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Assistance for poor artistes

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI Feb. 21. The State Government today ordered lifelong assistance of Rs. 500 each a month to 500 poor and indigent artistes, according to an official release.

The Government also decided to take over the house of the Tamil savant, U.V. Swaminatha Iyer, in connection with his 150th birth anniversary, which fell on February 19. Mr.Iyer's house at Uthamanathapuram in Tiruvarur district will be converted into a memorial. Mr.Iyer, popularly known as ``Tamil Thattha'' was responsible for bringing out printed versions of many Tamil literary works, which were then available only in manuscripts.

Aid for policemen families

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI FEB. 21. The State Government has ordered payment of Rs.1 lakh each from the Chief Minister's Public Relief Fund to the families of four police personnel who died while on duty.

P. Mani, sub-inspector, Tamil Nadu Commando School, K. Muniswaran, head constable, Veerapandi police station in Salem district, K. Muthukrishnan, a commando constable and Ganeshbabu, a grade I constable of the Ayakudi police station in Dindigul district. The Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, conveyed her condolences to the bereaved families.

Muharram moon sighted

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI FEB. 21. The Chief Shia Khazi to the Tamil Nadu Government, Ghulam Mohammed Mehdi Khan, has said since the New Moon was sighted for Muharram on February 21, the month of Muharram of 1425 Hijiri starts from February 22. The seventh day of Muharram would be observed on February 28 and Youm e Ashura (10th day of Muharram) on March 2. The chest beating procession will start from Royapettah at 9 a.m. and end at 12 noon on the Thousand Lights Mosque premises on March 2, says a press release. Mufti Kazi Salahuddin Mohammed Ayub, Chief Kazi to the Tamil Nadu Government, has said the new moon for the month of Muharrum was sighted on February 21 in Chennai. As such, Yeom-e-Shahadath will be observed on March 2 in Chennai, a press release said.

3 killed as lorry hits tree

By Our Staff Reporter

Dharmapuri Feb. 21. Three persons were killed and nine others seriously injured when a lorry dashed against a tree at Panchapalli here today. Narasimhan (20), Manjunath (19) and Nanjappan (40) of Anjetti died on the spot. The injured were admitted to the Dharmapuri General Hospital, the police said. The lorry was going from Anjetti to Salem.

Tension at Thevaram

By Our Staff Reporter

THENI FEB. 21. Tension prevailed at Thevaram when a section attempted to put up a Kamarajar statue in the town without permission. Earlier, revenue officials and police held discussions with the people. After the failure of talks, the police seized the statue and secured about 200 persons who attempted to install it. The agitators were shifted to a marriage hall at Uthamapalayam town. Heavy police force was deployed at Thevaram.

Two children drowned in well

By Our Staff Reporter

VELLORE Feb. 21. Two children— Munesh (4) and Vignesh (3)— who were playing near an unprotected farm well at Geoffrapet, near here, were drowned when they fell into it today. Their mother, Deepa (25) who jumped into the well to save the children was rescued. However, she suffered injuries and has been admitted to a private hospital at Virudhambut.

According to the police, Deepa went to the well to wash clothes, taking the children with her.

Fire in textile shop

By Our Staff Reporter

VELLORE Feb.21. Clothes and dress materials were destroyed in a fire, which broke out in a textile shop near the bus stand at Walajapet last night. The fire occurred after the closure of the shop for the day. Fire and rescue service personnel from Ranipet, SIPCOT, Vellore, Arcot and Sholinghur battled for four hours to extinguish the fire. It is suspected that an electrical short-circuit might have caused the blaze.

Diarrhoea claims 3 lives

By Our Staff Reporter

Ramanathapuram Feb. 21. A sudden outbreak of diarrhoea has created panic among people of coastal villages in the district. Sulika Beevi (65) and Thenkani (3) of Nambuthalai and Nandhini (3) of Pudukudi near Thondi have died after the outbreak.

According to sources, more than 150 persons from Namuthalai, Soliyakudi, Puthupattinam, Karankadu, Mullimunai and Puthukudi near Thondi and Ponnaihapuram, Emaneswaram, Gandhi colony, M.Nedunkulam, Venkalur, Kattuparamkudi, Oorakudi, Kamudhakudi and Kaliyur in Paramakudi areas were admitted to Government and private hospitals in the past one week. People were forced to drink contaminated water following depletion of under ground water level and it is said to be the reason for the outbreak.

Medical teams were rushed to the affected areas and steps taken to sanitise the villages. The district administration has asked the people to use boiled water.

Driver stabbed to death

By Our Staff Reporter

Tirunelveli Feb.21. P. Sasi (26) of Sundarapandiyapuram under the Thirukkurunkudi police station limits, a tractor driver, was allegedly stabbed to death by his colleague, as he reportedly failed to pay him salary.

The police said Sasi had to pay Rs.1,450 as salary to his colleague, A. Bhoopathi (19) of Malayadiputhur. As Sasi refused to pay it, Bhoopathi and his friends, S. Kumar, M. Maruthupandi (19) and K. Sekar (18), all hailing from Malayadiputhur, stabbed him on Friday.

He was admitted to the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries today.

Prisoner dies

By Our Staff Reporter

Tirunelveli Feb.21. An inmate of the Palayamkottai Central Prison died in the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital today "after a prolonged illness."

The police said P. Ayyamperumal (55), of Vellakoil in Tuticorin district, had been lodged in the prison since February 5, 2003 after being arrested in a murder case. As he was reportedly suffering from acute diabetes, he had been under medication for the past several months.

As his condition worsened, he was admitted to the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital on February 10t. However, he died today.

10-year RI for drug peddler

By Our Staff Reporter

MADURAI FEB.21. A drug peddler was sentenced to 10-year rigorous imprisonment by a Madurai court on Friday.

According to prosecution, Velthurai (30) of Valliyur in Tirunelveli district was arrested with 1.3 kg of heroin on January 7, 2001. Based on his confession, the police also arrested Joseph (35) of Chennai, a drug peddler, from a lodge at Valliyur.

While Velthurai escaped during the course of the trial, Joseph was sentenced to 10-year RI. The Essential Commodities Court special judge, J.A.K. Sampath Kumar, who heard the case, also imposed a fine of Rs. 2 lakhs on Joseph.

Telephone line disruption

By Our Staff Reporter

MADURAI FEB.21. There will be disruption in the telephone services of the exchanges of Uthamapalayam, Thevaram, Kombai, Royappanpatti and Chinnamanur in the midnight of February 22, as the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited will take up the work of shifting of an optical fibre cable system at the new telephone exchange at Uthamapalayam, according to a release.

Special buses for temple festival

By Our Staff Reporter

TIRUCHI FEB. 21 . The Tiruchi regional unit of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation will operate 100 special buses from February 26 to 29 on account of the temple car festival at Veerappur in Karur district.

A release issued by the TNSTC here today said the buses would be operated round the clock from Tiruchi, Karur, Kulithalai, Thuraiyur, Musiri, Thogaimalai, Vaiyampatti, Palayam and Dindigul.

Special medical camps

By Our Staff Reporter

PUDUKOTTAI Feb. 21 . Special medical camps will be conducted by the Health and Family Welfare department in all 13 blocks of the district in March.

Starting with the Pudukottai block on March 1, the camps would be held on different dates and would conclude in the Avudaiyarkoil block on March 22, an official release here said.

Medical treatment and examination for cancer, diabetes and heart diseases would be done at these camps.

Former REC principal dies

By Our Staff Reporter

TIRUCHI Feb. 21 . S.Nagaratnam (73), former principal of the Regional Engineering College (now National Institute of Technology), Tiruchi, died in Chennai yesterday.

Mr.Nagaratnam, who was the second principal, was instrumental in introducing post-graduate courses and setting up the Tiruchi Regional Engineering College Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Park (TREC-STEP). He was also the chairman of the Tiruchi Chapter of the Institution of Engineers.

He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

Ex-Minister bereaved

By Our Staff Reporter

Thanjavur Feb.21. Thamizharasi Jayaraman (45), daughter of Ko.Si. Mani, former Minister, died at a private hospital in Tiruchi this morning.

She was suffering from stomach pain and admitted to the hospital a month ago.

The body was taken to the residence of the former Minister at Aduthurai. Cremation will take place tomorrow.

Mettur level

By Our Staff Reporter

TIRUCHI Feb. 21 . The level in the Mettur reservoir stood at 29.36 feet today. The inflow was 81 cusecs and discharge 9131 cusecs.

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