ADVERTISEMENT

Thiruvananthapuram

UDF accepts Mani's demand, removes PC George as chief whip

ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
NNN
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Kerala Tourism's backwaters campaign wins Golden Gate Award at ITB-Berlin

ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
“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.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

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.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Suresh Das named Executive Vice-President, Kerala State Council for Science, Technology & Environment

ADVERTISEMENT
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, 
 
NNN
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Kerala CM sends Minister to scene of Bangalore-Ernakulam train accident

ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

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
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

 

Couple from Gujarat trampled to death by elephants in Kerala

ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 

Related Story

NNN
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

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

ADVERTISEMENT
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. 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
NNN
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
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. 
 
NNN
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Kanyakumari-Thiruvananthapuram NH to be widened to four lanes

ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Kerala: Chandy announces winners of Prathibha Scholarships

ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Oracle signs MoU with ICT Academy of Kerala to impart IT skills to students

ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
NNN 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

 

Chandy writes to Panneerselvam on water level in Mullaperiyar dam

ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
NNN
 

 

ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Kerala government announces steps to deal with infant deaths in Attappady

ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
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.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Renowned Malayalam writer, educationist B Hridayakumari passes away

B Hridayakumari
B Hridayakumari
Renowned Malayalam writer and educationist B Hridayakumari passed away at a private hospital here this morning after a brief illness, sources said.
 
She was 84. The funeral will take place at the Thycaud Shanti Kavadam crematorium here later today, the sources said.
 
Hridayakumari had been quite active till a few weeks ago but had undergone treatment for age-related ailments in the last two months, they said.
 
Hridayakumari was a respected figure in Kerala, thanks to her long career of about 36 years as a teacher of English literature, including as Principal of the Government Women's College here. 
She had also taught at the Maharaja's College in Ernakulam and Victoria College in Palakkad.
 
She was also an acclaimed literary critic and orator who wrote and spoke extensively on a variety of topcis and issues, including literature and education. She received the Kerala Sahithya Academy Award in 1991 for her book "Kalpanikatha",  a study on romanticism in Malayalam literature.
 
Hridayakumari was the daughter of well-known freedom fighter and poet Bodheswaran and Sanskrit scholar Karthayani Amma. Her younger sister is the well-known poet and social activist Sugathakumari.
 
She is survived by her daughter Sreedevi Pillai, a journalist with Manorama News.
 
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, opposition leader V S Achuthanandan, state Ministers and people from all walks of life visited her house to pay their last respects to her.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Kerala: Former Lok Sabha member A Charles passes away at 83

A. Charles
A. Charles
Veteran Congress leader and former Lok Sabha member A Charles, who represented the Thiruvananthapuram constituency, passed away at a private hospital here today after a brief illness, sources said.
 
He was 83. He had been undergoing treatment for some time for age-related ailments and breathed his last around 9.45 am today, they said.
 
His funeral will be held tomorrow afternoon at the LMS Church here, the sources said.
 
Mr Charles was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in late 1984 and was re-elected in 1989 and 1991 for two more terms.
 
Born on November 14, 1930, Mr Charles had a B.A. and a B.L degree from the Kerala University and was a state government servant. He was serving as a member of the State Public Service Commission when he was persuaded to enter politics in 1984 by then Chief Minister K Karunakaran. He had not been active in politics for many years.
 
He was a member of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) for some time and a member of the Pradesh Congress Committee.
 
He was also closely associated with educational and welfare organisations of the South Kerala Diocese of the Church  of South India.
 
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president V M Sudheeran and other leaders condoled the demise of Mr Charles.
 
NNN
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

 

Kerala: In-principle nod for light metro projects in Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode

ADVERTISEMENT
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today said the state government had decided to give in-principle approval for the light metro projects in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.
 
Mr Chandy, who had presided over a meeting to discuss the projects, said their total cost was estimated at Rs 6728 crore -- Rs 3453 crore for the Thiruvananthapuram project and Rs 2057 crore in Kozhikode. They are expected to become operational by 2021.
 
He said civil works would commence within four months after the project was approved by the State Cabinet.
 
In Thiruvananthapuram, the cost of the works was estimated at Rs 158 per kilometre and Rs 154 a kilometre in Kozhikode.
 
Of the total project cost, the State and the Union government will provide viability gap funding of 20 per cent each.
 
Fifty per cent each for external and internal funds will be taken as loans for the two projects. The land to be acquired will be very minimal for both the projects. It will be 8.9 hectares of government land and 3.04 hectares of private land in Thiruvananthapuram and 8.5 hectares of government land and 1.58 hectares of private land in Kozhikode, he said.
 
The meeting also decided to rename Mono Rail Corporation to Kerala Rapid Transit Corporation.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Chandy writes to Swaraj about Malayalees stranded in Libya, fishermen held in Iran

ADVERTISEMENT
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has written to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj requesting her to take immediate steps to secure the release of Malayalees stranded in Libya and five Indian fishermen, including a Malayalee, held captive in Iran.
 
Mr Chandy has also provided the names and passport details of 18 Malayalee nurses stranded in Bengazi and other places in Libya.
 
He urged the Union Government to bring the nurses to Malta by ship and from there to New Delhi by air.
 
According to Mr Chandy, the five Indian fishermen were fishing in the deep waters off the coast of Qatar when they were captured by Iranian forces on September 22. They include Thadeus of Pulluvilla in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, and four from Tamil Nadu.
 
They are currently being held captive in a boat near the Island of Kish and awaiting court orders, he said.
 
Mr Chandy said that the Indian embassy officials in Iran be instructed to do the needful for meeting the fishermen and free them from captivity and penalization.  
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Kerala agrees to national highways width of 45m, to proceed with land acquisition

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy talking to newspersons in Thiruvananthapuram on October 23, 2014.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy talking to newspersons in Thiruvananthapuram on October 23, 2014.
The Kerala Cabinet today decided to abide by the Central government's insistence of a minimum width of 45 metres for developing national highways in the state and to ahead with the required land acquisition.
 
Briefing reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the Central government would soon be given an assurance in this regard.
 
He said Kerala had sought exemption from the Centre in this regard and to allow the development of national highways with 30 m width. But the Centre had made it clear that it would not undertake the work if the width was below 45 m.
 
Mr Chandy said the Kerala government had tried to convince the Union government abot its concerns with regard to land acquisition for national highway development, but could not prevail on it.  
 
The proposed national highway works pertain to the Edappally - Mangalore stretch of NH 17 and the Chertala - Kazhakuttam stretch of NH 47. Of the total land required for the project 80% remains to be acquired. 
 
Mr Chandy said the required land would be compensated at market price and this would be done in a time-bound manner. The government will give instructions to district collectors to expedite the process pertaining to the acquisition, he added.
 
The Central government has already made an exception for some of the south Indian states, including Kerala, on the prescribed width of the highways and agreed to 45 m width instead of the standard 60 m.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Kerala govt. decides to enhance fair value of land by 50%

ADVERTISEMENT
In a significant move aimed at mobilising additional revenues, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government in Kerala today decided to enhance the fair value of land in the state by 50 per cent.
 
An official press release said that the existing fair value of land, which came into effect on April 1, 2010, had actually been calculated in 2006.
 
It said the existing fair value was below the market price, something which had been pointed out by both the Expenditure Committee and the Comptroller & Auditor General (C&AG).
 
Thus, though the market price of land had increased, there was huge loss in revenue for the government, it said.
 
"As the people are indicating rates 30% more than the fair value of land for registration, government has decided to increase the fair value of land by 50%," the release said.
 
The State Cabinet has also decided on a mechanism to remove anomalies related to fair value and dispose of pending appeals.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Harsh Vardhan backs Kerala's Sukrutham project for free cancer treatment in district hospitals

ADVERTISEMENT
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan praised the Kerala government's proposed "Sukrutham " project, making cancer treatment free in district and medical college hospitals, and promised to back it for adoption all over the country under the 13th Plan.
 
"In the meantime, I will consider including it under the universal health insurance component of the proposed Universal Health Assurance Programme,” he said at a function at the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) at Kumarapuram here.
 
The regional cancer centre was formally given the status of a state cancer centre at the function and will see the infusion of Rs 120 crore in additional funds with the central government providing 75 percent. 
 
Later, at a press conference, Dr Vardhan said that the Kerala government's proposal to set up a national cancer centre in the state on a new 15-acre campus would be considered positively.
 
Speaking at the function, Dr Vardhan said the government had decided to remove all steps to lower the national cancer burden by generating awareness about early detection and avoiding leading cancer causing lifestyles. 
 
He said that, if detected early, cancer could be treated at a fraction of the cost that is incurred when diagnosed at an advanced stage. Its mortality rate is also lowered substantially if people report for screening when the earliest symptoms are manifested.
 
“Henceforth November 7 will be observed all over the country as National Cancer Awareness Day. It is high time we went into combative mode against this disease,” he said. 
 
It is estimated that there are about 2.9 million cases of cancer in the country with 1.1 million new cases being reported annually. Two-thirds of cancer cases are diagnosed at the advanced stage. 
 
As Health Minister of Delhi state in the early 1990s, Dr Vardhan had launched the first state-level movement on cancer control. On a specific day in each year, people were encouraged to report to government hospitals, CGHS and municipal clinics for free screening, the Minister stated. Information booklets were widely circulated to generate awareness on how to avoid getting cancer and to look for signs of early symptoms. 
 
He said that, if there is mass health insurance, the premium burden on the common man would be substantially reduced. “If we succeed in popularising voluntary cancer screening then the disease burden will fall and so will private and public expenditure on cancer,” he said. 
 
Dr Vardhan urged the Kerala government to wage a war against cancer and assured to favourably consider its pending proposals including the setting up of a regional ophthalmic centre. He also appreciated the state’s record in maternal and infant mortality which now stands at 66 per lakh live births and 12 per 1,000 live births respectively. “Kerala is an example before the whole world as a successful development story,” he remarked. 
 
He said that, during the 12th Plan period, the government is in the process of establishing two new national cancer centres.
 
The Minister also visited the factory and R&D centre of HLL Lifecare Limited and attended a meeting of member doctors of the Indian Medical Association and the BJP doctors’ cell during his stay in Thiruvananthapuram. 
 
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy made a forceful plea for according the status of National Cancer Institute to the RCC.
 
Mr Chandy said the RCC had the eligibility to get such a status and recalled that an application in this regard had been sent to the Union Health Ministry.
 
He said that, in the last three years Rs 117 crores had been sanctioned as project share for developing basic facilities at RCC. Recently, sanction has been accorded to 167 posts, he said.
 
Mr Chandy said the number of cancer patients in the state was witnessing a huge increase and the main reason for this is that people are not able to detect the disease and start treatment at an early stage. The second is the huge expense that has to be met. This was evident during the mass contact programmes he had conducted in all districts. It is for this reason that cancer treatment has been made free of cost, he said.
 
Mr Chandy sought help from the Centre for setting up a health research unit at Wayanad for the Adivasis, for the collection of generic medicines and its distribution and also for giving free cancer treatment under the Sukrutham Project at all district hospitals. 
 
NNN
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Chandy writes to PM on falling rubber prices, seeks hike in import duty

ADVERTISEMENT
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling for steps to resolve the crisis faced by rubber growers in the state because of a fall in its prices and urged him to hike the import duty on it and place curbs on its imports.
 
Mr Chandy also said rubber should be used for construction of national highways, which would give a boost to the sector.
 
He said there was enough rubber in the domestic market and, therefore, the import duty on it should be hiked.
 
He said it had been shown that using rubberized bitumen for roads increased their life and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) should be encouraged to use it in the construction of national highways.
 
Mr Chandy said the state government was procuring rubber through Rubber Mark and Marketfed at a price of Rs 2 more than the price offered by the Rubber Board to help farmers. 
 
But, he said, the price of even grade 1 rubber had fallen to Rs 127 per kg, the lowest in five years.
 
He said that, when the prices had dipped in 1997-2002, the State Trading Corporation (STC) had procured rubber and given it to advance licence holders.
 
Mr Chandy said the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) should hold dicussions with the state to work out a policy on import of rubber.
 
He also urged Mr Modi to allow advance authorisation holders to buy rubber procured by the government through various agencies. He also stressed the need for setting up a Rs 1000 crore price stabilisation fund.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Kerala govt hikes taxes on liquor & cigarettes, water charges, fees

ADVERTISEMENT
The Kerala government today hiked the taxes on liquor and cigarettes, water charges and fees on various services to mop up more than Rs 1825 crore annually in a bid to tide over the financial crunch that it is facing.
 
Briefing journalists after a meeting of the State Cabinet, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said also clarified that media reports about a freeze on creation of new posts were baseless but added that these would be subject to the approval of the finance department till March 31, 2015.
 
Mr Chandy said the tax on foreign liquor had been increased by 20 per cent on all categories and it is expected to yield an additional revenue of Rs 1130 crore per annum.
 
In addition, a 5% cess will be levied on the tax to generate funds for the rehabilitation of affected employees working in the bars that will be closed down as a result of the new excise policy, announced recently.
 
The rate of tax on beer and wine will be increased from the current 50 per cent to 70 per cent, which is expected to yield an additinal Rs 100 crore per annum.
 
The tax on cigarettes will be hiked from 22% to 30%. Of this, 3% will be set aside for free cancer care. The additional annual revenue expected is Rs 264 crore.
 
There is no increase in the stamp duty and registration fee on documents in the category of Partition, Gift, Release and Settlement but the upper cap on them has been removed.
 
Land tax rates have been hiked and the measure is expected to bring in an additional revenue of Rs 78 crore per year. The revised plantation tax rates for all crops including coconut and areca nut are expected to bring an additional revenue of Rs 3 crores annually.
 
Mr Chandy also announced various measures to improve collection of arrears, including an intensive revenue recovery drive in all districts for the next six months.
 
The Cabinet also approved the constitution of a committee, chaired by the Vice-Chairman of the State Planning Board, to submit a report on measures to be taken for accessing the financial markets for raising funds to the tune of Rs 1000 crore in the next six months.
 
A committee consisting of the Ministers for Food and Civil Supplies, Industries and IT, Power, Water Resources and Revenue & Coir will be set up to bring a proposal on enhancement of fair value for consideration of the Council of Ministers in two weeks.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Mr Chandy said that BPL families using upto 10,000 litres of water a month will continue to get free water. The rate for non-BPL families who consume upto 10,000 litres of water will remain unchanged. The rate for those families who use more than 10,000 litres of water a month will be increased to 50% to 60%. This will raise additional revenue of Rs 250 crore, he said.
 
The fee levied by the Government for its various services has been increased. However, there is no increase on fees in the educational sector. The hike will be 50% in the Rs 10-Rs 1000 category, 25% in the Rs 1000-Rs 10,000 category and 15% in the above Rs 10,000 category.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Oommen Chandy presents Kerala Govt.'s special award to singer Yesudas

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy presenting a special award of the State Government to well-known singer K J Yesudas in Thiruvananthapuram on September 11, 2014.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy presenting a special award of the State Government to well-known singer K J Yesudas in Thiruvananthapuram on September 11, 2014.
Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy presented well-known singer K J Yesudas with a special award of the State Government for his contribution in diverse fields at a function here today
 
Mr Chandy said Dr Yesudas was the pride of the state not ony as a singer but also as a person who involves himself in various socio-cultural activities. 
 
State Rural Development Minister K C Joseph presided over the function. The award comprised Rs 1 lakh and a citation.
 
Dr Yesudas congratulated the state government for its bold decision to ban liquor in the state also for implementing the Sruthitharangam project in the state, through which many children get back their ability to speak and hear thorough cochlear implantation.
 
Mr Chandy said the project would be extended to all places. He said the project had been initially planned for 100 children but more than 300 children had benefited from it so far.
 
He said that all those who apply for the benefit would be included under the project. He said it was Dr Yesudas who had suggested the project and the Governmet had gone ahead with it.
 
Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan, Mr Palode Ravi, MLA, the state Chief Secretary and others were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

Chandy deputes Chennithala to coordinate evacuation of stranded Malayalis from J&K

ADVERTISEMENT
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today deputed State Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala to coordinate the efforts to bring home safely tourists from the state who have been stranded in different parts of flood-hit Jammu & Kashmir.
 
Mr Chandy said that Mr Chennithala would reach Delhi today to coordinate the arrangements.
 
He said arrangements would be made to help the 100-odd stranded Malayalis reach Srinagar airport, transport them to Delhi by air and facilitate their stay in the national capital prior to their journey to Kerala.
 
The state's Resident Commissioner in Delhi has been asked to make the necessary arrangements in this regard, he said.
 
Mr Chandy had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju in this regard yesterday.
 
A 24x7 control room has been set up at Kerala House in Delhi to handle calls from those who need assistance in this regard.
 
NNN
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 

See News Videos

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.