The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nation at a Glance

TN Congress leader dies of heart attack

Chennai: Veteran Congress leader and former petroleum minister Vazhapadi Koothapadayachi Ramamurthy died on Sunday in a private hospital following a massive heart attack, reports our special correspondent.

Ramamurthy was his usual jovial self and chatting with friends this afternoon before suddenly complaining of chest pain, family sources said. He breathed his last around 5 pm.

“Vazhapadi”, as he was popularly known, is survived by his wife, two sons and daughter.

Ramamurthy’s body will be kept at Sathyamurthy Bhavan, the Congress headquarters here, tomorrow morning before being taken to his residence.

rime Minister A.B. Vajpayee said Ramamurthy had “worked hard throughout his life towards ameliorating the condition of the working class”. In her condolence message, Sonia Gandhi said: “He was one of the stalwarts in Tamil Nadu politics and was extremely popular among his followers and friends.”

Ramamurthy was labour minister in the Narasimha Rao ministry in 1991, but resigned just 39 days later over the Cauvery issue. He subsequently quit the Congress and floated the Tamizhaga Rajiv Congress in 1995.

Ramamurthy was again catapulted to the Union Cabinet in 1998 when he became the petroleum minister in the Vajpayee government.

Suicide rate rising in Kerala

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM (PTI): Faced with the problems of a transitional society, the suicide rate in Kerala is on the rise touching 31.5 per lakh a year against the national average of around 10 per lakh.

Mental health experts and social scientists say growing incompatibility between income and needs, break-up of joint families, unchecked alcoholism and drug abuse are major factors contributing to the death wish gripping the country’s most literate state.

“Disparity between income and needs is the main factor that drives people to kill themselves in most cases,” said Suraraj Mony, secretary of the State Mental Health Authority.

The authority figures show that in 1990s, suicide rate in Kerala stood at 27.1 per lakh a year against the national average of 9.2. Besides, cases of family suicide are also on the rise with 59 cases reported in 2000 alone.

Although the progress Kerala made in health education and service sectors are remarkable, its reflection is missing on the economic front. Steadily dwindling industrial investment and an ever-shrinking agricultural base over the last three decades had a telling impact on the income profile of the state.

Rs 2 lakh for custody death

B>lNAGPUR (PTI): A high court bench here has awarded an interim compensation of Rs 2 lakh to a widow, deposited by the Maharashtra government for her husband’s death in police custody in early 2002.

In the order, a division bench awarded the compensation to Sheela Yerpude, whose husband, Sudhakar, a goldsmith, died in police custody on February 28 allegedly due to torture.

Espionage case

B>lNEW DELHI (PTI): A Delhi court has sentenced a city lawyer to a seven-year jail term for having passed sensitive defence documents to Pakistani high commission officials here 14 years ago. The additional sessions judge, who found accused Subhash Chander Dutt guilty under the Official Secrets Act, also slapped a fine of Rs 20,000 on him.

Molest complaint

B>lVADODARA (PTI): A student has lodged a complaint with police against her teacher for allegedly trying to molest her. In her complaint, the girl said the teacher had tried to molest her while she was alone at her home in Gharla near here, police said. Her neighbours rushed to her house when she screamed for help. The teacher, however, ran away from the spot, the police said, adding further investigations are on.

Highest stupa

B>lDEHRA DUN (PTI): Dalai Lama would inaugurate the world’s highest Buddhist stupa here on Monday. Preparations for the inauguration of the 185 ft-high stupa have been made, a spokesman of Mindrolling monastery, where the stupa has been built, said. With its inauguration by the Nobel peace laureate, the doors of the stupa would be opened for the public.

Ex-minister injured

B>lMANIPAL (PTI): Former Union minister C.M. Ibrahim and two others were injured when their car collided with a lorry at Kirimanjeswar near Byndoor. The three, who were proceeding from Mangalore to Gulbarga, were admitted to a private hospital in Kundapur after the mishap on Sunday and later taken to Mangalore, police said.

Over 75 films from 25 countries would be screened at the Fifth International Film Festival, to be held in Mumbai from November 21 to 28. The festival is being organised by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images.

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