KOTTAYAM: The Child Welfare Committee’s (CWC) district unit has called for a report from the district Child Protection Officer, Police Department and Childline on the suicide of a Class IX student of Cross Roads Public School, Pampady. The CWC move follows the reports in this regard.

CWC chairperson K U Marykutty said the committee will discuss the issue at its sitting scheduled for Wednesday.  “We don’t know the background and reason behind the student’s suicide. Nonetheless, the departments concerned have been asked to submit a report on the incident and action will be initiated on the basis of findings,” she said.

District Child Protection Officer Binoy V J said he will visit the school on Tuesday. Also on Tuesday, the CPC’s Pampady gram panchayat unit  will hold a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the issue. Following the death  on Saturday of 14-year-old Binto, son of Eapen Varghese of  ‘Podiparayil’, Pulickal Kavala, it was alleged the school authorities wanted the CBSE student to be transferred to some other school to ensure 100 per cent victory for their CBSE Class X batch  in the coming academic year. According to Varghese, Binto was quite disturbed since the school authorities asked him to return the textbooks for Class X.

“The school authorities asked me to find some other school for my son though he had been a student of  Cross Roads right from Class I. I had told them of the practical difficulty in securing admission for him in another school at the fag end of the academic year. After Binto was asked to return the text books for Class X, he did so with great pain,” he said.

 
 

However, school administrator Kunjamma Gabriel refuted the charges and said the Class IX results are yet to be announced. “Binto was a good student and he got all the textbooks for the next academic year as well. But his parents wanted him to be transferred to a Malayalam medium school which apparently did not go down well with him,” she said.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Basking as they are in the glory of a Santosh Trophy triumph after 14 years, the Kerala football team’s improved fitness levels have played a key role in supplementing their skills on the field.Apart from sound physical conditioning, the players would be grateful to one man who had guided them in their nutritional requirements over the past three months. M Anirudhan, the nutritionist, said his close association with Kerala coach Satheevan Balan had brought him the job of providing ‘health’ assistance to the team.

“I had worked with Satheevan when he was the coach of the Calicut University team,” Anirudhan told Express. “Then, I was providing assistance to its football, volleyball and athletics teams. This connection brought me to the Kerala team.”

 

Anirudhan, the president of Essen Nutrition which provides expert advice on nutritional requirements, said he had successfully introduced the concepts of ‘Pre-Game, Compete and Restore’ to the Kerala team to build up their physical fitness with adequate nutrients.His approach is centred on individual attention to diet, replacement of electrolytes and building up glycogen reserves, he said.

“It was an arduous process. At first, experts from Essen were employed to monitor the fluid loss of players during a game at various intervals for several days. Then, the pattern of loss was quantified in terms of individual electrolytes and nutrients. In the last leg, we used this information to build statistical data of each player and then provided them with adequate nutrient supplements,” he said.

Taking a cue from the positive feedback received from the Calicut University and the Kerala Santosh Trophy squad, Essen Nutrition is learnt to be planning a two-day workshop of faculty members drawn from physical education departments across the state.

 
 

“The other major intervention we are in the process of making in the state’s sports sector is to prepare a menu for the GV Raja Sports School which comes under the Kerala State Sports Council,” said Anirudhan. According to him, the organisation has taken up the initiative on the basis of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s instruction.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A sting operation by a leading Kerala-based TV channel claims to have exposed an "unholy alliance" between the Revenue Department officials and real estate brokers with the active support of ruling CPI's Wayanad district unit.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) is the second largest ally of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) government.

On hearing the news, party's state secretary Kanam Rajendran, who has been quite vocal about the alleged corruption of previous Oommen Chandy government and projecting the CPI's tough stand on corruption, said he would ask for a detailed probe into this.

As soon as the news spread, Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekheran on Monday ordered a probe and asked Wayanad District Collector S. Suhas to suspend the Deputy Collector, who is alleged to have facilitated usurping of the government land in the district.

The expose shows an Asianet TV channel team posing as a group of businessmen looking for a particular piece of land in the district to build a resort. They first approach Kunju Mohammed, a real estate broker, who takes them to Wayanad Deputy Collector T. Somnathan and some CPI district leaders, including its Wayanad unit secretary Vijayan Cherukara.

Mohammed connects them with Somnathan and Cherukara, and the latter using his influence gets access to the state secretariat.

The visuals -- besides the audio of conversation between Mohammed, Somnathan and Cherukara -- try to establish that there is an unholy alliance between them to allegedly usurp the government land.

Chandrasekheran told the media that the probe had already begun into the expose.

"There will be no let-down in the probe and anyone found guilty would not be spared," said the Minister.

Suhas, on his part, has decided to seal the two revenue offices in Wayanad to see that the probe is not hampered.

Putting up a brave face, Cherukara denied of any such deals and termed it as a conspiracy.

"Let there be detailed probe into this... This is a fake news to defame the present Left government," said Cherukara.

 
 

As soon as the news broke out, angry youth wing activists of both Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took out protest marches to the Wayanad Collectorate, while the youth wing of the CPI-M demanded a thorough probe into the whole episode.

Former state Congress president V.M. Sudheeran said it was most unfortunate.

"While the state government and the Revenue Department have been saying that there is paucity of land to be given to the landless, we now hear that land is being usurped and sold illegally.

"Only suspending a government official will not suffice... The need of the hour is to expose the unholy alliance between the political setup and the administration," said Sudheeran.

IDUKKI: The district witnessed heavy rain on Monday, bringing cheer to residents. However, crop damage due to hailstorm was reported in a few pockets.

According to official records, more than 2.00 mm rainfall was recorded across the district on Monday, with heavy hailstorm being recorded in Kattappana, Irattayar, Santhigram, Thankamani and Labbakkada areas.
The rain that lasted for more than an hour, brought down many trees across the district and left many areas inundated. The hailstorm in certain areas, with hailstones weighing 2 kg, caused destruction to houses and property.

The Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady and the Idukki forest division received good rainfall. Unfortunately, the drought-hit towns of Munnar, Marayur and Kanthalloor areas which received little rainfall this year, remained mostly dry.Hailstorms were reported in various parts of the district, resulting in property as well as crop damage.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The 24-HOUR general strike called by various trade unions in the state in protest against the Union Government’s decision to extend fixed-term employment in all sectors has begun. The strike began at 12 midnight on Sunday and will end at Monday midnight. The strike has been called by sixteen trade unions in the state. BMS, the trade union of the BJP, has decided not to participate. Employees of the state and Central government offices such as banks and BSNL are expected to take part in the protest. KSRTC, private buses, autorickshaw and taxi services will stay off the roads on Monday.

The strike, under the aegis of a coordination committee of trade unions, will see the unions take out a march from near the Museum police station to Raj Bhavan at 11 am. In a statement, CITU state president Ananthalavattam Ananthan said that CITU, INTUC, AITUC, STU, HMS, UTUC are among the major unions that have joined the protest call. Workers of the BMS too had been urged to take part in the strike. Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala University, CUSAT, University of Calicut, Kannur University and Kerala University of Health Sciences have postponed all examinations scheduled for Monday.

 
 
 

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a major relief to the cash-strapped KSRTC, the government and the public transporter signed an agreement with the consortium of banks and the KTDFC for a long-term loan worth Rs 3,127 crore. The SBI, South Indian Bank, Canara Bank and KTDFC  are the financial institutions providing the bailout to the corporation.

While the SBI will provide Rs 1,000 crore, Canara Bank and  South Indian Bank will each chip in with  
Rs 500 crore. All the three banks will charge interest at the rate of nine per cent.  However, unconfirmed reports say the KTDFC is providing loan worthRs 1,127 crore at the rate of 11.8 per cent. Transport Minister A K Saseendran told Express the average interest rate will be around  9.2 per cent only and the interest burden on the KSRTC will come down from over Rs 3 crore to just 78 lakh  daily.

“It will help to address the KSRTC’s financial burden to a great extent. The KSRTC can manage its fund constraints once the funds at lower interest rate become available. The KSRTC could have  an additional Rs 65-70 crore at its disposal every month. The major gap between the revenue and expenditure can indeed be bridged,” he said.

Earlier, the government had claimed the consortium of banks will be providing loan at 9 per cent interest  for a period of 20 years.

 
 

It should be noted here the KTDFC, which was constituted to service the KSRTC’s financial requirements, had in a way turned out to be its liquidator by forcing it to avail huge loans at  higher interest rate.  The KTDFC  has again been made part of the consortium granting loans at a higher interest rate.