Hello, this is your daily dose of news from Onmanorama. I'm your host, Vishnu, and these are the major news stories of the day:
1. Revenue department asks K-Rail to stop planting survey stones to mark SilverLine boundaries
2. IMD withdraws Red Alert as rain subsides in Kerala, Orange Alert in 7 districts
3. No solution in sight to KSRTC crisis, April salary still unpaid
4. Mannarkkad double murder: Life sentence for all 25 accused
5. Shaba Sharif murder: Noushad bought knife, woodblock to chop body at Shaibin's house
Let's get into the details:
1. Finally, coming around to the view that survey stones need not be forcefully planted to mark boundaries for the SilverLine project, the Kerala Rail Development Corporation (K-Rail) has been directed by the Revenue Department to either use the geo-tagging method or mark on permanent structures to notify the boundaries of the project.
Silverline is the CPM-led government's ambitious project which will connect Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod in under four hours. However, there have been vehement protests against the project citing its technical, environmental, and economic feasibility.
Methods like goe-tagging was the advice given by most railway experts like E Sreedharan, Alok Kumar Verma and even the Railway Board. A staunch supporter of the project, former member of the Railway Board Subodh Jain too had said that GPS technology was a better bet than the placement of survey stones. Yet, the K-Rail went ahead with planting cylindrical stones on private lands, unmindful of public protests, and on most occasions using force to remove protesters.
It was on May 5 that the K-Rail wrote to the government explaining the difficulties it was facing in planting survey stones as a result of violent public protests and resistance. Ironically, K-Rail also mentioned that the alignment could be easily established on the field by GPS coordinates using the Differential Global Positioning System or mobile phones with GPS facility.
It also offered to plant survey stones where there was consent and mark on permanent structures where there was dissent. However, the government, in a surprise move, asked K-Rail to completely avoid the planting of stones. The boundaries are being marked as part of the project's social impact assessment.
2. Kerala witnessed heavy rainfall and waterlogging in several parts on Sunday and Monday morning. The Indian Meteorology Department (IMD), however, withdrew the Red Alert issued in five districts after the rain subsided in several parts.
An Orange Alert has been issued in Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod districts, while . A Yellow Alert was sounded in all the other districts except Palakkad and Wayanad.
On Tuesday, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod will be under Orange alert, while all the other districts have been issued a Yellow Alert.
An area comes under red alert when it receives rainfall over 20cm in 24 hours, while an orange alert is issued when rainfall received is between 6cm and 20 cm. A yellow alert comes into effect when rainfall received is between 6cm and 11cm.
The reason for the heavy rainfall has been cited as the high intensity western wind blowing along the Arabian Sea due to the influence of cyclone above southern Karnataka. Two relief camps were opened in Thrissur following the flooding of houses in Kodakara Kavilpadam area and a housing colony in Mala Puthenchira.
In Idukki, the road near near Cheeyapara along the Kochi-Dhanuskodi route has begun collapsing following the heavy rainfall in this area.
Meanwhile, three Kerala fishermen who were reportedly missing in the sea were located on the western coast of Tamil Nadu, a day after they had set out for fishing.
Upon the request of the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA), five National Disaster Response Force teams have been deployed in Idukki, Ernakulam, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad.
Meanwhile, Kerala is under the increased threat of cumulonimbus clouds that cause sudden and heavy thundershowers, cloudbursts and flooding, a study has warned. Cumulonimbus clouds are multi-level, vertical columns of clouds, extending high into the sky in towers or plumes.
The study by research scholar A V Sreenath has also warned of clouds getting thicker.
3. The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation's salary crisis continues to remain unresolved. The employees of the corporation have not yet received their April salaries, even as the government seems to have washed its hands of the mess. Though the left-leaning labour unions in the KSRTC gave a letter to the Chief Minister requesting an early solution to the issue, it fell on deaf ears. With Pinarayi Vijayan and his cabinet busy campaigning for the Thrikkakara bypoll, an immediate solution seems far away. As for acquiring fresh loans to clear the dues, there are many hurdles, including the existing loan amount to be repaid by KSRTC, which comes around to Rs 3,000 crore. Moreover, there is a stipulation that during the existence of a loan raised through consortium, no other loan should be availed of.
A decision on taking additional loan for overcoming the present crisis will be taken only after KSRTC Managing Director Biju Prabhakar returns to the State Capital after his foreign jaunt.
4. The Palakkad additional district court has sentenced the 25 accused in the Mannarkkad double murder case to life imprisonment. They have also been slapped with a fine of Rs 50,000. The court had last week found that the 25 accused were guilty of the murders at Kallamkuzhi in Mannarkkad. Siblings Hamsa and Nooruddin, who were also CPM workers, were killed on November 21, 2013, following a local political dispute. Their brother Kunjumohammed had also been injured in the attack, which was carried out by a gang that included Muslim League workers. Kunjumohammed is the key witness in the case. The CPM had alleged that it was a planned political murder in an area where the League held sway. The probe by the Mannarkkad police had also made a similar finding. The fourth accused had died during the trial proceedings. One accused had been a minor when the crime was committed.
5. The probe into the murder of traditional medical practitioner Shaba Sharif two years ago is progressing even as the police have completed checking the house of main accused Shaibin Ashraf.
On interrogating the accused, it was revealed that Sulthan Bathery-native Naduthottika Noushad, who is also an accused, had reportedly bought the knife used to chop the healer's body at Shaibin's house, located at Mukkatta in Nilambur.
Noushad will be taken by police to the shop from where he bought the knife and the lodge where he stayed for evidence collection.
As per the case, Shaba Sharif was abducted from Mysuru in August 2019, kept as a hostage at the house in Mukkatta and died by torture in October 2020. Later, his body was chopped and the pieces were thrown into the Chaliyar River in Nilambur.
Shaibin intended to acquire the healer's concoction of a medicine for piles to begin a business based on the product.
The place from where a log of wood was purchased to butcher the body has also been found. As per the statement given by Noushad, he bought the woodblock on the directive of main accused Shaibin.
Police have also unearthed crucial evidence from Shaibin's house. They found samples of blood stains and hair in the property and the car in which Shaba's body was taken, and have sent the same for forensic examination. The hair samples could prove to be crucial evidence in the case.
That brings us to the end of this episode. Be sure to come back tomorrow. As always, thanks for listening to Daily News Dose.