Monday, November 28, 2011

Kerala will go ahead with new dam.:K.M.Mani

Kozhikode: The Kerala government Monday announced it will go ahead with the construction of a new dam at Mullaperiyar and urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to "intervene strongly" in the dispute and make Tamil Nadu initiate "practical steps" on the issue. "The state government will not go back from its decision to construct a new dam at an estimated expense of Rs 600 crore," Finance Minister K.M. Mani told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

"Kerala has the right to construct a new dam in Kerala's land funded by the state for the safety of the people of the state," he said, adding about 45 lakh people living in five districts of Kerala are facing serious threat to their lives. It was due to the "non-cooperative attitude" of the Tamil Nadu government that the Mullaperiyar issue was being dragged on without arriving at a solution, he charged. Funds have been earmarked in this year's budget for the construction of a new dam at Mullaperiyar, he said.

Urging Tamil Nadu to adopt a "compassionate approach" to the issue, Mani said Kerala was never against giving water to the neighbouring state. "A new dam is the only solution as we cannot play with the lives of over 45 lakh people living in the downstream area," he said.

Kerala has been pressing for immediate central intervention to persuade Tamil Nadu to agree to the proposal of a new dam at Mullaperiyar holding that the present 116-year-old structure posed a threat to nearly three million people, mainly in Idukki, Kottayam and Ernakulam districts.

However, holding a contradictory view, Tamil Nadu has opposed construction of a new dam, asserting that the present reservoir "is as safe and good as new" and accused Kerala of whipping up fear psychosis.

Online booking in Sabarimala a hit

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Police initiative - - to promote online booking for darshan at Sabarimala became a huge hit. The software was developed by constables without costing a penny. The number of devotees who have used the system crossed 3.5 lakh within 10 days of its launch. It was the idea of south zone ADGP P Chandrasekharan who had mooted this idea to control the rush by giving devotees the facility to book for darshan in advance.

The main advantage of online booking is that the devotees won't have to stand in queue anywhere other than the Sannidhanam, he said. The devotees, after covering Neelimala and Appachimedu, had to wait in long queues for hours in Sabaripeetom. Two years before, some age-old people who were unable to stand in long queues complained about it, he said.

Through online booking, devotees can find less crowded hours and opt for darshan. The aim is to provide darshan time for 1000 devotees and next year the number would be doubled to 2000.

As per the direction of the ADGP, the computer cell of State Crime Records Bureaus, arranged the programme Advance Queue Placement Facility. Mukesh MR constable is the developer of the software. Though not sophisticated, outside agencies charge a hefty amount to develop this but the group created the software without spending a rupee. It was on November 16 that the facility came into effect. Those who come with the printout of the booking can enter the Sannidanam through Chandranandan road without going through the flyover at Marakootam. If they show copies of ID card, they would be directly led to the Pathinettam Padi

Earthquake within 15 km of dam should be viewed seriously: CESS

Upputhara: Dr John Mathai, senior scientist from the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS), said a slight tremor within 15 kms of the dam should be viewed seriously. Also whether the dam can sustain this should be taken into account. The recent tremors occurred within 34 km surrounding the dam. He told mediapersons that the recent tremors centering Kannampadi, Venjoormoodu, Vellakkanam, Uluppooni are creating apprehensions.

John Mathai said the area is a category III quake-prone zone, which means that it could experience tremors with an intensity of up to 6 on the Richter Scale. He added that the need of the hour is to build quakeproof buildings as he noticed that the houses, which were not built to resist quakes, had be

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Another tremor rocks Mullaperiyar dam area

Idukki: Just hours after Kerala Water Resources Minister P J Joseph warned that another earthquake could lead to the collapse of the dilapidated Mullaperiyar Dam, a low intensity tremor rocked the dam area and other places in this district early this morning, creating panic among 30 lakh people living downstream.

However, no damage has been reported from anywhere so far, according to sources here.

The tremor occurred between 0314 and 0320 hrs. The tremors were felt at Vandiperiyar, Upputhara, Velliyamattom, Valakode, Chappath and Moolamattom in Idukki district, and other places in Kottayam, Alappuzha and Ernakulam districts.

Many people were awakened from sleep early in the morning as they felt the shock and heard rumbling noises, the sources added.

This was the 21st tremor in the dam area for the last four months.

Ferry service between Kochi-Male from Jan or Feb next year

Kochi: The proposed cargo-cum-passenger ferry service between Kochi and Male as announced by Prime Minister Manmohan singh at the SAARC summit on November 11 would commence operations in January or February 2012.

A team of officers from Maldives Ports Limited, led by MPL Deputy CEO Hussain Naeem held discussions with the Cochin Port Trust authorities yesterday and today decided to structure the ferry serivce as a cargo-cum-passenger service, a CPT release said here today.

According to the decision, besides carrying 300 passengers, the vessel, to be operated weekly, would also carry about 15 to 20 containers and about 500 tonners of break bulk cargo, it said, adding the EOI would be floated by SCI soon after receiving confirmation from the Maldivian side that they were ready for the ferry service.

Stating that the ferry would be berthed at the BTP Jetty in the Cochin Port and would use the Cruise Terminal facility that was being developed at a cost of Rs seven crore, it said the work on the cruise terminal was expected to be completed by March 2012.

The Maldivian team expressed a desire to get the ferry to touch Kulhuduffushi Port also. However, since the port expansion work was yet to be completed, it was decided to start the ferry as a Cochin-Male-Cochin service and incorporate an option to extend it to Kulhuduffushi Port when the work was completed.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Kerala cabinet clears sops for Non Residents

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala cabinet Wednesday unveiled sops for the diaspora by clearing a special housing scheme for them and also lowered the minimum amount for equity in the proposed Kannur airport to allow mid-income diaspora to invest in it.

Unveiling the new housing policy, Finance and Housing Minister K.M. Mani said it is a wrong notion that all the Kerala diaspora are rich.

'There are so many diaspora whose dream of owning a house is yet to materialise and for that we have launched a trial scheme in Thrissur exclusively for the diaspora. It has been proved a success with many diaspora joining it. This scheme will now be replicated in other districts for the benefit of the not-rich diaspora,' said Mani.

The nodal agency for implementing the housing policy is the Kerala State Housing Board (KSBH) which extends subsidies to all the allotees who buy flats and houses build by the KSHB.

'The diaspora will now get the benefit of subsidy. When it comes to allotment, the average diaspora would get the preference in exclusive schemes which will now be floated,' said Mani.

A recent study by the Centre for Development Studies here found that 2.1 million Keralites work abroad with close to 85 percent in the Middle East, and of these close to 70 percent are not in the rich category.

After the cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that following repeated demands from several quarters, the government has decided to lower the minimum amount for acquiring equity in the proposed Kannur international airport from Rs.200,100 to Rs.50,000. 'This was a long standing demand that the minimum amount be reduced so as to help many who want to invest in the Kannur airport. This was first cleared at the board of the airport and today the cabinet accepted the demand,' said Chandy.

Kannur International Airport Limited (KIAL) has already been registered and the Rs.1,200 crore airport would be built under a public-private initiative in an area of 2,000 acres near here at Mattanur in Kannur district. It is expected to open in 2013.

There was a huge hue and cry from the diaspora when the previous Left government decided to fix the minimum amount at Rs.200,100 and when the Chandy government took over in May this year, they announced that they would ensure that even the ordinary diaspora can become an investor in Kannur airport.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sabarimala: Pilgrims discover Q-coupon booking appreciable

Sabarimala: Every year, Krishna Kumar used to spend a minimum of five hours in the queue to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple here. But this year, it just took him 15 minutes -- thanks to a new Q-coupon booking facility.

All he had to do was log onto, upload his picture and book the time of darshan.

A brainchild of Director General of Police Jacob Punnoose, the facility has come as a relief to thousands of pilgrims this season.

"For some reason we were not able to launch this facility during last few years. But this time, we decided to give it a try and it has been a huge success," Punnoose told IANS.

"On an average, we can provide advance booking to 1,000 pilgrims in an hour. The pilgrim can select his own time of darshan if time slots are available.

"At peak hours, no one will have to wait for more than an hour. They will be made to stand in a special queue located close to the 18 steps leading to the sanctum sanctorum," said Punnoose.

Though the temple is open throughout the year, the peak pilgrimage season begins on the first day of the Malayalam month in November (Nov 17 this time) and closes on the first day of the Malayalam month in January.

"We launched the website a week back. In the first week, we received just 3,000 bookings but the number rose to 40,000 and the number of hits on our site has crossed two lakh," said Punnoose.

Authorities are now planning to extend the facility to the special days in the two-month-long pilgrimage.

"We have not yet extended this facility for special days as the crowds are huge. Those who have made an advance booking might not be able to reach the special queue in time. We are working out ways to see what best can be done," added Punnoose.

As many as 100 people were killed in a stampede in January this year when pilgrims were returning after watching the celestial Makara Jyothi light, the most important event of the pilgrimage, from a hillock some 30 km from the Sabarimala temple.

Situated on the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats at an altitude of 914 metres above sea level, Sabarimala temple is four kilometers uphill from Pamba in Pathanamthitta district.

It is one of the most famous Hindu pilgrim centres in India.

The temple, which bars the entry of women who have attained puberty, is accessible only on foot from Pamba.

The Sabarimala authorities have said the collection in the first two days crossed Rs.2.17 crore, Rs.37 lakh more than last year's figures.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Online advance queue booking for Sabarimala

The Kerala Police has launched an innovative e-queue system for Sabarimala darshan during the 2011-12 pilgrimage season. Using the online advance queue placement coupon, pilgrims can get preference in the queue for darshan, which the authorities believe will help avoid overcrowding and congestion. The system which was on a trial run for the last two weeks will be completely operational from November 16. As of now, this facility is limited to devotees who are coming to Sabarimala with Irumudikettu. However, the Q-Coupon does not assure a darshan at Sabarimala.

A pilgrim who registers on the Kerala Police @ Sabarimala website ( need not wait for hours for the darshan as the online advance queue placement coupon entitles the devotee to join the queue at ‘Nadapanthal’. After verifying the credentials, devotees will be put through the queue for darshan eventually along with those who are waiting in the queue. To avoid inconvenience, they will also be given a time when they can join a batch of pilgrims. This is a free service offered by Kerala Police for the purpose of crowd management at Sabarimala. There is no payment involved in this advance booking system.

Pilgrims will have to fill out the form and upload a scanned passport size photograph (jpg / jpeg format of less than 30 KB size). The print out generated after registration (Q-Coupon) and the Identity Card used for registration are to be produced for verification by Police officials while coming for Darshan.

It was in December 2010 that the Kerala Police launched the Kerala Police @ Sabarimala website ( to give information to pilgrims on Sabarimala and also to help the devotees in getting Police assistance. The multi-lingual website gives information related to the annual pilgrimage in English, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu. The website has details like number of devotees waiting for darshan, movement of devotees through the hill route and other necessary arrangements regarding darshan. The website is being maintained by the Police Computer Centre at the State Crime Records Bureau of Kerala Police.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

M V Jayarajan jailed for contempt of court

Kochi: The Kerala High Court today sentenced CPI(M) leader M V Jayarajan to six months imprisonment on charge of committing contempt of court by making derogatory remarks against judges and the judiciary.

A division bench comprising justices V Ram Kumar and P Q Barkat Ali passed the order after launching suo motu contempt
proceedings against Jayarajan, a former MLA. Jayarajan, who was present in court, made an application to suspend the sentence, which was turned down by the court finding him guilty of criminal contempt.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 2000 on Jayarajan, who had represented Kannur constituency.

The CPI-M leader had earlier told the court that he had only criticised the judgement of the high court as it
'violated' the right to conduct meetings on roadsides enjoyed by the public for centuries. There is no law preventing such
meetings, Jayarajan had submitted, claiming that there was widespread protest against the verdict.

The court had also recorded the statement of some media personnel also in the case.

Jayarajan had made some remarks against judges and the judiciary soon after the verdict at a public meeting at
Kannur on June 26 last year.

The court had on June 10 chargesheeted him in the case after finding that the terminologies used by Jayarajan to
describe judges were intended to 'humiliate, scandalise and lower the authority' of the court in the eyes of public and
also to interfere with the administration of justice.

In August this year, the court framed fresh charges against him.

The bench said in case of default in payment of fine, Jayarajan would have to undergo an additional month of imprisonment.

Though he was awarded rigorous imprisonment first, it was later changed to simple imprisonment by the court.

This is the first time that the court has awarded a politician the maximum punishment of six months imprisonment
in a contempt case.

Some CPI-M workers, who had gathered near the court, shouted slogans hailing Jayarajan.

With a huge gathering of media personnel waiting at the court's front entrance, police escorted the CPIM leader
through the back gate.

Jayarajan, who will be lodged in the Poojapura central Jail in Thiruvananthapuram, waved to supporters as the police
vehicle carrying him sped away. PTI

CPM leader M V Jayarajan Send to Jail by H C

Kochi: Taking a strong view of offensive remarks made against judges and the judiciary by CPM leader M V Jayarajan, the Kerala High Court today sentenced him to six months imprisonment for contempt of court.

The division bench held that by making the offending speech at Kannur last year, Jayarajan was ridiculing in public performance of two high court judges and making "scurrilous, offensive, vicious and malicious onslaught on the higher judiciary that too beyond controllable limits."

The bench comprising justices V Ram Kumar and P Q Barkat Ali held Jayarajan, a former MLA from Kannur, guilty under Section 12 of the Contempt of Court Act and noted during the trial, he had gone to the press justifying his act, including using the word 'shumban' (a derogatory term which in local parlance means a useless person) against the judges.

Jayarajan's plea to suspend the sentence to enable him to file appeal in the Supreme Court was turned down by the court.

Immediately after the order was passed, police personnel arrived at the court and took him to Thiruvananthapuram Central Jail.

CPI(M) and DYFI activists, present near the court, raised slogans hailing Jayarajan.

Jayarajan has been ordered to pay a fine of Rs. 2000 and in case of default, he will have to undergo an extra month's imprisonment.

CPM has a history of clashing with judiciary in Kerala

Conflicts between Left leaders and judiciary in Kerala are nothing new. Right from the first Communist chief minister E M S Namboodiripad, there have been instances of Left leaders making scathing remarks against judiciary and earning the wrath of judiciary.

On Tuesday Kerala high court sentenced CPI (M) secretariat member M V Jayarajan to six months of rigorous imprisonment for contempt of court, leading to a state-wide debate on the tussle between judiciary and people's representatives in the state. The case was initiated against Jayarajan for calling judges "sumban" in Malayalam which the court found derogatory.

The closest translation of 'sumban' into English is ''fool or idiot."

Earlier in 2007, the then CPI(M) minister Paloli Muhammed Kutty was also found guilty of contempt of court by the Kerala high court. Kutty was held guilty for saying "a time has come when courts deliver judgments according to the thickness of currency bundles."

Former chief minister Namboodiripad was pulled up by the court in 1970 for stating at a press conference held on November 9, 1967 that "Judges are guided and dominated by class hatred, class interests and class prejudices and where the evidence is balanced between a well-dressed pot-bellied rich man and a poor ill-dressed and illiterate person, the judge instinctively favours the former."

Though the Kerala high court held Namboodiripad guilty for making the remarks and imposed a fine of Rs 1000 or simple imprisonment for one month, the supreme court upheld the appeal filed by Namboodiripad against the high court verdict and reduced the sentence to Rs 50 fine.

Paloli Muhammed Kutty also escaped imprisonment after he approached the supreme court against the high court verdict, which had refused to accept his unconditional apology. The apex court allowed him to be exempted from the jail term after accepting his unconditional apology.

The Kerala high court on Tuesday sentenced CPI (M) state secretariat member M V Jayarajan to six months of rigorous imprisonment for contempt of court.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

KC(J) all set to demand berth for Jacobs son

With the wafer-thin majority of the UDF Government being narrowed down further to just one, serious thinking has dawned on all the top leaders in the front on how to plug the loose ends and hold ground. The strength of the UDF in the 140-member Assembly has come down to 71 with the demise of T.M. Jacob.

As for the Kerala Congress (Jacob), a crucial meet is slated for Tuesday after the funeral of T M Jacob. A formal demand will be made during the meeting to induct Anoop Jacob, the departed leader’s son and state president of Youth Front, as a minister.

The Kerala Congress (Jacob) has also resolved to launch Anoop as the party’s choice and UDF candidate in the Assembly bypoll from Piravom, which has to be held in six months.

The assessment is that the suave Anoop would be able to cash in on the sympathy wave and retain the seat held by his father for long, though the fact remains that he had scraped through in the 2011 polls with a majority of just 157 votes .

The prospect of the UDF Government positioned on a rickety wicket are sending jitters to many, especially with another senior legislator from its fold confined to a hospital bed for long time now.

“To move ahead with the support of the likes of Government Chief Whip P C George, who are perennial trouble-makers, is unthinkable,” a senior KPCC leader told Express.

The only breather for the UDF Government is that the Opposition LDF is not keen to topple the dispensation at the moment, despite rumours based on the recent statements of Opposition Deputy Leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan that a few UDF MLAs are waiting to cross over.

The LDF may not pursue a more vigorous political line in the Piravom Assembly bypoll either, since the choice is more or less stamped for M J Jacob, who lost the 2011 polls to T M Jacob, after routing the latter in the 2006 polls.

The lone convict in Jayakrishnan Master murder case also walked out into freedom before jail term

KANNUR: The lone convict in Jayakrishnan Master murder case Acharaparambath Pradeepan too walked out from the prison, Thanks to C.P.M led state government’s decision to release the prisoners who have completed 10 years of rigorous imprisonment. On 1st December 1999 at around 10.35am, the class teacher of Mokeri East U.P. School in Koothuparambu near Panur in Kannur district and vice- president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha Kerala State K.T. Jayakrishnan was conducting class for his 6th standard students. Suddenly, his bodyguard (provided by the state government to protect his life due to threats from communist criminals) disappeared and seven CPM activists entered the class room, shouted slogans and warned the students not to move, blocked the class room's entrance, took sword-sticks and razors in their hands, came near Jayakrishnan Master and stabbed him several times. Jayakrishnan Master fell on the floor, but the heartless communist criminals did not stop and continued to stab him. After more than 48 ante-mortem injuries all over the body, Jayakrishnan Master breathed his last within five minutes.

After confirming his death, a CPM man wrote a warning to the witnesses -- children and other teachers -- on the blackboard that if anyone gave evidence to the police or the court, they would be killed. They left the place in procession, walking along the public road brandishing the blood-stained weapons as if they were celebrating a victory. The most horrible murder was committed in front of students less than 11 years old. The young children were shocked as their most respected class teacher was brutally murdered in front of them. The incident created psychological problems for many children who had to undergo counseling.

Yes, this is exactly what happened in broad daylight in a school classroom seven years ago on 1st December 1999. The CPM once again proved they are ''professionals'' in murdering any person at any time at any place. The only ''sin'' committed by the Jayakrishnan Master was that he believed in an ideology which the CPM could not tolerate.

CPM hitman Acharaparambath Pradeepan is the lone convict undergoing life-imprisonment in the Jayakrishnan murder case who , was released early Saturday morning from the Kannur Central Prison. Pradeepan was one among the five, who were sentenced to death by the court in the murder case As the five convicts whose death sentences were confirmed by the High Court of Kerala lived in the shadow of the gallows at the Kannur Central Prison, the CPM launched an unprecedented legal battle mobilising more than Rs 1 crore and hiring the best legal brains in the country.

The CPM won the battle but sustained a minor injury as the Supreme Court acquitted four of the accused in the case while commuting the death sentence of Pradeepan to life in prison on the basis of an appeal filed with the support of the party. And that was how the hardcore CPM activist Pradeepan, happened to remain in jail.

An attempt had been made earlier by the government to release Pradeepan even before he completed 10 years of imprisonment. But this was objected to by the mother of K T Jayakrishnan.

News Archive 21/02/2011