Friday, September 30, 2011

HC nod for vigilance probe against Arunkumar

Kochi: The Kerala High Court Friday said that Vigilance investigation can be held against son of CPM leader V.S. Achuthanandan, V.S. Anilkumar.

The court rejected a petition filed by Arunkumar against the probe. He had challenged the new government's decision to carry out a Vigilance probe, cancelling the Lok Ayukta investigation, ordered by the LDF government.

Arunkumar's plea was that the Vigilance probe was politically motivated and illegal.

The court in its verdict said the Lok Ayukta does not have the right to probe the charges against Arunkumar and that Vigilance probe was legal.

CM promises stern action against culprits

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today termed as 'brutal' the attack on a school teacher in Kollam district and said government would bring the culprits to justice.

Chandy was replaying to a submission in the state assembly on the manhandling of Krishnakumar (47), a teacher in the
private RVVHS School owned by the family of former state minister and Kerala Congress (B) leader R Balakrishna Pillai.

Krishnakumar was found in a serious condition on the roadside at Valakam near Kottarakkara in Kollam district in
the wee hours of yesterday. He was admitted to the Medical College Hospital here.

Krishnakumar's wife Geetha, who is also a teacher in the same school, alleged that her husband has, of late, been not
on good terms with the school management.

In her submission, Aisha Potti,CPI(M) MLA from Kottarakkara, alleged that a conspiracy was behind the attack and only a
comprehensive probe by a special police team would reveal the truth. PTI

No connection with attack on teacher: Pillai

Thiruvananthapuram: Former state minister R. Balakrishna Pillai Thursday said that he had no involvement in the attack on one of the teachers in a school owned by his family.

Pillai, Kerala Congress (B) leader, who is now serving one year imprisonment in a corruption case said that the allegation made by the leader of the opposition V.S. Achuthanandan was politically motivated.

Pillai's telephonic conversation with the Reporter TV channel has now become a controversy.

The teacher, Krishnakumar, was found on roadside in a serious condition at Valakam near Kottarakkara in Kollam district.

Pillai, Ganesh behind attack: VS

Thiruvananthapuram: Opposition Leader in the Kerala Assembly V S Achuthanandan today demanded an inquiry into the role of Forest Minister K B Ganeshkumar in the attack on a school teacher at Kottarakkara in Kollam.

Talking to newspersons here, Mr Achuthanandan said it was alleged that a quotation gang was hired by the Minister for attacking Krishnakumar and an investigation is necessary to know the truth.

CPI(M) State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan claimed that he had clear information regarding the persons behind the incident.

''But, I would not reveal the names now. The 47-year-old Krishnakumar was a teacher in a private vocational higher secondary school owned by the family of Kerala Congress (B) leader R Balakrishna Pillai, father of the Minister,'' he added.

Krishnakumar was found in a serious condition on a roadside at Valakam near Kottarakkara in Kollam district late last night.

Krishnakumar was first admitted to Kottarakkara Taluk Hospital, and later referred to Medical College Hosptal.

Police registered a case of attempt to murder in this regard.

His wife Geetha became headmistress of the school after winning a court case against the management.

Krishnakumar is also a prime witness in a vigilance case against people related to the management.

Earlier, Krishnakumar filed a complaint that he was getting death threats from the management.

However, Minister Ganeshkumar asserted that he had no connection with the school or the management.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Kollam -Kottappuram Waterway by 2007 -V.S -By 2012- Oommen Chandy

Kochi : Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today said the Kollam - Kottappuram Waterway would be commissioned by December 2012.

Though the work had started long back and expected to be commissioned in 2005, it was prolonged due to certain issues with the fishermen, he said while laying foundation stone for the Indian Maritime University Cochin Main Campus here.

However, the government found solution to their problems to a great extent and it was expected that the waterway would open for cargo movement by December 2012, he said.

Mr Chandy stressed on the need for encouraging and developing more waterways in the state for cheaper cargo movement in the wake of frequent hike of petroleum products' prices.

Regarding the proposed Thiruvananthapuram-Kollam-Kottappuram-Neeleswaram Waterways, the Centre had earmarked a sum of Rs 225 crore, he pointed out.
News Archives in June 2006
`Kollam-Kottapuram waterway by June 2007' V.S

Kovalam-Nileswaram waterway inaugurated

KOLLAM: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said the Kollam to Kottapuram National Waterway-111 would be commissioned in June 2007.

Inaugurating the State-level launch of the Kovalam-Nileswaram Smart Waterway here on Saturday, Mr. Achuthanandan said the 590-km waterway would become fully operational by 2010. The National Waterway-111 is part of the Smart Waterway.

He said the opening of the waterway would be a major step towards development of the State. The Twelfth Finance Commission had allocated Rs.225 crore for revival of the waterway. Care would be taken to ensure that the funds do not lapse.

The Chief Minister, along with Minister for Water Resources N.K. Premachandran and Minister for Food and Civil Supplies C. Divakaran, undertook a two-hour cruise along the National Waterway-111 from Kollam to Alumkadavu for an on-the-spot inspection of the condition of the waterway. Talking to presspersons after the cruise, the Chief Minister said there were some hurdles in developing the waterway to meet National Waterway standards. The main hurdles related to the livelihood aspects of people living on the banks. Increasing the width of the Travancore State Canal portion of the National Waterway would require rehabilitating those who had encroached upon the banks of the canal. This would be done within two months after talks with the people concerned and representatives of the people, he said.

With regard to the Kottapuram-Nileswaram portion of the Smart Waterway, new canals for at least 40 km north of Vadakara will have to be created. Inland Water Authority of India vice-chairman Sushil Kumar was present.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mohanlal escapes accident

The Malayalam superstar nearly fell off a bike which was six feet off the ground

Mohanlal, who has been shooting for his much-awaited film Casanova in Bangkok, narrowly escaped injuring himself during an action sequence. The actor was atop a superbike that had been suspended mid-air, when he lost balance and nearly fell off, says a source, who was present on the set. However, he managed to stay on the bike as it was lowered from a six-feet height to the ground.

"Mohanlal is perfectly fine and just has minor injuries, in terms of a few sprains. Had he fallen off the bike he could have been hurt badly. Following this incident pack up was announced for the day, but Mohanlal will be back in action tomorrow," adds the source.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gujarat CM Narendra Modi's open letter to citizens

My Dear sisters and brothers,

My Salutations!

Yesterday, the Apex Court of the country delivered an important judgment regarding the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.

Everyone is interpreting this judgment in his own way. For political analysts it has one meaning and for legal experts it has another meaning. Someone is interpreting it as victory someone else as defeat. Everyone has his own point of view.

One thing is apparent from the Supreme Court's judgment. The unhealthy environment created by the unfounded and false allegations made against me and Government of Gujarat, after 2002 riots, has come to an end. For the past ten years, it has become fashionable to defame me and the State of Gujarat. These elements who could not tolerate any positive development of Gujarat have not left any stone unturned to defame Gujarat. It is difficult to say whether this campaign of defamation will stop even after the judgment of the Supreme Court. But one thing is certain that the credibility of those who have been spreading lies and defaming Gujarat has come to its lowest ebb. The people of this country will not trust such elements anymore.

After 2002, Gujarat has not spared any effort to march towards peace, harmony and progress even amidst false propaganda, lies, conspiracies and allegations.

'Six crore Gujaratis' has not remained merely a word. It has become the mantra of unity and human endeavor. Every citizen of Gujarat has internalized peace, harmony and development. Gujarat has experienced an unparalleled phase of peace, harmony, and development in the last decade. Gujarat is committed to march forward on this path only.

There is a famous saying, "Hate is never conquered by hate." The real strength of our country is its unity and harmony. Unity in diversity is the defining feature of India. It is our responsibility to strengthen unity in our social life. We have got an excellent opportunity to proceed with a positive attitude. Hence, let us come together and contribute in enhancing the dignity of Gujarat. I humbly submit before you that, as part of this responsibility to strengthen social harmony and brotherhood, I am thinking of starting a movement of "Sadbhavana Mission."

As part of this Sadbhavana Mission, I have resolved to fast for three days from, Saturday, the 17th September 2011. My fast will conclude on 19th September. I deeply believe that this fast will further strengthen Gujarat's environment of peace, unity and harmony.

Sadbhavana Mission is completely dedicated to the society and the nation. I hope that, our effort to take Gujarat to new heights of development through peace, unity and harmony will contribute immensely in the progress and development of the nation as well.

Always at your service,

Narendra Modi

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Not so Good News for Kerala Tourism Sector

Sri Lanka August tourist arrivals up 30 pct year/year

Sri Lanka tourism still booming with arrivals up 32 pct in July

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals jumped 29.6 percent in August from a year earlier with the visitors expect to hit a record high, as the island nation kept attracting more visitors and tourism-related investment since the end of a 25-year civil war.

Arrivals have risen every month on a year-on-year basis since the war's end in May 2009, and the government is targeting annual revenue of $2.5 billion by 2016 from 2.5 million expected visitors coming to see Sri Lanka's beaches, hills and religious and historic sites.

Visitors in August were 72,463, against 55,898 in the same month last year. Arrivals in the first eight months of 2011 have jumped 35.2 percent to 537,787, compared to the same period a year ago.

Sri Lanka has forecast a 20 percent growth in arrivals this year to more than 780,000 people, and President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government has facilitated $1.2 billion in tourism investment so far in 2011.

The 654,476 arrivals in 2010 exceeded the previous all-time high 566,202 from 2004, when a peace accord was in place. Last's year's tally was 46.1 percent higher than the year before.

The government in July said it is expecting at least $1.5 billion in foreign investment into a proposed "tourist city" replete with hotels, shopping and a convention centre in Katana, a coastal town located 15 km north of the commercial capital, Colombo.

Tourism revenue rose 50 percent in the first seven months of this year to $451.4 million compared to the corresponding period last year after jumping 64.8 percent year-on-year to a record $575.9 million in 2010, the central bank's latest data showed.

Sri Lanka aims to attract $2.7 billion in investment to upgrade its post-war tourism capacity.

The hotel and travel index .CSEHT on the Colombo Stock Exchange has risen nearly fourfold since the end of the war.

Tourism is one of the main foreign exchange earners for Sri Lanka's $50 billion economy along with remittances from expatriate workers, garments and tea.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Piqued Chandy storms out of live TV interview

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen, miffed at aggressive questioning from the anchor of an interview being telecast live Thursday, walked out in a huff.

Forty-five minutes was the time slot for an interview granted to new Malayalam channel Reporter but the chief minister appeared to have had enough with 25 minutes still to go. The face-to-face was one of several granted to regional channels as part of his 100 Days Programme.

Chandy appeared to lose his cool after being grilled by anchor Venu on issues such as granting adivasi land to a wind power firm in Palakkad and changing a judicial commission probing a firing in Kasargode during the reign of the previous Left government.

Chandy's office said that all were stunned to see him walk out. "Normally, he is not one to lose his cool," an official said. "But right from the beginning, the interview appeared to be a courtroom trial and we could sense his discomfort. Maybe, he did not want to create a scene, so he quietly walked out."

Chandy is preparing a progress report on his 100 Days Programme, designed on transparency, and he will be making it public here Monday.

Petition against Kunhalikutty dismissed

Thrissur: A vigilance court has dismissed a petition seeking probe against Kerala Industries Minister P K Kunhalikutty for alleged amassment of wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Judge V Jayaram, while dismissing the petition filed by Abdul Aziz, observed that there was no prima facie case against Kunhalikutty.

The petitioner also had not produced any evidence to substantiate the charge, the judge said. Aziz alleged that Kunhalikutty had purchased land in Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) and Gudaloor (Tamil Nadu) in the name of his wife and some other persons.

Kunhalikutty, in his reaction, said Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan and a group of persons were behind filing cases against him. "There is nothing new in the court dismissing petition against me in similar cases," Kunhalikutty added.

Shreyamskumar denies illegal land holding

Kozhikode: Socialist Janata (D) leader M V Shreyamskumar, MLA, today said he and his family were being haunted by his political adversaries on the allegation that 14.44 acre of ancestral land held by him in Krishnagri village in Wayanad district in Kerala, was illegal.

Talking to newspersons here he said, ''I am prepared to donate the land for charity if CPI (M) State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan proves his claim that the land was encroched by me.'' He said, ''I was not even born'' when the land was allocated by the erstwhile Madras government to his grandfather Padma Prabha in 1943 under ''grow more campaign.'' The land in question was bequeathed to his father M P Veerendra Kumar and subsequently to him in 1972 during the partition of ancestral property when he was only five years.

The government had allocated about 1575 acres of land to different persons in 15 villages in the district for farming. But he was being victimized for political reasons despite a court order against his eviction from the land.

Vijayan and his party had never raised such an issue when his party Janata Dal (Secular), the previous avatar of the SJD, was part of the Left Democratic Front.

He said he got a relief on September 1 from the Supreme Court which directed the Kerala High Court to hear expeditiously the appeal filed by him.

''The Constitution of the country ensured every citizen his her legitimate right to protect their property. I do not forefeit such a right for the sole reason that I am an elected member of the Assembly.'' he add

Kerala unveils draft land acquisition policy

Thiruvananthapuram:The Kerala cabinet cleared a draft land acquisition policy Wednesday to speed up the development process in the state.

The Kerala move coincided with Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh introduving the National Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011, in the Lok Sabha Wednesday.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting that the highlight of the state's draft policy is that transferrable development bonds would be issued to people who do not want immediate cash for the land that they surrender.

'All those who wish to get transferable development bonds in lieu of cash for land surrendered can at any later date encash these bonds or can even sell these back to the government.

'This would enable the land owner to get the benefit of the increase in land value following development in the area,' Chandy said.

State Revenue Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan added that the draft has been given to all the political parties in the state and would be discussed in public fora.

'In two weeks, recommendations that come up in the open discussion would be taken into consideration. We expect that in a month the state would have a new path-breaking land acquisition policy, replacing the one which is in force now and waas formulated in 1894,' Radhakrishnan said.

'Over the years what we have seen is that due to the various delays in land takeover, the project gets delayed by five years, resulting in a huge cost escalation.'

'With this new policy, there will be no delays and all those who give land for development would get good value for the land and even get a maximum two percent in the equity of the project, and also one person from the family which loses land will get a job in the project,' he added.

Incidentally, this new policy is applicable for land taken over by the government for setting up new projects.

This scheme was included in the 100-day programme announced by the new Chandy government soon after it took office.