Chief Minister convenes two high-level meetings on Kochi metro within a week

Controversies are not always a bad thing. It’s through controversy that people often smell the coffee and start rethinking.

Recently, the people of Kochi had a measure of the good a controversy could do after DMRC principal advisor E. Sreedharan expressed doubts over the time-bound completion of the Kochi metro rail project. But KMRL was optimistic about meeting the deadlines.

“I am nobody to speak against the observation of E. Sreedharan and we have great trust in his leadership. The project is expected to be completed within four years and it is being implemented using loans availed of from various agencies. ,” Elias George, MD, KMRL, told reporters recently.

The row intensified further with Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany and Kochi MLA Hibi Eden too joining the fray over the city’s lack of preparedness while implementing the project. However, the situation seemed to have been resolved with the Chief Minister convening two high-level meetings within a week.

While much was happening in Kochi over the week, the man, who kicked up the storm was conspicuous by his absence from the scene. Any guess on where he had been? The metro man was in Doha to receive an award for the best technocrat, instituted by the Kerala Engineers Forum in Qatar.

New Bevco outlet

From curious onlookers to genuine purchasers, the newly opened self-service facility of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) at Gandhi Nagar is teeming with visitors. The first-of-the-kind outlet was opened on Tuesday evening without any publicity or hype. On the second day, around 150 persons walked in and purchased their favourite drinks from the outlet. The sale figures reached close to Rs.75, 000 on that day. The heavy showers and traffic snarls didn’t deter people from stepping in to the outlet on the third day of its functioning. Business and footfalls picked up considerably on the rainy day with over 200 persons visiting the outlet.

After checking the brands displayed and its price, a large number of customers eagerly enquired when the outlet, which would be spread over 4000 sq. ft., would become fully operational. There are no queues at the outlet and the customers can shop for their drinks on their own. The staff is left with the job of collecting the cash and packing the bottles.

‘Bar lobby’ attacked

Congress leader T.H. Musthafa minced no words while attacking those supporting the ‘bar lobby’ in the party.

He was among the few who openly supported KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran's stance on the renewal of license to 418 bars in the State.

The former minister reiterated Mr. Sudheeran’s position that the number of liquor bars should be brought down in accordance with the Congress party’s proclaimed line of pushing for abstinence.

Mr. Musthafa also came down heavily on Excise Minister K. Babu for stating that it was the LDF government that regularised the liquor bars irrespective of the standards in these establishments. He wondered whether the Congress-led government was in power to implement the decisions taken by the previous LDF government.

The veteran Congress leader has plans to hold a satyagraha in front of the Gandhi statue near Rajendra maidan soon as part of the campaign against the use of liquor. He has also sought the support of other organisations and samithis in his fight against liquor business.

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