The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) will begin its assessment of the southwest monsoon scenario in the State on July 15 against the backdrop of a weak monsoon that is yet to revive from an extended lull.
The mid-season assessment, based on national-level drought-management parameters, will extend over three to four days. Based on the outcome, the KSDMA will issue recommendations, if required, regarding water conservation and drought-mitigation measures to the districts and government departments concerned, KSDMA member secretary Sekhar L. Kuriakose said.
“This is an annual mid-southwest monsoon season review and can be termed a first-stage activity of the KSDMA. Among other things, we will be looking at multiple parameters such as forecasts made by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), reports of the Central Groundwater Board, reservoir levels and streamflow index for all 44 rivers,” Mr. Kuriakose said.
The southwest monsoon, which set in over Kerala on June 8 — delayed by over a week — is yet to turn active after the initial vigour. The State has recorded a deficit in rainfall of 39% between June 1 and July 8, with all 14 districts reporting deficiency. The State has received a cumulative rainfall of only 434.5 mm during the period, although it should have received 717.6 mm. Kannur, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Wayanad and Pathanamthitta have recorded a deficit of 50% or above.
The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB also is set to review the situation on July 15. As on Sunday, hydel reservoirs had a combined storage of 11%, enough to generate just 469.7 million units. Last week, briefing the media after a review, KSEB Chairman and Managing Director N.S. Pillai had said that the power utility would not impose power restrictions till July 15.
Officials at IMD’s Meteorological Centre in Thiruvananthapuram said that the chances of the monsoon turning active over the State in the next five days was rather low.
The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) has warned that high waves in the range of 2.5 to 3.2 metres are likely to lash the Kerala coast till Wednesday midnight.
The Kerala police "abruptly withdrew" security provided to retired High Court judge Justice B Kemal Pasha on Saturday.
He alleged that they withdrew security at a time when he was facing threat from Islamic State's terror operatives in Kerala.
The retired judge said four armed police guards deputed for his personal security had withdrawn by the government.
When contacted, he said, "The decision had taken at the Home Secretary-level on Friday. The police personnel left me ending their service today (Saturday)."
The retired High Court judge Justice B Kemal Pasha, who had been vocal against the CPM-led LDF government's 'failure' in handling various cases, sources said here.
Alleging the security has withdrawn for raising voices against the policies of the government over various issues including the alleged killing of four Maoists in an encounter by police in Attappadi recently, the eminent jurist said he would continue to protest its 'wrong policies'.
The Kerala government on Wednesday approved the project under which nearly two million families below the poverty line will get free access to high-speed internet by December 2020.
Now, 20 lakh poor can access the internet for free in Kerala after the state cabinet made the internet connection a basic citizen right, similar to water, food, and education.
The path has now cleared to provide internet access to every household in the state. It comes in line with the directions by the United Nations (UN), which believes every country must provide free internet access to every citizen so as to exercise the right to freedom of expression and opinion.
"Internet connection (has been) made a basic citizen right," Kerala's Finance Minister Thomas Isaac tweeted. The project will ensure that there is internet service in every household of Kerala, Isaac added.
In March 2017, the budget of the most literate state in the country proposed a project aiming to provide internet free of cost to 20 lakh poor families and at subsidized rates to others.
A top Maoist leader from Tamil Nadu got killed in an encounter between Maoists and policemen that continued for the second day on Tuesday at the Attappadi forest, Kerala. The police said that three Maoists got killed earlier and the policemen have engaged in the inquest of their bodies when some other Maoists attacked the policemen, triggering a fresh gunfight.
According to the Kerala police, Maoists fired at the Thunderbolt patrolling team inside the forest areas of Attapadi Hills of Palakkad early Monday morning. In retaliation, the Thunderbolt forces fired back, killing three Maoists, including a woman.
The police had launched an operation to look for the missing fourth Maoist. But had to abandon it due to rain and darkness, a senior commando police officer told.
On Tuesday morning, when the Revenue Divisional Officer and local administration reached the encounter spot to identify the bodies, they have attacked again. The team had to take defensive positions and retaliate, killing one more Maoist.
The police identified two out of the four slain Maoists. One was Karthick from Tamil Nadu and the woman member was Jyoti from Karnataka. The identities of the other two deceased are yet to ascertain.
Police sources said the Maoists belonged to the Kabani Dal.