Tuesday June 25, 2019
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Solar Scam continues to drown Kerala assembly

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Thiruvananthapuram: Ongoing ‘solar scan’ continued to cause chaos in the Kerala assembly following the argument between the Oommen Chandy government and the opposition.

Like on Thursday, when the assembly had to be adjourned following the opposition protests and demand for the resignation of Chief Minister Chandy on the charge of his involvement in the scam, acrimony between the two sides forced another adjournment soon after the question hour.

The trouble started when the treasury benches responded to the opposition raising the solar scam issue by referring to another scandal, of the year 2000 vintage, to embarrass the government.

The Leader of Opposition VS Achuthanandan of the CPI-M broached the solar scam through a submission when he asked Labour Minister Shibu Baby John to clarify a remark he had made on Thursday.

“Yesterday you (John) said that there is a deep-rooted conspiracy behind the way the prime accused in the scam, Biju Radhakrishnan, deposed before the judicial probe commission. At one point of time, you almost disclosed the name, but at the last second, two of your cabinet colleagues refrained you from revealing. So, today we wish to know who are behind this,” said Achuthanandan.

John then got up and said that at the appropriate time he would let everyone know who was behind this.

“It’s for this, I said yesterday that I am also going to implead before the Commission because this has to come out. But before that, I request Achuthanandan to reveal the VIP involved in the Killiroor sex scandal,” hit back John.

The Killiroor sex case saw a young teenage girl being sexually assaulted in early 2000. She later died in mysterious circumstances. Just before the 2006 assembly elections, Achuthanandan said there was a VIP behind the case and if he came to power he would take them to the task.

He did nothing even after becoming the Chief Minister.

John’s reference to Killiroor sex scandal had the entire opposition up in arms and they trooped into the well of the house, forcing Speaker N. Sakthan eventually to adjourn the proceedings for the day.

It was on Wednesday that Radhakrishnan told the commission that he had video evidence of Chandy and two of his cabinet colleagues in compromising positions with Saritha Nair.

Saritha Nair is the second accused and live-in partner of Radhakrishnan’s.

The solar scam came to light in 2013 when it was found that Team Solar, a fraudulent company, cheated several influential people of crores of rupees by offering to make them business partners or by offering to install solar power units for them and receiving advance payments for the same.

The company used two women to create political contacts with links even to the Chief Minister’s office.

Radhakrishnan, the main accused, and his live-in partner Saritha Nair were later arrested for cheating investors.

She is out on bail while Radhakrishnan is behind bars after it was proved that he murdered his first wife.(IANS)

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UAE Expats Worry Over Resurfacing of Nipah Virus in Kerala

A total of 311 people from Thrissur, Paravur in Ernakulam district, and Thodupuzha in Idukki were also under observation

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UAE, Expats, Nipah Virus, Kerala
A fruit and vegetable vendor in the UAE, on the other hand, decided to stop importing produce from Kerala until the scare subsides. VOA

UAE-based Malayalis have expressed concern for their loved ones back home, as a Kerala youth tested positive for the Nipah virus, leading to a number of traders and travellers taking precautionary measures, the media reported.

Besides a Kerala youth being treated for testing positive for the Nipah virus (NiV), state Health Minister K.K. Shailaja on Wednesday revealed that three nurses who treated him, a friend and another person have been kept in isolation.

A total of 311 people from Thrissur, Paravur in Ernakulam district, and Thodupuzha in Idukki were also under observation.

Sharjah resident Sridevi Rajendran, who is from the same town as the infected victim, told the Khaleej Times: “He was in the same school as my son. We are very worried about the situation back home, and my son is there as well. Since there is no clarity as to where the virus has originated, people are generally tensed.”

UAE, Expats, Nipah Virus, Kerala
UAE-based Malayalis have expressed concern for their loved ones back home. Wikimedia Commons

The Nipah virus is transmitted from animals to humans; through contaminated food; or directly between people. It infects a wide range of animals and causes severe disease and death in people, making it a public health concern, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In 2018, a Nipah scare resulted in a temporary ban on Kerala fruits and vegetables in the United Arab Emirates, and a travel advisory to the South Indian state was also issued.

A fruit and vegetable vendor in the UAE, on the other hand, decided to stop importing produce from Kerala until the scare subsides. However, no official ban has been implemented yet.

“We have temporarily stopped the import of fruits and vegetables from Kerala, which make up 25 per cent of our total produce,” said PC Kabeer, founder and CEO of FarmChimp, a company that sells source-traceable produce.

Also Read- India: Prime Minister Forms Two Cabinet panels to Spur Investment and Employment

Kerala-bound travellers told the Khaleej Times that their trips would go as planned, but they would be taking “extra precaution”.

Marketing professional Anand Rajiv, who is flying to Kochi, said: “As long as I am not having local water or food from outside, I should be okay. Of course, I am worried about my health as it is not a joke.” (IANS)