources more accessible to industry and help farmers to take their produce to far-off markets, furthering ‘Ease of Living’ for Odisha’s citizens," he said.
 
Citing his commitment for the preservation of culture and heritage, the Prime Minister said that it would strengthen cultural links and enhance the tourism potential in the state. He expressed his happiness over the renovation and restoration works at the Nilamadhav and Siddheswar temples in Gandhaharadi (Boudh). 
 
Modi also inaugurated restoration and renovation work of Ranipur Jharial group of monuments in Balangir and Asurgarh Fort in Kalahandi.
 
NNN
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Modi to inaugurate Spiritual Circuit in Kerala on Tuesday

Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram
Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the project "Development of Spiritual Circuit: Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple-Aranmula-Sabarimala” in Kerala during a day's visit to the state tomorrow.
 
The project is being implemented under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of the Union Ministry of Tourism.
 
Kerala Governor Palanisamy Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Tourism Minister K. J. Alphons are slated to be present on the occasion.
 
An official press release said the project was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in 2016-17 for Rs. 92.22 crores. Most of the work under this project has been carried out at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram.
 
The Sree Padmanabaswamy Temple is one of the 108 divyadesams of Lord Vishnu. The temple witnesses huge footfall throughout the year. However, the temple precinct did not establish a sense of arrival to the revered destination nor were the amenities sufficient to cater to the tourists, the release said.
 
Under this project, the Ministry has developed and rejuvenated the temple and its surroundings keeping in mind the factors of heritage and socio-cultural aspects.
 
The Ministry of Tourism, recognizing the tourism potential of the State, has sanctioned seven projects in Kerala under the Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD schemes for an approximate amount of Rs. 550 crore.
 
Talking to journalists in Thiruvananthapuram, Alphons said his Ministry had sanctioned projects worth Rs. 85.23 crore for the development of Spiritual Circuit III for Kerala under Swadesh Darshan Scheme. 
 
He said the sites identified under the circuit are spread across all 14 districts of the state and cover 133 religious places. He said the districts where the projects would be implemented are : Kasargode, Wayand, Kannur, Kozhikode, Palakkad, Malappuram, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Idukki, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Pathanamhitta, Kollam and Thiruvanathapuram .
 
The Minister said the destinations have been selected keeping in view the inherent historic, cultural and religious significance of the places. The development works include Community hall, Annadhana Mandapam, Multipurpose hall, toilets, cafeteria, parking facilities, landscaping, pathways, illuminations, signages, dustbins, and so on.
 
The circuit covers religious sites all across the state from Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple in the northernmost district of Kasargode to the Madre De Deus Church in Thiruvanathapuram, the southernmost district. The Circuit will cover several historical religious sites across the state like the Cheraman Jumah Masjid (Kodungallooor), Koodalmanikyam temple (Irinjalakkuda), St. Thomas Church (Malayattoor) and Thriparayar Sreerama Temple (Thrissur).
 
Alphons said that the sites had been identified after elaborate study and discussions with all stakeholders. He said 60 percent of domestic tourism is related to spiritual circuits. 
 
Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship schemes of Ministry of tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner. Under this scheme, the Government is focussing on development of quality infrastructure in the country with objective of providing better experience and facilities to the visitors on the one hand and on the other hand fostering economic growth. 
 
The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 77 projects worth projects for Rs. 6131.88 crore to 30 States and UTs. 
 
As many as 30 projects / major components of projects are expected to be completed during the current financial year, of which 10 projects worth Rs.834.22 crore, covering the states of Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have already been inaugurated.
 
NNN
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Modi to visit Kerala on January 15

ADVERTISEMENT
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala tomorrow.
 
In Kollam, Prime Minister will inaugurate Kollam bypass on National Highway (NH)-66.  It is a 13 km long 2 lane bypass, with a project cost of Rs. 352 crore. It includes three major bridges over the Ashtamudi Lake, having a total length of 1540 metres. 
 
This project will reduce travel time between Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram, and will also decongest traffic in Kollam town, an official press release said.
 
In Thiruvananthapuram, Modi will visit the Padmanabhaswamy Temple . He is likely to unveil a plaque to mark the launch of some visitor facilities.
 
This will be the third official visit of the Prime Minister to Kollam. His first visit to the city was in December 2015, when he unveiled the statue of R. Sankar.  Subsequently, the Prime Minister visited Kollam in April 2016, hours after the fire tragedy.
 
NNN

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Police step up security for Kerala CM

ADVERTISEMENT
Kerala Police will step up security for Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan following widespread protests in the state over the entry of two women to the Sabarimala shrine, a police officer said on Friday.
 
T. K. Vinodkumar, chief of the police intelligence wing, said though the Chief Minister will continue to be in 'Z Plus' security category, some added precautions had been taken.
 
Accordingly, whereever the Chief Minister is or when he is travelling, roads will be sanitised, cleared of obstruction and police personnel will "be more alert", said Vinodkumar.
 
On Thursday, the pilot vehicle of Vijayan hit two Congress workers waving black flags when he was returning from office to his official residence for lunch.
 
Vijayan, who is mostly based in the state capital, on Wednesday oversaw the arrests of 109 Sangh Parivar activists on charges of unleashing violence in various parts of the capital city district.
 
The last time a Kerala Chief Minister came under attack was in October 2013, at Kannur, when Oommen Chandy was targeted by stone-throwing Left supporters, injuring him in the chest and face.
 
IANS

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Widespread violence in Kerala during shutdown over Sabarimala

 
Sabarimala row: Widespread violence during Kerala shutdown
A dawn-to-dusk Kerala shutdown called to denounce the visit of two women to the Sabarimala temple saw major violence on Thursday, a rarity compared to the regular strikes the state witnesses from time to time.
 
The Sabarimala Karma Samithi (SKS), which had the backing of the BJP and RSS, said it called the protest to oppose the role of the Kerala government which facilitated the entry of the two women inside the temple before dawn on Wednesday.
 
What began as minor skirmishes at various places between the strike organisers and its opponents aggravated during the day as more than 300 protesters were arrested, with nearly 100 people, including police officials, getting injured in the violence.
 
The worst affected districts included Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Kasargode and Kannur.
 
A number of CPI-M offices came under attack. In several places in the suburbs of the state capital, it was a free for all as rival factions took on one another. In Nedumangadu near here, crude bombs were thrown at CPI-M offices while homes of CPI-M leaders were attacked.
 
While state-owned and private buses were off the road, private vehicles, mostly two-wheelers, plied. Private cars also operated in Thiruvananthapuram and other major cities in Kerala.
 
Ten people in Kannur were arrested after they attacked vehicles that went past the BJP office.
 
Even as the two traders' body in the state announced they would open their shops, in several places shops failed to open.
 
However, in Kozhikode, traders were determined to open their shops even as the SKS and BJP activists protested.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
"This frequent calling of shutdown is not acceptable. We will open in future also," said a group of shopkeepers at Kozhikode.
 
After some traders opened their shops in Kozhikode, a gang of Sangh Parivar forces forcibly closed them down. In the process, numerous shops suffered damages.
 
An inter-state bus from Karnataka was stoned in Kozhikode district. Similar incidents were also reported from Kasargode and Palakkad.
 
University examinations scheduled for Thursday were postponed. All educational institutions in the state were shut.
 
Meanwhile, the Left government decided promised strong action against the trouble makers.
 
Vijayan added that there was no protest from ordinary people including women over the entry of the two women at the Sabarimala temple.
 
"The trouble started after the Sangh Parivar forces went on a rampage attacking police, damaging numerous vehicles. We have decided that at no cost will the authorities be silent and very strong action will be taken," he said.
 
At Pandalam in Alappuzha district, BJP and RSS activists took out a protest march after one of their supporters who was injured in stone throwing by CPI-M workers on Wednesday died late at night.
 
A CPI-M worker has been arrested and the wife of the deceased said the family does not believe a fair probe will happen.
 
Thursday also saw widespread attacks on the media, leaving many journalists, including women, injured and shaken. Vijayan condemned the violence.
 
"Even media personnel, including women, have not been spared by Sangh Parivar forces who are trying to take the law into their hands. This will be seriously dealt with," Vijayan said here.
 
V. Suresh, President of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists, told IANS that since Wednesday journalists had been attacked by Sangh Parivar protesters.
 
"Across the state around 100 journalists have been attacked. Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Palakkad are the districts where our fellow journalists have been the worst hit," he said.
 
Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra said the police viewed these attacks "very seriously".
 
Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said all this was bound to happen "when senseless people rule the state".
 
"Chief Minister Vijayan is solely responsible for what is happening here. He has created the platform for the Sangh Parivar forces to go berserk and create mayhem and this is the eighth shutdown called to protest the Sabarimala temple issue. 
 
"What happened was Vijayan's determination to breach the tradition and customs of the temple."
 
State RSS chief P. E. B. Menon said the way out of the present unrest was for the Centre to come out with an ordinance on Sabarimala temple entry.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Four Congress workers hit by Kerala CM's pilot vehicle

ADVERTISEMENT
Four Congress workers were hit and injured by the pilot vehicle of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan when he was returning home from office for lunch on Thursday, the Congress said.
 
Congress legislator M. Vincent told IANS that the four party workers got injured in two different incidents.
 
He said some Congress activists waving black flags were hit by the pilot vehicle in what he insisted was "a deliberate attempt", injuring two of them. 
 
Later, another 200 metres from the first site, "the pilot vehicle knocked down two of our workers who were on a two-wheeler", said Vincent.
 
Congress legislator K.S. Sabarinadhan told IANS that two of them had been taken to the Medical College Hospital and two were being treated at the General Hospital.
 
"Our workers have got bruises and injuries on the shoulder, hands and legs," he said.
 
The Congress is observing Thursday as a black day to protest the manner in which the government facilitated two women to pray at the Sabarimala temple a day earlier.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Protests as two women pray at Sabarimala, Kerala shutdown called

 
Two women under 50 enter Sabarimala temple
Protests erupted across Kerala on Wednesday after two women in the hitherto banned age group entered the Sabarimala temple before dawn, with the Sabarimala Karma Samithi (SMS) calling for a state-wide shutdown on Thursday.
 
The temple was shut for an hour to conduct "purification rituals" after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed that Bindu and Kanaka Durga had 'darshan' at 3.30 a.m., having been stopped on December 24 by predominantly male pilgrims from entering the hill shrine. 
 
The temple was reopened after an hour.
 
SKS activists vowed not to rest till Vijayan was ousted from office and called a dawn-to-dusk shutdown on Thursday.
 
Speaking to the media over telephone, Bindu said she and Durga reached the Pamba base camp around 1.30 a.m. and along with a few police officers in civilian clothes went up the pathway.
 
"The government had assured us all help... We, however, did not climb the hallowed 18 steps, instead went through the way normally used by VIPs," said Bindu.
 
"We did not have any problems. Barring minor protests, there was no other issue."
 
As the news spread, Sangh Parivar outfits took to the streets across Kerala blocking traffic, burning tyres on main roads and stoning buses.
 
In the state capital, the police used water canons and tear gas to disperse clashing CPI-M and Sangh Parivar activists. Protests were also reported from Kochi, Palghat, Kozhikode and Kasargode.
 
Kerala's biggest traders' body, KVVES, announced it won't shut shops on Thursday as frequent strikes were causing huge losses.
 
Once it became known that the two women had entered the temple, the chief priest and temple tantri met the Pandalam Royal family and decided to shut the shrine for "purification rituals".
 
Women and girls in the age group of 10 to 50 were barred from praying at the Sabarimala temple. This ban was struck down by the Supreme Court in September.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan said the tantri had no right to close the temple. "This is a challenge to the judiciary. The government only did its role in upholding the Supreme Court directive," he told journalists.
 
Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala called for protests against the Left government. "Vijayan will have to pay a heavy price for this," he said.
 
Another Congress leader, K. Sudhakaran, called Vijayan "a fascist" and said the two women who entered the temple were his "puppets".
 
State CPI-M Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said there was no reason to shut the temple.
 
"Those who should observe the temple rules are themselves violating it," he said. "The role of the government is to abide by the Supreme Court order and it has done just that. The police did their job of providing security to the women."
 
Nair Service Society's General Secretary Sukumaran Nair thanked the temple priests for closing the temple for "purification rituals".
 
State BJP General Secretary M. T. Ramesh thundered that Vijayan will have to pay "a heavy price" for violating the temple traditions.
 
"What they did was to act like cowards. In pitch darkness, they took the two women," he said, adding that protests would be held in Kerala on Wednesday and Thursday.
 
BJP activists protested in front of Devasom (Temples) Minister Kadakampally Surendran when he came to attend a programme in Guruvayoor.
 
Similar protests took place when Health Minister K. K. Shailaja came for a function in her home district in Kannur.
 
The temple town has witnessed protests by Hindu groups since the September 28 Supreme Court verdict that allowed women of all ages to enter the temple.
 
Since then, around three dozen women in that age group have tried but failed to go up the pathway leading to the temple due to protests.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Kerala church feud: Five-member ministerial panel to mediate

ADVERTISEMENT
A five-member ministerial committee headed by Kerala Industries Minister E. P. Jayarajan was set up on Tuesday to resolve the ongoing row between the Orthodox and Jacobite church factions.
 
The development has come a day after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government would do its best to bring an end to the dispute. 
 
The committee led by Jayarajan, the number two in Vijayan's cabinet, also includes A. K. Saseendran, E. Chandrasekheran, K. Krishnankutty and Kadanapally Ramachandran.
 
The Syrian Orthodox Church has two factions -- the Orthodox, which forms the majority and has its headquarters in Kottayam, and the Jacobites, who consider the Patriarch of Antioch, based in Beirut, as their supreme leader.
 
Last month, tension prevailed at two prominent churches at Vaikom and Kothamangalam when angry supporters of the rival factions clashed.
 
After a court ruling handing over the control of these churches to the Orthodox faction, Jacobite faction members took out mass protests and demonstrations to stop the verdict from being implemented.
 
On Monday, Vijayan promised that the government would make necessary interventions to sort out the issue.
 
According to a source in the committee, they are first going to talk to the rival factions separately and then will invite both the factions and will try to iron out the difference between them.
 
During a brief period, between 1958 and 1970, following a Supreme Court ruling, both factions had remained under one roof with Kottayam being their headquarters.
 
However, since 1970, they have been at war over the church's control.
 
Trouble has been simmering since 2017 when, after decades of trial, the apex court in its final verdict said there were no grounds for Jacobites to claim any of the churches of the Orthodox section.
 
IANS

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Lakhs form 'women's wall' in Kerala

ADVERTISEMENT
A 620-km long "women's wall" that had the backing of the Kerala government was formed on Tuesday evening linking Kasargode in the north to Ayyanakali square near the Governor's residence in Thiruvananthapuram, with lakhs taking part.
 
Giving full support to the event was the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) which had vowed to gather five million women for the event.
 
Women from all walks of life stood on the side of the National Highway that runs from Kasargode to Thiruvananthapuram and took a pledge at 4 a.m. After standing for 15 minutes, the women dispersed.
 
Last month, amid the row over the Sabarimala pilgrimage, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sent out invites to social groups and it was decided to form the "women wall" so that Kerala does not become "a lunatic asylum".
 
The other objective of the event was to promote gender equality.
 
At the northern end, the first on the line was Health Minister K.K. Shailaja. At the extreme south was CPI-M politburo member Brinda Karat.
 
Later, addressing a public meeting here, Karat congratulated the women of Kerala for creating history.
 
"This wall is just not for Kerala but for all the women in the country," she said.
 
Added Shailaja: "After a few days of the announcement about this wall, we started to get numerous calls from women asking where they should stand. It has been a huge success from the way women participated."
 
Joining the human chain were women from all walks of life including from the film industry, writers and academics.
 
"This has got nothing to do with the entry of women into Sabarimala. That's a different issue. We came to take part because we wanted to send out the message of gender equality," a women who took part in Thrissur said.
 
But the Congress-led opposition condemned the 'women wall', saying it will only whip up communal passions.
 
While the Nair Service Society (NSS), which represents the Hindu Nair community, had announced that they will not take part in the event, the SNDP Yogam - the social movement of the Hindu Ezhava community - took part in good numbers.
 
"We thank the Kerala government for allowing us to take part in this event as this is a record breaking event," said Preethi Natesan, wife of SNDP Yogam General Secretary Vellappallyi Natesan.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Judicial probe gives Chandy clean chit in Vizhinjam port agreement

ADVERTISEMENT
The one-man Kerala Cabinet-appointed Justice (rtd) C. N. Ramachandran Commission, which was asked to look into the Vizhinjam port agreement inked by former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy-led government, on Monday gave a clean chit and said no corruption was involved in it.
 
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan appointed the commission in May 2017, a few days after the CAG report on it was placed in the Kerala Assembly that cited lacunae in the agreement and stated the state was in a disadvantageous position.
 
Ramachandran submitted the report to Vijayan here and later told the media that there was nothing that could point to corruption in the signing of agreement.
 
"The CAG report is a mixture of rights and wrongs...it (agreement) was not a corrupt one. Both state government and Adani Ports can go ahead with the work. We gave adequate time to all to come up with evidences, but none came. These are all very big infrastructure projects and the profitability aspect will take a while to mature," said Ramachandran.
 
The Chandy government in 2015 inked the agreement for the Rs 7,525-crore Vizhinjam project with Adani Ports, which was the lone bidder and sought Rs 1,635 crore as grant for it.
 
Adani had on December 5, 2015, when the work commenced, committed that the first phase of the port would be operational in 1,000 days from the date of commencement of work and the first ship will berth on September 1, 2018.
 
But the deadline has been missed and the reasons attributed for the delay is that the builders found it difficult to get adequate and regular supply of limestones required for building the breakwaters. Besides, the work was badly hit as the Ockhi waves last year took away 150 metres of the constructed breakwater.
 
According to the agreement, Adani would operate the port for 40 years, extendable by another 20 years, while the state government would get a portion of the revenue from the port after 15 years.
 
Once completed, the port would be able to handle movement of ships with a capacity of even 18,000 TEU (20-feet equivalent units) to dock and is located close to the busy international shipping route. It is envisaged to handle 4.1 million containers annually.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Kerala 'super cop' files complaint against 'fake news'

ADVERTISEMENT
Rishi Raj Singh, Director General of Police, often referred to as a 'super cop,' on Thursday filed a complaint with the Hitech Cell of the state police that a fake news item with his picture was being circulated in social media, showing him participating at BJP-supported 'Ayyappa Jyothi', held yesterday.
 
Speaking to IANS, an official attached to the Hitech Cell confirmed Singh has registered a complaint.
 
"His complaint says that a fake news item with his picture is being circulated showing him standing in a queue along with others to take part in the 'Ayyappa Jyothi' event. We have started our probe into his complaint," said the official.
 
The 'Ayyappa Jyothi' campaign was held across Kerala and was organized by the Sabarimala Karma Samithi with the support of the state BJP, RSS and Sangh Parivar outfits to protest the Pinarayi Vijayan government's attempt to dilute the traditions of the Sabarimala temple.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Kerala Left Front to induct four new allies

ADVERTISEMENT
The ruling Left Democratic Front-led by the CPI-M on Wednesday decided to induct the Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD), Indian National League, Democratic Kerala Congress and Kerala Congress (Pillai), the LDF convenor said.
 
The decision to induct the four new allies came after much dilly dallying.
 
Speaking to the media here after a LDF meeting, Convenor A. Vijayaraghavan said there were at least a dozen political outfits that work in tandem with the LDF and following discussions they have decided to give membership to four.
 
"It includes Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD), Indian National League, Democratic Kerala Congress and Kerala Congress (Pillai)," said Vijayaraghavan.
 
With this the total number of LDF allies rose to 10. The rest include the CPI-M, CPI, Janata Dal(S), NCP, Kerala Congress (Skaria Thomas) and Congress (Secular).
 
Among the new inductees, the Kerala Congress (Pillai) has just one legislator, while the other three parties do not have any legislators.
 
Incidentally, for the LJD supremo and media baron M. P. Veerendra Kumar, it was a return to the LDF.
 
The Indian National League (INL) has also been part and parcel of the LDF for a long time and in the 2016 assembly polls it was given three seats to contest, but failed to win any.
 
This comes ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls as the Communist Party of India-Marxist is determined to win as many seats as possible.
 
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the LDF won eight of the 20 seats that it contested .
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Oman-based budget airline Salam Air eyes Kerala operations

ADVERTISEMENT
Oman-headquartered budget carrier Salam Air is getting ready to operate to Kerala, according to an official of the airline.
 
The airline's CEO Mohammed Ahamed has said that they have started necessary work in this direction and are waiting to hear from the civil aviation authorities in Delhi. Once it is done, the date of operations would be announced.
 
Salam Air is planning to operate first to Kochi and then to other South Indian destinations, including the three other international airports in Kerala.
 
Salam Air started commercial operations on January 30, 2017 and currently operates 116 flights per week across seven destinations, besides three seasonal destinations.
 
IANS
 
 
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Kerala DGP Thomas' suspension extended by 6 months

ADVERTISEMENT
Kerala's Director General of Police Jacob Thomas, who was suspended for criticising the Pinarayi Vijayan government in the wake of cyclone Ockhi disaster, was asked to continue in suspension for another six months, in a fresh order issued here on Friday.
 
His one-year long suspension ended on Thursday, following which Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's government extended it by another six months.
 
The day Vijayan took office in May 2016, Thomas was appointed State Vigilance chief.
 
In 2017, he was asked to go on leave and then he was dumped to head a state-run management institute.
 
Later, Thomas was suspended from service in December 2017 for violation of All India Service Rules after it surfaced that he spoke about the breakdown of law and order situation in the state and the manner in which cyclone Ockhi was handled by the Vijayan government.
 
The Vijayan government also took him to task for authoring a book without prior permission.
 
In November, the state government also ordered a vigilance probe into the purchases made by the Ports Department, when Thomas was its director during the Oommen Chandy regime.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Kerala: Man immolates himself at BJP Sabarimala protest venue, party calls for shutdown

ADVERTISEMENT
A 50-year-old man early on Thursday set himself on fire at a BJP protest venue here and died at the state-run Medical College Hospital in the evening, police said.
 
Venugopalan Nair poured kerosene on his clothes, set them on fire and ran into the protest venue in front of the state Secretariat.
 
At the venue was former state BJP President C. K. Padmanabhan, who is on an indefinite fast against the manner in which the Kerala government is handling the Sabarimala temple issue after the Supreme Court ruled in September that all women can enter the shrine.
 
Nair was rushed to the hospital. He had suffered 90 per cent burns and breathed his last on Thursday evening.
 
Following the death, the BJP called a dawn-to-dusk shutdown in Kerala on Friday.
 
While the police are yet to ascertain the reason for the immolation, the BJP is linking it to the Sabarimala temple issue.
 
But in his dying declaration, Nair has said he does not wish to live any longer and is ending his life and made no mention of the Sabarimala temple.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Kerala's one-film wonder Ajayan passes away

ADVERTISEMENT
Ajayan, who shot into fame with the only film that he directed "Perunthachen" (master carpenter), died here on Thursday, said his colleague and veteran character actor Nedumudi Venu.
 
Ajayan breathed his last at a private hospital here after a cardiac arrest, Venu said.
 
He is survived by his wife and two children.
 
Venu said it was always a mystery that Ajayan failed to make more movies.
 
"He was certainly immensely talented but do not know what and where he got stuck. He was my junior in college and we have had a very long association."
 
State Culture and Cinema Minister A. K. Balan condoled Ajayan's death and said that the impact of his only film will continue for a long time.
 
Son of the legendary Malayalam playwright, screenwriter and film director, Thoppil Bhasi, Ajayan began his film career under his father and later worked as associate director to legends like Padmarajan and Bharathan.
 
It was in 1990 that Ajayan turned a full-time director with "Perunthachen", which was a runaway hit and one that won rave reviews and numerous awards.
 
Ajayan won the Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director, Kerala State Film Award for Best Debut Director, in 1990.
 
The film also won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Popular Film in 1990 and was nominated for the Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno International Film Festival in 1992.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Women's Wall: Kerala Assembly in turmoil, MLAs come to blows

ADVERTISEMENT
Kerala MLAs came to blows on Thursday inside the Assembly after the opposition called the proposed Women's Wall event on New Year's Day meant to take forward gender equality, "nothing but a communal wall that will be dismantled".
 
The Assembly session, which concluded on Thursday, has been facing turmoil right from the beginning of the 13-day session, coinciding with the ongoing Sabarimala pilgrimage amid prohibitory orders. 
 
The opposition Congress-led UDF has been up in arms against the Pinarayi Vijayan government for turning Sabarimala into a police fortress, causing innumerable hardships to the pilgrims.
 
On Thursday, as the question hour ended, Deputy Leader of Opposition and senior Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) member M. K. Muneer sought to move an adjournment motion to discuss the Women's Wall programme of the state government.
 
Vijayan responded saying that the event was being held to take forward the ideology of gender equality and uphold the dignity of women.
 
"If you (the opposition) are against this, please say that. We assure the House, no government money is being spent for this programme. The state government is just taking part to see that the ideology of great reformer Sree Narayana Guru is taken forward," he told the Assembly. 
 
Vijayan asked the opposition: "How can you all say that this is a communal event?" His speech was greeted by the treasury benches by thumping the desk. 
 
Then, Muneer got up to speak. He said: "Like in West Germany, if the Berlin wall was dismantled, the Women's Wall, which is a communal wall would be dismantled."
 
That was all that he could say, and the entire treasury bench was up on their feet, sloganeering.
 
They trooped to the Speaker's podium, forcing P. Sreeramakrishnan to adjourn the house.
 
When the house met again, Muneer said: "Why is that when I say the word communal wall, you go berserk, when others use the same word, there is no issue. I stick by what I said that this is nothing but a 'communal wall'. 
 
"You (Vijayan) say that this wall is part of the renaissance movement, but what right do you have to speak about renaissance. 
 
"It's just not the Hindus who took part in the erstwhile Renaissance Movement, Christians and Muslims also took part and we wish to ask you what wall are you now going to build without the Christians and Muslims," said Muneer.
 
Following which the sloganeering from across the benches increased, forcing the Speaker to rush through the listed business of the day.
 
The sloganeering and trooping of both benches' MLAs almost led to a clash, with P. K. Basheer of the IUML and V. Joy of the CPI-M coming to blows.
 
State Agriculture Minister V. S. Sunilkumar forcefully took away Joy, while Basheer was also taken away by others.
 
With the session coming to a close, Congress' Ramesh Chennithala said: "Vijayan knows that he has been caught on the wrong foot on the 'communal wall'. This is a communal wall and we will oppose it." 
 
The three protesting UDF members moved out of the foyer to take the protest outside the Assembly, as it was closed.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

As protests shift to state capital, pilgrims flock Sabarimala

ADVERTISEMENT
For the first time since the Sabarimala temple opened on November 16, there has been a sharp increase in the number of pilgrims.
 
One reason attributed for this is that the protests of the Sangh parivar against the Supreme Court ruling allowing women of all ages to enter the temple and the arrest of its senior leader K. Surendran has shifted to the state Secretariat.
 
The Congress-led UDF is going hammer and tongs against the Pinarayi Vijayan government in the Kerala Assembly.
 
According to official figures, on Monday a record 79,098 pilgrims arrived at the temple while till 1 p.m. on Tuesday 40,000 pilgrims had made it to the hilltop shrine.
 
Yet, the pilgrim flow is much less than what the temple town normally sees during the festival season.
 
In the previous season, the average number of pilgrims visiting the shrine was around one lakh during the two-month pilgrimage season.
 
The Kerala government has promised to implement the apex court's verdict that struck down a hitherto tradition of not allowing girls and women within 10-50 years from visiting the temple.
 
On Tuesday, a three-member High Court-appointed observer committee consisting of two retired judges and a serving Director General of Police arrived at the temple town to inspect the facilities and the arrangements for the pilgrims.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

'Women wall' in Kerala will polarize communities: Congress

ADVERTISEMENT
The Congress on Sunday condemned the 'women wall' protest from Kasargode to the Kerala capital announced by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for January 1, saying it it will only whip up communal passions.
 
Addressing the media, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said it was rather strange that Vijayan was doing what no Communist Chief Minister in the state had thought of.
 
"This 'women wall' will only help to polarize communities and compartmentalize people in the name of caste. What is even more strange is that this was decided at a meeting of representatives with dozens of Hindu social organisations where the Chief Secretary was also present. Vijayan should see that this is not a state-sponsored programme," he said.
 
Saturday's meeting was an attempt to garner support following recent protests by Hindu groups in Kerala over the entry of women of all ages to the Sabarimala temple post a Supreme Court verdict.
 
Vijayan sent out invites to over 150 social groups, of which around 70 took part and it was decided to use the #hashtag that the purpose of the 'women wall' would be 'not to turn Kerala into a lunatic asylum'.
 
"Vijayan should release minutes of the meeting... Reports have surfaced that while Vijayan said all have pledged support for the state government on the stand taken by them on the Sabarimala issue, some leaders who took part later said they disagreed," added Chennithala.
 
The apex court on November 13 refused to stay the September verdict, three days before the two month long Sabarimala pilgrimage season began on November 16.
 
The Left Democratic Front government led by the CPI-M has been trying to implement the apex court's verdict even as the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and several Hindu groups are up in arms against it.
 
"The talk of renaissance is not by bringing ladies to Sabarimala as there is no ban on ladies. Instead, there is restriction, which is part of tradition and the rituals associated with the Sabarimala temple. 
 
"The BJP and RSS are trying to create a terror situation in the temple town," added Chennithala.
 
Meanwhile, the Nair Service Society, which represents the Hindu Nair community and which did not attend Saturday's meeting, on Sunday said that the Vijayan government was trying to make political capital out of the Sabarimala issue.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Kerala: JD-S leader K Krishnankutty sworn in as Minister

ADVERTISEMENT
Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader K. Krishnankutty was sworn in as the new Minister for Water Resources in the Kerala government on Tuesday.
 
Governor P. Sathasivam administered the oath of office and secrecy. 
 
The present state President of JD-S, Krishnankutty, 74, replaced Mathew T. Thomas who resigned on Tuesday in accordance with a decision by the national leadership of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).
 
While the Congress-led opposition boycotted the swearing in protesting against the Kerala government's tough stand on the Sabarimala issue, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, his cabinet colleagues and legislators from the ruling front were present on the occasion.
 
Thomas was present at the event and so was the lone BJP legislator, O. Rajagopal.
 
Krishnankutty started his political career in the Congress and later joined the Janata Party. He is a four-time legislator and has become a Minister for the first time.
 
The JD-S is the third largest ally of the CPI-M-led government and has three legislators.
 
IANS

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

NDMA conducts training programme for CBRN emergencies at Trivandrum airport

ADVERTISEMENT
A basic training programme aimed at enhancing the preparedness of Airport Emergency Handlers (AEHs) to respond to CBRN emergencies began at the Trivandrum International Airport in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. 
 
The five-day training programme is being conducted by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
 
CBRN emergencies pertain to threats emanating from the handling of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear material.
 
The training programme is being conducted in collaboration with the Airports Authority of India (AAI), Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), an official press release said.
 
Handling CBRN emergencies need specialised skills and efforts. In fact, even a small CBRN related event can cause panic among people at the airports. This training programme will improve the CBRN safety at airports by enabling the AEHs to handle any CBRN emergency, an official release said.
 
The programme consists of lectures as well as field training, including live demonstrations of detection and decontamination including the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Besides equipping the AEHs to handle CBRN emergencies, the training programme will also enable them to provide medical first aid and initial psycho-social support.
 
Experts from stakeholder departments such as Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), INMAS, NDMA, NDRF, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) will train the participants.
 
A total of 50 participants representing various agencies responsible for operation and maintenance of the airport will be trained on various aspects of CBRN emergencies. Another 150 working level staff will be sensitized on the subject in a half-day module. A mock exercise will also be carried out during the training programme.
 
This is the eleventh in a series of such programmes being conducted at airports across the country to enable AEHs to respond suitably until the arrival of specialised response teams. Ten batches have already been trained - one each in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Varanasi, Patna, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Raipur and Bengaluru.
 
NNN

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Kerala Water Minister Mathew Thomas quits in keeping with JD-S decision

ADVERTISEMENT
Kerala Minister for Water Resources Mathew T. Thomas resigned on Monday in accordance with a decision by the national leadership of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).
 
The party has decided to replace Thomas with veteran K. Krishnankutty.
 
With Thomas submitting his resignation to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan earlier in the day, he became the fourth minister to quit the Vijayan cabinet since it assumed office in 2016.
 
Thomas addressed the media outside Vijayan's residence and said there was no pre-condition to his quitting.
 
"There is no question of me moving towards the 'right'. The natural place of the Socialist is always with the Left and there is no question of me moving anywhere else," said Thomas as he was prodded about his next move.
 
The JD-S is the third largest ally of the CPI-M-led government and has three legislators Thomas, former State Minister C.K. Nanu and K. Krishnankutty.
 
JD-S national President and former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda called his three legislators to Bengaluru last week, but Thomas did not turn up and the meeting with the others took place on Friday, when the decision was taken.
 
The present impasse in the JD-S began when the Vijayan government completed its two-and-a-half years in office.
 
Even though Thomas denied that there was an agreement that he would step down after completing half the term of five years, the other faction in the party led by Krishnankutty has always claimed there was one.
 
Thomas also denied he was in the running for the post of the party president in the state unit, as Krishnankutty would be soon sworn in.
 
In the past, CPI-M's E. P. Jayarajan quit over nepotism allegations, NCP leader A. K. Saseendran quit over sleaze allegations and Thomas Chandy, who replaced him, quit over land grab allegations.
 
Earlier in 2018, both Jayarajan and Saseendran returned to the Cabinet after the court cleared them.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Kerala: JD (S) minister Thomas to be replaced by Krishnankutty

ADVERTISEMENT
The national leadership of the Janata Dal (S) on Friday decided to replace Mathew T. Thomas, State Minister for Water Resources, with party veteran K. Krishnankutty, said a leader of the party in Bengaluru.
 
Speaking to the media in Bengaluru, party general secretary Danish Ali said he has informed the Left Democratic Front convener A. Vijayaraghavan that an official statement would be issued soon.
 
"Thomas has accepted the decision of the national leadership," said Ali.
 
The JD (S) is the third largest ally of the CPI-M-led government and has three legislators -- Thomas, former State Minister C.K. Nanu and K. Krishnankutty.
 
However, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media in the state capital that he too has heard the news of this on the TV.
 
But Thomas said that he was pained by the decision of the national leadership.
 
"I always functioned in the most proper way even though I faced personal attacks. Yet I will always be with the party," said Thomas.
 
JD (S) National President and former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda had called his three legislators to Bengaluru yesterday, but Thomas did not turn up and the meeting with the others took place on Friday when the decision was taken.
 
The present impasse in the JD (S) began when the Pinarayi Vijayan government completed two-and-a-half years in office.
 
Nanu had earlier told the media in Bengaluru that the national leadership had told them there was an agreement that Thomas would relinquish the ministership in Krishnankutty's favour once the government completed the half-way mark of its five-year term.
 
Speaking to the media in Bengaluru, minister-designate Krishnankutty said all the things have been sorted out and that he will always take the help of Thomas.
 
"There are no major issues in the party and things are fine. I will seek his help when I become a minister ," said Krishnankutty.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Centre delaying aid to flood-hit Kerala, says CM

ADVERTISEMENT
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday expressed dissatisfaction with the way the Centre has acted in the matter of rebuilding the state after it was hit by the worst floods this year.
 
Ever since monsoon rains began lashing Kerala on May 29, a total of 417 people have died. The flood fury that lasted till middle of August caused unprecedented destruction and forced more than one million people to take shelter in relief camps.
 
"We have sought two separate assistance, one for Rs 5,616 crore and another for a special package of Rs 5,000 crore. All what we have got so far is Rs 600 crore. And during the floods when we asked for excess rice and kerosene, we were asked to pay Rs 266 crore," said Vijayan.
 
He said agencies such as the World Bank and the UN have also made an assessment of the damage and it is put at Rs 36,000 crore.
 
"So even if we assume that the Centre gives us all what we have asked for, there would still be a shortfall of Rs 26,000 crore. We have sought Rs 2,500 crore as loan from NABARD and also from World Bank and ADB. Yet another demand from us was to increase the various Centrally sponsored schemes by 10 per cent, but even after repeated requests, nothing has happened," said Vijayan.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 
Syndicate content
© Copyright 2012 NetIndian. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of NetIndian content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of NetIndian Media Corporation. Write to info[AT]netindian[DOT]in for permission to use content. Read detailed Terms of Use.