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Saturday, June 30, 2012

VTMS to boost Chennai Port security


Chennai:
The Vessel Traffic Management System to regulate the vessels at Chennai Port will be operational from next month.

The trial run of the project which was awarded to Kongsberg Norcontrol, Norway at a cost of Rs 9.81 crore is completed and it will be operational from next month, said Shipping Minister G K Vasan.

VTMS regulates the arrival of vessels and has a radar for monitoring and controlling the vessel real time position. Interestingly, Indian Navy and Coast Guard will also be procuring video remote display feeds from Chennai Port’s VTMS.

writingonblog uncensored: Shipping ministry releases Rs 50.50 cr for EMRIP p...

writingonblog uncensored: Shipping ministry releases Rs 50.50 cr for EMRIP p...: Chennai: In a bid to meet the June 2013 deadline, Shipping Ministry on Friday released Rs 50.50 crore funds towards equity share contr...

Shipping ministry releases Rs 50.50 cr for EMRIP project


Chennai:
In a bid to meet the June 2013 deadline, Shipping Ministry on Friday released Rs 50.50 crore funds towards equity share contribution for the Chennai Road Port Connectivity Project (formerly Ennore Manali Road Improvement Project).

The cheque of Rs 50.50 crore (Rs 43.5 crore of Chennai Port Trust and Rs 7.5 crore of Ennore Port) was handed over to SR Tholia, General Manager (GM) and Project Director of National Highway Authority of India by Union Shipping Minister G K Vasan.

The minister, who is periodically reviewing the progress of the work, said that 32 per cent of work has been completed and the Rs 600 crore project is expected to be completed by June 2013.

Both Chennai and Ennore Ports are contributing a total of Rs 284.43 crore which is nearly 50 per cent of the project cost. “So far including Friday’s contribution of Rs 50.50 crore, a total of Rs 135 crore has already been paid by both the ports and the remaining amount would be paid as and when NHAI would ask for it,” Vasan said.

The minister said that land acquisition has been completed and the rehabilitated fisheremen are being provided with fishing stalls. “Allotment orders has already been issued for 133 out of 188 shops and the remaining shops will be allotted shortly. The port has incurred Rs 2.3 crore for this purpose,” he added.

He also said the Chennai Port is providing financial assistance worth Rs 35 crore to the dependents of employees who died while in service. He said the compassionate appointment of dependents of the employees who died while in service has become a long waiting period as number of vacancies earmarked for compassionate appointment is only five per cent and the family members of the deceased employees cannot be kept waiting for a long time.

“Chennai Port will provide an amount of Rs 1.25 lakh to Rs 5 lakh as financial assistance depending on the number of years they are waiting for,” the minister said, adding that till now 663 of the 868 dependents have submitted their particulars and scrutiny the will be provided financial assistance from next month.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

writingonblog uncensored: State positively considering marina on mouth of co...

writingonblog uncensored: State positively considering marina on mouth of co...: C Shivakumar Chennai: The state government is positively considering a proposal to set up a marina at the mouth of the Cooum, which ...

State positively considering marina on mouth of cooum


C Shivakumar
Chennai:
The state government is positively considering a proposal to set up a marina at the mouth of the Cooum, which also has public works department, department of tourism, sports, National Maritime Foundation  and Tamil Nadu Sailing Association as stakeholders.
The proposal, floated by TN Sailing Association to the state government to set up a marina near Anna Swimming Pool, will be on a public private partnership model will also look into setting up a sailing academy besides a place to host national and international events.
An expression of interest has been submitted which calls for design, installation, commissioning and operation of marina to handle pleasure boats of length varying from five metres onwards
Commodore Ashok R Thakkar, who is chairman, Sailing Development Committee Yachting Association of India told Express that the marina, which is modeled after Kochi experience comes in the wake of Tamil Nadu tourism department planning to tap the rich coastline of state to boost tourism
Thakkar said the initial proposal is to have marina for 24 yachts, besides a slipway, a boat-shed, a boatlift, a base for Tamil Nadu coastal police, berthing area for water taxis and a club house.

Currently, the plan is to open the mouth of Cooum and set up a marina 250 metre from high tide line which complies with coastal regulation norms. Although the project is still at a nascent stage, Thakkar feels that the marina will not only boost tourism and create jobs but also can help set up a base for state coastal security police besides putting to use the water based equipments needed during the disaster.
Interestingly, this proposal comes in the wake of Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation setting up a marina near Muttukadu in the East Coast Road and Ministry of Shipping calling for expression of interest to set up a marina inside the Port Trust.

Now e-learning for vets a click away!


Chennai:
Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University has revolutionized the veterinary education in the subcontinent by facilitating anytime – anywhere learning for the student community of the profession.

The e-course for Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, which was developed under the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) of Indian Council of Agricultural Research, has contents for 69 courses offered in nine semesters spread over five years of degree course in 177 credit hours with 101 theory and 76 practical and 3009 lessons, said TANUVAS vice-chancellor Dr R Prabhakaran.

Developed by 79 content developers of TANUVAS in modular object oriented dynamic learning environment (MOODLE) platform, the Rs 22.47 lakh project is supported by 79 co-teachers from outside TANUVAS, he said.

Dr Prabhakaran said content developers were initially exposed to e-content creation procedures, e-content protocols, development of multimedia and animation, working in MOODLE through a number of orientation and training programmes.

“To provide a comprehensive working environment for content developers to create e-content, necessary computer hardware and software were procured and installed setting up two e-learning laboratories – one at Madras Vterinary College, Chennai and other at Vterinary College and Research Institute, Namakkal.

More than 3,000 animations and numerous visuals, pictures and images were developed for inclusion in the lessons besides power point slides with voice overs were developed for each theory lesson and later refined using articulate presenter to make them interactive, Dr Prabhakaran said.

The e-contents were reviewed by 144 external experts from across the country in different subjective disciplines. The e-contents classified year wise and semester wise is hosted online in www.elearnvet.net

Dr J Radhakrishnan, secretary special programme implementation hailed the project and TANUVAS efforts for developing the e-course. He also presented certificates to e-content developers.

writingonblog uncensored: Wind turbine manufacturers urge Jaya to stop TANGE...

writingonblog uncensored: Wind turbine manufacturers urge Jaya to stop TANGE...: Chennai: Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA) urged the Chief Minister to intervene in a move by the Tamil Nadu Generat...

Wind turbine manufacturers urge Jaya to stop TANGEDCO move to remove power banking facility

Chennai:
Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA) urged the Chief Minister to intervene in a move by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) to remove the power banking facility.
Secretary General of IWTMA, D V Giri in a letter to the CM, sought her intervention in giving directions to TANGEDCO not to remove the banking facility and call for a stakeholders meeting.
Power banking works very much like cash banking, wherein wind power generators feed the electricity produced by their mills to the State grid and draw it for captive use within a year.
According to IWTMA, Tamil Nadu leads the country with a 40 per cent share of the wind energy capacity (7000 MW). All the leading global and national wind energy players have made Tamil Nadu their operating head quarters and have invested over `2,500 crore in creating over 8,000 MW production capacity with world-class manufacturing, marketing, research and development facility.
The private sector has made TN the number one player in the wind energy category and supported by their contribution of over 3,000 MW of wind energy the state managed to tide over the power crisis over the last two months.

“It is rather sad and ironic that while the private sector have created the bulk of wind energy capacity and the industry is investing in introducing higher capacity and more efficient wind turbines the State power distribution body is indulging in lame blame games which does not abode well for all, especially the consumers who are forced to put up with power outages frequently, we hope the State Government will intervene and help create a policy ambience that benefits all stake holders”, he said.
Besides IWTMA has urged the state and Union goverment to adopt wind as a preferred sources of energy.
IWTMA suggestions:
1.    With over 10 global and national wind energy manufacturers having set up base in Tamil Nadu, it is high time the State Government adopted Wind as the preferred source of energy and actively participate in setting up a –Centre of Excellence for Wind Technology in the State. 
2.    IWTMA and its member bodies provide complete end to end solutions in the sector, which means not only manufacturing the equipments and turbines but also calls for sustained research in identifying good wind catchment locations, creating local power infrastructure, enabling power evacuation to the closest grid, building sub-stations, generating local employment opportunities, promoting green technology and more. 

3.     This is a category where the FUEL costs is ZERO and is perpetual; contrast this with the recent Central Government subsidy on imported fossil fuel and the withdrawal of the Accelerated Depreciation facility (tax deferral scheme), while the whole world is tuning into green source of energy creation, we seem to have a policy myopia when it comes to clean energy generation.

4.    While the industry has actively contributed crores of rupees to the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) as well as to the State Infrastructure Development Cost (IDC), there seems to be no information or action on the deployment of the funds in creating the infrastructure that can help the Wind Energy sector scale up faster to meet the country’s growing energy needs. 

5.    After more than 20 years of proven Wind energy technology in building over 17000 MW of power generation in the country, it is time the Central and State Governments wake up to this potential to create progressive policy initiatives, invests in R&D and technology in multi-megawatt turbines, open up off-shore that can be tapped into for generating clean energy and get government bodies and state electricity boards to participate in setting up large captive Wind Farms (over 95% of current investments in the sector is from the private sector) 

6.    Lastly, it is time the Accelerated Depreciation turns to enthusiastic Appreciation and the Wind energy is given its rightful place to harness this clean, free and perpetual fuel to power the country.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

writingonblog uncensored: 29 allotments of AIS officers cancelled under Nerk...

writingonblog uncensored: 29 allotments of AIS officers cancelled under Nerk...: Allotees abused govt discretionary quota to avail TNHB houses in violation of norms C Shivakumar Chennai: Twenty-nine allotments of ...

29 allotments of AIS officers cancelled under Nerkundram housing scheme

Allotees abused govt discretionary quota to avail TNHB houses in violation of norms
C Shivakumar
Chennai:
Twenty-nine allotments of All India Service Officers have been cancelled under the Rs 445 crore Nerkundram housing scheme for government servants for already availing government discretionary quota (GDQ) allotment in the expanded Chennai.

The list includes 14 Indian Administrative Service officers of Tamil Nadu cadre and 15 Indian Police Service Officers.

Besides the cancellation of 29 allotments, TNHB sources revealed 17 allotments have been voluntarily surrendered by the All India Service Officers.

The cancellation of 29 allotments comes in the wake of All India Service officers availing government discretionary quota for the second or third time under the ‘Own Your House’ Nerkundram Housing Scheme, which came into being during the DMK regime.

Interestingly, Tamil Nadu Housing Board sources revealed that 10 All India Service officials have not furnished the government discretionary quota till the first week of June.

The project, which got the approval of the TNHB under the GO 56 issued on February 28, 2011, just a day prior to the Assembly elections, is mired in controversy after it was found out that of the nearly 450 allottees of All India Services, many had availed houses under the discretionary quota earlier.

Interestingly, the scheme, which also highlights GO 79, fails to take the gist of the order, which clearly states that any applicant who owns a house or plot is not eligible under the government discretionary quota. This is backed by an RTI reply to a query by an activist V Gopalakrishnan that the GO has not been amended.

TNHB sources also denied that the cost of the flats is less than 50 per cent of the market price.  “In fact, the tentative cost fixed already is likely to be raised more than 25 per cent and the same has been proposed to be placed before the board meeting for taking decision.  The final cost will be determined after the completion of the scheme,” the source added.

writingonblog uncensored: Tap the coast to generate power: expert

writingonblog uncensored: Tap the coast to generate power: expert: Chennai: India could generate 3750 MW to 7500MW if the 10 per cent of the coast is utilized to generate power, according to an exp...

Tap the coast to generate power: expert


Chennai:
India could generate 3750 MW to 7500MW if the 10 per cent of the coast is utilized to generate power, according to an expert.

Speaking at a seminar on non-conventional energy at Regional Meteorological Centre here on Wednesday Prof S A Sannasiraj of Indian Institute of Technology’s department of Ocean Engineering stressed on the need for ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) stating that the resource potential through this technology is 180,000 MW.

He said conceptual studies on OTEC plants, which uses the water temperature difference at the surface (at about 29 degree Celsius) and a depth of 1,100 metres (at about 7 degree Celsius) to produce electricity, are being underway and the same concept has already been extended to successful installation of desalination plants in Lakshadweep islands.

He said that Indian scientists have successfully demonstrated that OTEC is valuable not only in power generation but also in achieving additional objectives such as desalination.

He said the typical magnitude of ocean current along the Indian sub-continent is much smaller and there is no feasibility for the energy from ocean currents. “However, ample opportunities exist to install tidal current mill and a lot of scope exists for the participation of non-governmental organizations,” said Prof Sannasiraj.

Prof A Mani of IIT’s department of mechanical engineering discussed various thermal applications of solar energy like water heating, power generation, desalination, dying, cooking and solar refrigeration.

Monday, June 25, 2012

writingonblog uncensored: TN coastal police to get 24 new all terrain vehicl...

writingonblog uncensored: TN coastal police to get 24 new all terrain vehicl...: C Shivakumar Chennai: In a bid to enhance coastal security across the Tamil Nadu coast, the state government will procure 24 all ter...

TN coastal police to get 24 new all terrain vehicles to boost coastal security


C Shivakumar
Chennai:
In a bid to enhance coastal security across the Tamil Nadu coast, the state government will procure 24 all terrain vehicles (ATV) for marine police stations, according to additional director general of police, coastal security C Sylendra Babu.

Babu told Express that the all terrain vehicles will have capabilities not only in sea but also on land.

The police officer said that the superior all terrain vehicles will be imported at a cost of Rs 8 lakh. “The vehicles can be operated in sandy dunes as well as sea giving the state police a tactical advantage,” said Babu.
Interestingly, his statement comes in the wake of delegation of Parliament Standing Committee on Home Affairs headed by Rajya Sabha MP Venkaiah Naidu reviewing the coastal security in the state recently.
Babu also said that additional 40 checkposts have been constructed across the coastal roads in a bid to beef up surveillance in the coast. The state now has 100 checkposts.
The state is also planning additional 30 marine police stations. It already has 12 police stations, the senior police officer said. “The land for the police stations have been acquired,” he said.
He also said that Tamil Nadu was the first state to have coastal police station in 1994, way before the Mumbai terror attacks. He said the coastal stretch from Tiruvotiyur to Colachel is guarded by police stations and interceptor boats. 

writingonblog uncensored: Students join initiative to document green heritag...

writingonblog uncensored: Students join initiative to document green heritag...: Chennai: More than 600 students from 25 schools across the city took part in a green initiative to raise awareness on the eco-friendly...

Students join initiative to document green heritage buildings


Chennai:
More than 600 students from 25 schools across the city took part in a green initiative to raise awareness on the eco-friendly and sustainable features of the heritage buildings in India.
Organised by Young Indians, an integral part of Confederation of Indian Industries, India’s Natural Trust of Art and Culture and US consulate, the Green Heritage Project is a student initiative to record green heritage buildings besides understand more about heritage buildings and in the process learn about the history of the neighborhoods.
Delivering a special address on the Green Heritage Project Finale here on Monday, US Consul General Jennifer McIntyre urged the students to reduce schools carbon footprint and suggested examples on how US Green Building Council launched the ‘Green Schools’ project in the US.
Hailing the students for generating keen interest in the environment and working towards green heritage project, she urged the students to work like their US counterparts to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ in a bid to contain greenhouse gas emissions.
Hailing the students to highlight the environment friendly and sustainable building practices in the heritage structures identified in neighbourhoods, she said the project will help nurture India’s green architects and entrepreneurs.

Madhana Ratnavel, chair (environment), Yi Chennai and architect and urban planner said that the outcome of the initiative was that it helped students observe heritage buildings in their own neighborhood building a spirit of community and engaging them to observe and involve more in their immediate surroundings.
The identified green aspects of the buildings help educate the students on energy efficient solutions to create an environment-friendly building. · The project presents the students an excellent opportunity to develop and showcase their photographic skills, she said.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

writingonblog uncensored: Target Inland waterways to boost sea merchandise t...

writingonblog uncensored: Target Inland waterways to boost sea merchandise t...: Chennai: In a bid to boost India’s sea borne trade of merchandise, which has dipped by nearly 18 per cent, shipping experts have stres...

Target Inland waterways to boost sea merchandise trade


Chennai:
In a bid to boost India’s sea borne trade of merchandise, which has dipped by nearly 18 per cent, shipping experts have stressed the need to capitalize on the 14,500 km of navigable inland waterways by linking it to minor ports.
 
At the inaugural session of Conference on Coastal Shipping and Inland Waterways organized by Confederation of Indian Industry here on Saturday, former deputy national secretary and Chhattisgarh governor Shekhar Dutt said that the sea borne trade for merchandise has fallen from 31.5 per cent a decade ago to just 13.7 per cent as there is not enough capacity to carry more of Indian cargo and additions to the Indian fleet have concentrated on oil tankers.

Stressing the need to move towards full exploitation of container shipping which allows major ports to connect with minor ports who in turn will connect with inland waterways, he said there is need to include a policy on cabotage that reserves coastal cargo for Indian ships. “This policy will be useful only if our smaller ports see a integration with our inland waterways,” he said.
The cost of development of inland waterways has been estimated to be a mere 5-10 per cent of the cost of developing  an equivalent four-lane highway or similar railway. “In terms of maintenance cost, inland water ways is placed at 20 per cent of that of roads. One litre of  fuel can move 24 tonne- Km of freight by road, 85 by rail and 105 by inland water ways’’, the governor said.

Director of National Maritime Foundation (NMF) Vice Admiral (Retd) Pradeep Kaushiva said the extensive network of rivers and canals, if developed for shipping and navigation, could  provide an efficient network of trade and mass transportation and rued that the change- over to coastal shipping from the road and rail transportation has not taken place.

B  Santhanam, Deputy Chairman, CII (Southern Region)  and  Managing Director, Saint Gobain Glass India said that nearly 90 per cent  of India’s  international trade by volume and 77 per cent by value  was carried by sea. Only 10 per cent of this one billion tonne cargo movement was done by coastal shipping. “The use of inland water transportation at present was insignificant, except to an extent in Kerala, Only 0.1 per cent of  the total trade was  by inland waterways,’ he added.

writingonblog uncensored: US-India academicians stress the need for sustaina...

writingonblog uncensored: US-India academicians stress the need for sustaina...: Chennai: Academicians and technocrats from India and United States stressed on the need for sustainable development as part of join...

US-India academicians stress the need for sustainable development


Chennai:
Academicians and technocrats from India and United States stressed on the need for sustainable development as part of joint knowledge initiatives between both countries.

Delivering the inaugural address during the India-US Global Business Planning and Network Strategy conference, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Gautam Dey stressed the need to search for alternative development for sustainable development besides and the need for innovation in quality cheaper medicines which could benefit the poor.

The conference also focused on Pulicat lake highlighting the port planning besides how the fishing community was involved in opening the mouth of Pulicat lake so that it can enter the sea.

Abdul Razak Mohammed, the Indian chair said the conference is a meeting of academics, technocrats, professionals, corporates and NGOs from the field of environment, community and knowledge. The conference creates a platform for the intellectuals, students and academics to meet and update the knowledge on innovation, technology and development, he added.

Dean Paul Sears of College of Business University of Findlay, United States, deam of college of Engineering Anna University M Sekar and conference host Dipankar Ghose spoke on the occasion.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

writingonblog uncensored: Tribals urge state to intervene in vacating HC sta...

writingonblog uncensored: Tribals urge state to intervene in vacating HC sta...: Chennai: After more than six years of Union government passing the historic The Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition...

Tribals urge state to intervene in vacating HC stay over legislation to protect rights


Chennai:
After more than six years of Union government passing the historic The Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act’ 2006 to protect the rights of forest dwellers and tribals, the legislation has yet to be implemented in state after being caught in a legal tangle and tribals are pinning their hope on the AIADMK regime to initiate steps to vacate the court stay and implement it.

At the state consultation on Tribal Sub Plan – Perspective and Implementation and Forest Rights Act 2006 here on Friday, Tribal associations and rights group blamed the then DMK Government of failing to initiate action to vacate the stay on the state notification obtained by a retired wildlife warden in 2008 and urged the AIADMK regime to take steps to vacate the stay.

Ranganathan, state convenor of Tribal Association for Fifth Schedule Campaign Social Watch (Tamil Nadu) said that Tamil Nadu is the only state to have not implemented the act and the previous DMK regime failed to initiate any action to vacate the stay. “In Orissa, a similar stay was obtained against the act but the state appealed to it and it was later vacated by the High Court. Similarly, the state government here should take steps to vacate the stay to help push for inclusive growth,” he pleaded.

Interestingly, even the Union government has lamented that the legislation has not benefited majority of forest dwellers and tribals even after the lapse of five years of enactment of the law. The act recognizes the community rights, such as right to minor forest produce, grazing areas, water bodies, habitats of primitive tribal groups, pre-agriculture communities, pastoralist routes.

Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation Ossie Fernandes said though the act confers full ownership of minor forest produce everywhere, tribals are prevented by forest authorities to collect and use the produce.

Interestingly, the tribals are being prevented to rear cows and cattles in forest. “How will the government schemes of free cattle and goat benefit us when we can’t provide them with food,” lamented a tribal.

Surprisingly, in Erode hills, grass used for broomstick valued over several lakhs was made to rot because of forest department restrictions imposed illegally, allege tribals.

Tribal associations also urged the government to have public consultation with tribal associations before allocating Rs 350 crore under tribal sub plan. “The funds allocated for uplift of tribals never reach us,” Ranganathan said alleging that forest department is using the funds to plant alien species in forest land threatening the livelihood of tribals.

writingonblog uncensored: High pendency of cases results in lack of confiden...

writingonblog uncensored: High pendency of cases results in lack of confiden...: Chennai: A Supreme Court judge expressed concern over high pendency of cases and said it results in loss of public confidence in the ju...

High pendency of cases results in lack of confidence in judiciary, warns apex court judge


Chennai:
A Supreme Court judge expressed concern over high pendency of cases and said it results in loss of public confidence in the judiciary.

Delivering a lecture on ‘Role of Advocates in Justice Delivery System’ to mark the 150th celebration of High Court, Supreme Court judge justice P Sadasivam highlighted the need to reduce pendency of cases as this would result in people turning lawless and resorting to violent crimes to get justice.

Highlighting the need for judicial reforms to reduce pendency of cases, he stressed on the advantages of alternative means of dispute redressal even if the case is pending in court of law.

“The disputes can be resolved more economically and speedily. This system effectively reduces the work-load of the court and provides flexible procedure, strict procedure of law is not applicable to alternative means of dispute redressal,” he said.

Sadasivam said that cases under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, The Consumer Protection Act 1986 and The Contract Act 1872 besides cases involving family law, insurance, compensation, labour disputes can be brought under the aegis of dispute redressal mechanism.

Stressing on the importance of Section 80 of Civil Procedure Code, he said it is a provision to initiate conciliation and give an opportunity to the government to settle the matter amicably prior to institution of a suit in the court.

He also said that in modern India, environmental jurisprudence has a long way in acquiring a very seminal importance leaving behind the engraved British juristic notions as outdated and insufficient.

“The damage caused to environment by poisonous gases and emissions, industrial effluents, urban sewage, garbage, plastic waste , explotation of natural resources  besides equally important factors like poverty and health hazards have acquired alarming proportions which cry for new environmental ethic, order and justice in India,” he added.

Friday, June 22, 2012

writingonblog uncensored: Tamil Nadu seeks additional rice, kerosene from Ce...

writingonblog uncensored: Tamil Nadu seeks additional rice, kerosene from Ce...: Chennai: Tamil Nadu Food Minister R Kamaraj on Wednesday sought additional rice from the Union government stating that there is a gap o...

writingonblog uncensored: Met report on monsoon key to govt strategy on mana...

writingonblog uncensored: Met report on monsoon key to govt strategy on mana...: Chennai: The Union government will chart out a strategy on managing the food grains after going through the report from the meteorolog...

writingonblog uncensored: 25 bonded labourers rescued

writingonblog uncensored: 25 bonded labourers rescued: Chennai: Twenty-five bonded labourers were rescued from a rice mill and a quarry in Madurantakam in Kancheepuram district, accordi...

Tamil Nadu seeks additional rice, kerosene from Centre


Chennai:
Tamil Nadu Food Minister R Kamaraj on Wednesday sought additional rice from the Union government stating that there is a gap of 18,000 metric tonnes between state public distribution system and Centre’s allocation

Speaking at a national seminar on ‘Food Safety – Role of Standards’ attended by Union Minister of State for Food and Consumer Protection KV Thomas, Kamaraj said the state is getting 2.96 lakh metric tonnes under various schemes under the public distribution system while the state’s requirement under PDS is 3.14 lakh metric tonnes.

There is a gap of 18,000 metric tonnes which is filled through interim relief from the Centre, the minister said. He also sought increase in kerosene allocation.

The minister said that Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had written to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking increase in allocation of kerosene which has been downsized for the last few months.

The minister said the kerosene allocation had been reduced from 52,806 kilo litres in April 2011 to over 39,000 kl in April this year.

Met report on monsoon key to govt strategy on managing foodgrains


Chennai:
The Union government will chart out a strategy on managing the food grains after going through the report from the meteorology predictions which is expected on June 22 or June 24, according to minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K V Thomas.

He was replying to a query over reports stating that the monsoon could be erratic this year.

“We are studying that. The next meteorology report is expected by June 22 or 24 and once we get it, we will sit with agriculture ministry officials and look into the predictions before deciding on how to manage the food grains,” the minister said.

On the National Food Security Bill, the minister said the government hoped to pass it in the Winter session of Parliament.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

25 bonded labourers rescued



Chennai:
Twenty-five bonded labourers were rescued from a rice mill and a quarry in Madurantakam in Kancheepuram district, according to sources.

Acting on a complaint by International Justice Mission (IJM), Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) In-charge of Maduranthakam Revenue Division in Kancheepuram District along with International Justice Mission (IJM) conducted these rescue operations and rescued the labourers from a rice mill and a rock quarry.  

A total of 32 people were brought out of the facilities after approximately four to five years in bondage, IJM sources said.

The operators of Siva Rice Mill and Muthu Rock Breaking Unit in Mathuranthagam Taluk paid the victims approximately Rs 75 per person, per week, which is way below the Tamil Nadu Minimum Wage of Rs 136.02 per day.

Immediately after the rescue operation, the district administration conducted an enquiry into the facilities’ and found that 25 bonded labourers were victims of illegal forced labour practices.

The RDO then issued release certificates to the 25 bonded labourers, officially identifying them as victims of bonded labour and entitling them to government rehabilitation funds.

writingonblog uncensored: Three sub-committees formed to help shape CUMTA

writingonblog uncensored: Three sub-committees formed to help shape CUMTA: C Shivakumar Chennai: After the formation of a 14-member executive committee, the state government has constituted three new sub-com...

Three sub-committees formed to help shape CUMTA


C Shivakumar
Chennai:
After the formation of a 14-member executive committee, the state government has constituted three new sub-committees to help shape Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (CUMTA).

Sources told Express that the three sub-committees, which will function under the Executive Committee of the CUMTA, would look into resource mobilisation strategies, traffic infrastructure and promotion of non-motorised transport and integration of public transport modes.

Sources said the sub-committee on integration of public transport modes will work on the integration of the operations of various public modes of transport to complement each other and will be headed by managing director Chennai Metro Rail. The constituent members include representatives from metropolitan transport corporation, southern railway, Chennai Metro Rail, mono rail and Commissionerate of Transport Department. 

Similarly, the sub-committee on resource mobilisation strategies will work on raising resources for CUMTA.  The Committee headed by the finance secretary and constituent members include representatives from MTC, Southern Railway, CMRL, Mono Rail and Chennai Corporation Commissioner. 

The sub-committee on infrastructure improvement and promotion of Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) will work on the enhancement or improving of share of operations of the NMT and also improving the road infrastructure.  The Committee will be headed by Chennai Corporation Commissioner and co-chaired by the Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) and other members besides representative from Chennai City Connect.
The formation of  three sub-committees comes in the wake of formation of 14-member executive committee headed by the state chief secretary. The executive committee is to closely monitor and resolve operational and coordination issues of CUMTA, which was notified by the state government on December 2010.

writingonblog uncensored: Centre urges states to build intermediate godowns ...

writingonblog uncensored: Centre urges states to build intermediate godowns ...: Chennai: In a bid to ease the storage problem in Food corporation of India godowns, the Union Government has urged the states to build i...

Centre urges states to build intermediate godowns to store PDS grains for six months

Chennai:
In a bid to ease the storage problem in Food corporation of India godowns, the Union Government has urged the states to build intermediate godowns to stock food grains for at least six months.
Addressing a press conference on the sidelines of national conference on ‘Food Security - Role of Standards,’ organised by the Bureau of Indian Standards, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K V Thomas said that the Union government has urged the states to off-take at least six months of food grains needed for PDS and store it in the godowns since the storage capacity of Food Corporation of India is 64 million tonnes and the present stock is about 82-83 million metric tonnes.
Currently, the states lift foodgrains from FCI and send it directly to PDS shops.
The minister also  said the government is expecting a bumper production of food grains this year. “Wheat production is expected to be 902.30 lakh tonnes, of which 370 lakh tonne will be procured. Similarly, rice production is expected to be 1,034.1 lakh tonnes and procurement will be 353.15 lakh tonnes. The latest estimate of central storage food grains is to the tune of 82 million tonnes, which is three times higher than the buffer amounts,” the minister added.
He said this year states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan were also expected to produce more and there was storage problem in these states also.

However, he said despite the shortage of storage, the loss and storage damage was low when compared with five years ago which was 2.5 per cent. Now it has come down to 0.006 per cent.

writingonblog uncensored: TN seeks Bengal rice

writingonblog uncensored: TN seeks Bengal rice: Chennai: The union government is examining a proposal from the state government seeking supply of quality rice from West Bengal and Pu...

TN seeks Bengal rice

Chennai:
The union government is examining a proposal from the state government seeking supply of quality rice from West Bengal and Punjab which is similar to the one produced and consumed in the state.
Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K V Thomas told reporters on the sidelines of national seminar on ‘Food Safety – Role of Standards’ that discussions will be held with the officials to see whether the finer quality rice can be made available from these states.
To a query on the exact quantity of rice being sought by the state, he said the exact quantity of rice needed by the state has to be discussed.
Official sources said that the state government has requested the Union government to provide finer quality of rice which is more or less consumed by the people of the state.
“We are getting good quality rice from Punjab and Andhra Pradesh but what we want is that the rice should be more or less similar to the one being consumed by the people of the state. Since the rice from these West Bengal is more or less similar to the one consumed by people of Tamil Nadu, we are requesting the Centre to supply it,” said the source.
The union minister said that under the existing TPDS (Targeted Public Distribution System) allocation for the state, the share of rice is 35.57 lakh metric tonnes and wheat is 1.65 lakh metric tonnes.

“The food subsidy for Tamil Nadu is Rs 6,420.44 crore for this fiscal. With the proposed additional allocation of 5 million metric tonnes of food grains for below poverty line, the share of the state will be 3.72 lakh tonnes and the additional subsidy will be Rs  691.27 crore. So the total subsidy will be Rs 7,111.71 crore for Tamil Nadu alone. And the entire subdsidy for the country is to the tune of Rs 88,000 crore," he said.

writingonblog uncensored: Rosaiah yet to receive summons over land denotific...

writingonblog uncensored: Rosaiah yet to receive summons over land denotific...: Chennai: Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah on Wednesday said he has yet to receive summons from an Andhra Pradesh court in connection with ...

Rosaiah yet to receive summons over land denotification case


Chennai:
Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah on Wednesday said he has yet to receive summons from an Andhra Pradesh court in connection with a case related to de-notification of government land in favour of some private parties.
Speaking to reporters after delivering the inaugural address at a national seminar on ‘Food Safety – Role of Standards’ here, the governor said, “I did not receive the summons yet. I only heard it from the media.”
The governor’s reaction comes in the wake of a Hyderabad court summoning him to appear before it on August 2 in connection with a criminal case against him over the allotment of a tract of prime land in the city worth about Rs. 500 crore.
The former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister was among the 13  accused in the case, related to denotification of 9.14 acres of prime land at Ameerpet in Hyderabad in 2010.
“Let me receive the summons. It will be looked from legal angles and then be decided,” Rosaiah told reporters when queried about the summons issued to him on June 18 by the court.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

writingonblog uncensored: Reports questions private entities role in develop...

writingonblog uncensored: Reports questions private entities role in develop...: C Shivakumar Chennai: Rights activists have linked the slum evictions to the alleged increasing invasion of the private forces on ...

Reports questions private entities role in developing environmental social framework


C Shivakumar
Chennai:
Rights activists have linked the slum evictions to the alleged increasing invasion of the private forces on the urban paradigm and questioned the role of Tamil Nadu Urban Development Fund (TNUDF) and public-private entities in the development of cities and environmental social framework (ESF).

A report of People’s Union of Civil Liberties Fact-finding Team and Citizen Rights Forum on forced eviction and rehabilitation of slum-dwellers in Chennai states that since the initiation of various externally aided projects like the World Bank funded Tamil Nadu Urban Development Project (TNUDP), affected-citizens of the city have had little say in the course of events and development projects that have been planned in the very sites that they have been living in for many generations.

“The current funds for urban development is managed by TNUDF, established under the Indian Trusts Act 1882 by state government, ICICI, Housing and Development Finance Corporation and IL&FS with a line of credit from the World Bank to develop urban infrastructure of the state,” the report stated.

“The role of TNUDF, established in 1996, was to attract private capital into urban infrastructure and to facilitate better performing urban local bodies to access capital markets. Despite the fact that the state is the highest stakeholder in TNUDF (72 per cent), it is being administered by a corporate trustee Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Trustee Company Limited and a fund manager in Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services limited with Tamil Nadu holding a minority stake of 49 per cent,” the report alleged.

“These public-private entities are making all decisions with regard to development of the city including preparation of feasibility study and the environmental and social impact of study of the project,” it alleged.

Questioning the role of private players in determining the Environment Social Framework, the report also castigated the state saying it is moving away from the welfare approach and catering towards the vested interests of the powerful.

Interestingly, a survey entitled “Identification of Environmental Infrastructure
Requirement of Slums in Chennai Metropolitan Area” under the World Bank funded TNUDP II (Tamil Nadu Urban Development Project) clearly states that of the 242 slums within the Chennai Corporation Area, 122 slums (41,683 families) were classified
under ‘Objectionable Slums’ and 120 slums (30157 families) as ‘unobjectionable slums.’

“The people who are mapping the slums are the ones who have done the ESF. The same private entities are the ones who have a huge stake in the urban infrastructure financing,” according to CRF member Vanessa Peter.

Quoting a mid-term project review report of 2001 by Rutul Joshi, a Faculty of Planning and Public Policy, CEPT University, Vanessa said, “TNUDF has performed the role of both a financial intermediary and a strategic advisor”. The report also claims that TNUDF as an institution has developed a market for municipal infrastructure in the state, she said.

Managing director and chief executive officer of Tamil nadu Urban Development Fund K Phanindra Reddy could not be reached for his reaction to the allegations.

Earlier, Express quoting an RTI has stated that Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Limited (TNUIFSL) have   proposed ‘Integrated Development in Foreshore Estate’, pitching for eviction of 10,000 families living in Srinivasapuram. Interestingly, this has been mapped by the TNUIFSL as objectionable in the survey.

writingonblog uncensored: Top Kalpakkam scientist is BARC director

writingonblog uncensored: Top Kalpakkam scientist is BARC director: Chennai: Sekhar basu, a top scientist from Kalpakkam and the brain behind land-based nuclear submarine propulsion plant will now h...

Top Kalpakkam scientist is BARC director


Chennai:
Sekhar basu, a top scientist from Kalpakkam and the brain behind land-based nuclear submarine propulsion plant will now head country’s premier research and development Bhaba Atomic Research Centre from Monday.

Prior to his new appointment, Basu was chief executive of  Nuclear Recycle Board (NRB) and Kalpakkam’s BARC Facilities Director.

The senior Indian scientist who has won many coveted awards from Indian Nuclear Society (INS) and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) for his significant contributions to the country’s Atomic Energy Programme, would promote research in basic science and engineering in his new role besides pursuit of BARC programmes at various strategic areas, according to a release from Nuclear Recycle Board. He also proposes to launch major expansion programmes in food and health sectors, which are of paramount importance to our country at this juncture, the release added.

An engineering graduate from Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute in Mumbai, Basu joined the prestigious BARC Training School in 1974.  He joined Reactor Engineering Division of BARC and contributed significantly towards the development of fuel for boiling water reactors (BWR). 

He moved to Kalpakkam in Tamilnadu during 1988 and was responsible for commissioning of land based nuclear submarine propulsion plant.  Subsequently, he was the architect of India’s indigenous Nuclear Recycle Programme and constructed the reprocessing and waste management plants at Tarapur and Kalpakkam.  He has also been involved in Fusion Reactor Programme, ITER, France.

Monday, June 18, 2012

writingonblog uncensored: Shipping ministry’s new guidelines on security cle...

writingonblog uncensored: Shipping ministry’s new guidelines on security cle...: Chennai: Even as Chennai Mega Container Terminal is awaiting security clearance, Shipping Minister G K Vasan said his ministry has recently...

Shipping ministry’s new guidelines on security clearance to boost implementation of projects



Chennai:

Even as Chennai Mega Container Terminal is awaiting security clearance, Shipping Minister G K Vasan said his ministry has recently come out with new guidelines to streamline processing of security clearance proposals expeditiously without compromising on security aspects.



Delivering the inaugural address during the National Conclave on Shipping here on Monday, he said the award and implementation of projects to create and add capacity at ports have been affected by factors such as security clearance of bidders, environment clearance, land acquisition issues and litigation.



He said the shipping ministry is in constant dialogue with all agencies, including ministry of defence, home affairs, external affairs, environment and forests, prime minister’s office, cabinet secretariat and planning commission to remove all bottlenecks on implementing the projects.



Interestingly, his comments come in the wake of Chennai port awaiting security clearance for mega container terminal. Chennai Port trust chairman Atuly Mishra told reporters that two bidders have evinced interest in developing Rs.3,686-crore mega container terminal, north of the Bharti dock at Chennai Port.



He said the capacity of Indian ports went up to more than 1200 million tonnes by March 31 this year from about 1100 million tonnes per annum last previous financial year.


Federation of Indian export Organisations president Rafeeque Ahmed highlighted the need to boost competitiveness of Indian ports and said that FIEO has submitted a report highlighting the projected shortfall in port capacity in view of long term export-import target to reach four per cent of world trade.

writingonblog uncensored: Fictitious importers dump hazardous waste due to l...

writingonblog uncensored: Fictitious importers dump hazardous waste due to l...: Frame law to force shipping lines to re-export waste to country of origin: official C Shivakumar Chennai: More than 32 to 40 co...

Fictitious importers dump hazardous waste due to lack of regulatory mechanisms


Frame law to force shipping lines to re-export waste to country of origin: official
C Shivakumar
Chennai:
More than 32 to 40 containers containing hazardous waste enter Indian ports each year due to lack of regulatory mechanisms, according to a senior customs official.

Speaking to Express on the sidelines of National conclave on Shipping 2012 here on Monday, Additional Commissioner of Customs N J Kumaresh said that India is being used as a dumpyard due to lack of regulatory mechanisms to contain hazardous consignment which are imported in the country under fictitious importers.

“When these consignments are caught, the fictitious importers abandon the cargo and the shipping lines shirk off the responsibility,” he said, stressing the need for a framework to make the shipping lines responsible to carry the waste back to the country of origin.

He said that India is a signatory of Basel Convention, which prohibits developed countries to dump waste in developing countries. Interestingly, the country also has The Hazardous Wastes (Management,Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008 to implement the Basel convention but there is a need for a regulatory framework on fixing the responsibility on who is to be blamed for importing the waste into India.

He said that department of revenue intelligence has booked several cases after confiscating containers containing hazardous wastes, like municipal waste, medical waste, waste oil and scrap. “But no action could be taken as they have no idea as to who will pay the dues,” says Kumaresh.

Interestingly, many countries are using small Islands across the Indian Ocean to crush the car waste before importing it as a scrap. Kumaresh said that in western countries, the wastes are segregated and the polluter has to pay an exorbitant fee. “This has forced the firms to look for cheaper sites to evade the charges,” he said.

When Express contacted the Union Shipping Minister G K Vasan, he said the ports have been advised to take stringent action against those dumping hazardous waste. “Ministry of Environment and Forest is responsible for it,” said the minister.

Chennai Port trust chairman Atulya Mishra said once in a while the port comes across such cargos and it is trying to curb such practices. But Kumaresh says unless the ministry of finance or shipping ministry comes with regulations to make the shipping lines re-export the hazardous cargo to the country of origin, the wastes will continue to be dumped in the country.

writingonblog uncensored: Port road will be ready in a year: Vasan

writingonblog uncensored: Port road will be ready in a year: Vasan: Chennai: More than 35 per cent of work in the Chennai Port Road Connectivity project has been completed and the project will be ready...

Port road will be ready in a year: Vasan


Chennai:
More than 35 per cent of work in the Chennai Port Road Connectivity project has been completed and the project will be ready by June 2013, according to Union Shipping Minister G K Vasan.

Reviewing the ongoing works at the 30 km stretch of formerly Ennore-Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP), along with Chennai Port Trust chairman Atulya Mishra and other senior government officials on Monday morning, the minister said that authorities are trying to meet the deadline and the June 2013 target won’t be extended at any cost. “There are certain issues and we want to resolve it by involving all stake holders.

While reviewing the work in the 1.6km stretch from S N Chetty Street to Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) main gate, the minister said that the biggest hurdle is the Bhavani Amman temple in that stretch. “We want to respect the sentiments of the residents in the area and are holding discussions with all the stakeholders. Either the temple might be moved to an alternate site or we may have a bend so that the sentiments of the residents are respected,” Vasan said.

Tamil Nadu speaker D Jayakumar, who represents Royapuram in the assembly, is also taking efforts to resolve the stalemate over the land acquisition for the project.
He said the Fishing Harbour police station and land belong to petrol bunks have been acquired besides allotment orders have been issued 89 of the 146 fishing stalls, which were to be removed in the 1.6 km stretch. “The other stalls will get the allotment by Wednesday,” said Mishra.

Vasan also said the relief and rehabilitation activities for 1,824 Project Affected Families is nearing completion. He also said that the next four months will be crucial for the project. He also reviewed the proposed 7.8 acre Tiruvotiyur parking yard which is awaiting clearance from the corporation. “The parking yard will be ready in the next eight months and it will help ease congestion,” said Mishra.

The minister, who preferred the company of the reporters than his official car, said that Ministry of Shipping has given approval for enhanced Equity Contribution of Rs 139.80 crore (loan component Rs 110.61 crore) on June 12 for Chennai Port Trust and Rs 34.02 crore as equity contribution to Ennore Port Limited. 

“Out of Rs 139.80 crore equity contribution of Chennai Port, Rs 67 crores already paid and Rs 43 crore, out of the remaining amount is going to be released shortly.  EPL has already paid Rs.17.05 cores out of Rs.34.03 crores of equity contribution and Rs.7.5 crores, out of the remaining amount will be paid shortly,” the minister added.



Project road network of 30.1 km. covers the following roads:

                  -                  Ennore Expressway                   - 5.9 kms
                  -                  Thiruvottiur Ponneri Pancheti Road -      9 Km
                  -                  Manali Oil Refinery Road – 5.4 kms.
                  -                  Northern segment of Inner Ring Road – 8.1 Km.
                  -                  Inside Fishing Harbour Road – 1.6 km

Sunday, June 17, 2012

writingonblog uncensored: Tech savvy candidates use gadgets as short cut to ...

writingonblog uncensored: Tech savvy candidates use gadgets as short cut to ...: C Shivakumar Chennai: Conducting competitive exams in a fair manner has become a big headache for various institutions including Sta...

Tech savvy candidates use gadgets as short cut to success in exams


C Shivakumar
Chennai:
Conducting competitive exams in a fair manner has become a big headache for various institutions including Staff Selection Commission with the mushrooming of technology gadgets, which is being used by candidates as a shortcut to success.

At a workshop here on Thursday, SSC chairman N K Raghupathy said that the use of mobile phones have been banned but the biggest problem is the use of bluetooth devices by candidates.

Citing an example from Chandigarh, he said that students used bluetooth embedded in the ear to copy during the exams. “We found that of the 12,500 candidates, 200 indulged in malpractice. We have cancelled their candidature and CBI is investigating the issue,” he added.

He said that while the SSC has banned mobile phones in exam centers, candidates are using bluetooth devices. “It can be installed 50 metres away from where the candidate is writing exam. And one could hear what is being read outside,” said Raghupathy.

As a result SSC has come out with a set of guidelines to be implemented in all centers besides frisking of candidates in the exam centers. “We are deploying two policemen in each center to conduct checks on the candidates who are appearing for examps,” said Raghupathy.

Interestingly, the state is also facing similar problems with Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University stating that students are using bluetooth devices as a shortcut to success in exams. “Some hide the phones inside their ties while others in the underwear,” said vice chancellor of the university Dr Mayil Vahanan Natarajan.

He said that the university has asked the colleges to install CCTVs, metal detectors and phone jammers to prevent malpractices.

“We are also planning to have the exam centers changed,” he said. Interestingly, the cyber crime wing of Chennai police said that they have received only one complaint of malpractice in the final year MBBS examination held in February at the Stanley Medical College. “We are conducting investigations into the issue,” said a police source investigating the case.

writingonblog uncensored: Staff Selection Commission to recruit one lakh can...

writingonblog uncensored: Staff Selection Commission to recruit one lakh can...: Trilingual question papers help remove bias against non-Hindi candidates: SSC chairman Chennai: Staff Selection Commission on ...

Staff Selection Commission to recruit one lakh candidates in 2012-13

Trilingual question papers help remove bias against non-Hindi candidates: SSC chairman


Chennai:
Staff Selection Commission on Thursday said the trilingual question papers introduced recently for SSC exams in 13 languages helps remove bias against non-Hindi candidates.

Addressing a Question Bank Workshop on civil, structural, electrical and mechanical here, SSC chairman N K Raghupathy said the introduction of trilingual question paper in 13 languages has helped the traditionally deficit states to perform well and removed the bias against non-Hindi candidates.

 

“We are also allowing candidates to seek interview in their own languages in the regional centres. This will provide a better level playing field,” he said.


But Raghupathy warned Union Public Service Commission aspirants not to go for interview in their native languages. “This is a double edge sword as they have to depend on the translator to translate what they speak,” he said.

He said that the Staff Selection Commission is likely to recruit about one lakh candidates this year and expects to receive more than 1.3 crore applications.

 

The target is 85,000 jobs this year but the number could reach one lakh. Meanwhile, SSC officials have started preparing a question bank of 6,000


Of this 50,000 vacancies of constables exist in central police organization besides posts in Group B and Group C cadre. Meanwhile, SSC officials have started preparing a question bank for the exams. A regional center official said that during the two day workshop they will be paring about 5,000 to 6,000 questions which may later be pruned.


Speaking on the occasion, Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission chairman R Natraj said that TNPSC will be conducting exams for Group II to fill up 3,600 posts in August. He said the applications can be downloaded online. Natraj also said that they have received 12 lakh online applications for the 10,793 posts Group IV.