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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

56 flights delayed in Chennai airport due to inclement weather

The air schedule of passengers in Chennai airport was disrupted as around 56 flights were delayed on Tuesday due to the inclement weather following a low pressure prevailing in the southwest Bay of Bengal.

Airport Authority of India sources said that 56 flights, including domestic and international, got delayed. 

Giving a break-up, the official said that 27 flights were incoming ones and 29 were outgoing flights from the airport.

Of those, 16 were international flights. “Eight were incoming flights and eight were outgoing flights,” said the official.

A passenger whose Spicejet flight arrived at Chennai Airport by about 30 minutes said that her connecting flight to Tuticorin airport was furether delayed by 30 minutes. 

However, for many passengers from North, the wet weather in Chennai was a pleasant one. “We have been living in temperature above 40 degrees. The wet weather was a delight for us,” said the passenger, who had come here on an vacation.

The rains also resulted in inundation at several places of the city. Meanwhile, the ground water level has increased and Water Resources Department (WRD) said they will quantify the rise after a couple of days.

The WRD official said that most of the water has been sucked by the parched ground as a result it did not make any impact on the reservoirs supplying water to Chennai.

He said the catchment areas like Chembarambakkam, which was one of the main reason for flooding of Adyar received 120mm of rain while Red Hills and Cholavaram received 30 and 37mm of rain. Poondi received only 14mm of rain.

If it rains for couple of days more, we will be able to see some impact. The reservoirs supplying water to the city currently has more than 5TMC feet which could last more than three months

writingonblog uncensored: New ambulances for airport

writingonblog uncensored: New ambulances for airport: Chennai; In a bid to cater to medical  emergencies and ensure safe,  smooth and enjoyable transit  for passengers through  Chennai Airport...

New ambulances for airport

In a bid to cater to medical emergencies and ensure safe, smooth and enjoyable transit for passengers through Chennai Airport, Airport Authority of India has inducted four new ambulances.

The ambulances were dedicated for the use of passengers by Airport Authority of India, Chennai, director Deepak Shastri.

The ambulances have state of the art technology and conform to BS-IV emissions.

The ambulance, fitted with 3455cc capacity engine, has latest medical equipment. It laos has hooks for intravenous bottles and brackets for oxygen cylinder with adjustable straps to meet emergencies

New tax scheme for tax defaulters

Have you paid your taxes? If not you still have four more months to pay the taxes under The Income Tax Declaration Scheme 2016 which is applicable from June 1.

Under the scheme, those who have not declared income correctly in earlier years would be taxed at the rate of 30 per cent besides a ‘Krishi Kalyan Cess’ of 25pc on the taxes payable and a penalty at the rate of 25pcof the taxes payable.

Meenakshi J Goswami, commissioner of Income tax and official spokesperson of Central Board of Direct taxes, said that the scheme shall apply to undisclosed income whether in the form of investment in assets or otherwise pertaining to financial year 2015-16 or earlier.

If the declaration is the form of investment in assets, the Fair Market Value of such asset as on 1st June 2016 shall be deemed to be the undisclosed income under the Scheme. However, foreign assets or income to which the Black Money Act 2015 applies are not eligible for declaration under this scheme, she said.

She said that no scrutiny and enquiry under the Income-tax Act or the Wealth tax Act shall be undertaken in respect of such declarations

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

writingonblog uncensored: Booth level officers missing in action!

writingonblog uncensored: Booth level officers missing in action!: C Shivakumar Chennai: If the voters lacked booth slips, the booths lacked booth level officers appointed by the Election commission ...

Booth level officers missing in action!

Caption: Election Commission appointed Booth level officers without any basic facilities at a polling booth in Poonamallee
C Shivakumar
If the voters lacked booth slips, the booths lacked booth level officers appointed by the Election commission to help identify the genuine voters in the suburbs.
And at places where it did have, there was no infrastructure or identity card for these officers.
Five to six women were seen sitting under a tree with a list of voters list which was outdated and trying to guide the voters at the Ariangnar Anna Higher Secondary School in Poonamallee.
“We are booth level offices appointed by the Election Commission,” identified the women.
“We are 12 of them. We don’t have identity card and have to sit under this tree,” said another Booth level officer.
Although, the booth level officer had a chair to sit, her counterparts did not have even that. “The duty of ours is to identify the genuinity of voters. But we don’t have proper electoral rolls,” says a booth level officer.
A polling agent, who was seen strolling by, had been taking care of them by providing tea and snacks. The lunch had been provided by the zonal officers who had been continuously on rounds.
However, the booth level officers denied majority of voters did not get booth slips. “We did provide many of the electorate in Poonamallee with booth slips. We do agree some did not get it. But it is just a small amount,” the booth level officer defended.
In Kattupakkam, the booth level officers were seen only in the morning, they vanished as the day progressed. “They were there in the morning. We did not know where they had gone,” said the presiding officer Kavitha

Voters struggle for booth slips

(Voters without booth slip seek help of party cadres)

C Shivakumar
Senior citizens 79-year old Azizullah and 68-year-old Shan Begum wanted to vote in this election. The couple braved the weather to reach the polling booth in Karambakkam in Porur but to their dismay, they were forced to return as they did not have booth slip.
Waiting near the poll booth, the senior citizens were seeking help on how to locate their names from passers-by. A local political cadre stepped in and checked the name of Azizulah in the electoral roll and gave him a booth slip. But Begum, who had a voter’s identity card was denied the chance to vote.
The couple are among the majority of voters who were struggling to get booth slips, an identity to which ward they belong to and the the booth where they have to cast their vote, by the Election Commission.
“Most of the voters in the suburbs simply returned to their homes as they did not have booth slip and some were able to vote due to the presence of local political cadres who had the electoral list,” said a local policeman.
The Election Commission had tried to deliver the booth slips to the doorstep of voters so that the voters are not dependent on any party cadres or polling agents who can influence the voters.
But then the move backfired and voters were again dependent on the local political leaders who have been campaigning for their party by hosting a shamiana more than 100 metres away from the booth.
A local party functionary blamed the election commission as he was seen helping the voters with booth slips using the Internet in his phone. “Please vote for this number in the electronic voting machine,” he requested a voter after giving him the booth slip.
This sort of last minute campaigning just when the voter had to cast his vote did have some impact as many of the voters were undecided on whom to pick as their candidate. In areas like Nerkundram, there were more than 14 candidates. “The choice is huge and I could not vote for any particular candidate. I just wanted a change,” said Sathyaraj and his wife, who voted for the first time.

Monday, May 16, 2016

AAI seeks DGCA permission for drone survey by IIT to make Chennai airport flood-proof

C Shivakumar
Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, will come out with a long term solution to safeguard Chennai Airport from floods by mapping 5to 10km radius in and around the airport through a Drone.

Airport Authority of India, Chennai, director Deepak Shastri told Express that for a long term solution to protect the airport from any further floods, IIT Madras will be mapping the structure as well as water bodies in and around the airport. 

This comes after Chennai airport was closed for nearly four to five days during December after flood waters entered the airport.

“The drone will map the water catchment area besides study obstructions in and around the vicinity of the airport. It will cover a radius of 5to 10km,” said another AAI official..

Interestingly, this will be the first time Chennai Airport would be using a drone to map the airport and since sensitive installations are in and around the airport, the permission of Director General of Civil Aviation is required.

Currently, there is no system or provision to use a drone to map the airport, said the official.

Initially, the idea was to take a satellite image but then a clearer view could be had by flying at a low level as such the need was to have a survey done by the drone, he said.

The official said that the drone, which will be procured by IIT,. would be fitted with high resolution camera.

This comes after Airport Authority of India implemented  the short-term proposal of Indian Institute of Technology after water breached the walls of Airport and crippled the flight services.

During the deluge, the airport walls were breached by Adyar River in 15 to 20 places. Some were 20 metre wide and some 10 to 2 metre wide. Almost all the walls have been repaired, said the airport official.

The official said it was not only the Adyar River that flooded the airport, water also came in from the Tirusalam suburban station end which is near the hill. The water from there entered the airport terminal.

-- Chennai airport was closed fosed nearly four to five days after water entered the airport and terminal
--- The wall of water, which was breached in 15 to 20 places were repaired
--- It was not only water from Adyar River but also from the hills and city entered the airport and flooded the terminal
--- IIT came up with short term plan to restore the airport 
--- Long term solution requires mapping of structure and water bodies by drone
--- Permission of DGCA is sought to allow Drone to map the airport

Saturday, May 14, 2016

writingonblog uncensored: Moulivakkam building was fit to be a four-storey b...

writingonblog uncensored: Moulivakkam building was fit to be a four-storey b...: C Shivakumar Chennai: The lone remaining 11-storied Moulivakkam Building on the crash site, where the lives of 61 workers were snuffed ou...

Moulivakkam building was fit to be a four-storey building only, says SC committee member

C Shivakumar
The lone remaining 11-storied Moulivakkam Building on the crash site, where the lives of 61 workers were snuffed out, is fit only to be a four-storey building and is unable to take in the weight of additional floors, according to one of the committee members appointed by the Supreme Court who submitted a stability report of the building.

L P Singh, general manager (Structure), National Building Construction, who was appointed as one of the committee member to submit the report on whether the building was safe or not, stated that the design of the building was faulty.

“The fault was basically with the design and the size of the columns. It was designed in such a way that the building can’t take the weight beyond four floors,” said Singh.

Interestingly, the report submitted by Singh and IIT Delhi assistant professor Shasank Bishnoi sealed the fate of the building in the Supreme Court on Thursday which ordered it to be demolished..

The Supreme Court constituted the committee on March 18 after hearing an appeal by the Tamil Nadu government against the Madras High Court's order which quashed the Kancheepuram collector's directive to demolish the 11-storey building at Moulivakkam by Prime Sristi Housing Private Limited.

On June 28, 2014, a 11-storey under-construction apartment complex by Prime Sristi Housing Private Limited collapsed killing 60 people, almost all of them construction workers. Another block at the same site was ordered to be demolished by the Kancheepuram collector after an enquiry by the state government found that this structure was also unsafe.

But the Madras High Court on November 26, 2015 quashed the district collector's order citing procedural violations in issuing the order. The state government has appealed against the high court verdict in the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Kancheepuram Collectorate officials have welcomed the order. “Now it is up to the CMDA to demolish the building,” a senior official told Express.

Interestingly, the order to demolish the building had a mixed reaction among the buyers. “We welcome the Supreme Court decision which highlighted our stance that the design of the building was faulty but we also want the government and the courts to understand our plight,” said Ratna Mishra, who had brought a flat in the ill-fated building that collapsed.

“”I bought the building for 45 lakh and am currently paying a EMI of Rs 53,000 for a lot which is non-existent. If everything had gone well, we would have occupied the flat in 2014,” said Ratna.

Anirudh, a manager (legal) with a multinational company, who owns a flat in the building which was ordered to be demolished says that the demolition comes as a big relief to the flat buyers. “We were actually worried about the fate of the building as it was a unsafe structure. Now since the Supreme court itself has termed it unsafe and ordered it to be pulled down, we feel it has opened a can of worms against the builder, who is facing cases in consumer courts and other fora,” said Anirudh

writingonblog uncensored: New mechanism to curtail baggage delay in Chennai...

writingonblog uncensored: New mechanism to curtail baggage delay in Chennai...: Chennai: Now no more delayed delivery  of baggages in Chennai  Airport!  Airport Authority of India  has brought in a new  mechanism t...

New mechanism to curtail baggage delay in Chennai Airport

Now no more delayed delivery of baggages in Chennai Airport! 

Airport Authority of India has brought in a new mechanism to monitor the delivery of baggages by the airlines.

Airport Authority of India, Chennai, director said that the mechanism ‘First Bag Last Bag information’ concept was adopted on Thursday after there had been complaints regarding delayed delivery of baggage.

Under the system, the person who loads the baggage, will be given a provision of inputting the first Bag information once he has kept the first bag onto the carousel and similarly punch in the last bag.

The time from aircraft arrival to the first bag shall show how much time the ramp staff of the airlines have taken for baggage delivery, said Shastri.

The time from first bag to last bag shall indicate the preparedness in transporting all check-in baggages and through this facility AAI and airlines shall be able to identify the carousel utilisation and improve efficiency, he said.

Interestingly, AAI is also planning to display the information regarding the status of baggage delivery to the public through available Flight Information Display System at the Carousel

writingonblog uncensored: Special passport mela to be held in three passport...

writingonblog uncensored: Special passport mela to be held in three passport...: Chennai: A special passport mela will  be held in three passport  kendras on May 21 to reduce  the summer rush for passports. K Ba...

Special passport mela to be held in three passport kendras

A special passport mela will be held in three passport kendras on May 21 to reduce the summer rush for passports.

K Balamurugan, regional passport officer, Chennai, said that passport seva kendras at Saligramam, Aminjikarai and Tambaram will function on May 21 (Saturday).

Approximately 2000 normal applicants (1,000 at Saligramam, 500 each at Aminjikarai and Tambaramwill benefit from this mela.

As a crowd management practice, to participate in the mela, all applicants have to log on to to register online and generate Application Registration Number and pay online fees and then take appointment.

Applicants participating in the me4la should bring the printout of ARN and appointment details to the passport seva kendra along with requisite documets in original plus one self-attested photo copies. Walk-ins, application for tatkal, and refuse tokens will not be entertained.

Friday, May 13, 2016

writingonblog uncensored: Civil Aviation Minister orders top AAI officials t...

writingonblog uncensored: Civil Aviation Minister orders top AAI officials t...: Chennai: After the National Human  Rights Commission (NHRC) has  pulled up Airport Authority  of India and Civil Aviation  Ministry over r...

Civil Aviation Minister orders top AAI officials to sort out Chennai airport maintenance issues

After the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has pulled up Airport Authority of India and Civil Aviation Ministry over regular glass panel falling in Chennai Airport, the Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju has ordered an inspection to be carried of the airport.

In a tweet, the Union Civil Aviation Minister has ordered Airport Authority of India to carry out inspection of the airport and fix the maintenance issues at the earliest.

The NHRC has issued notices to the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India based on the complaint received on April 4. Till now more than 62 times , the glass ceilings have fallen.

Airport Authority of India, Chennai, director Deepak Shastri told Express till now he has not received any intimation but said the announcement is a welcome step and will work as a catlyst in solving the issues of the airport.

“This will result in more brainstorming. The issues will be understood, redressed and rectified,” said Shastri

writingonblog uncensored: Union Shipping Ministry eyes three CEZ in TN under...

writingonblog uncensored: Union Shipping Ministry eyes three CEZ in TN under...: C Shivakumar Chennai: Tamil Nadu will have three of  14 coastal economic zones ( CEZ) proposed by the Union  Shipping Ministry as pa...

writingonblog uncensored: Union Shipping Ministry eyes three CEZ in TN under...

writingonblog uncensored: Union Shipping Ministry eyes three CEZ in TN under...: C Shivakumar Chennai: Tamil Nadu will have three of  14 coastal economic zones ( CEZ) proposed by the Union  Shipping Ministry as pa...

Union Shipping Ministry eyes three CEZ in TN under Sagarmala project

C Shivakumar
Tamil Nadu will have three of 14 coastal economic zones (CEZ) proposed by the Union Shipping Ministry as part of a comprehensive plan for port-led industrialisation under the Sagarmala initiative.

The three CEZs include Mannar-Tamil Nadu Coastal economic zone, Poompuhar-Tamil Nadu CEZ and Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor CEZ.

The Coastal Economic Zones have been demarcated to align with the planned industrial corridors and the Shipping Ministry expects the three CEZ along with 11 others could add $110 billion to Indian merchandise exports through high potential industries.

The locations have been mapped to relevant major and non-major ports in the region that can optimally facilitate the movement of cargo from the industrial locations.

Twelve major industries covering energy, material and discrete manufacturing have been identified on the basis of suitability of ocean mode of transportation for imports of raw materials or exports of finished products.

The plan is also for a sustainable development of coastal communities, which consists of 18pc of Indian population. It is learnt that one tonne of port throughput is on an average associated with $100 of economic alue addition and an increase of one million tonnes of port throughput is associated with generAtion of 300 new jobs in the port region. 

Interestingly, the Mannar-Tamil Nadu CEZ would be developed keeping in mind the development of new Enayam Port. It will be beneficial to Kanyakumari-Tirunelveli-Thoothkudi corridor with special focus on VOC Port. The Shipping ministry is targetting apparel and refining in the CEZ.

It is learnt that projects like Expressway to Enayam, a road to Hare Island and container berth at VOC Port are proposed to boost the Coastal Economic Zone.

Similarly, the Poompuhar-Tamil Nadu Coastal Economic Zone would cater to Cuddalore, Perambalur, Ariyalur, Tiruchirapalli, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam with focus on leather processing, power and refining. The growth would be centred around Cuddalore Port and the proposed port at Sirkazhi.

The Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor CEZ will target Thiruvallur, Chennai and Kancheepuram with focus on petrochemicals, electronics, steel and ship building.
It is learnt that the Shipping Ministry is planning to shortlist CEZs which could be taken up as pilots based on availability of large contiguous land parcels, existing industrial base, access to urbanisation and supporting infrastructure, strong industrial potential for high potential

IT searches net Rs 10 crore in Chennai alone

Income Tax searches across Chennai has resulted in seizures of cash worth Rs 10 crore, which was allegedly meant to be distributed to the voters in the city.

Of the total Rs 30 crore seized by the Income Tax department since the model code of conduct came into being, a total of Rs 10 crore alone was netted in Chennai during raids being carried out in more than 10 places.

“We had conducted raids in 23 places overall and recovered Rs 30 crore from various localities in Chennai,” said a Income Tax source.

The success has been attributed to information being gathered by the teams deployed in the districts as well as the election commission’s flying squad and the public.

Interestingly, a raid yetesrday has resulted in the seizure of Rs 2 crore from a DMK functionary’s home in Alwarpet. Similarly, cash woth Rs 3.5 crore have been recovered from a distillery belonging to DMK supporter. 

Even today the Income Tax department carried out verifications in the city and netted some cash. “It is not that substantial. We managed to recover some cash meant to be given to voters,” said the source.

If one goes by the record Chennai alone has surpassed the total amount seized by income tax department during the last election..

The seizure by Income Tax department is the largest in recent times when compared to previous elections.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mercury Rising in Chennai!

If Chennaites miss the chance to witness one of the rarest astromical event on Monday when planet Mercury transits across the face of Sun, they will have to wait for another 16 years, accordig to Dr P Iyamperumal, Executive Director, Tamilnadu Science and Technology Centre.

As the world is gearing up for the rare spectacle, Ilayamperumal said that the transit of Mercury will be viewed in Chennai from 4.42pm.

The spell would be a brief one in India and Chennaites would have only 90 minutes to view the transit as the sun sets it. However, the whole transt of Mercury across the sun, which takes place when Planet Mercury comes between Sun and the Earth, will take place till midnight.

Interestingly, the last three transits of Mercury occurred in 1999 (November 15), 2003 (May 7) and 2006 (November 8).

The next transit of Mercury is likely to take place on November 11, 2019 but it can’t be viewed from Tamil Nadu as the transit is expected from 6.05pm when the sun would have set.

But then on 2032, whole of India can view the Mercury transit. Interestingly, Birla Planetorium, Periyar Science and Technology Centre in Gandhi Mandapam Road is making arrangements for the public and students to view the rare spectacle using telescope projection.

Astromists have warned the public never to look directly at the sun.or you risk damaging your eyes. Interestingly, Mercury would be just viewed as a black dot across the Sun. 

Since Mercury is only 1/158 of the Sun’s apparent diameter, a telescope with a magnification of 50x or more is recommended to watch this event. The visual and photographic equipment used should be similar to those for observing sunspots and partial solar eclipses.

Usually, Mercury revolves around the Sun in an  elliptical orbit at a mean distance of 5.8 crore km. The orbital period is 88 Earth days.

Mercury’s elliptical orbit is very much elongated. When at “perihelion” (the orbital point when a planet is closest to sun), it is about 4.6 crore km from the Sun and at aphelion (the orbital point farthest from Sun), Mercury is at a distance of 6.98 crore kilometre. It passes between the earth and the sun in about 116 Earth days.

On an average there are 13 Mercury transits each Century and they do not occur at regular intervals but in succession intervals of 13, seven and three years. Each year, the Earth passes Mercury’s line of nodes around May 7 and November 9 and mercury transits can therefore happen only on these dates.

Observation Time in India:
India will observe Transit a little before sunset, so sunset will determine the end of viewing. Transit timings are:
Start transit : 16:30 IST
1/4th transit : 18:30 IST
Mid transit : 20:30 IST

-- Most of central and south India will see up to the initial 1/4th of the transit
--- North and west India will see the initial 3/8th of the transit.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

No glass pane crashed, says AAI director

Airport Authority of India has rejected reports that a glass pane in the east side of international terminal has crashed.

Airport Authority of India, Chennai, director Deepak Shastri said that there was no fresh case of glass pane falling.

He said that the Terminal Manager during his routine inspection on April 30 observed that one of the outer glass panes on east side of lnternational Terminal has developed some cracks. 

“Due to high wind thrust, there was every possibility that some of the glass fragments of the said pane might fall
down. To mitigate this, a precautionary action was taken by cordoning-off the area at ground level with barricades to avoid any incident or accident by the Duty Terminal Manager,” said Shastri..

Shastri said the area is never in use by passengers or public.
He said replacement was being arranged as these glasses are not readily available, being customized in nature.

He said Chennai Airport has already initiated action for identifying glass panes having slightest cracks to be immediately removed to avoid any unpleasant incident

AAI plans to acquire land 14 acres of for expanding secondary runway

The wide-bodied aircraft could soon land in the secondary runway of Chennai Airport as Airport Authority of India is planning to create infrastructure for it.

The secondary runway, which is facing the heat from a section of residents who want it to be demolished as they claim it is allegedly built below the high flood level, requires 14 acres of land to create facilities for wide-bodied aircraft

“We are in the process of acquiring 14 acres of land to enable the wide-bodied aircraft to land in secondar runway,” said Airport Authority of India director Deepak Shastri.

Shastri told Express that the secondary runway which is now operating 24x7 for the last one month can only cater to A 320 aircraft.

However, he said he doesn’t have any statistics on how many aircraft landed but said that during NOTAM ( A Notice to Airmen) period, an alert for pilots of potential hazards along flight route, the flights are landing at secondary runway.

As part of modernisation, the runway was to be extended till 3,400 metres. Currently, it is 2,800 metres. 

It is learnt that the secondary runway’s extension was carried out at a cost of Rs. 450 crore as part of the modernisation of Chennai airport. 

It was made operational in May 2014, nearly three years after it was completed. But it could be made operational only during the day. 

AAI rejects allegations 
Chennai: Airport Authority of India has rejected reports that a glass ceiling has fallen in the airport and clarified that it was crack developed 15 five days ago.

Trashing the reports that the glass ceiling has fallen for the 63rd time, Airport Authority of India, director Deepak Shastri said that the glass only cracked and not fallen. “We have identified it five days ago in no-man’s land. The glass is customised and getting made. Once the new glass arrives, we will remove the damaged glass and replace it with the new one,” said Shastri.