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Briefly

Accreditation for laboratory

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, JAN. 22. The Electricity Minister, Kadavoor Sivadasan, today officially declared the Meter Testing and Standards Laboratory of the Department of Electrical Inspectorate in Thiruvananthapuram as one accredited to the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories. The Secretary for Power, Lissie Jacob, presided over the function, which was addressed by the Chief Electrical Inspector, R. Ramachandran Pillai, the KSEB chairman, T.M. Manoharan and the Additional Chief Electrical Inspector, S. Jayamohan among others. The Minister also distributed the first certificate for the instrument calibrated as per the NABL's norms to the MD of the KEL, Sreenivasan.

Graphite case hearing

The Vigilance Special Judge, M. S. Mohanachandran, who concluded his hearing on Friday on a petition filed by the Special Prosecutor, N. Haridas, seeking the withdrawal of the second module of the Graphite case against the Transport Minister, R. Balakrishna Pillai and two others, has posted the case for final orders on February 4.

Kuttiyadi extension project

The Electricity Minister, Kadavoor Sivadasan, will inaugurate the work on another large hydel project — the Kuttiyadi Additional Extension Project — at a function to be held in the Kakkayam KSEB Ground on January 25. The project, which has an installed capacity of 100 mw will be the fourth largest in the State. The project involves the construction of a fresh intake 80 m away from the existing one and that of a 705-m-long tunnel. The water will be taken to the powerhouse through a 2.05-km-long penstock. The new powerhouse will be constructed next to the powerhouse of the Kuttiyadi Extension Project. Two generators of 50 mw each will be installed there. The project is expected to generate 2,040 lakh units of power per annum. The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 220.5 crores.

Contractors on warpath

The Government Contractors Association is on the warpath demanding the payment of the Rs. 800 crores, which the Government owed the contractors, amending of the sales tax rules and revising of PWD rates. It staged a satyagraha before the Secretariat on Friday to press the demands. The Congress leader, V.S. Sivakumar, MP, who inaugurated it, protested against the non-payment of at least a part of the arrears even though the Government claimed that the economy was in good shape. He said that the contractors who helped the Government in the development process were facing a serious financial crisis. After spending money in advance for executing civil works, it was not proper to make them wait indefinitely to get the money back.

Guruvayur festival begins

The annual festival of the Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple began today. It will continue till March 12. Children below five years will not be admitted into the "Nalambalam" during the period as a measure of precaution for ensuring the sanctity of all the tantric rites and poojas performed during the period. But offerings like the feeding of children and thulabharam will be allowed as usual. The Guruvayur administration has sought the cooperation of all the devotees for the successful conduct of the festival.

Farmers' meeting

The State Council of the All-India Kissan Sabha has convened a conference of farmers who are unable to repay the loans taken by them because of the crash in the prices of agricultural produce and natural calamities in the YMCA hall at Kollam on January 25. It will be inaugurated by the CPI leader and former Minister, E. Chandrasekharan Nair. The general secretary of the State council of the Sabha, Sathyan Mokeri, will present a paper on agricultural loans, recovery measures and solutions.

Bakrid on February 1

KOZHIKODE JAN. 24. Bakrid will be celebrated on February 1 as the moon was sighted at Thoppil, near Kozhikode, on January 23, the Khasis of Samyuktha Mahallu Jama-ath committees of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Thrissur and Palakkad districts, Kanthapuram A.P. Abubacker Musaliar, Nellikkuthu Ismail Musaliar, V.P. Pookoya Thangal and A. Bappu Musaliar, the Kannur Khasi's representative, M.V. Abdurehman Musaliar, and the Beypore Khasi, P.T. Abdul Khader Musaliar, said in a joint release here today.

IA slashes fares

KOCHI JAN. 24. Indian Airlines has reduced airfares from here to Sharjah, Muscat and Kuwait for two months beginning from February 1. The slash in the Sharjah sector is nearly about 30 per cent.

A statement by Indian Airlines here today said that a Sharjah passenger would save Rs. 3,000 during this period. A Kuwait passenger will save Rs. 2,490 and Muscat passenger Rs. 1,080.

Following are the revised fares for the period (old fares are given in brackets): Kochi-Sharjah: Rs. 7,500 (Rs. 10,500). Kochi-Muscat: Rs. 8,600 (Rs. 9,680). Kochi-Kuwait: Rs. 12,900 (Rs. 15,390).

The reduction will be available in two-way fares too. The revised return fares are: Kochi-Sharjah: Rs. 16,000 (Rs. 17,100). Kochi-Muscat: Rs. 16,000 (Rs. 17,700). Kochi-Kuwait: Rs. 23,655 (Rs. 27,475).

Jet to operate extra flight

KOCHI JAN. 24. Jet Airways will operate an additional flight between Bangalore and Kochi on January 31, said the airline's district sales manager here today. The flight 9W-4511 will leave Bangalore at 10.20 a.m. and arrive at the Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery, at 11.40 a.m. The return flight 9W-4512 will take off from Nedumbassery at 12.10 p.m. and land at Bangalore at 1.30 p.m., said the airline official.

Memorial function

KANNUR JAN. 24. The first death anniversary of the founder editor of the Sudinam eveninger here, Maniyeri Madhavan, will be observed here on January 26. The Indian Newspaper Society chairman, M.P. Veerendrakumar, would deliver the memorial lecture at the function to be held at the Chamber Hall here at 3-30 p.m. The Minister for Cooperation and Ports, M.V. Raghavan, would give away the first Maniyeri Madhavan Journalism Award instituted by the Maniyeri Madhavan Smaraka Samithy at the function. The Mathrubhumi leader writer, S. Krishnankutty, was selected for the award for the editorial of October 6, 2003 on the settlement of the Marad issue. The award carries Rs. 10,000 and a citation.

Hartal total, peaceful

KASARAGOD Jan. 24. The dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the BJP in the district was total and peaceful. No untoward incidents were reported from anywhere in the district. Fresh violence was reported in Ariyal. Heavy police deployment was continuing in the area.

Republic Day parade

KASARAGOD JAN. 24. The Minister for Local Administration Cherkalam Abdulla, will hoist the tricolour and receive the salute at the ceremonial parade to be held at the Municipal stadium at Vidhya Nagar in connection with the Republic Day celebrations here on January 26, an official press note here has said.

Panchayat byelection

The by-election in Pernadukka, the sixth ward of Megral-Puthur Grama panchayat, will be held on February 27. The last date for filing of nominations is February 3 and that of withdrawal February 6. The votes will be counted on February 28. The last date for the submission of the election expenditure returns is March 29.

Winners of tourism quiz

KOZHIKODE JAN. 24. St Josephs College, Devagiri, has emerged as the winner in the quiz contest organised by the Kozhikode District Tourism Promotion Council as part the national tourism week celebrations. St. Savio Higher Secondary School, Devagiri, won the second prize, the secretary to District Tourism Promotion Council said today.

Temple festival

The preparations for the festival at the Sree Valayanad Devi temple here will begin with the arrival of the sacred sword of the goddess on a caparisoned elephant at the temple from the Tali temple on January 26. After holy ceremonies are performed, the festival flag will be hoisted at 8 p.m. on January 31.

Annual conference

KANNUR JAN. 24. The Swathanthra Thozhilali Union (STU) annual conference will be held here on January 26. The organisers said in a release here today that the conference would be inaugurated by the Local Administration Minister, Cherkalam Abdulla, at 4 p.m. The keynote address would be delivered by the former Minister, E.T. Muhammed Basheer. A free medical camp for workers would be held in the morning, the release said adding that the medical camp would be inaugurated by the Panakkad Syed Basheerali Shihab Thangal. As many 700 workers had already been registered for the medical camp, the release said

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