For months now, mounds of garbage have been piling up in public places across Kerala, from the capital to district headquarters to scores of small municipal towns.

The government plans to seek World Bank funding for development of 8570 km of major district roads to international standards, Minister for Public Works V. K. Ebrahim Kunju told the Assembly on Monday.

Replying to the debate on the demand for grants for Public Works, the Minister said that a study would be conducted for submission of the proposal to the Bank in six months. The Bank had agreed to consider the proposal.

Kochi: In the abode of Lord Ayappa, devotees seeking a darshan must take a dip in the Pampa.

KOCHI: The ambitious ‘Matsya Samrudhi’ project, mooted in a bid to shore up fish production levels in the rural belts of the state, will be launched in June this year. The state government-sponsored project will jointly be implemented by the Fish Farmers Development Agency, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and the Agency for the Development of Aquaculture Kerala (ADAK).

The `195-crore project targets to increase the production by one lakh tonnes within a period of three years. The project is expected to make the state coffer richer by `481.5 crore.

KOZHENCHERRY: Water Resources Minister P J Joseph said that the coverage of Japanese Drinking Water Scheme would be extended to more districts in the state.

A perennial nightmare for the residents of the State's coastal belt, that of mineral sand mining, is back again. This time, with a bureaucratic prop. And, the first lot to get the jitters are those living along the shores of Alappuzha, particularly the mineral-rich Thottappally stretch.

It is a series of letters from the Indian Rare Earths (IRE) Limited, Chavara; the Chief Engineer in charge of the Rs.1,840-crore Kuttanad Package, Alappuzha; and then from the office of the Chief Engineer (Irrigation and Administration), Thiruvananthapuram, to the Principal Secretary (Water Resources) that have triggered the tension this time around.

The lingering fear that linking the Pampa and the Achencoil rivers in Kerala to the Vaipar in Tamil Nadu will spell disaster in the central Travancore region has come to the fore once again with Monday's Supreme Court verdict in the river interlinking case. The link project has been figuring in the river diversion dreams of neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

The court directed the Union government to constitute immediately a ‘special committee' for interlinking of rivers for the benefit of the entire nation.

Finally, pipe-laying work for the much-awaited Alappuzha Drinking Water Project will begin in the municipal jurisdiction on Friday.

The project, which saw the High Court on Wednesday summoning the top-brass of the Kerala Water Authority to the court to enquire upon the delay in completion, at last got the nod from the municipality to go ahead with digging up of roads for laying the pipelines.

Scheme under National Rural Health Mission
A new project of the Centre to provide free treatment to those affected by lifestyle-related diseases will be rolled out in the district in March.

The Centre is expected to sanction Rs 6 crore for the project under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in the district. The Union Minister of State for Health, Sudip Bandopadhyay will be in Alappuzha on February 7 to oversee the arrangements for the project.

A couple of cases of Hepatitis B were reported from Palamel near Mavelikkara and isolated cases from neighbouring places in the district recently, according to the District Medical Officer (in-charge), Jacob Varghese.

Mr. Varghese was speaking at a meeting to discuss the action plan for prevention and control of communicable diseases here on Wednesday. Later speaking to The Hindu he said that the real cause of the disease in the area has not been ascertained yet.