Thiruvananthapuram Read latest news updates from Thiruvananthapuram District Kerala in English. Watch Videos and Photos of Exclusive Breaking News. Onmanorama en Tue, 25 Jun 2019 05:20:31 GMT Chemical-laden rotten fish still being pushed Kadakkal: Trawling ban period is that part of the year when fish prices skyrocket and vendors engage in fishy ways to make profits through sale of chemically preserved fish. This season too, the public continued to be deceived by fishmongers who sell rotten fish at a high price. Such cases of selling stale fish are rampant in the markets in the eastern belt of the state such as Kadakkal which lies far off from the sea coast. The buyers get a whiff of the stale product only after they reach home. They develop itching on hands while cleaning the fish and vomiting sensation after consuming the spoiled dish. Recently, a few people who bought 'paara' (Malabar trevally) from Kadakkal were taken for a ride and had to bury them after finding them spoilt. Fish such as trevally, tuna, sardine, ribbon fish, mackerel, Indian scad, anchovy and shrimps were found in a decomposed state. However, the vendors, who mix up the chemically-preserved varieties with the fresh ones are giving a tough time to the customers. People often find it hard to distinguish those laced in chemicals such as formalin and ammonia from the fresh ones. Vendors who sell fish in vehicles since morning take the unsold fish to the market in the evening. Though the Food Safety and Health departments, and panchayat officials were alerted about the rampant sale of rotten fish, no action has been taken so far. An office of the Food Safety Department is functioning at Nilamel. However, when the officials were pointed out about the malpractice, the officials have excused themselves from doing the job citing shortage of hands and vehicle, it is alleged. Wed, 10 Jul 2019 04:48:08 GMT Technopark Trivandrum gets Crisil 'A' rating Thiruvananthapuram: Technopark Trivandrum - a technology park situated in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram city - got a Crisil 'A' rating, an IT official said on Saturday. Crisil is India's foremost provider of ratings, data, research, analytics and solutions. This is the first time that a Kerala-based Electronics Technology Park got such a high rating. "Crisil 'A' rating is truly a defining moment for Technopark. It is recognition of the check measures adhered to over the years in achieving this milestone which will help us go a long way in attracting more investors and credibility in the industry," said Technopark CEO, Hrishikesh Nair. One of India's largest IT parks, it is also one of the world's greenest technopolis. Technopark Trivandrum, which is spread over 724 acres of land, was established in 1990 on the city outskirts. It has about 400 operational companies at present which employ more than 56,000 IT professionals. Mon, 08 Jul 2019 00:42:11 GMT Man plunges into well while on a call, rescued after two days Nedumangad: Using mobile phones without circumspection may endanger your life not just while driving but even during a stroll on your house premises. This lesson was learnt the hard way by a 38-year-old youth here in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram district. Pradeep's ordeal began after accidentally slipping down the parapet of the well while talking over the mobile phone. The incident that happened on Wednesday night came to light only by Friday afternoon when a few people who were passing by the well heard his cries from inside. Until his rescue he had to spend two nights inside the well. Pradeep, a bachelor, is staying with his mother in their house at Konchira. On the fateful day, his mother was not at home and was leisurely talking on the phone when he landed in the well. Luckily, Pradeep did not suffer much injury or drown as the well only had 2-feet deep water. He managed to get onto the upper ring inside the well and kept shouting for help. Finally, he was rescued out of the well by a team led by Nedumangad Fire and Rescue Service assistant station officer D Ajikumar. Pradeep, who had to spend without food for two days, was rushed to Nedumangad district hospital and was discharged in the evening. Sun, 07 Jul 2019 05:18:31 GMT Poovachal school set for grand makeover Kattakkada: Several schools are undergoing a transformation owing to the use of increasing use of technology as a teaching aid. Blackboards and chalks are slowly giving to projectors and projector screens for presentation of study content. As existing school buildings are inadequate to host such facilities, the authorities are planning to transform them into centres of excellence so that the standards of public education are raised. The Poovachal Vocational Higher Secondary School here in Thiruvananthapuram is being transformed into a centre of excellence under a Rs 5 crore project. Minister Ramachandran Kadannappally is set to inaugurate the works in this regard, said K S Sabarinathan, MLA, who reprsents the Aruvikkara assembly constituency. The Poovachal School has been selected to implement this project in Aruvikkara Assembly constituency during the first phase. Sabarinathan said that a comprehensive project will be implemented to improve the academic standards apart from adding infrastructure to the school. Under the project, a new three-storey academic block with 21 classrooms will be built. There will be staff rooms and washrooms on each floor. In addition, one floor each will be added to all the four existing buildings. This is aimed at opening five labs with all modern facilities and five classrooms in every building. Two auditoriums will also come up in the school. Students can engage in games as well as study in the auditoriums, which are ideal for holding functions too. Three buildings would be renovated and converted into smart classes. A kitchen and a dining room will be arranged in another building. An open air auditorium will be constructed utilising the MLA fund. The task for making the school a centre of excellence has been handed over to 'Adhyaan', one of the most reputed educational organisations in India. A team led by educational expert Kavitha Anand had camped at the school to chart out the plans. Sabarinathan also said that efforts are on to turn all major government schools in every panchayat of the constituency into centres of excellence. Sat, 06 Jul 2019 00:39:36 GMT Killed daughter for opposing my love affair with neighbour, admits Manjusha Thiruvananthapuram: The teenager from Nedumangadu in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram district was murdered by her mother Manjusha for opposing her extramarital affair with a neighbour. Without any remorse, the mother admitted to the police on Thursday that her daughter Meera was the biggest problem in her affair with Aneesh, who stayed nearby. According to the statement recorded by the cops, the 15-year-old class X student had frequently opposed Manjusha's relationship with Aneesh. On the fateful day, Manjusha had thrashed her daughter and pushed her on to the bed after an argument. She then tried to throttle the teenager following which Aneesh used a piece of cloth to strangulate her, Manjusha said in her statement to the cops. Both Manjusha and Aneesh were brought to the crime spot for evidence collection and description of the murder scene to the cops. After confirming Meera was dead, they dumped the body in an unused well. The body was first taken to Aneesh's house on his bike. At night, around 9.30, they dragged the body and dumped it in a well. The duo had also tied boulders to the body before dumping it in the well. They gathered their belongings, including the shawl which was used to kill Meera, and left for Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu that night. Throughout the evidence collection, Manjusha spoke remorselessly. When the accused were bought to the house, local residents staged a protest. The cops had a tough time protecting the accused from the crowd. Thu, 04 Jul 2019 07:58:54 GMT Wild animal menace on the outskirts of TVPM district Attingal: Incidents of man-animal conflict are on the rise especially in the peripheral areas near forests. Wild fauna that comes down to forage in residential areas has been posing a threat to the local people in a few areas on the outskirts of Kerala's southernmost Thiruvananthapuram district. Animals and birds like peafowls, monkeys, wild boars, jungle fowl and porcupines have been frequenting residential zones and farms for some time at Kottapparambu near Vanchiyoor. People are fed up of monkey menace. Monkeys have been making holes in the roofs of houses and eat food from the kitchens. The nuisances caused by the monkeys are also rampant in the area around Mudakkal. The wild boars are posing a threat to the tapioca and banana cultivations. Fences made with fabric or tin sheets are proving ineffective as wild boars tear down all barriers. Peafowl strutting along with the compounds of houses and in vacant plots have also become a common sight these days. Wild animals were known to frequent the neighbourhood of Attingal even before. Some time ago, a wild boar was injured by a vehicle on the national highway near Poovanpara Bridge. Before that, a peafowl was found dead at the same spot, after being hit by some passing vehicle. The local people demanded that the Forest Department should intervene to shift the animals to a safer zone. Tue, 02 Jul 2019 00:59:26 GMT Unidentified drone spotted over Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Thiruvananthapuram: An unidentified drone was spotted hovering over the high-security zone of Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram. in the early hours of Saturday, even as the Government has announced the gearing up of security measures for the temple that stores the treasure worth millions of dollars. Cops on security duty spotted the drone over the sacred Padmatheertham Pond around 4 in the morning. It was found later moving over the Northern Nada of the temple. However, the temple security department has stated that the drone was not recorded in any of the security cameras installed in the temple. The temple’s security system has highly advanced cameras that can find even the movements of aircraft. The cameras have been installed in all directions. Earlier, drones were spotted over Shamkhumukham beach as well as the other parts of city, following which the radar observation in the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport had been beefed up. The Air Traffic Control (ATC) officials of the Airport too informed that the drone, reported on Saturday, couldn't be traced As the Police regard the spotting of the drone as a major security flaw, both central and State agencies and the Intelligence department has started an inquiry. The possibility of the drone being operated as part of film shooting in connection with weddings, programmes of online media or any short film is also being probed. Mon, 01 Jul 2019 00:48:16 GMT How two women prisoners outwitted Kerala cops while on the run Thiruvananthapuram: The two women prisoners, who escaped from the Attakulangara jail in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram district in the wee hours of Tuesday, managed to be on the run for two days and two nights before finally falling into police net. Varkala native Sandhya and Shilpa of Palode in Thiruvananthapuram, who have been accused of theft, are reportedly the first women to break out from a prison in Kerala in recent times. Probe revealed that they constantly outwitted people to avoid falling into the police net while on the run in the two southern districts of Kerala. Their desperate acts included cheating an autorickshaw driver out of his fare in the heart of Kerala's capital, nicking clothes from the premises of a hospital in the city and fleeing on a scooter from a second-hand bike showroom near the Kollam-Thiruvananthapuram border before finally being caught in a rubber plantation near Shilpa's residence. Day 1 The duo had reached Manakkad region after escaping from the Attakulangara jail on Tuesday evening. They took an auto to the SAT Hospital at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College by 8.30 pm. They fled after asking the driver to wait so that they could procure money from their relatives at the hospital to pay the fare. They then entered the hospital and nicked clothes left out for drying. In between, Sandhya had called her husband Binu, who soon arrived and took the women to Varkala on his bike. The women spent the night at a building in which Binu was working. On Wednesday, they took a bus to Kottarakara in neighbouring Kollam district. A gold ornament Binu had given them was pawned for Rs 3,000 at Kappil, a tourist place in Thiruvananthapuram district. The police reached here on receiving information about them. The women then walked along the rail track to reach the house they had spent the previous night. They slept on the terrace of another house there the second night. Day 2 On Thursday morning Sandhya and Shilpa again took an auto, this time to reach Paravoor. They also made two phone calls from the auto driver's phone. Finding their behaviour suspicious, the driver dropped them off at Parippally in Kollam district. He called back to those phone numbers dialled by them and found that it was the lover of one of the women. The driver then informed the police, who stepped up surveillance at Parippally and adjacent areas. Test drive! Meanwhile, the women approached Bismi Auto Consultancy at Kadampattukonam, near Kilimanoor, as customers. They took a scooter on to the road under the pretext of test drive and vanished. The owner of this outlet, which sells second-hand two-wheelers, realised his folly and filed a complaint with the police. Fully aware that the probe now would be on to track down the bike, the criminals even changed the number of the stolen bike. The final run An acquaintance who saw the women on the scooter tried to follow them but soon lost track. Later, Shilpa's neighbours at Palode informed the police that they saw two women abandoning a scooter and proceeding towards the house at 9.45 pm. As the cops swarmed the region, the duo tried to flee through a rubber plantation. The police and the local people joined in the hunt and the duo were nabbed by 10.30 pm on Thursday. Sat, 29 Jun 2019 10:19:16 GMT Attakulangara jail break: Women duo nabbed from Palode Thiruvananthapuram: Two women inmates who escaped from the Attakulangara jail on Tuesday evening have been nabbed by the police. Varkala native Sandhya and Pangode native Shilpa were caught from Adukkumthara in Palode. The police suspect that they were trying to flee to Tamil Nadu. It is suspected that the inmates may have received help from outside. This is the first reported instance in Kerala of women inmates escaping from jail. The police confirm that that the duo scaled the rear wall of the jail premises at Attakulangara in the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram. They took an autorickshaw coming from the Manakkad side and reached Thiruvananthapuram medical college's ST Hospital by 7.30 pm. The auto driver told the cops that the duo went inside the hospital claiming to fetch the money for the auto ride but never came back. Varkala native Sandhya and Pangode native Shilpa were jailed on June 7 and June 17, respectively, after they were accused in theft and cheating cases. They met for the first time in the jail. A special team had been set up to probe the case. Grave negligence An enquiry has found that grave negligence on the part of jail authorities led to the escape of the two women inmates. The jail department inquiry has found that the two were given excessive freedom within the jail. On the orders of jail chief Rishiraj Singh, DIG Santhosh Kumar has begun a probe into the jailbreak. A report has to be submitted before July 1. Fri, 28 Jun 2019 05:23:49 GMT Jailbreak: Women inmates may have received outside aid Thiruvananthapuram: The police suspect that inmates Sandhya and Shilpa who jumped the Attakulangara jail on Tuesday may have received help from outside. Though the cops have no confirmed clues about the duo's whereabouts, it is suspected that they have fled to Tamil Nadu. This is the first reported instance in Kerala of women inmates escaping from jail. The police confirm that that the duo scaled the rear wall of the jail premises at Attakulangara in the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram. They took an autorickshaw coming from the Manakkad side and reached Thiruvananthapuram medical college's ST Hospital by 7.30 pm. The auto driver told the cops that the duo went inside the hospital claiming to fetch the money for the auto ride but never came back. The cops' search for the prisoners at their native place, railway and bus stations proved to be futile. Shilpa has friends in Tamil Nadu, prompting the police to believe that she could have gone there. Varkala native Sandhya and Pangode native Shilpa were jailed on June 7 and June 17, respectively, after they were accused in theft and cheating cases. They met for the first time in the jail. A special team has been set up to probe the case. Grave negligence An enquiry has found that grave negligence on the part of jail authorities led to the escape of the two women inmates. The jail department inquiry has found that the two were given excessive freedom within the jail. On the orders of jail chief Rishiraj Singh, DIG Santhosh Kumar has begun a probe into the jailbreak. A report has to be submitted before July 1. Jail employees say that the duo scaled the wall by climbing up on a heap of garbage. Thu, 27 Jun 2019 10:05:49 GMT City hotels, tea stalls to have only trained, fit staff soon Thiruvananthapuram: A major effort to ensure the quality of food in eateries and tea stalls is underway here in the capital city of Kerala. Following a raid conducted by the special squad of the Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation on 53 hotels within its limits, the Mayor V.K. Prasanth has announced a scheme that would ensure hygienic and good quality food in the hotels and restaurants within the city limits. Under the ‘Subhojanam’ Scheme, the Corporation would provide training to the employees of hotels and restaurants in the city limits. The employees will also be provided with identity cards. Only those who have the identity card issued by the Corporation on finishing the training would be allowed to work in any institution handling food including the hotels, bakeries, tea stalls and catering units in the city. Medical check-ups will also be conducted prior to their training. The first phase of the scheme to be flagged off by August will focus upon those who are already working in this sector in the city. Following that, training will also be provided for those who are interested in joining the workforce in this segment. Further details of this scheme will be released by the beginning of July. The registration for training will also begin simultaneously. Raids on hotels: 3 closed down Three establishments found to be unhygienic in the raids conducted by the Corporation Special Squad were shut down temporarily. Bisban Hote at Sreekaryam, Ammu Catering Unit at Attipra, and a catering unit ran by Sajeev were shut down for keeping the food items under unhygienic conditions. The officials pointed out that the floor of the Sreekaryam hotel was found chipped and crammed with dirt and dust. Food was found to be kept in unhygienic spaces in both catering units. All three establishments have been served notice to improve the infrastructural facilities. Notices were also served to 47 establishments which were found to be failing the standards. Most establishments were found to be falling short in collecting and segregating the waste. Corporation has assigned agencies to collect waste from the establishments. K. Sreekumar, Chairman of the Health Standing Committee, informed that the segregated waste should be handed over only to the agencies approved by the Corporation. The raid was led by the Health Officer Dr A. Sasikumar, Supervisors Ajith Kumar and Prakash and Inspectors Prem Navas and Anoop Roy. Thu, 27 Jun 2019 00:49:03 GMT In a first, two women prisoners break out of Kerala jail Thiruvananthapuram: Two women prisoners have escaped from a jail here. This is the first reported instance in Kerala of women inmates managing to break out of a prison. They fled from the dedicated women's jail at Attakulangara on the outskirts of Kerala's capital city, Thiruvananthapuram. The remand prisoners who escaped are Varkala native Sandhya and Pangode native Shilpa. Both are accused in theft cases. It is said they were reportedly plotting the escape for several days. The incident was reported at 4.30 pm on Tuesday. The security personnel came to know about the prison break as they were taking the prisoners back to their cells. The officers have also found the CCTV visuals of the women fleeing the prison on Tuesday evening. As the incident came to light, jail DGP Rishi Raj Singh, DIG Santhosh Kumar and senior officers reached the prison. The shadow police and special branch have intensified the search.A special branch officer said that their photos have been sent to railway stations and bus stands. The officers suspect that the women managed to escape through the garbage dumping area behind the prison. Lapses on the part of the security personnel helped the women escape, as per the preliminary conclusion. The senior officers would also check if the women got help from the jail personnel. Wed, 26 Jun 2019 03:58:02 GMT Sardine catch off Kerala coast disappointing, El Nino blamed Thiruvananthapuram: Both fishermen and fish- eaters are going through a torrid time in Kerala with the ban on the ecologically destructive trawling in the deep sea during the monsoon season. Meanwhile, scientists say the catch of sardine will be low along the state’s coastline during this monsoon too. Fisheries research institutions in Kerala, including the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), concur and blame the El Nino phenomenon for the situation. Sardine catch began to fall drastically in the state since 2013. In 2012, around half of the 8.39 lakh ton fish caught in sea off Kerala was sardine. With the advent of the adverse weather phenomenon called El Nino, sardine catch decreased and the worst figures were recorded in 2015. In 2017, there was an increase but El Nino arrived again in 2018 and sardine is in short supply now. When the trawling ban is in place catching sardine is the only means of livelihood for traditional fishermen. The present crisis is expected to affect over 1.25 lakh traditional fishermen in Kerala. Around 400 boats with inboard engines which support at least 50 workers each are also facing a big challenge. Fishermen who borrowed money for launching boats are on the verge of bankruptcy and the threat of attachment of their property. Considering the situation, fish workers’ unions have demanded an urgent ‘fish drought package.’ The deadly El Nino Studies have shown that El Nino, an ocean current of warm water that is caused by climate change, reaches the Arabian Sea all the way from the Pacific Ocean. El Nino has also neutralised the flow of the nutrient-rich seawater along the Kerala coast from the north to the south. As a consequence, the spawning of sardine has witnessed a downward spiral. Moreover, the fish face stunted growth and reproductive problems. “Considering the data available over the last 60 years, it can be rightly said that El Nino has led to the sharp decrease in sardine catch in Kerala,” according to CMFRI scientist Dr Sunil Muhammed. Sardine from other places aplenty Even though sardine production has fallen in Kerala, the fish is easily available in the state’s markets. The fish markets are in fact offering sardine brought from Tamil Nadu and Oman, that too at a record price of Rs 250-320 per kg. The fish is transported from Nagapattinam, Kadalur and Parangippetta in Tamil Nadu where it is known as ‘pechaala’ and has no demand. This catch arrives at the fish centres in Aluva, Ponnani, Kalamukku and Chettuva in Kerala and is sold as ‘Purakkad mathi’ and ‘Munambam mathi’ (sardine from Purakkad and Munambam) in the state. Tue, 25 Jun 2019 05:33:07 GMT Notorious drug pusher 'GK' arrested, drugs worth Rs 20 cr seized Thiruvananthapuram: The drug trade is lucrative and Kerala is a popular market for drug pushers of late. Excise sleuths, who are keeping a close tab on narcotics trade, have seized drugs worth Rs 20 crore from a luxury car and arrested a notorious drug dealer from Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram district on Saturday. The drugs brought from Bengaluru were likely for distribution in various parts of the state. The substance was hidden in a secret chamber specially built for the purpose underneath the vehicle. Around 20kg of hashish oil, 2.5kg of weed and 240gm charas were seized. The police have arrested Georgekutty of Onamthuruthu in Kottayam over the incident. The 34-year-old known as GK is an accused in several cases of drug trafficking and many criminal cases, including stabbing a police officer. Slapped with the Kerala Anti-Social (Activities) Prevention Act (KAAPA), he is also barred from entering Kottayam district. The excise sleuths said Georgekutty, who is based in Bengaluru, has close links with the drug mafia in Andhra Pradesh. He reportedly brings in huge quantities of hashish oil, weed and charas to Bengaluru and sells them in Kerala with the help of his partners. He does not come to Kerala normally. However, this time around he directly took part in the deal as it was worth crores of rupees, it was said. After getting a tip-off, the state-level excise enforcement squad conducted vehicle checks at Vazhamuttom on the Kovalam-Kazhakootam national highway bypass in Thiruvananthapuram and came across the huge drug stash. The excise commissioner is directly in charge of the squad, which has stepped up action to track down the accused's partners in various districts. Excise minister TP Ramakrishnan and excise commissioner ADGP S Ananthakrishnan, IPS, congratulated the squad. Squad chief Thiruvananthapuram excise circle inspector T Anilkumar, excise inspectors G Krishnakumar, A Pradeep Rao, K V Vinod, T R Mukeshkumar, preventive officers S Madhusudanan Nair, V S Deepukuttan, G Sunil Raj, P S Byju, civil excise officers S Krishnaprasad, S Suresh Babu, A Jaseem, P Subin, and V R Binuraj took part in the mission. It was only last month a shadow police team from Thiruvananthapuram nabbed a notorious drug smuggler Sreenu alias Sreenivas from the interiors of Naxal-dominated regions of East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh. A huge drug cache of 325 kg of ganja worth over Rs 1.5 crore was seized from the 21-year-old Andhra Pradesh native. A recent arrest of a drug trafficker in the Kerala capital had revealed that a substantial chunk of drugs into Thiruvananthapuram came mainly from Narsipatnam and East Godavari, in the northeastern part of Andhra Pradesh. Mon, 24 Jun 2019 00:43:08 GMT Anti-social elements take over abandoned building Thiruvananthapuram: An abandoned partially built apartment complex in the heart of the Thiruvananthapuram city has become a haven for anti-social elements. The property is adjacent to the the M.N. Lane at Pushpa Nagar off the Plammood–Thekkummoodu Road. It has been lying unused for many years as the construction work was stopped mid-way by the owner. It is said banks had subsequently initiated legal procedures to seize the property after the owner defaulted on loan repayment. The building has at present become a shelter for street dogs and a sanctuary for anti-social elements, causing severe hardships to the nearby residential areas. Dubious activities including drug deals are suspected to take place in this locality at night. The residents of nearby areas have complained many times with the Museum Police Station but no solution could be worked out so far. The MN Lane-Pushpa Nagar Residents Association has demanded that the Government should take the initiative to auction this building to someone, or that the government should take over the building, completing the construction and utilising it for any official purposes. Sun, 23 Jun 2019 01:08:43 GMT Notorious burglar's hideout is like a supermarket! Thiruvananthapuram: Stepping into notorious burglar Thiruvallam Unni's hideout is akin to walking into a supermarket. It has a whole array of stolen articles ranging from cosmetics, torches, water pumps to laptops and even a brand new traditional 'mundu'. Police also seized cash and CCTV hard disks from a house, at Kovalam near here, where Unni was holed up for a while. Unni, who loots shops and houses, takes away the hard disks to erase the footage of his robberies, and breaks into shops and houses in one go, the police said. Unni reaches his 'place of work' in an autorickshaw by midnight and breaks into residences and commercial establishments using a long iron rod. He wears helmet to mask his face. Police arrested Unni while he was planning for a big robbery with the money he got by selling the stolen goods. The Neyyattinkara Judicial First-Class Magistrate remanded him in 14 days judicial custody. Police said that they would request for the custody of the accused in order to recover the stolen articles. Stay in isolated houses The seasoned thief used to frequently change his place of stay to evade police. Unni first stayed in a rented house at Chunnakara and later shifted to Vandithada. When he came to know that police were closing in on him, Unni ran away from Vandithada by abandoning his car, but his wife, a co-accused, was arrested. Police said that Unni stayed in isolated houses without many houses in the neighbourhood, and finally he was arrested from a rented house on K S Road in Kovalam. Unni led a luxurious life by selling the stolen articles at scrap shops, police added. He used to take to his heels while seeing police and even now he was caught after chasing him down, the police said. Wed, 19 Jun 2019 00:53:14 GMT Dry run of boat on unclogged stretch of Parvathy Puthanar Thiruvananthapuram: The man-made Parvathy-Puthanar canal created in the 18th century as a water route in the erstwhile Travancore kingdom is set to reclaim its past glory. The garbage-filled canal, more or less dubbed as the sorrow of present-day Thiruvananthapuram city, has been made navigable, with the authorities successfully doing trial run of a boat in the canal which was till recently clogged by weeds and debris. The Kerala Waterways and Infrastructure Ltd (KWIL), a special purpose vehicle formed by the state government and the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), were behind the clean-up of the channel which flows south-east, parallel to the coast. KWIL undertook the cleaning activities of the filthy canal last June. The canal, named after the then Travancore Queen Parvathi Bai, was dredged and made navigable as part of the state government's ambitious West Coast Canal project, the main arterial waterway in the state extending from Kovalam in the south to Bekkal in the north. The trial run of the boat was conducted from Akkulam to Vallakadavu, the 6-km stretch where the cleaning work was completed. The rejuvenation of the 13-km corridor of the canal from Akkulam to Panathura was stalled multiple times until most modern equipment such as silt pusher and aquatic weed shredder were sourced from abroad. The devices removed the garbage and water hyacinths in loads. The canal was deepened to 1.5 metres after mucking out the slush and other solid waste from the water body. Meanwhile, the flow of the water came to a standstill as bunds were erected across the canal for constructing the Perunelli bridge. Water hyacinths again brought the situation to square one, and hence the trial run by the 6-seater boat was conducted after clearing the weeds again. The authorities plan to do the trial runs once in a week until the launch of a transport service will be launched in March 2020. The government plans to introduce a 30-seater solar boat for the purpose. The construction of the boat designed by the Cochin University of Science and Technology will begin soon. 'Puthannar' means 'the new river.' Wed, 19 Jun 2019 00:51:47 GMT Young woman kills self after brother murders male friend Nagercoil: A young woman who attempted suicide after her brother killed her male friend succumbed to her injuries here in Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari district on Friday. The deceased is Anushiya (27). Her brother Kedeeswaran, a studio owner, has been arrested. The police had earlier found that Ressi was killed because he and Anushiya became close. Ressi’s body was found in a half-burnt condition at a cremation ground in Karimanikyapuram near Nagercoil on June 6. Police soon identified his friends Kedeeswaran, a resident of Perumalpuram refugee camp in Kanyakumari; and Suchindram natives Faizal and Pazhani as the persons behind the murder. All of them were subsequently arrested. Meanwhile, Anushiya made an attempt on her own life by resorting to immolation. Sun, 16 Jun 2019 00:56:00 GMT Two electrocuted on waterlogged road Thiruvananthapuram: Two pedestrians were electrocuted after they accidentally came in contact with a broken power cable lying on a waterlogged stretch near Pettah on Monday morning. The deceased were identified as Prasannakumari, 65, a resident of Kavadi Lane, Nedumangad, and Radhakrishnan Achari, 70, of Pulli Lane, Pettah. The incident occurred around 5 am. The snapped three-phase electric line was found lying in a water-logged stretch between the Pulli Lane and the Chakka school along the airport road. Radhakrishnan and Prasannakumari, who passed through the area, accidentally came in contact with the broken power cable and got electrocuted. The police have recovered the visuals of the dreadful incident from a surveillance camera installed by the resident's association. Prasannakumari, who was on her way to Kumarapuram where she works as a housemaid, was the first victim. S Sumesh, a newspaper vendor, who was passing along the road around 5.30 am, spotted her lying unconscious in the stagnant water. Though he also suffered an electric shock, Sumesh somehow managed to scramble a safe distance away. But when he looked back he saw Radhakrishnan Achari, who was an employee of a nearby temple, stepping over the wire and getting electrocuted. It was assumed that heavy rains that lashed the city early Monday had caused the live wires to snap. Police reached the spot upon alerted by Sumesh. Power supply in the locality was also cut to prevent further causalities. The KSEB has announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the victims. Of the amount, Rs 2 lakh each was awarded to their kin on Monday itself. Tue, 11 Jun 2019 17:15:24 GMT Major revamp for British-era school Neyyattinkara: The Government Boys Higher Secondary School here is poised to get a major makeover. The school will have smart-classrooms in two months though it was initially decided to put in place the hi-tech classrooms by the beginning of this academic year. This is the first venture in Thiruvananthapuram district to upgrade a government school to global best standards. Though the school is known as a boys school, girls too are studying in its high school and higher secondary sections. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had laid the foundation stone for the school's new buildings two years ago as part of the project. K A Ansalan, MLA, who is an alumnus of the school, speaking during the foundation stone-laying function said that it was his dream to modernise his alma mater. He contributed Rs 1.4 crore from his MLA local area development fund towards the Rs 7 crore project. The school was established around 140 years ago during the British era to spread English education in the state, and was then known as 'English Pallikoodam'. Later, the school was periodically upgraded to middle school, high school and higher secondary school. When a polytechnic was allotted for Neyyattinkara, this school played host to that institute for a while. The school building was on the verge of dilapidation as time went on and the first two-storey building for the school was constructed in 1956. Another two-storey building was built after the higher secondary section was added to the school. The government decided to upgrade the school as it is one of the oldest schools in the district. Tue, 11 Jun 2019 00:51:56 GMT A new cultural fest for care homes brings art to all Embarking on a quest to recognize and nurture young talents, Finastra CSR is conducting an annual inter-care home cultural festival, FINSPIRE on June 8. The day-long festival will take place at Al-Saj Convention Center in Kazhakkootam in the city from 9 am to 6 pm. VK Prasanth, Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram will be the chief guest for the occasion. More than 400 children from 10 different care homes in Thiruvananthapuram will be taking part in the event. The care homes include Namaste Wings to Fly charitable society, Little Flower orphanage, Sneha's home, St Joseph's orphanage and others. There will be various events for all the children to participate in ranging from light music, theme-based dance, skit, painting among others. A panel of esteemed judges will crown the winners at the end of the day. Finastra is a finance-technology firm that merges the best of people and business to create platforms for open innovation. Formed in 2017 by the merger of Misys and D+H, Finastra now provides a wide portfolio of financial-services software spanning retail banking, transactional banking, lending, and treasury and capital markets. Finastra CSR is its corporate social responsibility arm that aims to foster inclusivity and innovation by bringing people and technology together. Fri, 07 Jun 2019 07:12:46 GMT Shashi Tharoor backs novel afforestation drive Thiruvananthapuram: Ahead of the World Environment Day on Wednesday, an innovative conservation project wants all the 20 Members of Parliament from Kerala to plant trees equalling the margin of votes by which they had won. Aptly the campaign initiated by the district administration of Thiruvananthapuram is titled #MarginTreeChallenge. It was kicked off at Christ Nagar Higher Secondary School, Kowdiar, Thiruvananthapuram, on Tuesday. Shashi Tharoor, the Thiruvananthapuram MP, and A M Ariff, the Alappuzha MP, have come forward expressing their support to the #MarginTreeChallenge. Tharoor announced in a tweet that he accepts the challenge with pleasure. He may have to get 99,989 trees planted to meet the challenge as he had won the recent Lok Sabha election with the same margin of votes. The launch function was attended by T K A Nair, the former principal secretary to the Prime Minister of India, and Michael Vedasiromani, former resource person of the United Nations Development Programme. They planted 20 trees representing the 20 MPs from Kerala. Fr Bino Pattarkkalam, principal, Christ Nagar Higher Secondary School, G S Bharath Govind and Janson Verghese, officials of 'S THI THI' which is behind the project, School Nature Club coordinator Preena were among those who attended the function. What is 'S THII THI'? Project S THI THI had been initiated by Thiruvananthapuram District Collector K Vasuki in 2018 with the aim of spreading awareness about protecting and conserving the environment and also for educating the public about eco-friendly products. It was conceived by a team of volunteers who had gathered as part of the relief operations during the 2018 floods in Kerala. Raising the slogan of 'Reuse, Reduce and Recycle,' S THI THI puts forth many meaningful campaigns including the use of ink pens and against the use of plastic straws. The World Environment Day is on June 5. Wed, 05 Jun 2019 10:33:07 GMT Start mini farm, readers of Manorama weekly to get free saplings Thiruvananthapuram: Shouldn’t those who are ready to do agriculture on their 2-3 cents of land start a mini farm? Manorama weekly magazine and Vegetable and Fruits Promotion Council (VFPCK) would jointly implement the dream project of Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar. As many as 14,000 mini agricultural farms would be set up in Kerala this financial year. Ten saplings of banana, one sapling each of jackfruit, mango and curry leaf plant would be given to each mini farm. Twenty-five plants of five varieties of vegetables too would be given for free at 28 seminars to be held across the state. Fertilisers for bananas and pesticides too would be given. Experts at the seminars would also explain on running the farms profitably. The minister said that those starting the farm would be included in the crop insurance scheme. Those who want to raise poultry or other animals such as goats/cows, or do fish farming, can make the arrangements on their own at the farm. It is a great opportunity for Manorama weekly readers to expand the mini farms and find means for self-employment. The registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis, and each district will be allotted only 1,000 mini-farms. For more details, contact Manorama offices at Thiruvananthapuram (0471-2328198), Kollam (0474-2740937), Pathanamthitta (0468-2222533), Alappuzha (0477-2240400), Kottayam (0481-2587411), Kochi (0484-4447414), Thrissur (9447857796), Palakkad (0491-2538807), Malappuram (0483-2900757), Kozhikode (0495-2766305) and Kannur (0497-2704239). Tue, 04 Jun 2019 00:39:41 GMT Dramatic boat chase in sea off Kerala amid IS alert Thiruvananthapuram: Fourteen fishermen were rounded up by the Indian Coast Guard after a long chase in the sea off the Kerala coast on Friday. A Coast Guard vessel chased down a fishing boat for crossing the permissible limits and not heeding the official warning. The authorities were keeping a tab on the coastline of Kerala that had been put on high alert recently after a central Intelligence report said that Islamic State (IS) terrorists were heading towards the state. The marine enforcement officials, on patrolling duty, had flagged a trawler boat from Sakthikulangara in Kollam for fishing outside the permissible limits off Valiya Thura on the Thiruvananthapuram coast. While the authorities were trying to take the documents from the crew, the boat sped off. The marine enforcement boat too followed but the fishing boat sped away. Information was quickly passed on to Vizhinjam and the Coast Guard C-410 high-speed boat went in pursuit of the fishing boat. The 10-member team led by commanding officer deputy commandant C V Tomy was able to almost catch up with the fishing boat within minutes. However, despite issuing several warnings, the fishing boat showed no signs of slowing down and continued to speed towards the north. The authorities then passed on the information to the Kochi centre. The security boats in Kochi and the ships out in the deep sea were also alerted. Then a boat chase, similar to a movie sequence, played out in the deep sea for an hour. Giving no heed to warnings, the boat sped away at 15 nautical mile/hour and the official boat followed suit. The Coast Guard boat went ahead of the rogue boat at Maryanad and it gave in after it became clear that the authorities would shoot if the crew did not surrender. The authorities carried out a search of the boat as soon as it was seized and the 14 fishermen on board were detained and brought to the Vizhinjam coast. Authorities questioned them in detail. Eight of the crew were from Tamil Nadu and six from northern India. The fisheries authorities said that they had a fishing license. The authorities said that the 20 boxes of fish found on the boat would be auctioned and the amount levied as fine. The authorities were suspicious as the boat sped off without heeding their warnings. Mon, 03 Jun 2019 03:44:49 GMT Jamaats follow green norms while breaking Ramadan fast Balaramapuram: The Muslim councils (Jamaats) here in Thiruvananthapuram district are showing the way in following the green protocol as they have shunned the use of plastic while breaking fast during the month of Ramadan. The Anchuvannam Jamaat under the panchayat limits and the town jamaat avoid the use of plastic bottles, cups and other use-and-throw utensils right from the first day of the ongoing Holy Month. The jamaat committees had bought steel and aluminium utensils in huge numbers in a bid to follow the green protocol. Thought this had put a huge financial burden on the mosque authorities, they are happy that these utensils could be used in the coming years. With the green protocol in place, the mosque surroundings are free of plastic waste. The Balaramapuram panchayat had sent a letter directing the mosques coming under its limits to follow the green protocol during the month of Ramadan. “We decided to follow the green protocol following the direction from panchayat authorities,” said Anchuvannam Muslim Jamaat president M M Naushad. Mon, 03 Jun 2019 00:59:47 GMT Spurned lover nearly hacks off woman's ear, arrested Thiruvananthapuram: A 35-year-old man hailing from Kollam was arrested by Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Police for attempting to murder a woman employee of S.A.T. Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, over a spurned love affair. Nidhin, belonging to Roduvila House, Sasthampoyill, Kollam was taken into custody for hacking Pushpalatha, 32, inflicting a deep wound upon her head. Her earlobe was almost severed in the attack. She was admitted to the Medical College Hospital and was subjected to emergency surgical procedures. The incident had taken place around 6.30 a.m. near a hotel close to the Medical College campus. Nidhin was overpowered forcefully by the police party that was patrolling the area. The weapon used for attacking the woman was also discovered from the spot. Nidhin had attacked the woman with the explicit purpose of murdering her, according to the police. Working as an auto driver at Kollam at present, Nidhin was earlier employed as an ambulance driver in Thiruvananthapuram and must have met the woman during that period, according to the police sources. The police said that Nidhin who was under an inebriated condition when taken into custody would be questioned in detail later. Sat, 01 Jun 2019 08:20:53 GMT Revive Vellayani project aims to restore lake's pristine form Thiruvananthapuram: The local residents are joining hands with the Swasthi foundation to revive the Vellayani Lake near here, which is the lifeline and a source of water for thousands of people. The ‘Revive Vellayani’ project aims to restore the lake’s pristine form after clearing weeds, water hyacinths and waste. Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran has launched a 75-day programme to clean up the lake. As part of the project, the weeds and garbage would be removed and steps taken to treat and purify the water. The project is being implemented with the cooperation of Santhigiri Ashram, the state tourism department, the water resource department, police, Fire and Rescue Services, district administration, city corporation, Citizen India Foundation, Indian Medical Association, Rotary Club, SMRV School, Christ Nagar Senior Secondary School and Venganoor and Kalliyoor panchayats. Urgent need to save lake Vellayani Lake is one of the most important freshwater lakes in Kerala after the Sasthamcotta Lake in Kollam district and the Pookode Lake in Wayanad district. But the weeds and waste are choking the lake and it is dying a slow death. People who are heading the ‘Revive Vellayani’ project said that they had decided to save the lake after the realization that water was the lifeline for all. Numbers are an eye opener The old records reveal that the total area of the lake was 750 hectares. But sadly, the lake area had shrunk to 558 hectares in 1973 and 267 hectares in 1992. In 2011, the area was only 243 hectares. According to the Revenue Department survey, the lake area decreased alarmingly till 1992 when the lake was drained of water and the land was used for cultivation. The water body is host to many migratory birds and till now 150 different species of birds were spotted at the lake. The ornithologists noted that there was a good presence of ‘cherakozhy’, an endangered species which was in the red data book of rare and endangered species of animals and birds. A comprehensive plan Swasthi Foundation general secretary Eby George said that lack of proper study stood in the way of protecting the lake, and to mitigate this problem a comprehensive blueprint of the dying lake would be prepared. Those who want to be part of the project can contact at 9447022444 for more details. Fri, 31 May 2019 00:56:55 GMT Rain inundates paediatric ICU of SAT Hospital Thiruvanathapuram: Heavy rain that lashed the capital on Friday inundated paediatric ICU of the Sree Avittam Tirunal Hospital (SAT), the government hospital meant for mother and infants. The six children, including three newborns in the ventilator, who were undergoing treatment in the section were shifted to safer areas. Water entered the ICU unit from the upper storey where construction was taking place. The upper area was covered by sheets to prevent rain water from entering the building. However, strong winds that accompanied the rain blew off the sheets Fire and Rescue Service unit from Chengalchoola station rushed to the spot and pumped away the water from the hospital. Hospital authorities have allayed concerns regarding the safety of the children who were relocated from the ICU and said the new place has all the required amenities, including the oxygen cylinder. The water from the top storey trickled down to the ICU along the walls, leaving scope for electrical risks. Hence the patients were shifted to safer areas. The hospital authorities have also found alternative arrangements in case more patients are to be shifted. Mon, 27 May 2019 00:43:27 GMT Hop on to flying boats for Kochi-Kozhikode trip Kochi: The proposed advanced hydrofoil cruise vessel project is expected to provide a boost for cruise tourism in Kerala. A service will commence between Kochi and Kozhikode as soon as permission is granted by the Directorate General of Shipping. The high-speed vessel is getting spruced up for its maiden trip from Kochi. Two such Russian made vessels are now at the Cochin Port, awaiting the nod. This hydrofoil cruise ship service is an initiative of Kerala State Ports Department, but the project has been stalled for over three years. The first such project in the whole country, the Kochi– Kozhikode hydrofoil cruise vessel is being operated with the support of private parties. The vessels make use of the hydrofoil technology, by which the hydrofoils or wing-like structures mounted below the hull of the vessels develop enough lift, as craft gain speed, for lifting the vessels upwards from the water surface. This results in less resistance from the water, providing greater speed for the vessel. The boat will lift itself from the water surface when it reaches a speed of 20 nautical miles. The vessel will rise up to 4 feet above water surface. Only the propeller of the boat will touch the water at this time. The vessels have a capacity of 150 passengers each. In the second phase, the Department has plans to extend the service from Vizhinjam to Kozhikode via Kochi. At first, the vessels will operate for tourists. The project had been initiated during the tenure of P A Sheikh Pareed as Director of Tourism and Ports in 2016. Sun, 26 May 2019 06:14:02 GMT 3 arrested for smuggling hashish oil, ganja; sword too seized Thiruvananthapuram: The excise department has arrested three men for trying to smuggle hashish oil worth Rs 11.5 crore into Thiruvananthapuram.The accused were trying to smuggle 11.5 kg of hashish oil and 2.5 kg of ganja by hiding them in the secret chambers of the car boot and the door. The excise sleuths also seized one sword from the car. The officials had carried out the vehicle checks after receiving a tip-off. Ernakulam natives Manu Wilson, 31; Anwar Sadath, 31; and Rajmohan, 28; were arrested from near Venpalavattom in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday morning. Wilson and Anwar are already accused in a similar case. A team led by excise circle inspector T Anikumar nabbed the gang. Officials said that the gang was trying to transport the hashish oil to Thriuvananthapuram from Andhra Pradesh, as per the instructions of Nedukandam native Biju. The hashish oil was meant to be handed over to a dealer who would export it to Maldives. After interrogating the gang, the excise department has also received information about the person who was to collect the drug from the accused. “The men have also admitted that the ganja was to be sold in the local market. Though drugs are being smuggled to various parts of Kerala, different gangs are behind them,” Excise Commissioner Rishi Raj Singh said. “The officers who nabbed the accused would be given Rs 50,000 as reward,” the senior officer added. Drugs worth Rs 3 cr seized in Thrissur Thrissur: The excise department also seized drugs worth Rs 3 crore from two youths in Thrissur on Friday. Kizhakkekotta native Mithin (aka Magic Mithun, 25) and Kannur native Chinju Mathew, 26, were the arrested. The excise sleuths seized 2.5 kg of hashish oil, 1.5 gm of MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) and 2.6 gm of amphetamine. Mithin was arrested from an ornamental fish selling centre in Thrissur town. The drugs were ordered online to the fish selling centre and then sold via Telegram mobile app. Based on the information provided by Mithin, the police arrested Chinju from the premises of Thrissur railway station. Chinju, who had made Kochi his base, was involved in smuggling drugs to Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Palakkad districts via trains. Hashish, or hash, is a drug made from the resin of the cannabis plant. Sat, 25 May 2019 09:05:57 GMT Fetching water an uphill task for Kurinjimugal families Pothencode: Summer has taken a beating on the 45 families living between Sangama Nagar and Kurinjimugal at Vembayam who are running helter-skelter for water. Owing to geographical reasons, the families are not able to get the benefit of the pipeline of the Kerala Water Authority that passes through the area. The area is situated in a high-altitude location, making it impossible to pump water. Most of the families have therefore not taken the water connection of KWA. The people depend on water which seeps from Chappath Hill, half a kilometre away, collect them in large cans or direct them to households using a hose. The water, however, is susceptible to health issues as it passes through mossy grounds and overgrown vines. No one has so far taken the water for chemical examination. Two of the households have borewell of which one has dried up. Several projects were chalked out to bring water to Kurinjimugal but to no avail. However, Nedumangad municipal vice-chairperson Lekhavikaraman, who is also the ward member of the region, has informed that tanker lorries will be arranged to anyone who is in need of potable water. “The easiest way to address the crisis is to arrange water from the pipeline that passes through Pungummoodu, provided if we get the consent from the private property owners. It is the shortest possible route. A memorandum has been submitted to C Divakaran MLA in this regard,” Lekhavikraman said. Moreover, plans are afoot to build a well in the 2 cents of the land of the municipality which is lying vacant. But the project is getting delayed for want of funds, the municipal vice-chairperson said. Wed, 22 May 2019 01:04:14 GMT Inspired by Dubai, Technopark police station to go 'smart' Thiruvananthapuram: Modelled after Dubai Smart Police Station system, Kerala is set to establish an automatic, manless police station in Technopark in the state capital. Functioning round-the-clock throughout the year, people can register cases, check proceedings, and submit applications for 33 service certificates to be obtained from the police administration, at the smart stations in Dubai. DGP Loknath Behra and Commander of KAP 2 Battalion Debesh Kumar has made a government sanctioned visit to Dubai between 18 and 20 May to understand the functioning of the system, the first of its kind in the world. The working model The automatic police station is enabled with providing immediate assistance to the needy. Separate kiosks are available for UAE citizens and foreign nationals and can be accessed by more than one visitors at a time. Digital maps will instruct users on availing the services. Citizens can interact with a police officer through video conferencing by choosing the option, especially for registering cases. The complainant will get a computer generated copy of their statement once the official has recorded all the necessary information, which has to be signed and submitted back. The police will proceed with the investigation. Wed, 22 May 2019 00:43:43 GMT Woman delivers in sit-out, ambulance workers rush to help Nemom: A 108 ambulance team helped a woman get urgent medical care after she delivered a baby in her sit-out. Sujina (22) wife of Shameer, Amina Manzil, Poozhikunnu, delivered a baby boy in her house. Sujina went into labour around midnight on Wednesday. Only her mother Shamina and her elderly parents were present in the house at the time. Neighbours rushed to help and called 108 ambulance. Emergency medical technician CR Rakhil gave first aid to both, and severed the umbilical code. The mother and child were taken to a hospital by ambulance pilot G Rajesh. Sujina’s relatives thanked Rakhil and Rajesh for their service. Shameer works in the Gulf. The boy is the couple’s second child. Sat, 18 May 2019 04:55:46 GMT Wheelchair-bound mother inspires twin daughters to score full A Plus Poovar: The A Plus secured by twin sisters Sneha David and Sangeetha David in all subjects in the class 10 SSLC examination is not only twice as sweet but also an inspiration for everyone fighting against severe odds. Their mother Sheena of Sheena’s House at Varavilathoppu had been bedridden after her spine was fractured in a road accident. Much uncertainty had prevailed over the children’s education then. However, Sheena passed on her courage and determination to her daughters. The twins studied hard and never wavered, finally scoring full A Plus in the class 10 final exam. The students of Angels’ Convent, Poovar also had the encouragement, support and love showered by the teachers, who included nuns, and their schoolmates. Sheena is a teacher at Govt Upper Primary School, Pozhiyoor. Four years ago, while travelling in an auto-rickshaw along with some of her colleagues, she met with an accident. While another teacher died in the mishap, Sheena was bedridden after suffering fractures on her spine and ribs. But a determined Sheena soon returned to her school to teach on a wheelchair. Sneha and Sangeetha overcame such obstacles to register their excellent performance in the Class 10 exam. They also made all the residents of the fishermen’s village proud. Fri, 17 May 2019 07:33:15 GMT Man slits wife’s throat, rides to police station to surrender Thiruvananthapuram: A man who killed his wife by stabbing and slitting her throat has surrendered to police. Sajiv Kumar (46) of Anoor House from Madappadu, Mullasseri, had killed Smitha (38) on Wednesday night at 11.30. Arrested after surrendering in police station, Sajiv will be produced before a court today. Smitha was a saleswoman at a medical store in Nedumangad. The police said an inebriated Sajiv used to beat her frequently. On Wednesday, she sought refuge in a neighbour’s house. When she returned, Sajiv stabbed her behind her right ear. Dragging her on to the front yard of the house, he slit her throat with another knife. Neighbours did not respond to her cries since the abuse was frequent. Sajiv’s mother Santhakumari and daughters Parvathy (class 10) and Bhadra (class 9) were home at the time. Locking the front door from the outside, he covered the body with sari. Sajiv then told the neighbours he has killed Smitha and directed them not to let his children out. He then left for the police station on his scooter. Their's was a love marriage. Smitha had left several jobs at hospitals because of Sajiv’s pressure. He destroyed her certificates, the neighbours said. She had joined the drug store recently. Locals demanded action against Santhakumari too before Smitha’s body was taken for autopsy. Smitha’s parents B Manoharan and Indira Devi are engaged in rubber tapping on a rented plantation in Wayanad. She will be cremated on family property at Karode, Vilappilsala, once her parents arrive. Fri, 17 May 2019 06:52:14 GMT Honeytrap racket busted in capital city Thiruvananthapuram: A probe into a gold heist in the city on Saturday midnight helped the cops to bust a honeytrap racket which executed an uncommon 'scheme' to target men on the road at night. Thiruvallom Police said that though the gang likely exploited eight people, none of the victims has come forward so far with a complaint, thus emboldening the fraudsters to continue their activity. The same band had waylaid two persons from Tamil Nadu before stealing their gold jewellery, the police said. The turning point in the investigation came with the discovery of a lost mobile phone. The probe revealed that some gang members, including a woman, would travel in an autorickshaw. When a likely victim is found alone around midnight in the city, the gang would lure him into the autorickshaw with the offer of taking him to a room with the woman. Police said that the gang called this method ‘scheme’. Most incidents took place on the Karamana-Balaramapuram national highway, Kazhakkoottam-Kovalam bypass and other deserted stretches. While the target and two gang members would travel in the auto, the other two gangsters would intercept them and act as moral police. Threats would follow. Cash, gold and other valuable items would be snatched and the victim was thrown out of the auto. Two arrests so far The police recorded the arrest of the second person in the heist case. He is Muhammed Jijas (30) of Paruthikkuzhi. Usha (42) was arrested earlier. She had taken a house on rent at Palappooru in the city. She belongs to Theepollavu House, near Kadakkavur police station. The police have also launched a manhunt for the other two members of the gang who used to travel on a bike. They have been identified and an arrest is imminent, said the Thiruvallom police. The autorickshaw they used in the crime was seized by the police. Officers also found a stolen mobile phone from the duo. The case is being investigated by a team that includes Fort Assistant Commissioner R Prathapan Nair, Thiruvallom SHO Aiswarya Prasanth Dongre, Sub-Inspectors S Vimal, Ayub Khan and CPO Sunil. The attack on the Tamil Nadu natives took place near Vandithadom Junction after midnight on Saturday. The victims were Aneesh Kumar and Abhishek belonging to Kulasekharam in Tamil Nadu. Travelling in an autorickshaw and bike, the gang allegedly blocked and slapped them. A gold chain weighing 2.25 sovereigns and a mobile phone were stolen, said the police. Wed, 15 May 2019 07:41:10 GMT Rabies scare near Vembayam after boy's death Venjaramoodu: Improper diagnosis and even superstition claimed the life of an eight-year-old boy here in Thiruvananthapuram district. Health department officials have confirmed that the boy had died due to rabies, prompting the authorities to carry out a vaccination drive in the locality. Abhishek, son of Manikuttan and Reena from Nooru Eker at Pinarumkuzhi in Thiruvananthapuram district, died around 1:30 am on Friday. He was a class four student of Thalyal LP School near Vembayam. Two days prior to his death, Abhishek was found in a weary state. As his parents did not notice any injuries or wounds, they got him a sacred thread for his protection. Abhishek woke up the next day very agitated and even seemed to fear sunlight. The child was then taken to the District Hospital at Nedumangad, where he was given medicines for fever and sent back, his relatives said. The child's condition worsened by Thursday evening and he was taken to the Community Health Centre (CHC) at Kanyakulangara around 11 pm. After checking his symptoms, the doctor said the child had probably contracted rabies and referred him to the Sree Avittam Thirunal (SAT) Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram city. However, since no vehicle was available then, his parents took him back home and the child breathed his last early Friday morning, the police said. The body was sent to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital for post-mortem. The body was cremated on Friday evening. Abhishek is the second son of Manikuttan and Reena. Their other children are Athulya, Anusree and Athul Krishna. Manikkal panchayat president S Sujatha demanded a probe into the child's death. A medical team too visited the house and the locality. It was found that a lot of dogs were found in the region. One month before, the dog at Abhishek’s house had died. A few days later, another dog in the neighbourhood was found to have contracted rabies and beaten to death, the medical team was told. It is suspected that the child could have contracted the disease from the dog's saliva at least 60 days ago. Vamanapuram block medical officer Dr Sajikumar, doctors of Manikkal-Pulambara PHCs, HI Santhosh, Pradeep and panchayat president S Sujatha were part of the medical team. The team administered the first phase of vaccination for the people in the locality. The next phase will be given at Vamanapuram Hospital. Authorities also plan to carry out a sanitation drive at Nooru Eker and administer the vaccination to dogs in the area. Mon, 13 May 2019 00:45:57 GMT Youth snatches woman IPS officer’s chain, lands in prison Thiruvananthapuram: A youth who tried to snatch the chain of a woman IPS trainee in the Kerala capital has been nabbed by the police. IPS trainee Aishwarya Prasant Dongra was out for a morning walk when the bike-borne thief tried to snatch her chain. The incident happened last Saturday on the service road along the Kovalam bypass in the Pachaloor-Kolanthra region. The IPS trainee, who is also the Thiruvallam Station SHO, had noted the bike’s registration number. The police had also released the CCTV visuals of the incident. Based on the CCTV visuals and the bike’s number, the police got a clear picture of the culprit. They tracked down the owner of the bike KL02 AF 1361 - Salim, a 29-year-old native of Poonthura. The suspect, arrested from near his house with the help of shadow police on Monday night, was taken into custody and thoroughly questioned. The police have filed a robbery case against him. However, other complaints against Salim, including troubling women, have now surfaced. Fort assistant commissioner R Prathapan Nair said the accused would be taken in custody and a detailed investigation carried out into the complaints. The accused was presented in court and remanded. Salim had spent the rest of the days, oblivious to the fact that he had tried to snatch the chain of a woman IPS trainee and that the police were on the lookout for him. When the police reached near his rented house at Pachalloor, Salim had tried to flee. The police said that the suspect had to be brought down using force. He had no idea that the news of his chain snatching bid had appeared in the media, along with the CCTV visuals. Police informed that the accused had not been booked under any criminal charges prior to this case. 1361 becomes evidence The police force was determined to nab the culprit who had tried to snatch the chain of a woman police officer. It is quite commendable that the suspect has been arrested in just two and a half days since the incident had taken place. The police took it as a challenge on the force itself and it was more of a matter of pride for them to arrest the culprit as soon as possible. A special team, led by Fort Assistant Commissioner R Prathapan Nair was formed immediately to investigate the case. The police officers of the shadow and cyber departments in Thiruvallam were included in the team which worked diligently to nab the culprit. In a bid to save faces, the police had initially claimed that they had gathered significant information about the suspect within just an hour after the incident had taken place. The first breakthrough in the case was provided by the young woman IPS trainee herself, who, after a moment of shock, regained her balance and ran after the speeding bike. Meanwhile, she had etched the registration number 1361 and the bike’s model, Hero Passion Pro in her memory. This information proved significant in the investigation and the final arrest of the accused. The CCTV visuals between Poonthuara and Kovalam were inspected by the police. The visuals from eight surveillance cameras installed in the vicinity of the spot where the incident had taken place were thoroughly checked by the police. As the image of the bike was seen within the surveillance of a camera which covered just a short distance from where the incident had taken place, the police surmised that the suspect may have left the main road and switched to a pocket road. It made the police suspect that the culprit may be a local resident. The next step was to investigate the details of the owner of the bike using the registration number. The police had gone through the registration details of more than a lakh of Passion Pro bikes in the capital. Later, the investigation was extended to the neighboring Kollam district as well. The KL 02 AF 1361 registration number identified the owner of the bike as a native of Punthura, Manikyavila. It didn’t take much long after this for the police to nab the suspect at his rented house. Wed, 08 May 2019 12:12:55 GMT Here is an eco-friendly step to help Ockhi-hit women Thiruvananthapuram: Just search in your cupboard. Of course, there will be at least one good quality sari that you don’t use much. Donate that sari along with Rs. 100 and you could achieve a two-fold mission – give a hand to the Ockhi-affected women and move a step closer to nature by using an eco-friendly bag. The venture kick started by the Ockhi Rehabilitation Mission Agency (ORMA) aims to provide a means of livelihood for the cyclone-affected women. The women would stitch 10 cloth bags out of a single sari, returning the bags to the same person who donated the sari. The use of these bags will help you to reduce the use of plastic covers while shopping for everyday items. The concept, launched by S Mohankumar, a native of Kollam and member of ORMA, intends to spread awareness on the importance of recycling for a more sustainable future. The women who stitch the bag would get Rs. 6 or Rs. 7 per bag. Those who can manage to stitch 50 to 60 bags per month can earn upto Rs. 10,000 even. The venture aims at creating a support system for the families affected by the devastating 2018 cyclone along with spreading awareness about sustainability and eco-friendly living, according to Elias John, coordinator, ORMA. Tel: 94471 28083. Mon, 06 May 2019 01:35:38 GMT The lore of secret underground tunnel intrigues many in TVPM Thiruvananthapuram: Intriguing lores about places fascinate many. A few myths about Kerala's present-day capital city Thiruvananthapuram have their origins in its royal past when its was the seat of the Travancore Kingdom. Many people in Thiruvananthapuram still believe that an abandoned, secret tunnel runs for almost one kilometre from Kowdiyar Palace to Bhavani Palace at Nanthancode under the busy roads of the capital city. The secret tunnel is believed to have been made during the World War period as a potential escape route for the Royal Family in case Travancore had to bear the brunt of the War. It is said it reaches below the steps to the office of the Travancore Devaswam Commissioner that functions from the first floor of the building at present. The recent move by the Travancore Devaswam Board to demolish the historically important building of Bhavani Palace had sparked a row. Bhavani Palace The Bhavani Palace was named after Bhavani Thampuratti, the sister of Queen Mother, Moolam Thirunal Sethu Parvathi Bai (1896-1983), known as Amma Maharani, of Travancore Royal Family. Rama Varma of Poonjar Kovilakam, the elder brother of Colonel Goda Varma, was the consort of Bhavani Thampuratti. However, the couple had lived in the palace only for a short period, after Rama Varma shifted to Alakkott in Kannur district with his wife, settling down on two acres of land he purchased. He had played an important role in the development of the northern Malabar by creating infrastructural facilities including a school at Alakkott. The Bhavani Palace was handed over to the Devaswam Board during the reign of Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma (reign: 1924-49). However, not many members of the public were aware of the secret tunnel that existed between the two palaces. Witness to history Historian M.G. Sasibhooshan remembers that the tunnel was constructed under the pretense of creating a new facility for water distribution. That must have been for maintaining the secrecy of the tunnel. At present, apartment complexes and other multi-storey buildings tower over the route of the tunnel. “I’d seen that secret tunnel during my school days at Kowdiar. There was a huge well at its starting point. However, that well was covered when an apartment complex came up there. The tunnel must be run over by undergrowth now. Any move by the Devaswam Board to demolish the historical structure of Bhavani Palace will be an injustice to history. Even the statue of Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma who handed over the building to the Devaswam Board is in a neglected state there,” Sasibhooshan stated. Sun, 05 May 2019 01:01:30 GMT Suicide bid by girl alleging harassment by student union leaders Thiruvananthapuram: An undergraduate girl student of University College in the state capital tried to commit suicide alleging harassment by student union activists. The first year student was found with her veins slashed in the women's restroom. Sources said she had taken pain killers in excess too. Medical College Hospital sources said her condition was stable. The police said they had recovered a two-page suicide note from her residence in Attingal. The parents of the girl had filed a missing person complaint with the police after the girl did not turn up after leaving for college on May 2. Her phone too was switched off. College employees found the girl unconscious. The police said she had written on social media platforms that precious academic hours were lost to political programmes and campaigns organised by student leaders. She had also named a couple of student leaders in the note, the police said. The college had recently secured top grades in the previous assessment by the National Institutional Ranking Framework. Read more District news Sat, 04 May 2019 09:00:13 GMT Kerala capital to host Asia's largest tech startup conclave Thiruvananthapuram: The second edition of "Huddle Kerala," one of Asias largest startup ecosystem congregations, will be held at Kovalam near here from September 27. The two day-event is envisaged to offer a unique platform for startups to showcase their products before a wide array of technology and industry leaders from around the world. "Huddle Kerala 2019," being organised by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in association with Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) at Hotel Leela Raviz, will be hosting the best technology experts and Marketing leadership, an official release said here. "The two-day conclave will be a perfect venue for interactive sessions for entrepreneurs. It will offer a rare opportunity for startups to exhibit their products before experts in the industry," said KSUM CEO Dr Saji Gopinath. The event will be the focal point for tech start-ups and the entire spectrum of stakeholders of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, including the government, investors, mentors, and industry, it said. It will provide opportunities for showcasing the technology to startups, industry experts, decision-makers and others connected to the ecosystem. Besides, there will be scope for partnering with the government of Kerala, one of the most proactive state regimes in embracing emerging technologies and creating a vibrant ecosystem for innovation, it said. Kerala has more than 1,500 registered startups with $38 million-plus funding received between 2017-18. The conference will be packed with activities including several side events like Leadership Talks, Tech Talks, Fireside Chat, Beach Side Huddle, Speed Dating with Investors On Boat, startup demo, seminars and many more. The speaker line-up includes successful founders, serial entrepreneurs, investors, academia, government officials, diplomats and the industry bigwigs from across the globe. The meet will focus on the emerging and future technology sectors like Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Digital Entertainment, AR/VR, Drone Tech, UI/UX, and e-Gov/m-Gov, etc. For more details, visit: The first edition of "Huddle Kerala 2019", held in April 2018 here, had about 2,000 startups, more than 30 speakers, 15 investors, Beach Side Huddle with industry leaders, Hackathon and many more activities. The event was attended by more than 1,500 delegates, the release added. Sat, 04 May 2019 05:01:21 GMT Gold smuggling: Airport employee caught Thiruvananthapuram: A contract employee has been arrested trying to smuggle 9.5 kilos of gold worth Rs 3 crore out of Thiruvananthapuram Airport. The new nab comes barely 15 days after another bust of gold worth Rs 2 crore, where employees of customers section were detained. 82 biscuits were recovered from AC mechanic Anish. He smuggled 45 kilo gold in four instances earlier, Customs authorities reported. Search is on to find the traveller who handed him the gold. Anish was handed the gold on an aerobridge by a passenger who landed in an Emirates flight at 3.30 am on Tuesday. They were concealed in mobile cases and wallet-like packets. Black tape was applied over them. Anish tried to get out of the CISF gate meant for airport employees. No Customs officers are posted here. However, high alert after Sri Lanka blasts foiled his attempt. As security personnel approached to check him, a visibly shaken Anish tried to flee. He threw away one packet. He was caught and handed over to Customs. Anish will be produced in court today. Five people, including airport employees, were caught on April 11 for smuggling almost 6 kilos of gold worth Rs 2 crore. The employees planned their work hours in advance to facilitate the movement of gold in a bus used to transport passengers from the airplane to terminals. They were paid in lakhs for completing this task. Security lapse Smugglers are exploiting lapses in security check at exits meant for airport employees. Recent incidents prove gold is being smuggled through these exclusive exits. Employees are used to smuggle gold due to the lack of scrutiny here. Anish deployed a similar method. He had walked out freely through the same exit four times before. Of the four exits in the airport, only one guarded by Customs is meant for passengers. Other three can be accessed by employees. They are at departure, export cargo and CISF main gate. Employees seldom get frisked here. When they are, they get queasy, say Customs officials. Anish tried to sneak out through the same gate this time too. Usually the metal detector goes off because of mobile phone in the pocket. This time, he was asked to keep mobile out before passing through the detector. Anish struggled to get out and a packet slipped out of his hands. Five were arrested in a similar case 15 days ago. They used a transit bus for completing the exchange. On sensing trouble, the gang concealed the gold in washrooms at terminals. Fri, 03 May 2019 07:42:14 GMT Stray catamaran at sea keeps coast guards on their toes Vizhinjam: A catamaran spotted off the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC),Thumba, raised tension among coast guards and security agencies. The security agents breathed a sigh of relief on discovering that the vessel, suspected to be a potential threat, belonged to Clemense (77), a native fisherman of Poovar, who was onboard. The Coast Guard’s C-441 rushed to the catamaran after it was spotted and the Border Security Forces had been alerted by noon. The coastal police watched over the shore. Clemense and the vessel were brought to the new dock in Vizhinjam by the C-441 crew headed by commanding officer Assistant Commandant Amit Chaudhary. The security forces' timely response turned to be a boon for Clemense who was exhausted of veering the old catamaran he was bringing from Puthenthope. Financial constraints had forced him to use the sea on Sunday despite warnings of adverse winds that tired him out near Thumba. He had tied his red lungi as a sail which again had attracted the security forces's attention. Clemense was handed over to the relatives after he was sent to the coastal police and given first aid. Ever since the Sri Lankan blasts the coast is kept under close scrutiny. What further raised the alert was that the VSSC area is seldom visited by fishermen and even those who venture are detained by coast guards. Cyclone Fani has prevented fishermen from going out to the sea. Fri, 03 May 2019 00:47:12 GMT Bridegoom returns home drenched in blood on wedding night! Thiruvananthapuram: Two days after a horrific road accident on the Kazhakoottam bypass on the outskirts of the city, it has emerged that one of the rescuers at the spot was a bridegroom who was returning after having a dinner party with his friends hours after his wedding. Peroorkada native Prakashan witnessed the mishap near Technopark while he was returning home in a car with his wife. He left the bride in the car and sprung into rescue operations minutes after a bus rammed a parked lorry loaded with iron rods. Prakashan pulled out the seriously injured bus driver, John, who was trapped in the mangled vehicle and shifted him to the police van. After getting active in rescue operations, Prakashan returned home drenched in blood. John, 29, hailing from Koodamkulam in Tamil Nadu is being treated at the Medical College Hospital here. Prakashan recounted the horrific scenes at the accident spot having seen the iron pierced into the legs of the bus driver. John was caught between the wheels and the seat. The rescue workers, including Prakashan, and the police had a tough time to bring out the blood-soaked driver, immediately after which he was shifted to the hospital. At that time as many as six huge lorries stacked with metal rods were parked without following the safety norms, said Prakashan. The lorries did not bear boards or lamps indicating the presence of the heavy-weight materials which were meant for constructing railway tracks. Though the headlights of the bus were in bright mode, the huge vehicles and the metallic sheets were not visible from a distance which could have led to the accident, he said. Prakashan had got married in a low-key function held at KPMS Hall. Rising accidents on bypass The number of accidents along the bypass stretch is rising even as the construction of Technopark-Kazhakoottam flyover is fast progressing. The National Highways Authority of India has been blamed for callousness, while the police too have not taken adequate road safety measures in the light of the construction work. No measures to ease traffic block have also been taken. The bus mishap on the bypass occurred near the main entrance of Technopark where the pillars for the flyover are being constructed. John was grievously injured when the mini bus he was driving lost control and rammed a lorry carrying metallic pipe. Huge lorries, stuffed with iron pipes, parked in rows without bearing any safety warning are a common sight along the bypass. There is no proper lighting on the stretch either, raising the risk of road mishaps. It is alleged lack of safety warning and proper lighting could have caused the accident. The 27-km Kazhakuttam bypass extends till Mukkola and is a section of the National Highway 66, the erstwhile NH 17. Read more District news Wed, 01 May 2019 00:46:20 GMT Satellite images point to sea erosion at Valiyathura Thiruvananthapuram: Sea is eating away land at Valiyathura in Thiruvananthapuram. Satellite images over the last two decades show that the wide, expansive beach at Valiyathura has drastically shrunk and the ocean has swallowed four rows of houses. During the recent sea surge, it was the fifth row of houses which were damaged. A similar situation prevails in other areas near Valiyathura too. Google’s satellite images from 2006 were analysed to study the impact of the sea on the beach. The images from 2015 show the once majestic Valiyathura pier clearly. However, in 2018, the pier is in poor shape and have lost connection with the land. A wide beach can be seen close to the houses near Valiyathura ground in the pictures from 2003. But the sandy expanse gradually shrunk over the years and the sea arrived at the doorsteps of the houses in 2012. In the past, even fishing boats were beached on this sandy area. But, at present, the sea has invaded even land for which people hold title deeds. There are families in the Valiyathura area who are paying taxes for their submerged plots of land. Tue, 30 Apr 2019 00:53:35 GMT Fake obscene photos of woman sent to fiance: Actor arrested Thiruvananthapuram: Television serial actor, Shan (25) was arrested for sending nude pictures, later identified as photoshopped, to the fiancee of the woman he met through Facebook. Shan had promised the woman roles in television serials and even of marriage since 2014 and had photographed her which were later photoshopped to make nude stills. Owing to differences over financial concerns, Shan and the woman had parted ways. Hearing about her engagement with a youth working in the Gulf, Shan sent her nude pictures to the fiance. This led to the wedding being called off. The woman's family filed a police complaint which led to his arrest by Palode CI Shibu Kumar and team. Shan was remanded after sections under POCSO and IT Act were charged. Shan hails from Karimankode, Palode of Thiruvananthapuram district. Mon, 29 Apr 2019 10:52:26 GMT Lorry driver’s murder planned? Friends continue to be in hiding Parassala: Mystery shrouds the death of a man whose body was stuffed in a sack and abandoned in his friend's compound. The body of 41-year-old Vinu was found in the banana plantation of his friend Shaji at Kadambattuvila on Tuesday. Vinu, a lorry driver, was murdered on Sunday and the body was left unburied for two days. It has come to the notice of the police that one barrel of kerosene was stolen from the ration shop at Arayoor on Friday, leaving suspicions that the killer had plans to cremate the body soon after the murder. Police feel the murder was supposed to be the outcome of a personal vendetta between the friends. A few months ago, Shaji was roughed up a gang of goons at Parasauvaykal and abandoned near Idichakaplamoodu, which was believed to be the handiwork of Vinu. There are rumours that Vinu had indeed taken Shaji to the goons and this rivalry must have ended in the murder. Though Vinu had gone missing since Sunday neighbours gave statements that a group of people, including Vinu, were engaged in a boozing party at Shaji's house on Sunday morning. Vinu is suspected to have been murdered later in the day. Shaji and his accomplices were present in the house till the next day. The murder was brought to light when Vinayakumar, who lives nearby, was called to remove the slab of the toilet. On reaching the house Vinayakumar was horrified to see a body drenched in a pool of blood lying face down. No sooner did he start running from the spot, than Shaji and his gang caught him from behind and brutally assaulted him with a hammer. He was freed when the neighbours rushed to the spot hearing the scream. Vinayakumar is currently in police custody. Three accomplices of Shaji who were present at the house at the time of crime have gone into hiding. The body of Vinu was cremated on Wednesday. Shaji's father Krishnan, an ex-service man, had gone missing five years ago. There were widespread rumours of Shaji's hand in Krishnan's disappearance as both of them were not in good terms with each other. Fri, 26 Apr 2019 01:01:28 GMT TVPM may face flood risk with delay in anti-encroachment drive Thiruvananthapuram: Last year's disastrous floods in Kerala ideally should have forced authorities to remove further encroachments that impede the smooth flow of water in public places. Kerala Government's Operation Anantha, which has been ongoing for a few years, aims at reducing the threat of floods. The delay in the launching the second phase of the project could make the capital city vulnerable to floods in the upcoming rainy season. It has come to light that a June 2017 report of then district collector, S Ventakesapathi urging the state government to begin the next stage of Operation Anantha immediately is gathering dust at the Revenue Department. The government seems to be cold to the proposal despite calls to prevent flooding of the city’s roads during rainy season. Parts of a few city roads were flooded in the rains that occurred last week. The condition will worsen as the rains will gain strength in the coming days. It is suspected that deliberate attempts at the political-bureaucratic levels might be sabotaging the flood-mitigation project so as to aid vested interests who could be targeted for illegal encroachments. At least 200 works have to be completed to ensure encroachments are removed and flooding is prevented. A report on the accomplished and pending works was prepared by the collector after reviewing the first stage of work. The report says the flooding of streets in Thampanoor, which is in the heart of the Thiruvananthapuram city, has considerably reduced after the unclogging of drainages.The floods here were caused by water flowing in from the vicinity of the hospital at Thycaud. Drainages near Ponnara Park were widened and those under the railway station near Chaithram Hotel and the one towards powerhouse were cleared to improve the outflow of water. About 800 loads of dirt were removed from these two drainages. The stretch from Pazhavangadi Temple to Abhedashramam was rebuilt, the report further states. The collector’s report also states that a waste management unit has to be made in Karimadom Colony. Drainages in Uppidamoodu Bridge, Kariyalthodu and Pattam have to be cleared. If the stage-2 work is not carried out, the benefits from stage I would go down the drain. Works were also carried out in Thampanoor-Mosque Lane, Thekkanamkara Canal, Putharikkandam, Aristo Junction, near Ramachandran Textiles, Manjalikkulam Road, Attakulangara, Ruby Nagar, Idappazhangi, Marakkada-Kuryathi, Chala-Erumakkuzhi, Rottikkada Junction, Killipalam-Tamil School, Kuryathi-BSNL compound and Amayizhanjan Thodu in stage I. The then minister VS Sivakumar, chief secretary, Jiji Thompson and district collector, Biju Prabhakar had led the work in the first phase. Mon, 22 Apr 2019 10:25:14 GMT Professional swindlers behind Attingal money exchange robbery, say police Attingal: The Iranian couple arrested for broad daylight robbery at the Foreign Money Exchange Centre here is professional fraudsters, police said. The duo, Serajjuddin Hyder and wife Hendari, had earlier looted Saudi Riyal to the tune of Rs 2.5 lakh from a shopping centre functioning opposite to Kothamangalam private bus stand on October 19, 2018. Police suspect both the robberies are the handiwork of prime accused Serajjuddin Hydar and a close friend of his. Last year the same group siphoned off US dollars worth Rs 30,000 from Pixel Graphics functioning near Thiruvananthapuram Medical College on May 18 and Rs 58,000 cash from Money Muttathu Nidhi Ltd in the Kilimanoor-Karette stretch. The arrested have also made robbery attempts in Sheriff Fossil at Manjalikulam, in Thiruvananthapuram, and in several other places. The police have gathered details of their stay in various hotels in Mumbai and Goa. They believe the arrests would unearth more frauds which have the hand of the Iranian couple. Serajjuddin Hyder was presented before the Kothamangalam court, while Hendari Hosini in Attingal court and were sent to Muvattupuzha and Attankulangara jails respectively. The police will seek the custody of the duo for a detailed interrogation to ascertain the involvement of more persons in the fraud and if they had committed other robberies. Attingal Money Exchange Robbery: Iran Couple held Attingal: A foreign couple was arrested in connection with defrauding foreign currency worth Rs 1.75 lakh six months ago under the pretext of exchanging US dollars from a money exchange centre here. Iranian couple Serajjuddhin Hyder, 57, and wife Hendari, 53, were nabbed from a private hotel at Angamaly. The duo, who came to VS Associates on Kacheri-Chirayinkeezhu stretch on an autorickshaw from Kacheri Nada on September 17, 2018 around 1 pm, sought money in exchange of 1,000 dirhams. When the female staff at the counter went to take the money, the duo made off with the 7,500 Saudi Riyal and 75 Kuwait Dinar at the table counter. Sunikumar of Vilayinmoola who runs the finance firm lodged a complaint with the Attingal police. It has come to light that the couple had conducted similar frauds at a Foreign Money Exchange centre at Medical College junction. Police have collected the CCTV footage and identified the two. The Attingal police have issued a look-out notice after confirming through CCTV visuals that the frauds in both the places were indeed conducted by the same team. Previously, the fraudsters had looted currency to tune of Rs 2 lakh from Lavanya Shopping Centre in front of Kothamangalam Bus Station. Thiruvananthapuram Rural District Police chief had received a tip off that the criminals are roaming in Angamaly area based on which Thiruvananthapuram Rural Shadow Police and Angamaly police have launched a joined search operation and nabbed the culprits from a lodge in Angamaly. The fraudsters followed a modus operandi of flying to Iran after a couple of thefts and then return to do a series of crimes. DySP Famous Varghese, CI Sibichan Joseph, SIs Shyam, Balakrishnan Asari, ASI Pradeep and shadow police members Dileep, Mahesh, Shinod, Udayakumar and Safeeja led the arrest. Mon, 22 Apr 2019 01:27:58 GMT Then it was 57-day-old Laiba; now she is hale and hearty Thiruvananthapuram: When India was sleeping on the night of November 16, 2017, the people of Kerala were awake with prayers on their lips for 57-day-old Laiba. With the infant’s life hanging in the balance, an ambulance with Laiba onboard raced through the length of Kerala from Pariyaram Medical College in Kannur to Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology here. Nervy 6 hours and 30 minutes, 500 kms, a convoy of 50 vehicles, thousands of WhatsApp messages and just one prayer! After 18 months, Laiba, daughter of Kasaragod-native Siraj and Aiysha, is hale and hearty, and was here along with her family for the periodic medical check-up. Thamim, who was at the ambulance wheel while transporting Laiba, was busy on Tuesday clearing way for an ambulance which was taking a baby to the Amrita Institute of Medical Science in Kochi. As Kerala was again on the edge as an ambulance zipped through the state to save an infant’s life, Thamim recounts his experience on November 16, 2017. People’s support is a must “The efforts of the public and police in clearing the road of traffic were instrumental for the success of the mission. There were limitations in applying sudden brakes as the baby was onboard, and it is always better to clear the obstacles on the road. Narrow bridges gave me jitters as we were travelling at a high speed,” said Thamim. “There were difficulties traversing the narrow roads of Mahe. There wasn’t much traffic in Thiruvananthapuram as we reached the capital city quite late into night. We knew about the bottlenecks at Attingal, and there could have been a problem or two if we had reached there during day time,” he added. “The ambulance drivers are ready to take any risk if the roads are broad. We thought we could reach Thiruvananthapuram in 8 hours but we reached 90 minutes early. The WhatsApp messages were of a great help,” Thamim noted. What happened that day • The Ambulance Drivers’ Association, police and Blood Donors, Kerala were very active. • Police and people cleared the roads of traffic at main junctions. • Constant communication through ‘Child Protect Team Kerala’ WhatsApp group. • A police vehicle accompanied the ambulance in each district along with an ICU ambulance. • Strict directions that other vehicles should not be part of the convoy. • Twenty minutes rest at Kozhikode to feed the baby and to refuel the ambulance. Fri, 19 Apr 2019 01:01:18 GMT Noise pollution in your vicinity? Dial this number for remedy Thiruvananthapuram: Are blaring loud speakers annoying you no end? Then pick up the phone and punch 9188300300; swift noise abatement action is assured. A control room has been opened by the Thiruvananthapuram district administration in association with Indian Medical Association (IMA) to curb noise pollution in the district. This control room will function as part of IMA’s trauma-care control room. On the receipt of a complaint, the problem will be brought to the notice of the person concerned, and if there is no relief, the complaint will be forwarded to the district collectorate for corrective action. IMA also handed over two kits to measure sound levels to District Collector K Vasuki. A special website is also being prepared by ‘Prathidhwani’, a socio-cultural organisation of IT professionals. The public can track licenced sound system operators through this portal, which will also furnish their licence details and list the complaints against them. If there are complaints against operators, the police can also check relevant details about them on the website. On a related note, a part of the arterial MG Road between Madhava Pharmacy Junction and Maharajas Metro Station in Kochi was declared no-horn zone last year. The 'no-horn' initiative is being implemented with the cooperation of IMA, the Association of Otolaryngologists of India, National Initiative for Safe Sound, organisation of ENT surgeons, Kochi Metro Rail Limited , city police and Motor Vehicle Department. A study in Kochi had found hearing problems for drivers of city service buses and taxi and auto drivers. Sat, 13 Apr 2019 00:40:27 GMT Woman unknowingly hands over 20 sovereigns of gold to scrap dealer! Nemom: In an odd incident here in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram district, a housewife who had hidden 20 sovereigns of gold ornaments in a pile of old newspapers almost lost the entire jewellery when she sold the rags to a scrap dealer. But the woman soon realised her blunder and recovered 17 sovereigns with the help of the police. She had kept the valuables in the paper apparently to avoid its theft. Meanwhile, the scrap dealer was arrested on her complaint after he insisted that he had not found the gold. He has been identified by the Nemom police as Subrahmaniyan (34), a native of Tirunelveli living near Karimadom colony. The incident took place at a house in Pottavila near Karakkamandapam in last Thursday. The woman remembered that she had kept the gold packed in a cover between the newspapers after the scrap dealer had left with the items she had sold to him. Immediately, she rushed to the scrap shop at Attakulangara on a scooter along with her daughter. However, Subrahmaniyan said that there was no gold among the newspapers and that it might have fallen off along the road. Meanwhile, the woman’s relatives too reached the scrap shop and created a ruckus. Officers from the Fort police station soon arrived and took Subrahmaniyan to the station. During questioning there, he remained firm that he had not taken the gold. When the housewife too stuck to her complaint against the scrap dealer, the police inspected Subrahmaniyan’s shop and recovered 17 sovereigns. The scrap dealer was handed over to the Nemom police. An investigation is currently on to locate the remaining three sovereigns. Wed, 03 Apr 2019 00:59:37 GMT Alarming bird menace at TVPM airport, forest dept roped in Thiruvananthapuram: Bird hit is a major concern for pilots and airline companies world over. The authorities of the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport in Kerala are facing this hazard at a rate above the safe limits. Fed up with the regular bird strike at the airport, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has approached the Research Centre under the Forest Department to study the issue. The researchers will start their work from April. For the one-year pilot project, AAI has entered into an agreement with the centre for Rs 10 lakh. The study will be led by Dr E A Jayson and Dr V B Sreekumar, who are experts in ornithology. The operations and aviation safety wings of the airport will supervise the activities. According to the guidelines of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), only less than five bird hits should be expected during every 10,000 plane landings and take-offs. But 25 bird hits were reported at Thiruvananthapuram airport from April 2018 and March 2019, when 33,000 flights used the facility. The DGCA pointed out that this figure was very high, compared to other airports. Moreover, several pilots have submitted formal complaints to the DGCA and AAI that landing at the airport was unsafe owing to bird hits. The DGCA took up the matter with the Thiruvananthapuram airport authorities, following which it was decided to entrust the Forest Department’s research centre with the task of conducting the study. The scientists informed that a special observation team will be deployed round the clock at the airport and runway as part of the study. In aviation parlance, Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) denotes collision between an airborne animal (usually a bird or bat) and a vehicle, often an aircraft. Sun, 31 Mar 2019 00:53:52 GMT Labour Department to crack down on hotels forcing staff to stand in the hot sun Thiruvananthapuram: The Labour department has issued an order banning hotels and restaurants from deploying staff in the hot sun in front of their establishments with boards to lure customers in. This order has come in the wake of the intense heat that Kerala is experiencing these past weeks. Alerts were raised in several districts by KSDMA, health and other departments. On February 26, the state labour department had imposed restrictions on engaging labourers for outdoor jobs. The labour commissioner had stated that those who are working on day shifts should be given a break from noon to 3pm. On noticing that this was not followed by hotels and restaurant chains, the commissioner has directed District Labour Officers to resort to strict action against those violating the order. The circular was issued after several media reports on the plight of these staff wilting in the scorching sun. It states very categorically that staff should not be asked by managements to stand in the sun during noon hours. “If the staff is asking to do this, action will be taken based on existing laws. Officials of the Labour department have been tasked to carry out regular checks to ensure that the rights of the employees are protected”, Labour Commissioner CV Sajan told Manorama Online. The Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 states that employees have to be given seats to take rest during duty hours. According to the law, staff should not be asked to stand for hours, including with a board. The Labour Commissioner said that measures would be taken to enforce these guidelines. Thu, 28 Mar 2019 04:49:48 GMT Unidentified drone reportedly traced to private survey firm Thiruvananthapuram: The unidentified drone spotted over Kovalam beach a couple of days ago is reportedly traced to a Mumbai based IT solution firm which is engaged in conducting survey works for the Railways. According to the police, the drone belonging to Intron Solutions, a Mumbai based firm engaged in the survey work for Railways had flown towards Kovalam as the company staff who were operating it from a car lost control of the equipment. The drone has a range of 3 kilometres radius. The company officials are reportedly summoned by the police for further enquiry. The unidentified unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), popularly known as drone, was spotted over Kovalam beach by the police personnel engaged in night patroling duty by around 1 a.m. Later, more reports of sighting the drone came from people in Kovalam, Kochuveli and Shanghumugham areas. The Police and Special Branch started investigations as the security officers on duty at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) also confirmed the sighting of the drone. The link with the Mumbai based firm was revealed following the probe centered on private companies. At the same time, the special investigation team of Police led by the City Police Commissioner has started enquiry into the incident when a drone was spotted over the Police Headquarters at Thiruvananthapuram yesterday. The drone was spotted flying over the Police Headquarters by around 10.30 p.m. by the police personnel who were on security duty, but no information could be obtained on the drone even after extensive enquiry. Following this, the police also got information that a drone was spotted over Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, a high security area. However, the information has not yet been confirmed. Those who are using UAVs, or drones, need to get the equipment registered following the guidelines issued by the Directorate of Civil Aviation, according to the police. The operation of all UAVs have been brought under strict Government regulations since December, 2018. According to these regulations, the UAVs have been divided into five categories based on weight, ranging from nano drones of 250 grams to heavy drones weighing 150 kilograms. The nano drones weighing below 250 grammes do not require registration, but they should not fly over a height of 50 feet. The drones used by security forces do not need permission. Otherwise, all drones weighing more than the nano drones need the permit and individual identity number issued by the Directorate of Civil Aviation. Even the UAVs with permits should not be flown beyond a height of 400 feet. The UAVs are not allowed to be operated over Parliament, Secretariat, Rashtrapathi Bhavan, premises of air ports, head quarters of armed forces, State secretariat and other institutions of security forces. Drones are also not allowed within a 50 kilo meter radius over international borders as well as beyond 500 meters from the coast, according to the police. Tue, 26 Mar 2019 17:33:37 GMT Fishermen should try this low-cost boat made from waste Thiruvananthapuram: Floods last year taught Keralites a hard lesson. Marooned people realised a boat could make all the difference. Hereafter, don’t throw away those hardboard, wood and fibreglass pieces left behind by workmen. They are ideal materials to build a strong boat that can carry three people. It is the South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies (SIFFS) that is behind the initiative of turning such items of waste into 12-foot-long boats named ‘Poombatta’ (butterfly). Vincent Jain, head of the boat building yard at SIFFS, is in charge of the work. The small boat is suitable for fishing in inland waterways as well as near the seashore. While such a boat normally costs between Rs 40,000 and 45,000, Poombatta is available for less than Rs 20,000. The low price makes the boat an attractive option for fishermen and helps fulfill their dreams of owning a boat. SIFFS uses wood pieces of packing items for building the boat, which has sufficient strength to be used in the water bodies. It is also pointed out that women also could get the necessary training and start boat-building units. Poombatta is powered by a 2.5 hp engine and a trial was successfully conducted in the Veli lake on March 21, said Vincent. He said that three persons can travel comfortably in Poombatta. Bigger boat Apart from Poombatta, SIFFS has built Sea Dragon, a bigger boat with 44 feet length, 26 hp inboard engine and solar panels. It is also equipped with safety lights, life jackets and fire extinguishers. In addition, Sea Dragon comes with LED lights and indicator. Many big boats have such equipment, but they are often never used as the batteries would drain easily. But this problem is overcome in Sea Dragon by installing solar panels. Yet another safety feature in Sea Dragon is the Lifeline system. Sea Dragon’s design ensures that it does not turn upside down easily. Polyurethane foam is used in the construction, which ensures that the boat remains afloat even if it meets with an accident. Mon, 25 Mar 2019 00:38:31 GMT Security on high alert after spotting drone near TVPM airport, VSSC Thiruvananthapuram: A drone was sighted at the airport, the highly sensitive Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and nearby Kovalam beach early Friday morning, prompting Southern Air Command and Military Intelligence to go on high alert. Southern Air Command and Military Intelligence are on high alert after the drone was sighted, defence sources said. "We are always on high alert. The present sighting of the drone is in the civilian area. We are not intervening in the current situation, but are monitoring the entire scenario," a defence spokesperson said. The drone was first sighted at Kovalam beach early Friday morning by a night patrolling group of Kerala police, who searched the area for its operators. As it started flying towards the north, where the airport is located, the team informed the airport authorities. However, after two hours, the CISF team at VSSC found the drone flying there and informed the authorities concerned. Police and the central intelligence agencies visited the VSSC and found that visuals of the drone was not available in any of the security cameras installed. The Airport, Pangode Military camp and other security installations in the city have been put on high alert. "We have monitored the radars installed at various areas and found that the drone might have been operated by some locals," a top police official said. The senior official also said the drone was suspected to be flying on a low altitude, thus evading radars. Fri, 22 Mar 2019 15:53:30 GMT DYFI activist rams vehicle on SI, released as gang lays siege on police station Thiruvananthapuram: Activists of the DYFI ganged up in their bid to forcibly release a biker who reportedly knocked down a cop during vehicle inspection. The youth activists of the CPM picketed the Poonthura Police Station on Tuesday midnight even as superior police officers pressured the station authorities to release the culprit. The incident has reportedly caused wide-spread dissatisfaction among the police force. It is alleged that even though the accused was at first charged with non-bailable offences, the complaint filed by the injured sub-inspector K. Shailendra Prasad was not accepted by the police following pressure from senior police officers. The injured SI is now on leave for one week. It was around 9 p.m. on Tuesday that a team led by Prasad was conducting inspections of vehicles as part of ‘Operation Bolt’ launched by the City Police Commissioner to crack down on the drug mafia. Praveen, the accused, happened to drive by in a scooter without wearing a helmet. As the police waved him to stop, Praveen is reported to have slowed down, let the pillion rider get off and tried to take a U-turn for returning. The scooter hit the SI’s leg as the officer was trying to stop the vehicle. The accused did not stop the scooter even though the SI’s dress and whistle guard got entangled in the vehicle. The SI got dragged along the road as the scooter moved forward, which caused the injuries. The SI was rescued by an assistant SI who was standing a little away. He even forcibly stopped the scooter, following which Praveen was taken into custody. By the time the SI had returned to the police station after receiving first aid at the hospital, the DYFI activists had arrived at the station demanding the immediate release of Praveen. However, Prasad insisted on charging a case against him, following which the Circle Inspector recorded the statements and directed for charging non-bailable offence. However, within a short time, a larger group of CPI-M and DYFI activists arrived at the station and threatened the police personnel at the station. As the situation got tense, Narcotic Cell Assistant Commissioner Pradeep Kumar, the in-charge of night patrol, and Valiya Thura CI Sherry reached the spot. Even though the Assistant Commissioner exerted pressure upon the SI to withdraw his complaint, Prasad refused to comply. Later, the police charged a case for negligent driving against Praveen and released him on the surety of two individuals. At the same time, City Police Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Gurudin informed that an inquiry had proved that Praveen had not hit Prasad deliberately with the scooter but that it was only an accident. Cases have been charged against more than 100 recognisable persons for picketing the police station and for threatening the police personnel. The police have received the video footage of the offence. The Commissioner said that further inquiry will be conducted into the issue. Fri, 22 Mar 2019 10:24:21 GMT Forest dept plans old age home and nursery for elephants in TVPM Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Forest Department is coming up with an innovative idea of an old age home for elephants suffering from age. Not only that, a nursery for baby elephants is also in the offing. The Elephant Rehabilitation Centre, getting set up at Kottur in Thiruvananthapuram district, will provide facilities for the caring of aged elephants as well as for the baby elephants often rescued from the wild. Tenders have already been invited for the Phase I work of the Rehabilitation Centre. The Rs 105 crores project aims at creating a space where elephants can dwell peacefully in a natural environment. The old age home for elephants will provide care for those elephants weakened due to old age. The nursery will have facilities to care for the baby elephants rescued from the wild under various circumstances. Specialities in the nursery: - Rooms for baby elephants - Baby elephants up to the age of three years will be cared at the nursery - Accommodation facilities for the baby elephants’ mahouts will also be arranged close by - Facilities to provide the best of health care - Kitchen to prepare special food for the baby elephants - After three years, the young elephants will be sent out to join the other elephants in the centre Specialities of old age home: - Aged elephants from the elephant camps under the Forest Department will be accommodated here - 24 hour service of veterinary doctors will be made available along with medicines - Each elephant will be given the diet according to its physical condition - Specially trained mahouts and assistants - Special zones where the aged elephants can roam around on their own, without disturbance from other elephants - Aged elephants under private ownership will also be accepted. However, the owner will have to provide for the expenses - Wild elephants caught while damaging crops in villages surrounding forest areas will also be shifted to this centre in case they are aged Fri, 15 Mar 2019 01:33:38 GMT Airport privatisation poses threat to Padmanabha Swamy Temple's Arattu festival Thiruvananthapuram: With the Thiruvananthapuram airport moving towards privatisation, clouds of uncertainty hang over the much-renowned Arattu procession of Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple here. The colourful procession carrying the idol for Arattu, the ritualistic bath of the idol after the Painkuni and Alpassi festivals at Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple passes through the Trivandrum International Airport, moving along the runway complete with the traditional retinue of decked up elephants and percussionists and led by members of the royal family of Travancore, towards Shanghumugham Beach. After the Arattu, the procession returns along the same route with the accompaniment of ‘theevatti-s’ or torches. Usually, the airport shuts down its operations for two days every year for the festivals which fall in March - April and October. The ritual that had started centuries ago had continued unperturbed even after the Trivandrum Airport was first established under the Royal Flying Club in 1932 in the property which belonged to the royal family. The custom was continued even after it was converted into an international airport in 1991. The Airport Authority of India used to issue Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to the operators for suspending the services on the Arattu day. However, with the privatisation moves on, there are doubts whether the tradition would be allowed to be continued in future. The temple authorities are now examining the documents between the Travancore royal family and the AAI related to the handing over of the property where the airport is situated to ascertain whether the Arattu procession could be continued. However, sources point out that there is no need for panic as the central government has not yet taken any final decision upon the privatisation of the Trivandrum airport. As the final decision may be taken only after the polls and the new government assumed power in the centre, the Arattu procession of the Painkuni festival which will take place on April 20 will not be affected. The Arattu procession usually starts from 5 in the evening from Padinjare Kotta and will enter the compound of the airport within 45 minutes. A special platform – Arattu Mandapam – has been built within the airport premises for resting the idols and accompanying team. After taking a break for around 30 minutes, the procession leaves for Shanghumugham along the runway. The procession will cross the airport after the Arattu again by 8:30pm. The airport used to suspend all activities between 5pm and 8:30pm on the Arattu days of both Painkuni and Alpassi festivals every year. Some historians point out clear conditions had been spelt out in the agreement that the Travancore royal family had made with the government regarding these matters when the reign was handed over to the democratically elected government after Independence, and that there are conditions that the Arattu procession of Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple should not be affected. The temple executive officer V Ratheesan said that the temple authorities are hopeful of the state government taking steps to protect the continuance of Arattu procession on the basis of that agreement. Fri, 15 Mar 2019 01:33:05 GMT Bengali worker murdered, hunt on for co-worker Attingal: A worker from West Bengal fled after slitting the throat of his co-worker at a hollow bricks unit at Poovanpara here in Thiruvananthapuram district. The dead has been identified as Vimal (30) from Galsaigiri, Siliguri. Search is on for the murderer Amal (25) who is also from Bengal. The murder happened in the workers’ room at AM Hollow Bricks Interlock and Materials Supply early on Monday. Vimal was found on a chair, face covered with shirt and throat slit. There were three cut marks on his face. Vimal came to work here three weeks ago. He had brought Amal along after his first week. Apart from the Bengalis, Keralites Binu and Mahendran from Poovanpara work at the bricks unit. While Binu and Mahendran return home after work every day, Vimal and Amal retire to the room provided on site. The two-storey building has office on the first floor and workers’ room below. Binu and Mahendran went home Sunday afternoon. Mahendran returned to work at 6am on Monday only to see Vimal dead on chair. Police and forensic experts investigated the crime scene. Sniffer dog went up to the National Highway tracing Amal’s tracks. The police believe Amal left the site through a shortcut and fled from the highway. Vimal was brought to the site by Rahul, a Bengali who has been working in Kerala and settled in Cheruvallimukku, Attingal, for the last 15 years. He has been taken into custody. The kitchen knife, which police believe to be the murder weapon, is yet to be recovered. Reportedly, Vimal and Amal used to drink on Sundays. A liquor bottle has been recovered from their room. An ensuing quarrel on Sunday might have led to the murder. Vimal died from the deep cut to his throat. There are no CCTV cameras on the bricks site. Efforts to gather images from cameras nearby are on. Vimal’s body was moved to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital by 2pm. No IDs, police in a fix The police have little to go with in the case since neither the victim nor the suspect had provided identity cards. Vimal’s phone is missing, most probably taken by Amal, they believe. This phone is now switched off. Search is on in other migrant worker sites and railway stations. Usually, the employer keeps details of employees at their office. But no such records are available on the duo. The police believe Rahul, who is in custody, might help them track down Amal. It was him who told them that the murdered youth was from Siliguri in north Bengal. Wed, 13 Mar 2019 12:49:42 GMT Scuba divers locate Iranian ship off Poonthura coast Thiruvananthapuram: An Iranian cargo ship, which probably sank during the Ockhi cyclone in late 2017, was discovered from the bottom of the sea near the coast of Poonthura here by a team of scuba divers. The scuba divers associated with the NGOs Friends of Marine Life and Scuba Cochin found the ship at a depth of 36m in the sea at a distance of 2.5 km from the coast. The ship had disappeared from the coast of Vizhinjam and all the efforts done by the ship owner to locate it with the help of the government machinery had failed. It is believed that the ship must have been drifted towards the Poonthura coast. The scuba divers Robert Panippillai, Arun Aloysius and Olanga said that the mast of the ship was around 5 meters tall. They could not enter the ship because of the nets lying mangled inside the ship. Local fishermen Joy, Jaison and Johnson had alerted the scuba divers after noticing an increased presence of fish in the area. They had conducted a preliminary search in the area before informing the scuba divers. Wed, 13 Mar 2019 01:39:17 GMT Cab driver booked for harassing woman pilot in Thiruvananthapuram Thiruvananthapuram: A taxi driver has been booked here for allegedly harassing a Delhi-based woman pilot at the international airport here, police said. The driver, who is yet to be identified, had passed some "sexually coloured comments" against the 26-year-old pilot of a public carrier while she was waiting for her vehicle at the airport premises Friday night. Quoting her complaint, police said he had made the comments sitting inside the taxi and immediately drove away the vehicle. The woman pilot later lodged a complaint with the airport manager who forwarded the same to the police station concerned. The case was registered against the driver under IPC section 354A (making sexually coloured remarks), an officer told PTI. "The pilot noted down the taxi's number. A probe is on to identify the driver. As per the cab number, the vehicle is registered in the name of a woman," he said. Sat, 09 Mar 2019 15:10:23 GMT Fans, frozen food help zoo animals to beat the heat Thiruvananthapuram: Severe heat is making animal life in zoos miserable. Animals and birds in captivity remain in shade most of the time as they struggle to cope with the conditions. Zoo authorities here have taken several measures to cool them down. Frozen food, vitamin and mineral supplements, fans and fruits are being provided to them. Ostrich, tiger, nilgai, bear and reptiles have fans installed in cages. The sheds of anaconda and King Cobra have air conditioning. Cages are cooled down with water at night and animals bathed twice a day. Water for birds is mixed with vitamins and minerals. More fruits are added to their diets. Frozen fruits are given to animals like bears. Cooling measures had started early this year, though water supply was erratic at times last year. However, zoo workers say these arrangements are inadequate. There is shortage of water used to cool cages. Some fans installed last year are not working now, they claimed. Last September it was reported the animals here were hit hard by water scarcity. The pipes at the facility had gone dry after the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) had stopped supply to the zoo. When such issues recur the animals go without drinking and bathing water. Animals that need water to regulate their body temperature suffer when water is scarce. Animals like elephant, tiger, lion and hippopotamus can't bear too much heat. Large quantities of water are needed to bathe them daily. Their enclosures too need to have adequate water in order to keep the heat at bay. The water that is brought in by tankers when KWA supply fails is not adequate to even meet basic requirements at the zoo. The Thiruvananthapuram Zoo was opened in 1857. It is in the heart of the city. The water supply to the zoo comes through the pipe leading from the reservoir near the observatory at Vellayambalam. Massive tanks on the zoo premises need to be filled up if KWA supply ceases. Sat, 09 Mar 2019 01:40:10 GMT Horn not ok, please! 87% traffic cops in TVPM have hearing loss Thiruvananthapuram: Noisy work atmosphere is causing hearing impairment in 87 per cent traffic cops and 84 per cent aircraft personnel in city, says a study. Research conducted by ENT department at Ananthapuri Hospital and Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram, says loud honking and aircraft noise are causing hearing loss among other health issues. Constant noise is creating attention issues in 90 per cent traffic cops. Seventy-eight per cent of them do not realise the importance of protecting their ears at workplace. Accepting the report, ADGP in charge of transportation B Sandhya said medical attention will be provided and precautionary measures taken to address the issue. Thirty-two per cent who work in conditions where noise is between 90 and 110 decibels have high blood pressure. Sixty-three per cent aircraft employees do not know the importance of protective measures. Eighteen per cent of them have high blood pressure and 30.7% have abnormal ECG. Another side effect is sleeplessness. The study was held in congested intersections and international and national airports. Fri, 08 Mar 2019 02:16:52 GMT Vendor helps bust currency counterfeiting gang Neyyar: A local counterfeit currency gang has been busted here in Thiruvananthapuram district. A vendor helped catch three local youth who were reportedly in the habit of using fake currency to buy cigarettes. Shajahan from Kallode and accomplices Arshad and Saud from Kuttichal, Kottoor, were arrested by the Neyyar Dam Police. The vendor grew suspicious when Shajahan handed over notes that looked bogus after buying cigarettes on Sunday. The vendor alerted locals about the currency and restrained Shajahan until police arrived. Ink and equipment used to print notes were recovered later. About 10 fake currencies in Rs 100 and 200 denominations were also found. A detailed inquiry will be held to ascertain if there are more people involved in the gang, the police said. Fake currency gangs are active in the area. Recently, Kattakkada Police had arrested a gang with fake Rs 500 notes from a market with the help of vendors. Wed, 06 Mar 2019 01:49:44 GMT Killiyar garbage ends up along coast after careless cleaning drive Thiruvananthapuram: The much-lauded mega cleaning drive of River Killiyar organised by the city corporation has unfortunately resulted in the pollution of coastal area of the district owing to unscientific practices. Local organisations had to resort to another cleaning operation to remove garbage, including plastic bottles, that were seen floating alongside the coast after the botched river-cleaning exercise. The whole garbage from the river, Killiyar, had reached the sea through the estuary (pozhi) at Panathura. As huge quantities of waste removed during the cleaning operation reached the sea, several locals who had bathed in the beaches subsequently developed allergic reaction. As the pollution levels of the sea increased, organisations like Friends of Marine Life and Scuba Cochin set out to clean the waste from the sea close to the beach beside The Leela hotel at Kovalam. Foreign tourists also joined the drive. Experts point out that the increased levels of pollution may even lead to the large-scale death of marine organisms like fish. The Corporation of Thiruvananthapuram had carried out the cleaning of the river in association with residents associations and volunteers under the Clean Killiyar Mission. Mon, 04 Mar 2019 01:58:02 GMT Another dirty city corner to turn into garden Thiruvananthapuram: Another spot in the city where garbage had piled up is set to transform into a beautiful garden. The student volunteers of S N College, Chempazhanthy, joined hands with the volunteers of the C Power 5 project to remove the garbage that had accumulated at Thampuran Mukku, near General Hospital. The volunteers also removed the garbage from the road from Thekke Kotta to Padinjare Kotta as well, and placed growbags in that locality. The assistant collector Priyanka G, who inaugurated the cleaning, called upon the youth and students to take initiative in cleaning up their neighbourhoods. Tara Residents Association of Thampuran Mukku had also participated in the cleaning programme, supporting the volunteers. C power 5, which denotes ‘Change can change climate change’, has members who are part of an internship programme launched by Thiruvananthapuram district collector Dr K Vasuki. The cleaning programme has been already implemented at six spots in the city, including Jawahar Nagar, Mettukada, Thycaud, Karamana and Kannammoola. After removing the garbage, flowering plants are arranged at the spot in growbags. Beautication is also carried out by creating art on the walls. C Power 5 project is implemented by the district administration with the support of voluntary organisations, experts and students promote an environmental friendly lifestyle that would help secure the future of the coming generations. Its activities cover empowering the society to tackle global warming, reducing the use of plastic, promoting organic vegetable cultivation, creating an ecofriendly attitude and bringing out products that are not harmful to nature. Three initiatives are being implemented under the project. They are Udyanam, Samrudhi and Sthithi. The initiative at Thampuran Mukku was under the Udyanam scheme. Sun, 03 Mar 2019 01:35:55 GMT English Tuesday's vibrant chenda beats captivate Kovalam temple Kovalam: An English woman surprised devotees at Avaduthura Thiruvila Devi Temple, by joining the team of chenda players during the temple festival. The woman named Tuesday, who had visited the temple two years ago, happened to watch the ritual of ‘Kalam Kaval’ held at the temple. Fascinated by the steps of the ritual and the percussion accompaniment led by chenda, she started learning the percussion, beginning with elathalam, the cymbals. After returning to England, she continued learning the percussion after meeting the Malayali community over there and joining the chenda classes run by them. Returning to Kovalam again, she met a local chenda artiste, Saju, and started training under him. She plans to continue her training. Sat, 02 Mar 2019 09:20:21 GMT Now watch a movie at Thampanoor bus terminal Thiruvananthapuram: The main KSRTC terminal in the heart of the city at Thampanoor is not just a bus station anymore, but a movie theatre too. Minister A K Saseendran inaugurated a theatre built by the Kerala State Film Development Corporation (KSFDC) on Thursday. The theatre will be open from Friday. The theatre has been dedicated to late filmmaker Lenin Rajendran who was also a former chairman of KSFDC. The theatre has been named Lenin Cinemas. Dolby Atmos sound system, JBL speakers, silver screen, inverter type air conditioning are other attractions. The theatre is on the terminal’s third floor. CCTVs are installed for security. New theatres to develop cinema industry will be built in association with KIIFB (Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board), said Minister AK Balan who presided over the inauguration. Cinematographer Ramachandra Babu performed switch-on. A special parking lot for the theatre will be arranged too, Saseendran said. Thiruvananthapuram Corporation mayor V K Prasanth, KSFDC M D Deepa D Nair, Cultural Welfare Fund Board chairman P Sreekumar, KTDFC MD R Rahul, KSDFC director board member Madhupal, director Shaji Kailas and ward councilor MV Jayalakshmi spoke at the inaugural event. Rajendran’s wife Ramani and daughter Parvathi attended the event with relatives. He died in January following liver-related ailments. The 67-year-old had underwent liver transplantation surgery earlier. A multiple state award-winner, Rajendran helmed a number of critically acclaimed movies including "Swathi Thirunal", "Daivathinte Vikrithikal", "Mazha", "Kulam" and "Idavapathi". Known for his unique style of lmmaking, Rajendran had entered tinsel town by directing the movie 'Venal' during the early 1980s. The Leftist had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls in 1991. Sat, 02 Mar 2019 01:53:57 GMT 'Haunted' university pond gets new life Thiruvananthapuram: The Hymavathi pond on the Kariavattom campus of the University of Kerala is infamous for creepy tales around it. Locals avoid it even during day fearing lores about spirits haunting the waterbody. It got an image makeover after a Rs 15 lakh remodelling initiative carried out by the authorities. The renovated pond was inaugurated by Minister Kadakampally Surendran. The pond has retained its natural charm even after the renovation carried out in association with the Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure Development Corporation. A panel comprising teaching staff, university guards and students will be formed for overseeing it. The pond and vacant plot around it was a den for antisocial elements since ghost stories kept people away from it. In the past, the police have arrested criminals from this spot. It is expected the pond will not be shunned hereafter as it will be deemed as a source of drinking water. Knowledge Park spiked An earlier government bid to build a Knowledge Park at the spot, however, remained on paper because of funds crunch. It was planned to build a half-acre lawn and benches around the pond as part of the project. The plan did not materialise as removing dirt from the pond itself took up all the money set aside. Authorities said it overshot the budget after paving the banks with gravel. The university will build lawn and install benches and CCTV cameras, said the minister's office. Fri, 01 Mar 2019 05:35:46 GMT Public should be allowed to take water and eatables in theatres: Tvpm Corporation Thiruvananthapuram: The Corporation of Thiruvananthapuram has issued a directive to the cinema theatres in the city limits not to prevent audience taking water or food from outside to the theatres. The action was taken following an intervention made by the State Human Rights Commission into the matter. The Corporation Secretary had informed the State Human Rights Commission that notice has already been issued to the theatre owners not to prevent the public from taking water or food into the theatres. The Commission had ordered enquiry into a recent incident in a city theatre where a family was thrown out of the theatre for carrying snacks, after checking their bag. Most of the theatres in the city have unbending rules when it comes to taking drinks or food from outside to the theatres. They insist that the public should purchase the food and drinks only from the eateries inside the theatre at whatever rates offered by them. The Human Rights Commission chairman Justice Antony Dominic had sought a report from the Corporation Secretary and the City Police Commissioner regarding this issue, following the complaint lodged by human rights activist Ragam Rahim. The Corporation has also instructed the theatre owners to exhibit price charts of the food items available for sale in the eateries inside the theatre. Fri, 01 Mar 2019 01:38:13 GMT 'Samabhavana' to debut on February 27 Thiruvananthapuram: The first Samabhavana show will be held at the Central Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on February 27 as part of the diamond jubilee fellowships to a thousand young artists. Minister AK Balan will preside over the event to be inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at 5pm. Ministers Kadakampally Surendran and AC Moideen will be the chief guests. Over 300 artists will take part in 30 art forms including Gaddika, Mappila Ramayanam, Kerala Nadanam, Mohiniyattam, Kathakali, Vanchippattu, Thullal, Tholpavakkooth, Koodiyattam, Drama and Margamkali. The mega show will see interpretations of works by greats from Ezhuthachan to ONV Kurup across art forms. Experts in each field have created sessions of 8 minutes each. Two months' training has gone into the 3 hour show. The event will be held in other districts in the following days to involve youngsters in the creation of a better Kerala. The event directed by Pramod Payyannur will see fellowship artists and their students from different schools in state participate. A thousand fellowships are provided each year. The event will conclude with a modern musical interpretation of Vyloppilli's ‘Panthangal’. An art show will be held from the morning on February 27. Sun, 24 Feb 2019 07:35:49 GMT Damuvettan is spreading light with fervour Thiruvananthapuram: They do have a long acquaintance and when Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran meets Damodharan Nair at the Attukal Temple here, the minister gives the latter a huge hug. Later, both step into a nearby eatery and do some small talk over a cup of tea. Damodharan Nair, known as 'Damuvettan' for many, had been illuminating the Attukal Temple with decorative lamps for the past 51 years during the festival days. This year also he is at the helm of affairs when it comes to lighting up the popular temple. “Festivals mean creating magic with lights, and these beautiful images will stick in our minds for a long time. My earliest memories relating to festivals were created by Damuvettan,” notes Kadakampally Surendran. The septuagenarian, who runs a firm by the name of ‘Mohan Sounds’, monitors the work with zeal across the vast temple premises with his two sons in tow with all help. To a minister's question on the good old days, Damodharan Nair replies, “Everything is possible with the blessings of the deity. We are doing this work for generations, and earlier my elder brother used to do the illumination work during the Attukal pongala festival.” Though the practice of announcing the name of the person who is instrumental in providing sound and light effects to a temple or church festival is no longer in vogue, the devotees thronging the Atukkal temple during the festive season are very much aware that the man behind the spellbinding fancy lighting is ‘Damuvettan’. Damodharan Nair is very particular to keep a close tab on the innovations in the lighting industry, the minister says. Before leaving, Kadakampally instructs the temple authorities to felicitate Damodharan Nair in a function to be presided over by actor Mammootty. The minister also requests Damodharan Nair to take care of his health. After the minister leaves, Damodharan Nair is once again in the thick of action. Fri, 22 Feb 2019 01:47:39 GMT When Thiruvananthapuram housed the Nalanda of the South Thiruvananthapuram: Not many people know that Thiruvananthapuram housed a university that taught more than 64 subjects as early as 1,200 years ago. Kanthaloor Sala attracted students from as far as Sri Lanka. They learned subjects as varied as atheism and martial arts. Kantaloor Sala thrived between 9th and 12th centuries before it was razed in a battle between the Chera and Chola dynasties, according to a consensus among historians. Sometimes referred to as the Nalanda of the South, after the famed ancient university in Nalanda, Kanthaloor Sala has been consigned to oblivion. This thought pained a school teacher so much that he ventured to make a documentary on Kerala's own ancient wonder. Kishore Kallara, a teacher of the government upper primary school at Kanjirampara near Vamanapuram, wants to record a forgotten part of Thiruvananthapuram's history. “Thiruvananthapuram's history is much more than Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple. I felt duty-bound to pass on the information about the heritage that was Kanthaloor Sala,” he said. The documentary is packed with Kishore's journey through historical records and his meetings with historians. The university was situated in Vizhinjam before it was relocated to Kanthaloor. The documentary features historians and history enthusiasts including M G Sasibhooshan, University College history department head Dr N Gopakumaran Nair, Meenchantha Arts and Science College lecturer E Sreejith, who is researching on Kanthaloor, former Centre for Heritage Studies director T P Sankaran Kutty and former additional chief secretary Dr D Babu Paul. The documentary, 'Ennittum Kanthaloor', will be screened at the Mar Ivanios Nagar B hub at Nalanchira on Saturday. The show will be followed by a class by Dr N Gopakumaran Nair. The site of the university today houses the Valiyasala Mahadeva Temple. The university probably covered an area as vast as today's Valiyasala, Aryasala and Chala areas. The university was a model for ancient centres of learning. A copper inscription from the year 855 says that King Karinanthadukkan had built a centre of learning at Parthivapuram on the model of Kanthaloor Sala. Kanthaloor Sala also finds a mention in works of literature including Kuvalayamala and T D Ramakrishnan's 'Sugandhi Enna Andal'. Yet historical research on the university is found lacking. Read more Thiruvananthapuram News Wed, 20 Feb 2019 01:39:33 GMT Runaway boy found in Hyderabad after eight long days Thiruvananthapuram: The phone call from Hyderabad came at 4pm on Saturday. This call from her runway son had a soothing effect on Swapna who had been in tears for the past eight days and hoping for the return of her son. That brief call was a game-changer as it helped her son to return home and to life. Abhishek, 15, ran away from his home to Hyderabad after a bitter altercation with his family members on January 9. After receiving the call from Abhishek, Swapna informed her husband Vinod who was in Hyderabad in search of their son. Vinod and police called up the number from which the call came. But a Hyderabad-resident, who attended the call, said that his cellphone was borrowed by a boy to make a call. Vinod immediately forwarded the picture of his son to that person, and he identified Abhishek. After that, Vinod and a group of people went to the historic Langar Houz, the place from where the call originated. They got the first lead from the CCTV footage in which Abhishek was seen walking on a road. The members of the Malayali association, under its president Liji Benjamin, swung into action to trace the teenager. A team, comprising 50 people, started scouting around for Abhishek. Liji Benjamin found Abhishek in a mobile phone shop at Langar Houz, and informed Vinod, who ran to the shop and tightly hugged Abhishek. Both started to weep uncontrollably. Later, Swapna too saw Abhishek through a video call. Both mother and son just cried for a while without uttering a word, and Abhishek tendered his sincere apologies to mother Swapna. Police admitted that it was miracle to find 15-year-old Abhishek who ran away to Hyderabad with a pair of clothes and roamed around the city for seven days. Now, Abhishek is back home. Had Rs 800 in hand; Love for soccer helped It was Abhishek’s love for football that saved him as he went to Hyderabad with Rs 800 he borrowed from his friends. Abhishek boarded a train from Thiruvananthapuram on January 9 and reached Hyderabad the next day. While loitering in the city, after having food, Abhishek found some young people playing football in a playground, his favourite sport. He started playing with them and got acquainted with some Kerala youths who were part of the team. Abhishek told them that he came to Hyderabad in search of a job and had nowhere to stay in the city. These young people were working with a mobile phone shop near Langar Houz, and Abhishek got a job as a helper and stayed with them for the past eight days. Abhishek was safe in the company of these youths and didn’t fall into the hands of any unscrupulous people. Later, Abhishek developed a burning desire to return home and called up his mother on Saturday. Abhishek was very excited to see Vinod when his father came to see him at the shop. Crucial lead from a woman Thiruvananthapuram: It was Ambalathara-native Lekha Sreenu who gave the vital clue that Abhishek had left for Hyderabad. Lekha, who was on her way to Kochi, was sitting in the sleeper coach of the Sabari Express, which runs between Thiruvananthapuram and Hyderabad, at 7 am on January 9. After a while, a boy entered the coach and asked Lekha whether he can sit next to her. When she enquired the boy about the train ticket he had, the boy asked whether it was necessary to buy a ticket for train travel. He left the coach when Lekha told the teenager that it was against law to travel ticketless. After three days, Lekha got a WhatsApp message with details and photo of Abhishek saying that the boy was missing. Lekha recognized the boy and informed his parents. The CCTV footage at the Thiruvananthapuram railway station showed Abhishek boarding the train after taking ticket. After reviewing various CCTV footages, the Hyderabad police found that Abhishek had alighted from the train at Hyderabad and left the railway station riding pillion on a bike. Later, Abhishek’s father and a police team left for Hyderabad, and they were able to trace Abhishek. Read more Thiruvananthapuram News Tue, 19 Feb 2019 01:46:34 GMT 4 airlines to suspend operations from Thiruvananthapuram Thiruvananthapuram: Even as the Union Government is moving ahead with its move to privatize the Trivandrum International Airport, four major airlines are pulling back their services from here. These include the Saudi Airlines, Fly Dubai, Jet Airways and Spice Jet. While Jet Airways and Spice Jet are citing financial crunch for the cutting back, Saudi Airlines and Fly Dubai are shifting their operations to Kannur and Kozhikode airports as the majority of their passengers are from these destinations. The Saudi Airlines was operating services to Jidda and Riyad three days a week, which were started last year. Though there were enough passengers in the beginning, later the numbers dwindled, forcing the airlines to try their luck at the newly opened Kannur International Airport. Fly Dubai, which used to operate four days a week to Dubai, is also being forced to stop operations due to a declining number of passengers. The crisis-ridden Jet Airways had already stopped many of their services including the Dubai flight. Services to Damam will also be wound up soon. Silk Air had already decided to hand over the Thiruvananthapuram operations to Scoot, their own domestic airline. However, the Airport Authority of India officials are apparently at a loss as to why the airlines are suspending their operations from an airport which is showing a rise in passenger traffic. They also maintain that they can't intervene in the internal matters of the airlines. Tharoor demands for more Air India services Shashi Tharoor, MP, has demanded the airlines to revoke their decision to suspend the services as it was causing hardships to the passengers. He also demanded that Air India should start operating more services to Thiruvananthapuram in order to ward off the crisis created by the suspension of services. He also demanded that larger aircraft with more passenger capacity should be introduced. Tharoor said he has raised these issues with Air India Chief Pradeep Singh Kharola who promised to consider the requests. Suspension of Services due to internal issues The Trivandrum International Airport Director C V Raveendran has said that some airlines were suspending their operations from Thiruvananthapuram mainly due to their own internal issues including financial crunch. He informed that Indigo Airlines and Go Air have expressed their willingness to start operating services to Kochi and Kannur from Thiruvananthapuram. Read more Thiruvananthapuram News Fri, 15 Feb 2019 04:48:07 GMT POCSO case against cop for assault bid on girl in TVPM-bound train Thiruvananthapuram: A manhunt is on to trace a police officer who allegedly attempted to sexually assault a 17-year-old girl on a moving train in Kerala, railway police said Wednesday. The accused, identified as Dinshad, an officer under the Vigilance department of the state police, has been booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act based on the complaint of the girl, they said. As per the complaint, the 38-year-old accused had tried to sexually harass her near Sasthamkotta while travelling in a Thiruvananthapuram-bound train two weeks ago, the police said. A case was registered soon after she had registered a complaint with the railway police here. "The accused, who was immediately suspended from service, is absconding now," a police officer said. Wed, 13 Feb 2019 16:44:15 GMT 19-year-old ailing lioness dies at Kerala Safari Park Thiruvananthapuram: A 19-year-old captive lioness, one among the two surviving at the famed Safari Park in Neyyar Dam near here, died following age-related ailments. Named as 'Sindhu', the lioness died Friday evening, zoo authorities here said. It had been suffering from health issues for some time, they said adding the health condition of the other lioness, Bindhu, was also not too good. The only male lion left in the Park, located about kms away from here, had died three years ago. Established in 1985 at the Neyyar Dam campus, the Lion Safari Park, a first of its kind initiative in the state, has been a major tourist attraction in the region. The picturesque park had over 15 lions. As their number had exceeded in the later years, the male lions were sterilized by the authorities. The long-drawn efforts to bring more lions to the park is yet to achieve any desired result. Read more Thiruvananthapuram News Sun, 10 Feb 2019 15:53:30 GMT Alert traffic cop catches chain-snatcher Thiruvananthapuram: An alert traffic policeman nabbed a serial chain-snatcher in the city. Poojappura resident Sajeev (38), an accused in many such cases, was caught because of cop Biju Kumar’s timely intervention. A bike-borne assailant had snatched an elderly woman’s three-sovereign chain in the guise of asking for directions. This was caught on a CCTV camera nearby. The description of the bike and criminal was then passed over the wireless phones from the police control room. Biju, who was on duty in front of the Museum Station, received the message and swung into action. A bike with the registration number conveyed by the control room was spotted parked near Kanakakkunnu. Biju observed the vehicle for a while and stopped the rider once he approached it. The Museum Police soon arrested him. Sajeev’s features matched the chain-snatcher's images from the CCTV. The shadow police confirmed it was indeed him, an accused in many other chain-snatching cases. Biju Kumar was congratulated by the City Police Commissioner for his swift action. The civil police officer on traffic duty hails from Vandithadam, Thiruvalla. Sat, 09 Feb 2019 07:40:27 GMT Dakshayani, Asia's oldest captive elephant, dead Thiruvananthapuram: The oldest captive elephant in Asia and Guinness record-holder, 88-year-old Dakshayani, died at a care centre at nearby Pappanamcode. The end came on Tuesday following illness owing to old age, sources in the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which owned the elephant, said. In 2016, Dakshayani was conferred the "Gaja Muthassi" (elephant granny) title and entered the Guinness Book of Records. The Postal department had also brought out a postal cover on the elephant. Dakshayani was much sought after in temple processions and was a constant presence at the 'Arattu' procession of the Padmanabhaswamy temple here until three years ago. Dakshayani was presented to the Thiruvarattukavu Devi temple in Attingal by the Traveancore royal family from Kodanad Elephant Training Centre in Tamil Nadu. Later, she was brought to Chengallur Mahadeva temple in 1960. Wed, 06 Feb 2019 11:01:19 GMT Man caught brewing hooch on jail property Kattakada: One man has been arrested for distilling arrack in broad daylight inside the property of the open jail at Nettukaltheri in Thiruvananthapuram district. Satyaneshan, 50, was found by the jail patrol team on Sunday afternoon. He was handed over to the Excise Department. The incident happened on jail property just three days after gunshots by poachers rang out in the compound. The arrack was brewed among bamboo bushes on Oushadhakunnu near the check dam, where poachers were supposedly spotted earlier. Ten litres of arrack, 100 litres of wash and utensils were seized. The police believe the spot has been in use for some time for illicit activities. Information on accomplices, if any, is not available, said Neyyatinkara Excise CI Y Shibu. After gunshots were heard here on Friday night, a gun, phone and magazines left behind by poachers were recovered. The distiller was caught during patrols strengthened after this incident. The open jail property has no fence, allowing easy trespass. A woman was found decapitated in the bushes here 10 years ago. A team including Deputy Superintendent Dinesh, Deputy Prison Officer Sudheer, assistant officers Aju and Pushparaj caught the hooch-maker. Satyaneshan is a resident of Mukundara, Kallikkadu, in Thiruvananthapuram district. Read more Thiruvananthapuram News Wed, 06 Feb 2019 01:44:24 GMT 344 cheques for flood relief kitty bounce Thiruvananthapuram: Cheques to the tune of Rs 1.66 crore submitted as donation to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) following the 2018 floods have bounced, Finance Minister Dr Thomas Isaac said in the Assembly. A total of 344 cheques, 44 of which were written for an amount above Rs 1 lakh, have bounced. A request to reveal the names of these account holders was turned down by the minister, who said efforts to collect these amounts were still ongoing. The account holders have been intimated about their cheques, it is learnt. Out of the Rs 3,226 crore collected through CMDRF, Rs 1,772 crore have been spent. Thu, 31 Jan 2019 15:18:46 GMT Row over defacing wall art with posters in capital city Thiruvananthapuram: The tendency to paste posters on every wall in sight is shocking. A recent incident in this regard took place in the state capital. In 2016, the Tourism Department and the state government had launched the Arteria project as part of city beautification. It involved creating artwork on the walls along the major roads in the city. A few days ago, even these artworks were not spared by people pasting posters. However, the defaced paintings were quickly noticed by social media groups such as Trivandrum Indian and the issue came to the notice of the authorities as well as the public. Within a day, damage control was launched. One among the institutions whose posters had appeared on the paintings sent its staff to remove the publicity materials and they cleaned the walls. When the other institutions took no action, the city Mayor V K Prasanth himself came to the spot accompanied by the Green Army team and cleared the walls of the posters. It was also decided to impose a fine on those defacing the paintings. The publicity materials had appeared on the recreation of a painting by noted artist K G Subrahmaniyam on the wall near the bus shelter at Palayam. Images of the posters pasted over the painting were clicked by passersby and posted on social media groups. These photos were in no time widely circulated, setting off a discussion on social media. Social media users also brought the issue to the attention of the Mayor through Facebook. Prasanth soon replied that he had taken note of the matter. Even though Arteria walls are spared by organisers of events while pasting posters, this convention was given a miss this time. However, the organisers of a used book festival underway in the capital whose posters had also appeared over the paintings rushed to the spot on noticing the social media campaign and cleaned the walls. They soon posted an apology on Instagram, explaining that it was the contractor tasked with pasting posters who had committed the error. However, the others whose posters too had appeared kept quiet, forcing the Mayor to intervene personally in the issue. Thu, 31 Jan 2019 01:39:39 GMT Historical temples in a sorry state Vizhijam: The historical temples here, which date back to the Chola dynasty, are in a dilapidated condition with creepers covering major portions of these age-old structures. Though the Devaswom Board authorities had taken an initiative a few years ago to clean these temples in Thiruvananthapuram district, nothing constructive ensued. The archaeology department too came forward to preserve these temples, which come under the Veganoor sub-group of the Devaswom Board, but its effort was also in vain. It is believed that these places of worship are part of the 54 temples that were built here during the Chola dynasty. One temple has Lord Shiva as the main deity, and another’s chief deity is Lord Vishnu. Historical records show that poojas were performed at these temples, and the hearsay is that religious rituals were stopped as the shrines became ‘impure’. The local residents are of the opinion that either the Devaswom Board or the Archaeology Department should take concrete steps to preserve the temples. Thu, 31 Jan 2019 03:26:21 GMT Tharoor flags off state-of-the-art ambulance for GH Thiruvananthapuram: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor MP flagged off the Advanced Trauma Life Support Ambulance provided to General Hospital, here from his MPLADS fund on Monday at the hospital premises. The Rs 23 lakh project is the first of its kind ambulance available to a government hospital in the district. This state-of-the-art ambulance is equipped with top-of the-line resuscitation and life support equipment like, transport ventilator, automated external defibrillator, multi-parameter monitor with ECG, oxygen saturation, NIBP etc (to monitor vital parameters of the patient), syringe infusion pumps, advanced airway management equipment, trauma board, splints etc. It is essentially a Mobile Critical Care Unit in its operational capabilities. It will be manned by a paramedic during patient transport and depending on the need for further advanced critical care support, by a trainer medical personnel as the case may be. Wed, 30 Jan 2019 03:25:13 GMT Record compensation for bike accident victim Thiruvananthapuram: A 52-year-old accident survivor has been awarded a compensation of Rs 2.63 crore by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal here. This is the largest individual compensation to be granted in an accident case in Kerala. N S Harikumar, the resident of Sobha Bhavan at Vellakkadavu, was paralysed and lost his speech after a car hit his bike from behind around noon on July 20, 2014 on the Kowdiar–Vellayambalam road in Thiruvananthapuram city. He was an employee of the technical division of English Indian Clays at Veli. Harikumar can sit on a chair now but cannot speak yet. A case was registered on March 25, 2015 for a compensation of Rs 1.99 crore. The final amount in the verdict pronounced by Judge K E Salih includes 3% interest over the years, Rs 3 lakh court fee and Rs 17 lakh lawyer fee. The Tribunal order also asks the car insurer ICICI Lombard to make the payment to it within a month. Read more Thiruvananthapuram News Mon, 28 Jan 2019 01:47:35 GMT Collision averted at Trivandrum airport Thiruvananthapuram: A collision due to the negligence of a pilot was averted at the last moment at Trivandrum International Airport at 3.30 am on Thursday. An Air Arabia flight from Sharjah was attempting to land at the airport when a Fly Dubai flight to Dubai entered the runway from the taxiway ignoring the directives from air traffic controllers. Within seconds, the Air Arabia pilot was asked to back off, and a possible collision was narrowly avoided at the last moment. Later, after the Fly Dubai flight took off, the Air Arabia plane landed by 4 am. Usually, the runway remains pretty busy between 3 am and 6 am, forcing flights to wait for landing and take-off. The Fly Dubai plane was asked to wait at the taxiway, but the pilot ignored the directive and moved the plane to the runway. The air traffic controllers noticed this and immediately asked the Air Arabia pilot to take a go-around. In aviation terminology, a go-around requires the pilot of a flight preparing to land to pull out of the final approach to the airport, gain altitude, circle the airport and line up for another approach. The Air Arabia pilot, who was attempting to land, immediately diverted the flight and averted a collision. A Fly Dubai spokesperson told Onmanorama the airline is conducting an investigation into the incident. Sun, 27 Jan 2019 02:01:37 GMT Guitarist John Anthony no more Thiruvananthapuram: Famous guitarist and founder of fusion band ‘kARNATRiix’ John Anthony (62) has died. He died of a cardiac arrest during a rehearsal at his home ‘Manderly’ in Pujappura. He was noticed by maestros like A R Rahman and Sivamani through the band he founded in Chennai in 1980. John was the lead guitarist for more than 2,000 movie songs in Malayalam and Tamil and played and taught guitar for over 30 years. Also an environmental activist, he became famous through rock bands. He was an acclaimed cartoonist too. He lived in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Chennai. John was part of more than 2,500 music shows around the world. He worked as guitar instructor at Tharangini Studios for many years. Son of former PSC member Dr EP Anthony and Alice, John is survived by wife Supritha John and only son Siddarth John, who is animation specialist in Hollywood. Many colleagues from the music world, including K S Chithra, paid tributes. Read more Thiruvananthapuram News Mon, 21 Jan 2019 06:43:39 GMT Advantage agility at Trivandrum Tennis Club Thiruvananthapuram: A healthy body is the crux of a sound life, so believes tennis player K Krishna Pillai. With incredible fitness level, the 81-year-old retired engineer has definitely proved that age is just a number. Seventy-eight-year-old retired teacher Thomas Mathew gives company to Krishna Pillai, on tennis court. V Radhakrishnan, 78, the former professor of IIT Madras, is also in the seniors team that regularly features at the Trivandrum Tennis Club. The trio who often go to play for various clubs are now competing at the Trivandrum Premier Tennis League which is currently on at the Club. Once they set their foot on courts, all of them would exude unbelievable energy level, giving the youth a run for the money. For the 15 odd players of the Club in the 60-plus category, tennis is not just any game but a way of life. Their agility is testimony to the fact that constant exercise and disciplined life are sure to keep diseases at bay. Fitness ball on your court With excellent courts and meticulous approach, the Tennis Club is the favourite hunting ground for its long-standing members. Though tennis does not have much of a fan-following base like cricket or football, it is an ideal discipline to stay fit, says Tennis Club secretary Anilkumar Pandala. “The club has been the initial turf for several renowned stars, including Sania Mirza. But many promising players had to quit in the long run due to lack of encouragement,” he said. Prominent players such as Shankar Krishnaswamy and M S Krishnakumar are members of the club that gives coaching to as many as 300 students in the age group of 8 to 18 years. The institute also gives training to talented children from financially weak background. 68 players are vying for honours at the ongoing nine-day Premier League championship at the Trivandrum Tennis Club. The final will be held on January 20. Sun, 20 Jan 2019 01:42:29 GMT Man who stole pipes, bananas from MLA's house nabbed Thiruvananthapuram: One person was arrested by the Police today in connection with the theft that took place at the family house of I B Sathish MLA at Kottampally, Kattakkada in Thiruvananthapuram district. Kokku Shaji, 40, Rodarikathu house, Kandankulangara, Kottampally, Thiruvananthapuram district was the arrested person, according to the police. The house, ‘Aswathi,’ was found broken open on Thursday morning by Mohanan, the caretaker who arrived in the morning. The lock in the iron grill in front of the house was found broken open. The wash basin in the hall was found pushed down and shattered. Though there were signs of the wardrobes and bags being searched, no valuables were found lost. The taps in the toilet were found removed. No one was living in the house recently. The MLA only used to make occasional visits to the locked up house. The taps in the toilet outside the house was found broken down with stones, after which the taps were stolen. It is alleged that Shaji had stolen seven bunches of banana from the land belonging to the MLA’s relative on Tuesday. The relative’s house was also found broken open, but nothing was lost and a police complaint was filed on Tuesday. The police nabbed Shaji following several leads including reports of him having sold banana bunches at a local shop in Kattakkada for Rs 500 and of the police dog running to his house. His background also helped the police zero in on the accused. Shaji was arrested by the police from the locality of his residence in an inebriated condition. The police team was led by P Ashok Kumar IPS, District Police Chief, Thiruvananthapuram Rural and Nedumangand DySP D Asokan. Sat, 19 Jan 2019 02:09:29 GMT Kerala School Agri Fest begins today Thiruvananthapuram: Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar will inaugurate the 2019 edition of the prestigious Kerala School Agri Fest (K-SAF), at the Mariyumma Memorial Public School, Pattambi, Palakkad, on Saturday. The two-day event is being organised by the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA) in collaboration with Eram Educational and Welfare Trust, General Education Department, Govt of Kerala, and other Government and Non-Government Organisations. Prominent personalities who will attend the function over the two days include Cartoonist Yesudas, MLAs Mohammed Muhsin, K V Vijayadas, Shafi Parambil, and V T Balram. Key note speakers include K V Mohandas IAS, Chairman, State Food Commission; P Vijayan IPS, IG Police (Admin); and Dr SC Joshi IFS (Rtd), Chairman, State Biodiversity Board. Hafis Kanjar Ahmed Kabeer Bakhvi, Chairman, Hamdan Foundation, will offer blessings. The valedictory function on January 20 will be inaugurated by Water Resources Minister K Krishnan Kutty. The focal theme of K-SAF 2019 is ‘Traditional Knowledge in Agriculture and Climate Resilience’. Sub-themes would include Agro biodiversity, IT in agriculture, Cow-based agriculture, Home medicinal garden, Underutilized fruits and vegetables, Innovations in organic farming, My Farm, and My School farm. Scientific papers can be presented either as oral or poster presentation on any of the above topics. Competitions have been included in four categories such as UP, HS, HSS and VHSE for project presentation, while cultural competitions will have three categories namely Sub Junior (UP), Junior (HS) and Senior (HSS and VHSE). Students will also be provided with the opportunity of participating in cultural competitions and exhibitions related to agriculture. A special session on student farmer interaction will also be organised. For more details, contact: 0471-2722151, 9447014973, 9895375211. Sat, 19 Jan 2019 02:45:33 GMT Sand mafia likely vandalised 80-year-old woman activist’s house Parassala: Sand mafia is likely behind the break-in at the house of Daly, an 80-year-old woman who led a single-handed battle against sand mining in River Neyyar. She was away at an orphanage after her house was flooded and returned home on Monday after four months only to find it ransacked. Her property documents, pension book etc, kept in a box, were found burned. The lock of the backdoor of the house was found smashed. Daly owned 10 cents of land opposite to the Kanjiramood Jetty where sand mining is intense. The mining has shrunk her property to about three cents. Daly reached home on a country boat as the road to her house was destroyed in the flood. Local people suspect the sand mafia behind the break-in Wed, 16 Jan 2019 09:28:31 GMT TEDxThiruvananthapuram to be held on Sunday Thiruvananthapuram: UST Global will host the upcoming TEDx Talk at its Thiruvananthapuram campus on January 20. TEDxThiruvananthapuram is the city level TEDx event in Kerala and is the largest independently organized TEDx event in the state. TEDx Conference which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, and the ‘x’ standing for independently organised event proclaims the slogan, ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’. TED talks have lively discussions on a range of relevant issues and was initiated by an American non-profit organisation called the Sapling Foundation in 1990. The theme of this year's edition is “Resilience”. District collector Dr Vasuki, DGP Prisons R. Sreelekha, Renowned international mathematician Dr Joseph Gheverghese George are among the ten speakers of the event. TEDxThiruvananthpuram is one of the few events that aims to spread inspiring Ideas in the local community. The first TEDxThiruvananthapuram was held in 2016, followed by a bigger and more inspirational TEDxThiruvananthapuram in 2017. “Our speaker curation process is something that we focus on extensively. What we look for in a speaker is not just a famous name or a recognizable face. We select speakers who have a unique idea that is worth spreading and they have been working on that idea by virtue of their job, research or interest or a story that is very inspiring and the community in Kerala can benefit from.” Says Bhakta Pande, who is the co-curator of the talks at TEDxThiruvananthapuram. Wed, 16 Jan 2019 09:17:07 GMT Soon delivery boy may hand you over food wrapped in plantain leaves Thiruvananthapuram: The city corporation is mulling to enforce green protocol on app-based food delivery services, which have taken the capital city by storm, in a bid to curb the use of plastic and disposables while delivering food to customers. The corporation has suggested that plantain leaves or other eco-friendly materials should be used for packing food. Mayor V K Prasanth is planning to convene a meeting of the representatives of the online food delivery services to discuss the issue next week. The major app-based food delivery players in the city are Uber Eats, Swiggy, Zomato, Swapp and Rabbito. And most of the takeaways are packed in disposable plastic food containers. On an average, about 50,000 plastic containers are used daily in the city, according to corporation estimates. Close to 90 per cent of these plastic tins are found in the biodegradable waste collected by the corporation and other private parties, and this can only trigger a plastic calamity. The civic body is planning to regulate the use of plastic containers for packing food following concerns over the practice of packing hot food in plastic, which can pose serious health risks to people. The delivery executive can transfer the food delivered to steel or glass containers of the customers, if the food can’t be packed using organic materials such as plantain leaves. The corporation has also suggested that food should be weighed to ensure that there is no discrepancy in the quantity of food being delivered. The mayor said that the meeting with representatives of the service providers would find a solution to the problem. Meanwhile, the corporation couldn’t effectively implement the ban on use of plastic cans and sheets for packing food in hotels and restaurants. The hoteliers gave an assurance to the civic body that food would be packed only in plantain leaves, but they failed to keep their promise. Online services a hit The app-based food delivery services gathered steam since July last year. Ninety hotels and 375 restaurants were opened in the past six months, and these eating outlets started functioning mainly in Technopark, Poojapura, Peyad, Vellayambalam and Kowdiar. More youths are joining as delivery executives as the job is a good source of income. There is a huge following for the online food services as the food delivered on time and adding to that, many hotels and restaurants offer combo offers to attract customers. Tue, 15 Jan 2019 01:44:16 GMT Fishermen sail with colleague's body as authorities pass the buck Vizhinjam: Nine fishermen spent a day and a half in the sea with the body of a crew member as the coastal police in both Kerala and Tamil Nadu tried to wash their hands off by claiming that the fatal accident happened outside their respective jurisdictions. The body of Anthony Pillai, a 50-year-old fisherman from Kollam who fell off the boat at 3 am on January 11, was finally handed over to his family at Vizhinjam on Saturday afternoon. The boat that carried Pillai and nine others left for sea from Thoppumpadi in Kochi on January 10. About 100 nautical miles off the coast, Pillai fell off the boat. Xavier, who was at the helm, immediately turned the boat and jumped after the drowning man, who was his relative. The other members of the crew were woken up by the commotion and they helped Xavier fish out Pillai. It was too late. The crew set out to Pattanam in Tamil Nadu, the nearest harbour, but the authorities turned the boat away saying that the accident happened within Kerala’s maritime zone. The boat was not welcome at Vizhinjam either. The coastal police at the Kerala port claimed that the death should have been reported in Tamil Nadu. Pillai’s family and neighbours had to pull some strings to prevail upon the police at Vizhinjam. The boat was finally allowed to moor at the old wharf at Vizhinjam. The body was handed over to the family after post-mortem. The coastal police have registered a case of unnatural death. The police suspect that Pillai might have moved to the edge of the boat to take a leak when the accident happened. He had been sleeping on a net on the deck. The crew had yet to start fishing. They were not supposed to return for a month at least. Pillai is survived by wife Punitha and children Priyanka, Pranav and Prince. The family said that he had left behind heavy liabilities. Mon, 14 Jan 2019 01:46:03 GMT Here's the tallest Shivalingam in the country Neyyattinkara: The 111.2-feet Shivalingam at the Maheswaram Sri Shiva Paravathi Temple at Chenkal, near here, has entered the India Book of Records for being the tallest such structure in India. Officials of the India Book of Records made the announcement on Thursday after measuring the height of the structure. The imposing Shivalingam also stands a chance to find a spot in the Limca Book of Records and the Guinness World Records as adjudicators attached to these two reference books published annually, listing human and natural records, are expected to inspect and verify the height of the structure in the coming days. Once certified, it will make it way to the record books as the largest Shivalingam in the world in terms of height and width. Currently, the record is held by the Kotilingeshwara temple in Kolar, Karnataka, which measures 108 ft (33m). The Shivalingam situated on the premises of the Maheswaram Sri Shiva Paravathi Temple is not just a massive structure that provides visitors a great spiritual experience, but it also is an architectural marvel, noted for its daring design and exquisite carvings. Swami Maheswarananda Saraswathi, the head of the temple who is administering the construction works, had visited all the major Shiva temples in the country before preparing a blueprint for the massive structure in 2012. Divine atmosphere The Shivalingam is constructed in such a way that visitors can enter a model ‘Kailasam’, the abode of Lord Shiva, which lies at the topmost floor inside the cylindrical structure. There one can view images of snow-clad Himalayas with idols of Shiva and Parvati depicting the unified form or Aikya bhavam. A rare collection of 64 forms of God Shiva can also be found inside the chamber. On each side of the Shivalingam there are two zones where 50 people can mediate at a time by concentrating on the six chakras or energy centres in the human body. The path to the top floor exudes a calm and serene cave-like atmosphere with carvings of idols and paintings on the walls all along. Final touches At present, artisans are busy giving finishing touches to the carvings. The works are being executed at breakneck speed so that the structure could be opened to the public before the Maha Shivaratri festival which falls on March 4, said Swami Maheswarananda Saraswathi. Remarkably, the 30 artisans involved in the construction of the holy structure have been observing penance since May 3, 2012, the day the works commenced. Read more Thiruvananthapuram News Sat, 12 Jan 2019 01:46:51 GMT Visuals show BJP activists attacking cops on hartal day Thiruvananthapuram: Video recordings hold proof of an attack by BJP workers on police personnel after laying siege to their vehicle at Nedumangad on the hartal day on December 3. Sub Inspector Sunil Gopi's arm fractured in the assault. The crowd also beat up other policemen. The police have arrested an accused, identified as P. Pratheesh. The police team had pursued several men who were staging a protest, riding motor bikes flaunting BJP flags. As the police arrested a man, who was one of the main accused in the previous day's violence, the assailants rushed to the vehicle and attacked using sticks and iron rods. The police had to reverse the vehicle and drive away without conceding the man under custody. The visuals clearly show a few assailants rushing to the police vehicle and attacking the group. A larger crowd then emerged and beat up the driver through the front door window. The vehicle's glasses were shattered in the attack. Pictures have also emerged of a man wearing a cap smashing the side window glasses and three people beating up the driver. Man held for bomb attack The police have arrested a man over a bomb attack on the Nedumangad police station on hartal day, but the main accused – who is district secretary of the RSS – has gone into hiding. The man in custody has been identified as N. Nishant, 30, of Deepa Bhavan, Melankod, Karuppor. Visuals show absconding RSS district karyavahak Praveen of Nooranad, Alappuzha, throwing bombs at the police station. He vanished as the visuals emerged. Mon, 07 Jan 2019 09:44:55 GMT Miscreants who targeted cops on hartal still roam free Thiruvanathapuram: The state police, which had come under heavy attack during the December 3 hartal, are under fire for having failed miserably in booking the accused. For instance, RSS activist Praveen, who was seen in CCTV visuals throwing bombs at the Nedumangad police station, spent two days at home without any hassles and the police never sought him. He vanished after the visuals came out. In the other major violence, a crowd seized a police vehicle and assaulted the police team in Nedumangad, and the sub inspector's arm was fractured. Yet only two in the mob have been taken in. The Thiruvananthapuram Rural police district witnessed high-voltage violence on the hartal day. Apart from the police station bombing and the assault on the police team, the CPM and the BJP were involved in an hours-long stone pelting, positioning face to face. Many of those involved in the violent acts are, however, roaming free, thanks to a lackadaisical police force. Bomber Praveen spent two days at his Mavelikkara home after the attack. He fled after the media put out visuals of his act. The police, who never sought him, have now issued a lookout notice. Only three persons have been caught over the assault on the police team though three days have passed. The police say they are in the process of identifying the guilty. Nearly 50 people have been booked over the major clashes in Malayinkeezhu, but only two have been arrested. The total number of arrests in the Thiruvananthapuram Rural police district reflect the lapses on the part of officers in charge, including the superintendent. Only 170 arrests have been made in 96 cases. In Palakkad, where similar violence occurred, the police have booked 764 people. In Pathanamthitta, 677 were arrested. The CPM has complained to the top officers that the force is protecting RSS leaders. Mon, 07 Jan 2019 07:52:57 GMT