Idukki Read latest news updates from Idukki District Kerala in English. Watch Videos and Photos of Exclusive Breaking News. Onmanorama en Tue, 25 Jun 2019 05:56:52 GMT Farmer kills self with gun, 11th suicide over debts in Idukki this year Rajakumari, Idukki: A farmer shot himself to death over acute debts at Rajakumari in Kerala's Idukki district. Santhosh of Estate Poopara is the 11th farmer to commit suicide due to debts in Idukki this year. The 46-year-old was found dead with gunshot wounds at his house near Estate Poopara around 4pm on Monday. Santhosh, who had grievously injured his spine after falling from the tree, was unable to go for work. The depression over joblessness and acute debts forced him to take the extreme step, his relatives said. Santhosh had shot himself using a country gun, the cops at Santhanpara police station concluded after a preliminary investigation. Santhosh was alone at the house during the incident. His wife Rajani and son Arjun were at a farm near to the house. On hearing the gunshot, the duo ran to the house and found Santhosh with injuries to his head and neck. Though he was rushed to a private hospital at Rajakumari, his life could not be saved. His right eye and neck had suffered serious injuries. The forensic experts would conduct checks at the house on Tuesday. As per the preliminary investigation of the police, there is no licence for the gun. Santhosh had fallen from the tree a month ago, causing serious injuries to his spine. He had taken Rs 3 lakh from the people of his village for the treatment, the relatives said. He had also taken a loan of Rs 4 lakh from the Idukki district cooperative bank. Santhosh owned 23 cents of agricultural land. He also has one daughter Archana. Tue, 23 Jul 2019 11:33:53 GMT Joint winner of lottery flees with first-prize ticket, partner seeks police help Munnar: Kerala has been running a government-controlled lottery scheme for over half a century but a strange case linked to the sharing of sweepstake has been reported from the state's Idukki district. The joint winner of the Win Win Lottery has reportedly fled after getting hold of the ticket from his friend with whom he had bought it! In a complaint submitted to the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP), Munnar New Colony native R Harikrishnan said that he along with his neighbour Sabu had bought Kerala Lottery's Win Win ticket for Rs 30 on Monday from Kunjithanny. It reportedly won the first prize of Rs 65 lakh. The ticket was with Harikrishnan when the results were out on Tuesday. The next day, Harikrishnan went to the Munnar branch of the State Bank of India (SBI) along with Sabu and block panchayat member C Nelson. However, the bank officials told them that since there are two owners to the ticket, they should open a joint account and asked them to come the next day. By then, the ticket came in the hands of Sabu. When Harikrishnan turned up next day to go to the bank, Sabu had fled after locking his house; his phone too was switched off. Sabu, who was in Munnar for masonry work, was living alone on rent and Harikrishnan had no clue about his native place or address. The police have begun an inquiry. Sat, 13 Jul 2019 00:48:56 GMT KSRTC crew rescues doctor, kin injured in car accident Kattappana: The buses of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) are notorious for frequent breakdowns and accidents. But in a strange coincidence, the employees of a bus plying on the narrow Main Central Road (MC Road) were in the midst of rescuing accident victims for the second time in two weeks. Their latest intervention being at Adoor in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district at midnight the other day to help a three-member family who was injured after their car rammed a tree. Dr Faizal Muhammed of the paediatric department at the Holy Cross Hospital at Adoor and his family were involved in the accident on Monday night. They were returning home after visiting Chennai when they were injured. KJ Mathew and Anoop Zachariah, the driver and conductor of the bus belonging to the Kattappana depot, noticed the car accident as they reached Koorambala, near Adoor, by 1.45 am. The bus had started its journey from Thiruvananthapuram, close to midnight. After parking the bus in such a way so that the accident site would be lit up in the night, the crew went towards the spot. They took out the injured -- a doctor, his wife and their daughter -- from the car. Mathew and Zachariah decided to take the injured in the bus itself to a private hospital at Pandalam as no other vehicle was available at the odd hour. However, the injured were referred to the Medical College Hospital as the condition of the injured were critical. Soon, the bus personnel took the injured to the Pushpagiri Medical College Hospital in Thiruvalla. The bus passengers wholeheartedly backed the initiative of the driver and the conductor to help the accident victims. Incidentally, the same crew had rescued an autorickshaw driver who was injured after his vehicle toppled at Kodimatha in Kottayam, again on MC Road, on June 28. They had then taken the injured driver to the hospital. Thu, 11 Jul 2019 00:46:23 GMT Lorry driver rescues woman from bison attack Marayoor: When a bison charged at Shamla Baby, the distance between life and death for her was a mini lorry. It was the presence of mind and daredevilry of the mini lorry diver, Kanthallur native Suresh, that rescued the woman from the deadly bison's attack. The incident happened on Monday morning at the Marayoor-Kanthallur road. Shamla was on her scooter near Vettukad area when the bison attacked her. Seeing the charging wild animal, Suresh, who was coming from the opposite side with a load of bricks, shoved his vehicle between the bison and the woman. Though the side of the vehicle was damaged in the bison attack, the woman escaped unhurt. Due to the pain caused by the horns piercing the metal body panel of the lorry, the bison quickly fled the spot. Pius Nagar native Shamla Baby is an ESAF employee. Tue, 09 Jul 2019 07:44:37 GMT In radio talk, Prime Minister hails library in Kerala’s tribal village Thodupuzha: The ‘Akshara’ library at Edamalakudi, the first and only tribal panchayat in Kerala, has been praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the first ‘Mann ki baat’ monthly radio talk of his second term in office. Edamalakudi is, in fact, finding mention in Modi’s speech for the second time. The Prime Minister had spoken about panchayat in October 2016 also. Excerpts from the PM’s speech “I first read about the ‘Akshara’ library in some publication. This library is located in a village in the heart of the forest at Idukki. P K Muraleedharan, a teacher at the primary school in the village and P V Chinnathambi, who runs a teashop at the place, launched strenuous efforts to make the library a reality. Books were carried on the back to the library. Now Akshara is a guiding light for not only the children in the tribal hamlet but also the adults,” said the Prime Minister. Over 1,000 books The Akshara library has been in the limelight earlier too. Located in the forested hills, the library has forest dwelling people as its exclusive patrons. Chinnathambi (77) and Muraleedharan launched the facility together in the former’s tea shop with 150 books in 2015. Later, Chinnathambi found it difficult to operate the library from his tea shop and the books were shifted to the school at Mulakuthara in 2017. Food and other essential items are brought to Edamalakudi as head loads and the books too took the same route. There are over 1,000 volumes in the library now. However, the facility functions with several inadequacies. A proper building to house the books and other facilities are non-existent. With the library gaining national attention, the authorities are hoping that the Kerala government would provide the necessary support for its smooth functioning. Fri, 05 Jul 2019 00:47:14 GMT Centre salutes Kerala's Vandanmedu and Meenangadi police stations Two police stations from Kerala have found their place among the best police stations in the country. Vandanmedu in Idukki got the 26th rank and Meenangadi in Wayanad was placed 64th among the 87 top police stations in the country in the Union home ministry's rank list. Wonderful Vandanmedu Here, cases are disposed of fast. Those coming to the station can expect good behaviour from police personnel. Besides, the station has set an example by growing organic vegetable and fish in its premises. The Vandanmedu station has many such feathers in its cap and wears it very proudly. When police stations were computerised, the station digitised all its data very fast. Its surroundings are always clean and neat. No staffer at the station has faced any disciplinary action in the past two years. Inaugurated in November 1985, the station has 34 officers, including SI T J Augustine. Station in-charge is SHO Shojo Varghese. The Kalu police station in Rajasthan's Bikaner district was adjudged the best police station in the country. The second position went to Campbell Bay police station in Nicobar district of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The Farakka police station in Murshidabad in West Bengal came third. The Kalu police station is equipped with rest and recreational facilities for its staff, has a women's helpdesk, and drinking water and WiFi facilities. The Farakka station is airconditioned, and has a gym and a playground for its staff. The 87 top stations were chosen from a shortlist of 15,666 police stations in the preliminary round. The ranking was done on the basis of the assessment of data uploaded by them on crime and criminal tracking network and system. They were also evaluated on the basis of their handling of crimes against women and SC/ST community members as well as property offences. The basic facilities offered at the stations also helped. Sat, 29 Jun 2019 01:02:58 GMT Murder accused assaults wife, four-year-old daughter Rajakumari, Idukki: A murder accused, who was out on bail, has been accused of brutally assaulting his wife and four-year-old daughter. The woman has filed a police complaint against her husband, Rajakkad native Bittaj, the main accused in the murder case of a youth. The incident took place on Sunday. Bittaj hit his wife alleging that she was having an affair with another man. Their daughter, who screamed in terror, was also thrown on the floor. The girl has suffered injuries on her nose. The woman escaped from Bittaj's hands and took refuge in a neighbour's house. The woman who is under treatment at a private hospital in Adimaly, has suffered injuries on her head, lips and limbs. She alleged in her complaint that her husband, brother-in-law and stepmother were trying to kill her. She also alleged that the cops refused to arrest the culprit despite him being present in the house. However, the police said that the accused is on the run and they have intensified their probe. Bittaj and two others were arrested in December last year for beating a youth to death at a home stay owned by him over a vehicle sale. Fri, 28 Jun 2019 07:15:55 GMT Jungle comes calling in Kerala's hilly villages Marayoor/Munnar: The high ranges in the Idukki district have some strange visitors. Wild elephants, gaurs and even tigers have ventured out into human habitats in search of food. A herd of gaurs roamed around the Marayoor town even as the rain subsided on the hills. The rare sight has drawn thousands of people to the laid-back town by a sandalwood forest. The sandalwood forest of Marayoor is home to spotted deer and sambar apart from gaur. Wild animal incursions were a common sight in Marayoor during the summer months, when water bodies dried up inside the forest. Incessant rains over the past three weeks have filled up the rivers and lakes and green shoots have appeared everywhere. Though most of the wild animals have since retreated to the forests, one particular herd of gaurs seems to be excited about civilization. In Mattuppetty, it was a lone tusker that challenged human dominance. The elephant first made an appearance in the town on Sunday. He just strolled near the entrance to the boating centre without a care to the world. He even helped himself with the pineapples and ears of corn from the pavement eateries. Fortunately, the popular tourist area was deserted because of the low levels of water in the reservoir that prevented boating. The elephant returned on Monday as well, causing a traffic jam with his presence that lasted for more than an hour. As if one tusker was not problematic enough, an entire herd came down on a cardamom plantation in Udumbanchola near Nedunkandam. The jumbos have trampled 20 acres of cardamom plants which were ready for harvest. The herd has settled itself near the human habitat. Though the people tried to shoo them away, they just persisted and returned to the cardamom plantation. The farmers are staring at heavy losses because they were getting ready to sell the product when the demand was high. They have been clamouring for immediate intervention from the forest department. Even last year, wild elephants had trampled on agricultural produce worth lakhs of rupees in the same areas. The elephants even got into a field where the farmers were growing grass for their cows. The dairy farmers are clueless about what to feed their cattle. Munnar had another visitor who was more demanding. A tiger has been spotted in Munnar's Kannimala area. The predator has mauled a pregnant cow that belonged to a labourer in the Kannimala area. The forest officers who visited the area confirmed that the attacker was indeed a tiger, judging by the bite marks and pug marks found at the site. The cow which had been let loose for grazing was found by labourers on Monday morning. It is not just the animals that the farmers are afraid of. At least a dozen head of cattle have disappeared from the Kozhikkanam area in the last few months. Robin who lives in the Kozhikkanam estate has lost four of his cows. The dairy farmers suspect that a gang of thieves have made away with the cattle for meat. Henry, a farmer, has lodged a complaint with the police that his cow has been shot and sold off as meat. He said that he traced the remains of the cow and found out that it was shot. The police launched an investigation but failed to nab any culprits. Fri, 28 Jun 2019 00:50:23 GMT Robbers get busy as monsoon arrives Thodupuzha: The rainy season is here, and we are tempted to sleep more curled under thick blankets. But hark! Even as you enjoy that deep sleep, some people are getting ready, just outside your doorstep. And they have gathered special expertise in monsoon robbery. Police warn that thieves from other states also might be reaching Kerala to exploit the monsoon season. The robbers' season Robbers love the monsoon, and the reasons are many, the main one being the roads that would empty quite early. By around 8 or 9 p.m. the roads would become deserted during the rainy season. And the number of people who would keep awake late at night would also reduce. Most families would fall asleep before 10 or 10.30 at night. And there would be a lesser number of early wakers too. There would be no one around between 2 am – 4 pm, the most favourite hours of robbers, who know very well that even the night patrol team of the police would be asleep in the vehicles parked along the roads. The biggest advantage for the robbers is that occupants of a house will not even hear the sound of them breaking open the window or the door in the din of the rain. The monsoon robbers love houses with tin sheet roofs, as the racket made by the rain on the sheets will block out any other noise. The season attracts the vehicle thieves also. The owners will not even be aware of the theft even if the vehicle is driven off after opening the gates. There are reports that even robbers' teams from other States are making their presence felt in the district during the rains. Some such teams rent rooms in local lodges, commit the robberies, collect enough money and return home safely. The other day, a police patrolling team had discovered an attempted robbery in a house in the high ranges of Kerala. On catching a thief, the police came to know that he was a part of a group based at Theni in Tamil Nadu. It is reported that around 15 robbers are camping in different parts of the district. Some thieves are reportedly recceing places of worship. Breaking open the kanikka vanchi (money box), of the temples and churches are common during the monsoon season. And the main reason being that the sound will not be heard outside. All high-tech! The robbers are also making use of the high-tech facilities. Some ‘high-tech’ robbers are in possession of even night-vision cameras. There was a recent incident of thieves breaking open a door using some minor explosives. Blinding the CCTV cameras has also become common. Dial 100 In case you come across any incident of robbery or if you become the victim of such an attempt, call the Police Control Room immediately. Information about those seen in dubious circumstances can also be given in this number. People are also advised to memorise the numbers of the nearest police station and the mobile number of the local sub inspector of police. Inform the police as soon as possible in the event of a robbery. Take a little care Remember that it is no longer fashionable to wear too much gold. It is always safer to wear as little gold ornaments as possible when going out. Sat, 15 Jun 2019 00:36:38 GMT Kanjikuzhi school's lofty bonding with nature Cheruthoni: Adjudged the school with the best biodiversity park in the state, Kanjikuzhi Government LP School at Idukki is indeed a treasure house of nature, with butterflies fluttering all over, flowers of different hues and squirrels foraging behind the bushes. The garden can boast of diverse flora and fauna. It has been designed in such a way as to attract different species of fauna. The butterfly park at the school is a hub of butterflies of diverse hues. It also plays host to rare avian guests that visit the park. The park shares its borders with a medicinal plant garden and vegetable garden. The star attraction of the biodiversity park is Nakshatra Vanam. The sacred grove consisting of 27 trees that are related to 27 Nakshatras of Indian Astrology is protected by an 'organic fence'. The different types of climbing vines that train up the fence of Nakshatra Vanam take the park to next level. The grove is in its first year of formation, says school headmaster P K Sasimon. The fences dotted with beads are meant to bring the fun element in learning mathematics. They are sure to evince interest of children towards mathematics, say teachers. Fri, 07 Jun 2019 00:46:12 GMT Unsound woman found murdered at home; husband arrested Cheruthoni: A man has been taken into custody over the murder of his 48-year-old wife at Painavu in Kerala's Idukki district. The body of Rajeena, a resident of Raneesh Vilasam, near Thannikkandam at Painavu was found at her house on Monday. The police picked up her husband Mukkayya (64) in connection with the incident. According to the police, Rajeena lived with Mukkayya and their younger son Rajeesh, a class-10 student, at their house in Painavu. Elder son Raneesh, a worker at a cardamom plantation in Kattappana, had reached home the previous day and handed over Rs 2,000. He left by 10 am the next day. Later, Mukkayya and Rajeena went to a plot next to their house to collect firewood. Younger son Rajeesh travelled to Painavu to buy provisions for home. When Rajeesh returned home, he saw that his father was collecting firewood all alone. Rajeesh and Mukkayya took the firewood and headed home, where they found Rajeena dead and with her throat slit. The body was evidently dragged from the kitchen to the bedroom. There were signs that she was killed in the kitchen and removed to the other room. Her blood was collected in a bowl and kept in front of the pet dog. Neighbours said that Rajeena had poor eyesight and showed psychiatric problems often. Mukkayya and Rajeena fought regularly. There was an argument between the couple when they were collecting firewood also and Rajeena returned home. Mukkayya followed her to their house and slit her throat in the kitchen. He then tidied the house and continued collecting firewood from the premises. As the neighbouring houses were vacant, nobody heard anything untoward. Rajeena’s body was shifted to the Idukki Medical College Hospital. Idukki District Police Chief K B Venugopal, DySP K A Abdul Salam, Idukki CI Rajan K Aramana, Kanjar CI Shinto P Kurien and Idukki SI Ajith reached the scene of the crime and collected evidence. Other police officers, dog squad and fingerprint experts also joined them. Wed, 05 Jun 2019 02:57:06 GMT Two boys lose life in a tragic drowning accident Cheruthoni: A holiday swimming trip turned tragic for a group of three friends after two of them drowned in the Periyar river on Sunday. Vivek, Drona and Navneeth were the three. They were accompanied by Drona's mother Manju. The accident happened at the ghat where the friends usually bathed. The children had apparently swum to where a vortex had formed as a result of sand mining. Manju had jumped into the water as soon as she realized the peril the children were in. However, not knowing how to swim, Manju began to drown to well. Sreekuttan, a 14-year-old boy, who was standing on the banks, attempted a rescue, but could only save the mother and one of his friends. The people in the locality gathered immediately on hearing the commotion. Though the children were finally pulled out, they could not be saved. Vivek was a class 7 student at the Vazhathoppu St George School. Drona is a student of class three at Karimban St Thomas School. Their bodies are kept in the morgue at Idukki Medical College. Though the boys were familiar with the ghat, the marshy vortex that had formed proved to be a death trap. The river had changed its course after last year's floods and stones had accumulated below the sand in the vortexes. A hotel worker who was involved in the rescue informed that the kids were trapped among these stones near the Asoka Kavala area. The friend who saved two Sreekuttan is still in shock as he recalls the tragic incident which claimed the lives of his friends. His eyes well up as he recounts the details of the accident. He says that he was compelled by his friends, who lost their lives, to accompany them to take a dip in the river. Sreekuttan, a class ten student, is the son of Asoka Kavala Kuravanbarambil Sreekumar. Dona and Vivek were staying in a rented house owned by Sreekuttan’s father. He displayed a great presence of mind as Sreekuttan balanced his feet in a sand dune and managed to pull Navaneeth ashore. Meanwhile, he also managed to grab onto Manju’s hair. The people had already rushed to the spot while he was pulling Manju into the banks. Wed, 29 May 2019 00:58:26 GMT Vineyards attracting tourists Kumily: The vineyards in the villages of Kerala – Tamil Nadu border are getting ready to attract hordes of tourists with their rich, heavy bunches hanging low on the lush green vines. Travellers are now flocking to the villages in Kambam, Churulippetti and K K Petti seeking the vast vineyards. Many of the vineyards offer facilities for the tourists to click pictures amidst the ripe gardens and for purchasing directly from the farm. Earlier, the farmers were not allowing visitors into the vineyards. The grapes were just plucked and sent directly to the market. However, with the tourists arriving in Thekkady starting to visit the farmlands of neighbouring Tamil Nadu as well, the vineyards started to open up. Two vineyards along the National Highway function solely for the tourists. As the rush of tourists keep on increasing, people have started to discover vineyards lying in interior villages as well. Many vineyards with ripe bunches of grapes can be seen on both sides of Kambam – Churulippetti road, attracting a large number of tourists who pose for pictures and make their farm fresh purchases. Thu, 23 May 2019 00:53:45 GMT Chinnakanal landgrabbers forged papers to corner reclaimed land Thiruvananthapuram: Fake documents were used by private citizens and industries to corner land taken over by the state government in Chinnakanal in Idukki district during a sensational anti-encroachment drive a few years ago, a report by Devikulam sub-collector stated. The sub-collector has also sought strict action against land grabbers and 11 revenue employees who facilitated it. Action has been sought against Udumbanchola former tehsildar PM Jacob who retired as deputy collector, special tehsildars of Rajakumari S Babu, Udumbanchola former tehsildar PS Bhanukumar, PP Joy, senior clerk at Rajakumari Special Tehsildar Office Biju Joseph, taluk clerk in Udumbanchola George Joseph, section superintendent P Unnikrishnan Nair, taluk surveyors MS Anoop, Benoy Sebastian, section clerk K Prasadkumar and then then village officer of Chinnakanal. The report by sub-collector Renu Raj sent to Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan also seeks criminal action against Mariadas of Periyakanal Estate, Michael Kallivayalil of Suryanelli, Jimmy Sakharia, Apothiosis Infrastructure Private Limited and Mont Fort School, Chinnakanal, for forging documents to take over land. Apothiosis Infrastructure Private Limited grabbed 11.50 acres of land in Udumbanchola taluk’s Ezhupathekkar in 2009 using fake documents, the report said. Tue, 21 May 2019 06:54:46 GMT Thodupuzha family takes down roof of house to ward off beetle menace Thodupuzha: Mupli beetles have become a menace in a few parts of rural Kerala. Hordes of Mupli beetles which became a headache for a family at Purappuzha here in Kerala's Ernakulam district forced the inhabitants to take apart the entire tiled roof of their house. It was on April 11 that swarms of the beetle that invaded the Vadasseril House of one John and set up a colony there. Soon these creepy-crawlies began to torment the family. Lakhs of beetles covered the roof and walls in just one day. John’s wife Lissy (53) soon developed breathing problems and cough. When she sought treatment at a private hospital in Thodupuzha, Lissy was told by the doctor there that she was suffering from allergy caused by the beetle. The stench of the beetles inside the house was unbearable and Lissy’s condition worsened, John said. The family, comprising John, Lissy, parents and two sons, was forced to shift to the houses of some relatives nearby. Meanwhile, John tried several methods to remove the pests, but all of them failed. He then approached the Karinkunnam police station and Purappuzha panchayat authorities. The police reached the spot but they too could not suggest a way out. Finally, it was decided to demolish the entire roof of the house. Initially, the tiles and wooden supports were taken down. Then the multitude of beetles that were sticking on the tiles and walls were removed and buried. John is now planning to install a steel framework over his house and fix aluminium sheets. Local people said that Mupli beetles were posing a threat to several other houses also in Purappuzha area. Trouble in Kottayam too Last month it was reported that the rural parts of Kottayam district are facing trouble from Mupli beetles. The local residents of Cheruvally, near Ponkunnam in the district, had said then that the beetle problem this time around was much worse compared to the previous years. A family here mulled to leave their house due to the beetle trouble. Though harmless these beetles are often found settling on food, water and animals. Though they can be destroyed using kerosene, these insects reappear in great numbers at night. People have suffered skin burns due to beetle bites. Their defensive secretions can cause skin burns in humans, and also eye diseases and breathing problems. The beetles can controlled by using kerosene and petrol, and also by switching off lights inside the house, and lighting up the precincts. Mupli beetles have a liking for summer and nights. They are found among dry leaves in rubber plantations which abound in Kottayam district. They start multiplying by April and May, and later they take shelter in nearby houses and buildings before the monsoon arrives. These beetles get their name, Mupli, from a forested place in Kerala's Thrissur district which was infested. Thu, 16 May 2019 00:51:48 GMT Maveli stores undergo makeover Nedumkandam: In a bid to provide superlative service to the customers, some of the Maveli stores here in Idukki district are getting a makeover. The Koottar Maveli store will be made into a Supplyco supermarket and the Puttady Maveli store upgraded into a Maveli supermarket. The Supplyco supermarket here will be spruced with latest facilities and would start functioning from a new building. The new Supplyco super market at Koottar will have a wide array of products from household items to fruits and vegetables, and the customers will be able to directly select the articles of their choice. The Supplyco supermarket, which was functioning from a crammed one room at central junction here, will be moved to a spacious building at ‘padinjare kavala’. The outlet, which comes under the Kerala State Civil Supplies Department, has an area of 2,500 sq ft with special corner for the sale of fruits and vegetables. The supermarket has a parking area spread across 2,000 sq ft and at a time the outlet can accommodate 500 to 1,000 shoppers. Though the related work is over, the inauguration of the supermarket has been postponed as the election model code of conduct is in force. The authorities concerned said that the supermarket would be opened after May 23, the day the poll results would be declared. Thu, 02 May 2019 07:40:58 GMT Thekkady cruise lifts the spirits of special tourists Kumily: As the boat glided on the Periyar Lake in Thekkady, it was a different experience altogether for the 60-odd persons and their families on board it as they saw up close the wildlife. The elephant, sambar deer, bison and river otter spotted far off on the river banks lifted the spirits of the special tourists and their kin. Earlier, Shilpa V Kumar, deputy director of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (East division), greeted the team and interacted with each one of them. The guests were brought to the embankment pier in a vehicle from where the forest officials lifted them onto the cruise boat. Those who were totally immobile were transported in the ambulance of the Forest Department. The boating was arranged as part of a special programme called 'Knowing the Periyar Better'. It was the 50th team that is visiting Thekkady as part of the Forest Department programme. All-Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation organised the tour for the physically-challenged group and their families. The programme, which is free of cost, is meant to give an opportunity to various under-privileged sections of society that are unable to explore nature due to various reasons. Institutions that house orphans, destitutes, and differently-abled may contact the forest officials of Thekkady Forest Department to avail themselves of the facility. Mon, 22 Apr 2019 04:08:06 GMT Off-road jeep rides banned after tourist dies in mishap Idukki: The District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) of Idukki and the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) have again banned the off-road jeep safari at Ramakkalmedu after the death of a tourist in an accident. Meanwhile, the Revenue Department said that off-road trekking was not allowed in Kuruvikkanam. An enquiry into the accident is being conducted by DTPC and MVD and the report will be submitted soon. At present, off-road jeep rides are allowed only up to Amakkallu. But some people organize illegal trips for tourists. The jeep safari that had been suspended after the Kurangini tragedy was resumed only 3 months ago. In the recent mishap, Sreejith (19) of Vadakkeppatt, Maruthoor in Palakkad lost his life. His body was handed over to relatives after post mortem. The driver of the jeep has been charged with non-culpable homicide by the Nedumkandam police. The jeep had fallen into a 300-feet crevice at Kattadippadam, Kuruvikkanam in Ramakkalmedu. It had lost balance when conducting some manouvres at the edge of the cliff. The vehicle slipped down 150 feet and fell down the deep crevice, killing the tourist. Sat, 13 Apr 2019 09:22:32 GMT How this ingenious beekeeper boosts honey production Rajakkad: Beekeeping or apiculture is practised on a small scale in Kerala. It has been found honey production falls by as much as 60% during summer as the bees hardly find the flowers from which they can suck the nectar. But O Babychan, a farmer at Rajakkad in Kerala's Idukki district, has overcome this problem by setting up a sunflower garden. He now grows sunflower on 25 cents of land and earns a tidy profit from the over 50 honey beehives at his farm. Three months ago, Babychan had sown the sunflower seeds that he had brought from Tamil Nadu. By the start of the summer season, the sunflower plants bloomed. The honey production in his beehives also witnessed a significant increase. Meanwhile, the sight of the flowers at Babychen’s apiary is attracting a large number of visitors. Recently, Onmanorama had reported that Thachampara village in Palakkad district could be dubbed as a honeypot of sorts as hundreds of apiarists are based here. It is said weather conditions in this hilly area have made honey its ideal farm product. Tue, 09 Apr 2019 15:17:13 GMT Retired cop's body found in gorge, accident likely Nedumkandam: A retired policeman's body has been found in a gorge near Thevaram Mettu near the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border in Idukki district. He has been identified as Jnanadas (67) of Adharaa House in Neyyanttinkara in Thiruvananthapuram district. He had retired as a sub-inspector from the Kerala Police. His bike was seen next to the body which is three days old. Police believe he died after a fall in an accident. Jnanadas' son Amal Joyal had filed a missing complaint at Udumbanchola Police Station. The police were conducting a probe using his mobile phone location. A detailed probe has begun, the police said. Jnanadas’s mobile has been off since April 4. He owned a house and a 5-acre cardamom plantation near Udumbanchola. He visited this place once in a while. He did not return after one such visit. The bike found in the gorge had a cardamom cargo. The accident might have occurred when he tried to take them to a drying unit, it is inferred. Udumbanchola Police has registered a case of unnatural death. Tue, 09 Apr 2019 10:54:13 GMT Bike accident crashes youth’s extramarital affair Thodupuzha: A youth’s extramarital affair with an unsuspecting girl ended when their bike crashed on a leisure trip. The Kalamassery man (28) and Paravur woman’s (24) bike hit another on their way to Wagamon near Muttom Engineering College on Thodupuzha-Moolamattom Road. She came to know about the man’s marital status when police took them to a private hospital, said the woman, who then declared the affair over. Her mother and relatives reached the spot later in the day and took her home. The man was also taken home by his relatives after being produced in Muttom Police Station. He will be admitted to Kalamasseri Medical College for severe injury to his leg, said relatives. The woman too had sustained injury to her leg. The couple’s vehicle had hit the bike of Muthoot Finance employees and Kanjar natives Amal P Sukumar and Abdul Manaf. Their injuries were minor. Sat, 06 Apr 2019 00:48:34 GMT Staff attempts suicide inside panchayat alleging boss’s torture Munnar: A temporary staff at a panchayat office attempted suicide inside the office claiming he was harassed by his superior. Ganesh Rajkumar (34), a temporary employee in MGNREGA department at Edamalakkudy Gram Panchayat slashed his wrist inside Assistant Secretary Paul Baby Samuel’s office around 1pm on Thursday. Ganesh snatched a blade from Paul while he was cutting his nails and slashed right wrist, police said. Other employees and panchayat member Shanmughan restrained Ganesh as he tried to do the same with a knife. He was taken to Devikulam health clinic and later to Adimaly Taluk Hospital. Ganesh is a temporary data entry staff at the panchayat office. Paul is in charge since the secretary is under suspension. Paul had registered a complaint against Ganesh with Devikulam Police after his service book went missing from the office two weeks ago. Constant torture from Paul in this case led to attempted suicide, Ganesh said. Ganesh was also involved in the case that led to the secretary’s suspension, Paul alleged. A complaint has been registered with the auditing department regarding this. The police was approached in the service book incident too since Ganesh was involved in it, following which he behaved indecently in the office, Paul alleged. Sat, 16 Mar 2019 10:21:28 GMT Abandoned puppy from Idukki set to find home in UK Rajakumari: A male puppy found abandoned by the roadside near Periyakanal in Idukki district was rescued and adopted by two tourists from Europe. Louis, hailing from England and Eugania, from Germany, who were riding to Munnar from Kochi on a motorbike had found the puppy crawling by the roadside near Chinnakanal. At first thinking that some vehicle must have injured the puppy, they took it to the veterinary hospital at Pooppara. On examining the puppy, the veterinary surgeon Dr. Glady M Vempilly diagnosed that the puppy was not hit by any vehicle but was suffering from calcium deficiency. As it received injections and tonic, the puppy regained energy and started to move. Louis and Eugania, who had carried the puppy till Kuruvila City did not have the heart to leave it there. They decided to adopt the puppy and named it as Tye. They plan to take it to Mumbai, complete the formalities and then Louis would take it home to England. An ardent animal lover, Louis has two more dogs adopted from the street. After reaching Germany, Eugania also plans to join Louis and his canine friends in England. Wed, 13 Mar 2019 01:40:10 GMT Student beats up teacher after spat over uniform Kumily: A teacher who sought explanation from a student for turning up at school for hall ticket without wearing uniform has been beaten up. The complaint says the teacher was slapped, beaten and kicked by the student who is reportedly an SFI activist. The incident happened at a government school in Kumily on Tuesday. The student Abin Suresh, 18, from Kannikkallu, Chenkara, was arrested. The teacher Jayadev, 40, a higher secondary geography teacher, has been admitted to a private hospital in Kattappana. He has sustained fracture to spine and serious injury to ears. Jayadev belongs to Pothencode, Thiruvananthapuram. How it all happened As Plus One exams start Wednesday, students were directed to wear their uniforms while collecting their hall tickets, or else bring their parents along. When Abin turned up in casual wear, Jayadev told him to not to enter the class unless he was in his uniform. Abin was seen in the class when Jayadev returned from office with timetable and hall tickets. He was asked to get out of class and meet the principal. “An agitated Abin punched me on ribcage, besides slapping, kicking and beating me as I fell on the ground,” said Jayadev. Once Abin was restrained by classmates, he was locked up in a room and other teachers informed, Jayadev added. In custody The police arrived and took him in custody. Abin told the police he was verbally abused and manhandled by the teacher for not wearing uniform. Abin has been charged with causing grievous injury and obstruction of official duty, Kumily SI Prasanth P Nair said. He will be produced in court Wednesday. Jayadev was moved to an ENT hospital after doctors at Kumily Family Healthcare Centre found his ear injury serious. Meanwhile, CPM Kumily local secretary KJ Devasya said Abin has no connection with SFI or CPM. He had participated in some events held by SFI in the school. Wed, 06 Mar 2019 10:34:28 GMT Young engineer crafts a rewarding career as farmer Kumali: Many educated youth are averse to take up farming despite the freedom and happiness it offers. It is true like any vocation farming too has its challenges and frequent reports of farmer suicides are depressing. However, a young marine engineer here in Kerala's Idukki district had no qualms while saying no to high-paying jobs to take up farming. Yadu S Babu (25) of Parvanam House at Chellarcovil, Anakkara, got two job offers as he completed studies. But he chose farming instead and is active on the farm for two years now. He does new experiments in vegetable cultivation. His father Sasindra Babu, who had taken voluntary retirement from the State Bank of India, is also into commercial farming. Sasindra is the the MD of Green Gold Cardamom Producing Company at Vandanmedu in Idukki district. Yadu, however, is interested in growing vegetables, though black pepper and plantain are also raised on his farm. Yardlong beans (achinga), broad beans (avarakka) and tomato that flourish on a one-acre land is testament to Yadu’s commitment to farming. Nets installed 7 metres vertically are used as support for beans and tomato plants instead of the traditional method of spreading ropes horizontally above. Plants get more sunlight this way, this increasing yield, Yadu noted. But why farming after completing an expensive course? Stress-less life, Yadu said. Parents’ interest in farming might be another influence, he added. Love of oceans as a child prompted me to take up marine engineering. I turned down another offer from a shipping company in Mumbai recently. But nothing can lure me away from farming, Yadu revealed. His mother Sasikala is the headmistress of the Devaswom Board School at Erumeli. Sun, 03 Mar 2019 05:21:22 GMT Comrade's church wedding miffs party colleagues Thodupuzha: A CPM officer-bearer's decision to get married in a church after a 'party wedding' about 27 years ago has raised a few eyebrows among party workers. K L Joseph, CPM Idukki district committee member and Moolamattam area secretary, got married at the Kulamavu St. Mary's Church on Saturday to his spouse, who is an anganwadi teacher. Joseph, his wife Jayasree, and their sons Nibin and Nidhin were baptized before the nuptial in the Christian way. The wedding was solemnised by Father Thomas Paruthippara of St. Mary's Church at Kaliyar. Pala diocese gave special permission for the wedding of Joseph, who is a right-hand man of Kerala Power Minister M M Mani. Twenty-seven years ago, the CPM took the lead for the marriage of Joseph and Jayasree, and most of the then prominent district party leaders had attended the function. A section of party workers has shot off a letter to the CPM's district leadership stating that the latest religious wedding of Joseph should be taken seriously, and the practice of leaders adhering to religious practices would create confusion among party workers. Thu, 28 Feb 2019 01:42:19 GMT Jumbo lands in big trouble, rescued Kumali: An elephant which fell into a tank full of grimy water in Thekkady was rescued on Thursday after it struggled to extricate itself. Forest department officials used a JCB to break one side of the tank as the female jumbo struggled to get out. The elephant fell in the 10-feet tank in front of the KTDC's Periyar House, a hotel near Thekkady boat landing, early on Wednesday. Used water from the hotel flows into this tank. The jumbo fell in as the concrete slab covering it broke under its weight. Other members of the herd were seen waiting on the brink of the forest for the elephant to get out of the tank. Officials send the herd further into the woods to avoid untoward incidents involving tourists who had gathered around. Logs were used to barricade off the area to make sure elephants did not charge. The water was drained from the tank and its side broken. The elephant remained calm all this while. It tried to use hind legs to get out but failed as tank was narrow for the animal's size. The jumbo then tried to smash the JCB with its trunk in frustration. More mud was removed and water drained. This time it came out of the tank and joined the herd in the forest across the street. Read more Idukki News Mon, 18 Feb 2019 01:46:37 GMT Another debt-ridden Idukki farmer takes own life: fifth death in 2 months Cheruthoni: Another debt-ridden farmer has committed suicide in Idukki district. The farmer has been identified as Sreekumar (Appu) of Nakkara from Chembakappara, Vathikkudi panchayat. The 59-year-old is the fifth farmer to commit suicide in the district in less than two months and third from Vathikkudi panchayat. Sreekumar, who had consumed poison, was found near his house on Friday and taken to hospital. He passed away at 3.30pm on Saturday. He had taken loans of over Rs 17 lakh from different banks, said relatives. Loans from private lenders were also there. Sreekumar had cultivated black pepper on four acres of land at Perinchankutti. He was upset over poor yield and crop infestation. Murikkaseri Police have started a probe. Sreekumar is survived by wife Usha Kumari and children Anoop and Aparna. Other cases Young debt-ridden farmer Santosh of Thanikkatukalayil from Marygiri, Thopramkudy, had committed suicide on January 2. Kunnumpurath Sahadevan,68, of Vathikkudi had taken his life on January 29 after his son received an eviction notice from a financial institution. NM Johny from Neelippuzha, Vazhathoppu was found dead after consuming poison on February 7. Raju from Anaviratty, Adimali, was found dead on February 9. Read more: Idukki news Sun, 17 Feb 2019 11:23:20 GMT Darts, kumkis help to catch rogue elephant Chinnathambi Marayoor: A wild tusker, which has been raiding the agricultural fields for the past two weeks, was captured safely and shifted to the Top Slip elephant camp of the Tamil Nadu forest department. The future course of action would be decided after giving medical treatment and ample rest to the jumbo, the foresters said. It took almost nine hours for the forest department officials to capture the rogue jumbo named Chinnathambi. The tranquilised pachyderm was loaded onto the elephant ambulance, which was brought from the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, with the help of kumkis (trained jumbos employed to trap and tame wild elephants.) The forest personnel took all precautions to not harm the elephant as there was a Madras High Court order stating that the jumbo should be safely captured. They restarted the operation at 5.30 am on Friday as the efforts to capture the jumbo on Thursday went in vain. The wild elephant was at the sugarcane fields of Kannadiputhur, and the forest personnel were monitoring its movements with the help of a drone. Two kumki elephants – Kalim and Mariyappan – were sent inside the fields to smoke out Chinnathambi. Tiruppur forest officer P K Dileep, Veterinary doctor Ashokan and former forest department officer Thankaraj Paneerselvam were all geared up to tranquilize the jumbo as the rogue elephant reluctantly came out of the fields by 9.30am. The first shot missed the target but second one had hit the leg of the elephant. But the forest personnel were not sure whether the tranquilizing dart had the desired effect as the tusker ran into the sugarcane fields. After one hour, a calm Chinnathambi came out of the fields, and another tranquilising shot was fired at the pachyderm. Though the wild tusker once again ran into the sugarcane fields, it was brought to the nearby banana plantation with the help of the kumkis. But the rogue elephant stayed put at the plantation. The officials paved a path, with the help of an earthmoving machine, to the plantation for a truck. The wild elephant was loaded onto the lorry at 3pm. The tusker was immediately checked by doctors, and later taken to the Top Slip elephant camp. Read more Idukki News Sun, 17 Feb 2019 01:46:50 GMT Rampaging wild tusker chases away kumkis Marayoor: The forest authorities are on the horns of a dilemma as a rogue wild elephant is giving sleepless nights to them as well as farmers near Udumalpetta in the Tiruppur district of Tamil Nadu. Efforts to chase the crop-raiding tusker Chinnathambi back to forests did not bear fruits, as the wild tusker scared away kumkis, roped in by the Forest Officials. Kumkis are trained elephants employed to trap, tame or calm down wild elephants. Chinnathampi who has been camping at Krishnapuram, near Udumalpetta, for the past 10 days, scared away kumkis named Mariappan and his partner Kaleem, for kilometres across the farmlands and the two kumkis ran for their lives. The Tamil Nadu Forest Department is looking forward to the court order that will decide on the fate of the wild tusker. It had informed the Madras High Court that Chinnathampi will be captured and sent to an elephant camp. Earlier, a wildlife activist had moved the High Court requesting the latter to prevent the attempts of the Forest Department from converting Chinnathampi into a kumki elephant. In his petition, the activist has submitted that the wild pachyderm would be subjected to physical torture in the process of taming down its behaviour. The judge has posted the matter for Tuesday. The Forest Department has thus put on hold its efforts to drive the tusker back to the forest and is looking forward to the court verdict. Read more Idukki News Thu, 14 Feb 2019 01:46:16 GMT Matchmaker on wheels is back in Munnar Cheruthoni: A KSRTC bus that made a reputation as a matchmaker is back in action. As many as seven ticket collectors who worked on the Munnar-Kuyilimala bus at various points found their life partners from among passengers before the service was called off due to a mass retrenchment of temporary staff at the state-owned corporation. The corporation started service from Munnar to Kuyilimala, where the Idukki district collector's office is situated, in 2002. Many of the passengers, it turned out, bought a ride to a happy married life. The people in the area, who fondly called the bus 'Kalyana Vandi (Wedding Vehicle)', were left heartbroken when the corporation suspended the service in December. The corporation was told by the Kerala High Court to sack 3,861 empanelled conductors across the state and fill the vacancies from candidates chosen by the Kerala Public Service Commission. As many as 41 conductors lost their jobs in the Munnar depot, responsible for the Kuyilimala bus. Only seven of them were replaced by the public recruiter. The bus resumed service last week, evoking memories of the romantic past. The first couple who owe their alliance to the bus are Siji and Raju, a resident of Moovattupuzha who was appointed as a conductor on the bus. Siji, a student of the Pavanathma College at Murikkasseri, was a regular passenger. They saw each other for a while before getting married. The pattern was repeated when Unmesh from North Paravur went to work on the route as a conductor. He was drawn towards Chitra, who boarded the bus every working day from her house at Chinnar to her college at Adimali. They too got married later. The romances did not always have a smooth ride. When Shameera, an employee of the farmers' welfare centre at Thadiyambadi, was proposed by conductor Rajesh, the news raised hackles. Rajesh and Shameera belonged to different communities and the families were opposed to an alliance. The couple withstood the pressure and opted for a civil marriage in January 2012. Sijomon and Reshma too faced opposition from their folks. The bus conductor noticed the girl who always bought tickets for all her 10 friends. He started chatting up the leader of the college students and eventually fell for her. They got married after four years of romancing each other. Sreejith from Murikkasseri also met his future wife while on duty on the bus. Athira was a regular passenger to Adimali. Sreejith, Rajesh and Sijomon no longer work for the KSRTC. They were among the empanelled conductors who were fired after the court order despite putting in 11 years of service. Wed, 13 Feb 2019 02:10:43 GMT Housewife tries to kill self over delayed flood relief Nedumkandam: A 42-year-old woman here tried to end her life as she was fed up knocking the doors of government offices seeking compensation for flood-damaged house. Ironically, the very same day the housewife, Bindhu, consumed poison came, the government sanctioned her Rs 4 lakh. Bindhu, wife of Raghu of Vellapalli at Cheenippara, was admitted to a private hospital at Thookupalam in a serious condition on Wednesday morning. The authorities had sanctioned an amount for Bindhu during a meeting held at the collectorate that evening. After the house was washed away in the strong flood currents in August last year, Bindhu's family of five comprising Raghu, mother Bhavani and two children have been living in a shack. They had received the state government’s flood relief aid of Rs 10,000 and the kits distributed by the panchayat. The hapless family’s application for availing the benefits under the Life Mission housing scheme was rejected on the grounds that they owned 27 cents of land. The family bought a new piece of land to build a new house as the earlier place where they lived was no longer habitable. The couple had laid basement for the new house with the money borrowed from several people. "Bindhu ran from pillar to post seeking aid and was disturbed over the disappointing response at government offices. That is when she decided to end her life," said Raghu. He is finding it hard to foot the medical bills of Bindhu, who is currently hospitalised. Meanwhile, Udumbanchola tehsildar P S Bhanukumar has said an amount of Rs 10,000 has already been handed over to Bindhu's family, and the second instalment of Rs 4 lakh has been approved. The family's damaged house reportedly did not figure in the first geotagging survey. But it was later included in the second list prepared on January 18. Fri, 01 Feb 2019 12:07:24 GMT Eloped lovers survived on mangoes, coconut during 23-day stay in forest Moolamattam: A young man and a girl who eloped and spent 23 days in the jungle have been caught. The police arrested Valyattil Appu George, 21, and the plus-two student from a forest near Melukavu in the eastern periphery of Kottayam district on Tuesday. The girl underwent a medical checkup at Kottayam Medical College and was produced in the High Court. Since the girl’s family refuses to take her in, she will be produced in Peerumade Court today. Appu will be produced in the Thodupuzha Court. The police said Appu had taken the minor girl to the forests near Ilaveezhapoonchira after professing love. The girl, who left home for Sunday class on January 6 never returned, said the family. The police searched the boy’s house at Melukavu, after a complaint from the girl’s family at Kumali station, but could not find either of them. The family then approached the High Court. The district cybercell located the girl’s cellphone in the vicinity of the forest near Ilaveezhapoonchira. They searched the area with the help of locals and found Appu’s bike near Kolapra, Adoormala. But the two were not to be found. Utensils used to cook, oven, some clothes and the girl’s bag were found later in the forest. The two subsisted on coconut and mango, and slept on rock and in shades. The two, however, were spotted by the police at Kolapra near Adoormala carrying sacks on Tuesday morning. Appu and the girl ran in different directions as the police team, hiding in Adoormala CSI parish hall, tried to nab them. While the police chased Appu, locals went after the girl, who ran into a house at Sharamkuthi where she was given food and water. Locals kept her in the house until the police arrived. Appu was caught as he tried to escape towards Anakkayam. The police claimed Appu had reportedly trapped a few other minors in Kottayam and Idukki and ditching them later. He was arrested for raping a minor two years ago at Chingavanam. He had also been booked for stealing a bike near Moolamattom. Appu was stealing agricultural products from villages bordering the forest and selling them while in hiding. Wed, 30 Jan 2019 12:28:13 GMT Man drowns while trying to rescue daughter Moolamattom: A man drowned while trying to rescue his daughter who was caught in a current while taking bath in a canal here in Idukki district on Saturday. The girl, who held on to the branch of a tree, escaped. The deceased has been identified as Niravadiyil Pradeepan, 45, of Rajapuram in Kasaragod. The tragedy happened as Pradeepan and his three family members were visiting a relative's house at Moolamattom. After jumping into the canal Pradeepan managed to get hold of his drowning daughter Paurnami, 11, and carried her on his shoulder, but drowned while swimming ashore. Meanwhile, Pradeepan's wife informed the nearby forest station. The forest department personnel arrived and dropped a rope for Pradeepan to climb up, but he couldn't. He was exhausted by the time and pushed the girl towards a tree near the canal and went down. Ranjit, a local resident, tried to rescue the girl. By that time, fire force personnel too arrived, they helped both Ranjit and Paurnami to get on the bank safely. Local residents and fire force personnel later spotted Pradeepan and took him to hospital but he couldn't be saved. The body was taken to his native place after post-mortem at the district hospital. Pradeepan is survived by wife Radhamani, children Pradhyutha and Paurnami. Mon, 28 Jan 2019 07:02:10 GMT Idukki man, daughter set to take part in R-Day parade Kulamavu: This father-daughter duo from Kulamavu is all set to make the R-Day parade a family affair. Dr Sajeev K Vavachan, NCC Officer of Navodaya Vidyalaya, Kulamavu and his daughter, Evelyn Mary Joseph, a 9th standard student at the same school, will attend the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi on January 26. Both the father and daughter are participating in the Republic Day Parade for the first time. Evelyn got selected as a winner of gold medal in the group and inter group competitions. Seven junior girls were selected from Kerala to attend the Republic Day Parade. Evelyn, who has acted in short films and tele serials, is also acting in a movie titled ‘Uyare.’ Dr Sajeev has been leading the All India Trekking Camp, which is being conducted at Navodaya Vidyalaya, Kulamavu, for the past eight years. Sat, 26 Jan 2019 01:55:34 GMT Father gifts self-made miniature auto to kids Kattappana: The original autorickshaws will pale before this bonsai auto for perfection, and this vehicle is much more than a toy for siblings Madhav Krishna and Keshani Krishna. This miniature marvel, christened 'Sundhari', was made by their father Arunkumar Purushothaman and comes with 25 DC motor and 2 batteries with 12 volts. 'Sundhari', built of waste materials, weights 60 kg and has a carrying capacity of 150 kg. A thrown away dish antenna gives a sturdy look to the front portion and the base of the auto is made of metal parts of a cooking stove. The three wooden wheels have strips of rubber pasted on them and the disc brake system in a cycle is integrated into the vehicle. The cute little auto is packed with all features such as kicker, indicators, wiper, headlight, phone, first-aid box and a music system. Arunkumar took almost eight months to build this auto, which is 3.6 ft tall, at a cost of Rs 15,000. Arunkumar was a nursing officer at the Jipmer Hospital in Puducherry and recently joined as nurse at the Idukki District Hospital in Painavu. He used to make miniature vehicles right from his schooldays, and got first prize at the state-level with a model of earth moving machine while studying in Class X. No permission As per the stipulations of Motor Vehicles Act, the miniature vehicle cannot be driven on roads as it is difficult to get registration for this bonsai auto due to many technical hurdles. Fri, 25 Jan 2019 01:51:50 GMT Police nab youth who tamed German Shepherd before stealing it Cheruthoni: A German Shepherd stolen from a house in Idukki has been found at Chittoor in Ernakulam. The Idukki Police arrested Nidhin, 29, of Edakkunnam in Chittoor in connection with the curious incident. The police tracked down the truck in which the alleged thief smuggled the dog. The she-dog, costing around Rs 25,000, was reported missing from the house of Saji at Vellakkayam along the Idukki–Neriyamangalam state highway. Visuals of the dog being taken away on a truck were recorded by the CCTV camera of a neighbouring house, giving vital clues to the police. The investigators soon found that the lorry had brought pipes to Idukki from Ernakulam. On questioning vehicle driver Nidhin, the police learnt that the German shepherd was at his house in Chittoor. Nidhin was subsequently arrested and his lorry taken into custody along with the dog. All of them were transported to Idukki. Dog to be kept in locked cage The police returned the dog to the owner after a court directed that the animal should be presented whenever it is summoned. Owner Saji, who took possession of his two-and-a-half-year-old dog, said that he would now keep the German Shepherd under lock and key in an iron cage on the premises of his house. Taming the German Shepherd Nidhin had tamed the dog before smuggling it out of its kennel. CCTV visuals of the crime show the thief spending much time around the kennel to tame the dog. Saji owns one more German Shepherd, a male one. It is normally shifted to the house verandah at night. Read more: Latest Idukki news Wed, 23 Jan 2019 08:05:58 GMT Flood-ravaged Cheruthoni bridge to get major makeover Cheruthoni: A cable-stayed bridge that could even lure tourists will replace the Cheruthoni bridge that was washed away as flood waters gushed down from the Idukki dam in August. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has prepared a design for the bridge which connects the Thodupuzha-Puliuyanmala national highway. Idukki MP Joyce George said the bridge, estimated to cost Rs 50 crore, will be completed within one-and-a-half years. The bridge deck will be supported by cables fixed on two pillars. The two pillars symbolise the Kuravan-Kurathi hills which are connected by the arch dam. The bridge will be 140 metres long and 16 metres wide. Walkways will be built on both sides. One-and-a-half metre wide tracks will be laid on both sides of the bridge for smaller vehicles. Number of the pillars are limited to ensure free flow of water in case the dam has to be opened again. Reservoirs are planned on both sides of the new bridge. Visitors will be offered facilities for boat ride. The Mandovi bridge in Goa and the Bandra-Worli bridge in Mumbai are similar in design. The current bridge, built half a century ago, was severely damaged in the flood when shutters of the Cheruthoni dam were lifted in August. The iconic bridge hit headlines after visuals of a rescue officer running across it with an unwell child braving monstrous gush of water, when the sluice gates of the reservoir were opened went viral. Tue, 22 Jan 2019 08:28:17 GMT Estate murder victim's brother found dead Rajakumari: A brother of one of the two victims in the Chinnakanal estate murder has been found dead. Muthaiah's brother Anpazhakan, 47, died of a cardiac arrest on Wednesday. Anpazhakan, also an estate worker, was one of the first relatives to see Muthaiah's body. Relatives say a visibly devastated Anpazhakan did not eat for two days. He was found dead at home on Wednesday morning. The body was sent to Kottayam Medical College for autopsy. The police cited autopsy reports to confirm heart attack as cause of death. Anpazhakan was cremated next to Muthaiah near Powerhouse. Survived by wife Kaliyamma, the Anpazhakan had no kids. Cardamom estate owner Jacob Varghese, 40, and his aide Muthaiah, 50, were brutally killed on Sunday inside the estate bungalow and the adjoining cardamom drier room. The cops on Thursday night nabbed 36-year-old cardamom plantation supervisor from Madurai in Tamil Nadu. Bobin was arrested from neighbouring Tamil Nadu when he was plotting to leave for Pazhani via Theni, a small town along Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. Read more: Latest Idukki news Sun, 20 Jan 2019 09:39:04 GMT A library in memory of Abhimanyu, in his village Munnar: In memory of the slain Maharaja's College student Abhimanyu, panchayat authorities, in coordination with the CPM local unit, has set up a library at Vattavada, his native village, in Idukki district. Lying 43 kilometres away from Munnar on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, Vattavada is one of the most backward grama panchayats in the state with a low literacy rate. The first public lending library in the area, established with public participation, has also fulfilled Abimanyu’s long-cherished dream. Thanks to an outpouring of donations from individuals and organisations in India and abroad, the library has so far received close to 42,000 books. “The response to the book donation drive has been overwhelming. We still receive bundles of books every day,” said Vattavada grama panchayat president P Ramraj. Currently, the library has books on various subjects, including collections of Malayalam, Tamil and English literature apart from a good number of reference books. Situated in the second floor of the Vattavada panchayat office building, the facility includes a hall and an office room. The library will be open from 10 am to 5 pm. We have plans to digitise the printed collection so that the content would be accessible to all, Ramraj added. Abhimanyu, 20, a second-year undergraduate student and leader of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), was stabbed to death on the campus on July 2 after an altercation between SFI and Campus Front activists. Read more Idukki News Sat, 19 Jan 2019 04:08:43 GMT Thodupuzha murder over love affair with class XII girl, 5 SFI-DYFI men held for killing butcher Thodupuzha: The reason for the murder of a butcher at Amayapra, near Thodupuzha in Kerala's Idukki district, in August 2017 was an altercation over a love affair with a class XII girl. Vishnu (26) was brutally stabbed to death on the night of August 10, 2017, at his residence and there was no eyewitness to the incident. The police cracked the case recently after the arrest of two class XII students, who were the girl's schoolmates, and three DYFI members. The two students, one of them the prime accused, were also Students Federation of India (SFI) members. The students were juveniles when the incident occurred and they will be tried under the juvenile Act. All of them were under the influence of drugs when they committed the crime, police said. The arrested persons included Vishnu (21), Ananthu (20), Mahesh (21) and the juveniles, said Idukki Police Superintendent KB Venugopal. Two of the suspects are siblings. The arrests were made by a team led by District Crime Branch DYSP TA Antony. According to police, victim Vishnu was employed at a slaughterhouse in Udumbannoor town near Thodupuzha. The cops said that a private bus employee, who was a friend of victim Vishnu, had an affair with a class XII student of the same school where the two SFI members were studying. The bus employee and the two SFI members had an altercation over this and Vishnu thrashed one of the two students in front of a crowd at Udumbannoor town. The two students then roped in the three DYFI members and plotted a revenge attack, police said. One of the minors stole a knife from the slaughterhouse and they entered Vishnu’s house at night while he was asleep and the prime suspect stabbed him on the chest. According to police, the knife had pierced the body and the cot. Vishnu was found dead the next morning by the owner of the slaughterhouse. The murder weapon is yet to be recovered. Read more: Latest Idukki news Thu, 10 Jan 2019 09:40:42 GMT Abhimanyu's house ready, CM to hand over keys next week Thodupuzha: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will hand over the keys of a new house built for the family of slain SFI activist Abhimanyu to his parents on January 14 (Monday). The house was built by the CPI(M) on land purchased by it solely for this purpose. Currently, Abhimanyu’s family is staying in a cramped one-room structure at their native Kottakamboor in Idukki district. He is survived by father, a farmer; mother, sister and brother. The new 1,256 sq ft house, near to the Kottakamboor-Kovilur road and about 500m away from the present home, has three bedrooms, one drawing room and a pooja room. It was constructed on 10 cents of land bought by the CPI(M). The total cost is around Rs 35 lakh. Abhimanyu was stabbed and killed allegedly by Campus Front of India members on the campus of Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam, following a row over graffiti early in July 2018. Abhimanyu’s sister Kausalya got married in a wedding ceremony arranged by the party on November 11. The party also purchased 5 cents of land to build a memorial for Abhimanyu and DYFI leader Kashinathan, who was shot dead by Kottakamboor drug mafia, leaders had said. Read more: Latest Idukki news Wed, 09 Jan 2019 09:34:01 GMT At high range's Kuttanad, the harvest song has a Bengali rhythm Rajakumari: The high range's Kuttanad, which has withstood the ravages of floods and climate change, is resonating with harvest songs that have a distinct Bengali rhythm to them. Muttukadu at Baison Valley panchayat, which has the highest number of paddy fields, is known as the Kuttanad of the high range. Kuttanad in Alappuzha district is known as the rice bowl of Kerala. Earlier, Muttukadu had nearly 100 hectares of fields, which has come down to about 50 hectares now. Since there is a shortage of workers, harvesting is done by migrant labourers here. Most of them are from West Bengal. Earlier, farmers use to opt for irupoo farming (two crops in a season) where the harvesting is done twice and year. But, now, due to shortage of water, it has been cut down to one. Ever since their migration, farmers have never failed to cultivate their paddy fields in Muttukadu. The paddy farmers in Muttukadu squarely blame governments for not providing any help for cultivation. During monsoon, water enters their fields due to check dam bursts. Read more Idukki News Wed, 09 Jan 2019 01:39:12 GMT Young woman dies as bid at off-roading goes awry Adimali, Idukki: A 23-year-old woman died as an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) that she was riding toppled when she lost control of it. The accident occurred at 11 am at the Hilltop Riding Centre at Koompanpara, near Adimali, near the Kochi-Dhanushkodi National Highway. The deceased was identified as Chippy, daughter of Nisha, the chairperson of the Tripunithura municipality development council, and the late Rajendran of Mallassery in Thekkumbhagam, Tripunithura. She had reached the riding centre along with another woman and a youth on their way to Munnar. The young man first rode the vehicle. Chippy then took the wheels. According to staff at the centre, the vehicle skidded as Chippy was riding and toppled to 10 feet depth. She was rushed to a private hospital in Adimali where doctors found that she had sustained grievous head injuries. They referred her to a hospital in Ernakulam but she died at Perumbavoor as she was being shifted. Chippy has a brother, Chandu. All-terrain vehicle ATV is also know as quad or quad bike. It is similar to a tractor, it is operated like a bike. ATV is regulated with front and back gears, break, clutch and accelerator. The vehicle is a four-wheel driveused for off roading purposes. Riders are given instructions at the ground on how to handle the vehicle. However, riders can opt to be accoumpanied by experienced hands. Their permission is granted by the RDO like every other civilian vehicle. Sun, 06 Jan 2019 11:13:30 GMT ‘Uniformed’ auto lifter arrested Rajakumari: There is something ‘official’ about serial offender Ratheesh who was arrested for stealing motorbike from the KSEB section office premises on Christmas Eve here. Ratheesh loves to steal bikes while wearing a kakhi uniform, which is the official attire of some of the government employees, and interestingly prefers the official outfit of Kerala State Electricity Board Limited (KSEB) workers. The same modus operandi was followed while robbing the motorcycle of KSEB employee Sabumon. Ratheesh took Sabumon’s official dress, which was hanging on the wall and had the motorbike key, through the office window, and later rode away the two-wheeler wearing the uniform to Adimali near here. Ratheesh wears the stolen uniform and a helmet similar to that of KSEB workers to hoodwink the patrol police. The accused has many theft cases registered against him in various police stations. Police have indicated that Ratheesh is part of a gang involved in stealing vehicles from various parts of the state and selling them as scrap in other states. Further investigations are on. Read more Idukki News Fri, 04 Jan 2019 01:42:42 GMT Hubby strangulates wife to death in Idukki Peerumed, Idukki: A 31-year-old man was arrested for allegedly strangulating his wife to death at an estate quarters here. Auto-driver Bhagyaraj allegedly killed his wife Sherly (27) and tried to hang the body at the quarters. Police said that Bhagyaraj had earlier physically assaulted his wife doubting her fidelity. The estate women workers saw Bhagyaraj leaving the quarters after locking the doors around 12.30 pm on Monday. The workers found Sherly dead as they entered the quarters after breaking the lock and informed the police. It is assumed that the murder took place around 12 noon. Police said that Sherley was killed in the hall of the quarters and the body was dragged to the kitchen. The accused tried to the hang the body using a saree but in vain. Later, Bhagyaraj tied the dead body to the kitchen door and fled to Elappara near here. Local residents caught Bhagyaraj from there and handed him over to the police. Sherly had sustained injuries on her neck in knife-attack from Bhagyaraj on September 7 at Vagamon. Sherly had undergone treatment at Kottayam Medical College in the pretext that she was attacked by wild boars, and police didn’t register a case against Bhagyaraj in connection with the incident. Thu, 03 Jan 2019 11:43:19 GMT ‘Shun plastic bags’ is the buzz word of Kattappana folks Kattapana: With a strict no-no to plastic bags, the people of Kattapana have stepped into the New Year as advocates of cotton carry bags. The municipality has taken the lead in the venture by associating with Kudumbashree women to manufacture the eco-friendly cotton bags. In the first phase it has manufactured 2,100 kg of bags. Initially, the bags will be charged only Rs 150 a kilo, taking into account only the production expense. With a view to making the municipality plastic-free, the cotton bag-making unit started functioning at a building near the municipal ground here in October. The municipality has sanctioned Rs 35 lakh at different stages from its Plan Fund. The machinery was purchased at a cost of Rs 25 lakh and raw materials sourced from Salem. Once worn out or damaged, the bags can be safely disposed in the open as they will be fully decomposed in the soil. The machines are capable to manufacture bags weighing 500 gm to as heavy as 12 kg. The unit has the capacity to produce 80 bags in a minute. There are specialised machines that will print the name of the company on the bags. Saji Mathew is the supervisor of the unit. Read more Idukki News Thu, 03 Jan 2019 01:34:01 GMT Adimali panchayat launches mobile app Adimali: The Adimali panchayat has become 'smart' by launching a mobile app which contains all information related to the local body. Details of the services offered by the panchayat, certificates issued by it, application forms and pension schemes are available on the app. The app, ‘Adimali grama panchayat’, can be downloaded from Google Playstore. Information regarding the decisions taken by the panchayat council, grama sabha details, Kudumbashree-Ayalkoottam projects, daily notices and newspaper reports on the local body are available from the app, said panchayat president Sreeja George and secretary K N Sahajan. As the app has links with the sites of the MP, MLA and other people's representatives of the three-tier panchayat, information regarding these public figures can also be gathered from it. With the launch of the app, Adimali panchayat has made access to information easier for the public, said the local body authorities. Tue, 01 Jan 2019 01:43:58 GMT Alert passerby prevents car from sliding into gorge, saves four Moolamattam: A daring rescue effort made by a local man saved the lives of four members of a family whose car risked plunging into deep into a ravine near Nadukani, 21 km north of Moovatupuzha. The car carrying Murikkassery native Anil Kumar and family slipped from the road on Saturday afternoon and rested on a tree, but risked falling into the 50-feet deep gorge. Local resident Soman was around and rushed to the scene, only to find that the car was slowly moving. He told the occupants of the car not to move at all. Soman tried to stop oncoming vehicles, but no one bothered. Finally he risked his own life and stood in front of a lorry packed with gas cylinders and forced the driver to stop. A vehicle carrying staff from the Idukki excise office followed. The lorry crew and those on the excise vehicle joined the rescue operation with Soman. They tied the car to a tree, using a rope from the lorry, and took out Anil Kumar and family and rushed them to a hospital. The family, which was headed for Murikkassery from Thodupuzha, fortunately didn't sustain any injury. Read more Idukki News Mon, 31 Dec 2018 01:47:16 GMT Devikulam local body chief dies as hospital-bound jeep gets stuck in a jam Munnar: Traffic block could be blamed for the death of a political activist who was being rushed to a hospital with a chest pain. Local CPM leader and Devikulam block panchayat president A Sundaram, 60, passed away even before the jeep carrying him could reach a hospital. The vehicle was held up for 30 minutes at Ancham Mile owing to traffic chaos near the main gate of the Eravikulam National Park. Sundaram, who hails from Kovilkadavu tribal area in Kanthallur, was earlier attended to at a private hospital at Marayur for a chest pain and was referred to the Kottayam Medical College Hospital. He was being taken to Kottayam when he again developed chest pain as the jeep, owned by the block panchayat, reached Nayamakkad. It was then decided to rush him to a hospital in Munnar. The vehicle was caught in the block while heading for Munnar and it took half an hour to cover 100 metres. The congestion was caused by the parking of tourist vehicles at the narrow road at Ancham Mile on the Marayur-Munnar route. Ticket counters for entry to Rajamala and the park function there. The forest department has designated parking space for vehicles there, but there's not enough room for even half of the arriving vehicles. Cars and big buses are parked on both sides of the road, and vendors add to the chaos by setting up their sheds on both sides of the narrow road. Medical facilities are seriously lacking in Munnar and most of thetourist centres in the High Range, where thousands of visitors arrive everyday. Expert treatment has to be sought in Theni, Tamil Nadu, which is some 90 km away, or in Aluva or Kottayam which involves a journey of 170 km. The distance to Adimali taluk hospital itself is 30 km. Sundaram's wife Usha and a son were with him in the jeep. Sun, 30 Dec 2018 06:44:55 GMT Video nails light boy who nicked Rs 1 lakh from wedding party Thodupuzha: A man was arrested here on charges of stealing Rs 1 lakh during a wedding ceremony at a church. The arrest was possible with the help of visuals shot on a mobile by one of the attendees. He was identified as Dileep (26) of Vallippara in Muttom. The incident took place at Kalayanthani on Wednesday noon. According to the police, Dileep was part of the video crew shooting the wedding and was seen working as a light boy. Dileep became a suspect as visuals of a video shot on mobile by a singer at the ceremony gave indications to the theft. The police led by SI V C Vishnu Kumar took Dileep into custody but he denied the crime. However, when he was questioned with the help of the visuals, Dileep confessed and the money was soon recovered from his bike. While the police were about to present Dileep before the court, the man who lost the money arrived at the police station requesting to pardon Dileep. However, the police told him that they had already registered the case and later presented him before the court. Sun, 30 Dec 2018 01:49:36 GMT 11 arrested as tourists, forest dept staff clash over parking at Thekkady Kumali: Eleven people landed in police custody and eight forest department personnel were admitted to hospital after a dispute over vehicle parking led to a clash between forest guards and tourists visiting Thekkady. Two women are among those in hospital, and one of the injured is a pregnant woman. Five tourists have not sought medical attention at the hospital even at night, though some group members had claimed they were injured. Tourists Prajeesh, 40, Reshma, 24 and Rahul, 20 and bus owner Aneesh and driver Nisam have been injured, according to the travellers. The incident occurred at around 2.30 pm on Thursday. The bus carrying tourists from Vakkom, Attingal, was parked at a parking lot at Anavachal. Forest officials asked the driver to move the bus elsewhere as the parking area was undergoing development work and was too crowded. The driver refused to oblige and an argument ensued, ultimately leading to a clash. The police arrived on the scene and took the driver and the bus owner into custody. The bus was shifted to the police station by evening. Apart from the driver and the owner, the police took into custody nine others based on the statement given by the forest staff. The forest personnel admitted to hospital with injuries have been identified as Manu Mohan, 32, a beat officer at the Periyar Tiger Reserve; Bindu Vellayan, 45, tribal watcher; protection watchers B. Binu, 30, M Balamurugan, 53, and Indira Sudhakaran, 45; and drivers V S Ajit, 26, S. Aswan, 26, and K Aneesh, 42. Sat, 29 Dec 2018 01:52:47 GMT This veteran thief has a fancy for fine dining Rajakumari, Idukki: The police say the 72-year-old Joseph, alias Appachan, is the villain in some of the most interesting thievery cases they had encountered. A native of Rajakumari, Idukki district, Appachan has been a thief for the past five decades. He is the main accused in 35 robbery cases in his native district alone. With no family to support or control him, Appachan spends all his loot on food and drinks from expensive hotels. Appachan, who loves to be in prison, was recently released from the central jail, Viyyur. As soon as he was out, he broke open the coffers of the temple at Nadumattam and disappeared with all the money in there. The police team under Anoop Mon, Sub-Inspector, during investigation found telltale signs of the Appachan act. The police later caught him from the premises of his ancestral home at Nadumattam. Appachan has confessed to stealing about 4 sovereigns of gold from a house at Pooppara. He is now in the sub-jail at Devikulam after being remanded by the court at Adimali. Appachan has frequented most of the prisons in the state. During his term in the jails, he is the most sought after cook. Cooking is his most cherished passion after thievery. The police say that the Appachan dishes have numerous followers. Years ago, a sub-inspector employed in the high-ranges recruited Appachan as his cook soon after the latter's release from prison. Appachan did this role honestly for six months before decamping with all the pepper forming the part of the sub-inspector's personal wealth. Appachan mostly breaks open vacant houses or enters these by opening the roof tiles. Always he harms none. Wed, 26 Dec 2018 01:37:25 GMT Sick employee arrives in ambulance to get nod for medical leave Marayur: A 36-year old diabetic arrived at his office in an ambulance to prove he is indeed sick, after his superiors refused to grant him leave for medical care though he had 70 days' leave in credit. Babu, a resident of Kaspapetta, Arasalloor, Erode, is a bus driver of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation Limited. As Babu was under care at a private hospital, his wife Annakkodi called up the bus depot and requested manager Subramanian to grant him leave for treatment. As the manager refused it, Babu then reached the depot at 10am Thursday with his wife and children Hari and Meharika. As the security guard refused entry to the family, other workers at the depot prepared for a protest. Sensing trouble, Babu was finally granted leave after an hour. “I was in deep distress as my leave was rejected though I had 70 days in credit. That is why I came to the depot in an ambulance,” he said. Sat, 15 Dec 2018 01:45:35 GMT Nothing can beat Keezhanthoor farmers, not even a rock Marayoor: For the people of Keezhanthoor village, nothing is a hard task as they cultivate paddy, believe it or not, on rocky surfaces. They have been cultivating paddy for long, with great success, on the rock formations, which barely has one feet of soil, of Kannakayam colony near here in Idukki district, following the traditional practices in ploughing and sowing of seeds. Mechanized agriculture has not touched the region where farmers use ox-driven ploughs to till the land, and the chaff is separated in the conventional manner. The paddy farming is now done using the new ‘Co 51’ seed variety as paddy seeds such as Vettilachemba and Jeerakachemba, which have been used for long, have become defunct. The local residents are involved in farming as a way of life rather than to make profit out of it. The water springs that flow from the mountain ranges are sources of water for irrigation. C A Subramanian, Shankaran, Sukumaran, Shivakumar, Papparavahanan, Ramakrishnan, Sachithanandan, Gothadandapani, Vasudevan, Palaniswamy and K K Vinayaka sweat it out in the fields to reap a good harvest. The tribal people of Kanakayam Kudi also undertake paddy farming following similar practices. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 03:30:21 GMT Panchayat shows the way in making money from plastic waste Nedumgandam: Nedumgandam may be a small place in Idukki district but it is giving big lessons in plastic waste management to the whole world. The Nedumgandam panchayat had pocketed Rs 62,472 by selling 4,164.83 kg of recycled plastic trash to companies producing bitumen to lay roads. The bitumen mixed with recycled plastic waste was used to lay roads in many panchayats through the Clean Kerala Company, a state government initiative. Moreover, 10 houses near to the processing plant would be provided free electricity generated from garbage. The panchayat has stocked 10,000 kg of processed plastic waste and 3,000 kg of organic fertilizers for sale. It collects plastic waste from houses, schools and hospitals through Harithasena, the Kudumbasree’s green army, which collects plastic and non-bio-degradable waste. Later, the plastic waste is recycled and sold to Clean Kerala Company which adopts scientific methods to ensure hygiene in the state. Panchayat president S Jnanasundaram and secretary P V Biju oversee the operations of the processing plant. Fair price for plastic The Clean Kerala Company sells the recycled plastic at a fair price to private and public companies manufacturing bitumen. Plans are afoot to source the entire plastic waste of the panchayat and make this project more effective with the cooperation of block panchayat. Power from garbage The state government has given the nod for the panchayat’s proposal to put in place a bio-gas unit at the waste processing plant to provide power and cooking gas to people in the locality. The government has earmarked an amount of Rs 10 lakh for the project, which would be executed by Union Ministry of Rural Development’s Govardhan programme and the State’s Suchitwa Mission. The bio-gas plant will be using 300 kg of solid waste to produce gas which would be supplied to 15 households. The power would also be distributed to nearby houses. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 13:56:15 GMT Fish vendor assaulted in Munnar, case filed after 5 days Munnar: The police have filed a case against five people over the assault of a 68-year-old fish vendor at Mankulam last Thursday. The victim, Thaneli M Makkar of Valara, Adimali, is under medical care at a hospital at Kothamangalam. Makkar was beaten up as he was carrying fish in his vehicle. As he fell down, the assailants trampled him. The police are yet to make any arrests though they have filed the case five days after the incident. Munnar police say Makkar had not filed a complaint and the case was based on information passed on from the hospital. However, the police are seen to have proceeded after visuals of the assault on Makkar were circulated widely on social media. The assault has drawn protests. An action council has called for a shutdown at the Patham Mile and Irumpupalam areas from 11 am to 12 pm on Tuesday. Local people held a protest in Mankulam. Local people say Makkar was assaulted for demanding money that was due to him from a resort for the fish sold. It is also alleged that the gang threatened him of police action for misbehaving with a woman. Tue, 04 Dec 2018 03:46:39 GMT House for Abhimanyu’s family nearing completion Thodupuzha: The house, being built by the CPI(M) for the family of slain SFI activist Abhimanyu, has reached the final stages of construction. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan would hand over the keys of the house in the last week of December or by early January, according to CPI(M) Idukki district committee. Currently, Abhimanyu’s family consisting of his father, who is a farmer, mother, sister and brother, is staying in a cramped one-room structure at their native Kottakamboor in Idukki district. The new 1,256 sq ft house, near to the Kottakamboor-Kovilur road and about 500m away from the present home, with three bedrooms, one drawing room and a pooja room is being constructed on 10 cents of land bought by the CPI(M). The total cost is around Rs 35 lakh. A committee, under the chairmanship of Kottakamboor panchayat president P Ramaraj, was formed to oversee the construction activities. Efforts are on to complete works by December 20. Abhimanyu’s sister Kausalya got married in a wedding ceremony arranged by the party on November 11. The party also purchased 5 cents of land to build a memorial for Abhimanyu and DYFI leader Kashinathan, who was shot dead by Kottakamboor drug mafia, said Ramaraj. Abhimanyu was stabbed and killed allegedly by Campus Front of India members on the campus of Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam, following a row over graffiti early in July. Fri, 30 Nov 2018 04:07:59 GMT Soil test ahead of building new Cheruthoni bridge begins Cheruthoni: Preliminary work has begun here for constructing a new bridge in place of the one which was severely damaged in the recent floods. As a first step, dredging has commenced on the banks of the Cheruthoni river, near the old bridge, to study the soil conditions and presence of rock. The task is being carried out by an expert team of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) that has arrived from Tamil Nadu. Conducted with the aid of various devices, the examination of soil and rock composition is expected to be completed within one week. Alongside, work to prepare an estimate for building the new bridge is underway. NHAI authorities said that the construction would take place on a war footing. The Union Government has agreed to construct a a new bridge. The Union Ministry of Surface Transport has given the nod as the matter was raised before it. Joice George, MP, had earlier stated the Centre was informed on the need for an urgent bridge in the wake of unprecedented floods. Th estimated cost of a constructing a parallel bridge at a higher level than the existing bridge is around Rs 15 crore, and a detailed project report on this would be sought, Kerala Minister G Sudhakaran had said recently. The Cheruthoni bridge which connects the Thodupuzha-Puliuyanmala national highway in Idukki district was built half a century ago. Mon, 26 Nov 2018 10:04:07 GMT Video-conferencing set to ease admin in Idukki Thodupuzha: A district administration in the state has launched video-conferencing system to interlink the village offices with collectorate and taluk offices through smart phones. This big leap in communication, which is aimed at better and easier governance in the Revenue Department, commenced in the hilly district of Idukki. The project was started by interconnecting 18 village offices in Udumbanchola taluk. Power Minister M M Mani inaugurated the project from Rajakkad village office by interacting with District Collector Jeevan Babu through mobile video conferencing. Joyce George MP, ADM P G Radhakrishnan, Udumbanchola tahsildar P Bhanukumar, District Informatics officer Roy Joseph, IT Cell coordinator Anil K Isaac took part in the function. Earlier, five taluk offices in the district were brought under a desktop video-conferencing system, initiated by the E-governance Society, and connected with the collectorate. Apart from the villages offices that come under Udumbanchola taluk, all the remaining village offices that come under various taluk offices of the district will be brought under the system before November 30, said S Nived, the district project manager of Kerala State IT Mission. The key feature of the system is that it helps in better coordination of the activities in the district by enabling a direct communication between the district collector and the tahsildars and village officers. The collector can also make a direct assessment of the troubled area using the smart phone facilities. The project is enabled by the National Informatics Centre and the Kerala IT Mission. Once the new system is in place, the village officer, except under emergency situations, need not take the trouble to commute all the way to taluk offices. “Normally, the travel time of a village officer who had to shuttle between his office and taluk office or collectorate ate away the major chunk of his duty hours. The new system will do away with the travelling hassles and save time," said Collector Jeevan Babu. Sun, 25 Nov 2018 08:32:29 GMT Accused in rape case bobbitises himself in jail Peermade: An accused in a rape case has bobbitised himself inside the jail. The incident happened on Wednesday at the Peermade subjail. Kumali Dymukku native Churuli, 42, was taken to Kottayam Medical College where an emergency operation was conducted on him. Hospital authorities confirmed that he is out of danger. The incident took place inside the jail cell on Wednesday morning. It was other jail inmates who spotted a bleeding Churuli after he mostly cut off his genitals. Jail authorities took him to the taluk hospital from where he was taken to the medical college. Jail authorities said that the man used a blade given for the purpose of shaving to cut his genital. Jail inmates are allowed to shave usually on Tuesdays. Churuli, who was arrested four months ago on charges of raping a minor girl, was granted bail but had to continue in remand since no guarantor turned up. Wed, 21 Nov 2018 10:50:21 GMT Shops, crops destroyed as elephants run amok Munnar: A herd of wild elephants trekked down to a hilly countryside and destroyed two shops that also doubles up as the residence of their owners in Idukki district, while in a similar incident not far away a lone tusker spread fear in a locality before people drove it back to the forests. Two modest businesses adjacent to a tea factory at Kannimala, alongside the Munnar-Marayoor route, suffered massive destruction in the wee hours of Monday when three elephants including a calf broke into them. Rajakumari (58), the owner of one of the shops, escaped the animals’ wrath as she managed to hide under a concrete slab in the kitchen, while Agnimuthu (60) of the business next door was away to attend a relative’s wedding. The elephants first entered Agnimuthu’s bakery after pushing the whole shack and felling it. They frenziedly consumed the eatables, in a replay of an incident that had happened in the place five years ago. The elephants’ din woke up Rajakumari, who saw the pachyderms having flattened the shutter of Agnimuthu’s shop. Scared, she ran to the kitchen of her eatery, finding shelter under the concrete slab inside. The elephants receded after a while, but only after destroying the chairs and tables of her shop. Rajakumari was widowed two decades ago, as her husband Pechimuthu had died in 1997 after being killed by a wild animal in the forests of Kannimala Top. Past Sunday midnight, around 1 am, a much-feared elephant called Padayappa ran amok in Vauvarai Estate. It re-entered, this time the New Division, where labourers live in clusters and damaged a plantain orchard. On hearing the sound, the residents woke up. It took three hours of joined work to eventually evict the tusker from their area and push it back into the jungle from where it had come. Wed, 14 Nov 2018 02:48:55 GMT Damaged Cheruthoni causeway awaits urgent restoration Cheruthoni: The Thadiyambad causeway (chappath), which was destroyed when waters were released from Idukki Dam during the August floods, is still unmotorable. When the waters receded, the road was repaired temporarily but as no further maintenance was carried out, it is now damaged again. The local people had arranged rocks and laid earth over it to make the bridge motorable. But over the last two months, the earth has been swept away and the rocks are exposed. Vehicles can cover the stretch only along one lane, leading to frequent traffic blocks. This road is the main route connecting two panchayats and the only link to the outside world for many villages. Around 20 school vans use this stretch every day. After the floods, the officials of the public works department had promised to repair the bridge on an urgent basis. The chief engineer who visited the spot said that another parallel causeway would be built across the Periyar River, allowing free two-way traffic. But with no action being taken so far, the Thadiyambad development committee members have registered their strong protest. Mon, 12 Nov 2018 01:41:40 GMT Toddler dies after TV falls on him Kottayam: A toddler boy, who was injured after a television set fell on him, died on Wednesday. One-and-half-year-old Jayakrishnan, from Thopramkudy in Idukki, was under treatment at the Medical College Hospital, Kottayam after he was crushed by the TV set that fell on him while he was playing. The boy was battling for his life since Thursday but succumbed despite best efforts, doctors said. Wed, 31 Oct 2018 09:28:54 GMT Diseases play havoc with Idukki, post flood Nedumkandam: Idukki is yet to recover from the ravages of rain, landslides and flood that struck it a couple of months ago. Adding to the misery, the hilly district is now in the grip of diseases. Viral fever is rampant, while chicken pox cases have shown a steep increase. A whopping 20,116 people have sought treatment for viral fever alone in government hospitals in the past three months, the health department stated. The count is well over a lakh patients in the past one year. But private sector hospitals put the number of people affected by viral fever as double the government estimate. A huge increase has also been noticed in the number of chicken pox cases. Government hospitals have handled 399 cases in three months. Seven people were affected by dengue fever during the same period, while 55 had tomato fever, an unidentified fever rife in India. Twenty cases of rat fever, 17 typhoid and four jaundice infections and one malaria case have been confirmed. Government hospitals in the district alone received 220 fever cases on Saturday. A total of 5,331 people sought medical care for fever in the district this month. Avoid self-treatment The fever-affected have been told to ensure care from hospitals, use only boiled and cooled water and keep surroundings clean. The department warns people to avoid buying drugs from medical shops on the advice of pharmacists. Curb mosquitoes or pay fine The health department had warned people to ensure that the growth of mosquitoes is prevented, or pay a penalty for failure and face a case too. Six people were served with notices in the Nedumkandam area. The health authorities also levied a fine of Rs 500 each from two people. Odds galore The health department says it has been conducting pre-monsoon disease prevention work since January in all panchayats. The department however is short of doctors, including specialists, and other employees. Those who are available put in extra effort. Local people complain that doctors turn up only once in a week at several health centres. Tue, 30 Oct 2018 01:39:16 GMT Pay cut for 49 cops who defied Salary Challenge Thodupuzha: The Kerala government has seized a month's pay from 49 police officers in Idukki district who refused to contribute to the Salary Challenge plan. The money, which is to used for flood relief, has been deducted from their September salary. These are police personnel who declined to agree to the cut despite heavy pressure. Of the 49 officers, 24 had refused to contribute their salary, while the other 25 offered to contribute from the pay ensuing after encashing 30 days' leave or the fourth instalment of the arrears resulting from revised salary. Up to 60% of the police personnel in the district had refused to concede their salaries in the first stage. The district police chief then summoned sub-division deputy superintendents of police (DySP) and told them that the low number of contributions brings shame upon the police force in the district. He told them to ensure by hook or crook that the personnel comply. Some DySPs even used threats like transfer, and allowed time until October 2 to submit consent letters. However, 24 police officers stood firm and declined consent. Salaries have been deducted from them now. Some 53 personnel who had submitted letters refusing to contribute were sent on special duty to Munnar recently. Read more from Idukki Wed, 24 Oct 2018 14:17:47 GMT Class X girl found dead at Nirbhaya Centre Thodupuzha: A 15-year-old girl of the Nirbhaya centre here was found dead on Tuesday. Bijimol, hailing from Elappara, was a class X student of Kudayathoor Government HSS. Though she was rushed to the Thodupuzha taluk hospital, her life could not be saved. A suicide letter, presumed to be written by the girl, was recovered from the spot. But her relatives alleged that the handwriting on the letter was not that of Bijumol’s. Her kin created an uproar, saying that unruly behaviour of the workers forced her to take the extreme step. The allegations, however, were denied by the staff. Authorities later gave the relatives an assurance that, in case of a complaint, the tahsildar would investigate the matter, as per the instructions of the Idukki RDO. The body was handed over to the relatives after autopsy at the Kottayam Medical College Hospital. Meanwhile, the police have ruled out anything unnatural in the incident. Bijimol was put under the care of the Nirbhaya centre three years ago after her parents parted ways and entered into separate wedlocks. Read more: Latest Idukki news Wed, 10 Oct 2018 06:39:16 GMT Rabid dog bites disaster management centre ex-chief KG Thara Kumali: KG Thara, former head of the State Institute for Land and Disaster Management Center, Thiruvananthapuram, was bitten by a rabid dog here on Thursday. She had reached Kumili on Sunday morning for a panel discussion on 'The lessons the flood taught' organized by the Forest Department at Periyar Wildlife Reserve. Dr Thara was on a visit to the new waste management plant installed by the Kumili panchayath when she was attacked by the dog, in front of the Forest Department information bureau. She was rushed to a local dispensary where she received her first anti-rabies injection. She was later taken home in a Forest Department vehicle. Reportedly, the dog had bitten a cow in Kumili town on Monday. Thu, 04 Oct 2018 13:48:27 GMT Cop in purdah who entered labour ward surrenders Thodupuzha: A civil police officer who entered the gynaecology ward of a private hospital wearing a purdah surrendered at the Kulamavu police station, where he was posted. Noor Sameer, 47, from Kummamkallu, had gone into hiding after the visit on Friday at 8 pm. The district police chief had placed Noor under suspension after the police filed a case against him on charges of impersonation. Noor surrendered at the station on Wednesday afternoon, but the police said his partner in the crime, Bilal of Kummamkallu, remains untraced. An autorickshaw used by the accused was seized by police earlier. Noor will be produced in court on Thursday. The key witness in the case, Sakeer, 38, of Idavetti Kochukonikkal, has been admitted to the district hospital with injuries. He has accused the police of thrashing him. Deputy superintendent of police, Thodupuzha, KP Jose denied the charge. He said it was Sakeer who stopped Noor at the hospital, removed his veil and showed his face to the security guard. “He attempted to change his statement at the police station yesterday,” Jose said. “He said was told he will face a case if he supports the accused now. His statement was recorded, but he wasn't assaulted,” the officer said. Thu, 04 Oct 2018 07:09:01 GMT Male cop in purdah suspended, may be axed after probe Thodupuzha: A policeman, who roamed around in the maternity ward of a private hospital, wearing a 'purdah', has been suspended.Idukki district police chief KB Venugopal has issued the suspension order against Noor Sameer who is a civil police officer at the Kulamavu police station. The alleged incident happened around 8 pm on Friday. Women bystanders at the hospital had alerted the security personnel after they noticed a person in the long flowing garment wandering in the maternity ward. When he was identified as a man, Sameer reportedly ran out of the ward. However, when the security personnel apprehended this Kummanamkallu native, he removed the purdah and left the place saying that he was a cop. A case has been registered against Sameer for impersonation. He has been suspended following a report submitted by the special branch DySP. A departmental investigation too has been ordered against him. Venugopal said that the police would investigate about the circumstances which made the male cop visit the maternity ward in disguise. Sameer, along with two other policemen, Mujeeb Rahman and Suneesh Kumar, were arrested in 2017 January from Palakkad for pretending as members of the chief minister’s anti-gunda squad and taking bribe of Rs 96,000 from ganja dealers. The suspension of the trio was revoked recently. The SP said that a detailed investigation would be conducted as Sameer has been suspended earlier as well.He added that the department would consider dismissal of the culprit as per the findings in the investigative report. Mon, 01 Oct 2018 04:02:01 GMT Heavy rain lashes Idukki; Kumily-Tamil Nadu road shut Admimali/Kumily: Idukki, one of the worst hit areas in the August rain and floods, witnessed heavy rain on Friday. Roads were destroyed after the rain triggered landslides. The authorities were forced to stop traffic movement through the Kumily route, one of the major roads connecting Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the region, after the road collapsed. Landslides were also reported in Vellayamkudi in Nedumkandam. Many parts of the Nedumkandam town was inundated in rain water. Munnar, Thodupuzha, Adimali regions reported thunder showers. After the safety wall of Kochi-Dhanushkodi National Highway caved in at Valara, district collector K Jeevan Babu shut the road connecting Neriamangalam and Adimali till further order. The Mathakovil road on the Kottarakra-Dindigul National Highway has been destroyed. It will take at least a month to reinstate the roads, said reports. The Kambamedu-Puliyanmala route can be utilized to reach Kumily from Tamil Nadu. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had forecast heavy rain in several districts of Kerala till September 30. An yellow alert has been issued after IMD predicted rain between 64.4 mm and 124.4 mm in these areas. The government had ordered all officials concerned to be present in these areas to carry out disaster management activities. During the August deluge, Idukki dam was opened after 26 years as the water level inched towards its maximum capacity of 2,403 feet. The picturesque Munnar town in Idukki district was almost totally cut off and traffic was disrupted after two shutters of the Mattupetti dam were opened. Sat, 29 Sep 2018 12:38:43 GMT Idukki after the floods | Video Kerala's Idukki district was one of the most-affected regions during the unprecedented rain that lashed the state during mid-August. Unlike the other flood-hit regions in Kerala, Idukki, which is in the Western Ghats, was hit by massive landslides too and over 50 deaths were caused by them. As the district is slowly limping back to normalcy, Onmanorama revisits the beautiful hill district for a first-hand assessment of the destruction. Read more from Districts Fri, 28 Sep 2018 05:27:05 GMT Cheruthoni market still limping post-floods Cheruthoni: The Cheruthoni market is in a sorry state of affairs as the slush and stones left by the gushing flood waters are yet to be cleared even 40 days after the great deluge. The panchayat authorities are sleeping over repeated requests made by the businessman, who took the Vazhathoppu panchayat market on lease for Rs 8 lakh, to clear the debris at the earliest. He paid from his pocket to make the meat stalls conducive for business. Though the market has been partially opened after the floods, there are lack of facilities. The slaughter of more cattle is not possible in the market due to the lack of facilities to store meat, resulting in a drastic dip in meat sales. A drizzle could trigger flow of mud and water into the market making it inaccessible for customers. But the panchayat authorities informed that steps have been taken to clean the market premises. The engineering section has started work and the market area would be cleared of mud and stones this week itself, they added. As the fish trading area has been washed away, many fish wholesale traders are in distress. More than 200 retailers come to Cheruthoni market to buy fish from wholesale traders. Thu, 27 Sep 2018 07:00:57 GMT Priest donates 20 cents to two homeless families Cheruthoni: A priest chose 20 cents of land he got as family property to gift to two homeless families. Fr Eldon Edappatt, who is a vicar at the St Peter’s Church at Malad, Mumbai, transferred the ownership of the plots to two poor households at Thekkinthandu in Vathikudi panchayat in Idukki district. The priest belongs to this hilly locality. One of the beneficiaries was Roy Joseph, who had sold his 15-cent plot for the treatment of his ailing sister and had been living at a rented accommodation for 11 years. The second is Daimy Johnson, who lives with her mother and two daughters at a rented house at Adimali after her husband died in an attack by a wild elephant. The properties will be handed over at a function at the Christuraja Church at Rajapuram, Murikkassery, on Sunday. Fr Eldon will also disburse a total sum of Rs 2 lakh to local residents affected in last month’s floods and landslide. This money was contributed by several people for flood-relief activities. Sun, 23 Sep 2018 02:21:25 GMT Excavator used to stop bus from sliding into gorge Rajakumari, Idukki: About 80 passengers travelling on a bus had a narrow escape when the reckless driver almost drove the vehicle into a deep gorge. The driver of an excavator working with a road repairing team saw the tragedy coming and swerved the mechanical arm towards the bus and propped it up with the metal bucket. The driver of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation bus has been taken into custody. Karthikeyan, 46, was under the influence of alcohol, the Shanthanpara police said. The freak rescue happened at Erachipara near Thondimala around 4.30 pm on Thursday. The bus was on its way to Rajakkad through a mountain road that was being repaired when the sloshed driver lost control. The excavator driver, Ratheesh, acted swiftly to give the passengers enough time to get out of the bus. The passengers said that the bus driver was reckless from the start of the journey at Bodinayakanur in Tamil Nadu. They said that they protested but the driver paid no heed. The bus even brushed against two jeeps carrying labourers before it was driven towards the edge of the gorge. Sat, 22 Sep 2018 11:12:30 GMT Cops take bribe from colleague, get transferred Nedumkandam: The Circle Inspector (CI) and an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) of the Nedumkandam police station have been transferred for allegedly extorting money from a colleague by threatening to implicate him in a false case by portraying the suicide of his father as murder. The complainant, who was forced to pay a bribe of Rs 1 lakh, is an officer attached to a police station in the high range area. Idukki District Police Chief K B Venugopal forwarded the transfer orders of CI B Ayoob Khan and ASI Sabu M Mathew to the Inspector General of Police, Kochi Range. Ayoob Khan has been transferred to the Mullaperiyar station while Sabu will be posted in the District Crime Records Bureau. Special Branch SI Rajendra Kurup, who attempted to cover up the actions of the duo, has been sent to the Armed Reserve (AR) camp as part of disciplinary action. According to the officials, the complainant’s father Ilappunkal Meeran Ravuthar, 86, of Prakash Gram, near Thookkupalam, was found dead with his throat slit in the toilet of his house on September 6. Preliminary forensic examinations suggested that Ravuthar might have committed suicide depressed over prolonged illness. However, the CI and the ASI, who visited the spot, threatened to implicate the deceased person’s son in a false murder case and demanded money from him. On August 11, the latter went to the CI’s office and handed over Rs 1 lakh to officials. Thereafter, he lodged a complaint with the District Police Chief. Disciplinary action was initiated against the two officers after DySP P Sukumaran of the District Crime Records Bureau, who conducted a preliminary investigation, found the allegations to be true. As per the complaint received by the district police chief, the CI and the ASI had repeatedly threatened him by saying that: “your father was a wealthy person. You will be arraigned in a murder case if you are not ready to pay us.” When the complainant arrived at his office to hand over the amount, the CI came out of his room as he was apprehensive of getting caught by Anti-Corruption Bureau officials. It was said that a portion of the amount was given to the ASI. Thu, 20 Sep 2018 08:07:56 GMT New house worth Rs 40 lakh likely to collapse Rajakkad, Idukki: Landslides and flood had destroyed several property in Kerala, with several people finding their damaged houses uninhabitable and dangerous. A house that was built at a cost of Rs 40 lakh at Panniyarkutti, near here, has been wrecked to such an extent that the family is now homeless. K K Jobit had spent his entire life's savings on the house, and had topped it with a bank loan to raise it. The family had moved into the house only on January 15, but their joy was short-lived as the natural calamity that struck Kerala last month has almost ruined their house and ostensibly their financial health. Jobit's father Kurien and mother Mary were alone there as the rain intensified on August 14. On 15th morning, they found streams forming around the house. Water collected behind the structure at two-feet height. Sensing a risk, Kurien and Mary shifted to a house by 11 pm. A little while later at night, they heard the thud of a landslide from around their house. Returning to their house, they found it buried under mud, stones and trees debris. A part of the house was completely destroyed. Silt water was seen gushing out from inside the house through a door. Household items were all destroyed as silt filled the rooms. Among many things that were washed away are identity documents. It is estimated lakhs of rupees would be required to remove the mud that has encircled the house. The front portion of the house is intact, but it risks collape any time as it has cracked at many places and streams are still emerging outside. Most of the one-acre land adjacent to the house has been lost to the landslide. It's just not possible to build a new house on this property. The family is now living at a friend's house as the relief camp where they had been staying was closed. Mon, 17 Sep 2018 01:49:57 GMT 'Ragging' forces girl to quit engineering college Vandiperiyar: A first-year student of Computer Engineering at the Government Polytechnic here has given up her studies after she was assaulted and threatened under the pretext of ragging. The father of the girl said his daughter decided to quit as her life was in danger. The girl, a resident of Poonthope in Alappuzha, had obtained spot admission early in August but couldn't join because of the flood. She could reach her hostel at Vandiperiyar only on September 2. In her complaint, she stated she faced atrocities the next day itself from Students Federation of India (SFI) activists and senior girl students. “There were eight of them,” she said. “They kicked and slapped me.” She was then admitted to Vandiperiyar Government Hospital in Idukki district, from where her parents took her away. The police later booked three girl students and the hostel warden under non-bailable provisions. The complaint said SFI activists threatened her when she reached the college with her father on Wednesday to testify before the anti-ragging cell in the polytechnic. “They wanted to prevent me from giving statement” she said. The father and the daughter were locked up in a room, from where the police had to rescue them and transport them to Kuttikanam. The father, A J John, alleged that the principal had leaked information about his arrival with the daughter. A complaint has been filed against the prinicpal too. “The college is not a safe place. The surveillance cameras do not work,” he said. Principal Anjana Sivadas refuted the allegation. SFI Idukki district secretary M S Sharat also rejected the charges. “We haven't threatened anyone,” he said. “In fact we are willing to help her study further in the college.” Fri, 14 Sep 2018 06:57:54 GMT Expert panel to prepare report on land cracking in Idukki Idukki: After a season of landslides and floods, the district is now faced with the threat of land cracking and caving in. Cracks on roads and incidents of huge houses caving in were reported from various parts of the district in the past few days. Similar incidents were reported from areas including Adimali, Senapathi panchayat, and Vazhvara Nirmala City in Kattappana. Research teams and scientists from the Geological Survey of India's mining and geology section in Idukki; Kerala Agricultural University (KAU); and the US Science Foundation’s Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance visited the district and conducted studies. They will prepare a detailed report soon. According to B Ajayakumar, a geologist from Idukki, such developments was the result of the soil’s ability to absorb water. The excess rain led to the formation of new paths for the water to flow out, causing widespread damage. Indicating the looming drought, water level in the rivers had fallen drastically after the shutters of various dams across the district were closed. Thu, 13 Sep 2018 12:09:52 GMT Landmark Munnar bridge washed away in August flood The footbridge was located at Old Munnar near High Range Club across the Muthirapuzha river. The bridge was swept away on August 16 as rain intensified across Kerala, giving rise to unprecedented floods. The original bridge here had been built by the British when the colonial masters were setting up tea estates in the hilly region. It was initially a hanging bridge meant to connect Chokkanad estate and Old Munnar. Later, concrete slabs were laid over steel girders. This bridge was in a precarious condition for long after the girders corroded. On November 7, 1987, 14 school kids were killed when the same bridge collapsed. It was subsequently rebuilt in 1989. The 1987 tragedy occurred when several students of Old Munnar Government High School gathered on the bridge to witness a helicopter landing on the ground of the High Range Club. The bridge gave away as the children moved to one side of the bridge to get a good view of its landing and several students drowned in the river. Mon, 03 Sep 2018 09:53:57 GMT Four-storey Adimali house slid 10 ft in August landslide Landslides had taken several lives and damaged properties in the higher reaches of Kerala since the monsoon commenced a few months ago. As the state limps back to normalcy after the unprecedented deluge of August, more incidents of damage are coming to light. At Adimali in the hilly Idukki district, which bore the brunt of the recent disaster, a four-storied house was found dislocated from its original location. The house, belonging to a jeweller's family, in fact moved 10 feet as its base got shifted with erosion brought about by landslide. However, the mansion built on a hill slope suffered no substantial damage in the displacement. However, a car parked in the porch got buried as the stilts of the structure collapsed on August 16 around 8.30 am. The mishap occurred a fortnight ago when all its occupants had vacated the place amid heavy rains. The structure, built close to the Government High School on one side of the Kochi-Dhanushkodi national highway, has its ground floor raised on pillars. Sheela Radhakrishnan, the owner, and her two daughters used to occupy the two floors and they had rented out one floor. Sheela's husband Ambattukunnel Radhakrishnan had built the house four years ago. Radhakrishnan, who ran a jewellery shop in Adimali town, died early last year. Today, Sheela and her children stay at their relatives’ house at Mannankala off Adimali on the foothills of the famed Munnar hill station, 27 km away. Mon, 03 Sep 2018 08:39:39 GMT Cop 'assaulted' for stopping tourists from clicking pics atop Idukki dam Cheruthoni: A woman allegedly assaulted a policeman after he stopped her from taking photos atop the Idukki Dam known for its scenic locale. Constable Sarath Chandrababu, 26, of Armed Reserve Camp was admitted to hospital, where he was being treated for wounds on the chest and arm, police said on Saturday. Trouble began when a team of people drove onto the thin-arc concrete reservoir in a car and started capturing images on their mobile phone. They did it on a stretch that strictly prohibits both parking of vehicles and shooting pictures. Cops on duty noticed the activity and seized the cell-phone from the woman who had got out of the car. At this, her fellow travellers came out and allegedly abused the policemen. The skirmish led to blockade of vehicles atop the dam, following which the men travelling in the car mollified the women, who got into their vehicle. The police were videographing the episode, which came to the notice of one of the women. She got down from the car and pushed constable Sarath, who also received chest injuries from the car keys. At this, the car was detained. Soon, circle inspector Sibichan Joseph arrived and took the travellers in the car to the Idukki police station. They were later released. The incident happened on Thursday evening. Sarath filed a complaint with the district police. Its chief, B Venugopal, said a probe was on. District authorities had barred traffic along the Cheruthoni dam downstream the Idukki reservoir since August 9 in the wake of heavy rains. It was three days ago the district collector gave permission for vehicular movement along the 1973-opened Idukki dam across the Periyar, which is Kerala’s longest river with highest water discharge capacity. That collector’s step had come with its set of rules: don’t stop vehicles along the dam, don’t click pictures on camera or mobile phones, don’t walk along the dam and obey the instructions of the police. These rules apply to even those using public transportation like the state-run KSRTC buses. They have been issued considering the high-security nature of the dam and its hilly surroundings in south-east Kerala. Sun, 02 Sep 2018 01:45:13 GMT Danger zones in Idukki to be isolated, people to be resettled Thodupuzha: A district-level review meeting studying the flood aftermath in Idukki has decided that people living in areas which suffered heavy damage in the recent calamity should be rehabilitated at safer locales. Government will find land for resettling such people away from the danger zones, sources said. Revenue minister E Chandrasekharan confirmed the decisions, adding that those returning from relief camps will get their due relief assistance in their bank accounts without delay. Immediate action will be taken to restore damaged roads in the district. Meanwhile, officials were blamed at the meeting for not providing accurate data on houses unfit for habitation. According to the data provided by officials, 1,584 houses in Idukki district were unfit for human habitation. Landslips had occurred at 278 places and nearly 2,000 km of roads were ruined. Loss of cultivation is estimated at Rs 61 crore. Power has to be restored in 1,500 houses and restoration worsk are in the final stages in 6,000 houses. In total 10,961 homes in Idukki were rendered without power in the aftermath of the flood. Tue, 28 Aug 2018 07:41:52 GMT