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Agents for speed post collection
KOZHIKODE JAN. 18. The Department of Posts has awarded speed post collection agencies to eight persons in Kozhikode city. They have been authorised to book speed post articles, both domestic and international, and also express parcel post at approved tariff notified by the Government. No additional charges need be paid to these agents for booking of articles. The phone numbers of the agents at the various places are: West Nadakkave - 2360590, Chevayur - 2723722, S.V.Colony Road - 2725654, Civil Station - 2372290, Eranhipalam - 2771914, Bilathikulam - 2701122, Arakinar - 3111642, East Nadakkave - 2760632.
The Chennai-based Children Foundation will distribute scholarships to 30 bright students belonging to the economically weaker sections in the State. Students studying from the V to the XII standard could apply for the scholarships. Preference will be given to handicapped students. Application forms can be had from the Children Foundation, Post Box 5007, Chennai - 500000.
The emblem, logo and tariff of the Kerala State Medical Arts and Sports Festival, "Synapz'04", scheduled to be held at the Medical College campus here from February 19 to 22, was released at a function here on Friday. Caricature artist, Jayaraj released the emblem on the occasion. The principal of the Medical College, Dr. B. Jayalakshmi, presided over the function.
An essay competition will be organised for students on the topics of Importance of flower arrangement, garden, vegetable farming and fruits cultivation as part of the Calicut Flower Show, which is scheduled to begin at February 13. Those students of eight to tenth standards who want to participate in the essay competition at the Gandhi Park on February 1, should contact the flower show office at the Gandhi Park.
Rubber smuggling `flourishing'
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Jan. 18.Large quantities of rubber are being smuggled across the State's border since the sales tax on this commodity in Kerala is much higher than that in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, according to the chairman of the Kerala State Cooperative Marketing Societies' Association, G. Sugunan. In a statement here today, he said while the sales tax on rubber was 12.65 per cent sales tax in Kerala, it was only 4 per cent in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. This made smuggling a highly profitable enterprise here. The State Government was losing crores of rupees worth of revenue because of the smuggling activity. Mr. Sugunan said rubber smuggling could be checked only if the sales tax in Kerala was brought down to the same level as in the neighbouring States. He predicted that the Government's revenue would increase if the tax rate were lowered.
`End harmful labour practices'
The Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) has alleged that the Technopark-based hardware manufacturing company, Torroid, is following `crude' labour practices and targeting the workers to exploitation. In a statement, the SUCI said the company had deviated from civilised labour practices by terminating the services of several employees without any valid reason. In another statement, the Kerala State Small Industries Association alleged that the ongoing agitation by a section of the employees of this Technopark company was illegal and that this model of agitation would send a wrong message to the industrialists wishing to invest in the State. The association said the Government, which had the duty to protect the interests of the workers, also had the responsibility to safeguard the rights of the industrialists. It further alleged that the striking employees of this firm were resorting to unjustifiable tactics like visiting the houses of the other employees to threaten them with dire consequences if they did not join the strike. Also, the agitators were obstructing vehicles transporting employees to the company on the road, the association alleged.
Indian pavilion at Dubai fete
Kerala is the `theme State' of the India pavilion opened at the shopping festival in Dubai, according to a statement issued by the director of Tourism, Alkesh Kumar Sharma, here today. He said the Tourism Minister, K.V. Thomas, formally inaugurated the India pavilion at the festival. Kerala's traditional architecture, various dance forms, house boats, the Malabar cuisine and the healing remedies of Ayurveda "recreates the magic of the God's Own Country" at the festival, Mr. Sharma said. The statement quoted Mr. Thomas as saying that Kerala perceived its people working abroad as its ambassadors building enormous goodwill for the State all over the world.
PSC rank holders threaten stir
Candidates having their names in the State Public Service Commission's rank list for appointment as junior assistants in the Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE) have alleged that many `backdoor appointments' were being made in the institution even as they were waiting for their appointment orders. In a statement issued here today, their association said nearly 1,000 persons were now working in the institution on contract basis. The argument of the KSFE management was that many posts would become excess when it computerised its operations. This was, however, not true, since the KSFE would be opening new braches, the association said. "If the contract appointments are not terminated and the candidates in the PSC rank list are not given postings, we would be forced to launch an agitation," the association warned.
SNDP samithy plans dharna
KOLLAM Jan. 18. Protesting against the cold-shouldering of the recommendations of the Justice Narendran Commission report by the State Government, the SNDP Ekopana Samithy plans a dharna in from of the Secretariat during the second week of February. In a statement here today, the general convener of the samithy, D. Prabha, said the dharna would demand inquiry into the unnatural death of Swamy Saswatheekananda and other allegations against the SNDP Yogam general secretary, Vellapally Natesan. The statement expressed concern over the puzzling silence maintained by Mr. Natesan when it comes to making the Government act on the Justice Narendran Commission recommendations. Mr. Prabha alleged that the Yogam leadership was even engaged in creating hurdles to the unity of the backward communities.
Chamber plea to Antony
KOCHI JAN. 18. The Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the Chief Minister to set up an autonomous body to execute the Vallarpadam container terminal project. A delegation of the chamber that met the Chief Minister recently told him that the Vallarpadam project would help the comprehensive development of the State and that the State Government should take extra interest in it. The Chief Minister had reportedly assured the team that the project was now the top priority of the Government, the Chamber functionaries said.
Doctors' pay to be revised
KOZHIKODE JAN. 18. The Health Minister, P. Sankaran today said that increasing the pay package of doctors was under the consideration of Government. Laying the foundation stone for the new-born nursery building on the Beach Hospital premises, Mr. Sankaran said that 30 per cent of the vacancies of doctors would be filled through PSC recruitment. He said that specialised doctors would be appointed from Primary Health Centres (PHCs) to Taluk hospitals in the State. The Minister said that more nursing education institutions would be sanctioned in the State. A nursing college would be sanctioned to 300-bed hospital and a nursing school to a 150-bed hospital. Referring to the ban on allowing long leave to nurses appointed through PSC in Government hospitals with less than three years of service, he said that the Government would consider a review of the ban. The Minister said that medicines costing Rs. 30 crores was bought by the Government and supplied in Government hospitals this year.
The Kerala Sastra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP) has sought to dispel the allegation that it had withdrawn the book `Origin of AIDS' owing to pressure from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the American Consulate.
In a statement on behalf of the Parishad, K.P. Aravindan, who is reportedly one of the persons who recommended the withdrawal of the book, averred that it was withdrawn following suggestions from ``reliable persons''.
The KSSP clarification goes like this: The KSSP published `Origin of AIDS' in 1989. The authors were scientists from East Germany, Jacob Sigal and Lily Sigal. In fact, it was Kunhanandan Nair who forwarded the manuscript recommending its publication. And M.P. Parameswaran and B. Ekbal went ahead with the publication on the basis of the faith they had in Kunhanandan Nair.
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