UPASI hails Union budgetCoimbatore: The United Planters' Association of Southern India president, E.B. Sethna, has termed the Union budget "growth oriented".

He welcomed the allocation of Rs. 100 crore to Special Purpose Tea Fund for replantation and rejuvenation programme announced by the Government last year.

While commending reduction of interest rates on farm loans, he hoped that it would be extended to plantation sector as well.

He was confident that several demands of the association, including setting up of a Plantation Stabilisation Fund, exclusion of plantations from the ambit of cash withdrawal of tax, extension of time to the coffee growers who could not avail themselves of the Coffee Relief Package, extension of time limit for concessional import tariff to certain machinery used by the plantation industry and clarification that education cess was not applicable to tea cess would be addressed by the Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, separately. Special Correspondent

DMK Tiruchi meet on March 3CHENNAI: The general council of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam will be held at Tiruchi on March 3.

In a press release, party's general secretary K. Anbazhagan said the Assembly elections; progress in talks with allies in the Democratic Progressive Alliance and resolutions to be adopted at the conference would be discussed. Special Correspondent

Award for varsity senate memberCHENNAI: Narayana Vishwanath, Syndicate and Senate Member, Annamalai University, and former chief general manager, RITES, has been awarded the "Bhartiya Shironmani Puraskar," instituted by the Institute of Economic Studies, New Delhi, for the professional services rendered by him.

The award was given away by former Tamil Nadu Governor, Bhishma Narayan Singh, at a function in New Delhi recently, according to a press release. Special Correspondent

Appointment list on websiteCHENNAI: For the vacancies in the cadre of junior graduate assistants, including block resource teachers, and for unfilled vacancies in the first round, candidates were called for certificate verification held from February 6 to 17. The list of 2,917 candidates provisionally selected for appointment will be put up on March 1 in the notice board of Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB) on College Road, Chennai-6.

The provisional list can also be viewed on the websites: http://trb.tn.nic.in and http://www.chennaionline.com/results/trb, says a press release from TRB. Special Correspondent

Die Mould exhibition from March 3CHENNAI: The complete range of dies, moulds, press tools, machineries, CAD/CAM system relating to dies and moulds and machine and cutting tools will form part of the fifth Die Mould India International exhibition to be held in Chennai from March 3 to 6.

The Tool and Gauge Manufacturers Association (TAGMA) is organising the exhibition, which will have delegates from Australia, Japan, China, Malaysia, Philippines and Pakistan.

The TAGMA will explore the possibilities for joint development, collaborative effort, information sharing, technology training, resource training and retraining needs as technological changes were creating new demands. Special Correspondent

Additional keroseneKARUR: Additional quota of kerosene would be extended to eligible ration cardholders in the district during March, the Collector, A. Karthik, has said.

Those cardholders in district headquarters and municipalities would get two litres and those in rural areas would get one litre of kerosene in addition to their usual quota.

Similarly, those beneficiaries who had secured token for flood relief and had not so far got the kerosene entitlement could get one litre kerosene free in addition to the six litres more at regular rates against their quota for December 2005 and January 2006, totaling seven litres. The kerosene should be drawn before March 31, according to a press release issued by the Collector here.

Welfare measuresKARUR: Welfare measures of Rs. 14 lakh were distributed by the Collector A. Karthik during the grievances redressal day on Monday.

Under the Girl Child Protection Scheme - I, 40 couples were given Rs. 30,400 each totaling Rs. 12.16 lakh worth of deposits and under Scheme - II one couple was given Rs. 22.200.

The Collector also gave away Rs. 10,000 each to seven reformed prohibition offenders belonging to Viswanathapuri and Palaviduthi towards helping them turn a new leaf in their life. He also distributed certificates to Plus Two and SSLC toppers of 2003-04.

Educational help

Four lane projectPERAMBALUR: The Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, T. R. Baalu, will lay the foundation for the four-laning project on the Tindivanam - Tiruchi sector at a function to be held in Perambalur on Thursday.

The project would be executed at an outlay of Rs. 1,360 crore. The Union Minister will also lay the foundation for a road overbridge at the Four-Road junction here at an estimate of Rs.50 crore.

The Union Ministers, A. Raja and G. K. Vasan will participate in the function.

Mettur levelTiruchi: The water level at the Mettur dam stood at 112.36 feet on Tuesday. The inflow was 1331 cusecs and the outflow, 1000 cusecs. Staff Reporter

Consumes poison, diesTuticorin: S Chelliah (60), a farmer who consumed poison in front of the Collector V. Chandrasekaran, just before commencement of the grievance day meeting on Monday died at the Government Hospital here on Tuesday. He was reportedly under stress following a land dispute.

Burglar nabbedTuticorin: The police have arrested Eswaran (30), six hours after he burgled a house at Kovilpatti on Monday and decamped with 108 sovereigns of jewels and cash of Rs 1.5 lakh when inmates of the house were away. A team led by Superintendent of Police Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal arrested him and recovered 100 sovereigns and cash of Rs 50,000.

Road rokoTuticorin: Cadres of constituents of the Democratic Progressive Alliance courted arrest when they staged a road roko demanding speedy completion of works on Velayudhapuram railway overbridge at Kovilpatti on Tuesday.

Killed in accidentERODE: One person was killed in a road accident here on Monday. According to the police, Rajendran (29), a lottery ticket vendor of Veerappanchatram here, was selling lotteries at the Surampatty junction.

On seeing the police, he tried to escape on his motorcycle, but hit a cycle near the Erode District Headquarters Hospital.

He sustained injuries and was admitted to the hospital where he died.

- Staff Reporter

Dies in wall collapseERODE: A schoolgirl died in a wall collapse here on Tuesday. According to the police, Sheeban, a Class IV student of a private middle school at Periyasemur, was cleaning the school premises when the compound wall collapsed on her.

She died on the spot.

It is stated that the school building and compound wall were in a dilapidated condition.

- Staff Reporter

CompensationSALEM: The employees of local bodies would, hereafter, receive a compensation of Rs. 1.50 lakhs under the group insurance scheme, the Commissioner of Treasuries, Qudsia Gandhi, has said.

- Staff Reporter