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Separatist leader Masarat Alam re-arrested after release

Pakistani flags were allegedly waved in the rally, following which a case was registered against him. He had been released only a month back after detention of over four years under multiple PSA orders.
Bhat ran the 2010 agitation when the other top separatist leaders were caged.

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Also ReadIndiaDMK chief slams Centre’s decision on LPG subsidyIndiaCensus 2011: Sikhs, Jains have the worst sex ratioIndiaCentre sanctions 4227 additional posts for Delhi PoliceIndiaStarting 2016, devotees can’t wear jeans, leggings, bermudas to Tamil Nadu templesIndiaWill finalise electoral strategy for Tamil Nadu assembly polls at appropriate time: JayalalithaaIndiaNepal’s KP Oli calls up PM Modi; discusses political situation in Nepal <!– /.block –>

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DMK chief slams Centre’s decision on LPG subsidy

The DMK President sought immediate withdrawal of the decision and also urged the Centre to drop any plans to cut urea and kerosene subsidy.

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Also ReadIndiaDMK chief slams Centre’s decision on LPG subsidyIndiaCensus 2011: Sikhs, Jains have the worst sex ratioIndiaCentre sanctions 4227 additional posts for Delhi PoliceIndiaStarting 2016, devotees can’t wear jeans, leggings, bermudas to Tamil Nadu templesIndiaWill finalise electoral strategy for Tamil Nadu assembly polls at appropriate time: JayalalithaaIndiaNepal’s KP Oli calls up PM Modi; discusses political situation in Nepal <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Ajit Doval to visit China next week to discuss border dispute<!– /.block –>Sebi proposes new norms for public issue of REITs<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Census 2011: Sikhs, Jains have the worst sex ratio

Work participation rate for total population stands at 39.8 per cent and, by religious communities it is 41.0 per cent (Hindus), 32.6 per cent (Muslims), 41.9 per cent (Christians), 36.3 per cent (Sikhs), 43.1 per cent (Buddhists) and 35.5 per cent (Jains).

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Also ReadIndiaDMK chief slams Centre’s decision on LPG subsidyIndiaCensus 2011: Sikhs, Jains have the worst sex ratioIndiaCentre sanctions 4227 additional posts for Delhi PoliceIndiaStarting 2016, devotees can’t wear jeans, leggings, bermudas to Tamil Nadu templesIndiaWill finalise electoral strategy for Tamil Nadu assembly polls at appropriate time: JayalalithaaIndiaNepal’s KP Oli calls up PM Modi; discusses political situation in Nepal <!– /.block –>

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Centre sanctions 4227 additional posts for Delhi Police

He said that the augmentation of manpower in Delhi Police will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the force. “It will in turn improve the quality of investigation, expedite filing of charge sheets in a professional manner and also accelerate the rate of disposal of the cases,” Singh said. “The newly sanctioned posts will comprise of SI/ASI — 1409, Head Constable — 1409 and Constable — 1409. The sanction of the additional posts will be operationalised in two phases — 50 per cent posts in 2016-17 and remaining 50 per cent posts in 2017-18,” a statement from the Home Ministry said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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Also ReadIndiaDMK chief slams Centre’s decision on LPG subsidyIndiaCensus 2011: Sikhs, Jains have the worst sex ratioIndiaCentre sanctions 4227 additional posts for Delhi PoliceIndiaStarting 2016, devotees can’t wear jeans, leggings, bermudas to Tamil Nadu templesIndiaWill finalise electoral strategy for Tamil Nadu assembly polls at appropriate time: JayalalithaaIndiaNepal’s KP Oli calls up PM Modi; discusses political situation in Nepal <!– /.block –>

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BJP gleeful over articles in Congress mouthpiece slamming Nehru, Sonia; says truth hidden has come out

“Congress should give clarification and Gandhi too should offer some,” he said. As Congress sacked the content editor, BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma mocked it, saying it showed the party’s “intolerance against truth” as most of what had appeared was a “matter of fact”.

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Also ReadIndiaNew Indo-Nepal bus service beginsIndiaManeka Gandhi launches ‘e-Office’IndiaMangaluru: Bajrang Dal leader arrested for posting hate comments against social worker on FacebookIndiaFour prisoners escape from Kadapa Central jail in Andhra PradeshIndiaWhy is Western media so biased against India? IndiaArun Jaitley turns 63; PM Modi wishes him long life <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Centre contradicting own stand on DDCA probe: AAP<!– /.block –>Tamil Nadu elections: DMK chief Karunanidhi extends hand of friendship to Congress for alliance<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Eco-sensitive zones to sink by 60% of Western Ghats?

If the states have their way, nearly 60% of the eco-sensitive, protected area of the Western Ghats, also known as water tower of peninsular India, will be thrown open for development and commercial projects. Five states located along the Western Ghats – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Gujarat and Kerala – have recommended to retain only 20,000 sq km as eco-sensitive area (ESA) and release the rest 36,285 sq.km for development. Among the six Western Ghats states, Tamil Nadu is yet to submit its recommendations on ESA areas to the Centre.A Central government appointed committee led by K Kasturirangan had recommended 56,825 sq km as ESA, nearly three times more than what the states have stated. The Centre too had notified 56,825 sq.km area as ESA in a draft notification in September this year. Western Ghats is one of the eight biodiversity hotspots in the world and is also a UNESCO world heritage site.In their detailed reports on ESAs, the states have rejected most findings and recommendations of the Kasturirangan report, pushing for opening the Ghats to development and commercial activities. The state governments were unhappy with the Kasturirangan report and thus the Central government had allowed them to physically verify their ESAs.The Kasturirangan report had identified ESAs on the basis of natural landscape and cultural landscape. The natural landscape comprises of natural vegetation, forests, water bodies, hills and sacred groves while cultural landscape comprises of human dominated land use of settlements, agricultural land, horticulture and other plantations.For example, the report had identified 4,156 villages across six states as ESA, but the five state governments, in their recommendations, demarcated only 1,666 villages. Each state government has shot down prohibitions suggested in the Kasturirangan report on issues such as mining, township development and forest plantations.An analysis of the state reports by dna shows that broadly they have vouched for inclusion of only contiguous forests that are already notified along with non-forest private lands areas while excluding plantations, industrial zones and even non-cultivable agricultural land.Gujarat, however, is the only state to have increased its ESA area.The ground reality, the states’ reports claim, is that most villages across Ghats rejected the ESA tag, as they feared for loss of livelihood. The reports say that villagers were victims of misinformation campaigns. The villagers, reports said, termed the concept of ESAs as ‘government land grab’.Speaking on the state reports, veteran ecologist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the first Central panel to have given a road-map for conservation of the Ghats, said, “The process states have followed to demarcate ESAs is more important than the area they have retained. It is a flawed process from several angles and most crucially, there is little people’s participation.”He added, “So called ground-truthing exercises involved gathering only select few groups of influential locals across villages. Also, I got first-hand reports of misinformation campaigns that were spread against the concept of ESAs.”While analysing the state reports, dna found each state government has used different approaches for giving ESA tag to villages. As per the Kasturirangan report, villages having more than 20% natural landscape were to be counted as ecologically sensitive. Maharashtra, which has the second largest ESA area has reduced the number of ESA villages from 2,154 to 1,254, reducing the protected area of Ghats to 6,719.3 sq.km.In Maharashtra, the government excluded a total of 879 villages for being isolated, distant from the contiguous, elevated range of the Ghats and for having less than 20% natural landscape. ESA villages that are home to industrial zones have been excluded without studying their pollution load on water resources.In Karnataka, the government thought it more ‘practical’ and ‘rational’ to count only those villages with 50% or more natural landscape and that already fall in the buffer zone of sanctuaries and national parks as ESAs. Karnataka has whittled down ESA villages to 153 from 1,553, shrinking the protected area to 2,020.01 sq.km.Once Tamil Nadu submits its report, MoEF&CC will deliberate on recommendations of all states and map ESA villages using satellite maps. The ministry is likely to meet representatives and MPs from each state before it takes a final call on how much area of the Ghats should be kept as ecologically sensitive.dna contacted Union minister for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar, who said the matter of finalising Western Ghats’ ESA is under process.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

BJP assures prosthetic limb to woman who lost hand in Saudi Arabia

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After a month’s medical treatment in Saudi Arabia, she returned here on November 7

Kasturi Munirathinam, who lost her right hand after it was allegedly chopped off by her Saudi Arabian employer, was on Wednesday assured of support by Tamil Nadu BJP which also promised to take steps to provide her with an artificial limb.The 55-year-old woman, a native of Mungileri village in Vellore district, called on Tamil Nadu BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan at the party headquarters ‘Kamalalayam’ here. Munirathinam thanked her for her efforts to press the Centre to bring her back to Tamil Nadu and also urged the BJP leader to take steps for getting her pending salary from her employer.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the intervening night of September 29-30, the woman’s right hand was allegedly severed by her employer and the news broke on October 8. She had also sustained a fall from the building where she was employed.The episode created an uproar and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took up the issue with Saudi Arabian government. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa also announced a financial aid of Rs 10 lakh to her.After a month’s medical treatment in Saudi Arabia, she returned here on November 7

Pro-ISIS elements posting messages in regional languages: Government

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Government is closely monitoring the situation, Rajya Sabha was informed.

Some elements, who support the dreaded terrorist group ISIS, have posted messages in Indian regional languages, including Hindi and Tamil, Rajya Sabha was informed today.”As per available intelligence inputs, pro-ISIS elements have posted messages in the social media in Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Gujarati and English,” Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said in a written reply.He said the government is closely monitoring the situation and has directed the intelligence and security agencies to identify potential recruits and keep them under surveillance.”The cyber space is also being monitored,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chaudhary said ISIS is one of the 39 organisations which were declared unlawful under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Six Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by Lankan navy

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On December 17, four Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested for fishing near Neduntheevu islet off Lanka.

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Six fishermen of Pudukottai district were arrested by Sri Lankan navy while they were fishing near the Lankan coast, authorities said on Sunday.Assistant director of the fisheries department, Sekar, said the fishermen of Jegathapattinam village were fishing at Neduntheevu last night when the Lankan navy arrested them.The fishermen along with their boat were later taken to Kangesanthurai, he added. On December 17, four Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested for fishing near Neduntheevu islet off Lanka.Chief Minister Jayalalithaa recently sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in securing the release of 41 fishermen from the state detained in Sri Lanka, besides 56 boats.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

VIDEO: Should India spend more on flood defence?

Tamil Nadu’s floods have killed hundreds over past weeks – and the economic cost is vast. So, should India spend more on defence?

MK Stalin threatens stir if Centre, Tamil Nadu govt do not lift ban on Jallikattu

The DMK government had enacted a legislation in 2009 to ensure the continuance of the bull-taming sport after introducing due regulations.

MK Stalin

DMK Treasurer MK Stalin today urged the Centre and state government to remove the ban on ‘Jallikattu’ and warned that he would lead a protest unless they took steps to enable the bull-taming sport to be held during the Pongal festive season in January.”If the Centre and state don’t take steps for removing theban and hold jallikattu during the coming Pongal festival, I myself will lead a struggle against this after seeking approval from (DMK President) Kalaignar (Karunanidhi),” he said in a Facebook post.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The DMK government had enacted a legislation in 2009 to ensure the continuance of the bull-taming sport after introducing due regulations.Supreme Court had last year banned jallikattu, bull races,bull-fights and other uses of bulls in performances, but therehave been widespread demands in the state, especially in thesouthern districts, that Centre make adequate amendments to ensure that the sport is introduced again in 2016.Supporters of ‘jallikattu,’ organised to coincide with the Tamil harvest festival of Pongal, have been defending it on the grounds that it is a sport of bravery and is reflective of the local tradition. Recently, scores of celebrities, including actress Vidya Balan and India Test captain Virat Kohli, had signed a petition by an animal rights advocacy group seeking upholding of the ban on ‘jallikattu’.

ED conducts searches at Karti Chidambaram’s office

ED first conducted searches only at residences of those who are close to Karthi. But later, the team also raided Karti’s office in his presence.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has conducted searches at former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram’s office. The matter relates to a case that ED is investigating foreign exchange violations by Advance Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd and Vasan Healthcare. ED first conducted searches only at residences of those who are close to Karthi. But later, the team also raided Karti’s office in his presence. A laptop recovered from his office has been taken under possession. ED South Zone is currently conducting the searches. The searches were reportedly conducted after Mohanan Rajesh, one of the directors of a company allegedly belonging to Karti, gave leads of important files present at the Office of Chess Global Advisory Services Pvt Ltd.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karti is a Tamil Nadu Congress leader. He is also the vice-president of the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA) and also the chairman of India’s only ATP tournament, the Chennai Open.

Chennai Floods: How the ‘drinking water brigade’ is providing safe water in the city

Each of the Livinguard water filters can convert 100 – 120 litres of contaminated floodwater per day.

After the floods ravaged Chennai earlier this month, residents have been wary of the spread of diseases. It is in this context that a few people have reportedly donated water purification solutions to help convert contaminated or muddy water into potable water. R Bharaneswaran and Sendhil Thiagarajan, philanthropists based out of Chennai, have donated 500 special drinking water filters to the victims of the Chennai floods. Each of the Livinguard water filters can convert 100 – 120 litres of contaminated floodwater per day. That’s a total of 50,000 – 60,000 litres of pure, bacteria/virus free water, taking care of the needs of 35,000 – 40,000 people a day, without the use of any electricity. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For the purposes of natural disasters, Livinguard and Mahindra have also developed the mobile ‘Drinking Water Brigade’. These vehicles can drive into flood areas and purify up to 1000 litres an hour of contaminated muddy water, and can even store up to 300 litres for transport.They have also written to the Tamil Nadu state government in the hope of getting the necessary permission and support from the government to provide more victims of the floods with safe water. Also Read – Chennai Floods: The worst might be over, but keep diseases at bay with these health tips

Kerala CM Oommen Chandy, ministers meet PM Modi, discuss Mullaperiyar issue

he rising water level in the Mullaperiyar dam due to rains is causing concern over the dam’s safety as five Kerala districts are downstream.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting with Chief Minister of Kerala, Oommen Chandy in Kerala on Tuesday.

PTI
Raising the Mullaperiyar Dam issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Tuesday demanded that the Centre initiate chief ministerial level talks between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, involved in a dispute over the century-old reservoir.Chandy, who met the Prime Minister along with some of his cabinet colleagues at the Thiruvananthapuram Airport and spent about 15 minutes, also pressed for a second dam across Mullaperiyar to replace the ‘structurally week’ reservoir.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The dam is located in Kerala but operated and managed by Tamil Nadu. The rising water level in the dam due to rains is causing concern over the dam’s safety as five Kerala districts are downstream. Chandy later told reporters that the PM assured that he would “sympathetically” consider their various pleas. This is the second time Chandy had taken up the issue with Modi, who wrapped up his two-day visit to the state this evening. Chandy had recently met the PM in Delhi and discussed various issues of the state, including the dam issue.Setting aside the controversy over his exclusion from the statue unveiling function of R Sankar, Chandy handed over a memorandum to the Prime minister on the various demands of the state, including the FACT Package, setting up an All Institute of Medical Sciences in Kerala and upgrading of Regional cancer centre as National cancer centre. The Chief Minister said Kerala also should get one more smart city besides Kochi.Talking about the delay in completion of 500 km Gail pipeline across the state due to land acquisition issues, he said land had been acquired for laying the pipeline up to 350 km. The issue of rubber farmers, reduction of air fares to gulf were also discussed with the Prime Minister, he said. The Prime Minister later left for Delhi and was seen off by Kerala Governor, P Sathasivam, Chandy and other dignitaries.

Post Tamil Nadu rains, Jayalalithha urges PM Modi to postpone Civil Service examinations

The “hardship” faced by the students would place the candidates at a “distinct disadvantage” as compared to candidates from other parts of the country, she said.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Stating that students from the state taking up civil service examinations were affected by heavy rains and floods, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to postpone the examinations by two months for “adequate preparations” for them.”I understand that Union Public Services Commission proposes to conduct Civil Services (Main) Examination, 2015, from December 18 to 23. The devastation caused by the recent floods in Chennai has largely interrupted various services including the supply of electricity”, she said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Students all over from Tamil Nadu appearing for civil services examinations use Chennai as the main centre for preparation”, she said in her letter to Modi.”Their life has been completely disrupted in the last few weeks and they were unable to concentrate and study for the examination”, she said.The “hardship” faced by the students would place the candidates at a “distinct disadvantage” as compared to candidates from other parts of the country, she said.”As this has been a calamity of severe magnitude affecting a large population, I request you to kindly take up the issue with the Union Public Service Commission and have the Civil Services (Main) examination, 2015, postponed by at least two months”, she said.It would enable the students from Tamil Nadu to appear in the examinations with “adequate preparation” and would place them on level playing field with their counterparts, she said. She said life was returning to normalcy in many parts of the city and other flood-affected areas as there has been dry weather over the last few days.Various school and University examinations were already postponed by the Government due to floods, she said.

Chennai Floods: PIL alleges faulty release of reservoir water, demands action against Tamil Nadu officials

Businessman-activist Rajiv Rai has filed a PIL in the Madras High Court on Thursday, asking for action to be taken against certain Tamil Nadu government officials.

Businessman-activist Rajiv Rai has filed a PIL in the Madras High Court on Thursday, asking for action to be taken against certain Tamil Nadu government officials.A report in The New Indian Express states that he has filed the PIL against those officials who were responsible for the unannounced and late release of water from the Chembarambakkam reservoir. Rai also asked for an investigation to be conducted by a high-powered committee headed by a former judge of the high court or Supreme Court as to why the flooding was caused in the city <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rai has alleged that the release of excess water on December 1 from the Chembarambakkam reservoir caused the flooding in the city. In his petition, he stated, “If one studies the levels of water in the various catchment tanks on a daily basis, one can see that the reservoirs had much greater inflow than outflow right through November 2015. Some Standard Operating Procedures ought to have been in place whereby water was let off from Chembarambakkam and other reservoirs in stages and not held back till the fateful night of December 1, 2015.”The petition alleges that state Chief Secretary K Gnanadesikan waited for three days after the Public Works Department (PWD) wrote to him on November 29 to release water from the Chembarambakkam reservoir. “The chief secretary, even though he was well aware of the reports that there was going to be heavy downpour for a few more days, didn’t direct the release of the water when he received the warning from PWD. The said act of the chief secretary and other officials is willful and resulted in loss of over 280 lives and caused damage to property… Court should form an independent committee to investigate the matter and punish the officials for failure to perform their duty, as it amounted to nothing short of manslaughter,” stated the PIL.

What Maharashtra sex workers did for Chennai flood victims will blow your mind

“These women were restless since the last four days, when they came to know of the deluge in Chennai. They decided that they should do something to help residents there,” Snehalaya founder Girish Kulkarni said.

File photo of Chennai floods

Sex workers from Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district dipped into their savings and survived on just one meal a day to collect Rs 1 lakh, that was donated by them on Monday towards relief work in rain-ravaged Chennai. The sex workers handed over a cheque of Rs 1 lakh to District Collector Anil Kawade at an event organised by NGO Snehalaya in Ahmednagar, about 250km from here. “These women were restless since the last four days, when they came to know of the deluge in Chennai. They decided that they should do something to help residents there,” Snehalaya founder Girish Kulkarni said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”They said such a great calamity has befallen Tamil Nadu and they needed to contribute to the relief work. They set aside this amount by saving and even had just one meal in a day,” he said. “Of the around 3,000 sex workers in the district, in western Maharashtra, almost 2,000 contributed to the relief fund,” he said. “We are in touch with Delhi-based NGO Goonj for ensuring further relief to the people of Chennai,” Kulkarni added.

Chennai floods: Brand Amma could take a severe beating for inefficiency

The Jayalalithaa government may face a severe impact in the upcoming 2016 elections.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
When Jayalalithaa was voted into power as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, the expectations from here were high. People felt that she could undo all the wrongs done by the previous government focus on the people of the state. And she did. The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu did everything from setting up Amma Canteens, Amma Water, Amma Cement to launching a state health scheme that provided plenty of free benefits for women and children.But what happened during the rains and ensuing floods that hit Chennai and many parts of Tamil Nadu – especially over the week – is a completely different story. The state machinery that should have kicked into action immediately on December 2 in rescuing and providing relief to people seems to have gone missing in action.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>TASMAC​ open despite the rainsWhile it was pouring incessantly with houses and buildings being submerged in three to five feet of water, the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation liquor shops were fully functional. In fact, they even functioned under candlelight when power was out. Many of the inebriated men were found to be harassing women. Citizens were heard complaining about how this seemed to be the one state department that seemed to functioning extremely efficiently during this horrific time in the city. Many people have requested that the TASMAC shops be shut for a few weeks till the city returns to normalcy.Related read: Jet Airways partners with NGO to provide relief to rain-hit Tamil NaduAmma stickers on relief itemsWhile thousands of people were trying to get one meal a day and struggling to rebuild their lives, many men who were allegedly AIADMK volunteers were busy sticking Amma posters on relief supplies that were being distributed – not by the state – but by ordinary citizens. People on Twitter alleged that trucks carrying relief supplies were being allowed to pass through to areas only if the items had Amma posters on them. The efforts of good samaritans were seen to be hijacked by AIADMK denies allegations of relief materials being allowed only after carrying Jayalalithaa stickerspartymen who had nothing to do with the massive relief efforts undertaken by the public. There was outrage by people on social media as well as those who were suffering. Also read: AIADMK denies allegations of relief materials being allowed only after carrying Jayalalithaa stickersCitizens perform relief and rescue operationsCitizens of Chennai came together and mobilised relief and rescue efforts. Today, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp are filled with groups who are diligently working 24X7 mobilising relief supplies and teams to distribute them. Volunteers have come out in thousands to help Chennai and Cuddalore. People in other states are collecting relief materials and sending them by the truckloads. The big question being asked where are the partymen to help people and where is the state machinery on the ground? A state minister and partymen who visited parts of North Chennai were heckled when they finally did turn up to see the ravaged area.Also read: Meet the men behind #ChennaiMicro- RJ Balaji talks about spearheading relief work with SiddharthIn lieu of all this, Brand Amma could take a severe beating and have an impact on the impending elections in 2016.

Chennai Floods: What it’s really like to deliver aid in a disaster zone

While there has been an outpouring of aid from people all over the world, the unsettling truth of the hour is that it is an impossible task to provide aid to a population of over 4.5 million people solely through private donations.

Relief packets being distributed in a waterlogged locality.

It’s Monday and Chennai is once again bustling with energy. At first glance, except for a few puddles and stray heaps of mangled debris along the roadside, there are few indications of a city that has lost more than 270 lives in the floods last week. However, the reality is starkly different.As one moves away from the main roads into the bylanes of Chennai, a contrasting image emerges. Lorries and SUVs unabashedly plastered with Amma stickers ply the narrow streets of the worst affected areas carrying food and water. “The people don’t care so much for food anymore. There are so many groups providing food. Yesterday, we took two food varieties – chappati kurma and lemon rice. People preferred the chappati kurma – it’s tastier than the rather dry lemon rice. They’ve started developing preferences as there is surplus,” says Natraj an organising member of a civilian relief camp at Lalit Mahal in Mandavelli, Chennai. Relief centre co-ordinators and field-workers alike have acknowledged that there is enough food and water to go around now. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Who really needs aid?Though the Tamil Nadu government was a full 48 hours late in beginning to provide rescue and relief, they’ve certainly played catch up and are now doing a commendable job providing sustenance aid for the worst affected areas. But helping the worst affected areas is just the tip of the iceberg – these areas are also those with the highest visibility and subsequently receive the most amount of aid. There are several neighbourhoods in and around Chennai that have lost everything, but haven’t been able to receive aid because their neighbourhoods technically don’t fall under the ‘worst affected areas’ category.On the ground, there seems to be a sense of pride amongst volunteers, both civilian and government, in being able to offer help to the ‘people who need it the most’. And for some reason, this measure seems to be inferred by the levels of water stagnation that each area was subject to. In reality, whether water levels were 4ft or 12ft, the tragedy of a submerged home is just that. The need of the hourThe real need of the hour for people who’ve lost everything seems to be basics like blankets, floor mats, pillows, mosquito coils, hygiene products and basic provisions. “My mother is sitting on the streets. There is absolutely nothing except the roof and the floor remaining in what used to be our home. The walls have been washed away. It’s the home I grew up in. We’ve lost everything we’ve ever owned,” says a tearful Kanniamma, whose family lives in Jafferkhanpet. Kanniamma isn’t alone. There are several lakhs of people in Chennai who’ve lost all their life’s savings and possessions and have to start afresh.Information economy and the Chennai floodsOver the last six days, a highly complex but workable information web emerged in Chennai. As most of the city quickly lost electricity and telephone connectivity to the torrential rains, it was almost impossible to identify the areas that were at risk of being submerged and needed help. With very little TV coverage and a tight-lipped government, it was up to the common man to organise the first-response rescue efforts. Chennaivasis who still had power and internet transformed into digital volunteers, not sleeping a wink through several nights. Powered by the deluge of information collated through word-of-mouth, on-ground reports from rescue volunteers and SOS messages on social media from their loved ones all over the world, a pattern of the most affected neighbourhoods in Chennai emerged. The twitter hashtags #chennairainshelp #chennairains #chennaifloods and #verified became the lifeline of the entire civilian rescue operation. Vithun Ravindhran, a digital information volunteer says, “I’ve hardly slept for a few hours in the last six days. But the very thought that my updates could save someone’s life on the ground keeps me going. The group effort of Chennai’s volunteers has managed to save the lives of thousands. I’ll only stop when no one’s life is in danger anymore,” he says. Related Read – Chennai floods: Here are some tips for volunteers working on the groundThe challenges of delivering aid in a disaster zoneWhile there has been an outpouring of aid from people all over the world, the unsettling truth of the hour is that it is an impossible task to provide aid to a population of over 4.5 million people solely through private donations. “Yesterday we almost got mob-lynched by 300 aggressive people who isolated, surrounded and violently banged on our cars as they spotted blankets being stacked up inside the car. It was the scariest experience of my life. We had to return without distributing the supplies as they’d have surely broken into the car and beaten us up if we had stayed there any longer. Our fellow-volunteers who are professional body-builders had to push away the people so that the car could move out of the narrow street. It only goes to demonstrate the level of desperation and dire need that the people are in,” says Srisai Sivakumar, an on-ground volunteer.This is not an isolated incident, Sam Paul, another volunteer who spearheaded massive relief works in Chennai, made a post on his Facebook wall warning volunteers not to go into affected areas without the support of the local leader or strongman. Other volunteers have said that the Chennai city police have been of massive help in accompanying civilian volunteers and helping them distribute aid. The reality of the situation is that there just isn’t enough aid available. Distributing limited aid in one of the most densely populated cities in the world, unfortunately means that the fittest victim will receive the most. Relief material packed for distributionMoving from relief to rehabilitationBig FM’s RJ Balaji another volunteer who used his celebrity status to bring together a big volunteer group, put out a video yesterday saying that they were going to stop all the relief efforts starting Monday, 7 December. “We did whatever little we could in the last five days. All of this has only been immediate relief. But long-term relief for the affected people cannot be attained just by giving them a packet of biscuit, milk or water. In order to take this relief work to the next level, it has to turn into rehabilitation work.”With the water-levels receding and Chennai returning to business-as-usual, the affected people are now grappling with the reality of having to rebuild their lives from scratch. Donations and aid have begun dwindling down and most volunteers have returned to their day jobs today. Chennai is slowly emerging from the worst flooding it has seen in a century – but the big question looming over everyone’s heads is this – What is the real function of a state government that meticulously kept its money-churning liquor shops open throughout the deluge, but failed miserably in organising rescue and relief for a full 48 hours? The author is a Communications Specialist who was born and raised in Chennai. She volunteered as a digital and on-ground volunteer during the Chennai floods.Also Read: Notes from the Chennai Floods: Better off than most

Chennai floods: Aid stickers fuel anger

Relief workers allege they are being forced to paste stickers of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalitha on flood aid coming into Chennai.

Dear people of Chennai, NASA hasn’t predicted a hurricane or excess rainfall

File Photo

A WhatsApp message has been doing the rounds in Chennai which warns people about a ‘hurricane’ and ‘250cm rainfall in Chennai’. The message claims that the aforementioned information was a warning from NASA. The complete message reads:Guys CHENNAI IS ON HIGH ALERT NOW!!! NASA has warned INDIA tat CHENNAI will suffer ah very very high rainfall with a hurricane !!! NASA has given 2 dates 21,22 …on these 2 days unpredictable rainfall in the history of INDIA will lash tamilnadu …the rainfall will be about 250 cm in CHENNAI!!! So indian central gov has now deployed 3000 NDRF to tamilnadu and border security force and airforce and army on the toes….!! NASA’s prediction never miss….! Watch CNN IBN they r telecasting the live show….!!<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to The NewMinute , the MET department has predicted only light showers in Chennai on Wednesday and IBN hasn’t made any such telecast. Whatsapp groups often carry bizarre messages and an earlier one claimed that NASA had predicted an earthquake in India.The latest situation in Chennai Intermittent rains today and forecast of more over the next two days kept Chennai, its suburbs and coastal districts on their toes even as normal life appeared to be returning to the flood-ravaged areas. All flight operations, domestic and international, and train services from both Chennai Central and Egmore are to resume tomorrow as water levels in the Adyar and Cooum rivers receded enabling authorities to restore tracks this afternoon. Throughout Sunday, there have been intermittent rains, which were at times heavy, in Chennai, its suburbs, Kanchipuram, Thiruvallur and Cuddalore districts where the weatherman has predicted more rains for the next 48 hours.Rain-battered Cuddalore is likely to get heavy to very heavy showers, Meteorological department said, adding that today’s showers were due to a twin weather system, including formation of a new trough of low pressure over Bay of Bengal along the Tamil Nadu coast. Chennai city, which has been experiencing intermittent rains, would continue to be cloudy and rain or thundershowers, at times heavy, are likely. Power supply has been restored in several areas, while it continued to be disconnected in many others where water has not receded as a measure of precaution.Ravaged by heavy rains last week which crippled services, several private and public sector banks operated today. A big chunk of private and public sector banks functioned to clear the backlog caused by the rains which had paralysed ATM services. As a precautionary measure, the state government has declared holidays for schools and colleges tomorrow in the districts, including Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur.All domestic and international flights from Chennai, both day and night, will resume from tomorrow morning after partial day-time services operated today.”….availability of Chennai airport for all weather day and night operations for all flights for which domestic and international terminals will be available from 6 am of 7.12.2015,” an Airport Authority of India statement said here late this evening. This followed an inspection by DGCA for night operations, an AAI spokesman said. The airport was shut down last Tuesday night after heavy downpour flooded the runway and all other operating areas. Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathy Raju is likely to visit Chennai airport tomorrow to make an on-the-spot inspection.
With agency inputs

Chennai floods: Rahul Gandhi may visit city on December 8

Torrential rains have left at least 245 people dead since October 1, according to Tamil Nadu government.

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi is likely to visit flood-affected parts of Chennai this week. Sources in the party said that Gandhi is likely to visit there on December 8. The flood-ravaged city was struggling to return to normalcy with partial restoration of telecommunication and train services, besides many roads also becoming fairly motorable even as water-logging woes continued in several areas.Torrential rains have left at least 245 people dead since October 1, according to Tamil Nadu government. The situation took a turn for the worse on Tuesday with large areas of the city flooded. The deluge destroyed crucial road and rail links, shutdown the airport, snapped power and telecom lines and left lakhs of people stranded. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Chennai floods: KSRTC comes to rescue of people stranded in city

In the meantime, normalcy is returning in most parts of Chennai at a faster pace with the sky remaining clear, except for occasional showers at isolated locations.

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has kicked off free bus services for flood-hit people from Chennai to Bengaluru after every eight hours. “As incessant rains in costal Tamil Nadu have hit the people financially and many of them don?t have money left with them. We have started free bus services for the flood-hit people from Chennai to Bengaluru after every eight hours since Friday night”? said KSRTC Managing Director Rajendra Kataria divulging details of the service.”Besides, we will transport relief materials to flood-hit Chennai free of cost. We are doing our bit to provide some relief to the flood-affected people as part of our social responsibility,” said Kataria. “Earlier, we used to ply nearly 40 buses between the two cities, which was affected by floods in Chennai and got reduced to just 20. Chennai-bound passengers also reduced dramatically. However, there is a sudden spurt in demand of more buses from Chennai, as many people want to come to this side (in search of a safe haven). Hence, for the past few days, we have been plying 55 buses between the two cities, which are ferrying 5,000-6,000 people everyday,” he elaborated. “Even as most of the buses are running empty from one side (from Bengaluru) and have incurred a loss of Rs. 50-60 lakh so far to the KSRTC, we never charged extra fare from the travellers. Normally, we charge extra fare when we ply additional buses. Apart from these, following a request from the Maharashtra Government to evacuate 150 students from the state stuck in IIT Chennai, we have arranged three buses for them as well,” Kataria added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the meantime, normalcy is returning in most parts of Chennai at a faster pace with the sky remaining clear, except for occasional showers at isolated locations. Telecommunication and train services have been partially restored, besides many roads have also become fairly motorable. In Chennai, the availability of essential items like milk, candles and petroleum and diesel remain an area of concern.Naval vessels INS Shakti and INS Shyadhri arrived Chennai port with fresh loads of relief materials. After conducting an aerial survey of flood-hit areas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a financial relief of Rs. 1,000 crore for flood-hit Tamil Nadu.

Kamal Haasan’s criticises AIADMK’s flood relief measures; Jaya’s minister not amused

The actor was ‘confused’ and had ‘blabbered’ unaware of the ground reality, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister O Panneerselvam said.

Taking strong exception to film star Kamal Haasan’s reported criticism of ruling AIADMK’s flood relief activities, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister O Panneerselvam today charged the actor with becoming a ‘puppet’ of those who tried to gain political mileage in such situations.In a strongly-worded statement, Panneerselvam, considered Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s ‘Man Friday’, also explained to the actor the government’s spending in social sectors and disaster management and advised him to go through the budget “by allocating time in between his movie shootings”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Panneerselvam’s retort comes in the wake of the actor’s reported criticism in a section of media, where he had purportedly said the “system has collapsed” and that he was making donations since the government had asked him and reportedly expressed his displeasure over it.”In an extraordinary situation where Chennai had received over 40 cm of rainfall in a single day resulting in flooding, instead of being supportive of the Amma (Jayalalithaa) government, he has made wrong statement which is above his qualification,” Panneerselvam said. The actor was ‘confused’ and had ‘blabbered’ unaware of the ground reality, he said.Explaining government’s relief measures, he said though the state was returning to normalcy after rains in earlier part of November, it once again struggled as it received rain in excess of 40 cm last week, a record after 1918.”In a film produced by him, he may set right natural disaster in just one scene or a song. But reality is different. Normalcy can be restored only with proper planning and over a period of time which Amma (Jayalalithaa) is doing expeditiously,” Panneerselvam said. “If he wants to know about natural disaster, he should once again watch his movie Anbe Sivam,” he said. The movie, also starring R Madhavan, deals with the trials and tribulations of two protagonists stuck in a deluge.On Jayalalithaa’s instructions, over 40,000 government staff were involved in flood relief, 300 boats employed while some 12 lakh affected persons had been rescued and lodged in camps. So far, some 55 lakh food packets have been distributed and over 23,000 medical camps held, he said. “In such a situation, saying that the entire system has collapsed, is not only contrary to facts, but also amounts to insulting the people of Tamil Nadu,” he said.He also lambasted the actor for questioning what happened to the taxpayer’s money as government solicited contributions. “His statement shows that he has become a puppet of people who eye political mileage in such a situation,” he said, referring to a Tamil saying which means grabbing available valuables from a burning house.The Minister said Kamal Haasan should clarify if he had ‘sold himself out’ to any ‘evil force’ which aims at creating an illusion that tax payers’ money was ‘misappropriated’ by the government, and thus malign its reputation among people.”Even the Rs 679 crore tax payers’ money allotted for disaster mitigation in the budget for year 2015-16 is being spent now,” he said, adding that the actor need not have any doubt about where the money was going and insisted that Jayalalithaa was keen to ensure taxes were not wasted.Her government was not seeking ‘alms’ from the actor, but he was trying to gain ‘cheap publicity’ by making an offer claiming he was doing it for people, Panneerselvam said.Referring to the actor’s outburst at the height of the ‘Vishwaroopam’ controversy where he threatened to leave the country in the face of strong protests from Muslim bodies, the Minister sought to remind him that it was Jayalalithaa who helped solve the stand-off.But the actor had forgotten thanking Jayalalithaa then and had made such remarks now, he said.Further, the government had not sought any contribution from him, but only from the Centre even as many good-hearted individuals and state governments where making voluntary donations considering it a noble deed, he said. “The Tamil tradition is to not beg from anyone and turn down charity,” he said. In fact, Telugu actor Allu Arjun, had committed to providing Rs 25 lakh for the city where he stayed for 18 years, Panneerselvam said.On the actor’s comment that ‘ruling party’ was spending Rs 4,000 crore on corporate projects and why it could not be divided among 120 crore people of India, Panneerselvam wondered if the question was directed at the Centre. “Don’t know why he is asking that question now. Probably he is angry that (Centre) has not waived the service tax levied on cinema industry,” he remarked sarcastically.Referring to a recent ad-film featuring the actor, Panneerselvam said there were reports that he had donated the Rs 15 crore he charged as his payment, to an NGO which had only denied such reports.”We cannot be tolerating Kamal Haasan’s blabbering just because he is a big actor or makes big films. People of Tamil Nadu who have complete faith in Chief Minister Amma will never believe or accept them,” he said.

Chennai floods: Relief materials allegedly being allowed only after carrying Jayalalithaa stickers

Several people have taken to Twitter and have alleged that relief materials are being allowed only when they carry a mandatory sticker of Jayalalithaa.

Relief packages carrying stickers with J. Jayalalaithaa’s picture on it

Image Credit: Twitter (Anitha Sridhar)
Even as Chennai battles historic floods, power cuts and shortage of essential commodities, relief materials are being allowed into certain parts of the city only if they carry a sticker of Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa, according to a report in an English daily. Several people have taken to Twitter and have alleged that relief materials are being allowed only when they carry a mandatory sticker of the CM.The images shared also allegedly show AIADMK volunteers sticking posters and fliers on relief packets. These incidents were reported mostly in Chennai and Cuddalore. What went viral was Jayalalithaa’s poster depicting her as Baahubali, apparently implying that she was the one suffering during the floods in Tamil Nadu.One user lamented the alleged behaviour of AIADMK workers in the time of crisis.An angry mob spilled on to the streets when senior ministers Natham Viswanathan, Sellur Raju and Gokul Indira visited RK Nagar, Jayalalithaa’s constituency, and gheraoed and heckled them over the issue.At a press conference held on Friday in the Secretariat, the power minister Natham Viswanathan and Chief Secretary Gnanadesikan claimed that rescue works carried on by the government were were “extraordinary” and also blamed the opposition for criticism on relief work. The government ministers claimed that the opposition’s reaction was a politically-motivated move in order to influence assembly elections that would take place in early 2016.

Airlines flight rates skyrocket due to Chennai floods

AFP
With the Chennai rains creating havoc in the Tamil Nadu capital, private air carriers have increased the air fare rates manifold. A round-trip ticket between Delhi to Bangalore, which is the closest major airport to Chennai and is now attracting a heavy influx of air traffic, now ranges anywhere between Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000.As the Chennai airport has been shut down due to the floods since November 30, passengers are opting for flights to Bangalore.A round-trip flight ticket between Delhi and Bangalore on GoAir ranges between Rs 34,000 to Rs 42,000. In Jet Airways, in the same sector, the flights cost anywhere between Rs 46,000 to Rs 75,000. Spice Jet flights in the same sector are between Rs 41,000 to Rs 56,000.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chennai airport will resume operations today. It must be added that on ThursdayJet Airways announced that they will fully refund for cancelled tickets, and rescheduling of confirmed tickets will be free of charge on flights between December 1 and December 8, operating from Chennai.In August this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his concerns over the recent hikes in airfares, saying that a layperson will not be able to book tickets during an emergency. He held a meeting with aviation ministry officials and sought to address the issue of predatory pricing. “Airlines need to reduce fares and not hike them particularly when it comes to emergency travel like in medical emergency,” minister of state for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma had said then.It must also be added that early last month the Delhi government levied a 5% hike on the value added tax on jet fuel. After the hike, which became effective November 17, a kilolitre of jet fuel now costs Rs 44,846 per kilolitre, with a hike of Rs 1,795. Sudhakar Reddy, president of Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) said that this rampant cheating of the public must be addressed.“There are sectors where the hike is above 300%. The airlines must not overcharge passengers during an emergency. One understands hikes during festivals, but during a natural calamity this is rampant cheating,” he said. A few private airlines I have spoken to have cited usual last moment hikes, which is not the case,” says Reddy.He said that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is toothless in its demeanor and must act as an effective watchdog. Repeated attempts to get i touch with several officials at DGCA went in vain.

Chennai rains: 18 patients die in MIOT hospital due to flooding of generator room

peaking to reporters, some relatives of those dead alleged that those on life support like ventilator and oxygen could not be continuously given such backup as the generator room was flooded.

Eighteen patients died in a hospital here allegedly due to flooding of generator room and resultant snap of ventilator and oxygen support as Tamil Nadu government indicted the hospital management for “abandoning” its job and said the incident will be probed.Over the past several days when rains ravaged the city, a well-known private hospital on the banks of the Adyar river in Manapakkanam here was hit by flood in parts of its premises and according to the government 18 died in the past two to three days. As there was no electricity, the hospital was run on generator. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to reporters, some relatives of those dead alleged that those on life support like ventilator and oxygen could not be continuously given such backup as the generator room was flooded. “Out of 75 ICU patients in that hospital, 57 ventilator patients were moved out. The remaining patients died over the past two three days. Let us not jump the gun to say that the patients died due to power failure,” Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan told reporters.Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary K Gnanadesikan told a press conference here that hospital management “abandoned” their job of guarding the interests of their patients and the state walked the extra-mile in protecting the interests of all patients in all public and private hospitals. “The (hospital) management abandoned their job,” he said adding the private hospital authorities should have set up their generator room in the first floor as the premises was in a low-lying area pretty close to river Adyar. To another question on action against the hospital, he said “the law would take its course.” Radhakrishnan explained how the government extended all support to private hospitals including ensuring oxygen supply and shifting of patients from inundated hospitals. He said he had visited the hospital where 18 died and found that the generators had ceased functioning due to inundation and that the hospital had no standby generators.Seven 108 ambulances were deployed to transport patients to private and a government hospital. Also, out of the 18 dead, the bodies of four were taken away by the kin of the dead and the remaining 14 were taken to the Government Royapettah Hospital as there was power in the mortuary of MIOT Hospital.

Chennai floods: How NDRF is using social media to reach out to people

The Excel-sheet helps the officers on the ground to send the SoS requests to the working teams which are tasked with the area and zone-wise rescue operations, the official added.

Reprsentational Image

Deployed in rescue and relief operations in flood-hit Chennai, NDRF personnel are using social media and the internet to reach out to those in distress with a desk here working 24/7 to ensure that the affected people receive help. A small office desk at the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) headquarters here has picked up over 1,000 strands of vital information on social media and internet and is posting responses to those requesting help. The Information Technology wing of the force, which is being manned round-the-clock by a posse of over a dozen NDRF personnel, is posting assurances to every SoS call made online in the wake of the flood crisis in the southern metropolis.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thus, the force is responding with messages like ‘noted’, ‘we will do the needful’, ‘will do our best possible’, ‘noted and passed to field teams’ and ‘pls provide full address’ to calls for help by Chennai dwellers. NDRF chief OP Singh is getting hourly updates on his personal mobile phone about the social media response of the force and has also instructed the team to ensure that “each and every” tweet, email, Whatsapp message, SMS or phone call is acknowledged. “We have been getting these messages for the last three- four days… initially, we used to pick the information and send it across to our field units in Chennai and Arakkonam for immediate action, but I thought we need to personally assure the people who either seek help themselves or on behalf of their family or friends.”Half the battle is won when our official twitter handle or email says ‘noted’, which is an assurance to say that we are working on the distress call. The person on the other side feels he or she is being heard and cared for,” Singh told PTI before taking a special flight to the southern state for a review of the situation there. The 12,000-strong force, at the latest count, had received and responded to 339 tweets on its official handle ‘@NDRFHQ’ or through ‘#NDRF’ along with 501 emails, 613 phone calls and 13 messages on Whatsapp. A further 200 such messages are being replied to, it was learnt. “We pick up information from all social media avenues and immediately send it to our field teams, manned by two DIG rank officers in Tamil Nadu, in an Excel sheet format via the V-SAT system activated exclusively for these tasks,” a senior NDRF official said.The Excel-sheet helps the officers on the ground to send the SoS requests to the working teams which are tasked with the area and zone-wise rescue operations, the official added. The calls received on the two helpline numbers — 011-24363260, 09711077372 — are routed to the NDRF On-Site Emergency Operation Coordination Centre (OSOCC) at Kilpauk in Chennai via satellite phone updates, said its Information Technology wing head and Assistant Commandant, Krishan Kumar.Meanwhile, through its twitter handle, the force is also uploading pictures of the operation that is currently underway in the Tamil Nadu state capital. NDRF has also created a smart, SMS-based system to regularly update all field commanders, senior officials and authorities in the Union Home Ministry and send regular notifications regarding requirements during such long-haul counter-disaster operations.

Chennai floods: Fuel supply takes a hit across rain-hit city

Supply of fuel in Chennai has taken a hit due to “logistic problems” faced by oil companies, even as availability of essential commodities like milk, water and vegetables remain affected across Tamil Nadu on Friday.

Reuters
Supply of fuel in Chennai has taken a hit due to “logistic problems” faced by oil companies, even as availability of essential commodities like milk, water and vegetables remain affected across Tamil Nadu on Friday.Since most of the places across Chennai and its suburbs have been cut off due to heavy rain, oil tankers were unable to transport fuel, according to Indian Oil Corporation officials.Absence of tanker drivers has compounded the problem.”There are stocks available for supply of fuel, but tanker drivers have not reported for work as their families were affected by the floods. It is the logistics problem we are facing now,” an IOCL spokesperson told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Motorists were seen standing in large queues for several hours at some fuel outlets where there was supply. The fuel supply maybe restored soon as water level was receding in several areas, the official said.Essential commodities, however, remained in scarce supply. While supply of state-run Aavin-milk packets were totally hit, a packet of one litre milk sold by private suppliers was priced at Rs 90, whereas 1 kg tomato was available at Rs 80/90.

Rains ease in flood-hit Chennai

The southern Indian city of Chennai (Madras) is experiencing a respite from rains, but forecasts of more showers remain in place.

IRCTC to dispatch 1 lakh Rail Neer bottles to Chennai

IRCTC, a PSU of railway, had supplied the packaged drinking water to the flood-affected people in Kashmir.

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will dispatch one lakh bottles of Rail Neer to Chennai, which is currently reeling under devastating floods. “In the first lot, we have dispatched 60,000 one-litre Rail Neer bottles to the affected people of Chennai, who are facing one of the worst natural calamities to hit the capital city of Tamil Nadu,” said IRCTC CMD AK Manocha. He said the bottles have been handed over to the corporation of Chennai and more such consignments will follow after assessing the requirements.IRCTC, a PSU of railway, had supplied the packaged drinking water to the flood-affected people in Kashmir, the earth quake victims in Nepal and Maldivian capital of Male where that country’s only desalination plant had caught fire. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>IRCTC’s five Rail Neer plants at Nangloi (Delhi), Danapur (Bihar), Palur (Chennai), Ambernath (Maharashtra) and Amethi – have a combined capacity of about 6.8 lakh litres of packaged drinking water a day.

Tamil Nadu rains: Centre suspends toll collection on National Highways in state

The order is to come into force with immediate effect and has been issued to ease the rescue.

Government on Wednesday said it has ordered suspension of toll collection on all National Highways in Tamil Nadu till December 11 in view of the flood situation caused by unprecedented rains in the state. “In view of the flood situation caused by unprecedented rains in Tamil Nadu, the Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari has ordered suspension of toll collection on all National Highways in the state till December 11, 2015,” an official statement said.The order is to come into force with immediate effect and has been issued to ease the rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations being undertaken by various central and state agencies on war footings and to help the stranded and marooned people in different parts of the state, the statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rescue and relief operations were in full swing today in the worst flood-affected areas of Chennai and suburbs and neighbouring districts, which enjoyed a welcome respite from torrential rains as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a Rs 1,000 crore more aid to Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Nadu government on war footing to rescue survivors: Jayalalithaa

Jayalalithaa said despite her government’s preventive efforts, the state had suffered severe damage on account of the heavy rainfall during the Northeast monsoon.

Tamil Nadu government is providing massive relief and coordinating rescue operations with central forces in the flood-hit areas of Chennai, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore and Kanchipuram districts, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said on Wednesday after conducting an aerial survey of the affected areas. State government authorities from various departments have been directed to take stock of the situation in the flood-affected districts of the state and provide immediate and necessary assistance to the affected people, she said in a statement. Jayalalithaa said despite her government’s preventive efforts, the state had suffered severe damage on account of the heavy rainfall during the Northeast monsoon. Thousands of stranded residents were rescued from various locations in the state, especially Chennai, by the Indian Air Force, NDRF and Navy using boats and helicopters. The people were shifted to relief camps, where they were provided food packets, baby food, water, mattresses and medicines, her statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Steps are being taken to prevent outbreak of water-borne diseases. Officials of the state-run Aavin have been instructed to provide milk powder to people at relief camps, she said. Jayalalithaa had yesterday also detailed the various steps taken by the government to tackle the situation in Chennai and other flood-hit districts. Various ministers, including O Paneerselvam, have been deputed to take charge of the relief works in different districts. Senior IAS officials have also been tasked to ensure that relief reaches the people in the worst-affected Chennai and other districts.

President Pranab Mukherjee hopes Tamil Nadu people will overcome flood tragedy with dignity

“Saddened by loss of human lives & serious damage to infrastructure in Chennai due to heavy rains,” President Mukherjee said in his tweet.

Chennai floods

PTI
President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday condoled the loss of lives and damage to infrastructure in Chennai and several others parts of Tamil Nadu due to heavy rains.”Saddened by loss of human lives & serious damage to infrastructure in Chennai due to heavy rains,” President Mukherjee said in his tweet.”My prayers and good wishes are with the people of Tamil Nadu during this difficult time,” he added.He expressed confidence that the people of Tamil Nadu will overcome the tragedy with “fortitude and dignity”.Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa also conducted an aerial survey of flood affected areas of Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallu.Home Minister Rajnath Singh will also make a statement in the Parliament on the current flood situation in Chennai.Meanwhile, the death toll in rain related incidents in the state has crossed 200. The rescue operation by the NDRF teams is in full swing.

Executive’s power to remit sentence can’t be taken away: Supreme Court judges

Justices U U Lalit and A M Sapre, who concurred with other three judges led by Chief Justice H L Dattu on six questions arising out of Tamil Nadu government’s decision to free killers of Rajiv Gandhi, differed on the issue

Supreme Court

Courts cannot take away the statutory powers of the Centre and the states to grant remission to convicts, two judges of the Supreme Court on Wednesday said in a dissenting verdict.Justices UU Lalit and A M Sapre, who concurred with other three judges led by Chief Justice HL Dattu on six questions arising out of Tamil Nadu government’s decision to free killers of Rajiv Gandhi, differed on the issue and said the courts cannot quantify the jail term leading to a situation where Executive is stopped from exercising their power of remission provided under CrPC.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In our view, it would not be open to the court to make any special category of sentence in substitution of death penalty and put that category beyond application of remission, nor would it be permissible to stipulate any mandatory period of actual imprisonment inconsistent with the one prescribed under Section 433A of CrPC,” Justice Lalit, who wrote 80-page long separate judgement, said. The verdict also said that the life imprisonment “means imprisonment for the rest of life or the remainder of life of the convict”.However, such a convict can “always apply for obtaining remission” either under the provisions of the Constitution or under CrPC and “the authority would be obliged to consider the same reasonably”. The three other judges namely CJI Dattu and justices FMI Kalifulla and P C Ghosh upheld the principles enunciated in the Swamy Shraddananda judgement which had said that “a special category of sentence may be made for very few cases where the death penalty might be substituted by the punishment of imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term in excess of 14 years” and they can put beyond the power of remission of the executives.Referring to the Shraddananda judgment, the majority view said that courts can ignore remission right in heinous crimes like mass murder and terrorism by awarding sentences ranging from 20 to 40 years unless it is not rarest of rare offences emitting death sentence.”We hold that the ratio laid down in Swamy Shraddananda that a special category of sentence, instead of death can be substituted by the punishment of imprisonment for life or for a term exceeding 14 years and put that category beyond application of remission is well-founded and we answer the said question in the affirmative,” the majority judgement said.

Tamil Nadu floods: I&B asks broadcasters to give more coverage to vital

Private television channels and other broadcasting media have also been communicating such information.

PTI
In view of floods in Tamil Nadu, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has asked all private broadcasters to enhance efforts at disseminating vital information related to the disaster on real-time basis. In a letter to various television and radio broadcasters, Joint Secretary (Broadcasting) R Jaya said that many agencies, including All India Radio and Doordarshan, have been disseminating vital information related to weather warnings, helplines, contact numbers of personnel, and on the ground situation in the flood-affected areas.Private television channels and other broadcasting media have also been communicating such information. Yet, it is found necessary to enhance the efforts at informing the public on vital matters concerning the situation so as to assist them in seeking and finding help whenever and wherever required.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Considering the gravity of the situation, the need for dissemination of critical and vital information regarding all aspects of the disaster on real-time basis has become all the more imperative, she said. “Now, therefore, it is requested that relevant and vital information which is of immediate requirement to the general public, as brought out by the concerned Government agencies, may kindly be telecast/broadcast by all concerned,” she said.

Tamil Nadu govt does not have power to release Rajiv Gandhi’s killers: Supreme Court

New Delhi: Dampening hopes of release for the killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the Centre has “primacy” over states’ right to grant remission and referred the issue of clemency for the assassins to a three-judge bench.

Virtually overturning the Tamil Nadu government’s clemency decision, it also said the state governments must secure “concurrence” of the Union government before freeing convicts in certain cases.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

A five-judge bench, which settled questions arising out of Tamil Nadu government’s decision to free Gandhi’s assassins, dealt elaborately with the situations where the Centre will prevail over states’ decision to grant remission which included cases where their powers are coextensive, where trial has been held under central laws or conducted by agencies like CBI, or when they pertain to death penalty.

The Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu, who demitted office today, also said that states cannot exercise “suo motu” the power to grant remission without any specific plea from the convicts.

“Having regard to the principles culled out in paragraph…, it is imperative that it is always safe and appropriate to hold that in those situations covered by sub-clauses (a) to (c) of Section 435(1) falling within the jurisdiction of the Central Government it will assume primacy and consequently the process of ‘Consultation’ in reality be held as the requirement of ‘Concurrence’,” the court said in its 258 page verdict.

The bench, also comprising justices F M I Kalifulla, P C Ghosh, A M Sapre and U U Lalit, was unanimous in answering all questions referred to it by a smaller bench, except one which related to the issue whether courts can quantify jail term in offences and consequently stop the states from remitting sentences in certain cases under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The bench also ordered that the case relating to the grant of remission to the killers of Gandhi be sent to a three-judge bench to deal with it in pursuance of guidelines laid down in the judgement.

“Now that we have answered the Reference in the matters, the matters will now be listed before an appropriate three learned Judges’ Bench for appropriate orders and directions in the light of the majority Judgement of this Court,” the Chief Justice said.

The court dealt extensively with questions as to whether the Section 432(7) of CrPC gives “primacy” to the Centre over states where either of two can exercise the power of remission and whether there can be two appropriate governments in a given case under the provision.

“The status of appropriate government, whether Union or the State Government, will depend upon the order of sentence passed by the Criminal Court as has been stipulated in Section 432(6)

“…..and, in the event of specific Executive Power conferred on the Centre under a law made by Parliament or under the Constitution itself, then in the event of conviction and sentence covered by the said law of Parliament or the provisions of the Constitution even if the Legislature of the State is also empowered to make a law on the same subject and coextensive, the Appropriate Government will be the Union Government having regard to the prescription contained in the proviso to Article 73(1)(a) of the Constitution,” it said.

The court dealt with instances where cases are registered under either state laws or the central laws and laid down the test to determine as to who will prevail and under which circumstances.

“The definition, therefore, makes it clear that insofar as it relates to commutation of death sentence, the Appropriate Government is the Central Government. That apart, if the sentence of death or life is for an offence against any law relating to a matter to which the Executive Power of the Union extends, then again, the ‘Appropriate Government’ is the Central Government,” it said.

Applying the principle stated in an apex court decision, the bench said that in other words, cases which fall within “the four corners of Section 432(7)(a) by virtue of specific Executive Power conferred on the Centre”, the Union government will have the “primacy” and would be treated as “appropriate government” having power to grant remission.

“Barring cases falling under Section 432(7)(a), in all other cases where the offender is sentenced or the sentence order is passed within the territorial jurisdiction of the concerned State, the state government,” it said. The apex court had on February 20 last year stayed the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to release three convicts -Murugan, Santhan and Arivu, whose death sentence had been commuted to life term by it two days before. The Supreme Court had later also stayed the release of four other convicts — Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, saying there were procedural lapses on part of the state government.

Santhan, Murugan and Arivu are currently lodged in the Central Prison, Vellore. The other four are also undergoing life sentence for their role in Gandhi’s assassination on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu.

The Center had asserted that the killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi did nor deserve any mercy as the assassination was the result of a conspiracy involving foreign nationals.

The Tamil Nadu government, on other had, had asserted the states have power to grant remission under the law and trashed accusations that its decision to release the seven convicts was “political and arbitrary”.

PTI

VIDEO: Floods bring Chennai to standstill

Fresh rains in the southern Indian city of Chennai (Madras) have caused serious flooding, with flights and trains suspended and hundreds of people without power.

Chennai floods: Arvind Kejriwal offers assistance to Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa

Kejriwal pledged his “fullest support” to people in misery following unprecedented downpur in the southern state that has already claimed several lives.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday offered all resources at the disposal of the Delhi government to Tamil Nadu in providing relief to the flood-affected people of Chennai and its suburbs. In a letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa,Kejriwal pledged his “fullest support” to people in misery following unprecedented downpur in the southern state that has already claimed several lives. The Delhi Chief Minister conveyed his deepest sympathies for the loss of life and property saying that his heart goes out to the people of Tamil Nadu in this hour of crisis. “I am deeply saddened to learn about the havoc wrecked by incessant rains in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu…I also pledge my fullest support and all resources at my disposal towards any cooperation required by you in your efforts to bring relief to the affected people of your state,” he said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chennai today turned a virtual island and several coastal areas of Tamil Nadu were marooned by flood waters after non-stop torrential rains pounded the city, its suburbs and neighbouring districts destroying crucial road and rail links, shutting the airport and rendering thousands homeless.

Maid’s arm chopped off: PM Modi seeks justice for victim from Saudi employer, says Sushma Swaraj

The 56-year-old maid hails from Mungileri village near Katpadi in Tamil Nadu. She has since returned home after the brutal attack in Riyadh in October.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought justice for a woman from Tamil Nadu whose arm was chopped off recently by her employer in Saudi Arabia.”The Prime Minister has sought justice for Kasthuri Munirathnam, whose arm was chopped off by her employer, during his recent meeting with Saudi ruler,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Lok Sabha during Question Hour. Modi had met Saudi King Salman Al Saud in Turkey on the margins of the G20 Summit on November 16.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 56-year-old maid hails from Mungileri village near Katpadi in Tamil Nadu. She has since returned home after the brutal attack in Riyadh in October. Swaraj said when the incident of Munirathnam came to light, the Indian Embassy immediately contacted the Saudi Arabian authorities and insisted on registering an attempt to murder case.”However, I am pained to say that the Saudi authorities soon issued a statement saying she fell down while trying to flee the house of her employer. We have not accepted this and continue to pursue the case to get her justice,” she said.The Minister said the government was working with several Gulf countries to stop exploitation of Indian labourers in those countries. Swaraj, who is also Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, said it was a common complaint that many employers in Gulf countries seize the passports of their Indian employees to ensure that they do not return home easily.To help such distressed Indian workers, she said, Indian missions often hold public grievance meetings to help them and try to retrieve such passports from their employers. If these efforts do not bear fruit, such distressed Indians are given emergency exit permit for their return.The Minister said the government has already decided that all Indians going abroad as domestic help must go through government-registered recruitment agencies so that no exploitation takes place. Swaraj said those who go abroad through unregistered recruitment agents in an unscrupulous manner can be termed as human trafficking.”We are trying to bring such activities under the ambit of Anti-Human Trafficking Act,” she said.The Minister said as per the information made available to the Ministry, there is no general pattern to indicate an increase in cases of exploitation or torture of Indian workers.

Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: SC says Tamil Nadu govt cannot release convicts without consent from Centre

“Tamil Nadu government cannot grant remission to convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case without concurrence of Centre. States do not have suo motu power to grant remission to convicts under CrPC provisions,” said the court.

Former PM Rajiv Gandhi

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the killers of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi cannot be released by the Tamil Nadu Government without the Centre’s consent.The apex court said the killers of the former prime minister will stay in the jails of Tamil Nadu, thus overruling the state government’s decision to release the convicts. “Tamil Nadu government cannot grant remission to convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case without concurrence of Centre. States do not have suo motu power to grant remission to convicts under CrPC provisions,” said the court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It further added, “Centre will have primacy in granting remission to convicts in cases registered under central law and probed by central agencies like CBI.”The Supreme Court, however, refers to a three-judge bench the factual and legal aspects of grant of remission to convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.The Supreme Court was pronouncing its verdict on constitutional issues arising from Tamil Nadu government’s decision to set free the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, including the power of states to remit sentences.The bench, also comprising justices FMI Kalifulla, Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, Abhay Manohar Sapre and UU Lalit, had reserved the judgement on August 12 after hearing for eleven days the arguments advanced by Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, who appeared for the Centre, and others including senior advocates Ram Jethmalani and Rakesh Dwivedi, representing V Sriharan alias Murugan, one of the seven convicts, and Tamil Nadu government respectively. The court would be dealing with seven issues framed by the smaller bench on the scope of the Executive’s power of remission.It was also supposed to decide whether state governments also have power of remission in cases where central agencies like CBI are the prosecutor.”The issue of such a nature has been raised for the first time in this court which has wide ramification in determining the scope of application of power of remission by the Executives, both the Centre and the State.”Accordingly, we refer this matter to the Constitution Bench to decide the issue pertaining to whether once power of remission under Article 72 (by the President) or 161 (by Governor) or by this Court exercising Constitutional power under Article 32 is exercised, is there any scope for further consideration for remission by the Executive,” the apex court had said while referring the matter to the Constitution bench.It had said the Constitution bench would decide whether the sentence of a prisoner, whose death penalty has been commuted to life, can be remitted by the government. The bench would also decide whether life imprisonment meant jail term for rest of the life or a convict has a right to claim remission, it had said.Another issue for the constitution bench to decide is whether a special category of sentence could be provided for cases where death penalty might be substituted by imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term in excess of 14 years and to put that category beyond application of remission.The bench is also supposed to decide whether the Union or the State has primacy over the subject matter enlisted in concurrent list of 7th Schedule of the Constitution for exercise of power of remission.During the hearing, Centre had said that repeated mercy pleas before the President and the Governor by convicts seeking remission or commutation of their sentences violated the principle of finality. It had also asserted that the killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi did nor deserve any mercy as the assassination was the result of a conspiracy involving foreign nationals.The Tamil Nadu government, on other had, had asserted the states have power to grant remission under the law and trashed accusations that its decision to release seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case was “political and arbitrary”.The state government had wanted to know as to why Congress governments at the centre delayed the decision on their mercy pleas that led to commutation of their death sentence in the first place.Jethmalani, appearing for one of the convicts, had sought dismissal of Centre’s plea, contending that the citizens could file writ petitions for enforcement of their fundamental rights and “Union of India is not a citizen but State under Article 12; it has no such rights vested in it”. The apex court had on February 20 last year stayed the state government’s decision to release three convicts – Murugan, Santhan and Arivu, whose death sentence had been commuted to life term by it two days before.It had later also stayed the release of four other convicts — Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, saying there were procedural lapses on part of the state government.Santhan, Murugan and Arivu are currently lodged in the Central Prison, Vellore. The other four are also undergoing life sentence for their role in Gandhi’s assassination on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu.(With PTI and ANI inputs)

Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: SC to pronounce verdict on setting convicts free

The bench, also comprising justices FMI Kalifulla, Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, Abhay Manohar Sapre and UU Lalit, had reserved the judgement on August 12

Rajiv Gandhi

dna Research & Archives
The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce on Wednesday its verdict on constitutional issues arising from Tamil Nadu government’s decision to set free the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, including the power of states to remit sentences.A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu, who would be demittimg office on Wednesday, would authoritatively deal with questions raised by the smaller bench while staying the state government’s decision to set free seven convicts in the sensational case.The bench, also comprising justices FMI Kalifulla, Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, Abhay Manohar Sapre and UU Lalit, had reserved the judgement on August 12 after hearing for eleven days the arguments advanced by Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, who appeared for the Centre, and others including senior advocates Ram Jethmalani and Rakesh Dwivedi, representing V Sriharan alias Murugan, one of the seven convicts, and Tamil Nadu government respectively. The court would be dealing with seven issues framed by the smaller bench on the scope of the Executive’s power of remission.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It would decide whether state governments also have power of remission in cases where central agencies like CBI are the prosecutor.”The issue of such a nature has been raised for the first time in this court which has wide ramification in determining the scope of application of power of remission by the Executives, both the Centre and the State.”Accordingly, we refer this matter to the Constitution Bench to decide the issue pertaining to whether once power of remission under Article 72 (by the President) or 161 (by Governor) or by this Court exercising Constitutional power under Article 32 is exercised, is there any scope for further consideration for remission by the Executive,” the apex court had said while referring the matter to the Constitution bench.It had said the Constitution bench would decide whether the sentence of a prisoner, whose death penalty has been commuted to life, can be remitted by the government. The bench would also decide whether life imprisonment meant jail term for rest of the life or a convict has a right to claim remission, it had said.Another issue for the constitution bench to decide is whether a special category of sentence could be provided for cases where death penalty might be substituted by imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term in excess of 14 years and to put that category beyond application of remission.The bench will also decide whether the Union or the State has primacy over the subject matter enlisted in concurrent list of 7th Schedule of the Constitution for exercise of power of remission.During the hearing, Centre had said that repeated mercy pleas before the President and the Governor by convicts seeking remission or commutation of their sentences violated the principle of finality. It had also asserted that the killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi did nor deserve any mercy as the assassination was the result of a conspiracy involving foreign nationals.The Tamil Nadu government, on other had, had asserted the states have power to grant remission under the law and trashed accusations that its decision to release seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case was “political and arbitrary”.The state government had wanted to know as to why Congress governments at the centre delayed the decision on their mercy pleas that led to commutation of their death sentence in the first place.Jethmalani, appearing for one of the convicts, had sought dismissal of Centre’s plea, contending that the citizens could file writ petitions for enforcement of their fundamental rights and “Union of India is not a citizen but State under Article 12; it has no such rights vested in it”. The apex court had on February 20 last year stayed the state government’s decision to release three convicts – Murugan, Santhan and Arivu, whose death sentence had been commuted to life term by it two days before.It had later also stayed the release of four other convicts — Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, saying there were procedural lapses on part of the state government.Santhan, Murugan and Arivu are currently lodged in the Central Prison, Vellore. The other four are also undergoing life sentence for their role in Gandhi’s assassination on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu.

Chennai rains: More train cancellations likely tomorrow

The met office has forecasted scattered to heavy rainfall on Tuesday in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu following a trough of low pressure in the Bay of Bengal, closer to Sri Lanka.

A fresh spell of rain battered many parts of Tamil Nadu and disrupted normal life, submerging pockets of Chennai under water. Schools and colleges in Chennai were once again shut as a result of the continuous rain.The met office has forecasted scattered to heavy rainfall on Tuesday in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu following a trough of low pressure in the Bay of Bengal, closer to Sri Lanka.Due to water overflowing at the railway tracks in Villupuram – Tambaram section, Southern Railways announced that the following trains are cancelled/diverted on Tuesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Anil Kumar Saxena, Addl DG (PR) said, “Two sections are badly affected, Chennai Egmore Villupuram section and Chennai Central Gudur are the two sections. Because of these two sections getting affected, train operations are badly impacted. More train cancellations likely to happen on December 2. We appeal to passengers to check their train status, we’re trying to inform people. Senior officers of Chennai division monitoring situation, keeping an eye on the situation. Trains cancelled on Dec 2Karaikkudi – Chennai Pallavan ExpressMadurai – Chennai Egmore Vaigai ExpressChennai Egmore– Pondicherry ExpressChennia– Tiruchirappalli Express

Heavy rainfall warning for next 4 days for south coastal Andhra Pradesh & Rayalaseema

The Met office has cautioned of more showers in the next four days across Tamil Nadu with some regions likely to witness heavy to very heavy rainfall.

File Photo of Chennai rains (File Photo)

Reuters
Heavy rainfall warning has been issued for the next four days for south coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalaseema. The Met office has cautioned of more showers in the next four days across Tamil Nadu with some regions likely to witness heavy to very heavy rainfall. Non-stop torrential rains since last night pounded several parts of Chennai and its suburbs and Puducherry triggering a deluge completely disrupting normal life as army was deployed tonight in two suburban areas to undertake rescue on a war footing. Two columns of army’s Garrison Infantry Battalion have been pressed into service in Tambaram and Oorapakkam after the Tamil Nadu government sought military assistance. The Navy is also on stand-by. All flight operations at Chennai airport were suspended tonight until further review and a number of flights disrupted as waters inundated the runway and the tarmac.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The rains that have virtually broken a 100-year-old record with one day’s rainfall covering a month’s average also flooded areas in Vadapalani, Valasaravakkam and Nandamvakkam as nearby lakes overflowed into the city. Adding to the woes, Chennai city and neighbouring districts braced for more rains as the Met deparment predicted heavy to very heavy rains in the next four days. Most areas of Chennai, which have already been lashed by rains for over a fortnight, went under water today severely disrupting train and bus services and forcing postponment of half-yearly school exams and closure of schools in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts. A large part of the road near Madhya Kailash temple in the heart of the city in an area that connects the IT corridor, caved in resulting in a huge crater and disrupting traffic.Even in hitherto unaffected areas, people complained that water entered their homes and roads flooded with surging waters. Several areas in the city went without power as supply was cut as a safety precaution. The situation has worsened in suburban areas of Tambaram and Mudichur after the Chembarakam lake overflowed and an unprecedented 26,000 cusecs of water was being released flooding the downstream areas. These areas had already suffered heavily during the earlier spells of rains.National Disaster Rescue Force has already despatched ten teams of which four are already in Chennai and the rest will be flying in tomorrow. “At the same time, we are also requisitioning teams from Bengaluru and Andhra Pradesh,” NDRF chief O P Singh said. Rescue work will begin and NDRF would deploy more teams if required. Teams carrying boats will also be sent to Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts. As the death toll in rain-related incidents touched 188, Chief Minister Jayalalithaaa reviewed the situation and deputed ministers to inspect the affected regions.Half-yearly exams in schools, which were to have begun on December 7, were postponed. Schools were closed today and will remain shut tomorrow as well. Flight operations also took a hit due to rains. Airport officials said one flight, which had left Colombo this morning, returned.Twelve trains leaving Chennai Egmore were cancelled due to water overflowing on railway tracks between Villupuram – Tambaram section. Also, eleven trains were diverted. Motorists had a tough time as not only arterial roads like Anna Salai and, GST Road were inundated but also many interior roads. Also, many roads were damaged, with several of them caving in inconveniencing motorists Puducherry and its suburbs continued to be lashed by heavy rains since last night and it recorded 15.2 cm rain in the last 24 hours ending 0830 hours today. Jayalalithaa said police, fire and rescue, National and State Disaster Forces and Coast Guard have been kept ready for need-based evacuation of people from flood hit regions.She reviewed the situation arising out of heavy rains in districts including Chennai, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore and Kanchipuram districts. She also ordered postponement of half-yearly examinations for school children to next month previously slated to be held from December 7. As a result of the rains, Poondi, Cholavaram, Puzhal and Chembarambakkam reservoirs that feed Chennai have touched 83.8 per cent of its capacity and out of the 14,098 lakes under PWD in Tamil Nadau 6,791 lakes are full. “I have ordered officials to take precautionary measures before releasing surplus waters from reservoirs and evacuate people living in low-lying areas,” she said.She also ordered a solatium of Rs four lakh to the kin of each of the four persons who were killed in rain-related incidents a few days ago in various parts of the state. Puducherry Chief Minister N Rangasamy has sought immediate interim financial assistance of Rs 100 crore from the Centre, to take up relief works. In a release, Rangasamy said he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, seeking immediately an interim relief of Rs 100 crore to cope with the situation arising out of the rains. With agency inputs

Madras HC directs authorities to implement dress code for devotees visiting temples

Disposing a petition filed by one Rasu seeking police protection and permission for “Adal Paadal programme” (dance and music) at Sri Shenbaga Vinayagar temple in Tiruchirappalli district, Justice S Vaidyanathan said “we should dress for public worship in a way that is generally considered appropriate”.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Madras High court on Tuesday directed Tamil Nadu Government and Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department to implement dress code for devotees coming to offer worship in temples to enhance spiritual ambiance.Disposing a petition filed by one Rasu seeking police protection and permission for “Adal Paadal programme” (dance and music) at Sri Shenbaga Vinayagar temple in Tiruchirappalli district, Justice S Vaidyanathan said “we should dress for public worship in a way that is generally considered appropriate”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Similarly, Islamic religion is very particular in following their dress code while entering mosque. Therefore prescribing dress code for devotees coming to worship in temples of Tamil Nadu was inevitable so as to enhance the spiritual ambiance among devotees.The judge said “the department should consider implementing the dress code as follows: for men dhoti or pyjamas with upper cloth or formal pants and shirts and for women saree or half saree with blouse, churidhars with upper cloth, for children any fully covered dress”.The judge said the dress code should be followed in temples from January 1, 2016 and the government is directed to take a decision on this issue as expeditiously as possible. The judge however said there was no bar for fire service personnel, police and security guards wearing their respective uniforms. He also made it clear that there were certain temples like in Tiruchendur, where men are prohibited to wear upper cloth, while entering the temple for worship.In such temples, the same procedure can be followed till a decision was arrived at by the government. The temples, which are not coming within the purview of the government, shall also strictly enforce their traditional dress code to create a righteous atmosphere for worshipping, the judge said.

Chennai rains: Here are the important helpline numbers issued amid flood alert

According to reports, the flood alert has been issued to the people living on the banks of river Adyar in Chennai, as the area remains to be battered by the un-relenting rains affecting daily life.

In the wake of the flood alert that has been issued in parts of Tamil Nadu, the Chennai Corporation on Tuesday announced emergency contact numbers for all the regional zones in the city for the people to contact in case of any emergency due to the floods. With the MET predicting heavy rains over the already rain-hit Chennai and northern Tamil Nadu for the next three to four days, the state government issued a flood alert today. The Chennai Airport has also been temporarily closed amidst heavy rainfall in the city. The Army has been re-called and so have additional forces to carry out rescue operations in the flood-hit areas. NTL India, a conventional call taxi provider, has introduced 15 boats with trained rescue emergency team in several parts of the city.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to reports, the flood alert has been issued to the people living on the banks of river Adyar in Chennai, as the area remains to be battered by the un-relenting rains affecting daily life. The met office has forecasted scattered to heavy rainfall on Tuesday in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu following a trough of low pressure in the Bay of Bengal, closer to Sri Lanka. Twelve trains leaving Chennai Egmore were cancelled due to water overflowing on railway tracks between Villupuram – Tambaram section.Related read: Chennai rains- List of trains cancelled/divertedThe trains that have been cancelled are-12605 Chennai Egmore-Karaikkudi Pallavan Express, 16105 Chennai Egmore-Tiruchendur Chendur Express, 16713 Chennai Egmore -Rameswaram Express, 16115 Chennai Egmore-Puducherry Express, 12693Chennai Egmore-Tuticorin Pearl City Express, 12661 Chennai Egmore-Sengottai Pothigai Express, 16101Chennai Egmore-Rameswaram Express, 16179 Chennai Egmore-Mannargudi Mannai Express, 16177 Chennai Egmore-Tiruchchirappalli Rockfort Express, 11063 Chennai Egmore-Salem Express, 16175 Chennai Egmore-Karaikal Express and 16183 Chennai Egmore- Thanjavur Uzhavan Express.Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and assured full support from the government to the state. “Spoke to Jayalalithaa ji on the flood situation in parts of Tamil Nadu. Assured all possible support & cooperation in this unfortunate hour,” the Prime Minister tweeted.He had earlier instructed the immediate release of financial assistance of nearly Rs. 940 crore to deal with the flood situation in rain- battered Tamil Nadu, hours after Jayalalithaa wrote to him for funds to sustain relief work.Helpline numbers-Tree fall, Water logging – 1913Sewage overflow – 45674567, 22200335State Emergency – 1070District Emergency – 1077Electricity – 1912Fire & Rescue -1011st Regional Office (Tiruvottiyur) – 94451900012nd Regional Office (Manali) – 94451900023rd Regional Office (Madhavaram) – 94451900034th Regional Office (Tondiarpet) – 94451900045th Regional Office (Royapuram)- 94451900056th Regional Office (Thiru. Vi. Ka. Nagar) – 94451900067th Regional Office (Ambattur) – 94451900078th Regional Office (Annanagar) – 94451900089th Regional Office (Teynampet) ? 944519000910th Regional Office (Kodambakkam) – 944519001011th Regional Office (Valasaravakkam) – 944519001112th Regional Office (Alandur) – 944519001213th Regional Office (Adyar) – 944519001314th Regional Office (Perungudi) – 944519001415th Regional Office (Sholinganallur) ? 9445190015 (ANI)According to social media certain schools and colleges are opened to accomodate people stuck in the heavy rainsSRM Univeristy , MCC , MGR University, Sathyam Cinemas (Royapettah), AGS Villivakkam, Phoenix Mall and many other public…
Posted by Pradeep Kumar on Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Alcohol isn’t the problem, abuse is: That’s why Nitish’s rationale for a Bihar booze ban is flawed

Nitish Kumar said on Thursday that the state of Bihar will implement a ban on alcohol. The state earns a revenue of Rs 4,000 crore annually from the sale of liquor. However, the CM has said that in the interest of women and the poor, the state government will impose ban on liquor from 1 April, 2016.

In India, alcohol consumption is prohibited in Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Gujarat and the union territory of Lakshadweep. According to the BBC, the state of Kerala announced in 2014 that it plans to impose a state-wide prohibition on the sale of alcohol in the next ten years. Immediately following the plans to ban alcohol in Kerala, bar owners and hotel owners petitioned the order and it was finally diluted to allow bars to sell beer and wine.

Representative image. AFP.Representative image. AFP.

Representative image. AFP.

The State (India) has always had a problem with alcohol; this is partly due to MK Gandhi’s vociferous stance against the consumption of alcohol, which he made amply clear in his autobiography. Kushwant Singh wrote in his book, India: An introduction that Gandhi considered alcohol to be “an unmitigated evil”. After independence, the Government of India adopted his views into the Directive Principles of State Policy, though not enforceable as law, are often the guiding principles behind the laws. Article 47 states that the “State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the use except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.”

In the past, Andhra Pradesh tried to enforce Prohibition between 1958 to 1969 and then from 1994 to 1997, but the grand project was abandoned primarily because of bootlegging and excessive corruption. Gujarat has been a ‘dry state’, but according to Nalin Mehta and Mona G Mehta in the 2013 book, Gujarat Beyond Gandhi: Identity, Society and Conflict  there is significant trade, production and consumption of alcohol in the state and refer to the existence of “illicit alcohol” that is not subject to quality control. So, essentially a ban is clearly not the solution as the Mehta’s note in their research, where a health official they interviewed said that alcohol abuse contributes to 50 percent of liver failure cases in the state.

One of the major reasons cited by political parties is that they want to impose alcohol bans for the benefit of women and that it would help bring down the domestic violence incidences. It is true that one of the first ‘collective women struggles’, the Telangana and Tebagha rebellions where women joined in to raise their voices against alcohol and price rise. In Manipur, the ‘Meira Paibis’ rallied on to put an end to the sale and consumption of alcohol, the objective? According to an Economic and Political Weekly article, it was to “curb social evils like domestic violence resulting from alcoholism”. This ‘woman argument’ is not just specific to India, Carrie Nation in the US ‘hatcheted’ bars and led the movement to ban alcohol in Texas in the early 1900s.

Well, this is great for women, they are being saved from domestic violence, you might think. But, that is an easy train of thought to catch. Such arguments only understand women’s roles as mothers, daughters and someone related to a male member i.e. the much hated/abused word in the feminist movement: patriarchy. This argument also seeks to colour the problem of domestic violence as something ‘external’. So essentially, it is the alcohol which is making men abuse their wives and daughters. Doesn’t this argument sound familiar? It’s not the rapist, it is the clothes.

Mangai, a theatre practitioner and women’s activist brings out an important point that these bans ultimately don’t tackle with the real problem at hand: which is not consumption of alcohol, but alcoholism. “The state is not addressing the issue of substance abuse or how the younger generation is getting affected by it. There needs to be a demarkation between the consumption of alcohol and alcoholism that leads to the women of the household bearing the brunt of the situation,” she says. Perhaps, the State should work on awareness-oriented solutions than banning a product and therefore opening itself up to a host of other problems: corruption, boot-legging, illicit-alcohol related deaths.

Currently, what we have is a conflict between the increasingly economically liberal economy of the country that is still straddling with the vestiges of Gandhian principles. But the alcohol industry is a tough revenue to do away with. The Tamil Nadu government estimates liquor earnings at Rs 21,800 crore, Kerala yields Rs 8,000 crore and West Bengal’s revenue is Rs 2,600 crore.

Reasons for the bans could be many, but essentially bans on alcohol come from a place of imposing certain values on the society that a particular group deems fit. However, it is important to note that alcohol is not the problem, its abuse is. Even in our rich history, as Mangai says, there was no morality attached to the consumption of “kall” (toddy), men and women, both, consumed it without accruing social judgement upon themselves. Sangam literature has enough poetry to justify its use without the claustrophobic clauses of morality.

The questions that we need to ask are how can we solve the problem of alcoholism and how do we differentiate between social/casual/occasional drinking and abusing a substance. How can we regulate a product without creating a ready-made platter of corruption and illegal trade for the taking?

Tamil Nadu: Major Road caves in as fresh rains batter Chennai; schools remain shut

Several low-lying areas and roads were inundated and office-goers had a tough time reaching their destination. Traffic in some parts, including the busy Velachery area, moved at a slow pace following inundation.

Image courtesy: ANI | Road caves in at Madhya Kailash signal.

Fresh rains battered many parts of Tamil Nadu and disrupted normal life, submerging pockets of Chennai under water on Tuesday.A section of a major road near the Madhya Kailash signal also caved in as heavy rain pounded the city last night.Several low-lying areas and roads were inundated and office-goers had a tough time reaching their destination. Traffic in some parts, including the busy Velachery area, moved at a slow pace following inundation.Authorities declared a holiday for schools in Chennai, which witnessed heavy downpour last night.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rain also continued to lash many other parts of the state including Tiruchirappalli, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur and Tiruvarur.A report from Erode said vegetable wholesale traders and retail dealers were affected as they could not transport the produce from villages to town areas.The met office has forecasted scattered to heavy rainfall on Tuesday in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu following a trough of low pressure in the Bay of Bengal, closer to Sri Lanka.The toll in rain-related incidents since the onset of the northeast monsoon last month rose to 122 on Sunday.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier instructed the immediate release of financial assistance of nearly Rs. 940 crore to deal with the flood situation in rain- battered Tamil Nadu, hours after Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote to him for funds to sustain relief work.(With agency inputs)

Heavy rains continue to pound Tamil Nadu; schools remain shut in Chennai

Chennai: Sharp showers continued to lash many parts of the state, including Chennai, resulting in water-logging in many areas and forcing closure of schools in the city even as the weather office forecast more rains.

Authorities declared a holiday for schools today in Chennai, which witnessed heavy downpour in the morning, after spells of rain on Sunday.

Several low-lying areas and roads were inundated and office-goers had a tough time reaching their destination.

APAP

AP

Traffic in some parts, including the busy Velachery area, moved at a slow pace following inundation.

In many areas, motorists and pedestrians were seen carefully negotiating potholes on the roads, many of which had been damaged due to the monsoon fury.

The weather office said a low pressure area would form in the southeast Bay of Bengal during the next 24 hours commencing 0830 hrs, warning of more rain in different parts of the state.

“Moderate to rather heavy rain would occur at many places over all the districts of Coastal Tamil Nadu and Puduchery,” it said.

Rain also continued to lash many other parts of the state including Tiruchirappalli, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur and Tiruvarur.

A report from Erode said vegetable wholesale traders and retail dealers were affected as they could not transport the produce from villages to town areas.

Inspite of the rain, educational institutions remained open in Erode district and parents were seen escorting their children in water-logged areas.

PTI

SC dismisses TN govt’s plea to seek ‘ultra-Left’ folk singer Kovan’s custody

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today dismissed a plea of the Tamil Nadu government seeking two-day police custody of ultra-Left folk singer Kovan, who was granted relief by the Madras High Court in a sedition case.

A bench comprising Justices FMI Kalifulla and U U Lalit did not find any merit in the state government’s appeal seeking police custody of Kovan. The state government had challenged the high court order which had stayed the remand of Kovan to police custody.

Left singer Kovan, IBNLiveLeft singer Kovan, IBNLive

Left singer Kovan, IBNLive

54-year-old Kovan, propagandist singer of ultra-Left arts and literary outfit ‘Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam’, was arrested in Tiruchirapalli on 30 October for alleged sedition, uploading “defamatory” electronic content against Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and “disturbing public peace”. On 7 November, the Madras High Court had stayed a local court order remanding Kovan to police custody for two days, saying it was ‘erroneous’.

The high court had passed the interim direction at a special hearing on a petition by the singer, challenging Chief Judicial Magistrate Court’s 6 November. The alleged defamatory content in the form of videos were uploaded on some Tamil websites which had gone viral in messaging mediums like Whatsapp. The content, though centred around the liquor vending policy of the Tamil Nadu government, allegedly had direct references to Jayalalithaa, showing her in a bad light.

The HC had said a perusal of the papers revealed that in permitting two day custody to Kovan, the primary concern of the lower court had been the need to probe any link with the Naxals.

PTI

Tamil Nadu rains: A break down of the flood situation in numbers

Many parts of the state were flooded, thousands of people had to rescued and the resulting damages are to the tune of several thousand crore.

People being rescued from flooded areas in Chennai in the recent rains

PTI
In Tamil Nadu, rains are usually expected each year during Diwali. However, a deep depression over the Bay of Bengal changed the story this year, with rains lashing the state for days, and bringing it to a standstill. Heavy rains and winds battered the state incessantly for days with no relief in sight.Many parts were flooded, thousands of people were left stranded, and damages have already amounted to several thousand crores.Here’s a look at the Tamil Nadu floods in numbers: Four: The number of helicopters deployed by the Indian Air Force to airlift stranded people in Chennai. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seven: The number of Indian services — firemen, policemen, National Disaster Response Force, army, Air Force, navy and the Coast Guard — that joined hands to rescue stranded people and distribute essential items like food in the state. Eight centimetres: The amount of rain Chennai received in just 45 minutes. 10: The number of days that the waiting period of new vehicles has gone up by. 11: The number of teams that came to help from the National Disaster Response Force.12: The number of cyclone shelters that were readied in Nagapttinam district.14: The number of days schools remained shut due to rains.25: The percentage of supply of vegetables that was hit due to rains in Chennai.50: The percentage by which the prices of vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, beans and ladies finger shot up due to lack of supply during the rains.176: The number of people who lost their lives due to the rains in the state. Rs 180 crore: The loss caused to automakers in the state due to the rains. 246.5 millilitres: The amount of rain recorded in Chennai in just 24 hours (November 16 to 17), which was the highest in a decade.402: The number of mobile medical units working in the state.470 – The number of pump sets used by Chennai Corporation, along with 75 super sucker machines and 57 excavators to take care of water logging.490: The number of localities in Chennai where work is in progress to reduce water stagnation. 587: The number of locations flooded in Chennai due to the rains.1,000 – The number of locations in the city where medical camps will be conducted to screen people for hypertension, diabetes, respiratory problems, diabetes, skin infections, dengue, chikungunya and stomach disorders.1,144.8 millilitres – The amount of rain recorded by Meenambakkam weather station in Chennai in November. 5,000 kg: The amount of supplies that was air-dropped by the Indian Air Force in 25 sorties.Rs 7,500: The amount of compensation that a farmer will receive from the state government for per hectare loss of crops other than paddy.12,000: The number of people who attended the 98 medical camps in Chennai on November 15. Rs 13,500: The compensation that the state government will give a farmer for loss per hectare of paddy.50,000: The number of meals distributed in Chennai by the volunteer group ‘Chennai Rain Relief 2015’.70,000: The number of people rescued in the state so far.3,00,000: The number of people to be screened at medical camps by the Chennai Corporation across the city, from November 26.4,00,000: The number of people in the state who were shifted to relief camps and provided food and shelter by the state government.Rs 4 lakh: The compensation amount that the next of kin of all those who lost their lives due to the rains, will get from the state government.Rs 110 crore: Amount of insurance claims received by the Chennai-based United India Insurance. This amount is expected to rise in the days to come. Rs 150 crore: Business loss borne by the bus transportation sector.Rs 500 crore: Amount released for the relief and rehabilitation of persons by the state government. Rs 940 crore: Amount released by the Central Government for flood relief in the state. Rs 2,000 crore: Amount requested by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa from the Centre for flood relief.Rs 84,810 crore: Amount of loss caused in the state due to the floods/ rains.

Rain-hit Chennai back to normalcy, school and colleges reopen today

A Rs 940-crore package has been released by the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) for the rehabilitation work. A nine-member central team will on Thursday begin its on-the-spot assessment of the damages caused in the state due to recent rain and floods in the state.

Chennai Floods

PTI
After an extended break imposed because of heavy rains in the state, all schools and colleges have reopened in the city.Apart from 24 government schools that are temporarily being used as relief camps for affected people, all other schools have reopened. Meanwhile, the heavy rains continued to batter parts of Tamil Nadu, as the death toll in the rain-related incidents mounted to over 176 on Wednesday.A Rs 940-crore package has been released by the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) for the rehabilitation work. A nine-member central team will on Thursday begin its on-the-spot assessment of the damages caused in the state due to recent rain and floods in the state.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The inter-ministerial team, headed by Union Home Ministry Joint Secretary TVSN Prasad, has been deputed on the directions of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi following a request by Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. The team will conduct inspections for two days in Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur and Cuddalore districts and submit their report to the Union Home Ministry.In the wake of the heavy rain-induced floods that have left around the city reeling from extensive damage, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday sought the Centre’s aid by seeking funds for immediate relief and restoration works. Keeping in view the urgency of the situation, Jayalalithaa has also requested the Centre to dispatch a team immediately to make its on-the-spot assessment of damages and to release central financial assistance without any delay.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had ordered immediate release of Rs. 940 crores central assistance for rain-hit Chennai. He also agreed to the Tamil Nadu chief minister’s demand for a central team to be dispatched to the state to assess the damage and release funds for relief.

176 dead in Tamil Nadu, more rains expected

The meteorological department said rains or thundershowers would occur at a few places over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, coastal Karnataka, Kerala and Lakshadweep in the next 24-48 hours.

Five persons died yesterday while two deaths were reported from the state today.

Reuters
Death toll in rain-related incidents in Tamil Nadu mounted to 176 today, even as the weatherman has forecast more rains in the next 24 to 48 hours. Seven more deaths were reported from across the state since yesterday, while there was a let up in rainfall in most areas of the state since last evening, including Chennai. Five persons died yesterday while two deaths were reported from the state today.The meteorological department said rains or thundershowers would occur at a few places over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, coastal Karnataka, Kerala and Lakshadweep in the next 24-48 hours. For Chennai and its neighbourhood, skies would be cloudy and there may be rain or thundershowers in some areas, it said. Papanasam in Tiruneveli district received heavy rainfall of 10 CM, while Rameswaram, Cheranmahadevi and Coonoor received least rainfall of one cm each, the Met office said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa condoled the death of seven persons and announced a compensation of Rs four lakh each to their next of kin from the disaster relief fund. The chief minister had written to the Prime Minister on November 23, pegging the flood damage at Rs 8,481 crore, and urged him to immediately release Rs 2,000 crore to sustain relief work.

With ‘due’ respect: Maharashtra has highest debt, Tamil Nadu sees most increase

By Prachi Salve/Indiaspend.org

India’s most industrialised state, Maharashtra, has the largest debt of Rs 338,730 crore ($51 billion) among India’s states, but the southern state of Tamil Nadu—an industrial growth centre—has seen the maximum increase in debt (92%) over the past five years, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of state budgets.

There are two ways of looking at this indebtedness: it could either be funding a humming state economy or could be indicative of a profligate government living beyond its means.

Debt is often used by governments to meet the gap between income and expenditure. The government borrows either to meet plan expenditure- for example, building roads and dams, or non-plan expenditure, such as paying salaries or making interest payments.

While plan expenditure is more productive and leads to further revenue, debt created for non-plan expenditure is unproductive.

Representational image. Image courtesy: AFPRepresentational image. Image courtesy: AFP

Representational image. Image courtesy: AFP

The debt for all major states has increased 66% over the past five years from Rs 16,48,650 crore ($358 billion) in 2010 to Rs 27,33,630 crore ($414 billion) in 2015.

Maharashtra with the highest outstanding liabilities is followed by Uttar Pradesh with Rs 2,93,620 crore ($44 billion) and West Bengal with Rs 2,80,440 crore ($42 billion).

Tamil Nadu has borrowed money at the quickest annual pace, 92%, followed by Karnataka with 85% and Andhra Pradesh with 78%.

Debt not bad if economic growth follows

Debt, per se, is not bad, if the state’s economic growth can sustain and service it. So, the key matrix to check is the debt as a percentage of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) or total economic output.

West Bengal, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh have the highest debt-to-GDP ratios.

The good news over the past five years is that the debt-to-GDP ratio for all the states has come down from 25.5% to 21.2%.

In West Bengal, despite the increase in outstanding liabilities, the debt-to-GDP ratio has declined, which means the state’s GDP is growing at a fast clip.

That, however, cannot be said for Andhra Pradesh. The state has seen a 78% increase in outstanding liabilities, but its debt-to-GDP ratio is constant at 25%. The debt-to-GDP ratio was lowest in 2012 at 22.5%.

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Maharashtra has the highest outstanding liabilities but does not feature among the top 10 states with a high debt-to-GDP ratio. The debt-to-GSDP ratio for Maharashtra at 20.2% is lower than the national average of 21.2%.

Similarly, although Tamil Nadu is fast adding debt, its debt-to-GDP ratio at 20% is lower than the national average. This shows that the state’s GDP is growing despite the high growth in debt.

With debt comes interest

Once you borrow, you have to pay back with interest. Most states service debt from tax income. And a good measure of debt servicing is a lower ratio as a percentage of revenue expenditure.

Most states have seen a decline in interest payments, except Tamil Nadu which has seen an increase from 10.5% in 2012-13 to 11.6% in 2014-15.

IndiaSpend had earlier reported how states such as West Bengal, Punjab and Gujarat have been consistently spending huge amounts on interest payments.

The trend remains unchanged in 2014-2015 with the three states retaining the top spots. However, the encouraging sign is that there has been a reduction in interest payments as a percentage of revenue expenditure for all three states.

(Indiaspend.org is a data-driven, public-interest journalism non-profit)

Centre sanctions Rs 939 crore to Tamil Nadu as flood relief assistance, after CM Jayalalithaa requested Rs 2,000 crore

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government on Monday sanctioned an immediate release of Rs 939 crore to Tamil Nadu as flood relief assistance.

People help a man carry his two-wheeler on a cycle cart as they wade through a waterlogged subway in Chennai. APPeople help a man carry his two-wheeler on a cycle cart as they wade through a waterlogged subway in Chennai. AP

The aftermath of heavy rains in Chennai. AP

PM Modi took the decision to help Tamil Nadu to “assist it in dealing with the situation arising from the floods”, an official statement read. The sanction followed a request from the Tamil Nadu government.

A central government team is also being deputed to Tamil Nadu to assess the destruction caused by the torrential rains and floods. Further action will be taken after the team submits its report.

IANS

APJ Abdul Kalam’s nephew quits BJP over memorial row

APJ Syed Haja Ibrahim, who had joined BJP in 2012, resigned as Vice President of the minority wing of Tamil Nadu unit of BJP and the party’s primary membership.

APJ Abdul Kalam’s grand nephew on Monday resigned from the BJP, upset over “failure” of the Modi government to convert the residence occupied by the former President into a knowledge centre.APJ Syed Haja Ibrahim, who had joined BJP in 2012, resigned as Vice President of the minority wing of Tamil Nadu unit of BJP and the party’s primary membership.”It (setting up a knowledge centre) was the wish of not only the former President, but the entire nation. I am resigning my post as this centre has not been set up despite repeated requests. I am also resigning from the primary membership of BJP,” he told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The No 10 Rajaji Marg bungalow in Delhi, occupied by Kalam till his death in July, has been allotted to Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, a move which had drawn flak from various quarters. Delhi’s ruling AAP had also criticised the government decision.

Five members of marriage party killed, 25 injured in mishap in Kozhikode

The deceased included two minor children, aged 13 and 10, police said.

Representational Image

Five members of a marriage party were killed and 25 others injured when a bus carrying them collided with a lorry at Ikarappadi, about 20 km from Kozhikode, early Monday morning.The deceased included two minor children, aged 13 and 10, police said.While four passengers died on the spot, another passed away in Kozhikode Medical College Hospital, where all the injured were admitted, they said.The mishap occurred when the bus tried to overtake the lorry, swerved to avoid an oncoming car and rammed into the rear of the truck, police said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The passengers, all from Mattanur in Kannur district, were returning from Salem in Tamil Nadu after attending a wedding, they said.

Chennai schools to remain shut on Monday; Anna University cancels exams

Tamil Nadu witnessed heavy rains in the past ten days and consequential flooding in several regions killed over 100 in related incidents.

College of Engineering in Anna University’s Guindy Campus, Chennai.

Wikimedia Commons
Following incessant rains, schools in Chennai will remain closed on Monday, ANI reports. Examinations and classes for students of Anna University in Chennai have been cancelled due to heavy rain. The university will remain shut from November 23-28. The revised date for examinations will be announced later.Pondicherry University postponed examinations in the medical, engineering and MCA streams, scheduled for Monday, due to the rains. University Assistant Registrar, K Mahesh said in a release today that with the rain continuing unabated, the university examinations slated for Monday for students of medical, engineering and MCA courses have been postponed. Fresh date would be announced later, it said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, PTI reports that schools and colleges are set to reopen in the districts of Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur on Monday after remaining closed for nearly ten days in view of the monsoon fury.Several parts of Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry continued to receive rains on Sunday and the Met office warned that more rains are expected in the next 24 hours as the trough of low pressure in the Bay of Bengal moved near Kanyakumari sea.”The trough of low pressure has moved westwards near Kanyakumari and coastal districts will receive heavy to very heavy rainfall over the next 24 hours”, Director of Regional Meteorological Centre here SR Ramanan said. For the city and its neighbourhood, the forecast would be cloudy while there may be moderate rainfall in one or two places, he said.Tamil Nadu witnessed heavy rains in the past ten days and consequential flooding in several regions killed over 100 in related incidents.With agency inputs.

Chennai’s Anna University cancels exams and classes due to heavy rains

Tamil Nadu witnessed heavy rains in the past ten days and consequential flooding in several regions killed over 100 in related incidents.

College of Engineering in Anna University’s Guindy Campus, Chennai.

Wikimedia Commons
Examinations and classes for students of Anna University in Chennai have been cancelled due to heavy rain, reports ANI. The university will remain shut from November 23-28.Meanwhile, schools and colleges are set to reopen in three adjoining districts of Chennai, Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur on Monday after remaining closed for nearly ten days in view of the monsoon fury.Several parts of Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry continued to receive rains on Sunday and the Met office warned that more rains are expected in the next 24 hours as the trough of low pressure in the Bay of Bengal moved near Kanyakumari sea.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The trough of low pressure has moved westwards near Kanyakumari and coastal districts will receive heavy to very heavy rainfall over the next 24 hours”, Director of Regional Meteorological Centre here SR Ramanan said. For the city and its neighbourhood, the forecast would be cloudy while there may be moderate rainfall in one or two places, he said.Tamil Nadu witnessed heavy rains in the past ten days and consequential flooding in several regions killed over 100 in related incidents.With inputs from PTI.

Modi in Malaysia: PM’s address to Indian diaspora steeped in Tamil flavour

Among the cheering audience, a majority were third generation Tamil-Malaysians.

Modi went on to talk about Tamil philosopher-poet Thiruvalluvar whose most famous work is Thirukkural.

PTI
Vanakkam! is how Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the Indian diaspora here as he set the tone for an address that was steeped in Tamil flavour for the majority Tamil-Malaysians in the audience. Prime Minister Modi walked up to the stage and hailed the 15,000-strong crowd, a majority of them Tamil-Malaysians, with “Vanakkam” (hello in Tamil) amid chants of Modi, Modi. After greeting the crowd, Modi spoke a few sentences in Tamil saying, “Many of you are from Tamil Nadu…Tamil Nadu’s role in India’s growth is important.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Switching to English, Modi said, “India is not confined to territory. India exists in every Indian in every part of the world, India is in you.”Among the cheering audience, a majority were third generation Tamil-Malaysians.Ethnic Indians form 8% of Malaysia’s population and are mostly Tamils. Their ancestors came to Malaysia more than 100 years ago and many were brought by the British to work at rubber plantations here. Many of those people did not return to India after independence preferring to live in Malaysia.In his 45-minute address at the Malaysia International Exhibition and Convention Centre here, Modi went on to talk about Tamil philosopher-poet Thiruvalluvar whose most famous work is Thirukkural. “As I stand before you, I am reminded of the words of the great Tamil saint Thiruvalluvar: ‘Friendship is not just a smile on the face. It is what is felt deep within a smiling heart’,” Modi said. “Mahatma Gandhi had once said that he wanted to learn Tamil to study Thiruvalluvar’s Thirukurral in its original form as there was no one who had given such treasures of wisdom as he had,” he said.The Prime Minister said the saint’s words on friendship capture the feeling that he gets each time he comes to Malaysia whether without office or as Prime Minister. “I have felt the same embrace of friendship and welcome.The love and friendship of the Malaya-Indians has always had a special place in my heart,” Modi said. “Generations ago, many of your ancestors came to an unknown land. Many of you came here more recently in the mobility of our globalised world. Whenever you came here, whatever be the circumstance in which you came, time or distance has not reduced your love for India,” he said.Modi also paid tribute to Tamil-origin Capt Janaky Athi Nahappan, who served as a deputy to Capt Lakshmi Sehgal. “That was in the regiment named after yet another icon of India’s war of Independence, Rani of Jhansi.”Modi invoked another Tamilian — former President APJ Abdul Kalam — to conclude his address. He ended with Kalam’s words — “have the courage to think differently, and to discover the impossible!”

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