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Bypolls in 23 panchayat wards

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM JAN.7. Twenty grama panchayat wards and three block panchayat wards are going for byelections on February 15, the State Election Commissioner, N. Mohandas, has said. The block panchayats where ward byelections are being held are Iritty in Kannur district, Koduvally in Kozhikode district and Koovappady in Ernakulam district. The grama panchayats in the list are: Vizhinjam, Pulimathu, Pazhayakunnummel and Azhoor in Thiruvananthapuram district; Ezhukone and Chavara in Kollam district; Uzhavoor in Kottayam district; Karunapuram, Karinkunnu and Kumily in Idukki district; Ezhikkara in Ernakulam district; Vallachira in Thrissur district; Thrikkadeery and Vandazhi in Palakkad district; Thuvvoor, Vettathur and Mankada in Malappuram district and Kizhakkothu, Karasserry and Perumanna in Kozhikode district. The election notification will be issued on January 15. The last date for submitting nomination papers is January 22 and the scrutiny of the papers is slated for January 24. There will be time to withdraw nomination papers till January 27. The votes will be counted on February 16. All candidates should submit their statements showing election expenses before March 16.

187 tsunami-affected villages

The Government has declared 187 villages in eight districts as tsunami affected. The districts are Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kannur.

Entry to temple restricted

Children below five years will not be allowed into the Nalambalam of the Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple from February 13 to March 2. A pressnote issued by the temple today said that it was to ensure the sanctity of all tantric rites and poojas being conducted in connection with the festival of the temple. The note made it clear that offerings like child feeding and thulabharam would be allowed as usual.

ABVP to organise march

The ABVP is to organise a march and dharna against the commercialisation of education coinciding with the Education Ministers conference at Bangalore on January 10. V. A. Sooraj, State secretary of the organisation said today that volunteers from Kerala would also participate in the action demanding the protection of the interests of eligible students, retention of education in the service sector and ensuring of social justice.

KDDFPA's plea

The Kerala Diary Development Fodder Promoters Association (KDDFPA) has sought the appointment of fodder promoters as part-time employees and hike in their allowance. The State-level meeting of the promoters held at Alappuzha in connection with the formation of their organisation also elected S. Shine as president, C. K. Gayathri and P. S. Rajesh as vice-presidents, K. M. Suresh Babu as secretary and S. Suresh as joint secretary.

Office-bearers

K. Muthukrishnan Nair has been elected as the president and S. Jitrus as the general secretary of the Secretariat Pensioners Welfare Association. The other office-bearers are B. Leelakumari, vice-president, M. Ramankutty Menon, secretary and C. S. Gopalakrishna Menon, treasurer.

Bonds to raise Rs. 189 crores

The State Government has notified fresh public bonds to raise Rs. 189.13 crores for its development activities. The investments in this issue, returnable after 10 years, will carry an interest of 7.02 per cent. The bonds will be issued on January 11 from the Thiruvananthapuram and Mumbai offices of the Reserve Bank of India.

Association protest

The Kerala Secretariat Employees Association has questioned the Finance Minister, Vakkom Purushothaman's reported statement that 92 per cent of the State's revenue is being used for paying salary and pension. The general secretary of the Association, S. U. Rajiv, in a rejoinder today criticised the Minister for entering the interest which it had to pay on loans taken by it indiscriminately in the employees' account.

Plea to Government

The Kerala Civil Supplies Officers Association has demanded the immediate intervention of the Central and State Governments to bring the price of sugar under control. The general secretary of the Association, M. Sasidharan Nair, said in a statement today that the common man had to depend solely on the open market, as the distribution of sugar through the ration shops was confined to BPL cardholders even which was not being distributed regularly. He called for distributing ration sugar to all card-holders.

Interest rate concession

KANNUR JAN. 7. The Syndicate Bank has announced interest concession on loans availed by people affected by tsunami. A press release by the bank's regional office here said that the bank reduced the interest rates on all loans availed by victims of tsunami.

Call to Latin Catholics

KOZHIKODE JAN. 7. A call to Latin Catholics to stand united to overcome hurdles that block their development was made by Archbishop Daniel Acharuparambil, president of the Kerala Region Latin Catholic Council at the half- yearly meeting of the Council here today. The Kerala Region Latin Council is the apex policy - making body of the entire Latin Catholics in the State. Inaugurating the convention Arch Bishop Daniel Acharuparambil also urged the participants to ensure that the Latin Catholic community did not get politically sidelined.

Stephen Athipuzha, Bishop of Alappuzha diocese, performed Bible enthronement signalling the commencement of the meeting which is being attended by Bishops, priests, nuns and lay representatives from all over the State. Kozhikode Bishop Joseph Kalathipparambil welcomed the gathering.

Award presented

Thrissur Jan. 7. The Excellence in Social Service Award for 2004, instituted by the Thrissur Chamber of Commerce, was presented to the president of the Aluva Jana Seva Sisu Bhavan, Jose Maveli, at a function here. The Mayor, K. Radhakrishnan, the cine actress Niveditha, the chamber president, N.F. Eenasu, and the secretary, T. S. Anantharaman, were present on the occasion.

Irrigation scheme

PATHANAMTHITTA JAN. 7. The Water Resources Minister, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, today inaugurated the Edathitta Irrigation Scheme at Kodumon. The Minister said that the project involving renovation of the Kodumon Valiyathodu at a total cost of Rs. 23 crores, with financial assistance from the NABARD, would irrigate 140 hectares of paddy fields in the locality. The Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Adoor Prakash, presided over the function.

BSNL's CD directory

KOTTAYAM Jan. 7. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL), Kerala telephone CD directory, has been made available at all Customer Care Centres and Telecom Centres, the authorities said. The CDs are priced at Rs. 30. The BSNL has also made arrangement with Punjab National Bank (PNB) branches in the district to accept telephone bills from the district till pay-by-date from January 1, a pressnote said.

Child found abandoned

A boy child, nearly two months old, was found abandoned in the compartment of the Kottayam-Kollam passenger train, the police said. The child has been handed over to the District Hospital authorities. A case has been registered, the police said.

Guest lecturers

Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology (RIT) has called for guest lecturers in mechanical engineering. Candidates with a minimum qualification of 60 per cent marks in the subject may appear for a walk-in-interview before the Head of Department of Mechanical Engineering by 10 a.m. on January 10.

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