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Thankachan hospitalised

Thiruvananthapuram March 8. The acting Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president, P.P. Thankachan, was admitted to the cardiac intensive care unit of the Medical College Hospital here tonight after he complained of chest pain. Hospital authorities said he was admitted at 10-05 p.m. His condition was reported to be stable.

Kerala dominance continues

Kerala continued to keep up its dominance in population control, literacy rate and lower number of persons in each household as per the final figures of Census 2001, an official said here today. The State witnessed the lowest population growth rate of 9.4 per cent during 1991-01 among the States in the country. Average size of household has decreased from 5.3 persons in 1991 to 4.7 persons in 2001, Sheela Thomas, Director of Census Operations, Kerala, told a press meet. Kerala is the only State where women outnumbered men in sex ratio with 1,058 females per 1,000 males, she pointed out. The population of the State stood at 31,841,374 (3.18 crores) with a break up of 15,468,614 males (1.54 crores) and 16,372,760 females (1.64 crores) as on March 2001.-- PTI

Top leaders to join yatra

Top leaders of the BJP will be here tomorrow en route to Kanyakumari to join the Bharat Uday Yatra being launched by the Deputy Prime Minister, L. K. Advani, from there on Wednesday. Mr. Advani and his family, the Law Minister, Arun Jaitley, and the general secretary of the party, Pramod Mahajan, will reach the Thiruvananthapuram airport by 5.45 p.m. tomorrow by special flight. They will leave for Kanyakumari from there by helicopter. The president of the BJP, Venkaiah Naidu, will arrive by another special flight from Chennai at 5-30 p.m. He will participate in a meeting of intellectuals at 6 p.m. The other leaders include the BJP spokesman Prakash Javedekar, Mukthar Abbas Naqvi, the Textiles Minister, Shanawaz Hussein, and Arif Mohammed Khan. The yatra will be accompanied by 25 vehicles, according to the State general secretary of the party, P. K. Krishnadas.

Probe panels set up

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM MARCH 8. The Government has appointed K. Mohandas, Director, Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology as the one man commission to look into the medical treatment provided to the then Governor, Sikander Bakht. The Health Minister, K.Sivadasan, who announced this today said that he would examine whether there was any lapse or carelessness. He has been asked to submit his report within two months.

The Minister also ordered probes into complaints about the amputation of the fingers of an HIV affected patient without administering anaesthesia in the Thrissur Medical College and the denial of treatment for 17 hours to a patient in the Kottayam Medical College. According to the complaint, the former who came to the hospital with a bruised hand was initially denied treatment because he was HIV affected. When the relatives protested, his fingers were amputated without administering anaesthesia. Stitches were also not put on the amputated parts. The complaint is to be probed by the Surgery Professor of the Kozhikode Medical College, P. Rajan. The other complaint will be probed by the Head of the Surgery Department of the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, Serena Mathew. The reports are to be submitted within three days.

Pension payment

Those who had retired from various cultural institutions of the Government will not be getting their pensions on the usual day this month. Usually these pensions are disbursed on the 10th of every month. The Pension Nodal Officer cited `certain technical and administrative reasons' for the difficulty. The date of payment will be announced later, he said in an official press release.

Top leaders to join yatra

Top leaders of the BJP will be here tomorrow en route to Kanyakumari to join the Bharat Uday Yatra being launched by the Deputy Prime Minister, L. K. Advani, from there on Wednesday. Mr. Advani and his family, the Law Minister, Arun Jaitley, and the general secretary of the party, Pramod Mahajan, will reach the Thiruvananthapuram airport by 5.45 p.m. tomorrow by special flight. They will leave for Kanyakumari from there by helicopter. The president of the BJP, Venkaiah Naidu, will arrive by another special flight from Chennai at 5-30 p.m. He will participate in a meeting of intellectuals at 6 p.m. The other leaders include the BJP spokesman Prakash Javedekar, Mukthar Abbas Naqvi, the Textiles Minister, Shanawaz Hussein, and Arif Mohammed Khan. The yatra will be accompanied by 25 vehicles. The vehicles of the local committees will not be there in the motorcade, according to the State general secretary of the party, P. K. Krishnadas.

Income Tax refund

The Income Tax Department will send its refund advices and refund orders directly to the assessees for refunds up to a sum of Rs. 9,999, the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, L. Kuriakose, has said.

Technopark company signs pact

Dimensions Cybertech India Private Limited, a company based in the Technopark here, today said it has signed a tie-up with Bently Nevada, a multi national plant asset management company specialising in products and services for assessing and ensuring mechanical and thermodynamic health of industrial equipment.

Award for Thirumumbu

THRISSUR MARCH 8. The Bhagavatha Ratnam Award, instituted by the Sanatana Dharma Prakasam, has been posthumously conferred on Thazhekkattum Manakkal Subramanian Thirumumbu, who has translated the Devi Bhagavatha into Malayalam. Thirumumbu's son, Venugopal, will receive the award from the veteran poet, Akkitham, at a function to be held at Palakkad on March 12. The award carries a gold medal and a statuette, says a press release. A freedom fighter, Thirumumbu was the editor of the Desabandhu magazine.

Closed factory gutted

PALAKKAD MARCH 8. The Pandiyan Chemicals factory in the New Industrial area of Kanjikode that ceased operations since July last, was completely gutted in a fire on Monday. Four units of Fire Force fought for three hours to douse the fire and prevented it from spreading to the nearby industrial units.

Farmers on hunger strike

The chairman of the Parambikulam and Aliyar Water Protection Committee, Polpully Vasudevan, and two other farmers who were on hunger strike at the Anikkode Junction in Chittur for the last five days were taken in to custody by the police and admitted to the hospital on Monday as their health condition deteriorated. The farmers are on indefinite hunger strike for the last five days demanding the State Government take steps to get water from the inter-State Parambikulam Aliyar Project (PAP) for the Chitturpuzha irrigation scheme.

Marad bail orders

KOZHIKODE MARCH 8. The order on the bail applications of the accused in the Marad violence on May 2, 2003, will be awarded on March 10. Additional memo of evidence was handed to the 139 accused during the proceedings held in the presence of the District and Sessions Judge, Babu P. Joseph, at the Marad Special Court at Eranhipalam here today. Meanwhile, the remand period of the accused has been extended to March 22.

Uttaranchal Chief Secretary

M. Ramachandran a 1972 batch IAS officer hailing from Payyannur has been promoted to the level of Chief Secretary, and appointed Additional Chief Secretary and Infrastructure Commissioner of Uttaranchal.

`Left Front' in fray

KOCHI MARCH 8. A `Left Front' to be formed by the V.B. Cherian-led BTR-EMS-AKG Janakiya Vedi and the CPI(ML) Red Flag will be fielding candidates in a number of Lok Sabha seats during the forthcoming general elections. Addressing a press meet here today, Mr. Cherian and K.N. Ramachandran of the Red Flag, said that the Front will take up globalisation and liberalisation as the main issues. They did not disclose who or the number of seats to be contested by the `Left Front'.All political parties have been following the steps of the earlier Congress Government. Even the CPI(M) and CPI followed the same policies, they said

Surrender alleged A State committee meeting of the Bhrathiya Vichara Kendram here has alleged that the Kerala Sastra Sahithya Parishath was surrendering to Stalinists. In a statement, C. I. Isaac, general secretary pointed out that the 41st annual meet of the KSSP could not resolve the raging controversies and could not even pass a resolution against the ouster of ideologue M. P. Parameswaran from the Marxist party.

Preparations on for exhibition

KOLLAM March 8. The Transport Minister, R. Balakrishna Pillai, today performed the "kaalnattu karmam'' for the All India Exhibition organised by the Rotary Club of Quilon on the Cantonment Maidan here from March 26. The exhibition is being held in connection with the centenary celebrations of the Rotary International. Proceeding from the exhibition will be utilised by the Rotary Club to commission a garbage disposal scheme for the city. Mr. Pillai said Kollam city, which was once renowned for its cleanliness, is today dotted with heaps of garbage all over.

BSNL phone cards

The BSNL's first set of 450 Excel pre-paid SIM cards would be distributed from the Kollam and Punalur Telecom counters from March 9. Those with booking numbers 1 to 450 were entitled for the cards. The coupons issued at the time of submitting the application forms along with the valid identity cards should be produced while collecting the SIM cards. If a consumer failed to collect his card within a week, the priority would be passed on to the next booking number. The cards to be issued through the distributors were: Kollam distributor-175, Kottarakara-111, Karunagapally-200 and Pathanapuram-111. Those purchasing the SIM cards should pay Rs. 200 at the time of purchase, the Telecom General Manager, M. Haridasan, today said.

KGOA conference

The 23rd district conference of the Kerala Gazetted Officers Association (KGOA) would begin here on March 9. A seminar on "Modernising Government Programme and the Education Sector'' would be held on the day. The former State president of the Kerala NGO Union, K. Varadharajan, would deliver the keynote address. The principal of District Institute for Education Training, O.M. Shankaran, would present the subject. The delegates' session will be held on March 10.

`Pongala'

The annual pongala ritual of the Puthiyakavu Sri Bhagawathi Temple here would be held at 10 a.m. on March 12. The temple committee members told reporters here today that the ritual would be held on the road from Chinnakada to the Karbala Junction, the railway station compound, the QAC road, the FCI road, the Armed Reserve Camp road, railway quarters complex and at the Shakthi Vinayakar Temple area.

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