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Friday, December 30, 2011

writingonblog uncensored: Hello Metro Rail; Welcome monorail

writingonblog uncensored: Hello Metro Rail; Welcome monorail: Chennai: It was the year when Chennai, which was chanting the mantra of metro rail, turned to monorail with the change of power equations ...

Hello Metro Rail; Welcome monorail


Chennai:
It was the year when Chennai, which was chanting the mantra of metro rail, turned to monorail with the change of power equations in the state.

As debate raged over what could be the better option for the city, the expansion of metro rail came to a standstill and monorail became a preferred solution with many terming metro rail project a cost intensive project that would take considerable time for completion.

The other argument put forth by AIADMK government was that with Chennai coming under seismic zone III, the security of the passengers who travel through metro rail would be in danger as the passage for the rail would be underground.

As the borers arrived earlier this month to drill the underground stretch of metro rail, which has been shrouded by protests with residents fearing it will affect their buildings, the state government formulated a plan for first phase of monorail. A crisscrossing network of four monorail corridors with a length of 111 km was planned. Interestingly, this will be largest as well as many endless monorail network in a world and dwarf all monorail networks in the world. It is believed it will also have a longest network of 54-km link between Vandalur and Puzhal.

The corridors were identified by Pallavan Transport Consultancy Services Ltd and bids have been invited to build a monorail network along the four corridors – Vandalur to Puzhal via Avadi; Vandalur to Velachery via Tambaram East (23 km); Poonamallee to Kathipara via Porur (18 km); and Poonamallee to Vadapalani via Valasarawakkam (16 km).

Meanwhile, Metro Rail which was chugging smoothly during the DMK regime with plans to have eight more corridors was facing huge pressure over land acquisition, conservation of heritage structures and continous traffic jams, which have become part and parcel of Chennaites.

The land acquisition near airport, parks of Chennai corporation, Koyambedu market and Pachaiappas College was not that smooth for Metro Rail, which also has to face protest from the greens, land owners besides court room dramas. Although, all the land was nearly acquired for the project but a blow came in changing the alignment after the greens and students protested against the metro station in Pachaiappas College.

While the metro rail is expected to chug in the elevated structure next year, the day is not far when Chennaites can prefer either metro rail or mono rail besides the bus and thank their political masters for offering numerous choices as public transport.



Monorail:

Monorail is a transport system that runs on single rail.

Monorail can go in congested short streets

Monorail can be built faster with less cost. It consumes minimal space.

Monorail can carry upto 700 people at a time as it is four car train

Monorail can go at 85 km per hour

Chennai‘s  111-km-long Phase-I of monorail will dwarf all alternative monorail networks in a world.

There have been fewer than 20 monorail systems in Asia, of that 10 have been in Japan.

The longest operational monorail line in a universe is a 23.8-km mezzanine in Osaka.




Metro Rail:
Metro rail runs on two parallel rails just as traditional rails.

Metro Rail cannot go in busy, overcrowded street.

Metro rail metro rail project a cost intensive project and takes time to complete it

Metro Rail can carry thousands of people and can accommodate nine cars

Metro Rail can travel at higher speed

Chennai lies in Seismic Zone III and passengers who travel through metro rail would be in danger as the passage for the rail would be underground.

writingonblog uncensored: 500 cusecs of water discharged from Red Hills

writingonblog uncensored: 500 cusecs of water discharged from Red Hills: Dams in Villupuram overflowing, Cuddalore cut off C Shivakumar Chennai: Heavy rains in the catchment areas after Cyclone Thane hit Tamil Na...

500 cusecs of water discharged from Red Hills


Dams in Villupuram overflowing, Cuddalore cut off
C Shivakumar
Chennai:
Heavy rains in the catchment areas after Cyclone Thane hit Tamil Nadu coast on Friday morning has forced public works department (PWD) officials to open sluice gates of Red Hills reservoir and release 500 cusecs of water.

Public Works Department engineering-in-chief water resources department S S Rajagopal told Express that due to the heavy rains in the catchment areas the inflow in the reservoir was 1,390 cusecs and PWD is releasing 500 cusecs of water from the reservoir.

“We have released 200 cusecs of water yesterday following the intermittent rainfall and 400 cusecs in the morning. Now we are releasing 500 cusecs of water,” he said.

“We have asked our chief engineer to station at the the surplus area to monitor the situation,” he added.

Rajagopal said that his department was unable to have any contact with the officials in Cuddalore as trees have been damaged and power lines snapped. “We have sent a chief engineer from Chennai to Cuddalore to monitor the situation. He is facing difficulty in reaching the spot,” he added.

Rajagopal also said that due to surplus water in Veedur Anaicut in Villupuram district, the river is overflowing in Veedur dam. Similarly, in Villupuram district, Manimuthar dam is surplus by 2,000 cusecs and Gomuki Dam is surplus by 13,000 cusecs. “We are silt opening the dam to discharge water and silt,” Rajagopal said.

PWD officials are on alert in the 11 areas identified as vulnerable and have employed earthmoving machines to ensure free flow of water. “The rains have just started and we are taking precautionary steps in the eventuality of heavy rains on Saturday,” he added. He also said due to the rough seas in Chennai coast the PWD officials are maintaining a calibrated discharge of water.

In Games Village in Koyambedu, the water flow was blocked and corporation officials cleared it and water flowed into Virugambakkam canal, he added.

writingonblog uncensored: PWD gears up machinery to avoid inundation in 11 v...

writingonblog uncensored: PWD gears up machinery to avoid inundation in 11 v...: C Shivakumar Chennai: Public Works Department has identified 11 vulnerable areas in the city and has taken precautionary measures to stop i...

PWD gears up machinery to avoid inundation in 11 vulnerable areas


C Shivakumar
Chennai:
Public Works Department has identified 11 vulnerable areas in the city and has taken precautionary measures to stop innundation in these localities in the wake of Cyclone Thane hitting the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, according to highly placed PWD sources.

Public Works Department engineering-in-chief water resources department S S Rajagopal told Express that a high level meeting was held on Thursday morning chaired by PWD secretary to take precautionary measures in the wake of cyclone hitting the Tamil Nadu Coast.

“We have formed a team of PWD engineers who are monitoring vulnerable spots in Chennai and has stationed JCBs to remove the obstruction and ensure free flow of water in these localities so that inundation can be avoided.

The areas identified include Ennore, Jafferkhanpet, Kathirvedu Thangal, Vadaperumpakkam, Baraniputthur in Porur, Cooum Mouth, Island Grounds, Basin Bridge, Korukkupettai, Kargil Nagar and Sathya Murthy Nagar, he said.

He said PWD engineers are constantly monitoring the levels in the reservoirs following meteorological department prediction of more than 25 mm rainfall in the city. “Water will be released in the range of 250 cusecs to 2,000 cusecs if the rains are heavy so that no breach occurs. We have also given a notice to the district administration as well as people living near the banks,” he added.

He said in Nagapattinam where the cyclone is expected to land on Friday, the chief engineer of Trichy region has been asked to camp there to take precautionary measures. He said PWD has also set up an emergency cell at Cuddalore as well.

He also urged people to contact PWD engineers in the in case of any difficulties in the flow of water in channels. These include 044-28523007 in Chennai, 0414-2230323 in Cuddalore besides mobile numbers  9443776765 and 9444214722.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

writingonblog uncensored: Rural India less obsessed with caste than urban In...

writingonblog uncensored: Rural India less obsessed with caste than urban In...: Chennai: People living in rural India are less obsessed with caste than those living in urban India, according to an expert. Delivering...

Rural India less obsessed with caste than urban India: expert



Chennai:
People living in rural India are less obsessed with caste than those living in urban India, according to an expert.

Delivering the lecture ‘Caste in Contemporary India’ at the Theosophical Society here on Thursday, noted sociologist Prof Andre Beteille said while there has been a change in rural areas with a decline in rituals, the urban areas are obsessed with caste as they use it to curry favours in education and employment.

He said prevalence of caste could still be seen in traditional industries where upper castes still hold creamy posts while the lower castes are still doing the menial jobs. “But things are changing with a new kind of occupation in information technology which is free of the caste divide,” he added.

The professor said while there has been a steep decline in the caste rituals, it is politics which is reviving it. He blamed the media for sensationalizing of such poltical news and giving undue importance. However, he added that identity politics is stronger in India than any other country.

He said the varna system, which is a language on social order, can’t be changed but it has now become obsolete. However, jatis or communities has become a legal entity.
Now, there has also been a shift in people identifying them not with varnas but with divisions like forward, backward and most backward in contemporary language of social justice, the professor added.

He also said the laws framed by the government has removed the stigma attached to inter-caste marriages.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

writingonblog uncensored: Frame policy to bring unsung workers of outsourcin...

writingonblog uncensored: Frame policy to bring unsung workers of outsourcin...: Chennai: Industry has urged Tamil Nadu government to frame a policy for Rs 27,000 crore outsourcing sector in a bid to provide safety net t...

Frame policy to bring unsung workers of outsourcing sector under safety net: Industry


Chennai:
Industry has urged Tamil Nadu government to frame a policy for Rs 27,000 crore outsourcing sector in a bid to provide safety net to the millions of workers whose contribution to the national economy goes unnoticed.

Addressing a press conference after releasing a report on ‘Manpower Outsourcing in Southern States’, Confederation of Indian Industry Southern region chairman T T Ashok  and CII chairman of southern region subcommittee on skills and employability B Santhanam stressed on the need for states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to work on such a framework as amendment to labour laws in the Centre takes ages.

“States like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka where 75 per cent of employees are outsourced should take a lead in this regard so that outsourced employees can be treated on par with permanent employees,” said Santhanam.

Interestingly, outsourcing companies can neither register in employment exchanges nor can take in apprentices. Santhanam also said the framework should also focus on housing needs of the employees.

Santhanam said the sector needs to be provided an independent industry status. “This would bring in parity in terms of legislations, bridge the divide between organized and unorganized sectorand provide a security net for a larger section of labour force,” he added.

There were also recommendations to make Labour Act more inclusive based on current market requirements. “There is a need for uniformity in legislations across sectors, parity and rationalization of labour laws across states and sectors to enable a mobile, flexible and employable workforce, Standardised benefits across ‘permanent employees and outsourced employees could help stem attrition,” the report on manpower outsourcing said.

Currently, the attrition rate in outsourcing sector is 30 to 35 per cent per year and Santhanam said there is a difficulty in getting people for many outsourcing companies.

The report also recommended the gopvernment to look at the outsourced manpower development sector in conjunction with skills development sector. It also said that lack of monitoring by government agencies and low entry barriers make it easy for fly-by-night operators resulting in various malpractices in the industry, the report added.






writingonblog uncensored: TN tops among southern states by engaging 33 pc of...

writingonblog uncensored: TN tops among southern states by engaging 33 pc of...: Chennai: Tamil Nadu tops among the southern states in its dependence on outsourcing workforce by engaging 33 per cent of the estimated 10 m...

TN tops among southern states by engaging 33 pc of 10 million outsourced workforce


Chennai:
Tamil Nadu tops among the southern states in its dependence on outsourcing workforce by engaging 33 per cent of the estimated 10 million outsourced employees working in various sectors excluding construction sector in south India.

According to a Report on Manpower Outsourcing in Southern States released by Confederation of Indian Industry here on Tuesday, manufacturing, retail and government sectors emerge as the largest users of outsourced employment.

Among those sectors thriving on outsourced employees, manufacturing sector is the largest revenue contributor having a share of 41 per cent, the study said.

It was also revealed that blue collared employees account for 58 of the total number of employees, grey collared for 31 per cent and white collared for the balance 11 per cent.

While the large service providers are providing higher order services, the smaller firms are mainly focusing on soft services and there is a proliferation of players in the soft services business primarily due to low entry barriers, ease in recruiting and training people, lack of requirement of specific skill sets and higher demand.

The study also found out that there has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of contract employees over the last three years and the organisations
expect outsourcing to grow in future too.

According to the 132 service providers who were surveyed, the addition to employees that has been growing at nearly 40 per cent in the last three years and is expected to grow at 15 per cent in future.

The organizations expect a shift to occur from focus on quantity to that on quality, which will yield a more
productive and flexible workforce. The industry will continue to be characterized by large and smaller service providers, the report added.

Interestingly, the requirement for outsourced employees is met by a host of staffing providers and contractors, which is over 30,000 players in the south.

These contractors supply manpower - daily or weekly wage laborers, and are active mainly in the construction and manufacturing sectors. Additionally, in each state, there are several unregistered contractors who operate with less than 15 personnel. Tirupur, for example, has nearly 1,000 such contractors, the report said.

Organized staffing service is a relatively large industry with billing of over Rs 120 billion, and the presence of 8,500 service providers in the South. These service providers offer staffing solutions to various industry verticals across different services – soft, engineering, etc and supply white, blue and grey collared workers. They adhere to guidelines set by the Labour department and comply with labour laws and contractual obligations.

While the very small and small players account for over 95 per cent in terms of the number of players, the large and medium players generate over 75 per cent of the revenues. Large firms such as Teamlease, for example, work with over 15,000
candidate profiles, servicing three sectors, 67 industries and 474 functions, the report added.

writingonblog uncensored: Anna Hazare supporters end stir amidst poor respon...

writingonblog uncensored: Anna Hazare supporters end stir amidst poor respon...: Chennai: Twenty-six supporters of Anna Hazare in Chennai, who had gone on fast against a ‘weak’ Lokpal Bill, ended their agitation on ...

Anna Hazare supporters end stir amidst poor response to protests in Chennai




Chennai:
Twenty-six supporters of Anna Hazare in Chennai, who had gone on fast against a ‘weak’ Lokpal Bill, ended their agitation on Wednesday amidst poor response to the second day of protest in Raghavendra Mandapam.

The two-day fast was broken after baby Pali, who is named after Lok Pal, offered sweet-lime juice to the protesters amid the chants of Jai Hind. The protesters also thanked superstar Rajinikanth for lending his Kalayana Mandapam for the protest.

The volunteers of India Against Corruption said they were not happy with the Lok Pal bill passed in the Lok Sabha but are still hopeful something may happen in Rajya Sabha.

“We are extremely disappointed with the Lokpal bill passed in the Lok Sabha. We refuse to be defeated by these kind of political power play,” said Banu Gomes, an IAC activist.

P S Sridharan, an IAC volunteer and a former Department of Atomic Energy scientific officer, told Express that the people were taken for a ride by the politicians who never wanted a strong Lok Pal bill.

The former scientific officer blamed the absence of youngsters  to winter vacation in schools and the Christmas vacations. “The IT professionals would have gone to their native places that is why the poor turnout. But it does not mean that they don’t support Anna Hazare’s movement,” he added.

Another IAC volunteer said the movement will recoup after improvement in Anna’s health.

writingonblog uncensored: Slovenia opens consulate in Chennai

writingonblog uncensored: Slovenia opens consulate in Chennai: Chennai: Slovenia on Tuesday opened its consular office in Chennai and wooed Indian investors to invest in the country. Addressing a press...

Slovenia opens consulate in Chennai


Chennai:
Slovenia on Tuesday opened its consular office in Chennai and wooed Indian investors to invest in the country.

Addressing a press conference on the occasion, Slovenian ambassador Janez Premoze said the opening of Chennai consulate will enable the country’s strategic presence in urban cities of India.

“We already have consulates in Kolakata and Mumbai. We are now diversifying and looking at whole of India,” he said.

Amit Goel, the managing director of Elite Shipping Agencies has been appointed the honorary consul for south India. He will look after Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

He said Chennai was selected as due to its shipping links besides the presence of traditional industries. Premoze also said talks are also on with Tamil Nadu over investment in engineering sector. However, he refused to divulge any details.

Premoze also stressed the need for exchange of art, music and cultural events between Slovenia and south India. He said Slovenia is also in talks with Indian railway in providing equipments for rail safety. The ambassador also said the Slovenia is talking to visa outsourcing companies in India and a decision will be made in next two months.

writingonblog uncensored: Anna Hazare fails to strike a chord in Chennai

writingonblog uncensored: Anna Hazare fails to strike a chord in Chennai: Chennai: Anna Hazare’s protest against a ‘weak’ Lokpal Bill has failed to strike a chord in Chennai on the first day of his fast on Tuesday...

Anna Hazare fails to strike a chord in Chennai


Chennai:
Anna Hazare’s protest against a ‘weak’ Lokpal Bill has failed to strike a chord in Chennai on the first day of his fast on Tuesday despite superstar Rajnikanth backing the movement symbolically by lending his Raghavendra Kalyana Mantapam for the protest.

India Against Corruption activists blamed the poor attendance due to Christmas vacation besides getting the venue only on Monday, language barriers and holding the protest on a working day.

Another blow came in the form of India-Australia test match where Chennaites glued in front of their TV sets were anticipating cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th ton in first class cricket , feel IAC volunteers.

Although, one could see the familiar faces, who took part during the pervious movement held in LB Road in August, the protest failed to garner the support of women as well as the support from information technology sector with empty chairs lying everywhere.

 “It is not that the IT sector did not back us. It is because the protest is being held on a working day and we got the venue only at the last moment,” said Srinivas, an IAC volunteer.

Radhika Ganesh,a non-resident Indian from London, who is among three women on a three day continous fast says language has been the barrier which has resulted in poor turnout in Chennai. “Anna speaks only in Marathi and Hindi and the people of the state can’t understand it,” she says.

Currently, there are 28 people who are on continous fast, says IAC volunteer Banu Gomes, adding that another 100 volunteers are observing relay fast.

She said people from various non-governmental entities like Nallore Vattam, Shiksha, Tanjore RTI Activists Team, Anti Bribe Coalition,Voice of Indian, Tamilnadu Anti-Corruption Movement are participating in the protest.

Earlier, activists were found standing in the roadside holding placards and urging people to signup for the protest. “All the youngsters have gone out to campaign. Tomorrow you will see more crowd,” said an IAC activist.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

writingonblog uncensored: Ray of hope after seven years as 566 tsunami hit f...

writingonblog uncensored: Ray of hope after seven years as 566 tsunami hit f...: Chennai: Seven years after tsunami there is hope for 566 families of Nochikuppam as they will be allotted a new house under the Emergency ...

Ray of hope after seven years as 566 tsunami hit families to get new houses


Chennai:
Seven years after tsunami there is hope for 566 families of Nochikuppam as they will be allotted a new house under the Emergency Tsunami Reconstruction Project (ETRP) of World Bank at Okium Thoraipakkam under hire purchase scheme.

Sources said the decision to allot houses to the beneficiaries by December 2012 came after a meeting of higher officials last month.

Interestingly, the list included 256 families who would be allotted house on priority basis as their name appeared in the primary document of list of tsunami-affected people despite having documentary proof of residence at Nochikuppam after the cut-off date of January 1, 2005.

The tenements were part of the proposal of Tamilnadu Slum Clearance Board which had proposed to construct new houses under the World Bank assisted ETRP Project to replace 2,862 tenements from Nochikuppam to Srinivasapuram which were affected by the tsunami in 2004, sources said.

Interestingly, it was earlier proposed to construct 816 tenements at a cost of Rs 46 80 crores in Nochikuppam and the tenders had been finalised in November 2009. A total of 994 beneficiaries were selected, which included 734 from tenements and 260 from Huts. “Up to January 2011, about 419 families have vacated and shifted to the temporary shelters,” sources added, adding that the project landed in troubled waters after the beneficiaries protested demanding an additional house for each of them irrespective of their eligibility criteria besides complaining of discrepancies.

In June 2011, a fresh attempt was made to solve discrepancies in the beneficiaries list and inclusion of names which were left out from the list. A new list of 566 beneficiaries was prepared and it was found that 256 petitioners’ names have appeared in the Collector’s List of 2005 and 310 petitioners’ names did not figure in the Collector’s list.

The 310 petitioners, even though their names have not appeared in the Collectors list, will be alloted one house at Okkium Thoraipakkam under hire purchase scheme as vacating the tenements and demolition of the existing blocks could not be carried out to commence the construction work, the source added.

The government will also make public by way of flexi-boards in addition to the individual notices about the very dilapidated nature of the tenements at Nochikuppam, and the necessity to vacate their tenements at the earliest, sources added.


Timeline:
A total of 7,320 tenements were proposed under the ETRP project of World Bank after the tsunami in 2004.

It was later revised to 5856 tenements as per the criteria prescribed by the World Bank in Stilt plus four floor pattern.

Later 3,576 tenements, which were part of the project at Foreshore Estate and Srinivasapuram, were delinked in view of the then proposed Integrated Development Plan for Marina involving Tamil Nadu Housing Board.

Further, opposition from Dommingkuppam and Selvarajapuram, construction of 828 tenements in that area were also delinked resulting in the construction of only 1444 tenements.

Of the tenements, Nochinagar was to have 628 tenements and Nochikuppam 816.

While the 36.47 crore Nochinagar tenements are expected to be ready by March 2012, the Rs 46.80 crore Nochikuppam project was hit due to several roadblocks.

On June 2011, a fresh attempt was made to solve discrepancies in the beneficiaries list. A new list of 566 beneficiaries was prepared

On November 29, 2011, It was decided to allot 566 houses under hire purchase scheme in Okium Thoraipakkam.

writingonblog uncensored: Ray of hope after 566 tsunami hit families as new ...

writingonblog uncensored: Ray of hope after 566 tsunami hit families as new ...: Chennai: Seven years after tsunami there is hope for 566 families of Nochikuppam as they will be allotted a new house under the Emergency T...

Ray of hope after 566 tsunami hit families as new houses are alloted

Chennai: Seven years after tsunami there is hope for 566 families of Nochikuppam as they will be allotted a new house under the Emergency Tsunami Reconstruction Project (ETRP) of World Bank at Okium Thoraipakkam under hire purchase scheme.

Sources said the decision to allot houses to the beneficiaries by December 2012 came after a meeting of higher officials last month.

Interestingly, the list included 256 families who would be allotted house on priority basis as their name appeared in the primary document of list of tsunami-affected people despite having documentary proof of residence at Nochikuppam after the cut-off date of January 1, 2005.

The tenements were part of the proposal of Tamilnadu Slum Clearance Board which had proposed to construct new houses under the World Bank assisted ETRP Project to replace 2,862 tenements from Nochikuppam to Srinivasapuram which were affected by the tsunami in 2004, sources said.

Interestingly, it was earlier proposed to construct 816 tenements at a cost of Rs 46 80 crores in Nochikuppam and the tenders had been finalised in November 2009. A total of 994 beneficiaries were selected, which included 734 from tenements and 260 from Huts. “Up to January 2011, about 419 families have vacated and shifted to the temporary shelters,” sources added, adding that the project landed in troubled waters after the beneficiaries protested demanding an additional house for each of them irrespective of their eligibility criteria besides complaining of discrepancies.

In June 2011, a fresh attempt was made to solve discrepancies in the beneficiaries list and inclusion of names which were left out from the list. A new list of 566 beneficiaries was prepared and it was found that 256 petitioners’ names have appeared in the Collector’s List of 2005 and 310 petitioners’ names did not figure in the Collector’s list.

The 310 petitioners, even though their names have not appeared in the Collectors list, will be alloted one house at Okkium Thoraipakkam under hire purchase scheme as vacating the tenements and demolition of the existing blocks could not be carried out to commence the construction work, the source added.

The government will also make public by way of flexi-boards in addition to the individual notices about the very dilapidated nature of the tenements at Nochikuppam, and the necessity to vacate their tenements at the earliest, sources added.


Timeline:
A total of 7,320 tenements were proposed under the ETRP project of World Bank after the tsunami in 2004.

It was later revised to 5856 tenements as per the criteria prescribed by the World Bank in Stilt plus four floor pattern.

Later 3,576 tenements, which were part of the project at Foreshore Estate and Srinivasapuram, were delinked in view of the then proposed Integrated Development Plan for Marina involving Tamil Nadu Housing Board.

Further, opposition from Dommingkuppam and Selvarajapuram, construction of 828 tenements in that area were also delinked resulting in the construction of only 1444 tenements.

Of the tenements, Nochinagar was to have 628 tenements and Nochikuppam 816.

While the 36.47 crore Nochinagar tenements are expected to be ready by March 2012, the Rs 46.80 crore Nochikuppam project was hit due to several roadblocks.

On June 2011, a fresh attempt was made to solve discrepancies in the beneficiaries list. A new list of 566 beneficiaries was prepared

On November 29, 2011, It was decided to allot 566 houses under hire purchase scheme in Okium Thoraipakkam.

66 families to be allotted houses in Okiyum Thoraipakkam under tsunami reconstruction project



Chennai:
Seven years after tsunami there is hope for 566 families of Nochikuppam as they will be allotted a new house under the Emergency Tsunami Reconstruction Project (ETRP) of World Bank at Okium Thoraipakkam under hire purchase scheme.

Sources said the decision to allot houses to the beneficiaries by December 2012 came after a meeting of higher officials last month.

Interestingly, the list included 256 families who would be allotted house on priority basis as their name appeared in the primary document of list of tsunami-affected people despite having documentary proof of residence at Nochikuppam after the cut-off date of January 1, 2005.

The tenements were part of the proposal of Tamilnadu Slum Clearance Board which had proposed to construct new houses under the World Bank assisted ETRP Project to replace 2,862 tenements from Nochikuppam to Srinivasapuram which were affected by the tsunami in 2004, sources said.

Interestingly, it was earlier proposed to construct 816 tenements at a cost of Rs 46 80 crores in Nochikuppam and the tenders had been finalised in November 2009. A total of 994 beneficiaries were selected, which included 734 from tenements and 260 from Huts. “Up to January 2011, about 419 families have vacated and shifted to the temporary shelters,” sources added, adding that the project landed in troubled waters after the beneficiaries protested demanding an additional house for each of them irrespective of their eligibility criteria besides complaining of discrepancies.

In June 2011, a fresh attempt was made to solve discrepancies in the beneficiaries list and inclusion of names which were left out from the list. A new list of 566 beneficiaries was prepared and it was found that 256 petitioners’ names have appeared in the Collector’s List of 2005 and 310 petitioners’ names did not figure in the Collector’s list.

The 310 petitioners, even though their names have not appeared in the Collectors list, will be alloted one house at Okkium Thoraipakkam under hire purchase scheme as vacating the tenements and demolition of the existing blocks could not be carried out to commence the construction work, the source added.

The government will also make public by way of flexi-boards in addition to the individual notices about the very dilapidated nature of the tenements at Nochikuppam, and the necessity to vacate their tenements at the earliest, sources added.


Timeline:
A total of 7,320 tenements were proposed under the ETRP project of World Bank after the tsunami in 2004.

It was later revised to 5856 tenements as per the criteria prescribed by the World Bank in Stilt plus four floor pattern.

Later 3,576 tenements, which were part of the project at Foreshore Estate and Srinivasapuram, were delinked in view of the then proposed Integrated Development Plan for Marina involving Tamil Nadu Housing Board.

Further, opposition from Dommingkuppam and Selvarajapuram, construction of 828 tenements in that area were also delinked resulting in the construction of only 1444 tenements.

Of the tenements, Nochinagar was to have 628 tenements and Nochikuppam 816.

While the 36.47 crore Nochinagar tenements are expected to be ready by March 2012, the Rs 46.80 crore Nochikuppam project was hit due to several roadblocks.

On June 2011, a fresh attempt was made to solve discrepancies in the beneficiaries list. A new list of 566 beneficiaries was prepared

On November 29, 2011, It was decided to allot 566 houses under hire purchase scheme in Okium Thoraipakkam.

Monday, December 26, 2011

writingonblog uncensored: Rajini’s marriage hall will be venue of anti-corru...

writingonblog uncensored: Rajini’s marriage hall will be venue of anti-corru...: C Shivakumar Chennai: Now Anna Hazare’s ‘three-day Jail Bharo Andolan’ has the backing of none other than Tamil superstar Rajinikanth who h...

Rajini’s marriage hall will be venue of anti-corruption crusaders


C Shivakumar
Chennai:
Now Anna Hazare’s ‘three-day Jail Bharo Andolan’ has the backing of none other than Tamil superstar Rajinikanth who has given his marriage hall free of cost to Indian Against Corruption activists to launch the protest from Tuesday.
Raghavendra Kalyana Mantapam, which will be the venue of of Anna Hazare’s India Against Corruption (IAC) crusaders in Chennai, had the blessings of Rajinikanth who okayed it personally, said Rajinikanth’s daughter Aishwarya Dhanush.
However, she did not comment to a query whether the superstar will be present during the three-day protest fast in Chennai starting from Tuesday. “I won’t be able to comment on that,” she told Express on Monday.
“I am very happy that Raghavanedra Kalayana Mantapam will the venue of anti-corruption movement in Chennai. It is a good cause. Anyone who does any kind of good, we will back them,” said Aishwarya, whose film, ‘3’, has been making headlines due to the ‘Kolaveri’ song.
IAC activists said the venue was confirmed on Monday after Latha Rajnikanth agreed to give the kalyana mantapam to anti-corruption crusaders to launch their fast from 9am.
“Someone with the stature of Rajinikanth backing the movement will boost the anti-corruption movement. He has a great fan base and this will create a larger awareness in the state,” says central core committee member of IAC, M S Chandramohan
Interestingly, it was during the blockbuster Padayappa’s silver jubilee week celebrations, the superstar announced that after him all the earnings from the Raghavendra Kalyana Mantapam will stop coming to the family, instead go to a public trust, where it will be used for charity.

writingonblog uncensored: TN extends homeless intervention to 22 municipal c...

writingonblog uncensored: TN extends homeless intervention to 22 municipal c...: C Shivakumar Chennai The state government has extended the homeless intervention beyond the 10 city corporations to 22 municipal corpor...

TN extends homeless intervention to 22 municipal corporations


C Shivakumar
Chennai
The state government has extended the homeless intervention beyond the 10 city corporations to 22 municipal corporations and one Grade III municipality, according to official sources.

This comes in the wake of the list submitted by Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission to the Supreme Court last year stating that the state requires 116 shelters for homeless.


Sources said there are currently 22 shelters for homeless in the state of which 15 are in Chennai. These include 12 which are functional in the city and three which are being proposed.


Meanwhile, civil rights groups have voiced their concern that the population of homeless is based on census survey done in 2001. Surprisingly, the survey done by the state government pegs the number of homeless as 209 in Madurai but a survey done by a civil rights group places the figure to more than 750 in the area.
Interestingly, the total number of families identified by the Chennai corporation is 2,586 but a rapid identification process done by the civil societies reveal that there is a minimum of 5,132 families which excludes the inter-intra state migrants and the destitute individual population.

The non governmental organisations like Citizen Rights Forum (CRF) have also suggested the need for uniformity in the implementation of homeless shelters across the state. “Shelters are functioning only as night shelters not as 24 hours shelters as stated in the SC guidelines,” said Balasundar of CRF.

"Many of the shelters currently established are unsuitable for the families who constitute a major population of homeless in Chennai. The homeless should be linked to permanent houses, but not far away from the city. Houses have to be located close to locations in which they find work," said Balasundar.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

writingonblog uncensored: After two HC directives, TNPSC fails to provide in...

writingonblog uncensored: After two HC directives, TNPSC fails to provide in...: C Shivakumar Chennai: After two High Court orders and direction from the Tamil Nadu Information Commission, the state Public Service Commis...

After two HC directives, TNPSC fails to provide info on recruitment process


C Shivakumar
Chennai:
After two High Court orders and direction from the Tamil Nadu Information Commission, the state Public Service Commission is till denying information relating to the recruitment of post of assistant director of Town and Country Planning.

R Shivakumar, who filed the right to information (RTI) petition in 2008 seeking information to find out whether 41 candidates, who have been found eligible by TNPSC, satisfy the requisite norms has been made to run pillar to post and denied information despite High Court order and a state information commission directive.

“I filed the petition after I smelt something fishy as TNPSC has been denying the information continuously,” Shivakumar told Express while providing the two court orders and a Tamil Nadu Information Commission directive.

Interestingly, the state information commission in 2009 has directed public information officer to supply the information within two days of the receipt of the orders and report compliance to the commission besides levying a fine of Rs 25,000.

But TNPSC failed to provide the details and moved the high court. But then the single judge bench of Justice V Ramasubramanian in 2010 dismissed the petition of TNPSC and set a four weeks deadline to furnish the information as per the directive of Tamil Nadu Information Commission.

The judge also observed that even a person who participated in the selection but who did not get selected is entitled to know if only persons who got selected fulfilled all the essential qualifications. “Though the respondent may not be a candidate who participated in the selection but it does not mean he is not entitled to the information,” the judge had observed.

Similarly, a two-judge bench of Madras High Court on July 22, 2011 again dismissed the petition of Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission.

“Why is the TNPSC trying to hide the facts and not providing the information despite two high court orders and a state information commission directive,” said Shivakumar, adding that there is something fishy in the recruitment of the post.

“Now denial by TNPSC is contempt of court and it is now up to the court to take action against the erring officials,” he said.





Friday, December 23, 2011

writingonblog uncensored: Homeless group urge CM to provide in-situ entitlem...

writingonblog uncensored: Homeless group urge CM to provide in-situ entitlem...: Chennai: The City Makers Rights Group, comprising of community leaders from the homeless community in Chennai, on Friday urged Chief Min...

Homeless group urge CM to provide in-situ entitlements for urban poor



Chennai:
The City Makers Rights Group, comprising of community leaders from the homeless community in Chennai, on Friday urged Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to take steps to provide in-situ entitlements for the urban poor communities with security to land tenure.

Addressing a press conference here, the community leaders also urged the state government that the urban poor should not be forced to pay for their houses under the hire purchase or land-cum-lease scheme.

They also urged the government not to follow the steps of DMK regime by resorting to forceful eviction as it is a gross human rights violation.

The plea by the group comes in the wake of state government issuing a Government Order to constitute a high level committee headed by chief secretary to resolve infrastructure issues in  resettlement of slum families. Interestingly, the Slum Clearance Board has built 22,000 tenements in Okkium Thoraipakkam and Semmencheri in Chennai and now the board is constructing 31,912 tenements in Okium Thoraipakam and Perumbakkam in South Chennai.

Adequate shelters have to be opened for the destitute individuals as per the Supreme Court guidelines and for the families they have to be linked with the housing scheme of the state not more than three kilometers from their existing place of habitation, said Vanessa of the Citizen Rights Forum.

“We oppose any move to shift us to far away places,” said Bhavani of the City Makers Rights Group while urging the chief minister that any housing process should commence only after community consultation process involving representatives from various social groups in the settlement.

The group also said detailed mapping of homeless in the city should be re-surveyed as there are gaps in the previous enumeration. “The mapping has to be done in consultation with the people,” they demanded.

writingonblog uncensored: DVAC probes irregularities in Manonmaniam Sundarna...

writingonblog uncensored: DVAC probes irregularities in Manonmaniam Sundarna...: C Shivakumar Chennai: The directorate of vigilance and anti-corruption (DVAC) has launched an enquiry into various alleged irregularities i...

DVAC probes irregularities in Manonmaniam Sundarnar University


C Shivakumar
Chennai:
The directorate of vigilance and anti-corruption (DVAC) has launched an enquiry into various alleged irregularities in Manonmaniam Sundarnar University and demanded several key files and registers to be furnished at the earliest.

The enquiry by DVAC comes in the wake of The New Indian Express exposing irregularities in distance education programmes of the varsity.

Sources said a detailed enquiry has been ordered and DVAC has sought files relating to construction of buildings during the tenure of the registrar Dr S Manickam besides files relating to appointments made for teaching as well as non-teaching staff in Manonmaniam Sundarnar University made during his tenure.

The DVAC has also sought files relating to granting of permission distance education courses in Manonmaniam Sundarnar University during the registrar’s tenure.

Sources said DVAC is also looking into senate approval list of admission in B.Ed programme, allotment of study centers of Manonmaniam Sundarnar University, recruitment and promotions of teaching and non-teaching staff besides the register and files relating to fuel bill claims for vehicles and generators.

Interestingly, university sources question the enquiry stating that how could the enquiry be fair when the registrar, against who the probe is ordered, continues to be in power. “The law secretary who is also the Chairman of Convener's Committee of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University should not allow Manickam to handle confidential files,” they claim.

Surprisingly, the enquiry by DVAC comes in the wake of surprise check by auditors from Comptroller and Auditor General office recently.

Meanwhile, there have been moves by the University authorities to replace R Ramesh, the acting distance education director, who blew the whistle regarding irregularities in the varsity, by filling the post with a new nominee. “The advertisement to fill up the post at this juncture is too fishy and the government should ensure that till the probe is completed Ramesh should not be transferred and also given police protection,” university sources added.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

writingonblog uncensored: CII drafting paper on FDI in higher education

writingonblog uncensored: CII drafting paper on FDI in higher education: Chennai: Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) National Committee on Higher Education is currently preparing a draft on foreign direct inv...

CII drafting paper on FDI in higher education


Chennai:
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) National Committee on Higher Education is currently preparing a draft on foreign direct investment in higher education and it will be submitted to the Centre soon, according to chairperson of Education Forum CII southern region Nandini Rangaswamy.

She was reacting to a query from a delegate on Thursday during the interactive session of ‘Innovation in Higher Education – Focus on Tamil Nadu’, organized by CII.

However, to a query on what the paper will consist, she refused to divulge stating that the draft is still in the nascent stage.

Higher Education Minister P Palaniappan, who was present on the occasion, quoting a study by Technopak ‘Forecasting the Financial Potential in Education’ said that private investment in Indian higher education in 2013 will be in the region of $70 billion which will grow to $115 billion in 2018.

“If we go by the presence of overseas education providers in the state the impact will be substantial and keeping this in mind, the government is poised for healthy public-private partnerships with concomitant regulations to uphold quality,” he said.

The minister also said that higher education has yet to exploit the phenomenal growth in information and communications technologies. “The classrooms in colleges paint a dismal picture with only six computers at each college. But things are going to change with the free distribution of laptops by the state government that will bring in innovation in classrooms,” he added.

Vowing to make the state an education hub, the minister said the state government has introduced a series of innovative scheme which include funds for language labs and curriculum development, stipend to socially backward students, besides the free laptop scheme.

N K Ranganath, CII chairman of Tamil Nadu State Council floated the idea of research parks in colleges besides industry putting up percentage of profits for higher education.

Similarly, Madras University vice-chancellor Col G Thiruvasagam suggested that the industry, with government approval, could make use of the Rs 350-crore worth of equipment the University has, for research and development, testing and product development. He also suggested to pool the resources in the over a dozen Universities in Chennai to create a national common facility for industry-institute collaborative research and development.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Jaya was framed in London Hotel case



By C Shivakumar

CHENNAI:  Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa would have
been absolved in the London Hotel case, but it was, after all, a
chargesheet lacking in clear evidence that led to her implication in
the case, according to a source close to the investigation.

Initial investigations had, the source said, at one stage cleared the
AIADMK supremo of the charges in the case, but the “powers-that-be
refused to accept this conclusion”. This led to the transfer of the
investigation of the case to another official, and it took only 15
days for the Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption to file the
chargesheet, the source revealed.

The investigating team comprised top police officers, including then
DVAC SP N Nallama Naidu and some lawyers. The team probed certain
foreign transactions allegedly made by Jayalalitha, her confidante
Sasikala and disowned foster son V N Sudhakaran, between 1991 and
1996. Nallamma got five to six extensions. Most of the cases were
registered between 1997-2001 period.

After nine long years, the case has come full circle and the
government recently chose to withdraw the prosecution. “It is clear
that the DVAC is being used to settle political scores,” the source
says. “Senior civil servants are manipulating this to their
advantage.”

“The case was too weak,” noted another source, adding there was “no
prima facie evidence.” He said it was ironical that while Britain’s
Serious Fraud Office was investigating the case, a special team set up
for an ostensible overseas investigation included a public prosecutor
who enjoyed the benefits of an investigating officer. This was “in
clear violation of procedure”.

“After registering the case, the trial court should have been
requested by the investigating agencies to the Serious Fraud Office in
UK through Ministry of External Affairs under section 166 of Criminal
Procedure Code but they have not done that,” he added.

“The materials collected in other cases relating to FERA (Foreign
Exchange Regulations Act) violations were portrayed as evidence
without any application of mind,” said the source.

Again, the irony is Nallama retired in 2001 when the Jayalalithaa
government took over. However, he resurfaced again in 2006 as
Superintendent of Police and is till in office.
“He mislead the government,” the source said, “but he is being
honoured. During the last three years he has done no constructive
work. His appointment causes loss of several lakhs of rupees to
government exchequer. And thereby it is a violation under Prevention
of Corruption Act, 1998.”

“If a former chief minister is subjected to false cases, what would
happen to a common man,” he wondered.

writingonblog uncensored: Jaya clicks on IT policy to realize her dream to c...

writingonblog uncensored: Jaya clicks on IT policy to realize her dream to c...: Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday said that her government plans to bring out a new information technology an...

Jaya clicks on IT policy to realize her dream to catapult state to numero uno position



Chennai:
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday said that her government plans to bring out a new information technology and IT enabled services policy to catapult the state to ‘numero uno’ position.

Adressing a gathering of Industrialists during the 11th edition of CONNECT organized by Confederation of Indian Industry here on Wednesday, the chief minister, who was also the first to give a thrust to state’s IT policy by inaugurating the first edition of Connect 2011, quoting American writer Orison Sweet Marden said, “I have a vision or a dream to make the state numero uno in terms of all round development and dreams come true when you act to turn them into realities and to achieve this my government proposes to bring out a new IT and ITES policy.”

Calling for partners who can see growth in both old and the new economy, she said IT has powered the transformation of the State into a modern economy, clearly making it India’s eastern gateway to the world, not just South Asia.

The software exports from Software Technology Parks
of India(STPI) in the State have touched Rs 42,100
crore. “If we include exports from IT-SEZ units, it is
estimated to be above Rs 50,000 crore”, she said, adding it
would be her government’s endeavour to sustain and stabilize this environment of optimism.

She said the state has carved a pride of place in information technology by emerging out of the popular perception of being a coffee loving conservative city to transform itself into the Sanjose of india with state-of-the IT parks.

She also said within the state’s software exports, the focus is primarily on high-end of the value addition spectrum. “About 49 per cent of the state’s IT exports constitute system and application software while business process outsourcing constitutes only 12 per cent which is a clear reflection of the climb-up in value chain and maturity achieved by the IT industry,” she added.

Wooing investors, Jayalalithaa said the state has emerged as destination of choice for investors and remained as one of the top three destinations in attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in the country.

She said the state has a rich capital of human resource endowments with the state recording a annual turnout of 1.92 lakh engineering graduates and a equal number of trained polytechnic students. “Tamil Nadu is the most ‘technically powerful knowledge state’ in the country with Anna University becoming the largest technical university comprising of 500 engineering colleges and produces about 25 per cent of nation’s engineers and nearly 10 per cent of the world’s engineering graduates,” she added.

Interestingly, the keenness of chief minister in promoting the state as numero uno could be seen when she hailed the speech of S Ramadorai, advisor to Prime Minister of India on Skill Development, who highlighted the potential of the state to become a global leader in many sectors. “He has laid out a roadmap to help achieve these goals. I request him to send in his suggestions so that we can implement it,” she added.