Alappuzha Read latest news updates from Alappuzha District Kerala in English. Watch Videos and Photos of Exclusive Breaking News. Onmanorama en Tue, 25 Jun 2019 05:56:37 GMT Autokast hopes to turn around with a railway order Cherthala: The order won by Autokast Limited for constructing wagon structures for the North Western Railway is expected to breathe new life into the Cherthala-based ferrous foundry manufacturing unit, while also acting as a catalyst for the industrial development of Kerala. Autokast, an undertaking of the Kerala government, won the tender to manufacture 5 per cent of the total number of casnub bogies (used in freight stock) required for the Punjab Zone of North Western Railway. If the products match the required quality, the public sector unit is likely to have the tender extended to make 20 per cent of the bogies required. “The manufacturing of railway bogies will begin at Autokast this year. The bogies for Punjab zone of Northern Railway will be manufactured at the first stage," said Dr Thomas Isaac, Kerala Finance Minister. Upgradation in the offing Autokast will upgrade its unit with a new hydraulic press and install a new electric arc furnace and a heat treatment plant to prepare itself for the new work. According to its officials, the work will begin as soon as the Railways share with them the details of the bogies. As per the preliminary information, around 15 bogies will need to be manufactured. The crisis-ridden unit acquired the Class 'A' certificate from the Lucknow-based Research Design and Standards Organisation (RSDO) after it undertook several measures to modernise with the help of the state government. The Class 'A' Foundry certificate labels Autokast as one with the capacity for an annual production of 4800 metric tonnes of steel casting. This also qualified the unit to take part in the open tender of the Railways. Despite the stiff competition, Autokast bagged the tender, becoming the first public sector unit to do so. “The management is striving to make Autokast profitable. Completing the Railway’s orders on time will help to bring in more orders. We will also raise the existing metric tonne parameters for making the unit profitable, said K.S. Pradeep Kumar, Chairman, Autokast. The unit currently has 380 permanent employees and 170 daily wage workers including technical experts. Losses all the way Autokast Limited had been in the red lately. The company was, until now, only taking small orders from state government institutions and some private companies. There were also a few international orders, but not enough to raise the monthly production. The production remained still at 300 metric tonnes. The biggest liability for Autokast was in the purchase of raw materials, incurred to various companies. The usual practice was to purchase raw material, carry out manufacture as per the orders taken, and utilise the revenues for meeting the company's expenses. However, the company could not pay for the purchase of raw materials and liabilities piled up. The liability incurred to the KSEB alone amount to around Rs 129 crores, from 1983 onwards. There are also other dues, like the instalments of the employees' pensions, PF, ESI as well as other tax payments. At present, the company gets only the financial support of the Kerala government. Thu, 11 Jul 2019 00:46:27 GMT Regular passenger of KSRTC bus gets a ‘smart’ gift from fellow travellers Alappuzha: Curious scenes unfolded when the KSRTC bus number RPM 701 heading to Kayamkulam from Kumali reached the NSS College in Changanassery. When the bus stopped there, several passengers got down and handed over a gift to another traveller. Many people inside the bus were surprised and asked whether it was the man’s birthday. Those outside replied that it was a bigger day than a birthday. The person who received the gift opened it and found a brand new smartphone inside. Tears of joy welled up in his eyes. The incident took place on Wednesday morning and the person who received the gift was Sivan ‘chettan’. He is a member of the WhatsApp group of the regular passengers in RMP 701 bus. The group has over 60 members. Sivan works as an accountant at a provision store at Mannar. He had purchased a smartphone two months ago on credit. However, it was stolen a few days ago at Changanassery. Sivan chettan used to regularly update the timings of Kayamkulam and Mavelikkara buses in the morning and evening. When he lost the phone, many other members of the WhatsApp group felt as if they had lost their own phone. Soon hectic discussions took place between group admin Asha teacher; Shameer, who lost his job while working as an empanelled conductor of the bus; driver Shibi and some others. They decided to give a surprise gift to Sivan. The discussion took place privately and not in the group. The surprise was to be a new phone. The same model that Sivan lost could not be found. So a costlier model of the same company was bought from a shop at Kanjirappally. The phone was gift-wrapped at the admin’s house. The remaining part of the plan worked perfectly. After handing over the gift, all passengers continued their journey with a smile on their face. KSRTC bus number RPM 701 resumed its trip to Kayamkulam. Thu, 04 Jul 2019 00:49:52 GMT Drug gang hacks teen to settle a score with brother Kayamkulam: A drug gang allegedly hacked a 17-year-old boy in front of his mother at their house in Kayamkulam in Kerala's Alappuzha district. The boy, who suffered injuries to his hands, legs and the back, has been admitted to the Alappuzha Medical College Hospital. He is a native of Njakkanal at Krishnapuram, Kayamkulam. The assailants reached the house in the wee hours of Tuesday in search of the boy's brother. Though they left when informed that he was not at home, they returned after some time and unleashed the attack on his brother, the police said. The gang broke down the door and barged into the house. They attacked the boy despite his mother's desperate pleas. The police had recently nabbed three people, who were travelling from Krishnapuram to Kayamkulam, with drugs. The assailants suspected that the police caught them based on a tip-off given by the boy's brother. The police also said that the victim's brother was an accused in certain cases at the Kayamkulam police station. A police team led by Kayamkulam CI Vinod has launched a manhunt to nab the culprits. Wed, 03 Jul 2019 06:22:45 GMT Sister, hubby kill Kerala ragpicker, take body on scooter for 33km Chengannur: Two days after a 21-year-old ragpicker from Tamil Nadu was found dead under mysterious circumstances near Oachira in Kerala's Kollam district, the Chengannur police have altered the case of suspicious death into murder and arrested his sister. According to the police, Michael Raj, a native of Vithur Nagar in Sivakasi, who worked as a ragpicker, was murdered while he was sleeping on the veranda of a shop at Clappana near Oachira on Monday. Police said Michael Raj was a differently-abled youth. His sister Kasthoori alias Murukammal, 38, is the second accused in the case. The police are on the lookout for her husband and the prime accused Velladurai alias Masanan, 51. After murdering the differently-abled youth, the duo took the body to a hospital in Chengannur, located around 33 km away from Clappana, on a scooter. Their daughter had also accompanied them. They told the doctor that he had woken up in the middle of the night complaining of breathing difficulties. According to police, the duo decided to kill the youth as they feared he would become a liability for them. However, Kasthoori told her interrogators that Michael Raj was mentally challenged. The couple got into a heated argument with him after he tried to molest her and the brawl ended up in his murder, she told the police. When Michael’s body reached the hospital the doctors noticed that his toe was broken and severely bruised, presumably after getting scraped against the road while being taken on the scooter. Suspecting a foul play, the hospital authorities immediately alerted the police and they arrested Kasthoori. Her husband is still on the run. Thu, 27 Jun 2019 05:54:18 GMT Probe on as TV anchor Marin Babu's parents' allege foul play in her death Alappuzha: The police have begun a probe in the death of TV anchor and former Miss Kerala contestant Marin Babu. Her parents had filed a complaint with the Kochi city police commissioner and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, alleging foul play. However, the case has been transferred to Alappuzha as Marin was found dead there. Marin Babu of Varappuzha in Ernakulam was found hanging in her flat in Alappuzha on November 9, 2018. Marin had married Tirur naive Abhilash, a bank officer, in 2014. On the day Marin died, Abhilash's friends had called up her parents and told them that their daughter had met with an accident and asked them to come urgently. It was only after they reached Alappuzha, that they came to know that Marin had died. The parents have alleged that they had seen injury marks on Marin's hands. They told the police commissioner that there was no circumstance for Marin to commit suicide and that she had spoken to them the day before and sounded happy. The police informed the parents that the post-mortem report hinted at death by hanging. Her parents pointed out it was suspicious that after Marin's death, her husband and relatives had stopped interacting with them. The Alappuzha district police chief had taken the statements of Marin's parents. Alappuzha district police chief K M Tomy said that the allegations made by the parents would be probed. Mon, 24 Jun 2019 11:01:58 GMT 12 flyovers to come up at Alappuzha-Changanassery road Thiruvananthapuram/Kottayam: The Pinarayi cabinet has approved the rebuilding of the Alappuzha-Changanassery road along with eight to 12 eco-friendly flyovers that can withstand flooding. The work is expected to cost Rs 350 crore. The amount will be allotted from the chief minister's relief fund. However, a clear plan for the work is yet to be ready. According to a public works department report, around 12 areas are flood-prone on the 22-km stretch. It is easy for water to enter the road that has small culverts along its way. Besides, the road being built in place of the Wayanad ghat will get funds from the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). Road renovation plan getting ready: Sudhakaran A renovation plan is being readied to make the Alappuzha-Changanassery road flood-proof, said PWD minister G Sudhakaran on Wednesday. The tenders for the work will be issued only after the project report is ready, he said. The project will be part of the Rebuild Kerala initiative. The Rs 350 crore approved by the public works department for the project should be enough for the works. In low-lying areas, flyovers will be built to ensure that roads are not flooded, he added. The entire stretch need not be a flyover; the bridges at Nedumudy, Pallathuruthy and other areas are high enough to avoid flooding. Only low-lying roads passing through areas like paddy fields need to be raised. Besides, some bridges will have to be widened in proportion with the road and culverts need to be rebuilt. According to the estimates of PWD officials, flyovers will be required at 15 places. However, there could be changes in the figure when the final project report arrives, he said. The works will be carried out by the public works department itself. The World Bank-funded Kerala State Transport Project used to carry out roads works; however, its term is over. The funds for the renovation works were approved by the public works department, the minister said. Thu, 20 Jun 2019 11:18:39 GMT Fish prices soar beyond reach of many Alappuzha: Sardine is the star on many trolls on social media in the backdrop of the 52-day trawling ban that came into effect on June 9. As fish prices skyrocket with each passing day, sardine has shed its tag of being affordable priced in markets in Kerala. These days you have to shell out Rs 250 for a kilo of sardine more than double the price of chicken!!! Trawling ban and short supply of fish triggered the fish prices to soar alarmingly. The common man’s favourite fish, the sardine (mathi), was sold at Rs 160 to Rs 180 per kg last week compared to the present rate of Rs 250 per kg. The average price of mackerel (ayala) is Rs 280 to Rs 300, tuna (kera) Rs 360 to Rs 400, sailfish (olakudi) Rs 370 to Rs 420, cobia (modha) Rs 700 and trevally (vatta) Rs 480. The fish prices are not uniform and can differ from shop to shop. Many traders said that fishes such as pink perch (kilimeen), anchovy (kozhuva), red snapper (chemballi) and tuna (choora) are not available in the market. A marked dip in fish supply and rising prices have adversely affected the fish merchants and customers alike, and many fish outlets have shut shop for a while. The short supply of fish is due to fishers not venturing into sea on conventional boats because of unfavourable weather conditions and the 52-day trawling ban. The traders are expecting more fish from Tamil Nadu as trawling ban had been lifted in the neighbouring state the other day. No sign of ‘chakara’ The fishermen are despondent as ‘chakara’ (mudbank), a phenomenon whereby shoals of fish could be found along the coast, is still elusive though the trawling ban is in place and the skies have cleared. It has been more than two weeks since fishers from Thottapally fishing harbour, Punnapra fish landing centre and Paravur Galilea coast had ventured into the sea. Rampant coastal erosion has taken place till the fish landing centre at Punnapra, and the turbulent sea has forced the fishers to keep their boats in auction halls. The government’s directive to the fishermen not to go for fishing has also put them in a quandary. The fishermen of the Thottapally fishing harbour are in a spot of bother as their boats are getting damaged during low tide. The mudbank usually appears between Thottapally and Paravur during the monsoon season. With dwindling catch along the Kerala coast, the fish prices have trebled and fish mainly from Tamil Nadu, Goa and Mangaluru in Karnataka are being sold in the market. Meanwhile, stale fish are also being sold as frozen fish to the customers. The fishermen who venture into the sea on small non-mechanized gillnetters (ponthu vallam) usually get a catch of small fish, shrimps and mullet (kanambu). These fishers sell their catch by spreading the nets near to the national highway and many motorists could be seen buying such fresh fish. If ‘chakara’ becomes elusive, the coastal population would face financial problems as most of them had taken loans from banks and other financial institutions to buy boats and other fishing equipment. Thu, 20 Jun 2019 00:46:12 GMT 5 BJP activists held for murder attempt on DYFI worker Alappuzha: Five BJP workers have been arrested for attempting to kill a DYFI activist. South police have arrested Thirumala ward Panapparambu Veettil U Ashwin Dev (26), Prakash Bhavanil Sanju Prakash (26), Matathil Veettil Akhil Ajith (28), Koottummel Veettil Ranjith Kunjumon (24), and Aressery Veettil Sandeep Sudhappan (21) for waylaying and stabbing Pallathuruthy Palliveedu Veettil Suneer (26). They five-member gang had beaten up Pallathuruthy Kalathiparambil Shemeer Khan (20) and his brother Shihab (19) mistaking them for Suneer. Soon, Suneer came on a bike, and was stopped, and stabbed in his stomach, said the police. The incident took place at Pallathuruthy Udayapuram junction. A critically injured Suneer is currently under treatment in the intensive care unit of the medical college hospital. Soon after the stabbing, district police chief K M Tomy reached the spot and led a team of cops to search for the culprits. With the help of the cyber cell, they carried out searches in the lake using speed boat. Cornered, the accused could not flee and were hiding near the boat jetty from where they were caught. About 200 armed policemen under the leadership of Cherthala ASP R Vishwanath, additional ASP B Krishna Kumar and four CIs are currently camping in the area. Thu, 13 Jun 2019 10:31:32 GMT Fire guts century-old house, short circuit likely Alappuzha: An ancient house got completely gutted in a fire that broke out on Tuesday afternoon at Veliyanad in Kerala's Alappuzha district. The fire must have been caused by an electrical short circuit, the Fire Force said. The house, belonging to V Rajeevan, of Chennakkad family, in Ward No. 1 of Veliyanad in Alappuzha district, got burned down around 3.45 on Tuesday afternoon when the inhabitants had gone out to visit relatives at Chambakulam, a nearby village. The century-old wooden house, which had extensive timber architecture, burned down completely. All the possessions of the family including wooden furniture, electrical appliances and dress got gutted along with the currency kept at the house and the paddy stored inside the storeroom (ara). The local people, seeing clouds of smoke billowing from the spot, had informed the Fire & Rescue Services. The Fire Force from Changanssery town battled with the fire for around 1 ½ hours to bring it under control. Before leaving for Chambakulam, the family had been ironing clothes with an electric iron box. It is believed the iron box was not switched off as the power supply went off abruptly while ironing. When the supply came back, a short circuit would have been caused as the iron box kept on drawing power. Rajeev, his wife and daughter were living in the house, while his son is working in the Navy. Sat, 08 Jun 2019 19:27:12 GMT Elephant sits atop car that rammed into it Chengannur: An elephant and its mahout were injured after a speeding car hit the animal. The car was completely destroyed when the elephant, due to the force of the collision, sat on top of the vehicle. The elephant Peringilipuram Appu owned by Peringilipuram Bhuvaneswari trust was injured in the accident. Meanwhile, the first mahout Ilanjimel Mangalathu Gopinatha Pillai (50) fell off the elephant and was rushed to a private hospital in Thattarambalam. The accident took place near the Puliyoor village office at the Mavelikkara – Kozhencherry road. Pillai and his assistant Gokul were walking the elephant back to Peringilipuram after attending the Thiruvanvandoor elephant festival. The police said that the car which came from the Chengannur direction had lost control before hitting the elephant from behind. The elephant has injuries on its tail and right hind leg. Kollakadavu native Kiran and his two children, who were in the car escaped unhurt. It was Kiran who drove the car. Following the accident, the elephant was tethered at the nearby Puliyoor temple grounds. Dr K Unnikrishnan, chief veterinary officer at the district veterinary center examined the elephant here. It was transferred to Peringilipuram later. Mon, 27 May 2019 08:44:10 GMT Shortage of fish in coastal waters hits traditional fishworkers Alappuzha: The coastal areas of Alappuzha district that have been hit by the Tsunami of 2004 and later by the Cyclone Ockhi are facing a severe shortage of fish in this season. Sardine, which was one of the most available species, has almost disappeared now. Other varieties of common fish found in the coastal areas like Karikkadi shrimp, chooda (anchovy), nandan (false white sardines), nangu (sole fish) and kuruchi (pony fish) have also become rare. This shortage of coastal fishes has affected the traditional fishworkers more, as they mostly depend upon the fish found nearer to the coast. As the availability of the fish in the coastal areas has come down drastically, the vessels used by local fishworkers like Ponthu vallams (thermocol canoes), the dinghies and the mini boats are all sitting ashore. Sometimes, they get a haul of mackerel from the coastal seas. The mackerel boats that can carry up to seven workers or the Disco boats that can carry up to 17–25 workers that go to the sea expecting catches of mackerels or other deep sea fishes are costly. Even if they get a marginal catch of fish, the high expense of fuel costs makes it unviable. The fishworkers along the coastal areas from Punnapra till Chellanam in Ernakulam district depend heavily upon the disco vallams, or chooda vallams, which are medium sized canoes using ring seine nets. There are many inboard fishing boats (which have engines inboard) that can carry up to 45 workers from Thrikkunnappuzha to Punnapra in Alappuzha district as harbour facility is available. Even these boats are not getting better catches these days. Following the shortage, the fish workers have implemented a system of taking turns locally. But, even this step has not helped to improve the situation. The fishworkers point out that there is a considerable shortage of fish in the sea. Going to the deep sea is also not possible as the Meteorological Department has been issuing warnings not to venture into the sea. The fishworkers say that these warnings have been started coming during the past four or five years. Fri, 24 May 2019 04:44:37 GMT SFI comes forward to save the life of an ailing KSU activist! Alappuzha: Student politics is often berated for campus violence it may engender at times. In Kerala political activity in educational institutions is at a high pitch and regularly violence is reported. Rival students unions take on each other with such vehemence that even lives are lost. Refreshingly, they have now united for a noble cause -- saving the life of a student leader. A KSU activist suffering from renal failure is receiving help from none other than SFI activists. A former SFI leader is one among several people across the political spectrum to offer a kidney to the ailing student leader Muhammed Rafi (22) who is a member of the Kayamkulam block committee of the KSU. SFI Idukki district committee and its Kollam Karunagappally constituency committee have sought help for Rafi. On social media, they have shared a picture of Rafi wearing a KSU headband while seeking aid. Former chairman of Kayamkulam MSM College and SFI activist E Shanavas Khan offered to donate a kidney for Rafi. Renjith, a Congress activist from Kannur, and Aju, a Youth Congress activist, too came forward. The SFI has also started collecting donations for medical expenses, said SFI Karunagappally area secretary S Sandeeplal. Rafi’s family lives in a rented house, where mother Reyhanath is the only breadwinner. KSU or the Kerala Students Union is the students' wing of the Indian National Congress, whereas SFI or the Students' Federation of India is the similar outfit of the Communist Party of India or CPM. Wed, 22 May 2019 04:19:49 GMT 247 students take admission at this govt school in just 1 hour! Cherthala: Ahead of the next academic year, school authorities across Kerala are busy admitting new students. History was likely scripted at the Government Town Lower Primary School here in Kerala's Alappuzha district, as 247 students took admission in just one hour. About 15 counters manned by teachers were set up for the special admission drive held between 11 and 12 noon on May 3. Around 120 students joined in class one, six students joined class 2, while five in class 3, and four in class 1. The rest of the students joined in the LKG and UKG divisions. As many as 233 students joined the school in 2.5 hours last year – a feat that brought recognition even from the agency named Best of India Records. The feat is stupendous though no comparable records of this category are kept or claimed about anywhere. Headmistress R Pushpalatha said that admission process will continue. Municipality chairman P Unnikrishnan inaugurated the special admission drive. The excellence in academic and extra-curricular activities attracted children to the student-friendly school, authorities said. There are 650 students in the school which also has a website and YouTube channel. Tue, 07 May 2019 06:35:50 GMT Scamsters who recruited for SI, ASI posts now in police net Kayamkulam: Five people, including a woman, who were running a fake recruitment centre by promising jobs in the police, have been nabbed from Cheravally near Kayamkulam in Alappuzha district. The accused were dressed up as police personnel and holding interviews of candidates when they were taken into custody. The arrested were Shymon P Paul (40) of Kollad in Kottayam, Bijoy Mathew (35) of Olassa in Kottayam, Manu (25) of Kalavoor in Alappuzha, Manu Francis (27) of Ponnarimangalam in Ernakulam, and Sony Thomas (24) of Pathanamthitta. The gang was collecting Rs 4,500 for registration and Rs 30,000 to 50,000 for the posts of SI and ASI. Upon information that they were running the recruitment centre from a building at Aroodath Junction at Cheravally, Kayamkulam, a police team led by CI P K Sabu and SI Sharon arrested the culprits. Items seized from the gang, include fake police badges, uniforms, letter pads, seals, and police clearance certificates. According to the police, the culprits had earlier been apprehended from Kaduvakulam, near Kottayam town, for running a similar scam before being released on bail. It was Thamarakulam native Sanju who first complained to the police about the racket. With the gang now in custody, several people have come forward with complaints. According to CI P K Sabu, the police will seek the custody of the accused who have been remanded by the court. Fake cops unperturbed The gang members in DySP and constable uniforms confronted the police team unperturbed, and even started arguing with the cops. The police had to use force to arrest the gang, even as candidates waited outside for interview. A board that read 'Office of the traffic-trained police force' was put up by the accused. It was written that the head office was in Thiruvananthapuram and the division office at Cheravally in Kayamkulam. Even highly-qualified people had turned up at the centre that functioned on the lines of a police station. Kottayam scam The modus operandi of the gang during the earlier scam in Kottayam was to spread fake news of recruitment of home guards to traffic police via WhatsApp. They had conducted fake training and examinations at Kaduvakulam. A youth named Sanju had been duped of Rs 30,000 by the gang after promising a job as the in-charge of Kayamkulam traffic station. Sun, 05 May 2019 01:02:04 GMT Cloth bags to beat plastic blues in Haripad Haripad: Sending out a strong green message, the local corporation here is starting a unit to manufacture cloth bags in a bid to root out the menace of plastic bags. The manufacturing unit with an outlay of Rs 7 lakh would come up at the Dhanapadi market here in Alappuzha district. An old building, which would house the unit, has been spruced up and machinery, including 18 state-of-the-art sewing and cloth cutting machines, worth Rs 5 lakh has been installed. Sewing training has been imparted to 20 women, and Rs 2 lakh would be earmarked to buy cloths and threads for the unit. The cloth bags manufactured at the unit would be supplied to local merchants, and the authorities concerned are planning to open more such units if the demand for cloth bags is encouraging. The cloth bags are supplied at a fixed rate and excess money after meeting the production cost would be given to the unit members. The aim of the project is to say no to plastic bags and provide employment opportunities to women. Plans are anvil to manufacture paper bags too. A plastic waste management plant was also getting ready to be inaugurated, said the corporation officials. Tue, 30 Apr 2019 00:53:54 GMT Bounty for Venmani farmers, all thanks to floods Chengannur: Last year's floods had wreaked havoc across vast swathes of land in Kerala. Residences, businesses and farm lands were damaged during floods and even landslides last monsoon. However, farmers at Venmani here in Kerala's Alappuzha district today find the natural calamity had an unforeseen positive effect. High yields have been obtained from the paddy fields during the recent harvest. Paddy fields in Idaneer, Menilam, Pallippuram saw 100% output, though harvests are due from the Changappadam and Vettuveli lands. It is said there has been a manifold increase in organic carbon in soil after the floods, thus increasing the yield significantly. Total organic carbon level has risen from 1.5% to 3.5%, said agricultural officer V Anilkumar. Normally organic carbon levels increase gradually. Organic farming over the years too helps. But neither of these happened here. Large areas of agricultural lands on the banks of Achankovil river became unfit for cultivation as floods deposited sediments scooped out from its bed. However, this made paddy fields richer in organic content beneficial for better output. Farmers said now they could reduce use of dolomite, lime and fertilisers on their fields. There were lesser crop infections too, they added. Clear weather also helped them gain good returns this harvest season. The government had earlier provided Rs 12,200 per hectare to remove dirt accumulated after floods. Free seeds were given too. Read more District News Thu, 25 Apr 2019 00:55:03 GMT 61-year-old actress files rape complaint against youth Kayamkulam: A 61-year-old serial actress has lodged a complaint with the police here in Alappuzha district alleging that a man sexually harassed her on several occasions and uploaded video clips relating to the incidents on social media. She stated in the complaint that Ernakulam-native Siya (37) got acquainted with her over phone and later gifted her a high-end phone. They got closer over phone and she was sexually assaulted following threats from Siya. As per the complaint, Siya raped the actress multiple times in a hotel at Thottapilly near here, and had also barged into her home here and indulged in sexual violence. He also recorded the visuals without her consent. Later, Siya had sent the clippings to her husband and neighbours, the complaint added. Investigation is on and the police said that presently Siya was abroad. Sun, 14 Apr 2019 01:14:44 GMT Water scarcity in coastal area hampers funeral rituals Thrikunnapuzha: Acute shortage of water has been reported from localities in and near Mithilapuri here in Kerala's coastal Alappuzha district. Recent incidents reveal residents find it difficult to bath the dead. Frustrated, locals including a 96-year-old man who lost his wife hours before staged a protest here the other day. The panchayat secretary of Thrikunnapuzha was gheraoed for around 3 hours over this issue. People of Mithilapuri are forced to carry pots of water on their heads from distant places to wash the body of the dead person. One of the residents, 95-year-old Chellamma, passed away on March 10. The funeral rites were affected with no water to cleanse the body. Finally her relatives and others in the locality carried water on their heads and in wheelbarrows from distant spots. Chellamma's husband, 96-year-old Raghavan, had also joined the protestors to raise the issue of water scarcity at the panchayat office. On reaching home he developed uneasiness and was taken to hospital. For the last three months the taps in Raghavan's house have gone dry as the public water supply has ceased. Even the public tap nearby has dried up. Around 100 families in and around Mithilapuri have been bearing the brunt of acute water shortage. During nights, the residents travel to Karthikapally panchayat, about half a kilometre away to fetch water from the public tap near the Kuthiyathode bridge. The little water in the canal is unfit to wash even clothes. The situation has aggravated to such an extent that the residents are forced to depend on the contaminated water in the canals to wash clothes and other household purposes. "This could be the reason why diarrhoea and vomiting are prevalent in the region," the local people. Panchayat president B Ammini has promised the protestors to look into the matter and direct the Kerala Water Authority officers to rectify the problem. The authorities have finally started distributing potable water to Mithilapuri in tanker lorries, but the locals complain it was filled with mud. Thrikkunnapuzha, which is in the south-west part of Alappuzha district, is the gateway to the inland water ways of the region. A network of canals, rivers and lagoons make the place one of the most scenic in Kerala. Sun, 07 Apr 2019 01:13:30 GMT Footprint, strand of hair, booze bill: How cops solved Thiruvampady murder case Alappuzha: Many clues helped police solve the murder of Thiruvampady homemaker. Accused Najmal used a new SIM in victim Jacqueline’s phone. Footprints found near house, a strand of hair from bedroom and a liquor bill helped them nab the culprits fast. They used scientific methods to solve this case. A team lead by ASP B Krishnakumar and DYSP PV Baby started probe on the orders of District Police Chief KM Tommy on the same day the body was found. They were sure of the murder angle once autopsy report was out. The police interrogated 430 people who had contacted Jacqueline in the last one year. A new SIM card in her phone directed them to Najmal. The liquor bill recovered from her house was from the booze bought at 11.40 am from a liquor store in town. Najmal and co-accused Mumtaz had reached her home the same day. The police put two and two together and picked up Najmal from his house on April 2. He confessed to the crime after detailed questioning. Mumtaz was along with him and Zeenath helped them sell stolen gold, he said. The two women were nabbed next. The police team included SIs KS Arun, S Dvijesh, ASIs TD Neveen, Shajimon, Pramod, Senior CPOs Arun, Vijulal, Praveesh, Siddique, Subhash, Baiju Stephen, Robinson, Mansur, Jasmine, Teena and Beena. Attack before plan to visit son Jacqueline was running a mess at home where she lived alone. The accused used to eat from here. They knew Jacqueline used to loan money and kept gold at home. Taking these was their aim. The accused planned the attack realising Jacqueline was about to leave for the Gulf where her son lived. Najmal and Mumtaz reached her house on the day of murder. Najmal purposefully created a spat and started beating her. Almost dead, Jacqueline was stripped off clothes and jewelry. They applied oil on her to make it look like she slipped in bathroom. All accused known to victim Jacqueline was found dead on March 12. Police found Najmal (Ajmal 28) from Punnapra, Mumtaz (46) from Power House and Zeenath (48) from Avalookunnu planned the murder. While the first two carried out the killing, Zeenath helped sell the stolen gold. The police started a probe after autopsy reports said blunt force to ribs and backbone led to Jacqueline’s death. Sat, 06 Apr 2019 00:45:19 GMT When cops double up as farmers Charummoodu: Organic farming has caught up and more and more people are resorting to sustainable, green practices in agriculture. Also, it is not often law enforcers take up farming, though we have heard about police personnel making a mark displaying artistic talents. The cops at the Kurathikkad police station here in Alappuzha district grow vegetables organically on the station premises for supplying it to their mess. Brinjal, tomato, green chillies and spinach are among the vegetables growing abundantly at the station along with banana. Watering of the plants is done by the cops every morning. After the work at the station, police officers led by SHO A C Vipin engage in farming activities. The officers had collected high quality seeds for their vegetable garden and also sought expert advice to make the venture a success. As there are no hotels nearby, the food for the officers is prepared at the station mess. With the police personnel tasting the fruits of their own labour, the meals at the station have become more sumptuous. Having learnt the tricks of the trade, the officers are now planning to bring more areas around the station under cultivation. Wed, 27 Mar 2019 17:20:40 GMT Obscure village in Alappuzha district produces seven doctors this year Kalavoor: The rural hamlet of Kavungal here in Alappuzha district is turning into a “Doctors' village” with seven youngsters from the area having passed the MBBS this year. Kavungal was last in the news when it achieved the rare milestone of having at least one government official in 90 per cent of its houses. Incidentally, most of them were with the police department. What is also interesting here is that the seven new MBBS graduates hail from houses located in a two-kilometer radius of the famed Kavungal temple, an area which was once considered backward. The villagers were able to rewrite their history after a few of them decided to open a free public service commision (PSC) exam trainig center. A lot of the candidates who attended training here went on to secure government jobs. Those who did secure government jobs began helping the others to climb up the social ladder, first by attempting the PSC exam. Soon, Kavungal village flaunted a long list of government employees. Most of the new doctors from Kavungal had managed merit seats for their MBBS course, their ordinary family backgrounds never a hindrance. The MBBS graduates are Kavya, daughter of MV Subhash of Viswa Bhavan, Kavungal who studied at Kottayam Medical College; Arunima, daughter of TC Gopi, who did MBBS at Malabar Medical College; Gopalakrishna, son of CP Sivaprasad of Sreevalsam, who did the course at Thiruvananthapuram Medical College; Rasa Murad, son of retired assistant development commissioner Khalid Muhammed, who was a student at Ernakulam Medical College; Anwar Shah, son of Noushad Moulavi of Zeenath Manzil, who did his course at Al Azhar Medical College, Thodupuzha and Shimna Shams, daughter of Illathuveli Shamsul Huda, who studied at Ernakulam Medical College. Wed, 27 Mar 2019 16:52:14 GMT Radio Mango launched in Alappuzha Kochi: Radio Mango will now make waves in the land of backwaters and snake boats. The fifth station of Radio Mango began broadcast in Alappuzha at 7am on Monday, bringing more music and fun to listeners in the district and its neighbourhoods. The broadcast began with a message from Malayala Manorma Chief Editor Mammen Mathew. Balarama Chief Editor Beena Mathew, Malayala Manorama Editorial Director Mathews Varghese, Radio Mango Programmes Director Raveendran Nair and Diya Mathew lit the lamp. Malayala Manorma Deputy Editor Amit Mathew was present. Radio Mango will be available in Alappuzha on FM frequency 92.7. Signals will be available in neighbouring areas of Kottayam, Changanassery, Ettumanoor, Pathanamthitta, Kozhencheri, Nilakkal, Thiruvalla, Karunagappally and partially in Pala and Ranni. A promo bus – 92.7 Express – giving away goodies to listeners has started its journey in the district. Flagged off from Kochi Manorama office premises by Chief News Editor R Rajeev, the bus will host various innovative game shows. Tue, 26 Mar 2019 04:15:02 GMT Scary ride on inter-state bus with sozzled driver Kayamkulam (Alappuzha): Passengers on board a KSRTC bus had a scary time last night as an inebriated driver was at the wheel. After a risky drive for a while, the passengers decided to protest as the Kaliyikkavila-Thrissur bus reached the Kayamkulam depot at midnight. However, the riders were in a dilemma as the angry driver abandoned the bus and disappeared. A drama unfolded at around 1.30am at the depot as soon as the passengers raised a hue and cry saying the man was sozzled. Once off the bus and confirmed drunk, the driver was approached by coworkers and made to sit on a chair. But he fled from the bus stand in the guise of going to the washroom. Driver Prasobh from the Kayamkulam depot completed the trip. The driver reportedly belonged to KSRTC's Parassala depot near the state border. He seemed to lose control of the bus after it had left from Kaliyikkavila in Kanniyakumari district of Tamil Nadu at 9.45pm. Mon, 25 Mar 2019 00:38:39 GMT After the flood, the drought: Acres of paddy wither away in Upper Kuttanad Niranam: The paddy fields of Upper Kuttanad show no sign of a devastating flood that submerged most of Kerala just seven months ago. The farmlands have cracked up in an unusually warm start to the summer as irrigation canals dried up in the Niranam and Peringara areas. About 30 acres of paddy have withered away without irrigation at Ayyankonari in the Niranam panchayat, agriculture department officials said. The water shortage is acute in the Ward 1 and Ariyodichal areas too. The farmers said that they do not have motor pumps powerful enough to draw water from the Pampa and Manimala rivers to the canals. Their pumps are only suitable to draw water from the canals to the fields. The farmers in one of the most fertile of fields in Kerala are staring at a crisis. Most of the paddy will be ready for harvest within a month. The rice plants would wither away in that time in the absence of irrigation. The problem is already manifested in areas including the Panakeri, Vengal, Irukara, Kaippala east areas in the Peringara panchayat. The farmers will have a tough time selling the low-quality rice to state procurement agencies such as Supplyco. Researchers from the Kerala Agricultural University Rice Research Station at Mancombu and officials of the irrigation department visited the areas. The farmers said that the problem could be partly addressed if the canals are dredged and cleared of sludge and water hyacinth. The irrigation department's effort to dredge a 500-metre stretch of the Kolara river has not been effective. K C Thomas, a farmer who has cultivated 1.7 acres in the Ayyankonari fields, is desolate. He said that he was not hopeful of harvesting even a single grain this time. He said that he had had to borrow Rs 30,000 ahead of this season, of which Rs 7,000 went into just clearing the field of the debris left behind by the August flood. Another farmer, Thomas Varghese, said that the paddy fields could be irrigated if a bund is built on the Pampa river and a 50 Bhp motor is installed to pump water into the canals. Thu, 21 Mar 2019 01:55:55 GMT Relief for disabled woman found selling lottery tickets under blazing sun Kalavoor: A young disabled woman lottery ticket-seller here in Alappuzha district would get government help to build a house. Her plight came to the district collector's notice recently and he ordered the Cherthala tahasildar to find a plot to build a house for the mother of two children. Meanwhile, a non-resident Keralite has also offered help. The woman, Geethu, was found selling lottery tickets under the blazing sun beside the Cherthala- Thannermukkam road recently. She was seen holding her seven-month-old son too. After Malayala Manorama had published an article about her struggle, Alappuzha district collector S Suhas met her and offered help on Women's Day. Geethu and her two kids were accompanied to the government guest house by the village officer. The collector promised that the house could be constructed with the help of non-profit organisations if a suitable plot is found. The collector, in a Facebook post, said that women like Geethu who are ready to work hard to earn a living are truly an inspiration for all. Geethu, the daughter of Vaikom Chaniyilchirayil Aanandavalli, has problems with her eye sight and difficulty moving the fingers on her left palm and legs as well. She also has an elder son who studies at the anganawadi. Geethu claimed that her husband had abandoned the family. The family currently stays in a rented house and survives on the meagre income that Geethu earns by selling lottery. Meanwhile, Cherthala motor vehicle inspector M G Manoj revealed that one of his friends has offered to help Geethu. He added that his friend, who is abroad, offered to build a house with two rooms and a kitchen, for Geethu, as soon as the plot is allowed. Manoj said that he had informed about his friend’s offer to the collector. Tue, 12 Mar 2019 01:42:29 GMT Flood-hit primary health centres restored and upgraded Alappuzha: Six Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in Alappuzha, which were damaged in August 2018 floods, were upgraded to full-fledged Family Health Centres (FHCs) after restoration. The PHCs had been severely damaged in the floods that ravaged the state in August 2018. Alappuzha was one of the worst affected districts in the August deluge, the worst in a century, which wreaked havoc in the state. The FHCs in Eramallikkara, Muttar, Noornad, Venmony, Kadampoor and Veeyapuram were provided with advanced medical and diagnostic equipment. The transformed FHCs will serve as first-level health delivery points and feature state-of-the-art diagnostic and intervention protocols. The restoration project was undertaken by Merck, a leading science and technology company, as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative. Merck has donated 50 different types of medical and diagnostic equipment to the upgraded health centres. The Eramallikkara Health Centre was formally handed over to the community on Friday in the presence of the Chief Medical Officer, PHC staff, community leaders, MD of non-profit organisation Americares and and Merck officials. Sun, 03 Mar 2019 04:09:59 GMT Two quick-thinking ambulance staff help woman deliver at home Kayamkulam: The staff of 108 ambulance service staff ensured the safety of a woman in labour by assisting her to deliver at home under emergency circumstances. Sunitha, wife of Rajkumar hailing from Kakkanad, a village near Kayamkulam in Alappuzha was in labour on Friday night when the 108 emergency response service was called for reaching the nearest hospital. As Sona Rajan, ambulance nursing staff and Manu Varghese, its pilot, reached the spot, it turned out that there was no motorable road to Sunitha’s home. There was at least half a kilometre distance which had to be traversed on foot. Though attempts were made to carry the woman on stretcher, her labour pain got intense by that time. Under those circumstances, the ambulance staff decided to conduct the delivery at home, with the help of a delivery kit. Sunitha gave birth to a boy child within no time with the help of the nursing staff who attended the birth and cut the umbilical cord. Later, the mother and child were carried to the ambulance and taken to the Taluk Hospital. Both of them are reportedly in a stable condition. The ambulance staff said that there was no other option before them at that moment of emergency but to help the woman deliver at home. Sunitha said that she would ever remain thankful to the 108 ambulance staff who provided timely assistance at that juncture. Sat, 23 Feb 2019 11:11:50 GMT 'Filmi' liquor outlet stumps local tipplers Kalavoor: The local tipplers here thought a convenient liquor outlet has been opened overnight near the national highway at Pathirappally in Alappuzha district. As the board in front of the shop said, “The prices of alcohol have been slashed from 12-1-2019,” the drunkards were quite excited. There was a pretty long queue too at the outlet. While many waited to grab their share thinking that the shop was indeed that of Kerala State Beverages Corporation, others were up in arms against the new outlet. But some people in the queue found something amiss with the presence of film personalities in the vicinity, and left with a slight whimper. But others stayed put until they realised that the liquor outlet was part of a film shooting set. The liquor outlet was created for the shooting of Jayaram-starrer ‘Grand Father’. The film crew had transformed a closed down shop near national highway at Pathirappally near here to a liquor shop. They had also erected a board mentioning that the outlet was that of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation. Two rooms of the shop were stacked with liquor bottles and small boards were put up displaying usual information such as ‘Jawan out of stock’, ‘please check the balance amount before leaving the counter’, and the price list. The original liquor shops would have paled before the filmi one as it had cash counters and railings to regulate the flow of customers. The scene that was canned had people in the queue turning away actor Dharmajan Bolgatty who was seen flashing a Rs 2,000 note and requesting them to buy him liquor. Those who came to the liquor outlet were featured in the scene, and they were happy to be part of the film. Fri, 22 Feb 2019 16:02:17 GMT Man held for killing kin who harassed his daughter Ambalapuzha: The Punnapra police have taken a man into custody on charges of killing a youth who reportedly harassed his daughter. Solomon, 45, of Veliyakathu House in Vadaykkal, who allegedly carried out the crime, and the victim, Kuriakose (Saji – 20), son of Sabu of Arukolasseriyil, Vadaykkal in Alappuzha are relatives. Solomon had attacked Kuriakose on Sunday noon. He was arrested on Monday morning and produced before the magistrate after the inquest. According to the police, the youth used to disturb Solomon’s daughter expressing his love for her. Solomon had warned Kuriakose over this, but the youth continued to pester the girl. When Solomon saw Kuriakose speaking to his daughter on Sunday, he stabbed the youth. Though Kuriakose was rushed to the Alappuzha Medical College Hospital, he succumbed to the injuries there. Postmortem report states Kuriakose died owing to injuries to kidney, arteries and liver. Police have recovered the knife used for stabbing. Tue, 19 Feb 2019 08:01:21 GMT Delhi youth offer truckload of study materials for flood-hit Kuttanad students The floods and fury of that affected hundreds of villages and displaced millions in Kerala last year touched the hearts of many across the world. As the visuals flashed on television screens and the heart-wrenching stories shared on social media made an enormous impact on people, many sent across food, clothing, household items for men, women and children in no time. In Delhi, the members of a youth movement felt that they should also do something during this calamity. Being students, they were denied permission by their parents for volunteering work for rebuilding. After brainstorming, they concluded that they can support their counterparts in Kuttanadu schools. Thus born the 'Help Kuttanad campaign,' by the Leaders For Tomorrow Foundation (LFT), which distributed nearly two tonnes of study materials in dozens of schools, by Thursday, in flood affected areas of Kuttanadu, the lowest lying area in the country and one of the worst flood affected areas in the state. Around 3400 LFT volunteers worked in 200 schools and colleges to collect a truckload of educational materials for children in Kuttanad. The distribution, held nearly six months after the floods, followed a massive campaign conducted in 200 schools and colleges in Delhi during September-October. “We were touched by the plight of those affected by the floods in Kerala and wanted to help in rebuilding their lives,” said Kayenaat Gill, North Zone President, Leaders For Tomorrow Foundation. The six-member group of the Leaders For Tomorrow foundation arrived at Kuttamangalam, a remote hamlet near Vembanadu lake, to distribute education materials in various schools. For a week they visited schools in Pulincunnu, Monkompu, Kavalam, Kainakary, Kuttamangalam, Kannadi, Nedumudy etc. Leaders For Tomorrow foundation, a organisation to promote youth leadership and social work, was started in Delhi University in 2004 by Binoy Job, then a visiting faculty. Job is a native of Kainakary in Kuttanadu. “We purposefully delayed the donation drive, as we know that all the enthusiasm that was seen to help Kerala may come down in a few months, and the real needs such as that of students, who lost most of their study materials, may come up later,” said Uma Parvathy, general manager, LFT. Read more Alappuzha News Sat, 16 Feb 2019 01:46:48 GMT When cows graced roof tops during 1977 elections Congress leader V M Sudheeran first plunged into election fray in 1977 when he was the president of Kerala Youth Congress. The 1977 general elections were held immediately after the Emergency, and the Youth Congress workers felt exhilarated over the fact that their leader was contesting the polls. Many national leaders, including the then Youth Congress national president Ambika Soni, came to Alappuzha to campaign for Sudheeran. "The youth spearheaded the electioneering work for the party," reminisces then Youth Congress district president D Sugathan. Treading a new path, the party came out with posters with photos of the candidate and calendars requesting votes for Sudheeran. The calendars were sold at Re 1 each and the proceeds were used to fund the election campaign. Many calendars were sold than expected. The Congress' election symbol during the 1977 polls was 'cow with a suckling calf.' "The Youth Congress members took the initiative to draw the party symbol as part of the election campaign. The symbol took different sizes and shapes as whoever had little drawing skills started to draw the graffiti at many places," reminds Sugathan. When Sudheeran asked about the logic behind drawing the party election symbol on roof tiles of various houses, the party workers replied, “Let Indira Gandhi see the party symbol when she comes on a helicopter.” The All-India Congress Committee (AICC) then used to foot the campaign bills of each party candidate. The 1,000 rupee note came into circulation during that period, and after the general elections, the district party election committee had six such notes in hand. A Delhi airticket, priced Rs 1,500, was bought from this balance amount so that Sudheeran, the new Alappuzha Lok Sabha representative, could attend the Lok Sabha session. . Read more Alappuzha News Fri, 15 Feb 2019 08:18:27 GMT Man bitten by snake dies soon after receiving wrong shot at Cherthala hospital Cherthala: In an instance of gross medical negligence, a man, who was bitten by a snake, died after he was administered medicine for gas trouble and allergy at the taluk hospital here in Alappuzha district. C K Varendra Pai, 74, lost his life while being taken to the Alappuzha Medical College hospital for advanced treatment. It is learnt that the Taluk hospital authorities did not give an anti-venom shot to Pai despite having the requisite medicine at their disposal. Pai was bitten by a snake near his home at Manorama Kavala in ward 29 of the Cherthala Corporation on Sunday night. Later, he was taken to the casualty wing of the taluk hospital where the duty doctor gave first aid and an injection for gastritis and allergy, and referred the patient to the Alappuzha Medical College. The relatives of Pai, who is a bachelor, alleged that anti-venom was not prescribed by the doctor. Pai’s sister Valsalabai and her son Rajkumar said that they would lodge a complaint against the negligence on the part of the hospital authorities. But hospital superintendent Dr Anil Kumar said that he didn’t get any complaint relating to the incident. “The hospital has anti-venom drugs and these medicines have lot of side-effects. Will check with the duty doctor why anti-venom medicines were not given to the patient,” he added. Read more: Latest Alappuzha news Wed, 13 Feb 2019 09:54:36 GMT Fruit-bearing trees hit by August floods Edathua: The season is on but the jackfruits are nowhere to be seen as the August floods have taken a toll on fruit-bearing trees too. Normally, the trees start to bear jackfruits by November end or in the first week of December. Though the mango trees have started to flower, the experts are sceptical about a robust mango harvest this time around. The jackfruits are quite scarce this season as the presence of underground water due to the recent deluge is making the jackfruit trees unproductive. Usually, the trees start to bear fruits when the atmospheric temperature rises. Kumarakom Agriculture Research Centre scientist Dr Anu G Krishnan said that the climate change had affected every sphere of life. “The erosion of fertile soil and increase in soil acidity due to the floods is adversely affecting the farming sector,” added Dr Anu. The mango trees had to flower two months ago but that didn’t happen as there was a nip in the air. Now, the trees have started to flower with the rise in temperature but the flowers would wither away. The agriculture experts are of the opinion that the current changes would be prevalent for three more years. Sat, 09 Feb 2019 01:47:19 GMT Bottle of milk fetches Rs 20,000 at church auction Alappuzha: A bottle of milk has gone for Rs 20,000 at a charity auction held at Vazhicherry St Thomas Orthodox Church. The bidding that began at Rs 500 saw interest spilling over. Other products like jackfruits and mangoes too went for high bids, ending in a final collection of Rs 3.5 lakh. This amount will be used for medical treatment and pensions for the needy. Fr Jain C Mathew and managing committee members held the auction. The event that began at 9.30am after the mass went on till 2pm. Fri, 08 Feb 2019 01:49:20 GMT Brave act: 11-year-old boy saves grandmother from drowning Kuttanad: Exhibiting exemplary presence of mind and courage, a 11-year-old boy has saved his grandmother from getting drowned after a country boat ferrying them across the Pookaithayar river capsized. Rojin, a Class VI student of Government UP School, Punnapra, did not think about his safety when he plunged into the water to rescue his grandmother Mariyamma, 60, of Valekkadu (H) at Karichira, near here. The incident took place around 7 am on Sunday when the two were on their way to the Narbonapuram St Sebastian’s Church at Chembumpuram to pray at the grave of Mariyamma’s husband V J Joseph, who died last week. They set off from the ghat near their house around 6.45 am and after about 10 minutes a houseboat coming from the opposite direction rammed their raft and proceeded without stopping. The small raft capsized in the impact of the collision and both were thrown into the water. Though Mariyamma knew swimming, she started drowning as her legs got entangled in her saree. Acting swiftly, Rojin got hold of her hand and pulled her towards safety, all while clinging to the sinking raft. They returned home and changed the wet clothes before heading to the church in the same raft. “I knew I would be fine, but I wanted to rescue my grandmother at any cost,” Rojin, son of Mariyamma’s daughter Jinsy and Robert of Puthanpurakkal, Punnapra South, said. Read more Alappuzha News Tue, 29 Jan 2019 15:23:50 GMT Cop, young chef bleed to death after bike accidents Alappuzha: Lack of timely medical help likely contributed to the death of a sub-inspector and a young chef who were involved in two separate bike accidents on the Alappuzha-Changanasseri Road on Sunday. The deceased AJ Joseph, 55, from Vadakkal was a Grade SI at Kainadi Police Station and Shyam Shaji, 21, from Vazhicheri was the son of late Shaji Francis. The policeman on highway patrol, who has saved many lives on duty, lay unattended on the road for half an hour after falling off his bike. In the other incident, the youth was unattended for 10 minutes after his bike was hit by a truck. Joseph, who was part of the highway patrol team, fell off his bike near Pallikootumma Junction on the AC Road around 2pm. Bystanders did not even try to remove his helmet. It was Joseph’s colleague from the station who took him to the hospital after half an hour. Internal haemorrhage led to death, said the doctors. Joseph leaves behind his wife Rini and children Krupa Joseph, Sneha Joseph, Jeevan Joseph, all students. In the other accident on the same road, Shyam’s bike was hit by a truck near Kaithana Junction around 1.30am. Shyam, a chef at a resort in Punnamada, was returning from work with colleague Midhun, 19. They were headed to Kalarcode to see off a friend to the Gulf when the accident happened. Midhun is admitted at Alappuzha Medical College hospital with injuries. Their bike was hit by a truck entering the highway at the junction which had no streetlights. No vehicles stopped to help Shyam who bled on the road for 10 minutes. It was some of his friends, also headed to Kalarcode, who took him to the medical college hospital, where he died around 7am. The lorry driver who drove off from the accident spot later surrendered to the police. Shyam is survived by his mother Latha and sister Geethu. Read more: Latest Kerala news Mon, 28 Jan 2019 05:07:55 GMT 58 & 33: Woman-daughter prove age is just a number, clear SSLC exams Chengannur: Both Radhamani and Sunitha passed the SSLC examination studying in the same class, sharing the same text book. But that is not all that connects these two students - Sunitha, 33, is the daughter of Radhamani, 58, of Chengannur. Both of them appeared together for the SSLC equivalency examination conducted by the Literacy Mission Kerala. Both the woman and daughter had failed at the SSLC examination which ended their education. They were prompted to take the equivalency examination by TK Suresh, an engineering college staff. The duo registered themselves at the Municipality Literacy Mission and attended the equivalency class held at Puliyoor Govt. High School. Both of them studied together, asking doubts to one another. They wrote the exam at St. Anns HSS on November 8 last year. Radhamani, who is the president of the Kudumbasree unit, finds employment through the National Rural Employment Generation Scheme (Thozhilurappu Paddhathi). Sunitha works as a home nurse. Both of them had to find time for their studies after finishing off all the other chores. Both the woman and the daughter now aim at starting their plus-two courses. Fri, 25 Jan 2019 11:22:48 GMT A crack that put Railways on wrong track: Youth who lost phone on train to get Rs 27,999 damages Alappuzha: It was a crack in the coach that cost a student dearly. But things proved otherwise with Alappuzha Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum finally cracking the problem. It ordered the Railways to pay a sum of Rs 27,999 to the MTech student A Ayyappan who lost his phone while on train. Ayyappan, who was staying at Amrithanandamayi Ashram at Vallikavu in Kollam, boarded ‘Parasuram Express’ on June 5, 2017 from Kayamkulam. During the course of journey to Shoranur, his mobile slipped out of the train through a fissure in the coach. Immediately he filed a complaint with the Kottayam Railway Protection Force (RPF) and later with the railway police on reaching Shoranur. He also approached Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum seeking compensation. The forum has directed Shoranur station superintendent and Thiruvanthapuram division manager to pay the penalty amounting to Rs 27,999 - comprising the cell phone price of Rs 12,999, compensation of Rs 10,000 and the litigation charge of Rs 5,000. The decree was passed by the Consumer Forum president E M Mohammed Ibrahim and member Sheela Jacob. Though the Railways had denied Ayyappan’s allegations and argued that the coach was perfectly in tact, they did not hold water as the RPF and railway police officers had reported the presence of cracks in the coach. The Forum has directed the Railways to hand over the fine to the aggrieved party in one month, failing which the student is liable to get an additional amount of nine per cent interest of the fine and further lapse would raise the amount to interest to 12 per cent Wed, 23 Jan 2019 07:39:04 GMT Rahul's grandfather dies even as the boy remains missing Alappuzha: Sivarama Panicker died on Wednesday without ever having to get a chance to meet his grandson again. The 83-year-old man has left unfinished a struggle to locate the boy who went missing 13 years ago. Rahul was only seven years old when he went missing on May 18, 2005. He was last seen playing cricket near his house at Ashramam. Rahul is the son of Sivarama Panicker's daughter, Mini. As the search by the police drew a blank, Sivarama Panicker approached the Kerala High Court with a plea to hand over the case to the CBI. The agency put three of its divisions on the job yet the boy could not be found. Sivarama Panicker and wife Susheela Devi were at the forefront of the attempts to find Rahul. Mini was under their protection as her husband was working in Kuwait. Sivaramapanicker died on Wednesday morning due to old age-related problems. The CBI wanted to close the case in 2013 as it stumbled on a dead-end but Sivarama Panicker approached the court again to keep the ball rolling. The court bought the aged man’s argument that the agency had not interrogated all the suspects and ordered the CBI to probe the case again. The CBI, however, failed to make a breakthrough. It went to the court in 2015 with a plea to wind up investigations in the case. This time the court accepted the agency’s plea. Sivarama Panicker and family had been waiting for the boy to return home one day. His body was cremated by his ancestral house at Kottamkulangara. He is survived by wife, daughter and two sons, Sanal Kumar and Anil Kumar. Fri, 18 Jan 2019 10:09:11 GMT Navy's Chetak chopper on sortie lands on temple ground after tech glitch Thuravoor (Alappuzha): An IN 429 Chetak helicopter of the Southern Naval Command (SNC), on routine coastal observation sortie, had to force-land on the Chammanad temple ground at 1:30 pm on Wednesday following a technical glitch. The three crew, including two pilots, were safe. A salvage team which arrived on another chopper by 3 pm could not fix the glitch immediately. The team removed the rotors to enable easier transportation of the chopper. The rotors were sent to the SNC, Kochi. The truck which arrived initially to carry the chopper lacked the chassis width to accommodate it. Subsequently, the chopper was taken away after a wide-body vehicle was brought in, by 10 pm. The pilots, the police and the people who gathered had to push the chopper to a side of the ground to create space for the second one to land. The helicopter was winched up using a crane and placed on the truck. A huge crowd had gathered at the ground. Read more: Latest Alappuzha news Thu, 17 Jan 2019 05:43:17 GMT Rotten wheat arrives in rail wagon from Punjab Alappuzha: Sixty tons of wheat sent from Punjab has taken 10 months to reach the Food Corporation of India (FCI) godown in Alappuzha. The wagon was opened on Thursday and the entire load was found to be infested with rats and maggots. The offloaded sacks are now stacked in the corridor of the FCI godown. One of the 12 wagons, with six loads of wheat, booked by the FCI was stuck at a railway station somewhere in North India. The loads of rice and wheat that made it to the godown on time have already been distributed through Civil Supplies outlets. The loads were paid for in advance, and the reason for the delay is being investigated, said the FCI authorities. No distribution “Stale food won’t be distributed through Civil Supplies outlets. The district supply officer will be directed to exercise caution. Inspections will be carried out to assure quality, and the stale grain will be disposed off,” said Minister for Food and Civil Supplies P Thilothaman said. Fri, 11 Jan 2019 08:52:14 GMT Woman's charred body found inside house, kin seek probe Kuttanad: Charred body of a 27-year-old woman found under mysterious circumstances at her house at Veliyanad in Kerala's Alappuzha district cast suspicion on her husband's role in the death. Body of Jyothi, wife of Lalji of Ambalamkunnu house, and mother of a three-year-old girl, was found inside her husband's home Tuesday. Jyothi's family claimed that she was a bold woman and would not have taken her life under any circumstances. Her family and neighbours alleged that the burnt body was found inside the house and this points to the role of her husband's family in the death. Neither Lalji nor any of his family members attended the cremation, triggering suspicion. A large number of villagers attended the funeral held at her native village Venattukad. Villagers have formed an action council, demanding a probe into the death. Jyothi is the daughter of Kunjumon and Thankamma of Palakalchira, Venattukad, Chennankari. Her body was found on Tuesday. The police have registered a case of unnatural death, based on a complaint filed by her father. The police said the cause of death could be ascertained only after receiving the post-mortem report and the result of forensic examinations. Lalji is a temporary worker at the water transport department. Theirs was a love marriage. Read more: Latest district news Thu, 10 Jan 2019 05:00:29 GMT Houseboat catches fire in Kuttanad Kuttanad: A houseboat was completely gutted by a fire at Marthadam backwaters here on Sunday. The houseboat with a British tourist couple – Pete and Alexandria – was anchored near the shore for lunch break at around 1.30 pm when the crew noticed smoke billowing from the lower deck of the boat. Immediately, the tourists jumped out of the boat and the crew tried to douse the flame with fire extinguishers but in vain. The fire consumed the boat in no time but no one was injured in the accident. The crew removed the cooking gas cylinders from the boat before it was gutted. Later, the tourists were taken to their resort in Kumarakom on another boat. A police team led by Pulikunnu CI K P Thompson visited the spot. Though Fire and Rescue Services personnel from Alappuzha reached the spot, the delay in operating the water pump created concern among people. Tue, 08 Jan 2019 10:09:59 GMT Litterbug traced with contact details found in junk Thazhakara: Littering in public spaces has put a teacher in a soup after he inadvertently put his photo and address in the garbage bag he threw away on the road side here in Alappuzha district. The panchayat and local residents had decided to install a surveillance camera in the area as the dumping of garbage near to Chackopadam has put the local residents in great distress. While panchayat members Manu Philip, Murali Vrindavanam and Vineeth Vijayan were scouting for the right place to install the camera, they found some bags of waste lying on the ground and opened them. They found the photo and address of a teacher hailing from Mavelikkara in one of the trash bags, and this information was handed over to the police. The police called up the litterbug and asked him to remove all the garbage from the area. It was decided that the garbage dumped in the area would be cleared using an earthmover and its rent should be paid by the erring teacher. The waste mounds were removed on Saturday and the teacher had to shell out Rs 10,660 as rent. Meanwhile, the contact details of a woman, which were found on an envelope in a trash bag, were also handed over to the police. Tue, 08 Jan 2019 01:42:18 GMT Injured bus driver shields passengers amid stone pelting Ambalapuzha: A state transport bus driver ignored an injury on his face, and focused on the rescue of passengers as the bus was pelted with stones on Wednesday night. Abdul Rasheed, 32, was bleeding profusely after he was struck, but continued with his duty. He has been hailed by the public for his dedication. The Thiruvananthapuram-Kalpatta superfast bus came under attack at around 10.40 pm at Navarakkal, Ambalapuzha, in Alappuzha district. The front glass of the bus was shattered in the attack and Rasheed's face was injured from glass splinters. Rasheed ignored the bleeding injury and soon started to shift the passengers to a bus that followed. He then proceeded to the Medical College Hospital at Vandanam to seek treatment. He has six stitches, on his nasal bridge and eyelids. Rasheed, a resident of Chennachamkadiyil, Padanilam, Kunnamangalam, is working at the Kalpatta depot of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). He told the police that five people standing near the road had pelted the stones. Sun, 06 Jan 2019 01:45:49 GMT 2,500-year-old Megalithic tombs spotted at Puliyoor Chengannur: The Archeology Department has confirmed that the Megalithic tombs recently discovered at Puliyoor near here are the rarest of its kind in Kerala and could be as old as 2,500 years. A team led by Pazhassi Raja Museum director K Krishnaraj, who is also Thiruvananthapuram field assistant with the Archeology Department, visited the spot and investigated the area the other day. The ancient tombs of Megalithic Age were spotted at Karimanikkathu Mala on the northern side of Chengannur block panchayat by Rajeev Puliyoor, a folklore researcher and teacher of BEd College, Elanthoor. According to Krishnaraj, the Megalithic burial monument falls under the stone circle category and is vividly distinct in its geometric structure, size and the way it has been laid. This discovery sheds light to the fact that Puliyoor did play a prominent place in the Iron Age phase of Kerala history. The monument is believed to be at least 2,500 years old. Though the tombstone can be classified as a variety of 'menhir', it essential to subject the structure to a detailed examination, said Krishnaraj. It has been found that some standing stones are missing in between, which when filled would assume the shape of circle stone structure. Circle stones of this big size are rarely found in Kerala. The whole formation assumes a triangular shape with the distance between the stones 6.35 m, their perpendicular height 6.35 m and hypotenuse 8.45 m. If the missing liths are filled to complete a circular pattern the measurement will again be 6.35 m. The archeologists are not ready to rule out the presence of ancient monumental remains underneath the central portion of the circle. The authorities are planning to conduct carbon dating at the spot with the permission of the land owner and will also explore the possibility of unearthing weapons. Wed, 02 Jan 2019 10:30:31 GMT How Gowri Amma propped up women’s wall ignoring frailty Alappuzha: Twenty-five years have passed since K R Gowri Amma, one of the senior-most living political leaders in Kerala, was expelled from the CPI(M) for anti-party activities. The 99-year-old rarely ventures out of her house at Chathanad due to age-related issues, but on Tuesday she made up her mind to take part in the historic Women’s Wall dubbed as a campaign to resurrect renaissance values. The nonagenarian’s enthusiasm was in full display when she stepped out of the house, wearing a white cotton saree with a bunch of keys dangling from a knot at its tip(pallu) and holding two plastic covers. She walked some yards with great difficulty and reached the road passing in front of her residence. But she felt exhausted and decided to abandon the plan. However, the fiery leader was not ready to return home. She asked her aides to bring a chair and place it by the roadside. She sat on it quite relaxed in solidarity with the Women’s Wall and being a link of it in a distinctive manner. She sat there unmoved between 3.15 to 4.30 pm and went back only when the women who were part of the 620-km long wall dispersed after taking secular and renaissance oath. Her plan was to go Shavakkottapalam, located about 1 km away from her home, in a vehicle and join the wall to be formed there. But as she felt too tired and low on energy in the afternoon people around her had advised her to reconsider the plan. “She used to tell us repeatedly that it would have been convenient for her to attend the Women’s Wall if it passed through the Chathanad junction,” said one of her aides. For the past few years, Gowri Amma has been staying away from programmes organised by the CPM or government-sponsored events. Though she was unhappy over the decision to leave her party out of the expansion of the ruling LDF, she set aside the differences and decided to attend the event, realising the importance of the campaign aimed at preserving social renaissance. While sitting by the wayside expressing solidarity with the wall, she was seen making small talks with acquaintances and greeting the passerby. Wed, 02 Jan 2019 09:15:12 GMT MLA pays fine for promoting women's wall without helmet Overenthusiasm shown by Kayamkulam MLA U Prathibha to promote the Women’s Wall has landed her in trouble. The MLA had led a two-wheeler rally without wearing a helmet along the Kayamkulam – Punalur road and photos of the event appeared in newspapers and were circulated widely on social media. This attracted much criticism as Prathibha is a vocal votary of road safety measures and intervenes regularly in discussions over the issue on social media. Finally, to avoid legal measures, the MLA was forced to pay a fine. “I was euphoric over the Women’s Wall and forgot all about wearing a helmet during the two-wheeler publicity rally. When I realized the lapse, I immediately paid the fine to give the message that nobody should ride a two-wheeler without a helmet,” Prathibha told Manorama News. Wed, 02 Jan 2019 05:33:13 GMT Spare clothes donated for flood-hit to be auctioned Chengannur: People are making a beeline to collect donated clothes that were not distributed to the flood-hit. The revenue department said that there were no takers initially for the used clothes provided by voluntary organisations. On Friday, several people turned up to collect the clothes. Most of the clothes were meant for women and children. The remaining clothes will be auctioned, said the revenue department. "The district collector has directed to hold the auction of unusable clothes and provide the proceeds to the Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund. We plan to remove the clothes today," said K B Sasi, tahsildar. The tahsildar had made it clear that the clothes were not brought by the revenue department and that it had not stored them during or after the floods at the auditorium or its premises. Onmanorama had reported that the clothes were getting damaged since they were not distributed for the past four-and-a-half months. The cloth boxes are lying unopened at Girideepam auditorium premises. Mon, 31 Dec 2018 01:47:46 GMT Girl escapes family custody, torture to reunite with lover Harippad: Edwin and Arathi have just proved that love is invincible. The couple has swam against the current to be with each other just in time for Christmas a month after marriage. In between the bride was taken away by her family members in a bid to make her forget Edwin. However, Arathi freed herself from the clutches of her family and rejoined Edwin on Christmas Day. Edwin from Harippad took to Facebook Live a month ago to tell the world that his wife has been kidnapped by her family in cahoots with the police. Edwin went to the Nagercoil police station in search of Arathi but she had been shifted elsewhere. He was told that she was in Chennai. He kept searching for Arathi every place her folks could have taken her to. Desperate, he approached the court for relief. The court ordered to produce Arathi the day the court would take up the petition in January. In the meantime, he received a call from Arathi. He was relieved that his sweetheart was safe. On Tuesday, she was happy to see her in person. Edwin said that Arathi had been locked up in her house for a month. “They forced her to erase my name tattooed on her hand. They did whatever they could to distance her from me. She somehow escaped them and came to me. I will produce Arathi before the court on the appointed day,” he said. Edwin and Arathi fell in love while they were studying at an engineering college in Tamil Nadu. They saw each other for two years and decided to get married but Arathi's rich parents were against the alliance. Edwin and Arathi registered their marriage on November 16 and went to his house at Harippad. Her parents instigated the local police to act against the couple. Cops told Edwin that Arathi was facing a case at Nagercoil and she would be produced before the magistrate. Read more Alappuzha News Fri, 28 Dec 2018 02:46:04 GMT Two RSS men nabbed as magazine shreds at blast sites prove clincher Mavelikkara: Two RSS workers have been arrested in connection with the discovery of explosives and weapons at an unoccupied house as well as the hurling of firecrackers at the houses of a panchayat president and a CPM branch secretary. The police made headway in the probe after getting hold of shreds of magazine pages recovered from the blast sites. Investigations at firecracker-making units at Mavelikkara, Cheppad and Muttam finally led to the duo. The arrested people are T V Sivaprasad, alias Bomb Kannan, (28) of Kayamkulam and Amal S Kumar (29) of Chettikulangara. The police recovered six swords, an S-shaped knife and two other daggers from their bike. Thekkethil Saji (40) of Chettikulangara who had purchased the fire crackers for them had earlier been nabbed. According to police, Sivaprasad and Amal had hurled firecrackers at the house of panchayat president C Krishnamma on November 26. They had targeted the house of Kallittakadavil Vineesh Raj on December 17 in the same manner. Raj is the president of DYFI's Chettikulangara North unit and the secretary of CPM's Kadavur branch. Wanted man Sivaprasad was an expert in making weapons at home, said the police. Several swords and daggers were seized from a workshop of his. A case has been registered by Kareelakulangara police in this regard, said the DySP. Picking up the clues Taking clues from the magazine shreds police reached the firecracker-making units. A magazine at a Muttam unit had missing pages which were found to be the torn ones found at the crime spots. The factory owner told the police two men had purchased some crackers ostensibly for a festival at Kattuvallil temple on November 23. Later, one among the two men had reached the unit again two days later and bought more crackers. read more: Latest Kerala news Sat, 22 Dec 2018 07:33:32 GMT Housewife saves accident victims, as passive crowd of men looks on Charummoodu, Alappuzha: A gritty housewife saved two people who lay bleeding on a busy road after an accident, even as a crowd of men stood watching passively. Pradeep and Prakash from Edappon were seriously injured in a car-scooter collision near the Iranikkudy bridge on the Pandalam-Mavelikkara road and were lying unattended. A crowd of onlookers had gathered but no one bothered to do anything to save the lives of the young men. Geetha Santosh, 44, then came along driving her car after dropping the son of a relative to school. She stopped the car as she noticed the crowd and found the men bleeding profusely. Geetha rushed them to hospital without anybody's help and notified the families of the victims. Prakash has now been admitted to the Kottayam Medical College Hospital, while Pradeep is under care at a private hospital in Edappon. Geetha, wife of S Santosh of 'Sangeetha' in Edappon, was in Saudi Arabia with her husband and had settled in Edappon eight months ago. Her children Sangeetha and Sangeeth are in Class 10 and 8 respectively. Thu, 20 Dec 2018 07:22:34 GMT Homeless elderly couple still in flood relief camp Mannar: Their desolate eyes speak volumes of the distress they are in. It has been more than four months since the flood waters had receded, but an elderly couple, who lost their home in the August deluge, is still living in a relief camp at Peringilipuram near here in Alappuzha district. Prabhakaran, 68, and his wife Padmakshi, 63, residents of Budhanur village, lost their home in the surging waters in August, and are staying alone at the panchayat community hall. The childless couple was rescued by local people and volunteers during the floods and brought to the panchayat community hall. Prabhakaran can’t go for any job as there is no one to take care of his wife, who is is partially paralysed. Prabhakaran is not on the government list of those who lost their homes during the flood as he didn’t own any property. He was staying at his ancestral home for which his siblings too had ownership rights. Now, they have given consent to the panchayat to grant home to the couple, and both are keeping their fingers crossed. Read more Alappuzha News Wed, 19 Dec 2018 10:08:22 GMT Allu Arjun to rebuild 10 anganwadis in Alappuzha Alappuzha: Telugu superstar Allu Arjun will rebuild 10 anganwadis destroyed in the recent floods in Kerala. He has kept aside Rs 21 lakh from the proceeds of the Malayalam rights sale of his film 'Geetha Govindam'. The film, produced by his father Allu Aravind and a friend, had turned out to be one of the biggest hits in Tollywood this year. Allu Arjun will be adopting the anganwadis through ‘I am For Alleppey’ rehabilitation project. When he had come as chief guest at the Nehru Trophy boat race recently, Allu Arjun had told sub-collector V R Krishna Teja that he would support the rehabilitation works. Krishna Teja said that they will decide the 10 anganwadis within a week and the works will begin in January. In the monsoon floods, about 31 anganwadis were completely destroyed and 66 partially damaged in the district. Sun, 16 Dec 2018 10:43:04 GMT Sea robbers giving sleepless nights to Alappuzha fishers Cherthala: The fishermen are in a state of shock as an engine of a fishing vessel, which was anchored about 50 metres from the Mararikulam coast in Alappuzha district, was stolen the other day. The 40 HP engine worth Rs 2.5 lakh was robbed from a vessel owned by Sebastian hailing from Mararikulam north panchayat. The fishermen came to know about the theft on Monday morning as they were gearing up to venture into the sea. An attempt was also made by the sea robbers to steal the engine of a big boat which was stationed about one km off the Chethi coast near here. Fishermen said that the sea robbers were on the prowl and were a threat for them. The big boats put anchor about 50 meters from the shore. The robbers usually eye fishing nets, petrol and lead, and they are giving sleepless nights to the fisherfolk in the region. Normally, two vessels put anchor near Mararikulam coast, seven boats near Chethi coast and 10 big boats near Chenaveli coast. The delay in opening a new harbour in the region had put the fishers in a quandary as they don't have a safe place to dock their fishing vessels, said Kerala Independent Fishermen Federation district president Ashayam Raju. The concerned officials should put in place facilities for the fishermen to safely store their equipment, which were usually bought by borrowing money, he added. Arthunkal coastal police said that they had registered a case in connection with the theft. Currently, the coastal police don’t have boats to patrol the sea as the only boat they have is undergoing repair works in Fort Kochi. Sat, 15 Dec 2018 01:44:52 GMT Legacy of late tabala prodigy comes alive at Kalolsavam Alappuzha: Abhijit Sai’s tabla is still creating ripples in the minds of his mother and family members. The legacy of the teenage prodigy, whose life was cut short by blood cancer in June 2007, is kept alive by his nephew, Suryanarayanan. An ever-rolling trophy for the winner of the tabla competition has been instituted in his memory by his father. Sai had enthralled audience across the school arts festival venues in Kerala before his untimely death. The 13-year-old artiste played tabla like a maestro at the state school arts fest in Kannur despite running a punishing temperature. Not many in the audience knew that he was suffering from blood cancer. When the judges granted him a ‘C’ grade, his well-wishers were shocked. They nudged him to go in appeal against the verdict but he said he just wanted to go to some place calm. He was taken to the Durbar Hall of the Arakkal Palace. He died on June 18. Jayaprakash and his wife Sahaja were shattered by the death of their son. The couple cherished his memories and the medals he earned. Sai’s achievement did not come easy. He had been playing tabla since he was two years old under the tutelage of his father Jayaprakash. He became the youngest Malayali to earn a central government scholarship to train in tabla. He trained under Gurukulam Ashokan since he was four years old. Later he went to Thiruvananthapuram to be a disciple of Keshkar Manohar. Jayaprakash died earlier this year at the age of 62. He used to visit the arts fest venues even after his son passed away and sponsored the trophy in his honour. Read more: Latest Alappuzha news Sun, 09 Dec 2018 09:51:32 GMT WhatsApp group reunites lost pet cat with owners Thuravoor: Thanks to a WhatsApp group, a precious pet cat belonging to a family in Pattambi in Palakkad district could be retrieved from here, about 150 km south several days later. The cat went missing as the car in which family was travelling met with an accident near Thuravoor in Alappuzha district on November 5. The family members - P Gangadharan, wife Dr M K Geetha and son Appu - had taken their pet along with them during their trip and lost it as they were returning from Thiruvananthapuram to Palakkad. The cat named Toto, a Persian semi punch which was kept in a special cage, went missing in the melee following an accident on the national highway. Geetha, who suffered injuries as the car hit the median, had to be rushed to hospital from the spot. The family later launched a frantic search for their pet. An extensive search lasting several days was conducted by the family in the area. But Totu was not found. Saneesh Payikkad, the admin of a local WhatsApp group named ‘Voice of Kuthiyathode’ learnt about it and conducted an enquiry of his own with the help of social media. Soon, Toto was traced living comfortably at a house near Kuthiyathode. When the residents of the house realised that Toto’s owners were desperately looking for him, they handed the cat over to Saneesh, from whom Appu took his pet home. Finally, the cat and its masters were reunited, thanks to the WhatsApp group. Tue, 27 Nov 2018 04:53:14 GMT Blood counts a lot for this Thalassaemic family Mankombu (Alappuzha): Blood ties are intensely strong. But this bonding is a bane for Ayurvedic massager Radhakrishnan and his four-member family who are afflicted by Thalassemia, a blood disorder that is passed down through generations. The situation is even graver in the case of his daughter Aiswarya, who has contracted Thalassaemia major, a very serious form of the disease that results in the depletion of red blood cells. Radhakrishnan, hailing from Olloor in Thrissur, got acquainted with Aswathy in Chennai where both were working as Ayurveda massage therapists. They soon fell in love and decided to get married, not knowing about their inherent health disorder. The couple realised they had Thalassaemia only after their child was diagnosed with it. Aiswarya was diagnosed with the disease when she was just two-and-a-half-years old. After that the couple underwent a medical examination at a hospital in Kozhikode and were confirmed that both had Thalassaemia. Aiswarya was taken to Vellore hospital for advanced screening. Later, the family came to know that Aiswarya's brother Ram Krishna was also under the grip of the disease. The whole family is now ensnared in the genetic disorder. Even though the expenses for blood transfusion are affordable, Radhakrishnan is finding it hard to foot the bills of other medical investigation and expensive medicines. The family stays in a rented house at Mankombu and both are jobless most of the days. Aiswarya, 10, has so far undergone 70 sessions of blood transfusion. Now she awaits a bone marrow replacement which is not going to be a smooth ride. For that, one needs to scout for a bone marrow that matches above 90 per cent. Her primary cells are stored in a hospital in Kochi and the girl has been waiting for two long years for the transplant. Unless she undergoes a bone marrow transplantation, the girl should be subjected to blood transfusion once in every 3 months. The critical issue for a person with Thalassemia is that the patient tends to lose a substantial amount of blood despite an alarming increase in iron content, says Dr Jayaram Shankar, the doctor at Alappuzha Medical College who treats Aiswarya. The medication to treat the excessive iron content is costly. Well-wishers who wish to chip in with financial aid may contribute to K R Aswathy’s bank account with SBI, Mankombu branch. The details are account No: 67053694668; IFSC code SBIN0070090, Phone no: 88488 12215 Mon, 19 Nov 2018 03:36:20 GMT Twin bundle of joy to wipe off tears of Wilson and Vimala Cherthala, Alappuzha: Four years ago fate played a cruel joke on V S Wilson and Vimala. It took away their dear little children Anu and Anusha in a car accident. But four years later fate came with twin bundles of joy for the couple. They were blessed with a son and daughter - Anoop and Augraha - through IVF procedure on August 3. 46-year-old Wilson and his wife, hailing from Vattayil in Alappuzha would never forget the tragic day of June 30, 2014 – the day when death snatched away the lives of their six family members, including the two children. Wilson and his wife who were also travelling with the family had a close shave in the accident that took place at Kareelakulangara in Kayamkulam. Son Anu (10), daughter Anusha (5), Vimala’s father Xavier, mother Aloysiamma, brother Antony Xavier, sister-in-law Telma Rose died in the mishap. The family was returning in a car that belonged to a friend of Antony after calling on their relative at Kollam. The vehicle lost control and rammed a container lorry on the highway. Wilson escaped with grievous injuries in the accident. With a broken right leg and left arm, and multiple fractures in jaw and rib cage, he remained in hospital bed for more than a month. He also lost vision in his right eye. Vimala’s condition was more serious and the doctors gave her a slim chance of survival as her skull was split into two. With strong will-power, the couple limped back to normal life in two years though they were constantly haunted by the loss of dear and near ones. 39-year-old Vimala had already undergone tubectomy, which made it difficult for her to conceive the natural way. They decided to undergo the much expensive IVF procedure to fulfil their dream. A private hospital in Cherthala came forward and offered to treat the couple free of cost. Smiles are now back on the faces of Wilson and Vimala who are now busy fondling the two babies. Fri, 16 Nov 2018 09:46:32 GMT Financial aid sought to treat boy Alappuzha: The family of an 11-year-old boy is seeking financial help for his treatment as the child was taken ill after wrong medicine was administered for fever. Deepak, son of J K Devarajan and Remaneshwary, was given wrong medication in a hospital when he was 15 months old following which his brain started to shrink. Now, the boy has infection in blood due to low sodium level. Devarajan, who is a daily-wage labourer, has to shell out Rs 700 in a day for his son’s treatment which is out of his means, and the family is also weighed down by debt, including bank loans. Deepak has a sister studying in Class IX. The family is pinning hopes on the advice of doctors to give immediate treatment to Deepak at a private hospital in Kochi. Those who are willing to lend a helping hand can deposit money in Devarajan’s Avalukunnu SBI branch account. Account number: 67122900835. IFC code: SBINOO70583. Wed, 07 Nov 2018 10:07:34 GMT Boat clubs in deep water ahead of Nehru Trophy Alappuzha: The training sessions for the Nehru Trophy Boat race, which takes place on Saturday, November 10, have commenced even as the participating clubs are facing shortage of both cash and rowers. After a race reschedule forced by the devastating flood of August, the clubs find themselves running low on money, but are putting in a determined effort to win Kerala's most prestigious boat race. Some clubs are yet to begin training, in spite of the warning that lesser days mean lesser bonus. As the money squeeze inhibits them, some plan to begin the training a few days ahead of the race. The cash crunch has forced some clubs to limit the training to once a day. Some clubs hope to get their training sponsored by local people. Clubs that have hired rowers from outside the state are finding it harder. One of the top clubs is importing a 20-strong rowing team from the other end of India – Jammu Kashmir. The problem is that they would need to fly in if they have to attend the training early enough. Ticket rates have gone up as the Diwali season arrived, but the clubs are sacrificing everything. There are also clubs which have given up training as they can't afford air tickets for rowers who insisted on them. These clubs will field local rowers and be satisfied with them. Some clubs also face poaching. Those who fail to provide money and food promptly risk losing rowers to other clubs. Desperate plea One of the clubs even found it hard to get rowers, and an announcement had to be made at a place of worship seeking one rower from each house: “Please co-operate with the club by sending one rower from each house,” thus went the plea. Wed, 07 Nov 2018 01:42:35 GMT Floods washed away parts of Veeyapuram forest Veeyapuram: The recent floods had gobbled up tracts of Veeyapuram forest, the one and only reserve forest in the Alappuzha district.The fringes of the forest, spread across 14.3 acre, were swept away by the surging floodwaters. Moreover, the floods dumped plastic waste in the forest area, thus raising ecological concerns. Water entered the forest and timber depot to the height of close to six feet but there was no loss of timber as the logs, meant to be sold in auctions, were tied together. The government has set aside Rs 10 lakh for the protection of the reserve forest. But as per the estimates of the Minor Irrigation Department, Rs 1.11 crore is needed to preserve the periphery of the forest, and accordingly the Forest Department gave a report to the state government. Plans are afoot to start work relating to protection of the forest area with the funds allocated by the government. The reserve forest is situated near to the confluence of Achankovil and Pampa rivers. Popular filmy spot The forest is a favourite with filmmakers for shoots. The reserve forest and timber depot featured in the recently released Mammootty-starrer ‘Oru Kuttanadan Blog’. The forest also found screen space in T K Rajeev Kumar’s ‘Rathinirvedam’, Venu Nagavally’s ‘Lal Salam’ and ‘Rakthasakshikal Zindabad’. The inspection bungalow of the reserve forest, which was converted as party office in Mohanlal-starrer ‘Lal Salam’, has been recently spruced up. Tue, 06 Nov 2018 05:36:46 GMT Young lady doctor dies as car rams bus on AC Road Alappuzha: A 25-year-old doctor had a tragic end as the car she was travelling in collided with a tourist bus on the Alappuzha-Changanassery Road. The deceased Dr Parvathy was the only daughter of Kozhikode residents Dr S Prasannakumar and Dr Shobha P Kumar. Parvathi's friend Dr Nithin Babu, 26, sustained serious injuries and has been moved to a private hospital in Kochi. He was driving the car when the accident occurred near the Pallathuruthy Bridge at around 1 am on Sunday. The two were travelling from Kochi to Thiruvananthapuram to attend the wedding of a friend. As fire broke out in the impact of the collision, a rescue bid was made by the crew and passengers of the tourist bus. Highway Police rushed both to the Alappuzha Government Medical College Hospital, but Parvathy could not be saved. The police have charged Nithin on the basis of a statement given by the bus cleaner. Parvathy had completed her MBBS at the Amritha Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi and was preparing for the post-graduate entrance exam. Nithin is a resident of Thayyil at West Hill, Kozhikode. Parvathi's house 'Lakshmi' is on YMCA Cross Road, Kozhikode. Her mother Dr Shobha is the head of the department of orthodontics at the Kozhikode Dental College. Mon, 05 Nov 2018 11:58:11 GMT Wanted, rowers for Nehru Trophy Boat Race Alappuzha: With hardly two weeks left for the Nehru Trophy regatta, boat clubs are facing a severe financial crunch. Many of them are yet to find sponsors to get on track the costly exercise. The famed annual boat race had to be postponed by two months because of the devastating flood in August. Most of the teams incurred huge losses after weeks of training came to nothing. Now they have to cough up money again for the regatta. The clubs were hoping to limit training for five days because a day's practice cost them about Rs 1.5 lakh. The organisers, however, have warned of cutting the bonus to those participating teams which have not trained for at least seven days. Many of the clubs may have to return the bonus they had received in advance. Several clubs had practised for more than three weeks in anticipation of the regatta in August as usual. Some of them had as many as 20 rowers from other states. A club organiser said that they had to pay the rowers from Manipur Rs 2 lakh and ticket fare. The club has to spend as much to hire them again. Another club spent close to Rs 6 lakh from rowers from Manipur and Madhya Pradesh. Though the 20 men had gone back to their states, the club expects them to be back. Another boat race team was counting on 23 soldiers on leave but they went back to rejoin duty. The rest of the team members have also gone back to work. The team is faced with a difficult task of finding 30 rowers in two weeks. The only team to start practice is the Police Boat Club, which makes its debut this year. Though the team had 117 cops from various battalions, only 106 are present to train. They have been practising two times a day since October 22. Rowers of the NCCD Boat Club, which have hired the Chambakkulam Chundan, have started practice on a log. Most of the rowers have work elsewhere. They manage to practice in two groups at North Parur and Kaippuzhamuttu after a day's work. Sat, 27 Oct 2018 02:45:31 GMT Champion on crutches: Amputee footballer Basha looks for sponsors Charummoodu, Alappuzha: B Basha, whose right leg was affected by polio in childhood, needs crutches to walk. However, the 30-year-old native of Thamarakkulam near here, who ekes out a living by riding an autorickshaw, refuses to allow the disability define him. He is now preparing to fly to Indonesia to take part in the inaugural Asian Amputee Football Championship. Son of Thekkemury Undantayyathu Basheer and Asmabeevi, Basha has been very passionate about the game from a very young age. He impressed the selectors at a selection trial held in Thrissur last month and sealed a spot in the 15-member Indian team for the continental event scheduled to kickstart in Jakarta on December 1. Six countries, including India, will participate in the five-day tournament. Apart from Basha, three other Keralites - Raphael John (Ernakulam), Vaisakh (Kozhikode), and P T Muhammed Afeef (Kulathur) – have also made it to the national squad. Basha, who has also represented Kerala in national-level volleyball tournaments for people with disabilities, is struggling to fund his trip to Indonesia which requires at least Rs 75,000. He hopes that somebody will come forward to help him financially. Sajeena is his wife. The couple has two children, Sabath and Sabra. Amputee football Amputee football is played with metal crutches and without prostheses, the only exception being that bi-lateral amputees may play with a prosthesis. A team is made up of six outfield players and a goalkeeper. Players may not use crutches to advance, control or block the ball. Such an action will be penalised in the same way as a hand-ball infringement. However, incidental contact between crutch and ball is tolerated. Outfield players may have two hands but only one leg, whereas goalkeepers may have two feet but only one hand. Fri, 26 Oct 2018 01:53:56 GMT White tortoises die in large numbers in Upper Kuttanad Harippad: The mass deaths of white tortoises in the Upper Kuttanad area have alarmed locals as well as authorities. The casualties were noticed by the local people when the foul smell from the tortoise carcasses spread from the water bodies and paddy fields. The fatalities have been attributed to a disease caused by garbage. Local people say that the recent floods had brought a big amount of waste materials to the area. However, black tortoises have not been affected by the disease. Earlier, local species of fish were found have been suffering from a fungus infection in Upper Kuttanad. However, officials of the Animal Husbandry Department said that no report regarding carcasses of white tortoises floating in the water bodies and paddy fields of Upper Kuttanad had reached them. It was noticed that some tortoises in the Muhamma area had died of a virus infection named iridochoroiditis, an inflammation of the iris and the choroid, the officials said. Sat, 20 Oct 2018 04:29:33 GMT Parts of Kuttanad still submerged amid rain, high tide Kuttanad: Though Kerala had limped back to normalcy after the August flood, a few parts of the low-lying Kuttanad has not recovered even as the disaster is now a couple of months old. Water level at many places in Kuttanad is still high, making life difficult for residents. Heavy rains and high tide have resulted in this sticky situation. The worst affected are people living in areas where pumping to flush out water has not been resumed and the residents of islets surrounded by vast swathes of paddy fields. Making things more difficult for them, power supply often gets disrupted affecting the pumping. The places that are still flooded include Manapra North, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Nedumudi Krishi Bhavan, and Mecherivakka North and South paddy fields under Pulinkunnu Krishi Bhavan. Water has not receded in the nearby areas also. Pumping has resumed at Ayyanand paddy fields under Pulinkunnu Krishi Bhavan, but water level has not gone down on the premises of hundreds of houses in the area. Rain and water flowing in from springs are raising the water level in the paddy fields at South Manappally, Pulinkunnu, though pumping has been on here continuously for the last couple of weeks. Several people in waterlogged areas are reportedly suffering from skin diseases like ringworm infection of foot as they have to negotiate through flooded areas all the time. The premises of the Government Lower Primary School, Mankombu, are also still flooded making it inconvenient for students to step out of their classes. The paths in all the major islets at Kainakari are still under water. During high tide water rushes in to the paddy fields, thus making ineffective all the pumping of water that had been carried out so far. Low-lying areas at many places are submerged especially after a high tide. Fri, 19 Oct 2018 08:56:56 GMT When garbage bags returned to their owner Mavelikkara: The two women were in a hurry. They rode their scooter to the Kochikkal Road at Kandiyoor around 8:30 pm and lobbed off their garbage bags to their usual spot. So far, so good. The next morning, the stink was back in the house. The rubbish had been traced back to its rightful owner. A resident of Kochikkal Road had taken the trouble to sift through the refuse and recover bills that contained the address and phone number of the litterer. He called up the number and asked the receiver to take back the garbage bag. He also told them that he had them recorded in the act on a surveillance camera. The litterers apologised profusely and promised never to repeat the offense. They rode back to their “dumping ground” and took back the bags they discarded the previous evening. The Kochikkal Road resident was forced to install a surveillance camera after he was irritated by a stream of people throwing their domestic waste in front of his house. He traced the offenders with a quick examination of the bag they threw off. It had receipts from an LPG agency and a jewellery shop in the town. Thu, 18 Oct 2018 07:59:04 GMT Water-rich Alappuzha woefully short of training centres for swimmers Alappuzha: A district blessed with backwaters and ponds in abundance lacks a proper swimming training centre for children. Adding to the misery, the renovation of Raja Kesavadas swimming pool of the Kerala Sports Council is getting delayed. Besides, both the schools in the district and public ponds do not have a mechanism that will enhance swimming skills of budding swimmers. The local bodies of Thazhakara, Thekkekara and Cheriyanad panchayats and Mavelikkara and Kayamkulam municipalities are not utilising the water bodies in their localities either. No swimming pool in Kuttanad Kuttanad: Rampant pollution in the water bodies of Kuttanad has forced the parents from sending their children to Kainakari, Champakulam and Vaisyambhagom where nationally and internationally acclaimed swimmers are giving coaching classes. Alappuzha - which was number one in swimming championships in the mid-80s for years on end - has taken a nosedive in the medal tally thanks to the depleting infrastructure. Kuttanad backwaters and lakes are notorious for their water depth and hence finding a potential training ground for swimmers is indeed a daunting task. At present, training is imparted in the shallow water bodies near St Mary's School at Kainakari and Nedumudi panchayat. Stadium project fails to take off Kalavoor: Land was identified to set up a modern indoor stadium at a cost of Rs 1 crore at Preethikulangara near Mararikulam. The project envisages training for various sporting activities, including swimming, but that failed to take off due to lack of government aid. Though the required amount was sanctioned in the previous budget, even preliminary steps were not initiated in this regard. Sports Council cries for a coach There has been no replacement ever since the Sports Council coach in the district was transferred four months ago. The Sports Council trainer used to visit each centre to give swimming lessons. "It would be of great benefit if three small pools stretching up to 25 metres each were built at Kainakari, Pulinkunnu and Champakulam. A project was submitted to the previous government after identifying land at Kainakari panchayat," said R S Ajayakumar, secretary of district Aquatic Association. If the government comes up with a favourable stand to address the issue, days are not far behind when Alappuzha would churn out world-class swimmers, he said. Fri, 19 Oct 2018 05:02:57 GMT Alappuzha woman held for killing newborn Charumoodu (Mavelikara): A woman has been taken into custody for killing her newborn baby here. The baby was found dead under mysterious circumstances and the woman, currently at Mavelikkara district hospital, is in police custody. The woman gave birth to the baby on Sunday morning and sought the help of an ASHA worker in the locality to take her to hospital, following heavy bleeding. On the way to hospital, the ASHA worker found the cloth-wrapped body of the newborn in a plastic cover. The hospital authorities informed the police after they confirmed the child was not stillborn as claimed by the mother. Tossing aside her earlier claims the woman reportedly admitted to having murdered the infant. Nooranad police have slapped a case of unnatural death on the woman and the infant's body has been sent for post mortem examination. The woman was living away from her husband and was in a relationship with another man, sources said. Mon, 15 Oct 2018 10:56:32 GMT VS's sister-in-law to get flood relief as Collector intervenes Ambalapuzha: Sarojini Purushothaman, the widow of former chief minister VS Achutanandan's brother Purushothaman, will get her flood relief money of Rs 10,000 on Monday after the district collector's intervention. Alappuzha District Collector S Suhas moved swiftly after Malayala Manorama reported on Sunday that Sarojini, a senior citizen and agricultural worker, had visited the Punnapra Paravur village office and the local Canara Bank branch for the money, but to no avail. Also read: Sister-in-law of VS running from pillar to post for flood aid The Revenue Department has initiated emergency proceedings to make the money available to Sarojini, who had failed to get the money even after five repeat visits to the village office and the bank. Sarojini's Ashok Bhavan house in Paravur, Punnapra, was flooded but she and her children had chosen to stay on there. The Muslim Youth League state leadership visited her on Sunday and offered Rs 10,000. The district collector has moved to ensure that all flood victims on the government list, entitled to the benefit, got it before October 15. It has also been decided to call adalats at all six taluks in the district and disburse the money if anyone hasn't received it by that date. Mon, 08 Oct 2018 09:06:14 GMT Sister-in-law of VS running from pillar to post for flood aid Ambalappuzha: Former Kerala chief minister and CPM veteran V S Achuthanandan's close relative has failed to get the Rs 10,000 flood relief money offered by the state government. Sarojini of Ashok Bhavan in Paravur, Punnapra, had visited the village office and bank five times, to no avail. She is the widow of Achutanandan's brother V S Purushothaman. On Saturday it was the fifth time that Sarojini, a senior citizen, visited the Punnapra-Paravur village office and the local Canara Bank. The bank repeated its assurance that she might get it soon. Sarojini had stayed put in her house, along with her children, when it was inundated in August. She had hoped for some relief from the money that the government had promised, but remains deeply disappointed. The revenue department, incidentally, had claimed on September 18, that the distribution of the Rs 10,000 aid to flood-affected families has been completed. It had said 5.5 lakh families have received the money. Read more: Latest Alappuzha news Sun, 07 Oct 2018 05:56:23 GMT Now track school buses from home, courtesy GPS Cherthala: Parents and school authorities will now have live information on the movement of the school bus, as the buses have been equipped with GPS tracking unit. All school buses under the Cherthala Joint Regional Transport Officer (RTO) have been brought under the Global Positioning System from Monday. The system keeps providing latest information on the vehicles' path, speed etc. The information will be available live on the cell phones at the motor vehicle department office, the school and of parents. The GPS navigation device has been installed on all 140 school buses under the Joint RTO. The motor vehicles department officials had trained drivers on using the GPS earlier. The cost of the device varies from Rs 3,000 to 4,500. Two to four panic-alarm buttons are provided, depending on the length of the bus. The alarm buttons could be used by students to alert the driver in an emergency. The panic button can be used to seek help if a violent situation arises or in the event of an accident. The panic button sends instant message to the RT office, the school, and to the parent. Joint RTO K. Manoj said school buses are being inspected to ensure that GPS device has been installed. GPS-based vehicle tracking system enables easy tracking of locations of multiple vehicles in a real time. It consists of a GPS device installed in the vehicle as well as software which gathers the data and portrays vehicles’ locations on the screen. Wed, 03 Oct 2018 01:37:58 GMT Sand mining endangers houses on banks of Kayamkulam Lake Arattupuzha: Illegal sand mining has resulted in soil erosion on the banks of the Kayamkulam Lake on a massive scale leaving hundreds of families residing in the area on the verge of danger. Houses constructed near the lake are facing an imminent threat of collapse. Cracks are found on the walls and the foundations of the houses have turned weak. All the houses in the Salvation Army Township Colony at Ramancherry, where 29 families were rehabilitated from the coastal region in the Karthikapally taluk, have suffered serious damages. The families were settled there as part of the tsunami rehabilitation programme. A part of Kochuveetil Hareesh’s home here has collapsed. Similar is the case of Meenatheril Ramachndran’s building as well. All the families of this colony are poor fishermen who can't secure a loan to carry out the maintenance works of their houses. The level of the floor of the houses, which have been built around 13 years ago, has now come down significantly to that of the lake. During monsoon and high tides, the houses get flooded with water which gushes from the lake. Authorities have turned a blind eye to the residents' plight even after submitting memorandums to the district collector, MLA and the MP, demanding construction of a rock wall along the bank of the lake. The irrigation department says they do not have the necessary funds to build the wall to prevent the lake water from flooding homes. Sun, 30 Sep 2018 10:44:00 GMT Alappuzha teen loses parents in a fortnight Arattupuzha: The loss of her father and mother within 10 days has left teenager Anagha all alone. It was just five days ago that her mother Latha died of cancer. Her father, Anandan, had succumbed to a heart ailment 10 days before that. Anagha is now at her house at Ramanchery, Arattupuzha, all alone. A flex board that hails her for her brilliant win in Class X hangs nearby. She had secured 9 A plus in her final class-10 examination and the flex was erected by local people to congratulate her. Anagha wrote her exam even as the illness of her parents was tormenting her. Anandan had a heart valve replacement 13 years ago. Doctors had warned him to keep off hard work, but the poor fisherman had little choice. Adding to the misery, Latha was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago and had shown improvement. But cancer spread to her head four months ago. Doctors were confident she could be saved, but they couldn't. Anandan toiled to take care of Latha and support Anagha's studies. Latha also joined job guarantee schemes and doing some tailoring work. Anagha used to attend to household chores. The family was struggling like this when Anandan left first, and then Latha followed. Anagha will get back to her Plus One commerce class at the Pullukulangara NRPM Higher Secondary School. The teachers had been caring though she had to skip several classes when her parents were in and out of hospitals. An account operates in the name of Anagha and Latha at Corporation Bank, Arattupuzha branch in Alappuzha district. Account number: 520101033748884. IFSC: CORP0000433. Phone 98471 32507. Sat, 29 Sep 2018 10:32:30 GMT Close shave for tourists as houseboats collide on Pamba Alappuzha: A major tragedy was averted as several people escaped unhurt after two houseboats collided on Pamba river off Pallathuruthy in the district on Sunday. The accident occurred around 9 am. There were 28 people from Maharashtra in one of the boats and two Hyderabadi families in the other. The tourists, who were part of package tourism, left for other destinations after they were brought to safety. Driver of one of the boats, who does not have licence, was taken into custody by the police. Sun, 23 Sep 2018 08:54:44 GMT Writers urged to stock up flood-hit library Pandanad: The office-bearers of a library here is reaching out to writers to replenish its stock it had lost in the floods. M V Library, as it is popularly known, lost more than 15,000 books and nearly 500 CDs containing learning materials in the floods. The Mitra Vasudeva Grandhashala in Pandanad in Alappuzha district, set up under the leadership of Kathakali guru Chengannur Raman Pillai and Chembannur family elder C K Neelakanta Pillai in 1950 at Mitramadam Kadavu in Pandanad, belongs to the list of the A-grade libraries of the state library council. The library, under its president T A Bennykutty and secretary G Krishnakumar, adopted a unique way to replenish the stock of books it lost in the floods. They requested authors to donate a copy of their books. A request was sent to publishers too. The initiative got good response and so far, the library has received 500 books, its secretary said. Similar loss elsewhere Onmanorama had earlier reported that floodwaters had swallowed two libraries along the banks of Periyar, rendering around 31,000 books useless amid rain and floods last month. The 1945-founded Mangalodayam library and the three-decade-old Gramadalam library fell victim to the natural calamity. The electronic equipment, furniture and office files of the libraries were also destroyed, authorities said. Mud-water filtered into all books, none of which could be retrieved. Mangalodayam in West Kadungallur, near Aluva, was inundated in flood that rose eight feet, drenching its 25,000 books in shelves and cupboards beyond repair. Gramadalam, which functioned in an islet that was marooned when floodwaters rose, has been completely damaged. Water entered up to seven feet high into the library that used to spread the light of knowledge to 800 houses in the locality. This library also lost its share of reference books besides furniture and electronic devices, including a mike set. Sun, 23 Sep 2018 04:03:50 GMT Czech couple tie the knot in Kerala with a message for the world Mararikulam: The floods in Kerala did not deter them reaching the state from faraway Czech Republic to enter the wedlock. It was also a message for all those who love to visit the state from all around the world that everything is safe here even after the deluge. The wedding ceremony conducted at Marari Beach Resort at 11 am on Saturday was the culmination of a three-and-a-half-year affair between blog writers Sonia Kotulkova and Michael Harbeck. Around 50 guests witnessed the event, which was solemnized in traditional Kerala Hindu style. A feast was arranged for 30 people at the venue. This is the couple’s second visit to Kerala together. When they reached the state for the first time the floods inundated several places. However, the catastrophe did not deter Sonia and Michael from their plan to hold the ceremony here. While Sonia is a former editor of ‘Maxim’ lifestyle magazine, Michael is the editor of a Czech news agency. Both of them said that they would write at length on Kerala post floods and also about their wedding in their blogs. The newly-weds are returning to their home country on Sunday. Thu, 20 Sep 2018 10:44:37 GMT Woman run over as angry car driver removes keys of son's bike Chengannur: A car driver's rage resulted in a tragic accident that claimed the life of a 56-year-old woman. A KSRTC bus ran over Anandavalli after she fell down on the road from her son's bike as the car driver pulled out its key, alleging that the two-wheeler had grazed his vehicle. The incident occurred near Pravinkood Junction on Main Central Road around 7.30 pm on Tuesday. Anandavalli, wife of Raveendran Nair of Vazhakkala Malayil at Eraviperoor, was riding pillion as she and her son Pradeep were proceeding to Chengannur. The police said the car driver blocked the bike and pulled out the key, locking its handle in the process. Amid the confusion, Anandavalli fell down and a passing Ernakulam-Palod fast passenger bus overran her. She died on the spot. The police have detained the car driver, who they said belongs to Panthalam. Furious local people tried to smash the car, but the police intervened and removed the car from the spot. Traffic was affected for quite sometime on the main road. Read more: Latest Alappuzha news Wed, 19 Sep 2018 09:54:08 GMT Ragged, expelled girl student recalls ordeal Alappuzha: The teenage student shudders as she recalls her horrific experience during her early days at a vocational college she had joined a fortnight ago. “Eight of them stormed into my hostel room and made me stand on my knees. They pushed me on the cot and began beating me. They twisted my hands, hit on my shoulders,” narrated the student on the ragging by her hostel-mates who allegedly were associated with the Students’ Federation of India (SFI). Soon, the student rushed to the hostel matron for help. “I begged before her to ring up my home. At this, she said dismissively, ‘Aren’t such things common in a hostel?’ She advised me not to tell my family such matters. A teacher who came to me later on learning about the incident, too, spoke the same,” the victim said, sitting at her house at Poonkavu in coastal Alappuzha. The girl was even ousted from the Government Polytechnic College at Vandiperiyar in Idukki district. She joined the college on September 3 . “That day, senior girl students came to me and said that I will have to go with senior male students if they asked me to. Though I said I had some physical issues, they dragged me out and made me scale the hills down to join a students’ agitation. Somebody pushed me; I fell down. At this, male students also joined in reprimanding me,” she added. “Around 8 pm, when my father called me on the office phone, the senior students gathered around me, threatening me not to reveal the incidents. My father somehow came to know about it. He reached the college later that night. He and I complained to the principal and the police. What ensued was my dismissal.” The girl said, quoting the principal, that the college had sent her a letter dated September 11, asking her to furnish the transfer certificate. But on the next day she was not at home. “We were away at Vandiperiyar, where the anti-ragging council had asked us to give our statement in the case. So, we didn’t get the letter promptly,” the student claimed. “The letter, as we saw it later, hadn’t stated the date we were to appear in college. The idea simply was to dismiss me.” “On September 12, when I was in college to give my statement, we were threateningly surrounded by local CPM leaders and activists of the party-affiliated SFI. We got back our lives only because we were provided protection by the police, who, too, were surrounded,” she said. “The assaulters enjoyed silent support from the principal.” So far, neither the principal nor any authority from the college has enquired the state of the student and her family, she said. “All the time, the principal’s behaviour to us was cruel,” the student added. “Everyone insulted me. They all snatched away my chance to study. There should be an inquiry against it. I have to regain my right to study.” Read more: Latest Alappuzha news Mon, 17 Sep 2018 10:52:47 GMT Disability, ailment no deterrent to this Good Samaritan Ambalapuzha: R Rajesh is a true fighter. He was born with physical disabilities and is suffering from blood cancer. However, he never let his disabilities and ailments stop him from dedicating his life to the service of the needy and the distressed. The 34-year-old, a native of Keerikadu near Kayamkulam, was in the forefront of the post-flood relief activities in his neighbourhood when another tragedy struck in the form of an accident. Rajesh and his friend were on their way to supply food packets to a relief camp in their area when the motorcycle they were travelling on collided with another bike at Neerkunnam on the national highway. Rajesh, who was riding pillion, sustained multiple fractures on his leg and injuries to his face in the accident which took place on August 25. Rajesh, who is the district co-ordinator of a volunteer group, had developed post-polio syndrome (PPS) in 2012. It was only nine months since he was able to walk without assistance. He was diagnosed with blood cancer while undergoing treatment for PPS at the Alappuzha Medical College Hospital. Rajesh, who was discharged from hospital on Sunday, has started taking cancer treatment drugs, but he does not want to stop his philanthropic activities. He is also dependent on daily insulin doses of 40 units. Rajesh, whose family comprises wife and two children, ekes out a living by writing poetry and penning lyrics for musical albums. He has made it a habit to set aside a percentage of his income for charity. Mon, 10 Sep 2018 13:53:38 GMT Broke and homeless, family forced to live on railway platforms Mavelikkara: A family of five, including a three-month child and a septuagenarian, who had been living on the streets for the past five days after being evicted from their rented home, were moved to a shelter home on Sunday, thanks to the generous help extended by good samaritans in the locality. Radhakrishnan, 52, his mother Ponnamma, 75, wife Rama, daughter Vani and her three-month-old child took refuge at the Kayamkulam railway station on August 4, and for the past five days, they had been sleeping in the open and surviving on food being donated by their benevolent friends. When the railway platform gets crowded, they would move to the nearby KSRTC bus terminal. On Sunday, after being informed of the family’s plight, social workers in the area made arrangements to temporarily lodge them in the Snehaveedu shelter home run by the Chunakkara Palliative Care Society. The family of Radhakrishnan, who was a private bus employee, was living in rented homes ever since he sold his land and house 10 years ago to pay for his mother’s treatment. The landlord gave them a notice to vacate the premises on or before August 28 claiming that he was planning to demolish the building. Broke and homeless, the family wrapped up all their possessions in a bag and kept it inside the cowshed in the backyard of their rented home, and unable to find a place elsewhere, they decided to live on the streets. It was then Radhakrishnan called local politician and former block panchayat member Geetha Gopalakrishnan, who was his high school classmate, and narrated his ordeal. Through the school’s alumni association ‘Punarjani’ she contacted R Rajesh MLA, who, in turn, passed on the information to the Chunakkara-based Palliative Care Society. Radhakrishnan was reeling under financial hardship after marrying off three of his daughters. He is also under treatment for an acute gastrointestinal condition. The family had defaulted in payment of rent for the past few months after Radhakrishnan stopped working due to poor health. Each day passes towards an uncertain future for the family as they know their stay in the shelter home is only temporary. Mon, 10 Sep 2018 08:59:37 GMT Newlywed donates wedding ring to flood relief fund Mavelikkara: A bride has donated her ring to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) at the wedding venue itself. Sona Soman, a resident of Umbarnad at Kallumala, handed over her ring to Mavelikkara MLA R Rajesh, who had reached the wedding venue to wish the newlyweds. The wedding between Sona and Baiju, a resident of Karumadi in Ambalapuzha, took place on Thursday. Baiju is a civil police officer attached to the district police chief’s office in Kottayam. He is the son of the late Balan and Vijayamma. Sona is the daughter of V K Soman, a retired BSNL official, and Pankajakshy. She is awaiting her posting as health inspector after securing a spot in the rank list of Kerala Public Service Commission. When she saw the MLA arriving at the wedding venue, Sona took an instant decision to donate her ring. With the permission of Baiju, she handed over the wedding ring to the MLA for donation to the CMDRF. Sona’s house was not affected during the floods, but some relatives belonging to severely inundated places had stayed there for several days during the calamity. Sat, 08 Sep 2018 07:40:08 GMT Impressed with Sudhakaran, Germans gift pressure washers Alappuzha: A team from a leading German cleaning technology company gifted Kerala minister G Sudhakaran the latest cleaning equipment that could be used for clean-up drives in the flood-ravaged state. Impressed with the Public Works Minister's participation in the cleaning drive at the Kainakary village in Kuttanad, Karcher Cleaning systems, a market leader, gifted G Sudhakaran with high-pressure washing equipment worth Rs 4.50 lakh. Ruediger Schreuder, managing director of the German firm, travelled to Kerala to personally gift the equipment to the minister, who handed them over to the Fire and Rescue Force. Schrueder said he saw the minister's act on a foreign TV channel. “That prompted me to do something for Kerala. I am thinking of pitching in with more help.” Sudhakaran explained the havoc wreaked by the flood in the state. He also briefed Schreuder on the relations Germany had been having with Kerala over centuries, recalling the services rendered by Hermann Gundert who prepared the first Malayalam dictionary and Benjamin Bailey who set up the first printing press. District Collector S Suhas, Disaster management special officer P Venugopal and others were present. Sun, 09 Sep 2018 03:14:01 GMT Cycle polo player hopes to ride out despite flood loss Ambalapuzha: The devastating deluge the state witnessed recently couldn't hamper the spirit of national cycle polo player Nikhita. The former captain of the Kerala team, who hails from Ambalapuzha, lost her treasured bicycle in the flood, yet stay determined to pursue the sport. Nikhita, her brother Nikhil, their parents Shailajakumar and Sushma stay at an unfinished single-room house at Kanjipadam, Ambalapuzha, in Alappuzha district. They had gone to Sushma's house at Pallana when their house was inundated last month. The bicycle, which remained submerged for days in the floodwater got damaged by the time they returned. The cycle was gifted to Nikhita by her father after saving a part of the family's meagre income. Upon learning her plight, the locals have offered to buy her a new bicycle. Nikhita had started her cycle polo practice when she was a class 7 student at the Government High School at Kakkazham. She has, so far, participated in seven national meets. She was chosen the best star at the 2011 national juniors' meet. After graduating from SD College, Alappuzha, Nikhita is currently doing a fashion designing course at the Government Technical School, Haripad. She hopes her family's lot would improve when she gets a job. Sat, 08 Sep 2018 02:12:52 GMT Thai cave rescuers arrive in Kuttanad for 'flush out' task Alappuzha: Two months after they carried out a major rescue operation pumping water out from a trecherous Thailand cave to rescue 12 children and their football coach, Robert Spinner and N J Adam Drakeley were in Kerala, having just finished a similar mission in flood-submerged Kuttanad. Both were in the low-lying Kainakary village of Alappuzha district to head the operation of flushing out water from its sprawling fields. As top employees of the technical wing of US-based Xylem Inc, the duo was in Kerala to carry out free service on behalf of their 2011-founded water technology provider headquartered in New York. Drakeley returned to England on Tuesday, having arrived in Alappuzha last week to decide on where all to fix water pumps for the flush-out task. Spinner completed his share of the work on Thursday and is set to fly to Philadephia in America. “The sights at Kuttanad were a surprise. The losses are disastrous,” said Spinner, 35. “The pumps are working well. The assignment has been a success.” Both Spinner and Drakeley were in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province for six days from end-June to save 13 people who were trapped inside a cave since June 23. At Kuttanad, Xylem has brought in a dozen huge water pumps from Dubai. All except one of them have been fixed on barges and is flushing out water. The twelfth pump is operating in Alappuzha city. Each pump is capable of pumping out one lakh litres of water a minute. The transportation of the pumps from the Gulf cost Xylem Rs 50 lakh, according to the company’s India managing director H Bala and special projects director Sridhar Arakkal. The pumping, which began on August 4, will go on for another ten days. Thu, 06 Sep 2018 10:59:27 GMT Knee-deep in water, man swims the travails for hosting daughter's wedding Alappuzha: Middle-aged Thankappan is least keen to spell out the name of his house. For, his family in water-logged Kainakary continues to live in a relief camp even a fortnight after the heavy rain subsided. That isn’t the main worry of the household’s head, a farmer. Thankappan’s youngest daughter’s marriage has been fixed for September 15 and a chunk of the guests is yet to be invited. The man, like any native of watery Kuttanad belt in south-central Kerala, is a good swimmer. So he wades through the water to reach the houses of prospective invitees. Only to find that not many live there as well. At the odd house that is inhabited, Thankappan hands over the invitation. It was after a string of such an exercise that the father of the bride noticed an error in the card. The function is not being held in his house, but at an auditorium 15 km away from it. That change has not been incorporated in the invitation. After all, this is the third time the marriage date has been postponed amid the calamity. At this phase, though, Thankappan is determined to hold it, come what may. The venue may not be his home as originally scheduled, but September 15 date is here to be the final date for the wedding. Thankappan has three daughters; the elder two have been married off. The father had nurtured hopes of making the big occasion joyous by hosting the wedding at his house. That was not to be, he realises in resignation. Now, at least the function should happen, wherever. What’s sad about post-flood Kuttanad today is that this farmer is not an odd character. In fact, the whole region, still submerged by and large, has several Thankappans running from pillar to post in their desperate effort to hold family functions, including weddings. Thu, 06 Sep 2018 02:02:07 GMT Oommen Chandy sponsors flood victim's wedding Thiruvanvandoor, Alappuzha: The recent Kerala deluge had wrecked the lives of many families with loss of lives and property garnering the attention of public. However, there are many unknown families who stare at an uncertain future or whose plans were scuppered severely in the wake of disastrous floods. A young woman, who lost everything in the deluge, had to cancel her wedding set for August 26. Luckily, help came soon with the intervention of political leaders. Thanks to the initiative of former chief minister and Congress leader Oommen Chandy, the family was able to organise the wedding Monday. Maya of Vanjippuzheth Colony, who had lost her father Krishnan two years ago, was living with her mother Mani. As wedding preparations were in full swing, the flood washed away everything, including the wedding saree and grocery items for the feast. They had to seek shelter at the relief camp at the Christian College, Chengannur. Their plight came to light when Congress president Rahul Gandhi visited the area last week. Chandy, who was with Rahul, promised to take care of the wedding. Money for the wedding soon arrived in Mani's bank account. Chandy arrived at Maya's house on Sunday to bless her. She offered respects by touching his feet. Akash, a native of Alappuzha, married Maya at the Vanavathukkara temple in Alappuzha. Tue, 04 Sep 2018 06:39:28 GMT No sleight of hand, magician survives floods on floating house Mankombu (Alappuzha): The recent floods in Kerala had forced many desperate to escape it to think on their feet. While some swam to safety or managed to perch themselves on tall structures, a few like Mankombu resident Manu developed ingenious ways to save their lives. Manu, a magician, built a floating house as a makeshift accommodation when the deluge claimed his old house. He lost all trade accessories, worth Rs 25 lakh, as floodwaters gushed in. The floating house has been completed using scrap material. A total of 70 plastic cans form its foundation. The single-room dwelling is anchored at a canal, an arm of the Pampa river, in front of his plot. Manu used plastic bottles, wooden logs, rods and kerosene barrels to finish the new house. A cupboard inside is actually one such barrel cut into two. The outer sides of house have been tethered to nearby trees to ensure the structure doesn’t flow down. Ever since mid-August, after rains intensified and the state was flooded, Manu has been spending much of his days in this house along with his brother Vinod and friend Sudhi. That no way means Manu spent his time ensuring just his safety. The altruist took out his boat to save no less than 67 people marooned in the floods around. Now that the sun is out, the magician can think of reviving his profession. For that, though, Manu needs to start from scratch. Fri, 31 Aug 2018 05:49:37 GMT Piranhas appear in Vembanad Lake after floods; authorities clueless Poochakkal, Alappuzha: The big catch of piranhas (red belly fish) from the Vembanad Lake has raised concerns over the consequences it could have on the ecosystem here. Piranha, a predatory species that feeds on other fish and animals, is a fresh water fish native to South America. Rearing of piranha has been banned by the Kerala Fisheries Department, but it was being illegally kept by fish farmers in the state. It is believed that the recent floods that inundated several places in the area led to the piranhas finding their way to the Vembanad Lake. Piranhas are known for their quick growth, weight and taste, making them a favourite among farmers. Brought from other states, the young piranhas are grown in private ponds in Kerala. With the exotic fish finding its way into the Vembanad Lake, they have become a common catch for local people using anglers. Few piranhas get trapped the nets of fishermen as the fish can tear apart the nets. Known for their voracious appetite for meat, piranhas have very sharp teeth. With a lifespan of 10 years, they can prove to be much harmful to native fish breeds and the ecosystem of Vembanad. Thu, 30 Aug 2018 14:27:07 GMT 70K join Isaac's mission to clean Kuttanad Thiruvananthapuram: Two days after Kerala's finance minister T M Thomas Isaac in a Facebook post called upon Keralites to come forward and clean flood-ravaged Kuttanad so that sceptics like TV anchor Arnab Goswami would recognise the state's potential, around 70,000 people on Tuesday volunteered to take part in the drive. Kuttanad, known as Kerala's rice bowl, is under slit and debris dumped by the worst floods in the state in 100 years. The region, which is below the sea level, has several areas still inundated, a week after the torrential rain that triggered the devastating deluge across the state stopped and water receded in most other parts. Thomas Isaac and PWD minister G Sudhakaran had launched the drive in which nearly 70,000 volunteers will clean around one lakh buildings in Kainakary, Nedumudi and other areas of Kuttanad in Alappuzha district. At least 1,000 engineers, IT volunteers and snake catchers along with cleaning supplies have also joined the drive. The volunteers reached Kuttanad in boats and buses and have fanned out across 16 panchayats to clear around one lakh buildings, including houses, public places and places of worship, of the slush and debris, Sudhakaran told reporters. He said the initial plan was to complete the clean-up by August 30. However, since a large number of houses were still waterlogged, it would take more time, the minister added. Isaac said they were overwhelmed by the response as people from as far as northern Kannur district had come to help people clean their homes. Isaac's FB post on Sunday was in response to a 30-second video clip of Republic TV's anchor Arnab Goswami purportedly calling 'a group' the 'most shameless bunch of Indians I have ever seen' went viral. The context of his statement: the Kerala floods and the ongoing debate as to whether the United Arab Emirates actually offered Rs 700 crore to the state, which the Centre then turned down. Irate commentators, Malayalis and otherwise, said Goswami's comments were a blanket critique of the victims of the Kerala floods. Wed, 29 Aug 2018 02:01:43 GMT Post flood, these Kerala villagers live in the company of the dead Alappuzha: As flood waters rose to engulf their homes at Kainakary, a picturesque village in Alappuzha district, at least 20 families took refuge in a church cemetery and are living in the company of the dead with their domestic animals. Thankachan and his family refused to accept help and go to a safer place leaving behind their cows and goats. However, as the water rose to a dangerous level, the family took shelter in the St Mary's church cemetery at Kainakary village, a taluk in Kuttanad, with the animals. Kainakary is a sought-after spot by television serial makers due to its scenic beauty. "We are not scared of living in the cemetery in the company of the dead. This is the final resting place of my father, elder sister and many other relatives who are buried here," Thankachan said. "We had cows and goats and we did not want to leave them behind," he added. Presently, there are 20 other families who have taken shelter at the graveyard. They cook meals with whatever they are able to lay hands on, including fish. Water is a problem though and the stranded people have to depend on bottled water from Alappuzha. Five rivers originating from the Western Ghats, including the sacred Pamba river, drain into the Vembanad lake at the tip of Kainakary, famous for its snake boat race rowers. Mon, 27 Aug 2018 07:12:57 GMT Famished, marooned woman waits with hubby's body for 2 days until rescue Alappuzha: The unprecedented floods have forced Keralites to suffer untold miseries and the ordeal faced by a woman at Pandanad in Alappuzha reflects the extent of the tragedy. The woman had to live with the body of her husband in their flooded house for two days. The body could be secured as she managed to fasten it. Worsening her condition, she had to go without food until she was rescued two days after the death of her husband. The tragedy happened at the house of one Abraham near the Parish Hall at Pandanad during the recent floods. Pandanad falls within Chengannur taluk, which was the worst-hit place in the disastrous floods. Abraham died after a fall in the house amid the panic during flood. He slipped and fell as he came down to the ground floor and succumbed soon as his head was injured during the fall. Though Abraham's wife and a female relative cried for help, nobody heard them and could reach their for help. They tied up the body to prevent it from drifting away in the floodwaters that had gushed in to their house, close to the swollen Pamba river. Though rescue workers shifted the marooned family to a safer place, her son said that his mother is yet to recover from the misfortune she had to face. Abraham, who retired from Goa Port Trust, was 64. The funeral is on Monday. Sun, 26 Aug 2018 01:48:29 GMT Faced with drowning, woman planned to float baby on water Chengannur: Several tales of near-death experiences in floods are being reported from across Kerala. Many people in Chengannur, perhaps the worst-hit in the deluge, had a close shave as the swollen rivers submerged the ground floors of several buildings. "Three days had passed,” recalled Reshmi. “Water was rushing up to the first floor. We were facing certain drowning. My son is just 11 months old. I thought of placing him in a vessel and floating thought was at least he could be saved.” It was the Indian Navy that plucked to safety Reshmi, her son Darshan and her parents Radhakrishna Pillai and Sushma, from the house at Pandanad village in Chengannur which was wrecked by the flood. Her husband Ajith is abroad. The family had taken shelter on the first floor of a neighbouring house on August 15, when water started gushing into their house. A total of 58 people from 14 families were on the same floor, including 10 children. “We called several numbers for rescue,” Reshmi said. “There was no help coming. Finally the phone battery was exhausted. As the water level rose, we gave up hope that anyone would reach us.” The Navy arrived on Saturday, August 18, and took them to safety. Meanwhile, relatives were desperately seeking them. Finally they found the family at a camp near the Parumala shrine. Mon, 20 Aug 2018 09:19:28 GMT Kuttanad man, 76, swims to safety, searches for family in Chengannur Alappuzha: Karunakaran, 76, is among the lakhs of people displaced by the ravaging funds that swallowed that state of Kerala. Even as the septuagenarian tries to adjust to the life at a relief camp he is eagerly awaiting news of his family. All that the old man carried with him while he was shipped to safety was a piece of paper on which was scribbled his son's phone number. His family had gone to Chengannur on Friday and have not been heard from since. Chengannur was one of the worst affected regions where waters surged up over 10 feet at several places. Swam to safety Karunakaran's house at Ponga, Kuttanad, was fully submerged in the rain and he swam across the surging floodwaters to reach Champakulam. Rescuers located him there and took him to a relief camp at the Thiruvambadi Higher Secondary School, near Alappuzha town. His son Biju had taken the family to a relative's place in Chengannur after the flood situation in Kuttanad worsened. Karunakaran stayed back while his wife Leela, son, daughter-in-law Anila, and grandchildren; five-year-old Amrita and eight-month-old Aiswarya left with Biju. Clueless about his kith and kin Clueless about the fate of his family members and his kin at Chengannur, Karunakaran has been trying in vain to contact Biju and other relatives on phone. Though Kuttanad, situated below the sea level, is buffeted by floods every year, this is the first time ever that Chengannur has been submerged. At Chengannur, the waters drowned two-storeyed buildings after its plains were submerged by the swelling waters of the Pampa and Achankovil rivers. Mon, 20 Aug 2018 07:29:35 GMT Over 500 stranded rescued by fishermen in boats Alappuzha: Fishermen on the Kerala coast are being lauded for rescuing flood-hit people in various parts of the state. Twenty-five accomplished fishing workers from Thumpoly beach rescued over 500 people stranded in flood waters here as they volunteered to take the boats in troubled waters. The fishermen responded to a WhatsApp message posted by Thumpoly ward councillor K A Nishad. The police seized the shikaras (wooden boats) from owners for the rescue works earlier and the fishermen were asked to steer them. K C Venugopal, MP, co-ordinated the effort at the Mini Civil Station. The boats had an hour-long wait for filling fuel at the Punnamada Finishing Point. Nearly 500 people from Kuttanad were rescued from locations like Champakulam, Ramankari, Pulinkunnu, Mitrakkari etc. in journeys that often stretched to three hours. The rescued people were provided with clothes and other essential items at the municipal library. Sun, 19 Aug 2018 09:51:50 GMT 13 students airlifted from hostel near Chengannur Chengannur: A Naval helicopter has plucked to safety 13 of 30 students trapped inside the women's hostel of Sree Aiyappa College at Eramallikara. Two female students were earlier rescued by their own families. The remaining 15 could not be picked up on Saturday because inclement weather prevented any further operation by the time the first mission was completed in the evening. They will be rescued on Sunday. The rescued students, who landed at the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, said the Naval team has assured them that Sunday's first rescue mission will be for the students still remaining trapped in the hostel. The students were provided with food and water in the morning. The plan was to rescue all 28 students who were stuck in the hostel. The helicopter returned to Thiruvananthapuram for a fuel refill as it had to stay in the air for longer time than was expected. Meanwhile, some of the rescued girls said that some women in the locality harassed them, saying that the rescue choppers would damage their houses. The local people had also picked up a quarrel with the families of the two students who were rescued earlier. Sun, 19 Aug 2018 04:41:21 GMT 'Missing' Bihar man reunites with family after six years Edathua: The brothers of Vijay Raj couldn't hold back their tears when they saw their long-lost sibling after six years, for they had given up all hope of finding him. The four brothers took turns to hug the middle-aged Bihar-native who had landed in Kerala six years ago. The Sneha Bhavan orphanage near Edathua in Alappuzha district witnessed emotional scenes when Vijay’s siblings and close relatives came to meet him recently, travelling all the way from a remote village in Bihar. The reunion was facilitated by a senior Kerala government official and a social worker based in northern India. Vijay was noticed by Fr George Joshua, a member of the Board of Control for Orphanages and Manish Kumar, a social worker from north India six-days ago. Vijay who speaks Hindi, has been an inmate of the Sneha Bhavan for the past six years, grabbed the attention of the team when they were visiting the orphanage. That is when the 55-year-old revealed that he had, after a minor skirmish at home in 2012, boarded a south-bound train from Patna. Caught in a strange land, he got down at the Thiruvalla railway station. From there, he happened to take an aimless westward journey for days that eventually ended at Anaprambal. There, at the temple junction, Vijay collapsed. Upon noticing a fatigued man, locals took him to the orphanage. Sneha Bhavan thus then became Vijay’s home. After sustained efforts, Fr Joshua and Manish located Vijay's parents with the help of the Bihar police. Vijay’s younger brothers Ashok Raj, Shivshankar Raj, Jalandhar Raj and Rajukumar Raj, besides six other relatives, arrived at the orphanage on Saturday and took him home. Mon, 13 Aug 2018 08:06:01 GMT KSRTC resumes AC Road service after 26 water-logged days Alappuzha: The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) resumed services on the arterial Alappuzha-Changanassery (AC) Road after a gap of 26 days. The remarkably beautiful 24-km road, with paddy fields and backwaters on either side right across Kuttanad, becomes a large swathe of a water body during the rains. The road gets inundated, thereby erasing the bounds between road and lake. With incessant rain in the past few days and the release of water from dams in Kerala, the road has been under water. But KSRTC decided to operate services on an experimental basis. The blue-and-white public transporter was crowded and the bus moved slowly along the Mankompu stretch, where it crossed the bridge and reached the junction to proceed towards Changanassery in adjoining Kottayam district. The services were suspended on July 16 following heavy rains that inundated the Mankompu region. Last week, water receded a bit, prompting KSRTC to operate its services partially. The first bus running on Thursday doesn’t necessarily mean resumption of service. “We will have to inspect the current level of water and see whether buses can run more regularly along AC Road,” a KSRTC official said. There have been complaints about the road going particularly unusable along the Mankompu stretch. Following this, ministers G Sudharakan and legislator Thomas Chandy intervened, following which the Kerala State Transport Project started repairs. As on Friday, water-logging continued from Mankompu Nasrath Junction to the Party Office and Mankompu Bridge to the Block Junction. There is relief in water-logging around Parassery junction and also Nedumudi. Read more from Alappuzha Sat, 11 Aug 2018 04:01:49 GMT Rain fury: Nehru trophy boat race postponed Alappuzha: With heavy rain lashing Kerala for the past two days, the Kerala tourism department has decided to postpone the Nehru trophy boat race, which was scheduled to be held on Punnamada lake on August 11. In a press note, the department said on Thursday that the water level in the lake will rise substantially following torrential rain and floods, and this will affect the boat race, which signifies the beginning of Onam season in Kerala. Read in Malayalam Several people were killed in rain-related incidents and widespread damage was reported from across the state. One shutter of the Cheruthoni dam of the Idukki reservoir was opened as the water level inched towards its full capacity. Click here to know your Chundan Fresh dates for the four-day event will be announced soon after the water level in Punnamada lake subsides, the note said. Around 78 boats, including 25 snake boats, will be taking part in the 66th edition of the Nehru trophy boat race. Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was expected to be the chief guest for Nehru trophy boat race 2018. Read more: Alappuzha news Thu, 09 Aug 2018 09:42:05 GMT