The Congress last night said the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) should be implemented only after "convincing people' in view of the controversy over dredging of the Ram Sethu, the mythological bridge believed to have been built by Lord Ram, PTI reported. Congress General Secretary and Tamil Nadu-in-charge V Arunkumar told reporters that the Congress wanted to implement the SSCP, which aims to dredge a shipping canal betwen India and Sri Lanka but did not want to hurt the feelings of the people. "We will convince the people and then take up the project,' he said.

The Agriculture Ministry plans to cultivate 400,000 hectares in the 2008 Yala season due to favourable weather conditions for paddy cultivation.

The Power and Energy Ministry has taken steps to begin the construction of the second and third coal fired power plants in Sampur and Velvuur in Trincomalee in June, a ministry official said.

Garbage mountains are to be a thing of the past with guidelines to be issued shortly for collection of all garbage before 6 a.m. from road sides and street corners.

Ninety per cent of natural disasters are weather, climate and water related, Meteorology Department Director G. B. Samarasinghe said.

The Medawachchiya district hospital has registered 3,000 kidney patients at their clinic, a spokesman for the hospital told a progress review meeting.