ITDC package tour to TirupatiCHENNAI: The India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) is launching a package tour to Tirupati from Chennai by introducing a new Volvo airconditoned coach from March 20. The cost of the daily tour (except on Saturdays and Sundays) is Rs. 900 per person which includes transport, breakfast, lunch and special darshan ticket.

In a press release, an ITDC spokesperson, said the coach leaves at 5-30 a.m. and returns around 10 p.m. with darshan at Tirumala. The pilgrims are given option either to board at the ITDC office or Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Information Centre office on Venkatnarayana Road at T-Nagar.

Bookings can be made at the ITDC office, No.29, Dr. P.V. Cherian Crescent, Ethiraj Salai, Egmore, Chennai-600 008. Tel: 28281250/28278884/28257214/24331977 or e-mail: >attchennai@hotmail.com. Special Correspondent

INTUC general council meeting on March 24CHENNAI: The general council of the State unit of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, led by P.L. Subbiah, will be held on March 24 as scheduled.

State unit general secretary G. Kalan in a statement here on Saturday said the move to break away from the Congress was taken after the union was denied its due share for the last several years. At its general council meeting on February 22 the union decided to contest all the 234 constituencies in the State. Subsequently it got an offer for alliance from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which was accepted by the union.

Workers affiliated to the union unanimously welcomed the State unit's decision and they were ready to work for the victory of the AIADMK alliance in the election.

So there was no question of reconsidering the decision to convene the general council meeting on March 24, the statement added. Special Correspondent

University rank holdersVELLORE: Students of the Arcot Sri Mahaalakshmi Women's College in Vilapakkam have bagged 14 university ranks in the Madras University examinations held in 2005. S. Jayanthi (Bachelor of Corporate Secretaryship) and M. Vidya (B.Sc. Computer Science) secured the university first ranks and gold medals.

Justice T.N. Vallinayagam, former judge of the Madras and Karnataka High Courts, distributed diplomas and gold coins to rank holders at the Fourth Convocation held on the college premises on Saturday.

Justice Vallinayagam said the increasing education of women was a good augury for the development of the country. Special Correspondent

Free medical campsCHENNAI: The Adiparasakthi Hospital and Research Institute, Melmaruvathur, is planning a series of free medical camps to commemorate the 66th birthday celebrations of Sri Bangaru Adigalar.

For the eye camp, the screening and admission is on March 24 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Adhiparasakthi Marriage Hall, Melmaruvathur. Cataract surgery will be performed on March 25 and 26. The valedictory will be held at the hospital on March 29. It is estimated that nearly 5000 patients are likely to be screened and free cataract and intra-ocular lens implant surgeries to be performed on over 1008 patients. In addition to this, 500 spectacles would be given free of cost. The free mega camp (heart, cancer, renal, arthritis, skin and dental) will be held at the hospital on April 2 from 8.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.

For details contact: 044-27529230, 27529398. Special Correspondent

Campus interviewSivaganga: Alagappa University has planned to conduct campus interview on March 22 and 23 in collaboration with Ascon Associate Consultants, Chennai.

R. Dhandapani, Registrar, said students of final year and those, who had completed undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, could participate in the interview.

The selection process would involve group discussion, voice test, listening round, English language etc. The selected candidates would be placed with a reasonable salary to the tune of Rs.1.2 lakh per annum.

World Consumer Day observedSivaganga: The Department of Commerce of Alagappa Government Arts College, Karaikudi, observed the World Consumer Day recently. D. Sivaprakasam, Head of Department, AR. Palaniappan, advocate, spoke on the need to create an awareness among the people of the need to have better knowledge on consumer rights.

Peer team visits collegeMADURAI: A peer team of National Assessment and Accreditation Council visited Rajapalayam Rajus' College, Rajapalayam, on March 13 and 14. The team, which included A.M. Pathan, Vice-Chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, and Koshy Ninan, Principal, Bishop Moore College, Kerala, examined academic, research, extra-curricular activities such as NSS, NCC and rural development programmes of the college during its visit, according to a press release.

Water levelMADURAI: The level at Periyar dam on Saturday stood at 126.7 feet with an inflow of 243 cusecs. The level at Vaigai dam was 54.86 feet with an inflow of 150 cusecs and a discharge of 601 cusecs. The combined Periyar Credit stood at 5,794 mcft.

Rainfall was recorded at following places (in mm): Periyar dam 2, Tekkadi 11, Veerapandi 12, Sathaiyar 1.5, Mettupatti 32, Chittampatti 2.4 and Kuppanampatti 25. Staff Reporter

Applications receivedERODE: On Friday, 500 applications were received by the Kalaimagal Kalvi Nilayam Girls Higher Secondary school exclusively for admission to Tamil Medium First Standard in the school, said Ms Mangalavathy, Correspondent. - Staff Reporter

Maha kumbabhishegamERODE: The Maha Kumabishagam of Kaliamman temple at Komaraplayam was conducted on Friday noon. Koonampatty Adheenam Sri Ramalinga Manickkavasaga Swamigal, Komarapalayam Vedandha Madam Govindaraja Swamigal, Kumbabishaga Committee President M.S. Kumanan and devotees participated. - Staff Reporter

Six students hospitalisedERODE: Six students were admitted in the Gobichettipalayam Government Hospital of food poisoning. Five were discharged and one was undergoing treatment. According to police, in the Backward Class Boys Hostel at Gobichettipalayam six students developed vomiting after consuming food. The hostel warden noticed that a lizard was in the food. - Staff Reporter

No extra keroseneERODE: Ms V. Santha, District Revenue Officer, Erode said, in a press release, that from Saturday no extra kerosene would be supplied as per the direction of Chief Electoral Officer. - Staff Reporter

Woman ends lifeNagercoil: A woman committed suicide by setting herself ablaze on Saturday.

According to the police, Parameswari (30) of Thenthamarikulam near Kanyakumari took this extreme step, owing to a dispute with her husband Kannan.

The police have registered a case.

Rain in Tuticorin districtTuticorin: Tuticorin received good rain on Thursday night and Friday.

Water was stagnating on many roads till Friday morning and obstructed free flow of traffic, though rain stopped in the wee hours.

The rain gauge station kept at the Circuit House recorded 24.4 mm rainfall in the town, during the last 24 hours ending at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

The other two stations, which received rain during the same period were Kadalkudi (14 mm) and Keezhaarasadi (2 mm).

The forecast said moderate rainfall was expected in the district till Sunday.

Four held on assault chargeTuticorin: The police on Saturday arrested four persons on a charge of assaulting Mariammal (36) at Pudukottai near here on Friday night.

The police said Chitravadivu (26) suspected that Mariammal was having an extramarital relationship with her husband, Bharat Kumar.

She along with S Baskar (31), Sudalaiveeran (65) and Natchiyar (60) assaulted Mariammal at Bhagavathy Lakshmi Nagar. The complainant was hospitalised.

Woman caught red-handedTuticorin: A 31-year-old woman was caught red-handed while she tried to take away Rs.10,000 kept inside a bag owned by Sivakami (31) here on Friday evening.

The police said Kamalam, a resident of Bryant Nagar, took the amount while Sivakami was standing at Old Bus Stand and tried to escape from the scene.

She was handed over to the Central Crime Branch.

Staff Reporter

Quacks heldKARUR: Eleven quacks, including a woman, were arrested by the police in the district. The arrested were S. Ponnappan (47)and A. Arokiyaraj (39) ( Servaikaranpatti), K. Murugesan (32) (Thirumanikkampatti) R. Raju (50) (Kavalkaranpatti), A. Narayanan (49) (Narasimhapuram), C. Sivakumar (46) (Pasupathipalayam), S. Balachandran (32) of Madurai practicing at Andipattikottai, Ramasamy (55) (Esanatham), A. Joseph (35) (Thanneerpalli), Y. Mumtaz Bhanu (37) of Tiruchi practicing at Thogamalai and R. Meenakshisundaram (44) of Sivaganga district practicing at Thogamalai.

Campus recruitmentPUDUKOTTAI: Cyber Technologies, Chennai, would conduct a campus recruitment programme at Sudharsan Engineering College, Sathiyamangalam, on March 22 and 23. Students of the engineering colleges situated in Pudukottai area could attend the same on March 22 and those from Tiruchi area engineering colleges on the next day. Details can be had from 04339-240 830.

Consumers' day celebratedPUDUKOTTAI: The members of the Aranthangi Central Jaycees celebrated the World Consumers Day by releasing the brochures containing the details of the consumers rights and responsibilities.

Fake oil unit unearthedKARUR: A fake oil mixing unit was unearthed near here. Three persons were picked up for questioning in this connection. A total of 148 barrels of engine oil faked under various popular trade marks were also seized from the premises.Police raided a building at Kozhinjivadi near Aravakurichi and detected that the premises was being used to package used engine oil under various popular trade marks.

Mettur levelTiruchi:The water level at the Mettur dam stood at 113.98 feet on Saturday. The inflow was 2,465 cusecs and the outflow, 2,000 cusecs.

Staff Reporter