Expedition flagged off

NEW DELHI AUG. 21. The Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister, Sunil Dutt, flagged off the "Atlas Lakshya Khardungla" -- one of the longest Himalayan bicycle expeditions -- from the National Stadium here on Friday. The bicycle expedition will cover a distance of 5,000 km and attempt to break the previous distance of 2,700 km featured in the Limca Book of Records.

The bicycle expedition has been organised by Atlas Cycles in association with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Tenzing Norgay Adventure Camp (Dehra Dun) and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan. It will cross Khardungla which is the world's highest motorable road at an altitude of 18,338 feet above sea level.

Onam Mahotsav

NEW DELHI AUG. 21. The Kerala Sports and Forest Minister, K.Sudhakaran, will inaugurate "The Great Onam Mahotsav 2004" at Pragati Maidan here on Sunday.

The main attraction of the ten-day-long Onam Mahotsav -- being organised by the Kerala Government in association with the Rajiv Youth Foundation -- would be an exhibition featuring coconuts, fruits and vegetables. The fair aims at giving exposure to some of the State's smaller corporate industries. In all, there would be 35 stalls displaying various products.

Centre's opinion sought

NEW DELHI AUG. 21. The Delhi High Court has sought a reply from the Union Government on a public interest litigation seeking a direction to debar people who violate the two-child norm from availing of the preferential treatment provided by the State.

Refusing to issue a notice on the petition, a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice B.C. Patel and Justice B.D. Ahmed directed the Standing Counsel of the Union Government, Anjana Gossain, to inform the Court about the opinion of the Government on the plea within three weeks.

Foundation stone laid

NEW DELHI AUG. 21. The143 Battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will be providing security to the construction and survey teams of Indian Railways in Jammu and Kashmir. Announcing this at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Battalion Camp at Gehrauli in Mayur Vihar here on Friday, the Director General of CRPF, J.K Sinha, said for effective management of internal security over 86 per cent of the CRPF personnel have been deployed in Jammu and Kashmir, the Eastern States as well as States affected by Left-winged extremism.

New Vice-Chairman for CAT

NEW DELHI AUG 21. Lalit Mohan Goyal, a senior retired IAS officer of Haryana cadre, will be the new Vice-Chairman of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). The Cabinet Committee for Appointments has cleared his name for the post.

Mr. Goyal, who belongs to the 1966 batch of IAS, has in the past served as Chief Secretary of Haryana. He will continue in his new assignment up to the age of 65.

Freehold camp

NEW DELHI AUG. 21. The Federation of Co-operative Group Housing Societies Mayur Vihar Limited and the Delhi Development Authority jointly organised a day-long camp for conversion of leasehold flats into freehold one here on Saturday.

A team headed by the Director, Residential Lands, DDA, B.N. Singh, decided the cases on-the-spot and handed over 52 conveyance deeds for execution. Over 1000 persons attended the camp and more than 300 applications for conversion were received.

Nagercoil Aug.21. With the Kanyakumari district lorry owners association not participating in the nationwide strike called by various unions, business was not affected in the district today.

Truckloads of vegetables, fruits and dry coconut leaves were transported to other States and districts as usual, said the president, Kumaresan.

Cartridges missing

Tuticorin Aug.21. An armed policeman, who escorted a judge to the Tiruchendur temple on Friday, lost his bag with five cartridges.

The police said Harikrishnan of the Armed Reserve Force had gone to the temple with the judge with his firearm. When he was about to come out of the temple, he found the bag missing.

Blackout in Virudhunagar

VIRUDHUNAGAR AUG.21. Most parts of Virudhunagar plunged into darkness forcing the people to sweat it out for more than three hours today.

The power cut that occurred at 5.30 p.m., reportedly due to a snag, was restored only at around 9 p.m. It was only this morning that the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board personnel had taken up maintenance work, with a scheduled power shutdown between 9 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.

The people complained that there were frequent power cuts in the last one week.

Water level

MADURAI AUG.21. The level in the Periyar dam today stood at 122.4 feet with an inflow was 813 cusecs and a discharge of 1325 cusecs. The level in the Vaigai dam was 39.27 feet with an inflow of 1010 cusecs and a discharge of 930 cusecs. The combined Periyar credit stood at 3913 mcft.

Thaniyamangalam received 4 mm of rainfall followed by the Periyar dam - 3 mm.