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Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala Tourism invites entries for International Photo Contest

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Kerala Tourism has launched an ‘International Photography Contest’ through its website, calling for entries that would highlight the state’s tourism potential.
 
The competition, that began on September 24 with the theme ‘Kerala’, will have Rs 5 lakh as the top prize.
 
The second and third prizes will be Rs 3 lakh and Rs 2 lakh, respectively, a press release from Kerala Tourism said. There will be five consolation prizes of Rs 1 lakh each.
 
“It’s for the first time we are coming out with a contest endowed with such huge amounts as prize money,” said Kerala Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar.
 
Each contestant can send in a maximum of three entries. The photographs should be original and taken between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2015; the participant should hold its copyright. 
 
Digitally manipulated photographs will be disqualified. The submissions must have at least 1000 pixels but not more than 3000 pixels in either height or width. They should be saved as Jpegs (.jpg), and not exceed 4MB per file, at 72dpi resolution. The selected images, which will depict Kerala in multiple perspectives, will be added to Kerala tourism’s image bank.
 
"Kerala, known for its varied topography and colourful festivals, has always served as a photographer’s paradise. Considered as one of the countries with the highest brand recall, the tropical and green southern Indian state has already made its mark in the international tourism map," the release said.
 
“This competition that attracts participants from across the globe will further expand the state’s tourism market and encourage more visitors to explore our land,” said Kerala Tourism Secretary G. Kamala Vardhana Rao.
 
Kerala Tourism Director P I Sheik Pareeth noted that nearly one crore people visit the state every year on holiday. "Of these, many are photography enthusiasts," he added.
 
The competition that ends on December 31st will give visitors to the Kerala Tourism website an opportunity to submit their ratings on the competing photographs.
 
Participants can avail further details here
 
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Kerala Tourism offers holiday packages in online bid war

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Kerala Tourism has launched an online bidding game offering holiday packages to the state and the winners will be those who bid the lowest prices.
 
First-ever in the country for a destination, 'Visit Kerala Bid Wars' will be played out on the popular Facebook page of Kerala Tourism.
 
The bid, joined by accredited tour operators in the state, will include packages from Rs 8,000 to Rs 78,000.
 
Aimed at domestic travellers, it is organised as part of the 'Visit Kerala 2015' campaign inaugurated by Kerala Tourism Minister A P Anilkumar in the national capital in April.
 
"Kerala Tourism enjoys round-the-year engagement with our huge fan base across the world," said Kerala Tourism Secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao. "This bidding process is a unique way to acknowledge the bond with each other," he added.
 
"It will also help us continue our association with our fans by providing an opportunity to gain first-hand experience of being in the place they love," Mr. Rao said.
 
The campaign will be anchored on an online bidding system known popularly as the 'lowest unique bid'. In this bidding system, the package, which is up for bidding, is won by the person whose bid is the lowest as well as unique. If two people bid the same price, that amount will get cancelled. For example, if a person bids for a package worth Rs 20,000 at Rs 10, the package will be awarded to her if nobody else has bid Rs 10 and no other unique bid is made which is less than Rs 10.
 
Kerala Tourism, which has more than 1.2 million fans on Facebook, is a pioneer in using information technology to spread awareness about the state's destinations. The tourism department's website, one of the most popular tourism websites in the world, has won several national and international tourism awards.
 
"The online bidding not only carries forward the conversation with our fans, but also takes it to the next level," said Kerala Tourism Director P I Sheik Pareeth.
 
"The opportunity for our fans to spend a peaceful day on a houseboat in the famed backwaters or stroll in the picturesque tea hills of Munnar will go a long way in consolidating our association with them," he said.
 
For making the bidding a success, Kerala Tourism has partnered with accredited service providers from the state such as Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, Voyages Kerala, Intersight Holidays, Spice Land Holidays, Cosima Holidays, Dravidian Trails, Indus Holidays, Kerala Travels and Travel Planners. The packages range from two nights to 10 days.
 
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The bidding will happen for one package at a time. The details of the package and its worth will be available on the Facebook app.
 
Kerala Bid Wars will takes place on the official Facebook page of Kerala Tourism (http://bit.ly/KeralaBidWars). An android app titled “VisitKerala BidWars” which is available on Google Play Store (http://bit.ly/VisitKeralaBidWars) can also be used to take part in the bidding.
 
The bidding process begins with signing up on Kerala Bid Wars Facebook App or downloading the VisitKerala BidWars app from Play Store. 
 
The bid will be active for a few days initially. The winner will be announced for each package soon after it ends and before the next package is put up for bidding.
 
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Kovalam beach tragedy: One body found, four persons missing

File photo of the lighthouse beach at Kovalam. Photo: Courtesy: Kerala Tourism
File photo of the lighthouse beach at Kovalam. Photo: Courtesy: Kerala Tourism
The body of one person from a group of five who were reported missing after they went for a swim near the Kovalam Lighthouse Beach yesterday evening near here, has been recovered, police said.
 
Police officials said a search was going on for the other four. All five belonged to Thiruvananthapuram district, and four of them had gone to Kovalam as part of one group while the fifth belonged to another group, they said.
 
Personnel of the Coastal Police department and the Marine Enforcement Wing as well as local fishermen are involved in the search operations, sources said.
 
Local media reports quoted onlookers as saying that the five did not heed warnings that it was extremely risky to go swimming in that area after dusk.
 
The police said the five reported missing late in the evening and one body was recovered last night.
 
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Kerala Tourism’s Muziris Heritage Project wins PATA Gold Award

A view of the Muziris Heritage Museum
A view of the Muziris Heritage Museum
Kerala Tourism has bagged this year’s prestigious Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Award in the 'Heritage & Culture’ category for its Muziris Heritage Project.
 
The award, sponsored by the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO), was bestowed on the Muziris Heritage Project for its conservational aspect, uniqueness and impact on local community.
 
"This award is recognition of the Muziris project, aimed at restoring the historical and cultural significance of the ancient town that stretches across North Paravur in Ernakulam to Kodungalloor in Thrissur,” said Kerala Tourism Minister A P Anilkumar. 
 
"The flagship project of government of Kerala is one of the biggest heritage conservation projects of modern India," he added.
 
Supported and sponsored by MGTO for the last 20 years, this year’s PATA Grand and Gold Awards recognise the achievements of 25 separate organisations and individuals.
 
“Being a part of the Spice Route Project, which is supported by UNESCO, the Muziris project already has a key status in the cultural tourism map," said Kerala Tourism Secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao. The award further highlights its prominence in international heritage tourism, he added.
 
There were 269 entries from 83 organisations and individuals worldwide for this year's award, the highest number since 2007. The awards will be presented on September 8 at PATA Travel Mart at Bangalore. Over 800 industry executives will attend the award ceremony.
 
"The list of PATA Gold Awards 2015 winners unveils once again the very best of Pacific-Asia tourism practices," said MGTO Director  Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes. She added that the excellence and innovation revealed by the works and projects awarded are impressive and can provide inspiration to raise the standards of tourism industry stakeholders in the region.
 
Noting that no other tourism department in the country could win this much-admired award this time, Kerala Tourism Director P I Sheik Pareeth  said the PATA award acknowledged Kerala Tourism’s excellence in heritage conservation.
 
PATA had honoured Kerala Tourism for the Responsible Tourism initiative in Kumarakom and Kerala Tourism's popular e-Newsletter in 2014.
 
Founded in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a not-for profit association which acts as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region.
 
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Adani Ports receives Letter of Award for Vizhinjam Port Project in Kerala

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Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ), India’s largest port developer and part of the Adani Group, today said it had received “Letter of Award” for development of the Vizhinjam International Deepwater Seaport Project from the Government of Kerala (GoK).
 
"We had keenly participated in this tender to ensure that Kerala gets its first deep water multi-cargo port and India gets its first deep water transshipment port which has been missing till date," a press release from the company said.
 
At present approximately 1.0 Million TEUs of Indian cargo is getting transshipped through foreign ports like Colombo. 
 
"Development of Vizhinjam port will help in cost saving to Indian trade as the boxes can be transshipped at a lower cost from Vizhinjam port," it said.
 
“We are very happy to be a part of this prestigious project. We acknowledge the support of Government of Kerala to develop this deep water multi-cargo port in the country. It is a strategic location being very close to international shipping route and has the potential to become the biggest transshipment hub in the region. This project makes us take one more step towards nation building committing ourselves to the development of state of Kerala. This is indeed a very proud moment for us,” said Mr. Gautam Adani, Chairman, Adani Group.
 
The total project cost, as estimated by GoK is  Rs 4089 crore and the time-frame for commissioning of the project is four years.
 
The proposed port at Vizhinjam is located 16 kms south of Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital. The site is on the international shipping route connecting Europe, the Gulf and the Far East, very close to the east-west shipping axis within 10 nautical miles.
 
APSEZ also operates ports in Mundra, Hazira, Tuna-Tekra (Kandla) and Dahej, in Gujarat, Dhamra in Odisha and operates specialized coal handling facilities in Mormugao in Goa, Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. It is currently setting up a container terminal in Ennore in Tamil Nadu.
 
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Kerala govt. to implement scheme to ensure Rs 150/kg for rubber to small farmers

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The Kerala government has decided to implement a project that will utilize the price stability fund of Rs 300 crore and ensure that small farmers get a minimum price of Rs 150 per kg for rubber.
 
The price stability fund had been announced in the state budget for this year with the aim of giving relief to rubber farmers.
 
The decision was taken at a meeting attended here yesterday by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Finance Minister K M Mani with a sub-committee set up for the purpose.
 
Agriculture organizations have announced their total support for the project, an official press release said.
 
The release said orders regarding the scheme would be issued today. Rubber Marketing Societies, Rubber Marketing Federations, Market Fed and Rubber Production Units will also be members of the project, it said.
 
The farmers who register in the project, that will be jointly implemented by the State Government and the Rubber Board, will get the difference in the market price of rubber published every day and the Rs 150 for a kg of rubber as announced by the Government as subsidy through banks. 
 
With this, a minimum of Rs 150 can be ensured. Around 10 lakh farmers would get the benefit. This would bring in a new vigor in the rubber farming industry, the release said.
 
According to the release, RSS-4, RSS-5, Latex except scrap will get subsidy. With this 1 lakh tonnes of rubber can be procured, it said.
 
Farmers having less than five hectares of farm land can register their names in the project. Subsidy will be given for a maximum of two hectares having rubber cultivation. A maximum of 1800 kg for a hectare will get the benefit.  As per Rubber Board, the production in a hectare of land is 1800kg of rubber. 
 
"With this, the major chunk of amount set aside in the budget can be utilized for helping the small scale farmers. The farm lands that are registered as companies are exempted from the scheme. Farmer should register in the nearest rubber production unit. Subsidy would be provided on the basis of the report submitted by the field officer. The amount will be credited to the account of the farmers once in every two weeks. For this extensive computer software facility has been arranged," the release added.
 
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Kerala: More than 76.3% votes cast in Aruvikkara bye-election

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More than 76.3 per cent of the 1.85 lakh voters exercised their franchise in the bye-election to fill the Aruvikkara seat in the Kerala Legislative Assembly today, official sources said.
 
Voting began at 7 am and ended at 5 pm. Voters were seen queueing up at polling booths in several parts of the constituency right from early morning, despite rains, and there were many still waiting to cast their votes at the scheduled end of polling.
 
Election officials said 76.31 percent voting had been registered as of 6 pm, and the final figures could be slightly higher. Polling was peaceful, with no major untoward incident reported from anywhere.
 
The vacancy arose due to the death of then Speaker and former State Minister G Karthikeyan of the Congress on March 7 this year.
 
With the term of the present assembly due to end in about a year, the bye-election was seen as a crucial test for both the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF).
 
The UDF had nominated Karthikeyan's son, K S Sabarinath as its candidate. The LDF had nominated former Speaker and minister M. Vijayakumar for the seat. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)  fielded former Union Minister O. Rajagopal. In all, there were 16 candidates in the fray.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up on June 30.

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Kozhikode airport resumes operations after clash that left CISF man dead

 
One jawan dies in clash between CISF men, AAI staff at Kozhikode airport
Normal operations resumed at the Kozhikode airport in Kerala this morning after it was closed for several hours last night following the death of a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) head constable in a clash between CISF men and Airports Authority of India (AAI) staff.
 
Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala told newspersons here that flight operations had resumed at the airport this morning.
 
The airport had been closed for several hours last night following the incident and flights had been diverted to Kochi airport, he said.
 
The resumption of operations followed long hours of conciliatory talks held by senior Kerala Police officials with the staff of the CISF and the AAI till early this morning. "The situation is under control," Mr Chennithala said.
 
According to various sources, the incident occurred around 9.30 pm after a tussle between AAI staff members, who objected to the frequent frisking by the CISF men before they entered the airport.
 
More men from the two sides joined the argument and, in the scuffle that followed, a CISF jawan, in his early 50s, died after being hit by a bullet fired from the weapon of one of his colleagues.
 
In the chaos that followed, state police forces had to be deployed to bring the situation under control, sources said.
 
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Mr Chennithala said an inquiry had been ordered into the incident to establish the sequence of events and whether the firing was an accident.
 
In Delhi, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said the firearm belonging to a CISF man went off, killing the head constable. The official who was holding the firearm sustained burn injuries on the hand and has been hospitalised.
 
"The scuffle continued for some time and as a precaution five flights were diverted," a statement from the Ministry said.
 
Senior officers from the Ministry, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), AAI and Security Directorates have been rushed to the site to take full control of the situation, it said, adding that the matter was being looked into.
 
As many as five flights were diverted to Kochi between 2259 yesterday and 0302 hours today, the statement said.
 
According to it, normalcy was restored by 2.15 am today and flight operations commenced at 6.20 am.
 
The first diverted flight landed back at Kozhikode Airport at 0651 hrs. One enroute flight of Air India was also diverted which landed at 0801 hrs.
 
 
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Samsung India sets up technical school in Kerala

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Samsung India Electronics today announced the setting up of  the 18th Samsung Technical School in the country at ITI, Kalamassery in Kochi, Kerala as part of its initiatives for skill development among the youth.
 
The announcement was made at an event here at which Samsung signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the Government Industrial Training Institute, Kalamassery, Kerala.
 
The MoA was signed by Ms. A. Shainamol, Director, Industrial Training Department, Government of Kerala and Mr. Rajiv Mishra, Vice President, Samsung India Electronics, in the presence of Mr Shibu Baby John, Minister for Labour & Skills, Government of Kerala.
 
A press release from the company said the school would provide students trade-specific training on various aspects of repair and troubleshooting of consumer electronic products such as mobile phones, televisions, home theatres and home appliances. 
 
Through the specially-designed curriculum Advanced Repair and Industrial Skills Enhancement (A.R.I.S.E.) program, the course will also offer students the opportunity to get real-time work experience at Samsung authorised service centres and training on soft skills so that they can provide exemplary customer service. Upon graduation, students can join consumer electronics and mobile phone service centres or become entrepreneurs by setting up their service centres.
 
“Kerala, with its high rate of literacy, recognizes that supplementing academic education with vocational training is important for its growth and development. Collaborations with industry leaders such as Samsung bring the critical component of exposure to the demands of the industry, which will help with making our youth industry-relevant and employment-ready," Mr. John said.
 
Mr. Mishra said,“Samsung is proud to partner with the State of Kerala on its commitment to providing vocational education. The knowledge and skills that students gain through the A.R.I.S.E. program help not only with finding employment in the industry, but also in setting up micro or small enterprises. We are confident that Samsung Technical Schools will contribute to further strengthening Kerala’s strong sense of entrepreneurship.”
 
There are 15 Samsung Technical Schools operational in the country, with three others in the process of being set up. Over 3,000 youth have passed out from these schools since July 2014, which have been set up in collaboration with the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and Departments of Technical Education in states such as Bihar, Delhi, Rajasthan and West Bengal. 
 
Samsung recently announced the setting up of the MSME-Samsung Digital Academy, aimed at training youth to create innovative solutions for next-generation digital ecosystems.
 
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Top Kerala Maoist couple arrested by AP police from Coimbatore

 
Police arrest top Kerala Maoist couple, three others in Coimbatore
A top Maoist couple from Kerala, Roopesh and his wife Shyna, who had evaded arrest for more than ten years, were arrested along with three others by the Andhra Pradesh police from a bakery near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu late last night, official sources said.
 
Roopesh, a law graduate who is wanted in 20 criminal cases, his wife and the others were tracked down to a bakery at a village near Coimbatore, where they were having coffee when the police surrounded them, the sources said.
 
They were arrested in a joint operation by the police of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
 
Confirming the arrests, Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala told journalists here that it was a major breakthrough in the anti-Maoist operations in the Southern states.
He said the police forces of the four states had been working diligently on the cases for many years.
 
He said the arrested persons were making efforts to create chaos and confusion in the Southern states.
 
Mr Chennithala said the Kerala government would try to get the arrested people to the state because most of the cases against them were registered in Kerala. "The law will take its own course. They will be produced in court. After that, we will try to get them," he said.
 
The sources said Roopesh's wife is a former employee of the Kerala High Court. The other three persons held have been identified as Anoop from Kerala, Veeramani from Karnataka and Kannan from Tamil Nadu.
 
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Kerala exempts buildings upto 660 sq ft from house tax

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The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government in Kerala has decided to totally exempt from house tax all buildigns with an area upto 660 square feet, starting from this fiscal year 2014-15.
 
This will be applicable both in panchayat and municipality areas, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told journalists after a meeting of his Cabinet here yesterday.
 
He also announced that the government had decided to roll back the increase in tax levied on houses in panchayat and municipalities that are having a built-up area of up to 2000 sq ft. 
 
The decision was taken on the basis of the recommendation by Ministers M K Muneer and Manjalamkuzhi Ali at the meeting of the UDF held at Kovalam near here recently.
 
The hike had comei into effect from 1.04.2013. The tax levied based on the increased tax from house owners will be adjusted in the tax payable next year, he said.
 
The increased tax is only applicable to houses of more than 2000 sq ft area; but it should not exceed 25% of the tax. If any expansion works have been done to homes after the hike that came into effect from 01.04.2013 the tax will be calculated in proportion to the tax levied prior to the hike. For commercial buildings, the annual tax should not exceed 100% of the tax levied earlier, he added.
 
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UDF accepts Mani's demand, removes PC George as chief whip

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The ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) today removed Kerala Congress (M) leader P C George from the post of Chief Whip in deference to the wishes of the party's chief and state Finance Minister K M Mani.
 
The decision came late tonight after long hours of discussions between UDF leaders and Mr George in an effort to find some "meeting point".
 
Apart from Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, the meeting was attended by Home Miniser Ramesh Chennithala and Industries Minister P K Kunhalikutty.
 
"We could not reach a 'meeting point' in our discussions. Therefore, the UDF has decided to accept the request made by Mr K M Mani," he said.
 
Mr George, the vice-chairman of the Kerala Congress (M), had taken the position all along that he would not resign from the post. Mr Mani, on the other hand, insisted that Mr George must be removed.
 
The relations between Mr Mani and Mr George had soured over the bribery scandal related to bars in the state.
 
Responding to questions from journalists, Mr Chandy said these kinds of decisions were normal in a coalition. “Kerala Congress (M) has the right to withdraw its representative as the government chief whip."
 
To another question about Mr George's future plans, Mr Chandy said it would upto him to decide whether to continue in the UDF or not.
 
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Kerala Tourism's backwaters campaign wins Golden Gate Award at ITB-Berlin

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Kerala Tourism's global multimedia campaign to promote the backwaters has won the prestigious Golden Gate Award at the Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin (ITB-Berlin) - 2015, the world's leading travel trade event.
 
The state tourism department bagged the silver prize at the Das Golden Stadttor (Golden Gate) Awards presented in the German capital on Thursday night. 
 
Kerala Tourism Secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao, who is leading the state tourism delegation to ITB 2015, and Mr Suman Billa, Joint Secretary in the Union Tourism Ministry and former state tourism secretary, received the prize at the awards ceremony.
 
Kerala Tourism received the prize in the mulimedia-campaign category. The award was presented for The Great Backwaters campaign in the television-commercial medium.
 
Conceptualised by Kerala Tourism's creative and marketing agency Stark Communications, the campaign had won the Golden Gate Gold Prize in the Print category at the ITB-Berlin last year. Earlier, Kerala Tourism had won the Golden Gate Silver Prize for the hugely successful 'Your Moment is Waiting' ad campaign in the print category.
 
The Great Backwaters campaign of Kerala Tourism was notable for its use of aerial photography for the first time in the country on such a wide scale, covering the state's backwaters as a single destination. A renowned aerial photography team from Finland had conducted the photography using helicams launched from the makeshift platform of a boat to capture the beauty and essence of the vast backwaters. 
 
Presented every year at the ITB-Berlin, the Golden Gate Awards, dubbed the 'Oscar in tourism communication', are considered the ultimate recognition in global tourism communication. The awards, in its 14th year, attract worldwide attention to the tourism industry.
 
The awards are handed over to the tourism representatives and their creative works in different categories. The works are judged by an international jury based on a point system. Each category receives a gold, silver and bronze award. The award ceremony is held every year under the patronage of the German Federal Association of Film and Audio-Visual Producers.
 
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“We are honoured by the remarkable recognition for the Great Backwaters Campaign at the world’s biggest travel trade event," said Kerala Tourism Minister A P Anilkumar. "The award shows the significance of our state on the world tourism map," he said.
 
"The honour in Berlin will inspire us to promote our state further across the world. Our efforts are aimed at promoting Kerala in the most creative and effective way to a larger global audience," he added.
 
“We are highly confident that during 'Visit Kerala 2015', we will be accomplishing many more awards in various other categories,” said Mr Rao.
 
He also added that the state tourism is committed to a substantial growth in the number of visitors to Kerala from across the globe.
 
Besides The Great Backwaters campaign, Kerala Tourism's marketing strategies last year also included the theme branding of the hop-on-hop-off boats in the backwaters through a public contest among the state's artists, the successful branding of the Mumbai Metro Train and several multimedia marketing initiatives during road shows and at industry exhibitions abroad, a press release from Kerala Tourism added.
 
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Kerala Assembly Speaker G Karthikeyan passes away

G Karthikeyan
G Karthikeyan
Kerala Legislative Assembly Speaker, former State Minister and senior Congress leader G Karthikeyan passed away at a private hospital in Bangalore this morning.
 
He was 66. He is survived his wife, Dr M T Sulekha, and two sons, Ananthapadmanabhan and Sabareenadh, who were with him in his final moments.
 
His funeral will be held here tomorrow evening, State Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala told newspersons.
 
His body, which will be brought here by this evening, will be kept at the Speaker's official residence in the Assembly complex tomorrow morning and later in the Assembly Hall to enable people to pay their last respects to him. It wil also be taken to his constituency for some time, sources said.
 
Mr Karthikeyan had been undergoing treatment for some time at the HealthCare Global (HCG) Hospital in Bangalore after he was diagnosed with cancer of the liver. He had also undergone treatment at the Mayo Clinic in the United States.
 
He breathed his last around 10.35 am today, sources said.
 
Mr Chennithala and his Cabinet colleague M K Muneer were at the hospital in Bangalore when the end came.
 
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who was in Kochi, cancelled all his engagements and returned to the state capital after he was told that Mr Karthikeyan's condition had deteriorated.
 
The state government has announced mourning for a week and also declared holiday for half a day today for all government offices and educational institutions in the state.
 
Born on January 20, 1949, Mr Karthikeyan, who had a degree in Commerce and then competed his LL.B., was part of the students' movement in the state, and had been elected state president of the Kerala Students' Union. He was aso a student member of the Kerala University Senate and Secretary of the Kerala University Union.
 
He also served as general secretary and president of the State unit of the Indian Youth Congress. Later, he became General Secretary and Vice-President of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC).
 
He was Chief Whip and Deputy Leader of the Congress Legislature Party for some time. He served as Minister for Electricty in the Ministry headed by  then Chief Minister A.K. Antony  in 1995. In 2001, he was made Minister for Food and Civil Supplies in the A.K. Antony Ministry.
 
He was elected six times to the Kerala Legislative Assembly, starting from 1982.
 
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Suresh Das named Executive Vice-President, Kerala State Council for Science, Technology & Environment

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Eminent scientist Suresh Das has been selected as the Executive Vice- President of Kerala State Council for Science, Technology & Environment. 
 
His name was finalised at a meeting of the State Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy here yesterday from a list submitted by the three-member committee constituted by the State Planning Board Vice Chairman.
 
Dr. Das has been Director of CSIR-NIIST (formerly Regional Research Laboratory, Trivandrum) since 2009. 
 
Dr. Das obtained his Ph. D. in Chemistry in 1981 from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, U.K.  ubsequently, he gained post-doctoral research experience at the Max Planck Institüt für Strahlenchemié, Germany (1981-1984), Radiation Laboratory, University of Notre Dame, USA (1984-1985) and the University of Houston, USA (1985-1988). 
 
After a short stay as a Visiting Fellow at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, he joined as head of the newly established Photochemistry Research Unit in 1989, at the Regional Research Laboratory, Trivandrum, where he was instrumental in setting up state-of-the-art facilities for conducting advanced research in basic and applied aspects of photochemistry, and for leading the Unit (subsequently renamed as the Photosciences and Photonics Section), to its present reputed national and international status. 
 
Dr. Das is a Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi and  Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, 
 
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Kerala CM sends Minister to scene of Bangalore-Ernakulam train accident

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Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today asked his Cabinet colleague Arayadan Muhammad, who is in charge of railways, to visit the spot of the derailment of the Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express near Hosur in Tamil Nadu this morning.
 
At least ten people have died and about 50 others suffered injuries in the mishap.
 
The Kerala Government has opened a control room at Thiruvananthapuram with telephone number 0471-2331639.
 
Other helpline numbers in the state include: Thiruvananthapuram 0471 2321205, 2321237, 09746769960, Ernakulam Junction: 0484 2100317, 0813699773, 09539336040, Ernakulam Town: 0484 2398200, Thrissur:  0487 2424148, 2430060, Aluva: 0484 2624143.
 
There were 24  24 passengers bound for Thrissur, 14 for Ernakulam and 11 for Aluva in the D8 coach, which was the worst affected, an official press release from the state government said.
 
Apart from Minister Aryadan Muhammad, Malappuram District Collector and Ernakulam range Inspector General of Police Ajithkumar will go to the spot, it said.
 
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Oommen Chandy inaugurates new Trivandrum International Stadium

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurating the Trivandrum International Stadium at Karyavattom in Thiruvananthapuram on January 7, 2015
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurating the Trivandrum International Stadium at Karyavattom in Thiruvananthapuram on January 7, 2015
Ahead of the 35th National Games that will be held in the state from January 31 to February 14, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurated the new Trivandrum International Stadium at Karyavattom here this evening.
 
The multi-purpose stadium is slated to be the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the is scheduled to host the opening and closing ceremonies of the National Games.
 
Construction of the stadium, a public-private partnership (PPP) project, was taken up in 2012 and has been completed at a cost of about Rs 161 crore.
 
The stadium has a seating capacity of 50,000 and can host both football and cricket matches as well as indoor sport.
 
The staidum also has facilities like players' lounge, gymnasium, media centre, shopping outlets and food courts. There is also a convention centre and club house. There are indoor courts for squash, volleyball, table tennis and basketball along with an Olympic size swimming pool. There will also be parking facilities for about 2000 vehicles.
 
The stadium has eight high-mast lights. The lighting is suitable for HD telecast, a first in India. 
 
The first stadium in India to be built in a build-operate-transfer arrangement, the stadium will be operated for 15 years by the company that built it. After 15 years, the stadium will be handed over to the University of Kerala, which has leased 36 acres for it. The university will receive Rs 94 lakh per year as lease.
 
A view of the new Trivandrum International Stadium
A view of the new Trivandrum International Stadium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Couple from Gujarat trampled to death by elephants in Kerala

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A couple from Gujarat, who were part of a group of tourists on a visit to Kerala, were trampled to death by wild elephants while they were trekking in the cardamom plantations at Gavi in Pathanamthitta district of the state yesterday, officials said.
 
The victims were identified as Upendra P. Rawal (52), a businessman, and his wife Jagruthi (50), an employee of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), residents of the Thaltej area of Ahmedabad. 
 
They were part of a group which was staying at well-known holiday resorts in Munnar and Thekkady and were on a visit to the area yesterday as part of a day tour arranged with the help of the resort, officials told NetIndian.
 
The group, which included four foreigners and a guide, were trekking in the plantation when one of them spotted a few elephants and called out to the rest, who ran towards the herd.
 
In the confusion, a deer behind the elephants let out a cry. The elephants appeared to have panicked and rushed towards the tourists, who were taking pictures. While the guide and the others managed to escape, the couple could not get out of the way in time and were trampled to death. Both of them died on the spot, they said.
 
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The elephants stood near the bodies of the couple for some time before officials reached the spot and managed to chase them away so that the bodies could be retrieved..
 
Post-mortem examinations were conducted on the bodies today, after which they were due to be handed over to their relatives, who had been informed of the tragedy, they said.
 
This was the second such incident in Kerala in recent months. On October 27, 2014, a 28-year-old school teacher, who was part of a group of tourists, also from Gujarat, was trampled to death by an elephant near Munnar.
 
The woman was clicking pictures of the elephant at an elephant camp when it suddenly turned and swayed its trunk, hitting the woman. She fell on the ground, near the elephant, and ended up being trampled by it in the commotion that was caused.
 

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India's first high-speed rural broadband network to be commissioned in Kerala's Idukki district

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Union Minister for Communications & Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad will commission India's first high-speed rural broadband network in Idukki district of Kerala under the Digital India Programme at a function in Thiruvananthapuram on January 12.
 
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will be the guest of honour at the event, which will also be attended by several other Kerala Ministers and other dignitaries, an official press release said.
 
The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) is the largest rural connectivity project of its kind in the world. It seeks to link each of the 2.5 lakh village panchayts of India through broadband optical fibre network. On its completion, NOFN is expected to facilitate broadband connectivity to over 600 million rural citizens of the country. 
 
NOFN, which is being funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), Department of Telecom, Ministry of Communications & IT, is envisaged as a non-discriminatory telecom infrastructure, which will bridge the gap in rural telecom access. 
 
NOFN will enable each of the 2.5 lakh village panchayats to have 100 Mbps of bandwidth, thereby facilitating the delivery of various e-services and applications including e-health, e-education, e-governance and e-commerce in the future. 
 
In the first phase NOFN shall be extended to cover 50,000 village panchayats, with the balance 2,00,000 villages to be covered in a phased manner by 2016. The project is being implemented by three central public sector undertakings (CPSUs) -- BSNL, PGCIL and Railtel in the first phase.
 
A key feature of the project is that the GPON equipment used in the project has been indigenously designed and developed by C-DOT and manufactured domestically. The project will be centrally managed by BBNL through a high capacity Network Management System being developed by C-DOT. 
 
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With the commissioning of the network in Idukki, a relatively inaccessible area with a large tribal and rural population, it will become the first district in the country to have all its village panchayats connected through NOFN.
 
It is expected that the establishment of NOFN would open up new avenues for access service providers like mobile operators, cable TV operators and so on to launch launch next generation services, and spur creation of local employment opportunities encompassing e-commerce and IT outsourcing as well as services such as e-banking, e-health and e-education for inclusive growth. This will also enable delivery of various services such as local planning, management, monitoring and payments under Government schemes at panchayat level. 
 
Digital India is a flagship programme of the Central Government which aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The provision of broadband connectivity to every citizen is one of the key objectives of Digital India, and the commissioning of the NOFN network at Idukki is expected to mark a significant step towards realization of this ambitious vision, the release added.
 
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Tharoor hopes Sunanda's death is probed without "pre-determined outcome"

Former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor said on Saturday the investigation into his wife Sunanda Pushkar's death a little under a year ago, which is now being treated as a case of murder by the Delhi Police, must be conducted without any "predetermined outcome or political pressure".

 
Sunanda probe must be without predetermined outcome: Tharoor
Former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor today said the investigation into his wife Sunanda Pushkar's death a little under a year ago, which is now being treated as a case of murder by the Delhi Police, must be conducted without any "predetermined outcome or political pressure".
 
Breaking his silence on the issue, Mr Tharoor told mediapersons at an Ayurveda health resort in Guruvayur in Kerala that he had yesterday written a detailed letter to Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi raising several questions and voicing concern about the manner in which the investigation had been conducted so far.
 
He said he hoped the letter would receive Mr Bassi's personal attention and that he would discuss the concerns he had raised with the team of investigating officials.
 
Mr Tharoor's brief interaction with the media, at which he did not take any questions, came three days after the Delhi Police said that it was treating Ms Pushkar's death as a case of murder after the medical board had, in its final report, said that she had died of poisoning.
 
Nobody has been named as a suspect in the case, which has been filed against unknown persons at the Sarojini Nagar Police Station here.
 
Mr Tharoor, 58, is currently a member of the Lok Sabha, representing the Thiruvananthapuram constituency in Kerala.
 
Ms Pushkar, 52, was found dead, lying on a bed in room 345 of the Hotel Leela Palace in the Chanakyapuri area of the capital around 2030 hours of January 17 last year.
 
Mr Bassi had said the final report of the medical board set up by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), received by the Delhi Police on December 29, had stated that she had not died of natural causes.
 
"She died due to poisoning. Whether the poison was given orally or injected is being investigated," he said.
 
He said the filing of the case, under section 302 of would facilitate further investigation into her death. He said the quantum of poison administered had not been ascertained yet and samples of her viscera would have to be sent to laboratories abroad for this. The substance has also not been identified yet.
 
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Reacting to the development, Mr Tharoor had said on Tuesday that he was stunned to hear the Delhi Police had filed a case of murder against unknown persons in the demise of his wife.
 
At today's press conference, he again said that he was taken aback by the filing of the first information report (FIR) under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deals with murder.
 
He said no one in the family had any reason to believe that Ms Pushkar had been the victim of foul play. "Every one loved her deeply. There is no question of any one with access to her harming her in any way," he said.
 
Mr Tharoor said his silence over the past few days had been described as "sinister" by the media but pointed out that he had been silent on the issue for close to a year now. This was because he did not wish to undermine or compromise the police investigations into her death by anything that he said.
 
He said he did not wish to join public debates on television for TRPs. He said he had lost his wife and had not been allowed to mourn in peace because of the media coverage over his wife's death, much of which he alleged was based on misinformation and sometimes outright lies.
 
He said he had, right at the outset, pledged complete cooperation by himself and his staff to help the police establish the case and would continue to cooperate with the police in this matter.
 
Mr Tharoor said that it was largely due to such pressures that he had visited the health resort for treatment some months ago, when doctors there had advised him to go through a full two-week course.
 
That course ended today. "I came here as scheduled and am leaving today as scheduled," he said, clarifying that his presence at the resort had nothing to do with the filing of the FIR by the Delhi Police.
 
Hoping that the police would investigate the case in a professional manner and that it would bring closure in the matter, he said, "I hope Sunanda, her family and I get justice in this case."
 
Ms Pushkar's death on January 17 last year came just a day after a very unseemly and public controversy on micro-blogging site Twitter that involved her and her husband and a Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar.
 
The controversy arose out of Ms Pushkar's suspicion that Mr Tharoor was involved in an affair with Ms Tarar, an allegation that that the Pakistani journalist denied.
 
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Mr Tharoor and Ms Pushkar put out a joint statement asserting that they were "happily married" and intended to "remain that way".
 
"We are distressed by the unseemly controversy that has arisen about some unauthorised tweets from our Twitter accounts," the Tharoors had said in their statement.
 
"Various distorted accounts of comments allegedly made by Sunanda have appeared in the press.  It appears that some personal and private comments responding to these unauthorised tweets -- comments that were not intended for publication -- have been misrepresented and led to some erroneous conclusions.
 
"We wish to stress that we are happily married and intend to remain that way. Sunanda has been ill and hospitalised this week and is seeking to rest. We would be grateful if the media respects our privacy," the statement, posted on Mr Tharoor's Facebook page on the day before her death, had said.
 
Mr Tharoor's aide told journalists outside the hotel that the then Minister had returned to the suite that evening, after attending the day-long All India Congress Committee (AICC) session at Talkatora Stadium and another event, when he discovered that his wife had died.
 
According to the aide, Mr Tharoor initially thought his wife was resting, but he realised something was amiss a little later and then his staff informed the police, which rushed a team immediately.
 
The aide said that Ms Pushkar, who was unwell, and Mr Tharoor had checked into the hotel the previous morning because of some repairs and renovation work being carried out in their house.
 
Since the couple had been married for less than seven years, a sub-divisional magistrate had inquired into the death under Section 176 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Police procedures had begun after that.
 
Ms Pushkar used to work as a sales director in a Dubai firm before she got married to Mr Tharoor. 
 
Born on January 1, 1962, Ms Pushkar was divorced from her first husband, Sanjay Raina. Her second husband Sujith Menon died in a road accident in  1997. She had a son, Shiv Menon, from that marriage. It was Mr Tharoor's third marriage, too.
 
A day after the police filed its FIR in the case, details emerged of a letter that Mr Tharoor had written to Mr Bassi in November last year, alleging that police officials had, while interrogating his domestic helper Narayan Singh as part of its investigations into Ms Pushkar's death, physically assaulted him and tried to force him into framing his employer in the case.
 
"The officer used the traumatic physical assault to try and intimidate Narayan into confessing that he and I murdered my wife," Mr Tharoor wrote in the letter dated November 12.
 
Mr Tharoor said in the letter that he had written it to put on record his conversation over the telephone with Mr Bassi three days earlier.
 
"As you graciously agreed, such conduct is completely unacceptable and illegal. It also amounts to the use of physical coercion in the attempt to frame an innocent man. I would request you to take immediate and appropriate action against such unlawful misconduct of the officer concerned," the letter said.
 
He said he and his staff had always made themselves available for any kind of inqiry and investigation but the behaviour of the officers towards his staff was a matter of serious concern to a law-abiding citizen.
 
According to him, four Delhi Police officers had questioned Narayan Singh for 16 hours on November 7 and for 14 hours on the next day. He alleged that on both days one of the officers had repeatedly physically assaulted Narayan Singh.
 
"Worse, that officer used the traumatic physical assault to try and intimidate Narayan into 'confessing' that he and I murdered my wife," Mr Tharoor said.
 
"Please look into the matter personally and ensure that the unvarnished truth comes out in this case. My family and I are eagerly waiting to see the outcome of the inquiry conducted by the Delhi Police," he said.
 
He expressed his "complete trust and faith" in Delhi Police under Mr Bassi's leadership and that he was committed to "fully cooperating with the investigations to ensure the timely completion of the inquiry".
 
Narayan Singh was interrogated for several hours by the police yesterday. 
 
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Kanyakumari-Thiruvananthapuram NH to be widened to four lanes

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The Kanyakumari-Thiruvananthapuram stretch of National Highway (NH-47) via Nagercoil-Kavalkinaru section of NH-47B, will be widened to four lanes, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Pon. Radhakrishnan told the Rajya Sabha today.
 
In a written reply to a question, Mr Radhakrishnan said the detailed project report in this regard had been prepared for implementing the project under two packages.
 
The first package consists of four-laning of Thiruvananthapuram – Kerala/ Tamil Nadu border section of NH-47 for a length of 43.00 km in Kerala and second consists of four-laning of Kerala/Tamil Nadu border – Kanniyakumari section of NH-47 and Nagercoil – Kavalkinaru section of NH-47B for a total length of 70.36 km in Tamil Nadu. 
 
The land acquisition for four laning has been taken up and the construction of four lane road would be taken up after acquisition of required land, he said.
 
The section from Tirunelvli to Thiruvananthapuram via Nagercoil is connected with National Highway (NH) -7, NH-47 and NH-47B. Out of this, the stretch of NH-7 from Tirunelveli to Kanyakumari has already been converted into four lane carriageway, the Minister added.
 
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Kerala: Chandy announces winners of Prathibha Scholarships

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Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy yesterday announced the names of the 100 students who had been selected for the Pratibha Scholarships given by the  Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment. 
 
Of the 100 students selected, 84 are girls and ten are from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, an official press release said
 
Topping the list are students of first year B.Sc. who secured 100% marks in their higher secondary examination. They include Maria Thankachan (Pavanatma College, Idukki), Apoorva Gopinath (Farokh College, Kozhikode), Hari Priya (PSG College, Coimbatore) and Angel Abraham (St Joseph's College, Kozhikode).
 
The scholarship worth Rs 54,000 is meant for students who have excelled in science subjects at the higher secondary level for pursuing undergraduate courses. 
 
There were 1876 applicants for the scholarship this time. The scholarship will be disbursed annually during the course of the degree programme and it will be in the order of Rs 12,000 in the first year, Rs 18,000 in the second year and Rs 24,000 in the third year.
 
Science awareness programmes will also be held for these students and the outstanding ones will also be given scholarship for their post-graduate programmes.
 
Those who have been selected for the scholarship should produce necessary documents before December 8, the release added.
 
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Oracle signs MoU with ICT Academy of Kerala to impart IT skills to students

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The ICT Academy of Kerala (ICTAK) and IT major Oracle have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to implement Oracle Academy's computer science programmes across 60 institutes in the state over the next two years.
 
As part of this initiative, Oracle Academy software curriculum, hosted technology, training, support and certification resources are expected to be made available to students and faculty, a press release from the company said.
 
Additionally, 120 faculty members are scheduled to undergo training to help put 6000 students on the pathway to future IT careers, it said.
 
The MoU aims to integrate Oracle Academy curriculum into the educational programs of the state’s colleges to inspire the next generation of technology professionals and help prepare them for careers in IT, the release said.
 
Oracle will facilitate a ‘train-the-trainer’ course to ramp up faculty representatives as instructors for six courses, including Creating Java Programs with Greenfoot, Java Fundamentals, Java Programming, Database Design, Database Programming with SQL, and Programming with PL/SQL. Once trained and certified, this faculty is expected to use the Oracle Academy infrastructure to train other faculty members.
 
Oracle Academy is Oracle’s flagship program in education philanthropy, providing education institutions worldwide with software, curriculum, support, and certification resources that faculty can integrate into their classrooms. Through hands-on experience with current technologies, students develop skills that can help them be successful in the modern workforce.
 
The release said that more than 2.2 million students in 96 countries benefit from Oracle Academy. In India, Oracle Academy programs support more than 240,000 students at more than 1300 educational institutions, it said.
 
"Oracle Academy has been dedicated in our mission to extend the reach of computer science education to students across the world, including in India,” said Krishna Sistla, Senior Director, Oracle Academy, Oracle Asia Pacific and Japan. “Access to good computer science education is a defining 21st century social issue, and with the help of Oracle Academy’s programs, students of Kerala can enhance their knowledge and build relevant industry expertise for job opportunities in the field of Information Technology and other industries that benefits from IT.”
 
“The core objective of ICT Academy of Kerala is to improve employability skills amongst students,” said Santhosh Kurup, CEO, ICT Academy of Kerala. “Our aim is to prepare students of higher education to face the competitive world by equipping them with high quality course content and skilled teachers. We are excited to work with Oracle in delivering Oracle Academy curriculum to our students and teachers, and believe this educational foundation will help prepare our students for today’s workforce.” 
 
ICTAK is a social enterprise created in a public private partnership model (PPP) for imparting ICT skills to the youth of Kerala and improve their employability opportunities in the Industry. The company is supported by the Government of India, and partnered by the government of Kerala and the ICT industry.
 
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Chandy writes to Panneerselvam on water level in Mullaperiyar dam

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Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has written to his Tamil Nadu counterpart O. Panneerselvam, urging him to ensure that immediate steps must be taken to reduce the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam.
 
The masonry dam was constructed pursuant to the Periyar Lake Lease Agreement dated 29.10.1886 across Periyar river. It is situated in Idukki district of Kerala but owned and operated by the government of Tamil Nadu.
 
In his letter, Mr Chandy said the water level in the dam was above 136 feet for two weeks and had reached 139.5 feet. Out of the 13 spillway gates, one is damaged and the repair works are going on. 
 
"With the north-east monsoon becoming more active the water level would increase. This has caused serious concern and anxiety among the people," he said.
 
Mr Chandy said the water level could be reduced by suitable reservoir management of Mullaperiyar and Vaigai reservoirs as was being done in the previous years. 
 
"More than 3 TMC water can be stored in Vaigai reservoir. If the discharge through the tunnel from Mullaperiyar is increased to its maximum then the water levels can be reduced. By doing so, Tamil Nadu will not lose a single drop of water," he said.
 
Mr Chandy urged Mr Panneerselvam to personally intervene in the matter and give instructions to the officers concerned.
 
He also pointed out that the Kerala Chief Secretary had already written in this regard to the Mullperiyar dam supervisory committee and the PWD Secretary of Tamil Nadu.
 
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Kerala government announces steps to deal with infant deaths in Attappady

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The Kerala government has announced several measures to addess the situation in Attappady against the background of infant deaths in tribal hamlets, arising out of malnutrition and related factors.
 
The decision was taken on the basis of a report submitted by Ministers K C Joseph, V S Sivakumar, M K Muneer and P K Jayalakshmi, who visited Attappady following the death of infants.
 
Several issues were raised in the discussion that was held by them at Attappady with the elected representatives and, on the basis of the report submitted by the Ministers, the Cabinet had decided to go ahead with several effective measures to address the current situation there, an official press release said.
 
The release said it had been decided to restart community kitchens for providing nutritious food and ragi to the tribal community. 
 
Ottappalam Sub-Collector P B Nooh has been appointed as special officer to coordinate all the government projects, chalked out for the welfare of the tribal people in Attappady.
 
A coordination committee has also been appointed to review the progress of the projects being implemented at Attappady, which will be done on a monthly basis. The committee includes Member of Parliament M B Rajesh, MLA Shamsudeen, district panchayat president, block panchayat president, presidents of three village panchayats in the Attappady block, district panchayat member and the Special Officer.
 
The Cabinet also decided to complete all construction activities within a year in Attappady. As a special case, the government has decided to give 200 days of employment to the people of Attappady block under the Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, instead of the standard practice of 100 days of employment for a person, per house a year. This will come into effect from December this year. 
 
The government also sanctioned Rs 76 crore for the development of roads in Attappady under the Prime Minister's Gram Sadak Yojana scheme in the review meeting that was chaired by the chief minister. Tender process of the same has been completed and work has commenced, he said.
 
The government also lifted treasury ban on financial help announced for Attappady.
 
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Full-time service of Palakkad deputy district medical officer, Dr Prabhu Das will be ensured for coordinating the healthcare activities in Attappady. An additional amount of Rs 2 crore has been sanctioned for the healthcare programmes from the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) funds.
 
The government has decided to wind up the activities of Vattalukki Farming Society and to use the 1200 acres of its land, taken on lease from the Forest department, for tribal families. Ministers of Revenue, Forest and SC/ST development will submit a report regarding this.
 
The government has also decided to entrust the district collector with the responsibility of ensuring drinking water supply in the region. If required, tanker lorries will be deployed to meet the requirement.
 
Mr Joseph told reporters that media reports pertaining to Attappady were not based on ground realities. He said the steps taken by the government so far had helped to bring down the infant mortality rate in Attappady from 31 last year to 13 this year.
 
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