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Briefly

Water level falls

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM FEB. 8. Water level in all the three major reservoirs in the State Idukki, Idamalayar and Kallada declined during the course of last week, according to a press release by the Press Information Bureau. In Idukki reservoir, it fell from 2,352.40 feet to 2,350.05 feet, in Idamalayar reservoir from 490.22 feet to 487.34 feet and in Kallada reservoir from 361.98 feet to 360.07 feet. However, when compared with the position in the corresponding period last year, the levels are higher in all the reservoirs now. The level is higher by 17.63 feet in Idukki reservoir, 10.24 feet in Idamalayar reservoir and 5.15 feet in Kallada reservoir.

Bifurcation move opposed

The Forest Minister, K.P. Viswanathan, who also holds charge of the Railway portfolio, today said the Government would strongly oppose the reported move to bifurcate the Palakkad railway division and form a new division with Salem as its headquarters. Replying to a submission by K.N.A. Khader (IUML) in the Assembly today, Mr. Viswanathan said the Government would take up the matter with the Prime Minister and raise the issue in Parliament.

More MBBS seats likely

The State Government proposes to increase the number of MBBS seats in its medical colleges this year. The proposal is to sanction 50 more seats each in the Government Medical Colleges at Alappuzha, Kottayam and Thrissur, according to K.K. Ramachandran, Minister for Health. In reply to questions raised in the Assembly today by P.T. Thomas, M.K. Paulson Master, Varkala Kahar and T.V. Chandramohan, the Minister said that no enhancement of seats has been planned for the medical colleges in the co-operative self-financing sector.

Mini-screen awards announced

Balachandra Menon has been adjudged the presenter of the best music programme, Doordarshan's `Sallapam', Jassie Gift the best singer and Jagadeesh the best actor for his performance in Asianet's `Life is beautiful', by the city-based cultural society, Souparnika Theeram. The society's seventh annual mini-screen awards were announced at a press conference here today. The following are the some of the other award winners, with the category within brackets: Priya Raman (best actress); `Orma' (megaserial on Asianet); Manju Pillai (best supporting actress); Prakash Paul (most popular actor); K.P.A.C. Lalitha (best telefilm actress); C.V. Premkumar (best director), C.P. Mevada (best telefilm actor), Rajalakshmi (best female singer); K. Mahesan (best male news reader); Aiswarya Nair (best female newsreader); and Neelima (best TV news reporter).

Man hacked to death

KADUTHURUTHY Feb. 8. In what appears to be a case of inter-gang rivalry, a 39-year-old person was hacked to death by rivals here on Monday night. According to the police, Thomas alias Appachan was attacked by a group of six persons while he was on his way to meet a lawyer along with his friend. Though he was admitted to a private nursing home nearby, he succumbed to his injuries.

B.Ed. case on February 14

KOZHIKODE FEB. 8. The Kozhikode Vigilance Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge, M.R. Gopalakrishnan Nair, today posted the B.Ed. bribery demand case to February 14 for issuing orders on whether to frame a charge sheet or not against the three IUML leaders accused in the case. The case against the three IUML leaders of Wayanad was based on a complaint of alleged demand for bribe for sanctioning a B.Ed. College in Wayanad. Jomon Puthenpurakkal, a social activist, had alleged in his complaint that three IUML leaders, the Text Fed chairman, N. Mammotty; the Wayanad IUML secretary, P.C. Ahmed; and the IUML leader, P.P.V. Moosa, had demanded bribe for issuing NOC for a B.Ed. College to the Malabar Diocese of Jacobite Orthodox Church.

Bail plea for Maudany

Senior counsel in High Court of Kerala, K. Ramkumar today said that he would move a bail application before the Madras High Court within a couple of days seeking the release of Abdul Nazer Maudany, who is now lodged in Coimbatore Central jail in connection with the serial bomb blasts case. Talking to reporters here this afternoon after he appeared for his client, Jomon Puthenpurakkal, in connection with a B.Ed. bribe demand case at the Kozhikode Vigilance and Inquiry Commisioner's court, Mr. Ramkumar said that he had met Maudany in Coimbatore jail today and had discussed the issue with him.

CICDS meet in Delhi

KANNUR FEB. 8. The Confederation of Indian Communists and Democratic Socialists (CICDS) will hold a national convention in New Delhi on April 18 and 19 to discuss the current political situation in the country. Announcing this here today, the Communist Marxist Party (CMP) leader and Minister for Co-operation, M.V. Raghavan, said that an AKG centenary seminar would be held on April 19. The CMP was one of the five constituents of the confederation. Mr. Raghavan said the confederation would continue to highlight the importance of the unity of secular forces. The CICDS chairman, Saifuddin Chaudhary, Ajaya Ravuth of the Orissa Communist Party, Sumantha Heera of the Peoples' Revolutionary Party of India and Sameer Puthunda were present.

Endowment presented

Thrissur Feb. 8. The Ninth Ankanam E.P. Sushama Endowment was presented to K. Rekha by writer Sethu at a function here this evening.

Ms. Rekha, a sub-editor with Malayala Manorama, was given the award for her short story Bhoothathante Kunjungal.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Sethu said that about 50 contemporary Malayalam authors were actively writing short-stories. "Never before has the genre been so vibrant," he said.

Among those present were P.V. Krishnan Nair, secretary, Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Kalpetta Balakrishnan, C.V. Sreeraman, E. Santhosh Kumar, Ashokan Cheruvil, R.I. Shamduddin and N. Sreekumar.

Gutted

A garbage dump on the Pattalam Road here caught fire this evening, giving local residents a scare. The fire was put out by two units of the Fire Force.

Concludes

PATHANAMTHITTA FEB. 8. The 10-day annual festival at the Sree Parthasarathy Temple at Aranmula came to a close with the `arat' ceremony today.

The arat procession to the arat `kadavu' on river Pampa near the Moorthitta Ganapathi Temple began from the Parthasarathy temple at 5.30 p.m.

The procession was accompanied by five caparisoned elephants, `panchavadyam', `pandimelam' and `thalappoli', besides the traditional temple orchestra.

The `tantri', assisted by the `melsanthi', performed the arat rituals. The tantri brought down the ceremonial flag, marking the culmination of the annual festival.

A classical music concert by the lyricist Kaithapram Damodaran Namboodiri was also held on the temple premises later.

Thesis-writing competition

PALAKKAD FEB. 8. The Indian Institute of Scientific Heritage (IISH) here is conducting a `Sastra Ratna' thesis writing competition for students at three levels - class 9 and10, class 11 and 12 and degree. The thesis can be written in either Malayalam or English in not less than 50 pages (A4 size) on subjects such as mathematics, astronomy, metallurgy, technology, health science, food science, management and science in customs and rituals. There will be seven awards for each level. The winners will be honoured and presented with awards. The entries should be sent to C.K. Haridas, `Pournami', West Fort Road, Palakkad-678001, on or before May 31. Phone: 250234 / 9447003030.

Annual day

KOLLAM Feb. 8. The annual day celebrations of City Central School here will be held on February 11. The school principal, Deepa Das, said the celebrations would be inaugurated by the president of the SNDP Yogam, C.K. Vidyasagar, at a function to be presided over by the manager of the school, D. Prabha.

Road blockade

ALAPPUZHA FEB. 8. CPI (M) workers blocked the NH-47 and other main roads in the district at 12 centres today to protest against "the failure of the State Government in organising relief works effectively in the tsunami-affected areas in the district". The blockade, which began at 4 p.m., lasted for about two hours.

Competition

PALAKKAD FEB. 8. The Indian Institute of Scientific Heritage (IISH) here is conducting a `Sastra Ratna' thesis writing competition for students. The thesis can be written in either Malayalam or English on subjects such as mathematics, astronomy and metallurgy.. The entries should be sent to C.K. Haridas, `Pournami', West Fort Road, Palakkad-678001.

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