After a delay of several months, the construction of the railway overbridge (ROB) along the NH 183 at Kanjikuzhy has gathered momentum with the fixing of steel composite girders at the site.
Railway officials said with weather permitting, they would be able to complete the project in two months. “Of the 24 girders, we have already fixed 12. The remaining girders are slated to arrive from Tamil Nadu soon. The fixing of girders will be followed by the laying of concrete slabs and the surface carpeting works. In all probability, the ROB will be thrown open to traffic by October end,” said an official.
The 46-metre-long and 14-metre-wide bridge will have footpaths and crash barriers on both sides. Railways had commenced works on the project in June last year but it ran into delays from time to time.
Meanwhile, officials said the ROB in Kanjikuzhy would be followed by the reconstruction of another ROB along the Mother Theresa Road near the Rubber Board. The cumulative cost for rebuilding the ROBs at Kanjikuzhy and Rubber Board, which forms part of the track doubling works along Ettumanoor-Chingavanam stretch, is estimated at ₹16 crore.
Though the Kottayam district administration has announced that land acquisition on the Ettumanoor-Chingavanam corridor would be completed before September 30, the proceedings in this regard are yet to gather pace.
While 70% of the total area has been acquired, the acquisition of 3.9 hectares in Athirampuzha, Perumbaikkad and Muttambalam villages has to be expedited. A decision to acquire the land by invoking the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act -2013 has been taken.
An earlier attempt by the Revenue department to acquire the land through ‘direct purchase method’ did not fructify as some land owners were unhappy with the price fixed by the District Level Purchase Committee. It would take the Railway authority at least 24 months to complete the works on the stretch, sources said. The earlier deadline was March 31, 2020. Quick acquisition of land is crucial for the double-lining of the 620-km Mangaluru Junction-Kottayam-Thiruvananthapuram Central corridor.
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The retired judge said four armed police guards deputed for his personal security had withdrawn by the government.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.