KOTTAYAM March 1. Mathews Kalappura has been elected president of the Kerala State Teachers' Front. The State conference of the Front, which was held here, elected Cyriac Kavil as general secretary, and P.A. George as treasurer.
KOZHIKODE March 1. The All Kerala Mappila Sangeeta Academy will organise the Malabar Art Festival - 2004 here on March 27, in connection with its 12th anniversary. Contests will be held in light music, Mappilappattu, Oppana, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kolkali, etc. Those interested should contact K.M.K. Vellayil, HMV and Akashavani artiste, 4/898, Vellayil Road, Kozhikode-673 032, by March 7.
Demand for probe
The Anweshi Women's Counselling Centre has appealed to the Director General of Police, P.K. Hormese Tharakan, to order an inquiry into the series of suicides by girls of Koleri Government High School in Wayanad. In a statement here today, the centre alleged that they could be victims of a sex racket operating in the district. The centre had submitted a memorandum giving details of the girls who committed suicide to the authorities. The victims' parents were keeping quiet to avoid social stigma and because of threats from the `sex mafia', the memorandum said.
Bus owners drop strike plan
Thiruvananthapuram March 1. The proposed indefinite State-wide strike by private bus and lorry owners from March 3 has been withdrawn following an assurance from the Government not to insist on installing speed governors in heavy vehicles. Leaders of the joint action committee of lorry and bus operators said they had dropped the strike move after meeting the Chief Minister, A.K. Antony, this afternoon. The Chief Minister reportedly assured them that the Transport authorities would be directed not to insist on speed governors. The other issues raised by the action committee, including tax revision, were also settled at the meeting, they said.
BJP election committee
The BJP State Election Committee, which met here today, could not complete selection of candidates for all the constituencies which the party proposed to contest in the State. An understanding had been reached in respect of candidates for 15 seats. These would be announced after approval of the Central leadership in a few days.
Railway line electrification
The electrification of the Thiruvananthapuram Ernakulam rail line via Alappuzha is expected to be completed by May. An official press note said today that the work was progressing in five reaches. The Railway started charging the traction lines with the Kuruppanthara Chingavanam section on Sunday. The Chingavam Kollam (via Kayamkulam) and the Ernakulam Junction Alappuzha sections will be charged on March 31 and the Kollam Thiruvananthapuram Central and Alappuzha Kayamkulam Junction sections on May 30. The traction lines which are 4.67 metres high from the road level in level-crossings will be powerfully charged around the clock from these dates.
Welfare funds set up
The Government has set up separate welfare funds for barbers and launderers. The former will also cover beauticians and those working in beauty parlours and the latter ironing workers and those working in dry cleaning agencies. Those between 18 and 30 years can join them. The monthly subscription of the members is Rs. 20 and the Government's contribution Rs. 12. Those who complete 42 years as members will get a retirement benefit of Rs. 62,750. The Government has decided to persist with the Vigilance and Estimate Committee investigations into the controversial rabies vaccine and surgical sutures purchases and float fresh tenders for their purchase.
KOCHI MARCH 1. The Parambikkulam wildlife sanctuary was closed today for two months even as the Eravikulam national park reopened after the annual closure for breeding.The Parambikkulam sanctuary, which falls in Thrissur, Palakkad and Malappuram districts, will reopen on May 1. The annual closure is in view of the possibility of fires in the summer months as well as to facilitate breeding of animals. The nearby Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu too has been closed for summer. The drought conditions in the region have badly affected the sanctuary and the animals will have a tough time finding drinking water. Meanwhile, the Eravikulam national park near Munnar that houses Nilgiri Tahrs reopened today after a 50-day closure. The park, one of the few habitats of the Nilgiri Tahrs (varayaadu), closes annually for facilitating the breeding of the endangered species. According to James Zachariah, wildlife warden of the park, so far 48 young ones had been found in Rajamala section of the park.
The CBI Special Court Judge, P. Q. Burkathali, today framed charges against the nine accused in the Chekannur Moulavi murder case. The chargesheet already filed by the CBI was read out to the accused. According to the CBI, Chekannur Moulavi was murdered by the accused. Chekannur moulavi had been missing since July 1993.The case was adjourned to next month for taking evidence. The CBI was represented by its lawyer, K.N. Raveendran.
Notice to Collector
KOZHIKODE MARCH 1. The division bench of the Lok Ayukta has ordered issue of notice to the District Collector and the police authorities for not implementing the High Court order on authorised drying of fish in Chaliyar. The order was passed on a complaint filed by an action council against illegal fish drying activities in Chaliyam. The complainant said in spite of the High Court order against drying of fish it was continuing without let or hindrance. On the basis of a report submitted after an inquiry conducted by the medical officer of the primary health centre at Chaliyam, drying of fish was banned in Chaliyam. The inquiry was ordered following a mass petition against fish drying submitted by the local people to the panchayat in which it was alleged large quantities of small fish were being destroyed and drying of fish using chemicals was causing pollution of water and the environment.
Kallar protection meet
PATHANAMTHITTA March 1. The Elimullumplackal Vana Samrakshana Samithi, an eco group in Thannithode near Konni, has organised a Kallar protection meet and Nadee Vandanam aimed at protection of river Kallar at Peruvalley on March 8. In a statement issued here today, the Samithi secretary, Anandan Chittar, has said that a Nadee Vandanam (salute to the river) and Kallar protection oath would be held at 10 a.m. on the banks of the Kallar as part of the day-long function. The local MLA, Adoor Prakash, will inaugurate the Nadee Vandanam by lighting a floating lamp in the river and Kadammanitta Vasudevan Pillai will read out the Kallar protection oath on the occasion. The District Panchayat president, Mathew Kulathumkal, will preside over the meeting to be held later.
Posthumous honour for jawan
KANNUR MARCH 1. Havildar N. Krishnakumar of Mayyil near here, who had been killed during an army operation in Jammu and Kashmir in 2002 was bestowed the posthumous honour of Badge of Sacrifice of the Chief of the Army. The Badge of Sacrifice and message from the Army Chief was handed over to the fallen jawan's wife, Saraswathi, by the District Collector, K.S. Srinivas, at a function at the latter's chamber here today. Krishnakumar had been killed in a mortar attack by militants during the Operation Parakram in Jammu and Kashmir on June 27, 2002. The District Sainik Welfare Officer, L.P. Abdul Azeez, and K.K. Bhaskaran, were also present at the function.
Three killed in accidents
KOLLAM MARCH . 1. Three persons were killed in two separate road accidents in the district since late last night.
Two youths were killed when the motorcycle they were riding went out of control and crashed into a road divider and then to a telephone post at Venkekkara in the Anchalummood police station limit late last night. Bhargavi (75) was killed when a private bus knocked her down at Kuruvikkonam near Anchal this morning, the police said. - PTI.
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