Hello, this is your daily dose of news from Onmanorama. I'm your host, Ajish Jimmy George, and these are the major news stories of the day:
Heroin worth Rs 1,439 crore seized near Kandla port in Gujarat; importer arrested
Substitution in panel for SilverLine debate; Joseph C Mathew's removal raises eyebrows
Kochi too in the reckoning to host 2023 G20 ministerial meet
Reshma quits her job at Thalassery school after arrest for hiding absconding RSS activist
MVD officials ordered to cut down road accidents in Kerala by one-fourth
Let's get into the details:
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has seized 205.6 kg heroin worth Rs 1,439 crore from a container near Kandla port in Gujarat and arrested an importer from Punjab in this connection following an extensive search operation.
According to a senior police official, the contraband was recovered from one of the 17 containers which had arrived at the Kandla port from Iran between September and October last year.
Earlier on April 21, the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad had announced that the DRI in a joint operation with the ATS seized over 200 kg of heroin worth Rs 1,300 crore after conducting a raid at a container station near Kandla port in Kutch district of the state.
The consignment, imported in 17 containers having 10,318 bags, had a gross weight of 394 metric tonnes and was declared as "gypsum powder".
The importer, who was changing locations and hiding to evade identification, was arrested from a small village in Punjab under provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
Meanwhile on Monday, the Indian Coast Guard and the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad have apprehended a Pakistani boat with nine crew members on board in the Arabian Sea near the state coast and seized heroin worth Rs 280 crore from the vessel.
These developments come months after the seizure of 2,988 kg of heroin worth Rs 21,000 crore from two containers at the Mundra port in Gujarat in September last year.
The first-ever official SilverLine debate has triggered a controversy even before a word has been spoken. The organisers, Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd or K-Rail, has replaced three panelists: the moderator and one speaker each from the opposing sides.
It is the removal of IT expert and social commentator Joseph C Mathew that has invited sneers. Mathew, a trenchant critic of the Pinarayi Vijayan government, has been replaced with Sridhar Radhakrishnan, an engineer and a reputed environmental activist. The K-Rail has not offered any explanation for the change.
Joseph C Mathew said he had not been informed about his removal.
He hinted that even he was surprised that he was made part of the panel.
Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan said there was politics behind the move.
Satheeesan said it would be foolish to expect anything more from a government that had intolerance as its trademark.
Science and Technology principal secretary K P Sudheer, who was originally chosen as the moderator, has been replaced with Mohan A Menon, the head of National Railway Academy.
Digital University vice chancellor Saji Gopinath, one of the panelists for SilverLine, has also been replaced. His busy work schedule was cited as the reason. Former VC of Digital University Kuncheria P Isaac will take his place.
The debate will pit three noted SilverLine opponents - former Indian Railways Service officer Alok Kumar Verma who was also the lead consultant of the SilverLine preliminary feasibility study, environmental scientist R V G Menon and activist Sridhar - against three supporters: Railway Board former member Subodh Jain, former Digital University vice chancellor Kuncheria P Isaac and the president of Thiruvananthapuram Chamber of Commerce and Industry, N S Raghuchandran Nair.
The city of Kochi in Kerala is in the reckoning as a venue for one of the ministerial meetings preceding the 2023 G20 Leaders Summit. India is set to host the G20 meet for the first time next year.
A delegation of central government officials arrived in Kochi last week to assess the city's facilities, infrastructure and security aspects. They called on state government authorities and police officials to enquire about varied aspects including those on accommodation, travel, weather and security.
The central team was led by Eenam Gambhir, the under secretary of the External Affairs Ministry.
The team had visited Indore too for a firsthand appraisal of the central Indian city.
A series of minister-level meetings are held ahead of the Heads of State and Government Summit. India is set to take over the presidency of the G20 late this year from Indonesia which is hosting the 17th edition of the summit in Bali in mid-November.
PM Reshma who allegedly facilitated a hideout for an absconding Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activist accused of murder has quit her job at a Thalassery school.
She sent in the resignation letter even as the authorities of Amrita School at Thalassery ordered her suspension soon after she was arrested late last week.
It was at her husband's property near Kerala Chief Minister's house at his native place at Pinarayi that Nijil Das who is an accused in the murder of CPM worker Punnol K Haridasan was hiding. He was arrested from the house last Friday. Soon, Reshma was arrested on the charge of hiding the accused and let out on bail. She soon became the target of a vicious cyberattack by CPM backers. Scandalous stories were spun around her.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Women's Commission has taken note of the cyberattack. Its Chairperson P Sathidevi sough for action over the vitriolic personal attack.
An intensive bid to reduce road accidents drastically across the country is on. The central government has directed states to implement road safety measures strictly. In line with this, the Motor Vehicles Department of the Kerala government has decided to make its officials answerable if they fail to reduce the rate of road accidents within their jurisdiction at least by 25 per cent.
An order by Transport Principal Secretary K R Jyothilal states that this would be applicable to all enforcement officials and road safety officials in the department.
All roads in the state have been allocated among the enforcement officials and road-safety officials on the basis of accident-prone areas. The number of accident fatalities at these spots within their jurisdictions needs to be brought down. If the officials are not able to reduce the rate by at least 25 per cent, a strict directive has been given to mark adverse entry on the confidential records.
That brings us to the end of this episode. Be sure to come back tomorrow. As always, thanks for listening to Daily News Dose.