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Ernakulam Junction soon to get a makeover
After Two-year Delay, Railways Mulls Public Private Partnership To Implement The Project
George Adimathra


Kochi: After a two-year long delay , the project to develop Ernakulam Junction under the ‘World Class Station scheme’ has received a fresh lease of life. Southern Railway (SR) has formed three committees to speed up the development process and according official sources, the committees have already started working on a draft inception report, one of the preliminary steps before the project initiation. Ernakulam Junction was included under the scheme in the 201011 railway budget, but continued to be on paper for the last two years. “The station development under the scheme is a mega project that requires substantial planning. Our initial studies found that earmarking funds through the ordinary

Southern Railway forms three committees to speed up development of Ernakulam Junction Focus on cleanliness, provision for more food outlets, spacious restrooms, larger parking lots Techno upgradation will include installing touch screen kiosks to provide information to passengers
means is not practical in the case of Ernakulam, since expenditure is huge. The present financial crunch that railway ministry is going through will prevent the possibility of a huge fund allocation from the railway ministry. So the authorities are considering a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement. Once the ministry is convinced about the PPP, we are confident that they will allot half the amount re-

quired for the project,” said a senior official of Thiruvananthapuram Divisional Office,SR. The Division has not yet drawn up an estimate on the cost. “The concept is to modernise our stations so that even a foreign traveller would feel at home. The focus will be on cleanliness of premises, provision of quality drinking water and food, spacious restrooms, streamlining of station space for efficient passenger movement, larger parking lots, and improvised security the official said. ,” At the moment a passenger arriving at Ernakulam Junction will have to get satisfied with minimum facilities. The station lacks AC waiting rooms, clean drinking water, hygienic toilets and economic food outlets. Passengers who travel in the upper classes say that Thiruvananthapuram Central is the only

station in Kerala which meets most of the passenger requirements and are surprised at Ernakulam Junction’s condition, considering the city being the business capital. P Krishnakumar, a regular traveller and general secretary of Thrissur railway passengers association said touchscreen kiosks where information like status of running trains and details regarding PNR status and seat availability create frequent snarls due to railway not renewing the annual contract with the hardware supplier. “Jan Ahar stall, the economic food outlet is not popular among passengers as most items in the menu are not available. The existing waiting rooms are small and congested with no option for mobile or laptop charging”, he said.

Thiruvananthapuram best Kerala city to live in
Thiruvananthapuram is the best city in Kerala compared to others, but authorities have to speed up development programmes, give preference to waste disposal, power and water supply. Police have to tame auto drivers | Sabi Thiruvananthapuram lack proper sanitation and cleanliness. Who selected this city as the best? | Danny Thiruvananthapuram is the best place in the world to live. It has roads similar to F1 tracks. The city is clean | Mohamed Thiruvananthapuram is the best city; standard of living is very good. It's a safe place. All Kerala cities are good. When I went to Kochi, I was surprised to see so many foreigners. Kerala is united and people are cooperative | Ajay The findings on Thrissur offer us the biggest shock. Long known as the cultural capital, the city has performed worst on culture and values. Auto drivers in Thiruvananthapuram refuse to operate meters. But in Thrissur, there is no such problem. Is this lack of culture? | Mahesh Kerala is fit to be visited only as a tourist and maybe you can stay for a week or so | Gopan The survey should have been conducted in Kannur also. You would find it a much better place to live in | Nithin Jayaraj Kerala could be a beautiful place to live in if they had good roads, no power cuts and cleanliness | John Really, Thiruvananthapuram is a good place to live in but the only problem here is that the government is least bothered to take care of garbage disposal | Alex Absolutely right. Thiruvananthapuram is the best place to live, not only in Kerala, but in India. I have lived in all Indian metros. Unlike elsewhere, the city has a unique lifestyle and environment. Very calm, clean and green. The roads are well laid-out with ample pavements and gardens | Ranjith



Jipson Sikhera

Labourer with burn injuries hospitalised
A Tamil labourer working at a construction site near Padma Junction was admitted to General Hospital on Wednesday with serious burns. Nagendran, 50, was injured as a diesel can at the work site caught fire. His condition is critical with 99 per cent burns.

HC orders police cover for hospital

Cartoonist enters record book: Kerala
Cartoon Academy Secretary Sajjive Balakrishnan, who drew fast caricatures of over 651 people on August 22, 2010 at Thrikkakara Vamana Moorthy temple has made it to the 23rd edition of Limca Book of Indian Records.

Entrepreneurship camp: Amrita School of
Arts and Science will conduct a one-day ‘entrepreneurship motivational camp’ on February 3. Aravindakshan Kavikkal, finance manager, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation will inaugurate the camp. Media seminar held:A media seminar, Outlook 2012, was held today at the Sacred Heart College, Thevara in association with M O P Vaishnav College for Women, Chennai. Jan Mary Varghese and Baiju Kottarakkara spoke on the occasion. Online registration for CAT: Cusat has announced an extension for the online registration of its CAT 2012 exam. The last date for submitting the applications is Feb 20. The acceptance status of the application submitted online will be available on the university website from February 6. Investor awareness programme: A ‘free’ investor awareness programme will be organized on February 4, at Ongole House in Kacheripady from 10.30am to 12.30pm by Sharewealth Securities Limited. For further details contact: 0484-4051294 or 98957 61070 JTPac show: Jus’ Jamm, a city band specializing in rock and pop of the 60s, 70s and 80s will perform at JTPac, Tripunithura on February 3rd, 2012 at 7pm.

For thousands of people across Kerala, Wednesday morning brought them a pleasant surprise. Early birds to work were jolted out of semi-stupor when a jumbo materialised next to their car and the mahout, seated atop the elephant in regal style, handed them a copy of the Times of India’s inaugural all-Kerala edition. Elsewhere, joggers sweating it out in the morning chill missed a step when the jumbo trick was repeated. Schoolchildren, riding pillion or being ferried in vans, enjoyed the show the best. Last but not least, the elephant arriving at their doorstep with the daily dose of news made the day for homemakers who opened the door expecting the milkman’s dour face..

TOI really rocked. It is the best I have come across in terms of content. It is good to have the best with us

I had been acquainted with TOI while working in Mumbai. Hence, I ensured that I get a copy on the first day
S D Prince|

It is so exciting to have TOI here. There is so much value in it. This is like a treat and you need some time to savour it
T C Rajesh|

Kochi: Police should afford protection at Lakeshore Hospital, where nursing staff are on strike to facilitate normal functioning, the Kerala high court ordered on Wednesday. Nurses and nursing students across the country are conducting flash strikes for minimum wages and better working conditions as well as against the common practice among hospital managements to detain professional degree certificates as a way to ensure conformity to employment conditions. The division bench of acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice PR Ramachandran Menon didn’t agree with Lakeshore Hospital’s plea for an order to prevent the nurses from engaging in strikes. Noticing that the director of the hospital who filed the petition for police protection was a doctor, the bench asked why Indian Medical Association is not supporting the strike while they extended support to a similar strike by doctors be-

fore. Meanwhile, managements of National Hospital at Kozhikode and Kolenchery Medical College Hospital have also approached the high court with petitions requesting police protection against nursing strikes. These petitions will be heard by the court on Thursday. Nursing strike, which is going on at different private hospitals in the State, is continuing as managements have refused to accept the demands put forward by the agitators. Lakeshore Hospital has also recruited around 50 nurses more to counter the shortage of staff due to the ongoing strike. Though United Nurses Association (UNA) and the Trained Nurses Association of India asked the Labour Department to step in to settle the issues, their demands were refused by Labour Minister Shibu Baby John. In a ruling that set a precedent in the legal scenario in India, the Kerala high court had ordered for payment of minimum wages for nurses on January 10.

Await a fresh eviction drive on MG Road

` 12.50 crore plan for Vyttila Skywalk project

Kochi: The district administration has submitted a Rs. 12.50 crore plan before the road safety authority for the Vyttila Skywalk project. The project was announced by the district administration last year to contain traffic congestion at Vyttila Junction. The project that was delayed following Kochi Metro’s rail alignment works and it will start again after authorities take a final call soon. Once initiated, the authorities plan to complete the 300-metre-long skywalk connecting the four roads at Vyttila Junction within a

Officials have finalised estimates for construction of Vyttila Skywalk The 300-metre-long pedestrian walkway will come up at Vytilla where a few flyovers are expected to intersect The skywalk will be erected at a cost of 12.5 cr within a threemonth time frame

three month timeframe. The six-metre tall skywalk will bisect the flyovers that will be erected in Edappally Pipeline, Vyttila and , Kundannoor junctions. Since the skywalk will bisect the flyovers, the district ad-

ministration will consult Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and National Highway Authority of India NHAI to implement the project. District Collector PI Sheik Pareeth said that a meeting has been convened

to discuss about the flyovers that will come up in the city and the project proposal is expected to be approved soon after this. “Considering the fact that the skywalk will bisect flyovers, we have revised the

plan,” said the district collector. Earlier in September, the road safety authority chaired by chief secretary P Prabhakaran had given an in-principle approval for the project. The project will feature shopping malls, ATM counters, public toilets and security box. Vyttila Mobility Hub MD M Beena said that once the project is implemented it will benefit pedestrians. “At present there are no facilities for pedestrians to cross the highways in the state. Once this project materializes, they can safely cross the roads at the busy junction,” she said.

Kochi: After nearly five years, the Revenue Department is once again set to start an anti-encroachment drive on MG Road. The authorities had intended turning this arterial city street into a model road when they started pulling down encroachments along the stretch five years ago. They also had drawn up a master plan for various public utility services for the land recovered from encroachers. The eviction drive, however, ended midway leading to , these projects eventually being dropped. According to the plan, bus bays, public utilities like toilets, parking lots and wheelchair-friendly footpaths were to come up in the recovered land. However, nothing useful was constructed in the bit of land that had been recovered. Tiles were laid along the pavement, however. “We can’t do anything as per the master plan prepared then. Any new design will have to accommodate the Metro Rail project. The road needs to be widened to 22 metres first; if there is any encroachment coming in the way we will annex it,” said , district collector P I Sheik Pareeth. During the eviction drive in May 2007, there was

According to the plan, bus bays, public utilities like toilets, parking lots and wheelchair-friendly footpaths were to come up in the recovered land
opposition from land owners on either side of the road. But revenue officials led by the then district collector, A P M Mohammed Hanish, managed to pull down several encroachments. However, the drive had eventually to be abandoned midway owing to political pressure, as well as a court order staying eviction. The revenue department was forced to return most of the recovered land with shop owners securing court orders in their favour. Last week, the district level purchase committee (DLPC) held a meeting with the land owners on MG Road for acquiring additional land for the Metro Rail project. “We have to acquire land along the 2.1 km stretch. In the DLPC meeting last week, all the land owners (45 of them) agreed to surrender their land,” said a top official in charge of land acquisition.

Squad to acquire land for Metro

Ernakulam to be smoke-free soon
Anto Thermadam

Art exhibition: An exhibition of noted artist Vijayan Kannampilly’s paintings was inaugurated at Nanappa Art Gallery by Jaigopal D Rao and it will be on till February 6. Signatures of Divinity An exhibition of contemporary Arabian calligraphy art, based on ‘Asma ul husna’, the 99 beautiful names of God by Muhammed Sahal began on Wednesday at Durbar Hall. The event will be on till February 5. Power cut schedule: KSEB has announced the schedule for power cut in the city. Deshabhimani junction till Karukapalli junction - 9am to 2 pm. Opposite Oberon Mall, P J Anthony Road, Kanntaho Road, BTS Road, BMC road and surrounding area of Edapally High School, North Janata road - 9 am to 10.30 am. Kokers, Amaravati, SS Krishnan Road, Dharmashala, Tamarapparambu, Kumaran Vakeel Road 9 am to 5pm. Atlantis, Thevara Junction, Perumanoor -10 to 5 30 pm. Marad, Vaduthala - 9am to 3pm.

Kochi: To speed up the land acquisition procedures for the Kochi Metro project, two special land acquisition units will start functioning from next week. District collector PI Sheik Pareeth said that special units, Metro 1 and Metro 2, headed by two special tahsildars P Sathyasheelan Achari and CR Krishnakumar will focus on land acquisition from Aluva to Petta Junction, the proposed route for the metro

rail. District administration has already completed land survey for the project and initiated scrutiny of the documents. Officials in the revenue department said that first phase of scrutinizing survey documents have been completed and registration procedures will be initiated at the earliest. The land value will be finalized by the state empowered committee and a meeting of the same will be convened in the second week of February.

Kochi: In an effort to strictly enforce the Indian Tobacco Control Act in Ernakulam district, the district administration will begin the second phase of the enforcement drive from February second week. In the second phase the authorities will deploy district and sub-district-level enforcement squads to strictly monitor violators. The decision to initiate the second phase of the tobacco control drive was taken at a high-level com-

District collector P I Sheik Pareeth said that in the second phase, the focus would be more on creating tobacco-free zones in Ernakulam
mittee of the Smoke-Free Ernakulam Programme. District collector P I Sheik Pareeth said that in the second phase, the focus would be more on creating tobacco-free zones in the district with the support of local bodies, residents associations and NGOs. “The new

state government rules to ban sale of tobacco within 400 yards of educational institutions will be strictly implemented in the second phase. “Unauthorized advertisements of tobacco products displayed in shops and other public places will be removed. Strict directives have been given to the enforcement officials to take stringent action against people who smoke in public places,” the collector said. Pareeth also said that the district administration would take all possible measurers to ban tobacco

products in the district. “We know it is a tedious task, but still we hope to do our best to enforce complete ban on tobacco products in the district,” he said. Earlier, in October, the district was declared the first smoke-free tourist destination in the state. During the recent antitobacco campaigns, the authorities seized tobacco products worth lakhs of rupees from different parts of the district and fined thousands of people who were found smoking in public.

City remains unfriendly to single women

Blast from the past: The duo who stole our hearts
M K Sunil Kumar

Kochi: It was a time when the Malayali could still laugh at himself and be no less serious about change in the bargain. Unemployment, and unemployability no less, was an issue that haunted Kerala then as now. The one easy , probably only recourse for , young men was to leave for greener pastures abroad and Nadodikatu evoked this with pathos and satire in equal parts. Made in 1987 on a shoestring budget of Rs 17 lakh, the delightful vagaries of two young men forced to don a detective’s garb still resonates with Malayalis 25 years

later. As a couple of no-gooders, strapped for cash but with no shortage of resourcefulness, Mohanlal and Sreenivasan played their parts to perfection. The latter as Vijayan, both cloying and spiteful, was the foil to the haughty Lal who, for all his bravado, couldn’t do without a companion. In the history of pop film lore, Nadodikkattu has attained a cult status after it spawned a series, which soon sadly degenerated into mimicry and low-brow slapstick. While high-brow critics gave the film the thumbs down, the average cinema lover had a great time watching the movie. Many dialogues from the

With black humour deftly woven into social commentary, Nadodikattu, made in 1987, signified the high noon of meaningful Malayalam cinema
Unemployment was one of the biggest issues and migration to greener pastures was typical of Malayali experience. This has continued to the current decade. So, the audience has no problem relating to Dasan and Vijayan,’’ says Sathyan Anthikkad, who directed the movie. Ac-

film and some of the mannerisms of its leading duo have become part of the Malayali’s daily existence. “The secret of the duo

still being alive in the Malayali’s consciousness may be because it’s a story of two unemployed youngsters told using a humorous narrative.

cording to Anthikkad, it was the convergence of a scriptwriter, director and actors at the subtlest level that resulted in its success. “The original thread was from a story told by SiddiqueLal. From the story we took a , character who wants to go to Gulf and who instead reaches Chennai after a travel agent cheats him. That was the launch pad for the entire script,’’ recalled Anthikkad, who was all praise for Sreenivasan. “He is a writer who can generate comedies out of thin air. While preparing the script, we laughed more than the audience who while watching the film.”

Kochi: Thursday marks another Single Women’s Day but , though Kochi has changed in many ways, it still remains unfriendly to this species. Aswas, an association of single women, which will celebrate the day with a seminar on Relationships Seek Justice, is planning to highlight this problem faced by hundreds of single women in the city . “When we launched Aswas a decade ago, single women were facing problems related to economic and social status. Unfortunately these issues still haunt them,” says Advocate A B Sujatha, joint secretary of the association. “Even though there are many rules aimed at protecting women, they are not made available to many Sometimes . even the Domestic Violence Act is being misused, and it does not help the needy says ,” Advocate Sujatha. The association is also concerned about the rise in the number of cases of aged persons being denied even the basic facilities and care by the members of their families. All these issues are expected to be highlighted in the seminar, which will be inaugurated by Benny Behnan MLA at Gandhi Bhavan on Thursday Jose . Thettayil MLA will deliver the keynote address.