Chennai Aug. 12: In spite ofῠ DMK president and chief minister M. Karunanidhi’s appeal to keep the DPA intact in Tamil Nadu, the Left parties’ remained firm on their decision to form a non-Congress and non-BJP alliance in the state.ῠ ῠ”It is for the DMK to decide whether it wanted an alliance with the Left or the Congress,” a senior CPI (M) leader told Deccan Chronicle.ῠ The chief minister on Monday said that the Left parties should not allow the events at the Centre to cloud their decisions on maintaining ties with the DMK. ῠ”The DMK was part of the UPA – Left decision on November 16, 2007 that the government will not proceed to the Board of Governors of the IAEA for approval of the safeguard agreement until the committee arrived at its finding. But the Congress backtracked from that understanding and the DMK supported it,” the CPI (M) leader pointed out.
The Marxist leader said, “When CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat and CPI national secretary D. Raja called on Mr. Karunanidhi at his residence here on June 22, they urged him to impress upon the Congress to stick to the November understanding.ῠ If not, the Left parties’ will have no other option but to withdraw support to the UPA government.ῠ Karat had also told Karunanidhi it would not be possible for the Left to continue in the DMK alliance if it went with the Congress.”
The senior CPI (M) leader said that even in a public meeting held in Chennai immediately after withdrawing support to UPA government, Karat gave a call to the allies of Congress in particularly DMK to switch over. ῠ”We cannot be faulted for the disintegration of secular forces. It is self-made by the Congress. Now the DMK has to take a decision whether to come with us or remain with the Congress,” he said.ῠ CPI state secretary D. Pandian said that his party’s leadership would take a decision on the chief minister appeal.
Chennai Aug. 12: The United States would soon be able to issue one million visas to Indians in a single year, Acting consul general and public affairs officer at the US consulate in Chennai, Mr Frederick J. Kaplan said on Tuesday. Launching the second semester-abroad programme of the SRM University, he said, “We receive about 1,400 visa applicants at our consulate in Chennai every day. We also issue visas at consulates in Mumbai and Kolkatta and at our Embassy in New Delhi for a total of about 3,600 visas a day in India or 7,60,000 visas a year.” “We are processing 20 to 25 per cent more visas this year than last year. It won’t be long before we issue a million visas to Indians in a single year,” he added.
Tracing the relations between India and the US, Mr Kaplan said about 83,000 students from India were studying in US-the highest foreigner presence in his country compared to any other world community. University chancellor T.R. Pachamuthu announced a cash award of Rs five lakh to young shooter Abhinav Bindra for winning the first gold medal for India in Beijing Olympics. University vice-chancellor Prof P. Sathyanarayanan said that about 41 students of the university would be sent for higher studies to various universities across the world.
Chennai Aug.12: Chennai could be the only metropolis in the country where pedestrians have to fight for their rightful space to walk freely. Caught between an exploding vehicle population and roadside hawkers who gobble up precious pavement space pedestrians literally have to walk the thin line often risking their lives. “Our roads have become supersaturated. They cannot take any more vehicles. The pavements have been usurped by vendors and slumlords. Only pedestrians do no not have any place to go. I wonder if the authorities care a hoot for the common man,” rued Ms Meera Mohan, a corporate executive and a social activist.
As part of scientific traffic managementῠ city traffic police have introduced many reforms including conversion of two way lanes into one way to ease vehicular congestion onῠ roads. But in the process they’ve sacrificed the requirements and safety of pedestrians. The classic example is at Chinnamali and Udayam Theatre junctions where the conversion of the broad roads into one way has left the pedestrians virtually at the mercy of speeding vehicles. If the traffic cops are not present to regulate traffic pedestrians can be found making a suicidal dash to the opposite side of the road.
“Though we were promised that there would be subways and foot over bridges forῠ pedestrians these plans remain only on paper,” complained Mr. Jai Singh, a retired government employee from K K Nagar.ῠ Another constant irritant for pedestrians is that vehicles even encroach upon zebra crossings while stopping at signals.ῠ “Most of the times vehicles stop on the zebra markings itself. The drivers, especially the MTC drivers, do not switch off the engines and keep raising the engine to scare us when we try to cross the road,” said Jeeva, a music teacher who prefers to walk all the way to some of his destination.
Chennai Aug. 12:ῠ Out of the 340 fatalities in road accidents since January this year as many as 75 have been pedestrians. While the public blames inadequate space for pedestrians, public apathy in using existing facilities is also equally high. For example though there is a demand for foot overbridgesῠ barring the one on OMR from Madhya Kailash and Taramani,ῠ others are rarely used by pedestrians. The classic examples of unused overbridges are at Haddows Raod and Nungamabakkam High road where one can find pedestrians darting across the road under the very shadows of these facilities. To encourage pedestrians to use these two bridges the corporation is now planning to fix lifts on either side similar to the one near Stanley Hospital.
The traffic police hope that on fasting moving lanes foot overbridges would be ultimately put to use. ῠ”We have suggested to build at least two foot overbridges at Little Mount and Sardar Patel Road which have been converted into one ways,” said Sunil Kumar Joint Commissioner of Traffic.
Chennai Aug. 12:ῠ Jain Acharya Shri 108 Devanandi Ji Maharaj denied that Digamberas were facing any threats in Tamil Nadu. ” People welcome us warmly and the state also has arranged special considerations for our visit,”he said while addressing a press conference at Akhil Bharat Varshiya Digamber Jain Mahasabha office, Sowcarpet on Tuesday.ῠῠ
Earlier, Digamberas had faced severe criticism from various organizations in the state for appearing nude in public.ῠ There were also reports that police had refused them permission to march on the streets, which the organizers denied. The community is an integral part of Tamil society. As part of the Chathurmasa camp, the community would celebrate the 45th birthday of the Acharaya on August 15th at Dada Vadi, Ayanavaram. Thousands of people from different states are expected to attend the programme. “Ahimsa, the key tenets of the Jainism will be the message of the celebrations.”said the Jain Acharya.
Chennai Aug. 12: Realising the growing demand for properly trained professionals in disaster management, the Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R Medical University has decided to shortly launch a diploma course in the subject, which would be the first of its kind in the state. The course would train the students in providing medical aid, rescue and rehabilitation services for the victims of natural calamities, bomb blasts and other mishaps, university vice-chancellor Meer Mustafa Hussain said here on Tuesday. Though the public quickly respond to help the victims in a disaster, they would not be aware of how to administer first-aid and to manage a panic situation.ῠ The new course would help the professionals to manage disasters in a systematic manner, he said, speaking at the celebration of the 59th anniversary of the Geneva Convection by the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS).
Effective disaster services are potent tools for saving lives at critical time.ῠ The new course would provide theoretical and practical assignments to work on rescue services.ῠ Apart from routine services like blood donation camps and planting saplings, the Red Cross volunteers would actually step out of classrooms to undertake service to the victims of natural calamities with proper training and at normal times, undertake public campaigning, including street plays, to spread awareness about disaster situations. ῠ”Every school should introduce novel initiatives like’ Little doctor’ programme, by which the students can involve themselves to practice the medical treatment in their surroundings, vice chancellor Hussain said.ῠῠ Vimla Ramalingam, President, IRCS, Tamil Nadu, said more than 500 schools in Chennai had active Red Cross volunteers who were ready to serve with neutrality and impartiality.
New Delhi Aug. 12: With the Puducherry chief minister N. Rangasamy likely to be axed, speculation is already on among the Congress circles here as to who would succeed him. The political situation in the union territory reached a crisis when seven of the ten Congress MLAs including ministers V Vaithilingam, Malladi Krishna Rao and M Kandasamy in the Puducherry assembly openly revolted against him and met senior Congress leaders seeking his removal last month.
Chief Minister N Rangasamy who met congress leader Vayalar Ravi and Arun Kumar on Friday has been reportedly asked to ‘either show majority support of MLAs or leave’. He is likely to meet the party high command on Wednesday in a last ditch attempt to save his post. But sources in the Congress say things have reached a ‘turning point’ and there has to be a change of guard if the union territory, a traditional Congress bastion has to be retained. Leaders in Congress and other political parties including its ally DMK in Puducherry too feel that administration has long been crippled due to the infighting and a chief minister could function better if only he had the support of all the party MLAs. Seven Congress legislators-five ministers and two MLAs-boycotted the cabinet meet scheduled on July 6th. Now the race is on for Mr Rangasamy’s successor. The chief contender is said to be power minister V Vaithilingam and MLA from Maducarai, Puducherry.
Chennai Aug. 12: The “hop-on and hop-off” sight seeing tour from Chennai to Mahabalipuram and also Chennai city tour is all set for launch next month. “We have planned the launch during the second week of September,” an official at the TTDC told this newspaper on Tuesday. The corporation would offer the two tours to tourists and holidayers in association with the state transport corporation. While the TTDC, which has already purchased four buses, would operate the trip to Mahabalipuram, the transport corporation would operate four buses for the city sightseeing tour.
“We have been waiting only for the specially designed 18-seater coaches to arrive,” the official said. Lasting for nearly 15 hours, the tour promises a unique opportunity for tourists and others to board or disembark the bus at the place of their choice with the help of travel passes. Literally, they can “hop on and hop off” and traverse the important tourist spots that figure in the itinerary. It would be ideal for people who wanted to spend more time at a particular spot but join the trip later by another bus.
The tour would commence at 6 a.m. and cover Marundeeswarar temple, VGP, Muttukadu boathouse, Dakshinchitra, Crocodile Bank, MGM, Tiger Cave, Shore Temple, Five Raths, Arjun Penance at Mahabalipuram, and finally reach here. The Central Railway station and the TTDC complex at Wallajah Road are the pick-up points. The city tour would include the major attractions like Guindy Park and Valluvar Kottam.
Chennai Aug 12: A city court on Tuesday ordered the Kerala government to submit the independent investigation report filed by inspector general of police B. Sandhya on the issue of alleged sexual assault by former Kerala minister P.J. Joseph on an ex-TV woman newsreader during a flight from Chennai to Kochi in the year 2006. The Alandur court issued the order based on a request from the Tamil Nadu police, which is investigating case, asking for the report by the Kerala IG. The Meenambakkam police had been probing the two-year-old incident for the last many months. The court also posted the next hearing on September 16 and also informed that the cross-examination of witnesses including the victim Lakshmi Gopakumar would start on the same say.
Mr P J Joseph, the then PWD minister during a flight to Kochi from Chennai allegedly misbehaved with Ms Lakshmi Gopakumar in August 2006. The woman had then lodged a complaint with the flight crew. Later a complaint was lodged with the Meenambakkam police. The issue created a political storm in Kerala and Mr Joseph was forced to resign from the minister’s post. The Kerala government initially had ordered an independent probe by IG Sandhya into the incident. The official in her report concluded that Mr Joseph had extended his hand through the gap of the seat in front and touched the body of Ms Lakshmi Gopakumar in such a manner that he outraged her modesty. The officer had also said in the report that prima facie there was no conspiracy by the victim with anybody as far as the incident was concerned.
Chennai Aug 12: Four schools in the city received bomb hoax calls on Tuesday morning. While one of the calls was made to the city police control room, the other calls were made directly to the individual schools. At around 8.40 am, the city police received a call that bombs were planted at the Rani Meyammai Girls School and Raja Muthaiah Boys School at Mandaveli. A little later the cops got to know that the St. George’s Anglo Indian School and the Chinmaya Vidyala at Kilpauk received similar calls. However all the calls turned out to be a hoax. The police traced down one of the callers and found that it was sixth standard student who had made the call. “Although we traced down on one of the callers, we chose to warn him and let him go, considering his age,” a senior police official said on Tuesday.
Chennai Aug 12: Four software engineers, who were watching blue films at a mansion in Triplicane, were arrested by the city police on Sunday night. As part of the security measures taken in view of the Independence Day celebrations, the police raided several lodges and mansions in Triplicane. “We were basically looking for illegal residents and foreigners when we bumped into this group of engineers who were watching pornographic movies and enjoying themselves,” a police official said.
The arrested men – Sivakumar, Sridhar, Sathya and Samraj Milton – had been staying at the mansion for long time and were from Pondicherry. On Sunday night, when the police barged into their rooms, the youth where stunned at the uninformed intrusion made by the policemen and did not resist a search of their apartment.
“During our search, we recovered atleast 64 pornographic CDs and several pirated Tamil movie CDs from the youth. We also got information that these young engineers had distributed some of the CDs to their friends in other mansions,” Triplicane police said. The four engineers have been booked under the ‘Copyrights Act’ for possessing pirated CDs and have been remanded to judicial custody. The city police have been conducting regular raids at several shops in Burma Bazaar and T.Nagar and have arrested several people under the Copyrights Act in the past. Despite the crackdown, rampant sale of obscene CDs and pirated film CDs continues across the city.
Chennai Aug 12: A married man from Villivakkam who eloped with a minor girl – his neighbour – and later married her was arrested on Wednesday. Udayakumar (27), a construction worker, lived with his wife and two children at Bharathi Nagar, Villivakkam. His neighbour Maheswari (17), a school dropout, often visited Udayakumar’s home to play with his children. Over the years, Udayakumar and Maheswari developed a liking for each other and last week, the couple eloped from Chennai. Maheswari’s mother Vasanthi filed a complaint with the Villivakkam police last week.
The police found out about the ongoing affair between Maheswari and Udayakumar. “We looked for them in Chennai as well as in other cities but could not trace the couple. On Monday, we came to know from locals that Udayakumar was seen in the neighbourhood and arrested him,” police said. The police later found out that the construction worker had taken Maheswari to Tirupur and had married her. “He even rented a home there and started living with her,” Villivakkam police said. They arrested Udayakumar for kidnapping and raping a minor girl. Further investigations are on.